Baby’s first mail

Dear Predator,

First of all let me sincerely apologise for what your dad and I have been calling you whilst you’ve been in utero, Predator. It’s not that we believe you to be an extra-terrestrial being from another planet it was just that when we saw you via ultrasound for the first time you resembled the creature made famous in the 1987 film of the same name starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.

12-week ultrasound – just kidding.

It was your dad who made the connection by the way not me – I haven’t even seen the movie so if you have any beef take it up with him.

You are due to make your appearance into the world in 10 days but realistically you could arrive any day now. We are super-excited to meet you and hope you won’t be disappointed when you meet us. Just between you and me – your dad and I are both pretty fantastic and I’m certain we will be great parents. However please keep in mind we are new to this parenting gig and there may be times where we make mistakes and seem overwhelmed by it all. There may be yelling, there may be crying but it doesn’t mean we don’ t love you.

We have set up your room, bought you a pimped out ride and don’t worry you have many clothing options – although most items are white or neutral. It’s difficult to find fashionable items which aren’t considered gender specific. Although hopefully we will raise you to realise there is no need to conform to gender stereotypes.

Your wheels – three to be precise for all our off-road adventures.

On the subject of raising you to be an awesome human all we want for you is to grow up to be healthy, happy and to never give up chasing your dreams.

Don’t ever let anyone say you can’t do something – unless it’s your dad and I – and you’re asking to go to so-and-so’s unsupervised party. We were young once and we know what goes on. We know alcohol will be involved and no we will never buy it for you so don’t even bother asking. Also if we catch you smoking we will force you to smoke an entire pack of filter-less Winfield Reds in one sitting.

Don’t even think about it.

Lately we have been wondering what kind of human you will be and what traits you will pick up from the two of us.

Hopefully you will have your father’s sense of humour, he is a pretty funny guy, although I must warn you he has been practicing his ‘dad jokes’ for the past 13 or so years – they can  be quite embarrassing. He has this habit of repeating the joke several times if no one has laughed. I then have to inform him it wasn’t that no one heard the joke, it was that nobody found it funny. Awkward.

I hope you inherit my literacy skills and from a young age can appreciate the difference between there, their and they’re as well as your and you’re – if you can do this I will be the proudest mum on the planet. Please don’t ever unnecessarily change the spelling of words or resort to net/textspeak. This will make mummy very angry and we may have to find new parents for you. Also alot is not a word.

Alot – not a word.

Your dad loves sport – sometimes I think he loves it more than me – I am not so fond of sport and it’s okay if you are not so fond of sport. However you must follow the AFL and no matter what you must never, ever become a supporter of the Fremantle Football Club. EVER. This is also grounds for a new home. You will be upsetting a lot of people if you break this rule.

At the age of six months I will be forcing  enrolling you into dancing lessons. Your dad thinks it’s way too young I say you’re never too young to become the next Beyonce or Justin Timberlake. Anyway it’s not technically dancing it’s more to do with musicality which was recently proven to produce better humans – you can thank me later.

You have been born into a world which is heavily driven by technology. There are positives to this yet there are also some downsides to this. One such downside is children – or perhaps it’s their parents – have become lazy. Instead of going outside and using their imagination to play they are indoors on computers playing video games. You will not be one of these kids. There will be time constraints for television watching and you will not be able to work my smartphone better than me. Sorry kiddo it’s old-school playtime for you.

Toys will be limited too I’m afraid. We’d much rather spend our money taking you to exciting places than splashing out on the latest plastic creation which you will no doubt grow sick of after a week or so. We are already planning your very first overseas trip to New Zealand next year. I’m also trying to convince dad that a trip to Bali is necessary in order to expand your cultural horizons.

Now is probably a good time to reveal you are half Kiwi thanks to your dad who is New Zealand born and bred. You don’t have to let anyone else know if you don’t want to. I completely understand. It can be our little secret.

Your dad is from Hobbiton – this is not entirely true.

