The truth about parenting

Gosh parenting is hard.  Everyone talks about the good stuff but today I would like to acknowledge some of the harder stuff.  The stuff that we don’t really talk about.  So here we go:

The fourth trimester.  It’s hard.  That first three months after a baby enters your world are hard.  Not just on you, but on your family, relationship and friendships.  As a mother you disappear for a while, you forget to take the time you need for you as your whole life revolves around this small infant who is 100% relying on you to meet its every need.  This of course is what we sign up for, but mama’s try and make some time for you.  This makes you a better parent.

 

 Hair loss.  Oh my gosh.  After you have your baby your hair will fall out.  Not just small amounts of it.  Lots of it.  For a long time.  However, don’t stress this is normal. Although it may not feel that way, as you brush out what feels like almost all the hair on your head, it really is.  Eventually it will stop and your long luscious locks will return but don’t expect it straight away.

People without children don’t understand anything of what you are dealing with.  Be it with a baby, toddler or teenager.  They don’t get it. They may say they do but they don’t.  Until there life is altered by the arrival of their own squealing, little miracle they won’t understand.  Don’t feel like you have to justify your decisions and parenting choices to them.  You don’t.  If people don’t like how you parent, that’s too bad for them really.

When your gorgeous, polite pre-teen becomes more and more unpredictable and you become unsure of what mood or behaviour she will display next.  Pre-teen years are like the forgotten in between times.  While your baby is trying to figure out who he or she is, you suddenly are confronted with the fact they are no longer your baby.  It is like you are both starting a new stage of a journey and neither of you quite no what is going to happen next!

Judgement.  The amount of judgement that gets passed onto parents by onlookers every day simply because a child has a tantrum, speaks out of turn or is crying in a public place.  Rather than judging and being a judgy, McJudgy pants, why not ask if there is anything you can do to help.  Believe me, the parents are already stressed and embarrassed enough without some stranger glaring at them from afar.

Time – there isn’t enough of it.  Your days fly by and the list of things you had to do gets longer not shorter. No matter how hard you try to get everything done, it is impossible.  Some days, I look at my list of things to do and just choose to have a nap instead.  For my sanity.  The list will still be there when I wake up.

Breastfeeding/Formual Feeding/Mixed Feeding – if you aren’t directly impacted by how a mother is feeding (by this I mean you aren’t the mother or father of the child) you don’t get an opinion.  You don’t get to judge – believe me when I say, mother’s give themselves a hard enough time over this area of parenting without said onlooker having an opinion also.  Fed is best.

Tiredness – the tiredness, while expected can be overwhelming.  As a baby they don’t sleep so you are up and then when they are teens, when they do sleep you are thankful you are not waiting up for them.  I have accepted this and have learnt to ask for help when I need it.  It truly takes a village to raise children.  We have moved away from this a bit and I truly believe we need to bring it back. Support each other, compliment each other, be there for each other.

Yet every time one of my girls smiles at me, or tells me they love me, no matter how hard it has been, I know it has been worth it and I would do it again in a second.  Their first steps, first giggles, first day of school, first crush, first boyfriend, first dance and more help to make it worth the hard stuff.  My children have made me a better person and I hope that when they look back in their lives they will remember me as a happy mama, who smiled through the hard stuff because they are and will always be worth it.

It takes a village…

This post rang true for me today, written by Alicia Keswani, it almost brought me to tears.  Sometimes being a mum is lonely.  It feels like you try and please everyone but someone is always left out or feeling sad.  Some of the time its you feeling this way.  It definitely takes a village.  To help you maintain your friendships, relationship with dad and other children in the family but also to help you maintain a positive relationship with yourself.  Take the time Mama’s to reach out when you need it – use your village, if you don’t have one, find others who need support and build one.  We all need each other at some point or another.

“A new mom can lean hard into her community as she learns how to feed a baby, how to discipline a toddler, how to handle her home and work and relationships. Others around her contribute to her needs and she does the same for them. Her contribution is valuable. And the investment into her life gives her the encouragement and guidance she needs in the tough moments.”

via Weary mama: You are many good and beautiful things. But you are no village. – Motherly

Raising Teenage Girls

So true – my oldest is 12, almost 13 and some of the points Elisabeth Egan talks about already seem eerily familiar! In particular the ones where you aren’t sure who will greet you in the morning, Instagram, her closet and staring at the young woman she is becoming before she tells me off.  I certainly hope she knows that I am, and always will be her number one fan, biggest supporter and safe place to land through the years to come.

When my first baby was born, the doctor handed her to me and said, “Meet your future teenage daughter.” Then she got on the phone with her own teenage daughter, and the two of them got into a loud argument about what to eat for dinner. I still remember the daughter’s aggrieved voice, audible through her mother’s flip phone: “That is REVOLTING and I would rather eat DOG FOOD.”

via Raising a daughter? Handle with care — especially when she’s 14 – Chicago Tribune

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Fathers Day

So today in New Zealand, it’s Father’s Day. A day to honour the men in our lives who have taken on a fathering role in one way or another.

