Welcome to the world, Ivy Merle!

Dear Ivy Merle,

Welcome to the world sweet girl! I can’t believe you’re really here! I feel like I was pregnant with you for the shortest time, and now you’re actually here with us on the ‘outside’ it just feels so surreal!

You were due on the 18th of September, but decided you’d wait a couple of days and make sure we were ready for you, and I gotta say after two nights in a row of contractions and labour pains, and not to mention zero sleep…your Dad and I could not have been more keen to finally meet you!

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You started to make your presence known at midnight the night before you arrived, but because we’d had a few false starts the previous night I just didn’t believe that you were really coming, so I tried my best to just sleep and ignore the niggles and pain. Eventually though, it all got a bit too much and your poor Daddy was at his wits end as to what to do….so he told me to get in the shower.  As soon as I did, I had this overwhelming feeling that despite not having regular, strong contractions that you were COMING! I got out of the shower, called Megan our lovely midwife, and she told us she’d meet us at the hospital.

At 4:30am, your Daddy and I drove to the hospital, and I remember thinking I mustn’t really be in labour as I felt so lucid and ‘normal’, making a point of warning your Dad about the speed camera as we entered the highway. The trip to the hospital was uneventful, and as we parked and then entered the hospital foyer I remember thinking how different I felt the last time I was there….I could barely walk and was having contractions every few steps. Poor Daddy had a look of terror like I was going to give birth right there in reception.  This time though, I was chatting to the admissions staff and trying to look more ‘in labour’ than I felt as I was too tired to go home and start the whole process again!

That said, I was given a quick once over by the midwives upon arrival and was told that we were good to go, and I could ‘start pushing if I wanted too’. WHAT?!?!?! That was a surprise but I was SO excited that you’d be with us in a matter of hours! In the end, we were only in the birth suite for 2 hours and at 6:28am you had
arrived!!!

I remember them handing you to me, and me marvelling at your dark hair! I also commented on how tiny you were, but that comment was met with laughter because you were 9lb 1 oz, which is hardly tiny! (But it was in comparison to you big sis!). You had a little blue face (a little bruised that’s all) and you hollered from the moment you arrived until you were able to have your first feed. I was instantly smitten, and so was your Daddy!

Because you were so efficient and healthy, we were excited to be heading home from the hospital before lunch time that same day, and then it was time for you to meet your sister! She seemed happy that you were here, but was more excited about the Wiggles book that you’d bought her and her doll’s new blankets and baby carrier! Sisters snuggling in bed ? photo 12019811_10153066774806957_829042767081768347_n_zpsc1hpy16w.jpg

Your Granny came and helped look after you for the first week you were at home as Daddy had to go back to work.  We quickly learned that you’re a cuddler like your sister, and that you liked to feed but for the first few nights decided to throw up every bit of milk I could muster! Despite that, you fit in to the family easily and without fuss, and we were all so happy to have you here finally!

As I write this, you are now 9 days old but it feels as if you’ve been with us forever. Here’s what we know about you already:

  • You love your food, and the only time you cry is when you’re hungry!
  • You are a happy baby! You already smile several times a day and its the sweetest thing EVER!
  • You look like your sister, but are also different in a lot of ways. Your hair is darker and you seem to have the european bloodlines because your skin is darker too!
  • Yo
    u have a good constitution – Just as soon as I change your nappy, I’m needing to change it again!
  • You are low-maintenance, which I didn’t think was possible because your sister was the same, and we were warned we wouldn’t get two ‘good ones’ but it seems we lucked out because you’ve been an angel so far!

Despite it being early days, I just know that you are going to make the most beautiful addition to our family, and that your big sister Violet is going to be your bestest friend! She already insists on holding you all the time “I hold it, Mummy?” and she will plant a kiss on you any chance she gets. Your cousins are equally smitten by you and you’ve had no shortage of attention and cuddles from family and friends!

We are so happy to finally have you here with us little Ivy Merle and we look forward to watching you grow and change as the days, weeks and months fly by.

We love you!

xoxo Your Mama

The Day I became a Mama! (Best Day Ever)

This weekend I am excited to be celebrating my second official Mother’s Day! This year will be extra special as I’m 21 weeks pregnant with my second bundle of joy, and perhaps thats the reason I’ve been alll nostalgic at how quickly the last two years have gone since my first baby (now toddler!) was born.

With that in mind, I figured it was a good time to sit down and write about my first pregnancy/birth story to remind us all just how special our Mum’s are. For my fellow Mama’s: I’m sure you’ll all giggle/wince in pain as I remind you all of your own stories! For those of you who haven’t experienced the ‘miracle’ of childbirth yourself: Don’t worry, mine’s a good story and there’s no mention of blood or guts or Vagina’s* I promise!

*That’s the only time I swear!

You’re Pregnant

I remember when I first found out that I was pregnant with Violet. Trav and I had recently gotten married in Central Park in New York City. It was literally a dream come true!  We then travelled to the Caribbean for the worlds best Honeymoon, and then ventured home via Miami and Dallas.  We’d been gone for 4 weeks all up, and it was the most surreal, wonderful time in our lives. We were married! In NYC! We just got home from the Caribbean! It was a lot to absorb, and I felt sure that the deep depression that normally follows a great holiday (let alone a wedding!) was about to sink in.

