It’s no secret that I’ve struggled with the whole parenting thing. I mean come on, who hasn’t? I think we all do at some stage or another – some are honest about it, some aren’t. I get comments all the time said to me or sly digs about those people who ‘share to much on social media’, who ‘have to tell the world about everything’.  Well, over-sharer? Quite possibly. But I definitely don’t tell the world everything. There is a lot you don’t know about me and probably won’t ever know.

I’ve been extremely slack on the blog front, life happened, kids happened, work happened. I’ve just been busy in general. For a while there I got so consumed in the online world, I let shit comments get to me and cloud my judgement. I wanted to stop doing what I was doing, all for the wrong reasons.

Well, life is still happening and I am still shit at making time for me as much as I try preach about how important it is. It’s a work in progress okay. BUT, I need to get back to writing, it helps me release and I get messages daily saying it helps you to so win win right?

I’ve been a mum of 2 for over a year now – what the actual fluff (see Mum, I can do it without saying the F word). If anybody knows where the past 12 months have gone then please holla atcha girl and let mew know cos I’m sitting here in disbelief that we’ve already celebrated Lily’s 1st birthday. I was so freaked out when I found out I was pregnant (yes, pregnant on my first child’s 1st birthday – am I mad?). I had huge fears about how things would pan out and how I would cope. I struggled with one so how on earth was I going to manage with 2? Well, I did. We got through and here we are, a year in and I am by no means going to say it was easy – it most certainly wasn’t. But I’m alive, and so are both the kids (and Reuben – just).

People often ask me what life is like with two kids. I don’t have a straightforward answer. It’s hectic, with one you can get away with distracting them and getting other stuff done, with two – you distract one and then the other goes in to pick a fight. So basically, there is a never a dull moment – for me anyway. Like everything in life, you find a way to get through, to manage – to get by. I can pop Lily in the highchair, give Baxter some toys and still get housework done. We chose to have the kids in quick succession which meant a small period of madness. Lily is 1 now and I think we are out of the really tough stage (for now), they’re getting along reasonably well (70%) of the time but don’t get me wrong – I know we’ve got some real shit times ahead of us. It’s all part of this parenting gig.

Looking at these kids when they’re playing nicely just makes it all worth it, all those shitty times are just forgotten about. I say to Baxter do you love Lily and he says “yes Mummy”. I die inside. He pats her head and gives her kisses. They’re really starting to engage with each other and get each other. He knows how to wind her up and she definitely knows how to wind him up.

Baxter is a mini Reuben and Lily is a mini me. It’s scary but its Karma at its finest, haha. I see us in them and it scares the shit out of me.

I am glad we chose to have the kids close together (18m gap). The stages are familiar with us and we haven’t forgotten about the tough times. Our theory was, ‘do it quickly and get those initial shitty times out of the way’ – they’re gone, behind us and gosh it feels good. The first 12 weeks is still hell but a different kind of hell because we remembered what it was like as we’d not long done it. We clearly remembered what tactics worked with Baxter and tried them on Lily.

The kids are actually different, Baxter was SO chill, almost too chill. Lily is so full on – all the time. Is really rough with Baxter (the me in her, haha). She climbs, jumps and squeals and the kid has no fear – none of which we experienced with Baxter. He has totally had to up his game now she is walking and trying to rule the roost.

Baxter is now in Kindy 3 days per week and is thriving, best thing we did for him (and lets be realistic, for us too). Reuben is a stay at home Dad still so having B in Kindy 3 days allows him some 1 on 1 time with Lily which he really enjoys.

The wolfpack is complete with no additions in the foreseeable future. I am content with the kids. I am still working on myself and managing my anxiety + depression but to be honest, I don’t think it will ever be gone. It’s part of me, its who I am and some days are shit, other days I am on top of the world.

Here’s to another year…

Do you know what I lost along with my pelvic floor muscle control? My patience. I’m not quite sure where it went, but it’s gone. If anybody finds it, please DM me.

I’ve heard people say you really learn patience when you have children, for me, it’s been the complete opposite. My fuse is short. Short af.

I love my kids, with all of my being. I hate that I always have to state this, it’s a no-brainer – of course I love them but there is always one negative Nancy who is like “well maybe you shouldn’t have had kids”, or some other shit comment that makes me backtrack to ensure I’ve ever implied that I don’t love my kids.

Lily is only 12 weeks old (only?). Where the hell did the last 3 months go? Right now, it’s Baxter. He’s two next month and his personality has changed so much in the last few months. He is so amazing when he is good he is good. When he is bad, by god is he bad. Or is he? I’ve started wondering lately if maybe he’s not that bad and maybe it’s just me and the whole no patience thing? I know Reuben constantly says to me “he’s just a kid”. And he’s right. It’s the whingeing that goes right through me like nails on a blackboard. I physically shudder. It’s the tantrums now when you say no. He’s getting smarter and he’s learning more each and every day. It really is a pretty cool experience watching this little human that you created grow and be so excited about life and their surroundings. Oh to have no worries in the world.

