Maintaining a relationship post-baby takes a lot of time and energy, exactly what you’ve got f*ck all of right now.

Reuben and I decided way back when I started the blog several years ago that our relationship was something I would never go into great detail about on the blog. I see woman slagging of their partners online and this was something I never wanted to do. I see people discussing their sex lives opening, kudos to them but that’s not us. We like to keep some things private.

Reuben has been incredible since we first welcomed Baxter into the world, sure, like I was – he was scared. We were delving into the unknown, we were sleep deprived and we let it get to us. By the time we had Lily we were confident in what we were doing. We are certainly not experts, but we were much more clued up on what to expect (especially in the first 12 weeks). There have been rocky moments where we’ve yelled at each other and questioned or criticised each other’s parenting, but we still love each other.

When you have children, all your attention turns to them and you quite often forget that your relationship with your partner needs attention too.

I can count on one hand the amount of times that Reuben and I have been out without the kids on an actual date since having the kids and that’s pretty sad. With me working full-time (+ some) and him being at home with the kids it’s so easy to get lost in the day to day life. We have had countless offers from people to watch the kids while we spend some time together, but something always comes up. A kid gets sick, one of us get sick or we’re just tired. We worry about their routines being interrupted and we just worry too much.

After recently attending one of Reuben’s best friend’s wedding last weekend (he was a groomsman and I was the Photographer) it reminded how important love is, and spending time with each other. The past few years I have been so focused on so many other things – the kids, my work, housework that I have failed to make my relationship a priority. We’re too tired to have sex, we’re too tired to go out. We’re just tired.

My parents have a weekly date night that they do every week without fail and I am so envious. Between this and the wedding, we are both looking at things with a fresh perspective. We’re now spending quality time with each other once the kids go to sleep instead of doing our own thing (Reuben will do some work and I will do admin stuff on my blog/group etc.) and we actually look forward to it. Sometimes when you’re tired and your mind is cluttered, it feels like a bit of a chore or it can easily be put in the too hard basket but with a small shift in my mind – things are improving, and I am feeling really good about it. We became parents and that was it.

I thought I would put together a small list of things you can do to keep your relationship alive after kids! I mean hey, what would I know – haha. I am only just re-beginning the journey but have been reading about it a lot and thinking of ways to refocus.

Lower your expectations – yeah, those chores you asked them to do? They’re probably not going to get done. And if they do, it won’t be up to your standard. Unless you are part of a small percentage of women who have a partner who happily partakes in household chores – lower your expectations a little. I am told a lot that I need to lower my expectations, that I expect too much and to a ridiculous standard. I moan about how he hangs the clothes on the clothes horse. I mean does it REALLY matter? They’re still going to dry. It’s going to annoy the shit out of me, but I need to learn to lower those expectations and pick my battles.

Be appreciative – Reuben does a lot for me when it comes to the kids, the house may not be spotless, but the kids are happy and fed. Like everybody, we like to be told when we’re appreciated and that our work isn’t going unnoticed. So instead of telling them everything they’re doing wrong, focus on what they’re doing right and make it known.

Prioritize sleep – I know, it’s easier said than done but hear me out. Researchers think that one of the reasons the transition to parenthood might be hard on relationships is because kids wreak havoc on your sleep. When you’re low on sleep, you might find yourself feeling more irritable and hostile therefore reacting badly when something happens.

Talk – Sounds silly I know but how often do you two just talk, no kids, no distractions, nothing? I know us, it’s not often other than a quick call after work to see if we need anything from the supermarket. When Reuben and I first met we would talk on the phone (and in person) for HOURS! To the point I think one of us actually fell asleep one night. We would talk until we were so tired we could barely stay awake or until one of our phones died. Often when we talk now, it’s about the kids (obviously) but I think it’s so important to talk about other things, how each other is doing etc.

Make time for each other – As I mentioned earlier, having time together, away from the kids is important. No matter what comes up, make it happen.

I could carry on forever, but you guys get where I am going. I am using this post to hold me accountable because I am currently not doing half of these but with small changes, the two of us are noticing a big difference.

Being a parent is tough. Go back to basics, remember why you fell in love and prioritise alone time.

I am keen to hear what things you do with your partner to ensure you have some time away from the kids and keep your relationship alive?

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 

We all know how much those first few weeks at home are with a newborn. They’re even a blur for me still with a 2 year (add a 5 month old into the mix and I’m a frazzled mess) and some days I just can’t be f*cked with the hassle of going to the supermarket let alone out in public at all.

We were introduced to The Baby Bag a couple of months ago after seeing their content in my Instagram feed and I had to give it a go and see what all the fuss is about.

They’d just made some big changes to their website, including the introduction of some logic to improve their user experience and make the end result that much better. I am all about good design and customer experience so I put it to the test and boy was I impressed. This service is a total game changer for busy parents like me.