If there is one pearl of wisdom I can impart on you, it is to always be yourself and try not to worry what other people think. Granted this is much easier said than done. During your high-school years you will find this especially tough but I guarantee life is much easier once you learn not to care what others think. The people who try to bring you down in life are usually jealous and have their own stuff going on so don’t take it personally.

Other pearls of wisdom include:

  • Don’t be afraid to speak your mind and be sure to question everything.
  • Chase your dreams.
  • Travel the world, go on crazy adventures, meet lots of new and exciting people.
  • Try different things.
  • Read books – or whatever the equivalent is.
  • Ignorance is not bliss – stay educated and never stop learning.
  • Believe in yourself.
  • Don’t eat junk food or drink soft drink – both are unnecessary evils.
  • Always use your manners and be respectful to others.

This is the best book ever written – when you can read I suggest you give it a go.

There are many things your dad and I hope for you but we especially hope that no matter what you will always feel comfortable enough to talk to us about anything and that you remember we will love and support you no matter who you are.

Now hurry on up out of there so we can get to know you!

Maternally yours, Mumma.

It’s the final countdown

Source: etsy.com via Christine on Pinterest

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I have five weeks of work to go before I am on 52-weeks maternity leave. Five weeks. Wow.

Then I’ll have six weeks to go before I am due.

Where has the time gone? It feels like just yesterday we invited our families over to announce the news that we were having a baby. Now I’m about to put my working life on hold and prepare for the next chapter in The Boy and mine’s life. It’s scary and exciting all at the same time. It’s going to be a huge change but I think I’m almost ready for it.

The hardest part is trying to imagine not getting up and going to work each day. I love my job and I love working. I’m so lucky to have a career rather than a job. I often feel sorry for people whose work is simply a way for them to earn money. I think I’d lose my mind if I had to work somewhere which wasn’t fulfilling and enjoyable.

I often imagine how I will spend my days. I admit I am one of those career women who wonder – “what do stay-at-home mums do all day”. Cue the boos and hisses from the stay-at-home mum brigade. Before everyone gets defensive let me say I am well aware I’m going to be busy changing nappies, feeding, doing housework etc while being deprived of sleep. I know it’s an all-consuming job but I do struggle to imagine how I’ll be any busier than I already am. I think it will just be a different kind of busy. Feel free to ask me how I’m going a week after Predator arrives.

I’m also concerned about being at home and not having any adult interaction for the majority of the day. I am a very social person, I love to talk and I go crazy if I’m stuck inside away from people for too long. I’m the opposite of a homebody. The thought of being at home all day fills me with dread. Lucky babies are portable and I have a swanky new jogger I can pop him/her in when cabin fever hits. I see a lot of pavement pounding over the next 12 months. My mum can expect a lot of visits too – hi mum!

The Boy and I have always said we wouldn’t let our lives change too much once the baby is here. Of course our lives will be different but I don’t see why The Boy and I can’t enjoy doing the things we do now after the little rugrat arrives. I know some parents become hermits once they’ve had a child or they use their offspring as an excuse to get out of social situations. Not us.

We’ve already booked our first family holiday for over the Summer and I’m going to Lady Gaga three weeks after Predator is due. We also have several weddings to attend this year and countless 30ths – we won’t be using the baby as an excuse to miss out. We are also taking the little one to New Zealand next year to meet The Boy’s family – I can’t wait.

Which brings me to the top 15 things I am looking forward to once I have given birth …

  1. Meeting our mini-human and giving he/she a big cuddle
  2. Giving him/her a name so I can stop referring to he/she as Predator
  3. Seeing my family’s faces when they get to meet Predator – my dad already has the most priceless look on his face whenever he sees me and my expanding bump
  4. Being a family
  5. Eating poached eggs on rye with smoked salmon, spinach and hollandaise sauce – my mouth is salivating at the mere thought of this
  6. Having Sunday cuddles – I don’t believe in co-sleeping or having children in the bed but on Sunday mornings there is going to be an exception where there will be plenty of family cuddles in bed
  7. Playing dress-ups – yes I am truly that shallow but I just can’t wait to dress this baby up
  8. Running/working out without the worry of overheating – I know it’s sick but can’t wait to get really sweaty and out of breath again
  9. Taking baby out for the first time – this one also scares the bejesus out of me
  10. Sleeping on my stomach and throwing out the giant body pillow – I’ve had a gutful of sleeping on my left side only
  11. Predator’s first smile, laugh etc
  12. Drinking a lovely glass of cabernet sauvignon while eating soft cheese and Italian sausage with The Boy, friends and the little one by my side

What about me?

