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…

The week before Christmas, Reuben and I were lucky enough to have a baby-free evening at the Bolton Hotel in Wellington. I haven’t had many nights away from Baxter but knew we both needed it. Not only does having a baby change your life in many amazing ways, it changes your relationship too and both Reuben and I knew we needed a night away to treat ourselves and relax (well, try to anyway as I am terrible at it). The Bolton Hotel is a 5-star boutique hotel in the heart of the city, located on Bolton St off The Terrace so it’s in close proximity to all major amenities, tourist locations and a short walk/uber ride to the nightlife scene.

We hadn’t stayed there before and were hanging out for the peaceful break! I must admit, though, we did dial into the baby monitor at Mum & Dad’s on several occasions just so we could sneak a peek at our little man. I trust my parents 100% but it’s always nice to see them (and check they’re sleeping). The staff were amazing when we arrived, super friendly and gave us the run down, where everything was etc. I loved that we could park right out the front so I didn’t have to waddle too far (ha).

We stayed in one of their Classic Suites, which had everything we needed or could have needed. I liked the fact that it had a separate living area to the bedroom (which meant Reuben could watch the cricket – zzz) and I could blob on the bed and order room service or trawl Facebook feed using their free WIFI (who doesn’t love free WIFI?) even better, they have an in-room iPad for you to use complete with a jazzy hotel app which allows you to order all sorts of delicious goodies, see what’s happening around the city, book a wake up call and so many other things that didn’t involve picking up a phone and talking to somebody. I was super stoked to see a bath in the suite. Yes, we have a huge bath at home but it’s nice to not bath surrounded by floating plastic toys or having a child sticking their finger in your belly button and laughing.

We were treated to dinner at their amazing Artisan restaurant too, we googled the menu before we had even checked in as anybody who knows me, knows I am ridiculously fussy. We were both well impressed with the menu, although we didn’t know what half the things on the menu were (cue more googling). This is purely from lack of us getting out and experiencing/trying new things. Well, try new things we did. We asked the lovely lady looking after our table what she recommended and she guided us well. We started with Halloumi fritters, brioche crumb, quinoa and broad bean salad, tamarillo jam and the Goat’s cheese soufflé with cherry tomatoes, spinach. Wow, I would not usually eat any of the above, and it was a taste explosion, one I thoroughly enjoyed and I am not just saying that. Even Reuben was amazed that I polished off all of mine (and ate some of his). For dinner, we played it safe and selected something we knew we both loved – Beef. We chose the Beef fillet and short rib with Pho beef broth, herb tortellini and mirepoix. Again, divine. Had a real Asian twist to it, something I am usually scared of (flavours in general). My god, it was delicious. Come dessert, I am all about the Chocolate, we had the Chocolate “en surprise” with dulce de leche and roasted peanuts to share. I am pretty sure I ate all of it. Holy moly, what a dish!! The presentation blew me away and I simply didn’t want it to end. The staff were fantastic with us, explaining which cutlery to use when (yes, we’re that noob). They also made me the most delicious Strawberry mocktail (pregnant and all).

We slept amazingly and had a late checkout to allow us to demolish the breakfast we had delivered to our door that morning. By far, the best hotel breakfast I have EVER had in my life. REAL coffee, the most delicious smoothie, REAL bacon and again, presented really nicely and piping hot when delivered.

When checkout time came, the car was waiting at the door for us and the staff were super friendly and chatty.

Would highly recommend for a child-free night, would also attempt taking Baxter (the idea still scares me) as you could easily set their porta cot up in the living area so you have some privacy/peace still or you could opt for a bigger twin room.

As I know, all you mamas are super hard working and deserve a night off for some relaxation. So, I’ve teamed up with the lovely team at The Bolton Hotel to give away a nights stay for 2 with complimentary breakfast*.

To enter, just comment over on the New Mum Club Facebook page pinned post (the post you clicked on to get here) why you and your partner (or you and a friend) deserve a night away. You must also like the Bolton Hotel Facebook page (we can check).

The winner will be drawn on February 16th at 6 pm.

*Bolton Hotel T&C’s – stay can be used on a weekend night (non-event) and will have 1-year validity.

New Mum Club standard T&C’s – https://newmumclub.com/terms-conditions/

It’s so common these days that there’s a term for this negative phenomenon: mum-shaming, and I am fucking sick of it.

I am talking about mums shaming other mums. Don’t even get me started on the judgemental people who DON’T EVEN HAVE KIDS! I see it almost every day. Out in public and most commonly, online. We’ve all been guilty of it at one point or another, pre or post baby. We’ve judged another mum in the mall or the in the playground and it needs to stop.

We’re all in this together you know, this crazy roller coaster we call parenting. Nothing can make you question your abilities and decisions as a parent like a death stare in the local food court, a rude old lady coming up to you in the supermarket and telling you “that kid shouldn’t be out without a warm hat on” or “that child should be in bed”. Hey, Doris – go shove your opinions up your as$.