You can just shop like normal, or you can add a few basic details about your wee ones so that their website recommends products based on their age/stage (nappies, food, baby care etc). Their site is super easy to use and navigate. What’s better? They stock the very best products.

If you choose to use the smart suggestions, the website pre-populates your bag for you when you log in based on what you’ve ordered in the past and what the system thinks you’ll need next. Confirm your bag and it’ll be on your doorstep within a day, sometimes even the same day dependent on your location!

No more running out of nappies and having to do the dreaded nappy run in your PJ’s.

My fav part about the service? It’s created by Mums, for Mums all here in NZ!

I absolutely love what Jessie and her husband created after starting their own family and realising the lack of infrastructure that existed to support parents like us. Baby supplies are required in such high frequency by all of us who typically have very little flexibility in our daily routine.

Jessie Jarvie, the founder is a Mum, just like us – doing big things.

Armed with the determination to revolutionise parenting as we know it, they launched The Baby Bag and I wanted to ask them some questions about it.

  • What gave you the idea to start The Baby Bag?

Before my youngest boy Franklin arrived, my husband and I were both working full time. The needs of our biggest boy, George, were always changing. From puree to soft lumps to fork mashed; from newborn to infant to crawler to walker. We changed nappy brands a few times. Then there came teething. A gummy eye. Dry skin. Nappy rash. Eczema. Little people are so dynamic. My husband would swing by the supermarket after a long day at work to pick up some more wipes. There were a couple of packaged food brands that I was having to get online. I used to try and keep some good quality frozen meals in the freezer for those days when it would all fall to bits, but they weren’t available at our local supermarket. Then I’d frequent the organic grocer for natural remedies for his eczema. I don’t know how many times in that first year I visited the pharmacy. I don’t know how many times I asked Doctor Google strange questions (have you ever had that sense of relief though, when the text field populates your question for you, before you’ve finished typing? Meaning there must be other parents out there asking weird stuff too!). It was 2013. It felt like there were support services around for everyone and everything – except for busy little families like ours. We were shocked at the lack of infrastructure that existed to help young families in New Zealand to thrive.

When my second little boy arrived, the nature of the problem changed. The idea of going anywhere with a really little baby can be quite scary. Paul is part Chinese and there is a wonderful Chinese practice of home confinement for one month after childbirth. This is literally called “sitting the month,” as new mothers are pretty much expected to just sit around in their pyjamas for a month to recover from bringing new life into the world (and so they should, right?) but oh god they need so many darn nappies. And who knew you could go through an entire box of maternity pads in one day?

After the newborn phase, getting your hands on the stuff your kids need continues to be challenging, equally for stay at home parents as for working parents. One babe is asleep (and none of us want to disturb that!) or the other one decides he’s hungry just as you pull into the carpark. Maybe you’re rushing home from a busy day just to chill out with your partner or get into the bath/dinner/bed routine before a meltdown. Maybe it’s raining and the thought of racing into the supermarket with one on your hip and one in the capsule is a bit overwhelming. We found that as a busy family we had quality groceries at our fingertips – we frequented local weekend markets and we were able to utilize services like My Food Bag or smaller food stores that proved to be quicker and easier. But baby supplies were continually a challenge.

We had learnt that becoming a parent was the most simultaneously wonderful and exhausting experience – an adventure like no other, and we wanted to create some infrastructure to make the road a little less rocky. In May of 2015, we launched The Baby Bag from a tiny little office in Grey Lynn, and since then we’ve been offering quick, reliable and cost effective delivery of the country’s widest range of baby supplies to thousands of New Zealand families.

In May of this year, we released a new website that introduced our Smart Suggestions. These suggestions were always part of the long term version but they were data driven, so we needed a couple of years experience behind us first. Our Smart Suggestions offer parents intuitive recommendations, based on their babe’s age and stage. They’re designed to support parents throughout the journey of a little person’s ever-changing needs, whether it be recommending you moving up to a bigger nappy size before disaster strikes, introducing the right flavours and food textures at the right time, or foreseeing teething habits, sleep regressions and flu seasons before they hit the home front; we do our best to take the guess work out of the equation for new mums and dads. It’s awesome and their potential gets me super excited.

  • What does a typical day for you look like?

My house is a jungle. I don’t think I could be an Instamum! Maybe I should try? My oldest boy George usually comes and wakes me up, typically demanding breakfast. He hops into my bed for a cuddle first, which is the best. My littlest is awake soon after and the whole house comes to life as we prepare for the day ahead, eating breakfast, filling lunch boxes, getting dressed and heading to kindy. It’s particularly jungle like at the beginning of the day and at the end of the day. Lucky they’re cute.

