Making Time For Us.

Sunday, 24 June 2018

If there's one thing that tests a relationship, it's introducing a child into the mix. When it's just been you for awhile, it's hard to know how everything will change when two becomes three. You have your routines. Your way of doing things. You're selfish and indulgent. You do the things you want, you spend time how you please and you don't really need to think about anyone else apart from the two of you.

And then a baby comes along, and priorities change. Sleep is fleeting. Maybe you don't even sleep in the same bed anymore. One of you is at home parenting, the other is working. Maybe both of you are working. You can't just come home and blob, there are responsibilities and your time is no longer your own. Leisurely couch time in front of the TV is a thing of the past and has been swapped with bath and story time.  Nights are spent winding down, feeding in bed, taking turns trying to get your baby to sleep. Mornings are spent with one of you playing, the other quickly showering and with a quick distracted peck (if you're lucky) but often just a "bye babe" as your partner races out the door, your days have started. Days are spent just trying to get things done, with rushing from here to there without any real time to "be."

And "you time" - what even is that? A foreign concept, that's for sure. It is SO hard time find time. For anything. For talking, for intimacy. And I'm not even talking sex (because we all know that's not anyone's first priority and also, just quickly can we talk about how much that first time bloody hurts? Like, my body had definitely not forgiven me for pushing out a near 4kg baby and was not keen for anything else to be in that general area. And we waited nearly 12 weeks! When do you even do it anyway? If we can finally get Jackson to sleep not on us, getting myself to sleep ie. blackout is my first priority). Anyway, when I say intimacy, I'm talking just a good old cuddle and maybe a make out sesh on the couch. If you do find a minute to yourselves, there's always something else that's more important. Well actually, I'm sure Rob would much rather have a kiss rather than do the dishes but (and I don't know if it's just me) I've never been able to relax fully when my mental to-do list is not done. But I've realised something, and that's that I actually need to start making more of an effort.

Everyone says that when you have a baby, they should be the most important person in your life. Of course, they didn't ask to be born. It's your responsibility to give them the best life you can because YOU chose to have them. No one else. But, and you guys know I'm a firm believer of this... A happy mum means a happy child. And more than that, a happy home means a happy family which leads to a happy child. When Mum and Dad, or Mum and Mum, or Dad and Dad aren't happy, when they aren't connected or feel like they aren't on the same page, the balance is off and mood can be low. Instead of tackling problems together, heads butt and tempers rise. Resentment builds up, and parenting becomes this individual journey instead of a team effort.

So this weekend, we went on a date. We only had two hours, but we went to the movies and we took time to ourselves. We contemplated staying home to tidy up the house but decided we deserved to go out. We deserved to treat ourselves to something, to just relax and enjoy each others company. To be fully present together instead of one of us holding Jackson while the other did something else. There's a lot of "can you while I" as parents, which is totally fine - it's the only way to get any shit done. But it's so important to also prioritise time spent together. The best environment to bring a child into is a happy and loving one. Their first example of love is between their parents so we owe it to them (and of course us) to really look after and nurture our relationship. So have the date night and don't feel guilty. Spend time working on your relationship. Because if shit hits the fan, or things pop up, you need to be able to support and work through it together - rather than clash because you've been living separate lives that are only connected by your baby.

How do you guys ensure that your relationship with your partner gets the time that it needs? Or don't you? Because I know the struggle. Is. Real. But man, it's important.

What Mum Looks Like On Me.

Friday, 15 June 2018

I've been following a lot of rad ladies on insta that talk about body image and positivity and it's made me realise something. Obviously, the media has really screwed up the way we think about what our bodies - this is no secret. But I guess I've had an "ah ha" moment and realised that the reason why there is this "ideal body" that we're all trying to achieve is because companies want us to feel inadequate enough that we'll buy their products, sign up to their programs, pay for their treatments in the hopes of getting closer to how we THINK we should look. And worst of all, a lot of the time these products/programs/treatments don't even work or help us get to where we think we should be. Because funnily enough, for some of us it's genetically and biologically it's impossible for some of us to look the way the media thinks we should look. And this whole "ideal" is causing eating disorders, body dysmorphia and depression. Because for some, it's unattainable. No matter how hard we try. And that's okay! Our bodies aren't supposed to look the same otherwise we'd all be born exactly the same size and shape. At birth, body diversity is celebrated so why isn't it for the rest of our lives?

The reason I'm talking about this is because I've been thinking a lot about life now as a Mum. About the changes my body has made since carrying and birthing a child. How I can't wear the clothes I used to because they're not easy to breastfeed in. That it's not practical to have my hair down or straightened because Jackson will just pull it. How I haven't worn perfume in months because I'm conscious of it being too strong for him. Life has changed, it's been completely flipped on it's head and yet, there is still this pressure to be the "super mum."

The media portrays the mum who can do it all. Who isn't letting mum life get in the way of her career. A working mum that is mumming like she hasn't got a job, and working like she hasn't got children. Who goes to the gym. Who wears a size 8/10 max. Who bounced back from her baby bod within nine months. Who meal preps, showers daily and only drinks tea and eats salads. Who gets her eyebrows done and wears make up daily. Who shows up without vomit/poo/food stains on her clothes. Whose baby only wears designer clothes. Who is part of a Mum squad that only includes other Mums who can "do it all."