What if I give up on my achieving my goals?

With impending motherhood also comes a million and one anxieties. Those thoughts that keep you awake at night – will I be a good mother, what if I can’t breast feed, what if I can’t bond with my baby or suffer post-natal depression and God forbid what if he/she isn’t the next Beyonce or Justin Timberlake?

These issues can be readily solved – shower he/she with love, get over it and use a bottle, ask for help and goddamnit pay for extra dancing/singing lessons.

But the one thing making me lose sleep at the moment is the thought of losing my identity. What if I forget who I was before I was a mother? What if I let my goals/dreams and ambitions fall by the wayside for good? What if I forget the things I’m so passionate about? What if I start handing out Mummy cards?

I don’t want to just be known as so-and-so’s mum.

I’m not downplaying the amazing job mothers do and I know there are many out there who are more than happy to be forever known as so-and-so’s mum. But for me that’s not enough.

We all know that mother who has become a shadow of her former self. She was the life of the party, had her own opinions, had interests/hobbies, ambitions and a zest for life. Then she had kids. Now you struggle to have a conversation with her because motherhood has overtaken every facet of her life. All she talks about is what her children or partner is up to. What about yourself, you find yourself asking. ‘Oh no I’m much too busy with the kids/house to have time for myself’ she says rather hurriedly.

From the outset they seem content but I find myself wondering where their former self has run off to. Have they noticed the change? Do they miss who they were? Do they wish things were different? I’m sure deep down a part of them is screaming ‘what about me!’

I see myself as independent, strong-willed, ambitious and I admit it I’m a little bit of a narcissist – I’m writing a blog after all. Since becoming pregnant I’ve noticed a softer side starting to emerge and once the baby arrives I know I’m going to change even more but I still want to be me.

Obviously family will always be my number one priority but I also believe we all need to look out for number one – ourselves.

I want to be a role model to my children. I want to show them how important it is to have goals, ambition and a range of interests. I want them to see me as a strong independent well-rounded woman who has a life outside of being their mother and not just a cook, cleaner and housewife. I want them to be as proud of me as I will be of them. The thought of me giving up all the things I’ve worked so hard to achieve both professionally and personally scares the bejesus out of me. At this stage I will be taking a year off from work once the baby is born. But to be honest from then it’s anyone’s guess, I’m not going to know how I feel until the time comes. If I choose to return to work that’s fine and if I choose not to then I’m happy with that too. What I won’t be happy with is if I just turn my back on myself.

How dear reader do I prevent this from happening? I have no idea, and unfortunately I don’t have a crystal ball to see what the future holds so in the meantime I’m going to set a few personal goals for the next year or two and go from there. They’re entirely selfish but to me a happy, fulfilled mum means a happy, fulfilled child. What do you think? Have you lost your identity since becoming a mum? Do you know someone who has? How did you keep your identity? I’d love to know your thoughts.

Personal Goals for 2012-13

  • Work on finishing my Masters in a timely fashion.
  • Run this year’s City2Surf – even if it’s just the 5km leg.
  • Plan the wedding and get married.
  • Write at least once per week, every week.
  • Devote time to keeping the relationship between me and The Boy fresh and fun.
  • Date nights – have at least one child-free night per month.
  • Exercise five times per week and live a healthy lifestyle.
  • Catch up with friends at least once per month.
  • Have at least half an hour of relaxing me-time every day.
  • Regular family holidays – even if it’s just a night away from home.
  • New Zealand in 2013.
  • Get the ball rolling to become a Les Mills fitness instructor.
  • Join a Mothers’ Group.
  • Keep learning/have an active mind.
  • Never, ever be seen wearing track pants away from the home (this one is really important).

Maternally yours, ME!