Getting hitched in NYC (image: Benj Haisch Photography)

Trav and I decided when we were on our honeymoon that we might be ready to start trying for kids. As much as I’d always wanted them, it’s such a huge decision and some moments I was convinced I was ready and then others I was like WHOA! I’m only 19! (Note: I wasn’t 19, I was 29 but I felt like I was 19….you know what I mean?!) So anyways, being in the Caribbean where there’s nothing to do but drink rum alllllll the days meant that we weren’t really thinking all that straight and logic went out the window.

Suffice to say, the day we got back to Australia I knew. I woke up super early the day after we’d flown home. I had this niggling feeling that I was pregnant, so I did a home test just to put my mind at ease.  It was positive. I did another one because there’s no way you can try once on your honeymoon and fall pregnant. It was positive too. I felt numb. I remember walking out into the kitchen with the tests and showing Trav. His reaction was total shock. I remember that I had no idea what to say or feel…..and so we just kind of hugged awkwardly cos we assumed thats what people in this situation did. We were both SO tired and SO shocked! We then made an appointment to see the GP straight away because I was sure they’d need to do a proper blood test which would probably turn out to be negative.

The drive to the Doctor’s seemed to take ETERNITY. I remember I almost fainted when it was time to get out of the car. When we saw the Doctor she asked “So, why are you here today”. I said “I think I’m pregnant”. I expected her to say “OMG! You’re so young! What are you thinking?!” She didn’t. She asked if I’d done a test. I told her I had…twice. “Ok then great. Let’s start doing some referrals and I’ll give you some forms for blood tests and hospital admissions”. Just like that. We were pregnant.

The ‘Joys’ of Pregnancy

The next few months were crazy.  I told my sister before I’d reached the 12 weeks mark because we were talking one day and I was convinced that she ‘knew’ (despite the fact that it was way too early and I wasn’t remotely showing or suffering any symptoms). She was excited! That made it feel so real. I wasn’t excited, more like terrified.  I also thought everybody at work knew, and that all my friends knew….in fact it was all I thought about ALL THE TIME. Then the sickness came, and it was hard to hide.  I remember one day a colleague was commenting on how strange my eating habits had become, and she said jokingly ‘You aren’t pregnant are you?’. I burst into tears….so that pretty much answered her question!

23 weeks pregnant with Violet. This was probably taken just before/after throwing up.

My pregnancy with Violet felt long and hard.  I was throwing up most days, sometimes once, sometimes several times a day.  I craved all kinds of stuff: potatoes, oranges, and for the first four weeks all I ate was kale (I have not touched the stuff since!).  I got hot easily, and this always led to me being sick.  One morning I was at a packed bus stop waiting for a peak hour bus to the city.  It was hot, and there was nowhere for me to sit.  Before I knew it, I was vomiting into a shopping bag in front of about 50 shocked onlookers.  No one said a word, they all just stared in horror.  I tied up my shopping bag and went straight home to cry and eat biscuits.

Other than the constant sickness, and the heartburn, and the leg cramps, I had a pretty normal pregnancy and was looking forward to meeting my baby for the first time.  I wondered what it would look like, if it was a girl or a boy, and whether or not the birth would  be as awful as everybody makes out.  Trav and I decided pretty early on that we wanted to find out the sex, even though I was convinced I was having a boy! The day of our 20 week scan rolled around, and I remember being in the shower that morning and thinking ‘How exciting! I’m going to see my baby today!’.  As I stood there, I had this massive wave of realisation: IT’S A GIRL.  I don’t know where it came from, as I had always wanted a boy first and had my entire boy nursery theme pinned on Pinterest!  I decided to ignore the premonition and off we went to the scan.

It’s a WHAT?!

Lo and behold, the premonition turned out to be correct.  It was a girl! Trav was excited.  The guy doing the ultrasound was excited. I was NOT EXCITED! We were then told we’d have to wait a while whilst they printed up the report. Trav and I went for a walk outside.  I cried. Like, bawled my eyes out. I cried because I was having a girl, and then I cried for being so awful about wanting a boy instead. I WAS SUPPOSED TO HAVE A BOY!!!!!

Later that day we went to IKEA to look at nursery furniture.  I cried there too, as I looked at all the cute boy stuff that was supposed to be in my nursery.  Yep. I was a pregnant hormonal mess and the only thing I thought I ‘knew’ about this baby turned out to be totally and utterly wrong!

Now before you all have a go at me for being ungrateful and anti-girl, I have to say that with a bit of hindsight the way that I behaved at that news was ridiculous and if someone else told me that story I’d be all judgemental too, but I promise you all that once that news eventually sank in I let go of my boy baby obsession and started focusing on all the excitement that a little girl would bring (pig-tails and ballet!)  It was also a good lesson for this soon-to-be Mama that babies are not predictable, or something you can control and I quickly learnt to just roll with punches for the remainder of my pregnancy!

Hello?

For the months leading up to my birth, I met regularly at my midwife clinic with a group of about 10 women who were all due to have babies in the same month.  It was great and enjoyed talking to other first time Mum’s who were experiencing some of the same symptoms, emotions, fears and general craziness that I was. I remember the last few sessions I attended were getting smaller. Some of these girls had already had their babies! I was convinced that I’d be giving birth around 38 weeks. Once again, I was wrong.

40 weeks pregnant. She’s never coming out!!!

