I had high expectations of myself, becoming a parent.
I would only feed my daughter fresh organic produce.
She wouldn’t watch television.
We’d go outside, to the park or just for a walk, every day.
I would read her books every night.
We would start swimming lessons at 6 months.
The list is endless, really. Needless to say, I didn’t turn out to be the kind of mum I intended to be. I said as much to Stephen the other day, and he said… ‘No, you’re a better one. No one wants an uptight mum’. And it got me thinking.
Yes, sometimes I let my daughter eat processed food. She’s even been known to scoff down the occasional french fry. She watches quite a lot of television, actually (only ABC4Kids though. Hey, some of that stuff is really good!). Some days she never changes out of her pyjamas. We’ve only recently started reading books, because she won’t sit still long enough to get past the second page. Oh, and she rips the pages right off the spine as soon as she can get her hands on them. And we stopped going to swimming lessons, because Saturday mornings is not the best time to book them in.
Despite all these failings on my part, she is a healthy, happy, baby. She’s not fat (actually kind of the opposite), she’s never been seriously ill (touch wood), and she is almost always cheerful.
So maybe the trick to parenting is not to try too hard, after all. Maybe it’s ok to let them have toast for dinner some nights, or watch some extra tv when you’re rushed off your feet. Because if they do, it doesn’t undo the fact that you buy them soy cheese and organic formula, or that you use flannels instead of wipes, because wipes give them a nappy rash.
I want my kids to always feel like they can tell me anything. I want them to feel like I take care of them, and keep their best interests at heart, without stifling them or dictating their lives. I want us to be close. In the interest of succeeding – I shall endeavour to relax. Most of the time.Read More
You sit down for a cup of tea/coffee during a child free moment, turn on the tv, and 10 minutes goes by before it occurs to you to change the channel from (insert cartoon/children’s program here).
You walk around the house singing nursery rhymes, rather than pop music.
You ‘pack’ your bag every time you leave the house – even if you’re just popping out to the shops. By yourself.
You get excited about bowel movements.
You sympathise with the parents of the screaming toddler at the supermarket, rather than pitying them.
Showering alone is no longer a right, but a privilege.
‘You’ time previously used for reading/painting toenails/napping is now used to do laundry/wash dishes/pick up toys. And you don’t mind.
The thought of travelling with children is no longer abhorrent. (I know, I was surprised too.)
You realise that despite the early mornings, snotty noses, endless whinging and even more endless (if that’s possible) poop – you not only love your child, but actually like them, and want to be around them. Weird, huh?Read More
My very first mother’s day is coming up on Sunday. I have to say, I’m really looking forward to it. What is it I’m looking forward to most? Is it the chance to appreciate my beautiful daughter and the fact that I brought her into the world? Maybe. Is it the opportunity to go out for brekky and get pressies? Probably. Either way, bring it on.
Motherhood is not exactly what I expected it to be. Which is to be expected.
One of the things that most surprised me, was how I’m still me. Well, duh, who else would I be, right? But, silly as it seems now, I did think that becoming a mum would somehow change me. I thought I’d be a better person. Less selfish, more patient. More mumish. But I’m still me. I still swear. I still shop too much. I’m still stubborn. Sometimes I yell at my infant daughter when I get frustrated. I’m not infinitely patient like I think I should be, and I don’t always change her nappy before I’ve had my morning coffee. I often doubt my ability to fashion the tiny person we have now into a functioning member of society.
Despite my shortcomings and misgivings, I’m a good mum. I love my daughter in a way which defies description, and I do my best to make her happy. I cook organic vegetables for her to spit at me. I let her dig her toes into my belly and sratch the inside of my nose and suck on my chin. I don’t hold her responsible for the loss of my figure, and I give her until her 21st birthday to reimburse me for the Hilton stay her father and I missed out on as a result of her choice not to breathe at birth. These are the types of things us quality mums do for our children.
Another thing I didn’t expect, is the increased empathy. I am so much more soppy, these days! It makes it hard to watch TV sometimes, I tell ya. Anything horrible I see, whether it be on the news or on some fictional television program, it all gets to me. Today I cried because a toddler had hot tea spilt on her. She wasn’t seriously injured, but she cried, so I cried. It’s because I can imagine how I would feel if that happened to Ella. I can picture absolutely any situation happening to her, and how that would make me feel. I can’t stop myself. (It would make me feel bad, in case you were wondering.)
There are some stories which are more upsetting than others. For example, a young woman I heard about today, Emma de Silva. When her baby girl was 19 days old, they were hit by a car whilst out walking. Emma is still in a coma. Her story can be found here.
Come mother’s day, after I’ve enjoyed my pressies and my brekky, I’ll be thinking about how LUCKY I am. I have a happy, healthy daughter whom I am able to love and take care of, everyday. We have a good man who loves us both, and wants to take care of us, forever. I have a mum of my own, who has always put my needs above her own, and continues to always be there for me.
Besides a million dollars, what more could I need?
(Feel free to shove this post in my face in a few days time when I’m complaining about how Ella didn’t sleep through the night, or how we can’t afford a TV for the bedroom. Ha)Read More
This a post for all those haters out there who think that stay-at-home-mums sit on their ass and watch Oprah all day long…
No, I don’t ‘work’ in a full-time capacity. Yes, sometimes I sit down in the middle of the day and watch Oprah. Or Dr Phil. Or Dr Oz. Whatever.
I also spend countless hours taking care of my child and my home and working towards a better future for my family. Here’s a run down of my ‘working’ week… (I’m including Saturdays and Sundays because I don’t get weekends off. I still have the same ol’ shit to do.)
