There is no right time

Me at seven and a half months pregnant. I loved being pregnant but would it be the same if I went back for more?

Me at seven and a half months pregnant. I loved being pregnant but would it be the same if I went back for more?

The curly-haired monster is turning two in a few weeks. Yes two. I can hardly believe how fast those years have flown by. I still remember giving birth to him like it was yesterday.

Naturally people have been asking “when’s the next one coming?” or “are you going to have any more?” It’s a very personal question but of course it is something the boy and I have both pondered. I usually laugh it off with a maybe whenever I’m asked.

I think the decision to have more children is far tougher than deciding to have your first. The first time you have no idea what you are getting yourself into, it’s all very new, exciting and daunting at the same time.When your baby arrives you are filled with so much love and you couldn’t imagine loving anything more than him/her. It’s tough – and amazing – but you get to devote all of your time to one mini-human. One.

The first few months are a sleep-deprived blur of feeding, napping, cuddles and trying to find your way. By the time they get to one you’ve pretty much blocked that part of your life out and then you start to think hmm maybe it’s time for another. However then they start walking and you couldn’t possibly imagine having a newborn to care for too.

By one and a half things are much easier – if you’re lucky they are sleeping through, can pretty much feed them self and aren’t so reliant on you for constant entertainment. You think you’ve got this parenting gig down pat and high-five each other. Go mum! Go dad!

Then the tantrums and hissy fits start. So you think no way I will not be able to handle another one. You also wonder how your adorable wide-eyed precious prince can turn from cuddly monkey to demonic spawn of satan in the blink of an eye.

Before you know it your bubba is approaching two and you’re thinking where did that time go? What happened to my little baby? He’s running around, talking, telling you NO! Asking for sultanas, the Wiggles and wants you to kiss his little finger when he shuts it in the drawer/door/toy box for 10th time. He is fiercely independent.

You hold a newborn baby and your ovaries and heart start to ache. Maybe now is the right time. But then it’s bedtime and as you cuddle your boy to sleep (yes I STILL do this) you worry about him missing out on cuddles and attention while you’re devoting all of your time to his new brother or sister. You don’t want this special bond to be broken.

It’s a tough decision. Will I be able to cope with two? What if the curly-haired monster is jealous? Is it possible to love another as much as I love the curly-haired monster? What if the new one doesn’t sleep? I don’t want to give up cuddling my boy to sleep so what do I do? Learning to breastfeed again, ugh. No more sleep. Letting my body be hijacked for two years. Oh God imagine how much crap will be left all over the house with TWO kids! We need a bigger car. I want a bigger house. I’ll have to stop working and stay at home for at least six months. OMG no more poached eggs. My boobs are going to look even worse. How do I go food shopping? Scrap that – how do I leave the house? What if I forget what to do? What if I have to stop running? What if my employer decides to make my job redundant? What if I fail? The list inside my head goes on and on and on.

However on the other hand, another itty bitty to kiss, cuddle and make us a family of four would be pretty damn awesome.

Maybe it’s not such a tough decision after all.

How did you decide to have more than one child? What’s your advice on coping with more than one?

 

 

 

Advertisements

Turning mothers into martyrs

A few days ago I stumbled across this on Facebook and my first reaction was to gag. Now days later my initial reaction is still to gag but also to kill it with fire. Even the title is vomit-inducing A Letter from a Working Mother to a Stay-At-Home Mother, and vice versa.

But why I hear all three of you reading this exclaim – “it’s celebrating both the role of a stay-at-home mother and a working mother”. I’m sure that was the author’s intention but my reading of it is quite the opposite.

It’s turning mothers into martyrs and quite frankly that makes my eyes roll so far back in my head I’m getting a great view of my frontal lobe.

I’m a working mother but more than that I am a strong, independent, intelligent woman. I want respect for what I do – not pity. I don’t need approval or condolences from anyone either. It’s an insult to my intelligence and my feminist values. I’m fairly certain my fabulous friends who are stay-at-home mums don’t want any of that either.