Get stared at for feeding your kid with a bottle (god forbid if that’s formula!)
Get stared at for getting your boob out in public.

Get judged for feeding your child packaged food.
Get judged for using non-organic ingredients.

Get judged for allowing your child to sleep with you.
Get judged for having them alone in another room.

Get judged for letting your child have a dummy.
Get judged for letting your child scream in need of comfort.

Get judged for buying your kid expensive toys.
Get judged for not stimulating your child enough.

Getting judged for choosing to front face your child after 2 years.
Get judged for still rear facing them.

Getting judged for going back to work ‘too early’.
Getting judged for choosing to be a stay at home mum.
Getting judged for enrolling your child into a daycare centre so you can provide a better future.

It many of the above cases, it’s a no-win situation.

I came across a great article which outlined why we might be doing this.

  1. You’re bored
  2. You’re angry
  3. You’re jealous
  4. You’re overwhelmed
  5. You’re exhausted
  6. You’re not sure of your own identity
  7. You’re dying to be recognised

Being a mum is fucking hard and having somebody question your decisions makes it even harder. Mum shaming is not always direct. It can be a criticism, unsolicited advice (generally with an ulterior motive), dubious facial expressions and general negativity (directly or indirectly) at another mum regarding her parenting choices or even worse, a personal dig.

I suffer from anxiety and depression and know too well how hard it is to hear that somebody thinks you’re not a good mother. Putting myself out there like this has led me to receive some truly awful comments and it really is disgusting that people think it’s OK.

If you have a few moments, watch this.

I think in order to fix a problem we need to recognise that there is one and collectively, do our bit to combat this nasty, rising habit.

MumShaming_NewMumClub

 

 

I still don’t think I have really come to terms with my new body, I’ve written about my stretch marks before and while it’s easy to adopt the attitude ‘out of sight, out of mind’ – they are definitely not out of mind. I am wanting to put Baxter into swimming lessons, my partner hates water/swimming so that leaves me. Yet I am scared to bare my skin and get in the water, I can wear a singlet and cover up as much as possible but I know the whole time my anxiety will be through the roof. I shouldn’t even be making it about me, I want Baxter to be comfortable in the water and learn to enjoy it and be safe yet I more concerned about overcoming this fear of my own.

I’ve just started using a Stretch Mark/Scar Blend from Le’Esscience which I’ve heard great things about and have seen equally great results. It will take about 7-12 weeks to see any real results as like any other blend, it has a cumulative affect so I need to make sure I stuck to it as I know if I can lighten the scaring then I’ll be well on my way to feeling more comfortable in my own skin.

It’s selfish I know, others are having issues falling pregnant and I’m moaning about my stretch marks, marks which without, I wouldn’t have my son. I am truly grateful for my child. I just wish I’d been smarter about making more of an active effort to lessen the damage done. I was lazy and figured I was lucky and wouldn’t get them as at 30+ weeks I had nothing and then boom. My belly was so big a lot of them I didn’t even notice forming under my bump. Not everybody gets them, and if you didn’t get any – consider yourself extremely lucky.

My stomach has never and will never be the same but I am really trying to accept my new body. I have never been one to show a lot of skin anyway and I’m a super self conscious person but this is just taking it to a whole new level.

My stretch marks are bad. They look like I’ve been attacked by a wild animal (maybe that’d be a better story to roll with). They’re deep and almost look like burns. I know they will fade over time but I think with the extent of them, it’s likely they’ll always be quite prominent. The tattoo is ruined, but I am not bothered as I hated it anyway (and yes, the two o’s were on purpose).

So here I am, baring it all to you. If anybody else is in the same boat you’ll now you are not alone. It’s tough, I won’t lie. I feel sad when I see people bounce back from their pregnancies. I don’t wish for a perfect body, I just wish I could be comfortable and confident in myself. It will come with time I am sure. I am back to my pre-pregnancy weight but I will never have my old body back. My entire body shape is different and I’ve come to terms with that so it’s just a case of working on the scaring and that little joey pouch.

They tell a story, a story some are not lucky enough to be experience. I am thankful everyday, don’t get me wrong. They’re a part of me now, a part I am yet to fully accept.

I’ll update you in a few weeks as to how I’ve got on with the Stretch Mark/Scar Blend.

acceptance

I thought I was totally prepared. The nursery was complete, and I was mentally ready. Oh boy was I wrong. For starters, the baby was in our room anyway so the nursery didn’t matter a bit in those early days and I finally started to understand why everybody told me to ‘sleep while you can’ when I was pregnant.

Everybody’s experiences are different so don’t take this as gospel, this post is based off my own personal experience and tips that I think would have been helpful for me to have known going into this whole parenting thing blind.

