To the boy who made me a mum,

You turned my life upside down.

You showed me that there were far more important things in life than what I was currently prioritizing.

You brought out strengths in me that I never knew I had and discover weaknesses I never knew existed.

You made me realize I was focusing on all the wrong things in life and that it was the small things that really mean the most.

You’ve made me cry, you’ve made my laugh and you’ve made me yell.

You have the most amazing personality and you have such a kind heart.

You inspired me to start this blog and help so many people.

You saved me.

The moment you were put in my arms, I was overwhelmed with emotions. So much love, and so much fear. I was so scared because this whole motherhood thing this was new to me. I was so scared of not being a good Mum to you. I got post natal depression and I cried a lot. I would sit there and look at you, and cry. I was so scared that I was failing you because I wasn’t coping. The first few months were really difficult for me, coming to terms with such a big adjustment, my hormones were all over the place and I was discovering a new side of myself.

You are such a good big brother (most of the time) and these days when I look at you I am so proud of how far we have both come.

We are gonna move mountains together kiddo 

The one question I am asked multiple times per day is what do you do for a job?

For those of you who have followed my journey since the beginning would know that Baxter came to work with me from 3-8 months. I am extremely lucky to work in a company that allows this and an industry where this is possible.

So, what do I do?

For the past 10+ years I’ve worked in the Social Media/advertising space. It’s a space that I am obviously very familiar with and know that is only going to grow in size and power. My role is General Manager but I do a bunch of things aside from managing the day to day operations. I help with content strategies, pitch work, photography, content production, Facebook apps/competitions and advertising. We’ve somewhat recently delved into the VR/AR space which is so exciting and I am looking forward to seeing where that goes.

As you can see, I live and breathe Social Media why is why I sometimes need my ‘digi vacays’.

Alongside my full-time job, I’ve been a Photographer for the past 10 or so years. Photographing all things lifestyle. Weddings, Maternity, Births (yes, childbirth) and most commonly, Families. I LOVE creating memories for others to cherish for a lifetime. I have a real laid-back attitude and documentary style to my photos, capturing all those small details and emotions that are often missed.

I took a break from the Photography when I was pregnant with Baxter as it was simply too time demanding and from years of hard work, I was starting to burn out and lose my love for being behind the camera.

And with this much-needed break. The blog was born. I am one of those people who always need to be busy. I always have this burning desire to do better, do more and do amazing things. I was feeling pretty shitty pregnancy wise and had no idea if this was normal as everything I seen were these beautifully curated Instagram feeds of these amazingly gorgeous, glowing women. Here I was at only 13 weeks finding any excuse to wear fat pants and stay in bed ALL day. Admittedly, I had bloody cruisy pregnancies with both kids having no morning sickness or anything. For me, there was a lot of fear and anxiety at the thought of being responsible for a small human and these were the things I couldn’t find people talking about, opening up about or admitting. I decided to start documentary my pregnancy and thoughts via a secret blog that was not published or public. I shared it with a work colleague who thought it was really good (who was clearly already well aware of my humour and views on life). After a bit of convincing and self-doubt, the blog was published, the Facebook page was created and it’s all gone down-hill since there – haha.

The blog has and always will be a side thing. I am already so immersed in this social world through work and know how easy it is so get sucked into the vortex. And I won’t lie, sometimes I do. You focus on numbers and you lose sight of why you do it. I fell into that trap and quickly snapped myself out of it when I realised numbers don’t matter. Of course, it’s cool to know that so many people follow my journey through motherhood (or want to see me fail) but ultimately, I am doing it because it helps me to write/share and I’ve learned over the past 2 years that its helping others and for me, that’s a huge driver for me. After learning there is a huge need for mums and real honest support, a year ago I started ‘The Mum Hub’ which is a support group for mums which now has 19.5k members and is growing rapidly by the day. I have since had to create a team of 15 admin/moderators to keep the wheels turning who also share my vision and they do an amazing job. Maintaining such a high quality would simply not be possible without them.

For me, I would never turn the blog into a full-time thing. It’s not something that interests me and it was never my intention. In my own personal opinion (cue all the judgement from the people that do this) I feel that once it’s your full-time gig, you do NEED the money and therefore the blog gets more of a commercial edge to it and it shows in the content. To me, that loses a bit of authenticity and sometimes makes me wonder if the endorsement is genuine. This is not always the case, it’s just my personal opinion and observation.

I’ve turned down many paid opportunities due to the fact they have not aligned well with my brand + audience, or I truly do not believe it’s a good product therefore would not feel comfortable promoting it to you all.

So, you could say, I’m a pretty busy person (and you’d be right). After Lily was born I relaunched my Photographing, solely focusing on Birth + Lifestyle. But am super cautious on how much I book because obviously, I am a Mum of two and my kids also need my time and attention. All of the side things I do and enabling me to provide and create a better future for the kids and makes me a better Mum.

Lots of you also ask what Reuben does and how we manage the lifestyle we do with him being at home with both kids. He does work to, just around the kids. I just said to him, “what do you do babe?” cos’ I have no fucking idea haha (definitely not housework). He responded, “I’m an Automotive Performance Parts Broker, and I dabble in buying and selling performance vehicles”. So basically, he’s a wheeler dealer – and it works. He’s a real hoot as you would have worked out from our live chats and his ridiculous snapchats/instastories. Having the two kids home with him is currently working for us, it allows us both to work and maintaining some sanity while still paying the mortgage and ensuring the kids and entertained and cared for.

