My week as a stay at home Mum

Last week, I took some recreation leave from work.

I would say that I had a weeks holiday, but as I quickly found out, it was about as far from a holiday as you could possibly get!

Let’s call it… ‘My Week As A Stay At Home Mum’.

Okay, let’s start at the beginning. Initially, I was thinking of just having the Friday off, as I was heading to the Broncos match Thursday night and considering I was planning on consuming one too many beers that night, I didn’t want to be hung over at work. I then offered my services to help Renee on Wednesday, and at that point I just though, bugger it, I’ll just take the week off instead.

So here I was coming out of the weekend excited about not having to go to work, and excited about a week of taking it easy and enjoying some down time. Well, after looking at the schedule I had been given I quickly realised that this week was going to be far from a relaxing weeks “holiday”. It turns out, that stay at home mums lead very busy lives. And it was my turn to experience the hectic, non-stop, balls to the wall existence that these mums live every… single… day…

So my schedule went something like this: Monday was play group. Tuesday was Kangatraining. Wednesday, Teddy Bear Picnic. Thursday, Kangatraining and footy. Friday was Music Class. Saturday I cleaned the house. And Sunday, we had Jesse’s third birthday party.

Holy f*** balls batman, how the hell do you mums do this every week!!!

Now I realise we only had one event on each day (except for Thursday, but the footy doesn’t really count), but the organisation, preparation, and even the wind down when you get home with two kids is exhausting! I literally required at least a 1 to 2 hour nap each day just to cope with the stress of it all!

It was non-stop. Like Liam Neeson in that movie… Non-Stop. It was like trying to navigate and escape a skyscraper on Christmas Eve with the name John McClane. It was like… well you get the idea… it was fully hectic as bro!

I know that I’m sort of joking around about it, but in all seriousness, it really was exhausting. I have joked on occasions to Renee that when I go to work every day it’s like my break from the kids, but it really is like that. I now have mad respect for those mums (and dads) who are full time stay at home parents, because it’s a tough job. It pays nothing. And it’s a 24/7 job.

So well played stay at home mums. I take my hat off to you.

The question from here however, is would I do it again? The answer, is absofreakinglutely. I loved every single minute being able to spend every waking minute with Renee, Jesse and Jasper. And I think they loved it too.

Advertisements

Parents of daughters: the dating my daughter but is getting old

I’m sure you’ve heard people say it. You might have even said it yourself.

You know, that inevitable comment made by parents of girls. Something along the lines of how she’s not allowed to date until she’s 30 or how Dad will greet her future boyfriends with a shotgun in hand.

This so-called joke annoys me so much! I know it’s just a thing people say and it’s meant to be funny and light-hearted but really? I mean what message is it sending our daughters and sons?

As a Mum of boys the insinuation that they will be somehow unworthy of dating these daughters or that they will be incapable of respecting girls and are to be avoided at all costs is insulting and ridiculous.

Admittedly, I’ve never been a teenage boy and I know there are a fair few douche bags out there. But there’s loads of parents like us doing our best to raise exemplary men. Men that will treat ladies like Queens. Men that any parent would be lucky to have as a son-in-law.

On the flip side to this, what about the girls? What is this teaching them about themselves or their male counterparts? That we don’t trust them? Or that they are incapable of making good decisions? Surely, we are striving to raise daughters who can make quality decisions about who they associate with and eventually date. I know if I had a daughter I would want to raise her to be confident in herself and her judge of character. I’d want to teach her to respect and value herself and trust her instincts. The attitude that boys are somehow the villain or are predators of girls is just unnecessary and damaging.

I know, I know, it’s just a joke. Well, I’m not laughing.

Jesse’s Hat

A blankie… a teddy bear… a favourite toy… a dummy (or pacifier for you international readers out there)…

Most babies/kids go through the phase of becoming attached to that one particular item that they just can’t possibly live without it. They must know where it is at all times and if they don’t, well, you don’t really want to have to deal with the repercussions of that.

Well, it would seem that Jesse is currently smack bang in the thick of serious attachment mode. But not with a blankie, teddy or his favourite toy. Oh no, he is seriously head over heels in love with his hat!

That’s right… his hat! This is a kid that used to hate wearing hats so much that whenever you put one on him, he would rip it off strait away, throw it to the ground and give you death stares as though it was the absolute worst possible thing you could have ever done to him.

He is so attached to his hat in fact, that there isn’t a single moment of time from when he wakes, to when he sleeps, that it isn’t glued to his head. Oh yes, that’s right. As soon as he gets up in the morning… BANG! On goes the hat. And there it stays right up until bath time where his head gets a 5-10 minute reprieve. But as soon as he is dressed and ready for bed… BANG! On goes the hat again.