I’m not a hero or special because I choose to “juggle” a career and motherhood. I’m just like millions of other woman out there who do the same thing every day.

You know who else does the same as me every day? My husband and millions of other blokes too.

But where is his letter of appraisal or induction into the hall of sainthood and martyrdom? Why are dads considered second-rate when it comes to parenting? In my house we share the load and get on with things there’s no time for sanctimonious bullshit over who’s doing it tougher.

I also don’t sit hunched at my desk beavering away like my life depends on it wracked with guilt because I chose a career over staying at home. I most certainly do go out for coffee and guess what at least once a week I meet up with friends and go out for lunch. I also don’t secretly love days at home when my son is sick – umm hello does anyone like having a sick child? Not likely.

I’d be keen to know who it is that is judging me for “leaving your children in the care of others to work” or who the people are who “imply that you don’t love your children as much as us SAHMs do, and that it’s best for children to be at home with their mothers”.  Seriously??? Thanks for now planting that into my thoughts – I’m sure it will pop up next time I pay a visit to one of my stay-at-home mum friends. Is she silently judging me? IS SHE?!

I can almost pretty much guarantee my mates who are stay-at-home mothers aren’t sitting there fantasising about me having “coffee breaks at work” because apparently I don’t have those anyway as I’m far too busy feeling sick about all the time I’m spending away from my child. Nor do they sit around and feel sorry for themselves – give them some credit for christ’s sake. What an insult.

I’m also tired of motherhood being referred to as ‘”work” or a “job”. It’s neither, it’s life. Once again the double standard – what about dads?

Both letters have smug undertones and neither sit right with me. They make me feel uncomfortable.

Here are some truths – parenting isn’t that difficult. Sure there are really shitty days when you just want to jump in your car and drive away but they are very far and few between. As far as I’m concerned if my boy is fed, clothed and loved then that’s all that matters and none of that is exactly rocket science.

I don’t want to be held up higher than my non-parent mates just because I’ve popped out a kidlet – those mates are pretty f*cking amazing too. Some of them are doing pretty damn special things which I’d consider a lot more challenging than raising a mini-human. They’re not wallowing waiting for someone to pat them on the back.

So can we please stop with putting mums on a pedestal? Can we please stop with these hideous comparisons of who’s doing it tougher?

I’ll tell you who is doing it tougher those who don’t have the same privileges as the ‘mothers’ in that post. The mothers and fathers in the third-world who struggle to feed, clothe and shelter their children. The parents who are fleeing war-torn countries and who are now displaced with nowhere to call home.  The kids who will never have the education or opportunities like the kids of those martyred mothers in that post. Let’s have some perspective please.

End rant.