For me, the first 24 hours was a blur. Honestly, I was so scared leaving the hospital with this new little baby who was completely dependant on me. When Reuben and I got in the car at the hospital car park (away from both of our parents), I burst into tears. I was emotionally and physically drained + shit scared about what was to come. I haven’t been around a lot of babies so can honestly say, I had NO idea what I was doing.

I’ve broken this down into bite size tips and know I would have most likely forgotten key things so feel free to add tips in to the comments:

  • Accept all offers of help – this is one thing I didn’t do. I’m all Beyoncé, Independent Woman and I was absolutely fucked after a few sleepless days/nights. Accept offers of meals, breaks for you to shower etc.
  • Sleep when baby sleeps – actually, or it’s likely you’ll never sleep again. If you can’t sleep, at least lay down and rest, don’t worry about everything else you have to do (at least in those early days).
  • Have plenty of maternity pads on hand; steal the hospital ones if you can (they resemble a super king mattress). You will bleed, a lot, sometimes up to 6 weeks +, also invest in some Hypercal lotion for your lady bits if you have a natural delivery. I talked more on Hospital Bag Essentials here.
  • Don’t forget to take your pain meds if given some, I was terrible and in a tired haze I’d forget and have instant regret.
  • It’s totally normal to cry in those early days. If it wasn’t my partner, or me, it was the baby.
  • Confide in a friend/family member or midwife (if not your partner) about how your feeling and doing, make sure you know the early signs of postpartum depression and if you feel like things are getting too much – seek help. It’s normal and more common than you think. I wrote about my experience here.
  • Try shower everyday, even chuck on some BB cream, it would make me feel (and look) so much better. It is so easy to live in track pants, but not looking after yourself is a quick way to start feeling down.
  • Learn that its OK to say no to visitors in the early days – while you’re super excited to show off your new baby, they’re more prone to picking up bugs in those early days plus you’re still learning. I was still trying to find my feet with Breastfeeding and attempting to do it with an audience was the last thing I wanted.
  • Be prepared for an emotional roller coaster – more so than when preggers. I would cry for no reason, other days I was on top of the world. Hormones be cray, it’s normal.
  • Trust in your midwife – they are a hive of support and information. Don’t be afraid to ask them (or your GP) questions. It’s their job and I’m sure they’ve heard it all (and worse) before.
  • Pre-prep meals – I lived on easy things like toast/soup/pastas etc for the first few days. Accept the offer of meals and have them in the freezer ready for when you get home. It’s one less thing you need to think about.
  • Don’t feel as though you’re a burden to other people because you aren’t. I thought I could do it all myself and quickly learnt this was not the case.
  • Expect nothing – leave your expectations behind. Baby is going to do what it wants to do and no book or advice is going to change the way he/she is.
  • Drop your standards a little – this was hard for me. I tried to maintain a spotless house knowing visitors would come over while trying to find my feet as a new mum. It’s OK to not have vacuumed, nobody is judging you – plus, it’ll give your visitors something to do, haha.
  • Remember it will get better – the hard times WILL pass. While it might be super tough now, it’s going to be so rewarding soon. From weeks 6-12 you start seeing more interaction and it gets more exciting from then on.
  • Get somebody to show you how to bathe baby if you’re not sure – we had no idea and quickly realised this when it came to giving him his first bath. We’re total pros now.
  • Don’t be alarmed by weird sounds – it’s all part of it, I often felt like I had a small pig sleeping in the bassinet next to my bed.
  • Establish a routine early – this worked so well for us. For the first few days while we found our feet we just worked around baby and their cues. Once we introduced a routine, it made all of our lives easier and is still successful 10 months on.
  • Introduce a bottle – I know this one will get some disagreement. I gave Baxter some expressed breast milk in a bottle early on to get him familiar with the bottle in case we ever needed it. He was able to go between the boob and the bottle with no fuss and it made our lives easier moving forward. It also meant I could take a break every now and then and that Dad could do the night feed.
  • Dream feed – we always gave Baxter a feed late at night, which ensured he was full for longer and meant we could get that little bit more sleep.
  • Put baby in their bed when showing tired signs – this way they learn to fall asleep on their own and associate bed with sleep time. This was SO beneficial for us. Sounds easy, but it really was. Rubbing eyes, yawning? Put them in bed.
  • Be calm – I was a big ball of stress and anxiety the first few weeks and Baxter picked up on this, as soon as I learnt to chill a bit, things became a lot easier and manageable.

So there we have it, a few tips to help you maintain some sort of sanity in those first few days/weeks. For a lot of us new mums it can be a daunting time, but with a bit of support and knowledge it can be a not so difficult time.

Keep in mind, it’s been over 10 months since I had a newborn so I would have definitely left some things out. Add your tips below and I’ll edit the list!

Most importantly, try and enjoy it. The days goes surprisingly fast and they’re only small for a short period of time.

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