He even wears it to bed, and will only remove it once he feels like he is ready to fall asleep. Don’t you dare try to take it off his head before then. Because you will be told in no uncertain terms that you are in trouble for touching his hat.

I mean look at that thing… it doesn’t even look like what’s it’s supposed to look like any more. He’s worn it that long that it’s completely lost its shape. The brim has the major droops going on. And if you can believe it, it’s actually supposed to be a fedora, not a straw bucket hat that looks like it’s come from a bad scarecrow Halloween costume.

But with that said, every single day when he wakes up only to make his way over to his hat to put it on for the day, all we can do is smile and giggle at the absolute adorableness that Jesse and his well-loved hat brings.

So the question of the day is, have your kids become attached to something? And if so, is it something unusual like Jesse’s hat, or something more common like the family teddy or blankie?

And with all that said, I am no sitting here wondering how Jesse will react when the hat no longer fits, or finally falls apart on him.

Shit… I don’e even want to think about it…

Life Before and After Kids

I miss my old life.

I miss OUR old life? Yes, I’m pretty sure he said ‘our’.

I mean, does anyone really have a life when you’re a teenager? We’ve been together since we were 19.

I guess it doesn’t really make a difference which word he used. It still sent a shock wave through my body and hit my heart with a thud.

I suppose it’s normal for parents to feel this way. I miss parts of our life before kids sometimes too.

I (vaguely) remember being able to just pick up and go out on the spur of the moment with no hesitation. Now, it’s a good solid hour of intense planning, preparation and packing just to leave the house for an hour at the local Westfields.

I remember dragging out the single mattress to the lounge room floor and snuggling while we binge watched our fave shows (on DVD might I add), drank beers and ate junk food until we were nearly falling asleep. Now we’re lucky to get in an episode of anything without interruption.

I remember the days of spontaneous weekends away. Spontaneous sex. Spontaneous anything really. And now we consider it a good day if we remember to kiss each other a few times and maybe even go to bed at the same time.

But ugh… is our life now so terrible?

I also remember a time when we longed for a baby. When every month was met with disappointment and the ache of not knowing whether we’d ever have a child.

And now we have two. Two beautiful, healthy, cute-as-all-get-out baby boys.

Two is a game changer, no doubt. A toddler and a baby is down right exhausting sometimes. It has required a big adjustment for the both of us.

And when they go to school we will have to adjust again. And when they’re teenagers we will have to adjust again. And when they grow up and leave home we will have to adjust again. And when they have families of their own we will have to adjust again.

I always try to remember how fleeting this time is. Pretty soon they’ll be too big to carry. They won’t need us to help them go to sleep at night. And they won’t want us to kiss their knees better or wipe their runny noses. They won’t always be dependent on us for everything and we will gradually get back pieces of who we used to be.

And then, we will miss these days. We will miss scooping up a baby in our arms. We will miss tiny hands wrapped around our fingers. We will miss all the bodies in our bed at night and waking up to their little smiles in the mornings. We will miss little arms wrapped tightly around our necks and hearing the sweet sound of baby giggles.

So, my dear Husband, please hang in there. This season of our life will soon give way to the next one. I know it’s hard right now. Trust me, I feel the weight on my shoulders (and my hip) each day too.

But I also feel the magic, the beauty and like I’m the luckiest girl in the world.

I count it all joy for everyday I wake up next to you. And no matter what season of life we’re in, that I can count on.

So, you going for round three??

“When are you going to have another baby?”

“So, you going for round three?”

“You should have another baby. Just one more!”

“Go on… just one more. You might regret it if you don’t.”

“Don’t rule it out. Because you never know, it could happen.”

When you’re a young, married couple as we once were, the questions about when you are going to have kids seem to be inevitable. It’s as if society just automatically assumes everyone who fits the above criteria wants to have children.

However, that one simple questions can cut deep in a couple, especially if you’ve been trying for a long time and have been unsuccessful (as we’ve mentioned in the past, it took us 18 months to conceive the first time round), or have found out you are unable to have children at all.

And then you have kids. Two beautiful, healthy, happy boys who both look like dad (much to his delight) but are actually mummy’s boys most of the time (much to her delight). They are loved by everyone, and they love everyone.

Jesse Jack Barton 1
The day after the birth of Jesse

And then, as if someone has hit reset on the console, the questions start coming in yet again. “When are you going to have another baby?”

Now it’s not entirely a rude question now that we have children. In fact, its a pretty standard question when engaging in small talk with parents. I know we’ve asked it completely innocently.

Well we were sitting down having a chat about our baby boys (is Jesse still a baby?) and the conversation took a turn into the territory of more kids. We’ve both been asked the questions about having another baby. But had we ever sat down and really discussed it?

“Tell me the honest truth, do you want to have another baby?”