- I breastfeed my baby 5 times a day. At half an hour a pop, that’s 17.5 hours a week. I can’t watch TV while I do this because it distracts her from feeding. Nosy little so-and-so.
- She now eats 3 solid meals a day, too (little miss piggy). Once you add preparation time, ‘let’s play with our food’ time, and clean up time (sadly in the majority) you’re looking at half an hour each meal. That’s 10.5 hours a week.
- Nappy changes. Which, by the way, are a whole different ball game once you add food to infant digestion. At the moment, I would say I survive this ordeal up to 6 times a day. Now that she’s mobile it takes twice as long, because I have to retrieve her every 3 seconds. So I would estimate a good 5-10 minutes per poop, equalling 7 hours a week.
- Bath time. We try to bath her every night, not because she’s that dirty, but it helps give her the idea that bedtime is on it’s way. Kinda. This is a solid half hour. I can tell by how much water I have to mop up off the floor afterwards. So, 3.5 hours a week.
If my calculations are correct, that adds up to 38.5 hours a week. About equal to a ‘normal’ full-time job, no? And I haven’t even started on the other things I do during the week, such as feeding and walking our two dogs, preparing 3 different breakfasts and lunches every day, cooking and freezing food for Ella, grocery shopping, trips to the park, laundry (oh god, so much laundry! At least one load a day.) Not to mention hours spent entertaining my baby every day. Those giggles are addictive.
Oh, and then there’s the little matter of my actual work, too. I clean several offices every week, my own house, and my mum’s house once a fortnight. I also do some freelance writing for a magazine, usually late at night, and try and spend some time each day building up my presence online and reading all the blogs I find interesting.
So, sometimes, if I feel like sitting down with a cup of coffee in the middle of the day and watching some trashy television – what of it? You get a lunch break, don’t you?Read More
It’s hard to be a good parent in the middle of the night.
Generally, Ella is pretty good, sleep-wise. She goes to bed around 7.30pm and wakes up between 6 and 7 in the morning. What happens in between, however, is anyone’s guess. Sometimes she sleeps right through (hooray), but sometimes she wakes up a few hours after going to bed (boo).
When she does wake up, I’ve sadly gotten her (us) into the bad habit of coming into our bed. Now, if we’re talking early hours of the morning wake-ups, then it’s fine – it’s kinda nice to have a snuggle with my baby while we sleep in a bit more. If we’re talking about late evening wake-ups, its a nightmare.
Take last night, for example. Just as I was drifting off to sleep about 11.30, I heard her wake up. I won’t repeat the words which came out of my mouth at the time. Needless to say, I was not pleased. So I got up and brought her into our bed, and fed her. Apparently, that wasn’t enough. She wanted to play.
Excuse me, Ella, but midnight is NOT a good time to PLAY!
My middle of the night arsenal is pretty much limited to sticking her in our bed and shoving a boob in her mouth. This works almost all the time. If I try to resettle her in her own bed, all that happens is her getting into our bed is delayed by an hour or so, and I may be reduced to tears.
So when she’s in our bed, and she’s been fed, and she still won’t go to sleep… I’m at a loss. It’s hard enough to keep my eyes open, let alone form a rational plan of attack. So I end up resorting to Bad Parenting. This involves, but is not limited to, telling her to shut up and go to sleep, holding her to me while she kicks and screams, and ignoring her. That last one is made more difficult by the fact that she is constantly trying to climb over me or pull on my nose.
Eventually she did go to sleep, through no fault of my own, and I may or may not have still been awake at the time. Whoops.Read More
Yesterday we had our first doctors appointment. Well, Ella’s first doctors appointment. Ok so we’ve been one other time but that doesn’t count cos we only went to the GP and it was only because her daddy was so paranoid he wanted me to ‘check’ that what I told him were just teething symptoms, were. They were.
ANYway. So yesterday we had our first appointment with a doctor specialising in natural therapies, with whom it took me two months to get us an appointment. Natural therapies are important to me – I believe in raising my daughter as naturally as possible. I don’t always have evidence or facts to back up my beliefs, but screw you, I believe in it anyway.
The purpose of this visit was mainly to discuss immunisations, as well as her general health of course. I won’t go into the vaccination debate just now, but for those of you looking for some information to complement that given by the Department of Health, check out www.visainfo.org.au.
In preparation for our appointment I decided it was prudent to have a read over all Ella’s hospital/doctor notes in case the doc asked me any questions about her history. I must have either ignored the notes or purposefully blocked them out when we came home from the hospital, because I was shocked at what I read.
Ella suffered from Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy. It can also be known as perinatal asphyxia and is characterised by acute or subacute brain injury, and causes significant infant mortality. In other words, it’s a serious brain injury which kills lots of babies, and leaves even more with significant brain damage.
I’m kinda glad that I didn’t realise at the time how serious her condition was, and how badly it could have turned out. If I HAD known – I don’t think I would have coped nearly as well as I did. Or at all. Luckily for me (ha), I was so exhausted and drug riddled after her birth that I didn’t really absorb most of the information that was presented to us, and I definitely wasn’t able to function at a high intellectual level. I don’t know if Stephen was quite as lucky.
Something I’ve come to realise over the past few months, is that parenting is Really. Scary. Shit. And it’s not going to get any better either – no matter how old, how well, or how happy your child is – there is always the possibility of them getting sick, being hurt, or worse. Anything could happen, and when it was just happening to me that was ok – I’m not even really scared of dying. Or I wasn’t. But now that Ella is in the picture, the world is a bloody terrifying place! And I’m terrified of dying and leaving her to face it alone.
Kids, eh? Who’d have ‘em!