#firstworldproblems

This week I have been having a fair bit of self-doubt across many aspects of my life and I really need to give myself a big kick up the arse about it.
Self-doubt at being a mother, self-doubt at work, self-doubt at organising the wedding to the high standard I’ve set myself and doubting that I’ll be able to run a marathon in two months time.
I’ve been sick all week and have been house-bound pretty much the entire time which means I have only ran once and that does not help my overactive mind one bit. Far too much time to over-think.
The Curly-Haired Monster is also sick which is where the self doubt as a mother comes into play.
Being winter he often has the sniffles and more so when he is teething so I wasn’t overly concerned when he had a runny nose early in the week. He also had a slight cough but nothing to be concerned about – I’m not one to rush him to the doctor over every snotty nose and little cough.
He had a bit of a weepy eye too on Monday but it appeared to clear up.
Anyway he had been a bit hard to handle this week – a fair bit of tantrum throwing and waking constantly at night. The Boy and I were getting pretty frustrated and put it down to teething and just a phase.
I dropped him off at day care on Wednesday only to be called later in the day to be told he might have conjunctivitis. His eyes started to weep mid-morning. I immediately made a doctor’s appointment and picked him up.
Fast-forward and he was diagnosed with an ear infection in both ears, conjunctivitis and very, very mild bronchitis. Oh. My. God. Worst. Mother. On. Earth.
The poor kid was in immense pain and The Boy and I were annoyed because we weren’t getting any sleep.
We both felt so bad and I started questioning my ability to be a mother. I kept thinking a good mother would have taken him to the doctor straight away, a good mother wouldn’t get frustrated, a good mother has the patience of a saint.
I was doubting myself so much I even thought at one stage I shouldn’t have had a baby – I’m useless, too selfish and suck at this parenting gig I thought to myself.
Ugh. Shut up brain.
I took a day off work also this week because I was feeling so ill which inevitably put me way behind. I got to work yesterday and had so many emails requesting help, not to mention a list as long as my arm of stuff to get through.
Also my workmate is on leave so I was already doing the work of two people crammed into three days – now make that two days.
If there’s one thing I hate doing it’s asking for help. I hate it – I don’t want to be seen as weak or incapable. Long story short I had to ask for help yesterday to get through my workload. Ugh cue self-doubt at my competency to handle a heavy workload.
The wedding. It is literally keeping me up at night. I can’t sleep because I’m stressed it won’t all come together.
I’m stressed because I am doing everything on my own. I’m stressed because The Boy just doesn’t get how much stuff is involved.
He has not once taken it upon himself to organise anything and if I delegate a task it’s “forgotten” about or left to the last minute so I end up doing it myself.
He offers to help but I know he doesn’t really want to. I know he is going to so angry at me for typing the above.
I am a control freak. He knows this, I know this.
My bridesmaids offer to help but I feel bad asking them to.
Ugh I just want it all to be semi-perfect. There’s so much to do and it’s only three months away.
Prior to the wedding I am going to run my first full marathon. That’s the plan anyway.
This week my training had been a massive fail. It’s not my fault – I can’t breathe properly and I feel awful.
I’m better off resting but now I’m thinking what if I don’t get enough long runs in, what if I hit a wall and can’t go on, what if I don’t finish, what if my hip gives me too much grief and I have to pull out. What if I go out too fast and end up crying/walking the last 10km.
Ugh shut up brain.
To non-running folk this is going to sound ridiculous but I know if I could just get outside and go for a run all of this self doubt would evaporate and I’d be rearing to go again.
I’m aware how very first-world problems this all sounds but I’m not even viewing them as problems I’m just going to accept I’m feeling very overwhelmed this week.
In a nutshell – shit happens and life goes on. *Arse kicked*
Lets do this!

Confessions of a tired mum

We are exceptionally lucky in our house because 95 per cent of the time the Curly-Haired Monster sleeps through the night and he has done for about the past six months.

However there is the odd occasion when he likes to keep us on our toes and will wake up every two hours for three nights in a row – which is what happened this week.

It happens every few weeks and it is absolute shit when it happens especially as I am now working three days a week and the Boy gets up at 3.45am. So. Damn. Tired.

But I digress because it is not the point of this post and we have it pretty easy compared to a lot of families out there who haven’t known a full night’s sleep in months/years.

The reason this only went on for three nights was because on the fourth I had reached the end of my tether. I was well and truly over it.

He went down for a couple of hours, woke up and refused to go back to sleep. We tried everything. I even chucked him in bed with us which is always a last resort – who knew something so small could take up so much damn room!

It was late, I was tired, he was crying, the Boy was tired and getting annoyed too so I made the decision to let him ‘cry it out’ in his cot.

Ten-fifteen minutes later he was fast asleep and slept through the night and has done ever since.

It’s  not the first time either and it certainly won’t be the last.

There’s been times when I’ve even shut the door so I can’t hear him just so I can get five minutes of peace so I can collect my thoughts, calm down and then be a better parent rather than a frazzled lunatic.

Before I returned to work there would be days where I’d be hanging out for the Boy to get home so I could hand the Curly-Haired Monster over, lace up my runners and pound the pavement for an hour before I seriously lost my mind.

Why am I telling this boring story? Because it’s the truth. Because sometimes it gets too much and all you want to do is get some sleep or some much needed time for yourself.

