I Want To Say I Can Do It All.

Monday, 29 January 2018

I really want to say that I have it sorted. That I'm on top of things. That I know what I'm doing. That my life is back to normal and Jackson has fit in beautifully. But the truth is, I'm far from it. 

Seven weeks ago, a little miracle baby popped (ha!) into our world and turned it upside down in the best way. He's disrupted our sleep, caused havoc on my body and made our electricity and water bill go way up but he's also taught us patience, that we are resilient and what it truly means to put someone else's needs above our own. 

He's forever changing and developing, and so are we along with him. There are days when he's feeding non stop in preparation for a growth spurt, where I'm stuck to the couch and looking helplessly at the mess around me, knowing I can't do anything about it. Feeding him is still a bit of a mission, just because he's so big and so are my boobs - it's a two handed job which means text messages and emails go unread and without replies. Sometimes he just wants to cuddle and won't settle anywhere apart from my lap, so the dishes go unwashed and the laundry piles up.

I know that honestly, I don't have the time or the energy for anything else. That I need the precious time I have to myself to rest, to eat, to shower - to do things that make me feel more like myself. But I'm finding it hard to admit that I can't do it all. When people come over, I want the house to be clean and tidy so they can see I'm managing. I want to sit down and plan our meals for the week, and then prep them so our bodies are nourished with good, whole foods. I wish I could say that every morning, I bundle Jackson up and go out for a walk. That I'm half way through the 30 Days of Yoga challenge and loving every second. That my eyebrows are plucked and legs are waxed, nails did etc. That I'm ready to jump back into work on Feb 1st like I had originally planned.

But I'm really not. Mentally and physically, I don't think I can take on anything else apart from looking after Jackson. No matter how much I wish I could, how much I wish I could prove to everyone that I'm a super mum and have my life sorted - I honestly can't. 

The truth is, becoming a parent is something you can never prepare for. Everything you imagine it to be, it's more. It's harder. It's better. And you have to take the time to accept and adapt, without pressuring yourself to meet this idea of what you think it's about. Or what you had planned it to be like before your babe was earth side. So I'm going to eat the chocolate instead of the carrot sticks. Have a nap instead of doing the dishes. I'm going to give my body time to heal and not worry that I'm not getting out to exercise as much as I like. My time will come where I'll find the balance, and I'll find the motivation/energy/time to do the things I want to do. But until then, I'm going to enjoy my little man and the little time I find for myself - and to spend with Rob too. 

Just remember that no one is expecting you to able to do it all, in fact they think you're crazy to even try so just embrace the slow. So give in. Let go. Allow yourself this time because you never get it back.


Loving My Body For Him.

Monday, 22 January 2018

I was pretty open with sharing the way my body grew during pregnancy. For the first time, I kind of embraced the "big" and wore tight dresses, took half naked photos and just stopped sucking in my tummy and relaxed. I mean, at the beginning it's a pretty tough thing to accept that your body is changing and growing but once you come to terms with the fact that you have a wee babe growing in there, you just go with it.

Since Jackson has been earth side, I've noticed a change in me. I'm back to being critical about my body. My boobs are too big, my tummy is too soft. My clothes don't fit me properly, my body has been leaking for the last six weeks and when I try and take a nice photo of myself, I'm taking fifty photos and being dissatisfied with all of them. And it's ridiculous because you know what? I made a baby. A human. A little being. Then I pushed him out of my body and have been nurturing and nourishing him for the last six weeks. Me! My body. All by itself. And here I am being critical of it? Bizarre.

But it's a tough thing when you're confronted with images of these Mums who look amazing and seem to have it all together. And this is nothing new you guys, we all know the damage media can do. So that's why I'm making a stand. I'm going to share my body. Even though it's marked, soft and different to how it was over a year ago. Heck, it's different to how it was six weeks ago! That’s the thing, our bodies DO change. They grow, they shrink. They get hurt and heal and become scarred. They are nurtured, they are damaged. We treat them well, and sometimes we don't. But they are ours. And they are all so unique.

That's what I want to show Jackson. I think there is a lot of focus and emphasis on mothers teaching their daughters to be happy with their bodies, while forgetting that all children (regardless of gender) learn about body positivity from the people around them. And that there is pressure for all genders to look a certain way. We forget that men are just as affected by this "perfect body" mentality as we are.