39 weeks came and went….nothing. 40 weeks came and went….NOTHING! I figured this baby was just going to stay in my belly and we’d just continue living our lives.  Eventually, the midwives starting talking about inducing me and this terrified me. I asked to wait as long as possible for this to happen so that I could hopefully kick things off naturally, and they agreed.  During the next few days I did it all: Acupuncture, raspberry  leaf tea, Clary sage oil (which smells like shit by the way) and eating copious amounts of pineapple.  Well I’m pleased to say, that the day after I consumed an entire pineapple whilst perched on my fit-ball (nothing to do with fitness, it was just the only way I could sit comfortably) I woke up the next morning to the early signs of labour! It’d been 41 weeks and 3 days and the little pudding had decided she was ready!

Go Time!

It was still pretty early in the morning (about 4am from memory) and I woke up feeling weird.  I’d had Braxton Hicks before though, so I decided I’d go get into the bath to try to make myself more comfortable.  Trav got up and was getting ready for work, and when he came to say goodbye to him I gently suggested maybe he should just stay home today.  Within a couple of hours, it was pretty clear that today was the day!

Things are a bit of a blur from here on in, but I remember calling the mid-wife, and then my Mum and Sister turned up for moral support.  Things seemed to progress pretty quickly and before I knew it, we were headed to the hospital.  I was kneeling on the back seat of my new car, thinking Christ I hope I don’t ruin the leather seats! I also remember glancing out the window when we were stopped in traffic, amused at what at the people in the cars next to us must be thinking.

By the time we got to the hospital, it was ON! I remember it feeling like an outer body experience, walking into the foyer in my Peter Alexander cupcake nightie and thongs (a ridiculous vision in itself), looking at all the families holding balloons and flowers, all who seemed to recoil in horror (or worse: amusement!) at my appearance.  We hadn’t even made it to the reception desk to ‘check in’ before I had a huge contraction and I had to hold on to a hand rail along the wall and try not to have my baby on the linoleum.  Trav later told me how horrified he was to look over at me in this position and how embarrassing it was.  I can honestly say that at the time, I wouldn’t have cared one bit! If only he knew what was coming!

We’d arrived at the hospital around lunchtime, and by the time I walked into the examination room to check how dilated I was, the midwife on duty took one glance in my direction and said “Oh, she’s in labour! – take her straight to the labour suite!”.  This was a little surprising to me, as I’d understood labour could take days….but hey, it’d been 41 weeks I was good to go!

Our first family photo taken moments after Violet was born.

I remember the labour being fast, and thinking that it wasn’t as painful as I thought it’d be…but it was so difficult!!! More than once I thought that perhaps she just wasn’t coming out, but then all of a sudden she was being held up for me to see! I was so relieved that she as here! I remember thinking she was red (overcooked) and HUGE (9lb 8oz) and the most beautiful potato-like creature I’d ever seen!

I remember the midwife putting her on my chest, and me thinking, I guess I should probably cry now?  I think perhaps I managed a few tears but the whole thing was so surreal: I had a baby. I was a Mama! They asked us what her name was and we proudly told them that it was ‘Violet Mae’. A beautiful name for our beautiful blonde bombshell of a girl. They told me to try breastfeeding her. ‘Ok!’ I said, whilst I secretly thought how the hell do I do that? Turns out I didn’t have to know, cos that teeny tiny (gigantic) baby just went for it by herself! She’s good like that.

I remember feeling happy that everything had gone how I’d hoped.  I managed the whole birth without any drugs or intervention and I felt pretty good actually! I felt proud to be a woman and marvelled at how clever we are. We’re freakin amazing! Then they told me that actually I’d had a third degree tear and that I’d need surgery right way. Farrrrrrrrk! Still, even with that fun curve ball, I still remember the whole thing rather fondly and once again felt grateful that for me it was overall a positive experience.

My blonde bombshell Violet Mae.

The After-math

After surgery, I remember waiting in recovery for the all-clear when Trav came in with our big chunky baby. That’s when it all hit me! I’d only known that baby for a matter of hours, yet I’d missed her terribly while she was away from me! It made me so happy to see Trav as well. He was a Daddy now!  He’d taken care of her whilst I was in surgery and that just made my heart so full. He’d already bonded with her and was pointing things out to me, like her long fingers or her mop of blonde hair. The two of them were already buddies and it was the most beautiful thing to see.

Shortly after, they transferred me to my hospital bed where I was to stay for the next few days while I recuperated. My sister was standing at the end of the bed holding Violet while the nurses were fussing over me and getting me sorted.  I looked up at the two of them and at that moment Violet turned her big potato head and looked right at me! It was the freakiest thing ever and both my sister and I were like Did that just happen? I didn’t think newborns had head control! (To be fair, she was practically a toddler when she was born so I guess that explains it)

My beautiful baby girl with toddler-like head control.

The next few days, nights and weeks all seemed to fly by/drag on and to be honest the after-birth hormones are worse than the pregnancy ones! I remember watching Despicable Me and crying through the whole movie despite it being a very funny children’s cartoon.  I remember being tired and wondering if I’d ever sleep again. I remember worrying about every mark, rash, spot, or any other change in Violet’s appearance.  I remember my milk coming in and thinking it was WAY worse than labour! I remember sitting up at 2am thinking how beautiful and amazing my daughter was.  I remember sitting up at 4am thinking I was going to die if I didn’t get more sleep. The whole newborn experience is magical and horrendous all at the same time, and whilst it feels like eternity whilst you’re in it, two years later I look back and think it was all over too fast!

You’re Pregnant. Again!