Sometimes the crying and relentless whingeing is like a hammer to your brain  and you’d do anything for just five minutes of quiet and hot cup of tea.

It doesn’t mean you are a bad parent or that you love your child any less. EVERY parent has these moments/days and anyone who says they haven’t is a goddamn liar.

Recently on Facebook a local woman who runs a parenting-support group – with a huge lean toward attachment parenting – linked ‘crying it out in order to get a good night’s sleep’ to children growing up to be murderers or more likely to commit assaults. I wish I was joking. As you can imagine some  mothers were outraged whereas others agreed with her.

It’s this sort of bullshit which ends up causing parents to self-doubt their own methods and feel they might be doing something wrong and/or going to raise bad children. Enough with the mummy wars. Seriously enough.

Parenting is hard. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. What works for one family may not work for another and vice versa. I don’t follow anyone’s advice in fact I haven’t for months and I don’t ask for it either because if it’s one thing I’ve learned is everyone thinks they are a goddamn expert.

These ‘experts’ are what f*ck up the new parent’s confidence.

While we’ve only let the Curly-Haired Monster cry it out a handful of times – oh did I mention we tried the Ferber method for awhile too (now I’m defintely going to be cast to the fiery pits of hell) – I’m a huge believer in doing whatever works for you and your family. No one should ever make parents feel guilty or question their parenting methods. Ever. (Unless the baby/child is being put in harm’s way of course)

Don’t self-doubt – go with your gut and if it means leaving your little one to scream for a bit or if it means sleeping side by side in bed each night then so be it. Who am I to judge.

 

 

 

Just run

Okay so this post is either going to bore most of you to tears or – and this is what I am hoping – it may inspire you.

While this post has nothing to do with motherhood it also has everything to do with motherhood. It’s the one where I get all self-indulgent and wax lyrical about my passion for running.

As a kid and also as a teenager I despised sport. Hated it. I could honestly think of nothing worse than being involved in a team sport. Even now – ugh. There’s no I in team which is exactly why I am not a fan. I am fiercely independent, I like to do things on my own, it’s my way or the highway basically.

If I am forced to be in a team situation I will always make sure I am the leader. I’m the person who grabs the pen or texta in a brainstorming session because I know my ideas are the best and my handwriting is probably neater than everyone else’s. My tongue is firmly in my cheek but I admit there is some truth to it. In a nutshell I’m a control freak. Wow that actually hurt to type and admit that. I am also stubborn and hate failing. You could say I am not one to give up easily, I will always put up a fight.

Despite my disdain for sport I have always had a passion for keeping fit. I have had a gym membership since the age of 18 and have tried everything from kickboxing to Bikram yoga. However I always *thought* I hated running.

My kind of workout needs to involve a lot of sweat, a little bit of pain and something where I can push my body to its limits. Enter running – the perfect sport for someone like me. Anyone can run but it’s the stubborn, determined runners who feel they have something to prove who go the furthest.

I never in my wildest dreams thought I would call myself a runner or an athlete but I am both. I don’t even know how I got to this point as I can’t even remember why I started to run. All I know is it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. It has changed my life.

I flirted with running back in 2009 at the same time as I was a Les Mills group fitness addict. I would maybe once a week go for a run by the creek near my house. I remember the first time I made it from my house to the end of the creek path – about 2km – and I was ecstatic. Then one day I made it to the end and back and I was thrilled!

This is how I taught myself to run – no fancy apps, no training plans, no run for a bit walk for a bit – I just laced up my shoes and ran. The best advice I ever received from a fellow runner was this – don’t stop, just keep running, no matter how slow. I still keep this in mind especially on my long runs.

Later in the year a workmate – who had started to run – and I decided to enter the women’s fun run and have a crack at the 5km event. It was winter and I had barely been running but was still Les Mills obsessed and was still fairly fit. About once a week we would get out and attempt to run the course.