And hey, there are some mums who have it down. Who prioritise how they and their babies look. Who make time in their day to look presentable because that's important to them. And that is their reality. But that isn't the ONLY mum reality. And it's not one that we should feel like we have to achieve. In fact, mine looks a lot different. See, mine includes unplucked eyebrows and an overgrown undercut. There's almost always a "mum bun" involved and my boobs are falling out of my ill-fitting maternity bra 99% of the time (if anyone has any AMAZING maternity bra suggestions for a G cup, hit me up because I am SICK of it). My clothes generally have questionable stains on them, and you'll often find me with a flannel down my bra because I can't afford to buy breast pads every week. Comfy pants are a must and I'm lucky if I can manage matching socks. 

I do manage to have a shower every morning otherwise I feel like a total mess but I know that's not everyone's priority. Some mums can't start their day without a coffee. Others want to begin their day with a home workout or a walk. For some, a rushed donut is their idea of a balanced breakfast while others are sitting down to a big bowl of porridge. And that's what I'm saying. Mum life looks different on everyone. It doesn't make anyone less or more of a Mum. It doesn't mean that the yoga mum is any better than the one whose been in PJs all day. My goodness, we all have a common goal and that is keeping our wee kiddies alive. And if we're doing that then I think we all get the Super Mama award. Every. Bloody. Day.

Moving Backward to Come Forward.

Monday, 11 June 2018

Here's the deal. Working from home while also being a stay at home 24/7 is a bloody mission. It's stressful. It's draining. It's confusing and if I'm honest, it's been a bit shit. I've spoken before about trying to find the balance and struggling. Well, I'm giving up. Or giving in? Either way, I've realised that I can't do it. And I'm not sure I want to.

When I imagined getting back into work I had a baby who had a predictable sleeping schedule. And I don't mean sleeping through the night, just that when he went to sleep, he'd stay asleep, by himself, for the amount of time he normally sleeps. And he was like that. But then we hit the four month regression (or something) and my nights disappeared. And so did my mornings. He's up every 1-3hrs, and won't really settle at night until I get into bed with him to sleep. Which means sometimes I'm in bed at 7pm or 8pm because that's the only way he'll settle. The mornings are similar, sometimes he'll go back to sleep after his 5am wakeup for a couple of hours, but others he'll need to be rocked/sung too/patted/shushed to get back to sleep. Then he'll wake up an hour later. And don't even talk to me about day naps. If I can get manage to get him to nap OFF me then it's a miracle.

Meanwhile, deadlines are getting missed, time frames are extended and I'm becoming too exhausted to actually get any work done. When I can find an extra hour in my day it's not spent in front of my computer catching up, it's frantically trying to do the dishes or put washing on or indulging in a cup of luke warm tea. There isn't really space in my life for work, unless I head on over to my in-laws for the day. But that's usually once a week and honestly, it's not enough. It's not enough because I'd rather use that day to get our house in order, or to do the groceries, or maybe to just hang out with my in-laws and watch them with Jackson. And it's hard because creativity and inspiration comes and goes, and sometimes it's not hanging out on the day that I need it.

I thought I NEEDED to work. To fuel my creativity. To keep my brain active. To fulfil my passion but all it is doing is ruining my experience as a first time Mum. I resent Jackson. I get annoyed because he needs to be sleeping so I can do my work. I'm frustrated when he won't do what I want because I KNOW that people are relying on me and I'm letting them down. How is that fair? On anyone? It isn't. 

Luckily we have a mortgage which means we have a bit of flexibility when it comes to finances. I mean obviously, we need to be earning money to pay it and our bills, but we're also able to borrow/refinance/top up. And while it's not the ideal situation, and we're going backwards a bit I think it's only going to benefit us. Money will be tight, we'll have to make sacrifices but I can only see positives in this decision. I WANT to be a stay at home Mum. Rob wants me to stay at home. I want to lie in with Jackson, to have a slow day without worrying about a "to do" list. I want to take him to visit family without thinking about all the emails I have to reply to. I'd like to actually watch him roll around on his play-mat instead of quickly trying to respond to enquiries and send files off. And if we can, then why not? He's only going to be little for such a short amount of time and when he's off to kindy, I'll be able to pick things back up again. 

The other thing is that we have been talking about Baby Key #2 and if we do decide to try for another baby, we'll be looking at the end of the year. Which means that everything will get turned on it's head again and we'll have to re-evaluate once more. I've been worried about losing momentum, about becoming irrelevant and disappearing when I worked so hard to build up a reputation. But you know what? I can get it back. Of course I can. Who's to say that I can't take a couple of years off and jump back into things when we're in a better position to? And you know, I might not even want to work as a freelancer anymore. Who knows! But I'm not happy with the amount of pressure and stress I'm putting on myself when I don't NEED to. 

So there we go. I've dropped some contracts, and am wrapping up projects. I've decided I won't go full cold turkey, if projects pop up that I'm really excited about and am happy to sacrifice time for, that I feel I can manage then I'll go for it. But I'm going to start saying no. To stop being scared of disappearing or losing opportunities. I know that I might be putting a hold on my career, but it's in exchange for fully experiencing Jacksons first few years of life and that's a trade off I'm willing to make. 
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