I believe a lot of my stress and lack of patience is linked to my anxiety and depression which I have struggled with a little bit lately. I haven’t been sleeping much and my mind is constantly on high alert. I look in the mirror these days and I don’t really like who I see. Who is this impatient angry person? What happened to ‘the old Jess’? 

While I know this new ‘mum Jess’ is an adaption of my old self, I’m still learning who I am with all of this change. It sounds stupid, I’m hoping one or two of you get what I mean. I still AM the same person, but yet, I’m not? I used to only have myself to worry about and now I am responsible for two tiny humans. It’s scary. Some days I can’t even decide what to wear, yet between Reuben and I – we make decisions for the kids which can shape them for the rest of their lives. It’s often a scary thought.

I’m working on myself, I know I’ll be happy again soon. Genuinely happy. 

Motherhood can be extremely lonely, while I am currently away from the office on maternity leave and Reuben works from home I shouldn’t be lonely. There are 4 of us in the house yet I’m often alone with my own thoughts. Yes, we’re a team but that doesn’t mean we agree on everything. It’s all part of it, right? We’re learning to become parents together and sometimes there are things that I struggle with and Reuben doesn’t quite understand. 

I know in time things will improve, I need to work on some techniques to improve my patience and anger. I need to remember that Baxter is ‘just a kid’ and that often these difficult periods are just phases and they will pass. I need to remind myself that many struggle with these exact things, but we don’t like to talk about it but hey? It’s pretty damn normal. We’re tired, we’re sick of tidying up the lounge only for it to be trashed 5 minutes later (literally). I’m sick of making food only for him to shake his head and say ‘no’. I’m sick of feeling like I am in a constant uphill battle with my own self. Striving for perfection, for the clean house that can’t stay clean for one whole day. It’s sound utterly ridiculous but when I’m surrounded by mess and clutter, my mind becomes the same. When things are clean and clear, I feel so much weight off my shoulders. I am currently on a mission to declutter the house and live in a more minimalistic way. Material things are exactly that and I would much rather be happy than own a few items which supposedly give off some impression of status or achievement.

So here’s to the shit days, I’ve just washed the same load of washing 3 times because I keep forgetting to take it out of the machine and it seems I am the only person in the house who knows what to do with dirty clothes..

Firstly, thank you. Words alone cannot express the gratitude I have for you. 

You’re a Midwife, a Mum, and a damn good friend.

You made me see a strength in me that I didn’t know I had. A strength I didn’t even know was possible.

You reassured me that everything was going to be OK and that I could do this.

You let me ask all the ridiculous questions I had including a late night text freaking out because my poo was black (thanks iron pills). Questions like “what if I don’t know I am in labour?” haha, how fucking naive was I? You know alright…

You helped us in ways you will never even know. Pre and post-birth.

You’ve never questioned our decisions and you’ve always supported us 100%. I start to ramble and you stop me and remind me that our decisions are exactly that and I don’t need to justify myself.

You’ve been totally honest and straight up with both Reuben and I when we needed it most. 

You made us see sense when we were in a sleep deprived state and it was all getting a bit much.

My midwife is also a personal friend, I was always a little worried her seeing me at my most vulnerable (and seeing my lady bits) but honestly, I wouldn’t have changed a thing. She is a total champ and I don’t regret my decision even when she challenges me – generally for my negativity and crap attitude (and I thank her for it). She was well aware of my past mental health issues and was so amazing seeing signs of PND early on with Baxter and jumping on it straight away, educating me and making me see that it’s far more common than we realise and there is so much help and support out there. She made me feel confident in talking about how I really felt which in turn has allowed me to help others going through the same thing by speaking openly in my blog about my struggles.

Her love and support throughout the pregnancies/births of both Baxter & Lily is something I will be forever grateful for.

You know who you are… thank you doesn’t seem like enough.

18057083_1313091305393642_5427747711100726190_n

Second time round I am going into this whole experience with so much more knowledge than when I was pregnant with Baxter and well, knowledge is power – right?

I will not allow myself to feel bullied, judged or pressured into anything. I’ll have my tin of formula in my hospital bag if I’m having issues and my baby is hungry. I won’t question my decision for a moment. I will give breastfeeding a go but I will not allow myself to get consumed by bad feelings, pressure and the potential onset of PND.

I’ve come up with a few points that I need to remind myself when times get tough.

