“Being a Mother is learning about strengths you didn’t know you had, and dealing with fears, you never knew existed.”
Let’s talk PARENTING! Specifically, what it’s like from pregnancy, birth to the first five years!
Some things that come to mind when I sit here and think of the last five years;
- Wow… it’s been five years?
- Rewarding… life changing!
- Will I ever get my privacy back? Or body for that matter? 🤔
- Be out AFTER dark??? Ha!
- Would you like Fillet Mignon tonight? No? Let me guess… more two minute noodles!!??
- Vomit? Meh…. seen worse.
- Might do my hair nice today! Okay… I’ll brush it… “I’ll be there in a sec!!!!”, alright…. chuck it up in a pony tail again! Done!
- Awww…. you’re so cute (especially when you’re sleeping!) ❤️
- Seriously don’t know how we are all still alive sometimes.
- Worth. Every. Minute!
Is it just me, or do other Mum’s out there have trouble remembering what it’s like, not having little people around… ALL THE TIME?? Seriously…. who were we then? 🤔 Apart from being up to the elbows in poo, wee, vomit, tears, dirt, washing, cleaning, repeating and then having to prepare food with the same hands…. I can definitely say life has remarkably changed!! And the endless lists of things to do today, tomorrow, next week, next month, next year! 🥵
Sometimes, I feel like I’ve been reborn myself. Into a totally different and new person! (Although, my body constantly reminds me that I’m much older, and have carried two human beings around inside me…🙄) I never knew what I was capable of achieving in one day… and on such little sleep, patience, physical or mental energy! And I find myself seriously questioning why we need a driver’s licence to operate a vehicle, but there’s no mandatory course about parenting! Nothing!!! When you think you can’t take anything more…. think again!
I think back to the very day I found out I was expecting. Such joy and excitement! A little baby will be coming to grow our family! But also a fair bit of fear! My main fear, was the possibility of having morning sickness (being Emetophobic), and I remember praying and praying that I would be one of the ‘lucky ones’ who didn’t have to experience that. Turns out I was lucky!
The next eight and a half months were all new to me, but I was determined to create the healthiest environment inside my body for my baby. Pre-natal vitamins, no drinking, watching what I ate, getting a lot of rest, etc. I remember my ultrasound appointment where I found out the gender of my baby, I got the news that I was hoping for… a girl! 💖 I could not have been happier!!!
Skip to the birth!
On a blissfully ignorant Saturday morning, I dozed in bed and decided to get up to go to the bathroom at around lunch time (ohhhh, those were the days!) Conveniently enough, my water broke on the toilet!! 😱 Two and a half weeks early, but soooo ready to meet my baby girl! Having had no idea what to expect, the whole process was fairly calm! (For an emergency Caesarian). And the moment I laid eyes on my girl…. 😍 Life will never be the same again.
I remember the first months of having a newborn as blissful! Having friends and family visit, all the clucky Mum’s around us, strangers in the shopping centres! Witnessing my husband become a man I’d never known before. (I think I’ve selectively removed the memories of the lack of sleep, epic poos, lots of regurgitate milk and heaven forbid, if she ever got sick!) Here’s an idea…. have another one!!! And the whole thing starts over again…
But this time, my baby decided to grow into a monstrous being inside me (taking after Daddy’s height) and by the end of my pregnancy, I weighed almost 100kilos! My obstetrician warned me at every visit the risks of becoming so large, but regardless of how hard I tried to watch my diet, my baby wanted to be BIG! So consequently the birth? YUCK!!!! 😖 I remember it well. My baby boy was born by elective Caesarian and I knew exactly what was going to happen because I’d been building this moment up in my mind for months.
But he arrived, and again… pure bliss! 💙
Then set in the complete overwhelming realisation that having two, is HARD!!! And being the wife of a FIFO man, it was up to me to run the home. I had no idea what I was doing.
My reality became trying desperately to make life work for all of us. And because I really had no idea if I was getting anything right, I lost pretty much all of my self-esteem and confidence. The world started to become smaller and smaller as I confined myself at home most of the time, and adjusted my entire life to keeping my babies alive… putting myself last every single day. Show me a new Mum who hasn’t found it hard!! The endless nights that turned into exhausting days showed me an inner endurance that I didn’t know I had!
Ladies, let me tell you, if you get the opportunity to take a break and look after yourself, TAKE IT!!!! You’ll need it. It’s not going to get easier any time soon… just please don’t go looking for the answer at the bottom of a bottle… you won’t find it.