There we have it. This is me (and Reuben) in a nut shell (god I hate that saying).

I had an epiphany the other night and realized I’ve been focusing my time and energy in all the wrong places.

I’ve wasted time on people who are only out to benefit themselves and I’ve wasted time on things that are never going to become something, all because of my need to please others. I’ve constantly compared myself to others and it’s not until the other night, it hit me – what the fuck is the point? I need to focus on my family and getting me back to a point where I can say I am truly happy.

I started my blog because I wanted to help myself first and foremost, it was a way of writing down the feels. Then I realized it helped others and that helped me too (a lot). As of late I feel like I’ve slipped into this place that I don’t really like. I feel like I am in constant competition. I’ve always remained genuine in my content and never sold myself out to advertising, what you see is what you get with me. I need to revert back to my roots, forget about all the other bullshit. I think I was getting a bit too involved. Planning out my next post etc. I was so fixated on numbers like it was some sort of popularity contest hanging out for that 10k on IG. Do you know what though? I need to stop caring, it’s unhealthy. Who the fuck cares? For some reason I found myself caring though, and it hit me like a tonne of bricks. I care too much about everything else and everybody else. So much so I forget to care about myself and that’s pretty fucked up.

Instead of living in the moment I am too concerned about getting a good photo for ‘the blog’ or for ‘Instagram’. It’s fucked.

Why the fuck do we care so much? It’s like we crave this acceptance or approval? Chances are they don’t give a shit about you either.

Social media truly is so powerful. It can be so rewarding and also so destructive.

A number is just that. It does not define you as a person or make you better than anybody else.

I am constantly feeling like I am letting people down because I don’t reply to emails or notifications immediately and let other things slip because I am focusing attention in all the wrong places. The blog has got to a point where sometimes I can’t keep on top of the messages and reply to each and every one. I sit here feeling terrible wondering what type of people think I am? Do they think I am snob because I haven’t replied? Little do they realise I want to, but its not always physically possible. I love and appreciate each and every comment and message I get.

Don’t believe everything you see and read because behind those beautifully curated squares is a person who may not be what you think. Their clothes choice, material possessions or follower count mean NOTHING. We are all human. We have struggles, we have mortgages to pay and each one of us see and read things in a different way. Your perception of yourself may not necessarily be how somebody else sees you. Don’t take things of face value.

I need to go back to basics and ascertain what’s important and what’s not. My mind is a mess and my life is so cluttered, I feel like I’m in desperate need of a spring clean and it begins now. I am decluttering my life of belongings, people and situations that do not make me happy. I’m halfway through the book ‘the life changing magic of not giving a fuck’. It is a game changer. It’s made me realise SO many things.

I am not really sure why I am sharing this with you all but feel I need too. It’s my platform and I will share what I want. Some will understand, some won’t and some will even agree.

These unrealistic portrayals are damaging and being real is where it’s at.

You do you x

My OG. Bad boy ginge, our resident bobble head.

You made me a Mum.

If only I knew the things I know now.

I wasn’t sure if I’d have the capacity to love another like I love you, but the love you’ve shown towards Lily has made me realise that love never runs out, it only expands.

I’ve always been told that a mother has a special bond with her son, and you’ve shown me just how true this is.

You have taught me things about myself that I never knew existed. You made me find a strength within myself that I didn’t even know I had, a love I didn’t even know was possible.

The moment you were put in my arms, I was overwhelmed with emotions. So much love, and so much fear. I was so scared because this whole motherhood thing this was/is new to me.  I was so scared of not being a good Mum to you. I got post natal depression and I cried a lot. I would sit there and look at you, and cry. I was so scared that I was failing you because I wasn’t coping. The first few months were really difficult for me, coming to terms with such a big adjustment, my hormones were all over the place and I was discovering a new side of myself.

I hope that one day you will be proud of me and that you’re OK with me writing about you and your sister and how I am feeling. I have found a safe haven within this blog and people really love hearing about you and how you’re doing. It’s really helped me by helping others who were also struggling.

I was so afraid when Lily was born that you would become withdrawn. Sad and jealous of the attention I was giving your sister, but you’ve been amazing. You have been so welcoming and shown her so much love. You have such a kind heart and I know you’re going to do amazing things in your life.

We got some bad news this week and just having you around has made things a little easier to deal with. You have brought so much joy to our family. Seeing the bond you have with my Dad is something in itself. It literally brings a tear to my eye. You’re like his little shadow and it just fills my heart. Seeing you with my Grandad makes me so happy that he was able to get such joy from both you and your sister. I know Grandma would have been so smitten with you as your cheeky just like my Dad.

You’re an amazing wee boy Baxter with such a gentle soul. I sit here writing this with a tear rolling down my cheek. You are 2 next month and it has gone so fast. You’ve achieved so much and I know you’ll achieve so much more. I am sorry its not just you and me anymore kiddo, but I promise you that the love I have for you will never change. It will only grow. I promise we will have lots of Mummy & Baxxy time. We will go for secret ‘supermarket trips’ and eat chicken nuggets in the car and then dispose of the rubbish so Daddy and Lily will never know. I promise that I will make you proud. I will be the best damn Mum I can be to you and your sisters.

You’re going to go places B, I just know it.

Love you now, and forever xo

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..