It’s crazy to reflect and recall all these details and know that we’re about to do it all over again with our second baby due in September (eek!). Maybe I’m crazy for wanting doing it all again but I also can’t remember what life was like before I was a Mama! It’s a hard, dirty, emotional and often thankless job, but its also the most rewarding wonderful gift and I feel privileged to be a member of such a super cool club!

Baby number two! Due September 2015

So to all my fellow Mama’s:

Happy Mother’s Day!

Remember how amazing you are and how far you’ve come! Remember to celebrate not only your own achievements, but your Mum’s too (clearly she did a good job…look at how amazing her child is)

Family Friendly Chicken Soup!

Ok, so I know I’ve been a little quiet around these parts lately….but I promise I have a good excuse!

For those who haven’t heard via social media, We are expecting another little bundle of joy due in September this year, and life has been a bit of a blur since we found out! Luckily, I’ve not experienced the same level or nausea and sickness that I suffered the first time around, but it’s been a whole different ball game trying to grow a new human at the same time as keeping the toddler alive, so life hasn’t been without its challenges!

Despite all that’s been going on, Little Miss Toddler has been living the hight life lately: With a recent overseas holiday to Hawaii, followed closely by some over-indulgent Easter celebrations and school holiday fun with her cousins, it seems her poor little immune system has taken a beating and she’s ended up with a cold.

Like any Mama, I hate to see my little girl unwell so after a long sleepless night full of sniffles and vaporisers, I headed straight to the supermarket this morning to get the ingredients for our family’s favourite Chicken Soup.  It’s a winning dinner in our household and it’s also the perfect healthy remedy for those nasty colds and flu that start to rear their head at this time of year.

I’ve since had lots of people ask me for the recipe, so I thought I’d share it here in case like me, you’ve got a house full or sick people and need your health (and your sanity) restored!

Family Friendly Chicken Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 Litre Chicken Stock
  • 1 Litre Vegetable Stock
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 x potato chopped into cubes
  • 1 x 400g packet of pre-cut Vege’s (or 400g freshly cut Vege’s)
  • 1 x family size cooked BBQ Chicken
  • 100g Vermicelli noodles

Method:

  1. Throw your veggie mix into the slow cooker, and add the onion, garlic and potato.  Pour the chicken and vegetable stock over the top.
  2. Using a fork, pull the flesh off the BBQ chicken in largish chunks and throw it into the slow cooker with all the of the veggies. If necessary, top the pot up with water to ensure that the liquid is covering all of the chicken and veggies.
  3. Turn your slow cooker onto ‘Low’ to cook your soup slowly for 6 hours or alternatively you can cook it on the ‘High’ setting for 3 hours if you can’t wait that long!
  4. 15 mins before your soup is ready, throw in the vermicelli noodles to soften. Your soup is ready to eat once all the veggies are cooked through, your noodles are soft and your chicken is falling apart beautifully!

It’s that easy! I recommend serving this soup with some delicious crusty bread, and for the little ones, simply drain out some of the liquid so that they can eat the soup chunks with a fork instead of a spoon (it’s a lot less messy that way)!

Variation:  If you’re feeling ambitious, you can also substitute the cooked BBQ chook with a whole (uncooked) chicken. For this method, after washing and patting dry the chicken, simply place the entire bird into the pot and then add the other ingredients. Once cooked, simply remove the entire chicken from the pot (careful as they tend to fall apart and you don’t want bones in your soup).  Shred the meat off the carcass with a fork and hen return the flesh to the pot. Add the noodles, stir until they soften, and serve!

What’s your go-to cold and flu remedy at your place?

Are you a Good Mum or a Bad Mum?

The Perfect Mum

Fess up Mama’s! How many times a day do you ask yourself this question? Am I a good Mum?

Lately, I’ve had this very conversation with several of my Mama friends, and it seems to be a common theme with new Mums however the more experienced Mums aren’t immune to it either. Since I’m all about being truthful and not pretending that motherhood is all sunshine and unicorns, I thought I’d give you my take on what it means to be a bad Mum. Or a good Mum, cos the two seem to be get a little confused!

Since I became a Mama 16ish months ago (therefore making me an expert) I’ve learnt A LOT about being a mother. I’ve learnt that I was totally wrong about a lot of things. I have broken most of the Mama rules that I set myself pre-children. I can’t tell you how many times I looked at other parents and said”Oh, I’ll never do that to my kids” or “Gosh, I’ll never let my child do that”. Well guess what? I’ve totally done that to my kid! and hell yes I’ve let them do that! And it didn’t end there either.

The longer that I’ve been doing this ol motherhood caper the more I realise that 99% of us who’ve been lucky/crazy enough to have a child are doing the best that we can, the majority of the time.  Does that mean that we’re all perfect? Hell no! Does that mean we don’t make mistakes? No way José! It just means that if you’re a Mama, you of all people know how hard it is to just get out of bed somedays, let alone parent your children… So why are you standing there, judging another Mum who’s probably doing the best that she can despite the odds (sleep/food/energy/patience/fitness/health) being against her? Aren’t we all in this together? Shouldn’t we be sharing our experiences truthfully instead of constantly sugar coating our own realities? (FYI: The answer is a big fat resounding YES!).