I am not just talking about biological fathers – I am also talking about the men who take a leap of faith and choose to love a child that may have come as part of a package deal.

For me, the very special man that chose to step up for my first daughter, is now my husband and the father of my second little lady. Almost 9 years ago, he chose to date a single mum with a 4 year old girl. 

I don’t know if back then he realised the huge responsibility he would be taking on or if he was even ready to become her father figure but one way or another that is how it worked out and yes, there have been small battles and at times we have waded our way through areas where we have had to trust our choices were correct, but knowing he wasn’t going to abandon us like her “dad” did made all the difference.

He has been there for her now through more then I think either of them could have imagined. He has watched her grow from a toddler, to a young girl and is now seeing her become a young woman, just as our second journey is beginning with our newest addition.

The thing that makes me proudest and most thankful about him – they are his girls. He doesn’t differentiate between the fact one is his biological daughter and one is not. They are both his and he would fight for them both equally as hard if the occassion arose. 

 I feel blessed to have met a man that took me and the small package that came with me – her dance recitals, the painting of toe nails, the rolling of eyes and the endless sleep overs, play dates, school assignments and more. And then chose me to be the woman that he would do it all over again.

The role of the father in a child’s life is so important. To all the men who are a part of their child’s life, who have  chosen to be a part of a child’s life, and who are fighting for their right to be a part of their child’s life. To the uncles, grandfather’s and family friends who have stood up and taken on being that all important male role mode for a child – Happy Happy Father’s Day.

12 weeks ago…

So 12 weeks ago, I gave birth to my second girl.  Towards the end of my third trimester I stopped writing as I had so much going on in my life personally finding time to write was just not possible.  Twelve weeks in – I am finally finding my feet, feeling more like me again.

I spent weeks 34 to 38 of my pregnancy in and out of hospital appointments, scans and of all things breast clinics.  On top of my gestational diabetes, my baby decided to stop growing and I discovered a lump in my right breast.  Of all the things I had been through the lump was the worst.  I couldn’t find it in me to write without bursting into tears and what my life had become – I was a ball of anxiety and fear.

In week 37, I got my lump biopsied and luckily it was a fibroadenoma which is a non – malignant lump.  This horrible lump will be getting removed when I stop feeding my baby as I hate it with a passion.  It needs to go.

In week 38, I got induced as my girl’s weight according to scans plummeted from the 90th percentile, to the 50th – in reality she was born in the 20th percentile which is all the more horrifying because how could all those scans be so so wrong?!

The labour was 2 hours long from start to finish once it started but my girls heart beat kept dropping to below safe levels.  There was no calm labour for this small girl.  She was pulled into this world as quickly as possible.  She was not breathing when she arrived – I saw her for 30 seconds max, before they took her away.  It was 15 – 20 minutes before they brought her back to me.

But my girl is here.  She is safe.  We are 12 weeks in, that’s right, 3 months and how that time has flown.  For all the stress, anxiety and health problems I faced – we made it.  Through the 4 days in hospital due to small miss having low blood sugar, the jaundice which nearly saw us hospitalised again, the anxiety around would I be able to breast feed or not and the many sleepless nights.  We made it.

So to all the mama’s to be out there and, well, to the all the mama’s in general facing their very own battles – I hear you.  I have your back.  We have to stick together.  Pregnancy, birthing, motherhood – what a journey it takes us on.

Oh and welcome to the world Isla Dawn – You are very much loved and adored.

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It’s officially official! 

I haven’t posted in a while. I have had a bit going on health wise with the little lady living inside me and I have taken quite a bit of time just for me, to get my head around the changes going on in my body.

My body which has decided, against my better judgement to slow down it’s insulin making and cause me to be officially diagnosed with gestational diabetes. But it is what it is.

My job is to help my body the best way I can and much to my disgust, this means being very careful with what I eat. I am an absolute lover of food so this change has not been easy for me. Quite simply – I miss pizza and all the other foods I took for granted before now. 

However, I am also lucky that it is not forever and that realistically if I do my best now there is likely to be no long term effects for baby or her future.   Or mine for that matter. And that I have only got 6.5 more weeks of pricking my stinking fingers. The women who do this from early pregnancy, I have so much respect for you, it’s been hard and I have only been doing it a week and a half! 

And before anyone thinks to ask – I did nothing to cause this. I was fit and healthy, ate well and looked after myself and baby.  Even my midwife was surprised when the test came back positive as I tick none of the boxes that indicate I should have this. But I do. It is hormonal, no woman wants to deal with this – it’s not an exclusive club that we strive to enter, its our bodies struggling a bit through some massive changes. That’s it.  That’s all it is. 

The big GD – I have it. It’s a pain. But it could be worse. There is nothing like a bit of reality to help you realise that it could always be worse. For me this came when a friend of mine with a newborn shared the fact she is starting treatment for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.  Suddenly, my whinging was checked, and I realised in the scheme of things it could be so much worse.

So here is to 6 more weeks of stabbing my fingers and prayers to friend and her family as she starts her chemo.  

PS: the picture is of my new bestie – it travels with me everywhere!