Our babies are growing up (sniff, sniff)

Sometimes I feel quite sad that I no longer have a baby. Jesse is three so basically a grown up and Jasper is heading towards 16 months and embracing full-blown toddler-hood.

Sometimes I miss those blissful new mama days when you feel so exhausted but so elated at the same time. I already feel a bit out of the loop especially since I’m surrounded by new mums and first time mums in my job.

But, as much as I miss it, I also absolutely adore the stage we are at right now.

The other day I had a lovely lunch date with my boys and I was relishing in the fact that, though they are still dependent on me, its very different now to life with a new baby.

We sat in a cafe (kid-friendly of course, let’s not get too carried away!) and enjoyed a meal together. Well, I ate a meal while Jesse consumed an entire giant cookie and Jasper shared my chips and dropped his sultanas all over the floor. There was also a few clean ups of spilled beverages. But all in all it was really nice.

Then afterwards they both went in the play area and played together while I looked on. I didn’t have to intervene. I didn’t have to nurse a baby while trying to keep an eye on a toddler. I could just sit. And be quiet. And sip my coffee. And watch as my two little boys played and laughed together.

In that moment I really appreciated how things are right now.

Now, I do need to say that it’s not always rainbows and unicorns. Just days before this I was absolutely hating life as I tried to hostage negotiate my way through the basic morning routines.

I still have just enough night wake-ups to keep me coffee dependent and a heavy reliance on nursing bras and easy boob access. So I’m not out of the woods just yet.

As crazy as it sounds I will miss all of that. But getting past the baby stage and seeing your babies grow into little people is also pretty great.

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Dear Mums, you’ve got this!

The other day I was escaping the Brisbane heat at the local shops with the boys. We stopped by the indoor playground and I sat and watched Jesse play while feeding Jasper and then he eagerly crawled off to join his brother.

At that moment I was struck with a memory of being at this same playground when pregnant with Jasper and I remember wondering how I was going to cope with two children in moments like this. How could I tend to nursing a baby while keeping a watchful eye on a toddler? It seemed incredibly daunting, impossible even.

I then thought back to a particularly difficult night with Jesse. He just wanted to be held. My back was aching but I held him close anyway. His bottom propped up by my pregnant belly and his long legs draping down either side. I sobbed quietly as I wondered how I was going to cope on nights like this with two babies. How could I possibly give them both the comfort they need if they need me at the same time?

I smiled.

I can do it. I am doing it. What seemed so impossible is now normal.

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Soon after, I struck up a conversation with a fellow Mum watching her children play. Two little boys. And she was nursing a 3 week old baby boy. Three boys under three. I was in awe.

I could tell she was exhausted. But the smile she wore as we chatted told me she would not have it any other way. I asked her how she was doing. We talked about the challenges of breastfeeding and the joys of raising boys. I was struck by the rawness of our conversation. Two complete strangers but we just understood each other.

It’s a crazy thing this being parents thing. Being a mother. It stretches us to our limits and so often passes them. It breaks us down and builds us up at the same time. It makes us want to do better, be better. Having children is like constantly looking into a mirror that exposes everything about us. All of our flaws and imperfections. All of our funny little quirks. And suddenly we realised how much like our own parents we’ve become.

I guess all I’m trying to say is mums and dads, you are amazing! You’ve totally got this. And on days when you don’t, tell someone. Even if it’s a stranger at the shops. She’ll get it.

The Multi-Tasking Myth

In today’s world multitasking is king. Women are commended for their ability to have a million things on the go at once and men are teased for their supposed lack of ability to focus on more than one thing at a time. 

But is multitasking really all that it’s cracked up to be? 

I hear from many women, mum’s in particular, that it is utterly exhausting and quite often ineffective to have so much on our plates. Just the mental dialouge and to do lists alone are wearing us out. We’ve been raised to believe we can have it all; a successful career, fulfilling family, a body like Michelle Bridges and a sex life out of an episode of Sex and the City. But can we really?