The boys are both finish kindy at 2.30pm, which means I have short working days, and most of the time I split shift so that I can spend the arvo with them and then long back on at night to get through any unfinished business. Team baby bag likes to be ‘on call’ for our customers at any time of the day, so it’s not uncommon for me to be speaking to a customer with the boys causing chaos in the background but I’m okay with that, it’s a reality. I feel lucky to have the opportunity to be a parent while helping other parents, too. I feel like that was something missing at the beginning of my own parenting journey, so I’m proud of the service that we provide and it gives me a real kick to be a listening ear.

I have Thursday’s off with the boys and we usually plan one special activity together – scooter riding somewhere new, Uptown Bouncing, the zoo, or visiting Dad at work for an early dinner at the local Japanese place. I try to intentionally plan just one activity for those Thursdays, and no more than that. I’m terrible at overcommitting to everything, but I want my kids to be bored every now and again too, as I know it’s where they find their creativity and their peace. One of my favourite things to do is sit on the couch (usually with a cold cup of tea – what would #mumlife be without cold tea?) and watch them in their playroom together. They fight a lot – but they have a heck of a lot of fun, too! At the end of the day, I suss their dinner and my husband susses our dinner. We’re both exhausted by the time they’re in bed, but then parenting and exhaustion are kind of hand in hand. I’m super grateful for my brood and we’ll be introducing another one come January 🙂

  • How do you maintain a good work/life balance?

I don’t get much of that, but to be completely frank with you – I’m not a big believer in work life balance. I think striving for that mythical concept creates more stress than it’s worth. Us women constantly beat ourselves up because if we’re being a good mum, we can’t possibly be doing a good job at work. If we’re enjoying our work, we mustn’t be seeing enough of our children! The key is to accept that there won’t always be a balance.

I think the most important skill a mum can have (whether she’s working outside of the home or in the home, both equally as tough as the other) is to realise when things become too imbalanced. That’s when she needs to sit down with her support network of people who care about her, and her children, and make changes. When I feel like things are getting on top of me, I break them down into bite sized chunks. My mum always says, ‘eat the elephant one bite at a time’. I’m a big list writer too. I have so many lists!

  • Future plans for TBB?

To continue to rock the socks off New Zealand’s parenting community, one bite at a time.

FOR THE NEXT 5 DAYS, USE THE CODE ‘JESSBOVEY’ AND GET FREE DELIVERY!


This post has been in collaboration with The Baby Bag. All views, opinions and writing is my own and we do not work with anybody we do not know, support and/or love. Please support the brands that support this blog.

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’ve been on an offline hiatus – it’s been amazing. Yet here I am, online… writing this post… the irony. Maybe I should say, a Facebook/Instagram break.

Following on from some rather shitty abuse which I posted about, I decided to step back for a bit and reevaluate, refocus and take some time to remember why I am doing what I do. The message I posted was just a small taste of what I get. Currently I get about 1 per week, even more if something goes viral or international media sites like the daily mail pick it up. Don’t even get me started on stuff comments.

I’ve been told I shouldn’t have bred. That I am a terrible parent and that people feel sorry for my kids. I’ve been told to kill myself, that I am disgusting and a horrible person. That I post for validation or acceptance, like I really need approval from strangers but yeah. Thanks.

After a while, regardless of how strong you are, it starts to wear thing and if you’re like me and struggle with anxiety and/or depression, it does weigh on your mind after a while. You start to question the decisions you’ve made. Am I bad parent? How are Baxter & Lily going to feel about my blog in their older years? Is what I am doing wrong in some way?

After a lot of thought, I think they’ll be proud. Never once have I said anything bad about my children. I love them with all of my being and I would put them before myself any day.

Too many of us are consumed by the online world and the false personas people portray, which is why I’ve always been as real as possible. 

I don’t do what I do in order to seek validation from strangers. I set out to tell my story, share my journey and always be honest – regardless of how bad things got. For people to say that I am an attention-seeker genuinely hurts. I don’t have to share what I share, but I choose too. I’ve been vulnerable, I’ve bared it all. 

Since going offline, I’ve had a flurry of messages saying I have helped them in some way. My biggest problem is that when the going gets tough, I often forget about all the positive feedback I’ve had. I forget that I created a support group which has over 13,000 Mum’s in it, who have started an appreciation post in my absence (a friend screencapped and text it to me). Saying things like “come back, we need you”, “you/this group have got me through the dark days of being a new mum” and many more amazing more, positive words. I forget what I’ve achieved and don’t always realise the impact I’ve had on people, I get caught up by the negative comments and let them play on my mind.

I realise by putting out there it opens myself up more to this type of feedback. It is what it is and it says more about those people are their sad existence.

I now realise this, and I’m back bitches – and better than ever.

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