I was so nervous on the day of the race and managed to complete the course in just over 30:00. I was chuffed and so proud of myself. I now run 5km faster than that (24:12 current PB) but it is still one of my most proudest moments because it was my beginning. The memory of seeing The Boy parked up along the course to cheer me on still gives me joy.

After that I ran every now and then but didn’t really keep it up as I was still focused on going to group fitness classes – I was even thinking about becoming an instructor.

The following year I moved to the city away from my fiancé and family. I joined the gym and decided to run the City2Surf 12km event. A bit ambitious seeing as I had all but stopped running but I felt the 4km would be too easy and I love a good challenge.

My training went as follows – I ran a total of four times three weeks before the day with my longest run being 8km. Mind you I was doing a lot of cardio at the gym just no running.

Race day came around and I was so nervous! My fiancé and his BFF decided to join me – they had zero training. I finished in about 1:24:00. It now takes me no more than an hour to run the same distance.

After C2S I decided the following year I would run the half-marathon – it was time to get serious about running. The decision to get serious was made easier when I stupidly lost my license (don’t drink and drive!) and had to cancel my gym membership. I had no choice but to use my legs as a mode of transport.

I started to run about three times per week. I was fairly slow and had no idea what I was doing but as always I just ran and I loved it.

Then I got pregnant. When I found out, the first thing I did – after telling my fiancé of course – was lace up my shoes and pound the pavement for 6km. I ran sporadically throughout my pregnancy until it got too sore.

Once the curly-haired monster was born I got back into it again. Less than a month after he was born I jumped on the treadmill (have not been on a dreadmill since) and holy hell was it hard. However I had a goal – to run the Surf to Surf 10km in October – just four months after I gave birth.

As you can imagine trying to train when you have a newborn and breastfeeding on demand was tough. I was only running once maybe twice per week but was determined to run this race. Whenever I was training and felt like giving up I just kept reminding myself how I managed to survive three days of labour and gave birth drug-free. I still remind myself of this when the going gets tough. I ended up finishing it in 1:04:31. My current 10km PB is just under 50:00.

Since then I have ran the Australia Day Fun Run 10km, HBF Run for a Reason 12km and my first-ever half-marathon in April. Now I am training for another half-marathon – the one I missed out on in 2011 City2Surf – and one month later I am aiming to complete my first-ever full marathon.

Now instead of running I train. I have transitioned from casual runner to training athlete and I never in my wildest dreams thought I’d ever be doing anything like this.

I used to be a smoker, I used to binge drink every weekend and ate all kinds of crap.

Now I rarely drink more than two glasses of wine at a time, I admittedly do have the odd cigarette usually when I have gone over my two glass limit and I make conscious decisions about the food – fuel – I put into my body. Instead of spending my Saturday mornings hungover I head outside and run for more than an hour and a half – rain, hail or shine.

I have met some amazing people through running and we all support each other on what most call our crazy journeys. I also have a running mentor who has made me believe anything is possible if I put my mind to it. I have even joined the local runners club.

Running has changed me. It’s changed me for the better. I am the healthiest and fittest I have ever been in my entire life and I am also a stronger person mentally. For the first time in my life I believe in myself. That self-defeating natter has been replaced with a can-do attitude.

I don’t like to talk about it because quite frankly it makes me uncomfortable but I have dealt with insomnia and anxiety for at least 14 years and running is the only thing which helps turn that relentless, restless part of my brain off. When I am running all the anxiety disappears and I just don’t care anymore. I can’t remember the last time I had a panic attack and I know it’s because of my running. It’s also cheaper than therapy.

Running gives my life focus and it gives me time to focus on me. And the things I have learned from being a runner – strength, determination and courage – have crossed over into other facets of my life. I am more confident than ever, am much better at my job and am setting an example for the Curly-Haired Monster. I think it has made me a better partner and mother too. Nothing seems too tough for me at this point.

I know this will read like a self-indulgent piece of codswallop to many of you but for all of those people who keep telling me how crazy I am or keep asking me why I run – this is why. To those who want to run but keep using the excuse that they can’t – I am telling you, you can. Just run.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20130702-144549.jpg