The difference between a good Mum and a bad Mum

Before Violet came along, I totally knew I was going to be a good Mum. I’d always wanted kids, always been good with babies and felt like the practice I’d had with my nephew and niece meant that I’d had a head start…It was in the bag, right?! I even had this vision of the type of mother that I’d be:

I envisaged myself as a relaxed ‘Mother Earth’ type of Mama. I’d take baby for walks to the park and we’d sit and make matching daisy crowns for our hair.  I’d feed my baby only organic nutritious foods, and dress them in non gender-specific clothing and spend my days at mothers groups with like-minded Mums and we’d all be the best of friends. I’d use only natural products to bathe baby in and would exclusively breast-feed because everybody says thats whats best. I’d never use a dummy and I’d never co-sleep baby as that is such a big no-no and I’m far too amazing a mother to ever make such mistakes.

Hippie Mama

Yeah, we’re all happy and wearing daisy chains and shit. (image: allfreecrafts.com)

You’ll imagine my shock and surprise when motherhood turned out to be NOTHING like what I’d imagined (has anyone ever had an accurate vision of motherhood yet?!) To start with, I had a few complications during the birth which meant I was bed-ridden for 6 weeks. I cannot tell you how devo’d I was that I wasn’t able to take Violet for walks to the park in her fancy new Bugaboo pram (Yes – I was also that Mum who had to have a fancy designer pram).  I literally cried for weeks at the injustice.  As for the Yoga, yeah that still hasn’t happened, I mean I didn’t exercise before I had kids, why the heck did I think that was going to happen after the fact? Derr!

Seriously, the rules were all broken from the get go and I realised that all those Mum’s who’d stuck by their ‘rules’ were either full of shit, or miserable! I’ve witnessed mothers busting their arses to get the breastfeeding thing happening to no avail. I’ve seen Mum’s refuse to give their child a dummy in public (despite giving it to them behind closed doors to soothe them) because they know someone will make a comment like ‘You shouldn’t give them dummies, it’s bad for their teeth’ or some other helpful advice. Being a good Mum, in my humble opinion is doing your best to make baby (and yourself) happy and healthy. If it makes them happy to give them a dummy, do it! If it makes you happy to not have to go through the agony of breastfeeding to make yourself happy, then that’s ok too!

A more realistic portrayal of motherhood

A more realistic portrayal of motherhood: Note there are no daisy crowns to be seen. (image credit http://www.funnypotato.com)

I once watched on as one of my Mama friends struggled with a toddler and a newborn whilst we were supposed to be enjoying a picnic lunch. The toddler kept insisting that he wanted some of the soft-drinking that she was drinking. I watched her resist over and over and over and OVER. In the end,  she snapped. She was over it. She gave him a sip.  Just as she did she noticed me watching, and said “I swore I’d never do this. I know! I’m such a bad Mum”.  It broke my heart. I did my best to not make her feel bad and said something along the lines of “A sip won’t hurt him! At least he’s happy now!” and he was, and she was able to re-group, calm down and continue enjoying the picnic. Don’t get me wrong, I know its not the best parenting technique to just give in to your kids every time they want something, but sometimes, on those days, you need to pick your battles! And in my books, that doesn’t make you a bad Mum!

I guess what the point I’m trying to make here is this: We’re all different, and we’ve all had our own failures and successes, but at the end of the day we all share many of the same problems, triumphs and memory loss, so why not support each other and tell the truth when another Mother asks you if your baby is sleeping through the night? (This was one that did my head in as V still isn’t a regular sleeper-through-the-night). I wasn’t always honest when I was posed with such questions early on, but now with a little more experience under my belt I’m much more secure in the fact that I AM doing a good job and that these stupid scenarios aren’t a measure of whether or not I’m a good Mum.

Still not sure if you fall into the Good Mama or Bad Mama category?

Here’s a handy checklist for you to find out! (Please note: 50% is considered a pass with flying colours).

Good Mama Checklist:

  • You exclusively breastfed your baby
  • You bottle-fed your baby
  • You fed them only organic food
  • You fed them whatever you could afford (organic food is expensive!)
  • You gave them a routine from day one
  • Your kid is a 13 and still doesn’t have a good routine
  • Your kid sleeps through the night
  • Your kid has never slept through the night and shows no signs of doing that, ever.
  • You’ve never let your child eat fast-food
  • Sometimes, when you’ve got a starving screaming child in the car, you get Macca’s to shut them up.
  • You prepare special, nutritious meals especially for your child
  • They eat whatever the hell you’re having for dinner, even if its pizza
  • You never dress your kid in licensed or gender specific clothing
  • Your kid could easily be confused for Peppa pig, an Octonaut, or a Barbie doll
  • You take your child to the doctor at the first sign of a snotty nose of fever
  • You wait a while to see if that rash is just prickly heat or in fact chicken pox.
  • You send your kid to daycare cos you work
  • Your kid has only ever been cared for by you/friends/family
  • Your child sleeps in their own bed
  • Your child co-sleeps with you
  • Your kid never watches TV
  • TV keeps your kid quiet while you shower/cook dinner/clean the house
  • Your kid is fluent in Spanish, plays the piano and knows the alphabet backwards before they’re 2.
  • Your kid can barely speak english, plays the saucepans and think there is a letter called “elemenohpeee” at 3.
  • You used the control-crying method
  • You used the ‘If baby is crying pick them up immediately’ method
  • Your home is completely clean, safe and baby proof
  • Your house looks like a bomb hit it and sometimes your baby is found sharing dog food with the dog
Of course I'm a good mother

My sentiments exactly!

Did you pass? No? Well that’s ok because this is a stupid made up list! I bet you’re still a great Mama!