Maybe we can. Just not at the same time. 

I recently read ‘Happy Mama’ the guide to finding yourself again by Amy Taylor-Kabbaz. In the chapter on Grace, Amy talks about the ‘multi-tasking trap’ and it really struck a chord with me. She dared to suggest that multitasking doesn’t work and that it was actually the “source of most of my meltdowns, most of my tears and most of my shameful mummy moments”. 

As Amy went on to give some examples, it was as if I’d written it myself. The times when I have lashed out at my husband or kids is usually when I’m trying to do too many things at once. Cook dinner, send business emails, show interest in my husband’s work day, soothe a hungry baby and make a bottle for an impatient toddler all at the same time. Not to mention the internal dialogue that’s constantly screaming in my head, reminding me to pay that bill, put a load of laundry on, text my friend who’s had a rough day and what groceries we’re running out of.

Arrggghh….just writing it stresses me out.

In the book Amy says that she learned to be ‘mindful’ (isn’t that the word of the day!), to be aware of her thoughts and focus on one thing at a time. Giving that moment her full attention. She goes on to give examples of reaching for her phone while breastfeeding instead of soaking in the special time with baby or reading a bedtime story but not actually hearing the words you’ve read, as your mind is too busy thinking of other things. 

I’m reading this getting all geed up. Yes! I’m going to be mindful. I’m going to focus my attention on one thing at a time. I’m going to be present and available for my children. And then a thought hit me. How the hell am I supposed to get anything done!?!

If I can’t read while I’m breastfeeding or send emails while cooking dinner or write my shopping list while playing with my toddler then when can I? When everyone’s asleep at night? Then when the hell do I sleep??

Multitasking might be the enemy and cause of our stress but maybe it’s the only way to fit it all in sometimes?

I don’t have the answer to this dilemma. And maybe there isn’t one. I suppose it comes down to what’s important vs what’s urgent.  

And what’s important to me is that my husband and children feel valued and not constantly battling for my attention. 

On that note, time to put the phone down and turn off the internal dialogue for a few minutes. It’s time to go give my big boy a piggy back and make silly faces at my baby to make him laugh. 

You know, the important things ❀️

Who’s Ready for 2017?

As the final month of 2016 sets in many of us begin to reflect on the year that was and start planning and setting goals for the new year ahead. In amongst all the parties, family do’s and too much food and drink that is!

The dawning of a new year always tends to conjure up a sense of hope and a fresh start. Which I totally love. But recently I have had several people comment to me that this year has been terrible and they can’t wait for it to be over and the new year to start.

I get it. We too have had our share of challenges and crappy things happen lately. But I can’t help but feel unsettled and a bit sad when I hear people say things like this.

I don’t know if it’s the wishing away of our precious time or the false sense that somehow all the hard stuff will just magically be better come January 1st.

I mean, how many of us have started a year with all these grand plans to make this one our year only to get to Christmas and be in the exact same place we were the year before? I know I have.

I’m in no way intending to belittle someone’s struggles. We too have lost a loved one, supported a sick relative and, at times, had our plate feel fuller than we could handle. But I don’t want to wish my time away nor do I think I need to wait for a new year to make a fresh start.

We can do this any time we chose to.

So as my own reflection and goal setting starts I won’t pray for less struggles as I know I’ll never be given a load heavier than I can carry. Instead, I’ll pray for a stronger back.

And I won’t hope for less challenges because it’s those difficult times that make the victories so sweet. Instead I’ll hope to learn and grow from those shit bits.

I’ll try to focus my attention on others because if we help enough people achieve their dreams, we will eventually achieve ours.

If you’ve had a shitty 2016, I’m truly sorry. But 2017 will only be better if you decide it will be.

Take some time to relax and recharge this festive season. Spend time with family, smile at a stranger and drink too much wine… I would if I could!

And may we all be reminded that even on the darkest of days, there is always something to be grateful for.

xx