I also want Jackson to learn that there are so many different ways that women can look, and they are all perfect. No, my body is not the same as my Mums. Or my friends. Or Kim Kardashian.s But that doesn't make it wrong, just different. By being happy with my body, not commenting on my "flaws" and treating it well, I hope that Jackson will learn to not only accept his just the way it is, but also others. And hey, it's a big call. There's only so much us Mums can do and it's a tough thing to ignore how society thinks we should look and behave but we can only do our best and by first accepting our own bodies and learning to love them as they are, we can only hope that our little ones learn by example.

Having The Talk.

Thursday, 18 January 2018

From the sounds of it, The Talk is a real thing. There's a point that you get to, where all new parents have to let off a little steam and be honest with their partner. Where it all kinda comes out and you end up feeling a bit shit but mostly better that you know how each other are feeling and that you can move forward and hopefully get a bit more balance back. 

The Talk is where you and your partner don’t really realise that staying at home and looking after the baby isn't less or more tiring than his forty hour week, it's just different (and bloody hard work). And it can go both ways. Don’t downplay how hard it is to be at home. Yeah they’ve been working all day but if they offer to change a nappy or give you a break, take it.

The Talk is where you have to tell your partner that it would be great if he could take the baby for half an hour so you can have time to yourself, instead of them jumping straight on the playstation or TV. It’s important they have their time too but when you’ve been with your baby for 10 hours straight, you’re entitled to the first rest.

The Talk is where you let them know that you can't cook, clean AND look after the baby (and yourself) and it would be really great if they could just take a bit of responsibility and look after you. 

The Talk is where you realise that you've probably been undermining their parenting techniques because you’re Mum and you've been with the bub all day and you know your baby better than anyone else. Even though they're Dad, the master of baby settling and can probably teach you a thing or two.

The Talk is where your partner admits that he's been feeling resentful because you're the one that can feed the baby and no matter how hard they try, eventually the baby comes back to the boob (ie you.) And they feel left out or less important.

The Talk is where you have to explain that you being short or grumpy has nothing to do with them or the baby, you're just bloody tired.

The Talk is where you remind your partner that your life has done a complete flip and you don't even recognise it anymore. No more lazy lie ins, leisurely coffees or eight hour sleeps. You've gone from being able to be selfish, to barely making it into the shower most days. And while they enjoy their full nights sleep and ability to go out whenever they want, you just want to remind them how your life has changed.

The Talk is when it comes to your attention that your partner is also trying to wrap their head around being a parent and they are slowly understanding that they don't have the freedom they used to. No more just "popping down to the mall" or going out for dinner. There are bags to be packed, a baby to be feed and settled and hopefully put to sleep (because we all know that outings go a lot more smoothly when the baby is asleep). And if your little babe starts screaming in the car because they're hungry but they've also just pooed through their nappy, clothes and YOU, you come to the realisation that sometimes you've just gotta stay home.

The Talk is where you realise that, both of you have been harbouring some feelings of resentment and anger towards each other and you don't really like where your relationship is potentially heading.

The Talk is when you and your partner figure out that, being parents means different things for both of you but that doesn't mean that it won't work together. There are so many ways of parenting and there is no wrong or right, just different.

The Talk is when, at the end of the day, you do know how much you love each other, how much you love your baby and how much you want it all to work. So you compromise. You kiss. You hug. Maybe even a little fist pump? And you get it done. Because that's what being a parent is all about.


Kate, Get Off Google.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

I wouldn't say that I'm a control freak, but I do like knowing what's going on so I can prepare/plan appropriately. And generally I'd say that knowledge is power, but I'm actually not too sure anymore. I actually kinda feel like, sometimes, too much information isn't a good thing. 

The moment you find out that you're pregnant, you're pumped full of information. Of things that you can and can't do, what you can eat, what will happen, how the baby is developing. So naturally, you worry about what you're eating, whether you baby is normal, whether you and your pregnancy are normal. And then once baby is born, it's the same. But what people seem to forget is that every mum is different. Every baby is different. And every mum/baby combo is different. So while there might be an average baby that they base research and information on, chances are, that baby is not your baby.