  • Don’t be so hard on me – high expectations often result in disappointment, like the above, be strong, stick to your guns and don’t allow yourself to get pushed around.
  • Accept help when offered, even if they don’t do it the way I do – I am the biggest control freak and I NEVER accept help when asked. It’s just not in my nature, I am always the first to put my hand up to help others but when it comes down to people offering help, I always say no.
  • Have an open mind when it comes to breastfeeding – don’t put so much pressure on me. Same as above. I am sticking to my guns, I know what I want and what I won’t allow. I want my baby to be healthy, happy and not hungry. If it all works out, awesome. If it doesn’t, well I tried.
  • Don’t buy so much shit – so many clothes didn’t get worn with Baxter because I went crazy (everybody does with first babies, right?), at least his sister can rock them. The flip side is because we did buy so much crap for Baxter, we didn’t need to buy too much for his sister.
  • Enjoy those first few weeks – we know it’s going to be shit, so let’s try and enjoy them. It really is scary how quickly those weeks go so embrace the fourth trimester in a haze of sleep deprivation and hormones.
  • Try not to compare them – the births, the kids, everything. They’re two totally different children and will no doubt act it so don’t be disappointed if one doesn’t sleep as good as the other (this is a legit fear as Baxter is the bomb sleeper).
  • Don’t freak out during the adjustment period – Baxter isn’t going to be impressed with the new family member (nor is the cat) so I need to give him time to adjust and come around to the idea that he now has this little bundle to help me protect.
  • Just breathe – it’ll no doubt be a bit shit for a while, but they will love each other eventually, right? Don’t sweat the small stuff, what will be will be.
  • Spread the love – remember to give equal amounts of love to both kids, while the new baby is going to need lots of attention and will be very dependent on me, don’t change how I am and have always been with little B.
  • Don’t feel pressured with visitors – this got me last time, I knew people wanted to meet our new addition but I put a lot of un-needed pressure on myself to keep the house clean and was still finding my way with establishing feeding which didn’t help as I wasn’t comfortable with getting my boob out in front of friends/family in those hazy first few days.
  • Take care of myself – know my limits, you know your own body better than anybody and if things don’t feel right physically or mentally, talk to your midwife or GP. With a history of anxiety/depression and PND with my first, I’ll be kept a close on eye on this time around and I know what to look out for. Don’t be afraid to admit you’re struggling.

I know there will be plenty more that I’ve forgotten about and will learn on my journey to 2 under two (oh my god).

Bare with me while I learn to not lose my mind!

I came across this post the other day and it really resonated with me because I am THAT friend right now and I have been for a while now, while I was pregnant with Baxter and more so now that he is here.

For friends without children it’s harder to understand, they often take it personally or think that you’re choosing not to make any effort or that you simply don’t care. That is not the case at all. I wrote about it early on in my journey as a new mum and to be honest, things haven’t changed a lot for me these days and as Baxter has gotten older.

I’m tired, and when I am not tired I have a million and 1 things to do.

With so much going on in our lives we need to remember to be kind to ourselves, that those true friends will understand and offer a helping hand instead of being annoyed at our absence.

A good friend once told me ‘you find out who your true friends are when you have a baby’. There is SO much truth in this but when she told me at the time I thought, really? Fuck yes. I was THAT friend. I didn’t know how to act or be around friends who had just had babies because it’s something I hadn’t experienced personally.

My priorities have completely changed since having Baxter and I never saw it coming, there were people I considered good friends who have never even met my son and due to this I have pulled back and decided that I don’t need people like that in my life. Yes, people without children are busy too but so much changes once you have little people who depend on you entirely. Being a mum has really made me see things in a whole different perspective. You realise what’s important and what isn’t. You learn to care less about what other people think and more about what you think of yourself. You realise how far you’ve come and you remember when you were such a mess you thought you’d never recover. You smile because you are truly proud of yourself and the person you have become and this new life that you created.

I don’t like going out at night because 1. I am tired and 2. That means I don’t get to say goodnight to Baxter, I then go to work in the morning and he is still asleep when I leave so I then don’t get to see him until the next evening. When I am not busy being a mum, more often than not the last thing I want to do is be social, and that’s all me, not you. I’ll be totally honest, I was a bit of a nana even before Baxter came along. I’ve never been a party girl and I would much rather sit at home watching shit TV and eating Tim Tams in my Jim Jams but that’s just me. I love seeing my friends and hanging out but find things are just different now.

I have the lowest tolerance for bullshit these days, from dramatic friends to opinionated people online (ironic as I can one of them). I have so much more to worry about these days, and have just found I simply can’t be bothered with trivial things that are of such low importance to me. Don’t get me wrong, I have so much patience when it comes to my son, I just seem to have lost it for everybody else and I think I put that down to the fact that my life is so devoted to him right now. I have been shit on my so many friends in the past, haven’t we all that I really just don’t have time for people in my life who are out for the benefit of themselves. There is simply no point.

I will not apologise for the way I am. I am me. I live an insanely busy life in order to provide a good future for me and my family. I can be a real shit friend but I can also be the most amazing friend, often there is no in-between but those who know me know that this is me and I would drop anything for them.