I asked Renee as we sat there discussing our perfect little family.

“If your asking me right now, my answer is hell no!”

Well that’s a relief! It seems we’re both feeling pretty maxed out with two children. A toddler and a baby can be hard yakka!

P4190276
The birth of Jasper

And then we began to think… why is our desire to procreate again or not of so much interest to others?

One of the typical reactions I’ve encountered when speaking about how we are happy with two children, and don’t want any more babies is, “You never know, you could change your mind…” or “It could happen…”

At the end of the day, those with children have a choice to make. And that choice, being whether or not to have more children, is a personal choice. It’s their choice. And it’s a choice that is made together, as husband and wife.

I don’t know how many of those of you reading this post are at that point in your life, but how did the conversation happen in your house? Have you discussed having more children? And most importantly, did you both agree with each other?

For us, well Jesse is our handsome, sweet and loving big boy. And Jasper is our chubby and cheeky sequel. Why mess with perfection?!

And besides, any more kids and we’d be outnumbered!

NGP_7462
Our Family Unit

Photo Friday: Our Latest Family Photo Shoot

It has been a really long time since we have done a ‘Photo Friday’ post. In fact, we have been pretty quiet on all fronts over the last few months.

I’m not sure if it is writer’s block, a lack of inspiration or simply just being knee deep in family life. As a family we are making a point of being more ‘present’ and I guess in part that means less writing time.

But over the past few weeks I’ve really been missing it and feel like perhaps I’m not capturing enough moments as the days and weeks slip by.

So, here’s to taking more photos, going on more adventures and creating lasting memories!

A couple of weeks before the end of 2017 we worked with Nicole Gordon Photography on a mini family photo shoot. In a way it kind of book-ended the growing of our family as we have captured each stage from pregnancy, newborn life and now how we have settled as a family of four.

We were absolutely thrilled with the beautiful photos captured by Nicole in less than 20 minutes (you gotta be quick when your subjects are a two year old and a baby!). Thank you, Nicole.

NGP_7462

NGP_7485

NGP_7586

NGP_7554

NGP_7479

NGP_7600

NGP_7638

Going on holidays with kids

Last weekend we went on a weekend holiday up to the Sunshine Coast with Renee’s family. It was the first “holiday” we’ve had with two kids. I say “holiday”, because what holiday.

You know those posts you see on Facebook that pop up every now and again because one of your Facebook friends has thrown it a like. You know the ones. Where it has two photos side by side, on the left it says ‘before kids’ and the right it says ‘with kids’. Well they’re all true. Every single one of them! Holidays… date nights… meals… you name it. If there is a meme out there with a before and after photo and it shows what a couple does before kids and with kids. It’s 100% accurate.

traveling-before-and-after-children-Epic-Parenting-FB

And this “holiday” certainly did open our eyes to what life is now like when we are on holidays with kids.

Our weekend holidays up or down the coast would usually go something like this:

Pick a destination, anywhere will do. Book. Pack a bag for the weekend. Drive there. Relax in or by the pool. Have a few drinks on the balcony. Go out for lunch and dinner. More drinks on the balcony. More relaxing by the pool. Game of mini golf. Relaxing in bed. Late night champagne with a movie. Go out for breakfast. Anywhere will do. More relaxing by the pool. Maybe we could go to the beach. More drinks on the balcony. Go out lunch and dinner. More relaxing. More relaxing. More relaxing.

Our holidays no longer look like this. Because kids… So now, a simple weekend away, looks more like this:

Pick a destination, but somewhere that close to amenities or is kid friendly. Pack your bag for the weekend. Pack the kids bags. Pack toys for the kids. Triple check you haven’t forgotten anything, especially nappies or wipes. Pack the car. Get the kids dressed. Get the kids in the car. Hope the 6 month old doesn’t have a tantrum in the car the whole way there. When you get to the hotel, make 3 trips up and down from the apartment to the car because of all the stuff you now need. Put ABC Kids on the television to keep kids occupied for 5mins while you plan your attack on the weekend. Order dinner to eat in the room because the kids won’t deal with a restaurant environment while they’re this tired. Try and find a kid friendly restaurant for lunch the next day. Hope they don’t throw tantrums or run amok while eating lunch. Go to pool. Change kids into swimming nappies. Try and get sunscreen on them. Run after them so they don’t slip and break an arm or don’t slip into the pool and drown. Generally run around after the kids when they need you. Pack the car back up on last day. Drive home. Unpack everything. Put kids to bed for the night. Fall in a heap on the lounge and realise you haven’t actually had a holiday at all.

And that is only just scratching the surface!

But with that said, it really was a fun weekend away. Hectic fun. But fun none the less.

Holidays are just different for us now. But we wouldn’t change that for the world.

Jesse