So Mama’s, Mama’s to be, or other random strangers who think it’s ok impart wisdom onto others when in actual fact you’re just being rude, non-helpful and passing judgement: Please do us all a favour and shut your gaping trap! Instead, perhaps think about how you could really help your fellow Mama  at the supermarket with the screaming unhappy child. Believe it or not, giving them the evil eye or shaking your head in judgement is not helping! Why not offer them some help? Or be genuine and real and tell them that you’ve been there and that it really and truly does get easier? Sometimes, that’s all it takes to make a Mama’s day!

So in the interest of letting all those Mama’s out there know that they aren’t alone, and that we’ve all suffered from these same problems, I’d love you to share your ‘Bad Mama’ experiences too! Let’s lift each other up and laugh until we pee at our shared experiences shall we?

Have you broken your own Mama rules? Tell us in the comments below!

Congratulations! You’re (not) Pregnant!

Pregnant...not loving it!

This is me, pregnant in 2013. I’m literally re-enacting a ‘beached whale’ scenario. Note that I’m not glowing, or drinking wine, or eating soft cheese.

Ever since Violet was born, I’ve been excited about having more kids. Now that she’s all toddler-y and not my squishy baby anymore, it’s gotten worse. So much so that I’m now ready for a fresh one! Hoorah! Right? Actually…no.

When I told Trav I was ready for another baby his head ‘literally’ spun on it’s axis.  He wasn’t ready…and he wasn’t sure he could ever go through that again…you know, cos child birth is just so painful and difficult for men! (Don’t go there boyfriend!!!). Being the wonderful wife that I am, I promised I’d support him and take on the majority of the pregnancy so that he didn’t have to stress, and eventually he relented and agreed that it was time to expand our brood.

So that was it. We’d decided to have another baby! But it turns out that it can take a while to get pregga’s! (not our experience with Violet, she was a Honeymoon baby: One of the dangers of too much rum in the Caribbean). So anyways, the more time I had to think about it, the more I realised that maybe in the meantime there were some benefits to not being pregnant that I hadn’t really considered!

Since I’d only stopped breast-feeding Violet a few months ago, it occurred to me that this is the first time in the last two years or so that I’ve been able to enjoy all the things that I’d given up whilst pregnant/breastfeeding.  So instead of feeling sorry for myself, I’ve decided to change my tune and try to really make the most of all those things that I’ve been missing out on.

Even Kim Kardashian wasn't safe from the attack of sausage toes!

Even Kim Kardashian wasn’t safe from the attack of sausage toes!

So here’s my list of reasons why I’m ok with not being pregnant right now:

Reason’s to rejoice that you’re NOT Pregnant!

  1. You can eat soft cheeses.  Brie, Camembert…you know, the good stuff! This was potentially the thing I missed most when I was pregnant.
  2. If you get a cold, you can take cold and flu tablets! I feel like I had at least 3 colds while I was pregnant, and it was HELL! No amount of tea, or lemon, or honey makes you feel better! You need drugs and maybe some chicken soup. (But mostly drugs).
  3. You can get a massage any ol’ time you want.  Seems ironic that when your body is at its most uncomfortable, that it’s near impossible to get a massage! Yes, there are places that do pregnancy massage it, but even if find somewhere that does, the odds are against you enjoying it: Your boobs hurt, you need to pee, you can’t get comfortable, you need to pee again….Mmmm I’m so relaxed!
  4. You can go on roller coasters. Ok, this one is just because I like to have the freedom to visit a theme park if I want to, and be able to enjoy all that it has to offer! Pregnant? Great, you can everyone’s stuff while they have the time of their lives.
  5. You can drink the good stuff. Have a big ol’ glass of wine/beer/vodka/goon because even if you’re not a big drinker, you’ll miss it! I used to walk around smelling people’s drinks when I was pregnant. Sad. but true…! And I’m not even a daily drinker!
  6. You can inject caffeine into your eyeballs if you feel like it.  I was never a big coffee drinker but it’s pretty much all I wanted once I knew I couldn’t have it. These days, it’s a necessary evil that counteracts the sleep deprived stupor that I’m often in. I know the next pregnancy will be tough without my daily fix!
  7. You can go out in public without fear of vomiting.  I famously threw up at a bus stop during peak hour when I was pregnant.  It was witnessed by about 30 other commuters waiting at the bus stop, and another 3 bus loads of people who were also watching on in horror.  I managed to catch most of it in a shopping bag, but let’s just say I did not catch the bus that day. Or ever again!
  8. When you sneeze, you don’t wet yourself. Enough said really.
  9. When you laugh, you don’t wet yourself. Nothing funny about weeing your pants people!
  10. You can wear normal clothing and not have to wrap yourself in a tarpaulin and pretend that you love said tarpaulin and would totally wear it even if you weren’t pregnant (You wouldn’t).
  11. You can bleach your hair, remove your nail polish with acetone, and have scaldingly hot baths, and not be in a constant state of terror that you’re harming your unborn child.
  12. You can endure the smell of cooking meat. In fact, you can endure the smell of just about anything! Yippee!
  13. You can stay awake during the day I had a micro-nap during a work meeting once. It wasn’t awkward until I woke up. No one said a word.
  14. You can watch a movie without crying. Not just a sad movie, but Despicable Me 2! (I bawled through the whole thing)
  15. You can wear a nice, normal bra instead of a heavy-duty double hammock that creaks under the strain.
  16. You can exercise (apparently you can still exercise whilst pregnant, but seriously…as if)
  17. You can eat a packet of Twisties (or other junk-food snack of choice) and not worry that your baby will turn into a mutant from all the colours/preservatives/god knows what else (To be fair, by the end of the pregnancy my desire for Twists over-rode that fear). And they were delicious!
  18. You can enjoy Christmas. Straight up: Christmas whilst pregnant is the worst. You can’t eat fresh ham off the bone, you can’t eat left-overs for fear of food-poisoning, you can’t drink….Oh, and anything delicious that you can eat will most likely give you heart burn for days. Also, there will be photo’s of you dressed in some god-awful sack and a santa hat for you to look back on and remember how shit you looked/felt. Merry Christmas!
  19. Being able to sleep on your back, front and your right side! 
  20. Being able to sleep….FULL STOP! 
  21. Strangers don’t feel the need to grope your belly in public whilst looking you in the eyes and saying things like ‘You’re looking radiant!’. Shut the fuck up. I’m not looking radiant, I’m just looking flushed from vomiting all morning!
  22. Strangers won’t ask you annoying questions like ‘How far along are you?’ ‘Do you know the sex?’ ‘Is this your first?’ ‘Were you always this fat?’.
  23. Your ankles don’t look like tree trunks.
  24. Your shoes fit. Nothing like having swollen sausages instead of toes poking out the end of your sandals. How sexy!
  25. You don’t have to push a baby out of your Vagina in 9 months. No explanation needed!