Looking back, I wish I had connected with other new Mum’s more than I did… then I might have learned earlier on that NOBODY has it figured out and we all feel like we are wading through deep water with nothing but a straw! But I’m stubborn, and thought that I could handle things myself, because I ‘should be able to’, right? Wrong. Reach out! Ask questions! Learn!
My anxiety was at levels it has never been in my life! My pursuit of ‘perfectionism’ was literally becoming my undoing. Behind closed doors, I existed… but was not really living. I doubted myself daily, questioned everything I was doing (or not doing), and had no idea how to create a healthy life for us all. The load on my shoulders was heavy. I was on my way to hitting rock bottom… I’m just so grateful that happened while my babies were still so young and that I learned a hard lesson that shook me into realising that every day, is a blessing, and not to take the rest of our lives for granted!
My daughter is now five and my little boy, still little. In five years, we’ve learned so much together and overcome so much more than I ever thought possible.
I’m so grateful that within the last year, I lost myself but have found an incredibly new me… I’ve learned lessons that have shaped my mind into seeing the beauty that is still there in this world we live in, if you look.
I’ve learned that we don’t grow if we stay inside our comfort zone… if you’ve got the opportunity to go out and see your children, see the world… GO!!!! Take a million photos, and record the joy you feel in your heart! Circumstances can change so quickly and unexpectedly… don’t assume that you’ll get another opportunity! Live for TODAY!
Be grateful for what you’ve got. Remind yourself (especially on the days where you just want five minutes to breathe by yourself!) there are people out there who would give anything to have what you have!
So who knows what the next five years will bring…. (Dear God, pleeaasseee let it be a happy and healthy five years!) I plan to dedicate each day that we are gifted with to making happy memories and learning and growing with my children, loving them above all else!
My Lessons Learned From The First Five Years
1. Trust in Yourself.
No one has it figured out…. NO ONE!!
But you know your children better than anyone else in the world. You can only do your best by giving them your love, attention, time and the best of you each day. Don’t compare yourself, your parenting or your children to anyone else! What works for you and your children is completely different from the next family. And you don’t owe anyone an explanation of how things work for you. As long as you are all happy, you’re doing it right!
You’ve come this far without knowing how… you’ve got this! 👊🏻
2. Be Prepared! For anything!
Remember, you’re raising human beings… things can go wrong, and surprisingly quickly! The sudden onset of sickness or injury can lead to ambulances, hospitals, nights of no sleep and sheer panic!
Stock up the medicine cabinet at home with the essentials and keep an eye on the expiry dates! Always have a first aid kit, and learn how to use it!
Never run low of toilet paper, wipes, washing powder, soap, disinfectant AND…. you get what I mean…
Seize the good days! Get outdoors! Play! Children thrive much more on time and energy spent playing and learning outside, than being given toys they’ll outgrow. I recharge my batteries on days out watching my children run and play, laughing and singing. Yes, its a big effort making sure you’ve got plenty of supplies on hand to take with you, like extra pants just in case! But it’s worth every effort to feel rewarded by their happiness!
It’s also important to balance an active lifestyle with relaxation. Quiet activities inside on rainy days (or when someone is not feeling the best) are so important for you and your children’s bond, their growth and learning and everyone’s mental health. Build that fort! 🏰 Pick up a pencil! ✏️
4. Do Things as You Go.
(Yes Dad… can totally hear this coming from you! 🙄)
It’s soooooo much easier to clean up or put away as you go! Don’t leave it til later. Because later on you’ll have an overwhelming pile of things to be done, and probably not a lot of energy or patience to do them. And going back to number 2., who knows what will happen next!?
5. Seek to Learn.
I’m a firm believer that we can never stop bettering ourselves. Nobody is perfect and nobody ever will be! But we can all strive to learn and GROW! We owe it to our children to accept our own faults, and show them it’s okay to make mistakes in life… as long as we give them an apology, an explanation and work towards a change.
And do yourself a favour, look up information, courses and any advice anywhere that you can! You will feel better about yourself knowing you are working on yourself, for you and your kids!
6. Be Kind.
Any energy you’ve got left…. (anywhere in your totally exhausted and overwhelmed self), give it to others! Something you’ve been through might just be the exact lesson someone else needs to hear about, in order to help them!
Which leads me to my closing invitation…
Feel free to connect with me to share parenting stories, ask questions or just have a chat!
I’d love to hear from you!