It can be really hard to remember that. You want to fit the mould. You want your baby to be sleeping through like that other baby and you want to hear that yours is pooing just as much as someone else's. And then when they don't, you google. Because if your baby isn't like that baby then there must be something wrong right? Ha! Well when I heard from my midwife that a normal baby poos from eight times a day to once a week, I really did realise that there is a huge spectrum of "normal" and most of the time, you'll fit in it. And sometimes babies do things that are different and that's normal too.

At my discharge appointment with my midwife, I told her that Jackson wasn't sleeping as much as he used to in the day, in fact he was really alert and hard to put to sleep. And she said, oh - that's because he'll probably be up for about 2 hours at a time now. See! Change! Here I was, frantically trying to get the poor little guy to sleep because I had read that newborns should only be awake for about 45mins to an hour otherwise they get overtired. I was completely ignoring Jackson's signals and just going off what I had read. We were swaddling and shushing, and stressing that he wouldn't sleep but Jackson hadn't yawned once! No wonder he wasn't sleeping, he just wanted to hang out with his parents. And since I've started really paying attention to what HE wants, our relationship is a lot better. I'm more relaxed and easy going, and he's content and awake, and goes to sleep happily and tired.

It's really made me wonder, what would happen if we just ignored the advice and research, and just followed what our babies wanted? If we just let go, got off Google and enjoyed them. If we stopped comparing our baby's sleep or feeding pattern to someone else, and did what felt right. And I'm not sure if this kind of attitude just works for newborns when they're still so fresh and changing all the time. It's always hard when development and routine comes into it because I guess, you want to make sure you're doing the right thing by them. But then again, they all start eating/walking/talking at different times, all kids have different brains and subjects they enjoy and are good at. So maybe we just need to trust our instincts a bit more and go with what feels right.

For me, it's going to take awhile to fully embrace this new way of thinking. A bit of brain rewiring is going to be needed to be done, but I can already see the benefit in adopting a more free-flowing attitude so I'll just have to try my best! I know there is a bit of a fine line between being ignorant and going with what feels right in an informed way, so I think it's going to be about finding more of a balance. And probably, looking things up if we are having a problem or can't figure out what's wrong, rather than pre-empting issues that MIGHT pop up. Making sure that I understand the big developmental moments and how to deal with them, but also realising that little Jackson does know what he's doing and sometimes, the best thing to do is follow his lead. 


A Letter to My Husband

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Rob, thank you. Thank you for understanding me. Thank you for not expecting too much of me, only knowing that I'm doing the best I can. Thank you for letting me cry, for taking Jackson when I need a break, for kissing my forehead and telling me that I'm doing an amazing job.

I know you've always wanted to be a Dad, but to see you fully embrace your new role has been unlike anything else. And not only have you stepped up as a Dad, but as a husband as well. You've not just taken on the title of "Jackson's Put-to-Sleeper" but you also are the ultimate "Kate Calmer-Downer." I have the tendency to overthink everything, to want to do it all right and I really beat myself up when I don't feel like I'm doing a good job. But your "go with the flow" attitude has really helped ground me, especially when we're on hour FOUR of a cluster feeding session. Or he just won't settle and we can't figure out why. Turns out, that's just what babies do - but your patience helps me get through it.

You've taught me to loosen up, to remind myself that whatever I'm doing is what he needs, that what I'm doing is enough. You encourage me to laugh at the mistakes we make, at the messes he makes, at the silly moments. And to know that you feel the same as me, in terms of connecting with Jackson and it taking a bit of time makes me feel a little less alone.

For me, your support is not just physical. Yes, I really appreciate it when you take him in the middle of the night to change him and put him back to sleep. And when I need a break, I love watching you both together while you settle him. But for me, what is important is that you're here. And that I know you're not only here for Jackson, but for me too. I know a lot of solo parents struggle through it alone, and I am in awe of them because I honestly don't know what I'd do without you. I feel so lucky to be part of a team with you, and that's how I feel our parenthood will continue. We're in this together, he's OUR little boy and we've got this.

So thank you. Thank you for being exactly what I need, and the perfect Daddy for our wee man. I love you. We love you.
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