pregnancy-tips-book-symptoms

So there you have it! 25 reasons why I’m stoked to be me right now! I plan to make the most of the many perks that non-pregnancy brings whilst I can. I mean, who knows how long it will be before I morph back into that vomiting, demon-possessed chick from the Exorcist that I become whilst I’m pregnant?!

That’s my list….Now tell me: What would you add?

There’s a Ninja Turtle under my couch! (and that’s not all).

Pirate is scared at what he'll find under the couch

Monday. Ergh. For me its the most dreaded day of the week due to the boring routine that inevitably follows. Today’s exciting task was to clean up the family room. Yay. So with Violet taking her morning nap, there was nothing else for it.

I walked in and assessed the damage: There was crap EVERYWHERE.  I didn’t bother tidying it over the weekend because well, it was the weekend! But the fallout of that decision was now flaunting it’s squalor in my face.  I couldn’t stand it any longer.  I never know how long miss V will sleep for these days (could be 30 mins, could be 3 hours!) so I prioritise my task list.

  • Pick up 50 bazillion toys that have been carefully and methodically strewn across the room
  • Wipe down and de-salmonella-ise the high chair (I hate this job! why do high chairs have so many crevices?)
  • Wipe every visible surface that’s been touched by grubby fingers (i.e. all of them)
  • Vacuum the play mat
  • Vacuum the floors
  • And finally: vacuum under the couch.

Now, I’m a very thorough vacuum-er. When I vacuum (which is generally once a day in high-impact areas) I like to do it right.  I’m talking behind doors, under mats, and of course, under the furniture. So you should have seen the look of shock on my face when I bent down to look under the couch on this particular occasion. OMG…..! It was not pretty.

There was so much crap under there. Like, I’m not exaggerating…it was hideous. What if somebody had visited and casually glanced under the couch and seen the multitude of sins that were residing there!?!?! I shudder at the thought.  Despite being thoroughly ashamed and embarrassed, I thought it was my duty to share a selection of some what I found with all of you (so that you don’t feel the same shame and horror that I did!).

So here’s what I found under just one of the two couches in that room (I can’t share it all with you, as I need some of my dignity to remain intact!).

What I found under the couch

Mr Potato Head’s hat.  We bought Violet a Mr Potato Head when we were overseas on holiday recently.  It was a bribe toy and proved very popular.  I have no idea where the rest of Mr Potato is currently situated, but I’ve found his hat! Hurrah!

A teaspoon. This one was from this morning, as usual I made myself a coffee and was trying to drink it in peace when V decided she wanted to share.  I always keep the spoon on hand so she can have a bit of the milk froth, and then distract herself with the spoon. I don’t feel too bad about this one because it’d only been there for an hour or so.

An assortment of pegs. I’m not sure why I ever decided to buy my child toys, since one of her favourite play items is the clothes pegs.  I’ve literally bought twice as many pegs as we previously owned, so that I don’t have to scour the house looking for them when I’ve done a load of washing.  To be honest, I’d prefer them to be hidden under the couch than left lying on the floor as I’ve slipped on a peg on more than one occasion, and it is both painful and humiliating.

A tiny Cabbage Patch Baby figurine. Again, no idea how long she was there, but Nicolette (yes, thats her name!) seems to find herself in the strangest of places around the house.  Under the couch is actually quite acceptable in this instance.  In my water glass however, is not.

A piece of bread crust. God. That could be from today (she had toast for breakfast) or weeks ago! I wonder how long it takes a piece of old crust to go mouldy? That might help in working out how long its been there (must google that later).

A french fry. Ok this one is embarrassing.  It’s bad enough we’re eating fast food on the couch (what are we, the Simpsons?) but this could also be from the weekend, or weeks ago.  I have a husband who goes crazy for Maccas so I blame him for this one. Trav: you should be totally ashamed of yourself!!!

A Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. Yep, theres a TMNT under my couch.  Raphael to be exact.  You may be surprised that my 15 month old girl even owns a Ninja Turtle, but if you knew us, you probably wouldn’t be.  Both Trav and I were TMNT fans as kids, my favourite was Donatello (the purple one) and his was Leonardo (the blue one).  Trav took advantage of me going on and on about not just buying girls toys when she was born (apparently it’s not good for there development and pigeon holes them as stereotypical girls). So I agreed we should buy her one. But when we couldn’t decide on whether she should get my favourite turtle or his, a compromised was reached and Raphael found a new home.  Perhaps he appreciates being under the couch as I’m sure its somewhat more sanitary than a sewer?

So now you all know my deepest darkest under-the-couch secrets! I’m also pleased that there is no longer anything embarrassing under my couches, and that all the offending items have been relocated to more appropriate corners of our home.

Are you brave enough to tell me what’s under your couch?

P.s. If it’s nothing more than a clean floor, then we should probably stop forcing the friendship as we have nothing in common 😉

Some parenting advice from the world’s greatest Mother

Today hasn’t been one of my best as a Mama. If you read my last post, you’ll know that Violet is teething at the moment.  She’s like the perfect child 90% of the time. Unfortunately, the other 10% is when she’s teething, and it ain’t pretty!  Last night she was tossing and turning all night, moaning in pain. In the end, I just let her sleep on top of me with her little elbow wedged firmly into my jugular. Whatever, she was so tired and I was wrecked so we just made do.

As a result of a long wakeful night, this morning didn’t get off to a great start. Today I had a webinar scheduled at 10:00am as part of my Clever Cookie Blog School, so I’d have to find something to distract Violet whilst I sat on my laptop for an hour.

Parenting Tip 1 – Never use the TV as a babysitter

Ok, before I became a Mum, I insisted I’d never use the TV as a babysitter. Well, turns out that wasn’t all that realistic! If I didn’t, it means I’d never take a shower, so whatever! I popped Violet down in front of the TV.  It was Pirate Day on ABC for Kids today so she was pretty stoked anyways.  I’d also set up a ‘snack station’ so she could munch away if she got hungry.  She was totally absorbed in PlaySchool so I left her to it.

Violet helping Mummy

Violet ‘helping’ her Mama

Parenting Tip 2 – Supervise your child at all times

Predictably, about 10 minutes into the webinar Violet appeared in front of me, banana in hand, wanting to see what I was up to.  I sat her on my lap, and then she started wiping her banana-smeared fingers all over the laptop.  I put her down on the floor, grabbed a pile of books and toys, and encouraged her to play.  She was quite happy doing this for about 20 minutes.  Next time I looked up, she was walking towards me, chewing.  That’s weird, I thought since her banana was long gone.  “What’s in your mouth?” I asked (seriously, how many times a day do we ask that question?).  She made a weird face, then kept chewing.  “What is it?” I asked again.  By now, she was standing next to me. And thats when I noticed something black on her face. There, on her chin, was a leg. A crunchy, revolting, cockroach leg. “SPIT IT OUT!” I yelled at her.  She calmly put her hand in her mouth and pulled out a wing. Thenk kept crunching. Faaark!

Parenting Tip 3 – Don’t let your child go bare-foot in public

After the cocky incident, it was nap time so I put V down for a snooze. She was awake again after only 45mins, hot, cheeks flushed, and not happy. I tried to give her some lunch but she wouldn’t have it.  I had errands to do so I popped her in the car in the hope that she might sleep on the way.  I arrived at the shops, and realised I didn’t have the pram, OR a pair of shoes for Violet. Shit. Ok, I’ll just carry her! After about 20 mins of wrestling the squirmy toddler, I gave up, and put her down.  Bugger it. She was walking around Spotlight with no shoes on.  And yes, people stared but no, I didn’t care!

Parenting Tip 4 – Don’t feed your child junk food

After visiting the post-office, the chemist and Spotlight, I thought we should head home.  Violet then started cracking it because she was hungry.  I had an organic yoghurt pouch stashed in my bag for this very occasion.  I gave it to her. She literally slapped it out of my hands.  Great. I was starving too, so I thought I’d stop and get something on the way home. I pulled into a cafe, and realised I still had a toddler without shoes.  I scoured the car, and jackpot! A pair of her tiny Dunlop Volleys were on the floor.  I knew they were a bit snug, but I thought I’d be able to get them on.  I crammed her feet into them and then looked at her face. She wasn’t impressed. I looked at her feet. She looked like one of those Geisha’s who’d had her feet bound. Stuff it! I pulled the shoes off and drove to a drive-through so we didn’t have to get out of the car.  I ordered her a tiny fries, scraped the salt off and dabbed the excess oil away, and gave her the packet.  She responded with a big gummy grin and set about stuffing fistfuls of chips into her gob.

Violet chippies

Mama…where’d all my chippies go?

Parenting Tip 5 – Take parenting advice with a grain of salt (or even better: sprinkle it on your babies french fries!)

I totally thought I’d be an amazing earth mother that would never entertain any of these things.  My child would only eat organic, nutritious food. I’d never schedule activities that meant I couldn’t be watching her 24/7. Never in a million years would I let them watch TV or go bare-foot in public.  But then I actually became a Mum, and realised it’s not that easy! In fact, its bloody hard! and she’s not even 2! So please don’t judge me…or if you must me, know that at some point, one of these things is gonna happen to you! And guess what? It’s not the end of the world! Cos sometimes you just have to do whatever it takes to get through the day!

Anyone else want to share their own not-so-stellar parenting moments with me? (It’d make me feel better!)