{The Nest Writes} What I wish I knew before her

Before having children I thought I was complete. I liked myself, my husband and the little life we were building together. We were two people that together faced the world and lived a life of adventure, travel and snuggly movie nights on the lounge.

Our life was lovely, but we decided not long after being married that it was time we extended our family to include a new little human.

Putting aside the fact that creating a human life is absolutely tremendous and amazing, it is a pretty damn extraordinary that a whole person (or three!) would not exist if my husband and I had never met.

Like most young couples we were excited and nervous to start trying, thankfully we didn’t have to wait long before those little blue lines confirmed that our lives would be changing forever.

I don’t think you can ever prepare yourself for the introduction of a child into your life, I know for sure that no matter how many books you read or how many classes you attend that you never will really know the power of a child on your life until you hold your own babe in your arms.

Having been around children my whole life (I was the oldest of five, with my brother being 12 years younger than me!) I thought I was all over it. I knew how to change a dirty nappy, how to prepare a bottle. I knew how to read nursery rhymes and how to wash singlets. They are all the things I knew how to do, but parenthood is so very much more than that. It’s so much more than the things to do, it’s the feels that are the strongest.family

So, I wrote this letter to pre-baby me…

Dear Me,

So, you’re going to be a mum. Congratulations!

I need you to know though, you are about to change in more ways than you will ever really know. Parenthood is overwhelming and suffocating. It is the longest marathon of your life, blended seamlessly with numerous amounts of sprints that are over before you know it. It is empowering and satisfying. Devastating and uplifting.

I think the part you are likely to struggle with the most, is the eternally paramount urge to worry. You will worry about everything. Has your baby eaten enough, does she weigh enough, is that rash normal, is she smiling early enough. That’s the strangest part, the worry begins long before you even held her in your arms. You will worry about the foods you eat during pregnancy, worry about how many kicks you feel, worry about giving your new little person a name and how that name will grow with her over the years.

The worrying during parenthood is completely overwhelming, it never truly ends. To be honest you have always had a moderate level of anxiety that you have managed quite well during your life, but be prepared for the fact that suddenly those anxiety levels are going to be heightened exponentially.

Elizabeth Stone once said that “Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” I really believe that no truer words have ever been spoken. Once you have a child you are no longer one. There is a part of you that exists outside of yourself.

That is the really difficult thing to get used to, the fact that you are responsible for another entire human life. A few days after her birth, your husband will return to work. The visitors will stop coming. It will just be you and your little pink bundle left alone together. The responsibility you feel will be encompassing, but my darling, so too is your instinct. That’s the thing no one really tells you about. Deep inside, somehow, you just know what to do.

Don’t get me wrong, it is not easy! but, somehow you survive. You learn, you develop, you grow.

After a couple of days you will know her tired cry and her hungry squeal. You will learn that she likes to be patted on the back when going to sleep and does not like her feet being touched. You will learn that she likes cuddles but won’t fall asleep in your arms. Like anything it will get easier the more time that goes by.

Darling, the challenges are strong; the lack of sleep is a killer. Everything is worse when you are tired, everything is harder, everything is tougher. I promise though, it doesn’t last forever. One day, when you don’t even realise, it is you who wakes during the night and not your baby. Then the next night the same thing happens until one morning you wake up and realise you both slept throughout the whole night.

I just say, take the time to breathe in those sleepy moments, while it may not feel like it when you are buried in the trenches of sleeplessness, those little moments of you and your baby in the cool hours of the morning will be gone before you realise. The dark mornings are quiet and a wonderfully brilliant time to bond. There is no distraction, just you and your little one.

As they grow the worrying just gets worse, on their first day of school you are likely to cry, not because you are necessarily sad but because you are proud, you are realising your little baby is growing into a unique little person of her own. You will not be able to fight their battles for them, nor make sure everyone is nice. You little person needs to find their own place in the world. Just know though, you have done everything you can to prepare her.

You heart will bound when she takes her first steps, starts to run and learns to jump. Just as you start to think she no longer need you, a little voice will cry out for you in the night and you will be reminded that the little part of you on the outside is still only young and vulnerable and in desperate need of her mummy.

Your heart will break the first time she comes home crying because someone was mean to her. You will want to fight the battle for her and march into the school, but instead you have to teach her to be brave. Teach her to stay strong and teach her to take a stand.

Above all, the most devastating moment of your life will be when she gets hurt. It will literally feel like you are breaking into a million pieces. The pain associated with a sick child is nearly unbearable and you will feel desperately hopeless. on the flip-side there is no moment greater in life than seeing your child healthy and, even more importantly happy.

It is so easy to become engulfed in your new little person but remember those other people around you. Make time to be with your husband. A baby is an extension of your relationship, not the only glue that joins you together. You had a wonderful life together before so work hard to keep that spark alive. It will be hard, but he is worth it. You are worth it.

You will realise how easy it is to make sacrifices for another person. The last piece of cake, the rest of your pay check, the chance to go exploring the world yourself. Funny enough though, the price you pay in sacrifice is nothing compared to what you get in return.

So, my dear, you will never be the same, but you will be a better kind of different. You will learn patience and resilience. You will instinctively become protective of this small little human. You will forever be changed because a little part of you is now roaming around on the outside. Don’t give yourself too many heavy expectations, just aim to raise a little person who is happy and kind. She doesn’t need to be the best at everything, really at the base of it, she just need not be a jerk.

Embrace it the journey. AND remember, sleep is for the weak.

Love from,

Post-child you. 

Audrey&Mama

{The Legal Nest} What am I worth?

Today our Legal advice contributor James Horsburgh, Solicitor and Director from McIntosh McPhillamy & Co in Bathurst talks all things Family Law Property Settlement.

James has over 10 years experience and practices primarily in the areas of Family law, Criminal law and litigation. He is a Law Society Accredited Specialist in Family Law, essentially making him an expert in that field.

James is married and has two children. He is extensively involved in the local community and loves fighting the good fight.
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PROPERTY SETTLEMENT – WHAT IS A CONTRIBUTION?

Have you ever wondered how the Courts determine what your contributions are worth when deciding on a property settlement? Well, the Courts take many things into consideration. money tree

Contributions are assessed during three (3) stages of the relationship, these are:

  1. Contributions prior to the commencement of the relationship.
  2. Contributions made during the relationship.
  3. Contributions made after separation.

A question I am often asked is, does the court just look at financial contributions? The answer is no. Ultimately the court looks at three (3) types of contributions, these are:

  1. Financial Contributions
    • E.g a party’s earnings, or money or other assets brought into the relationship.
  2. Non-financial contributions
    • Contributions made directly or indirectly, by or on behalf of a party, to the acquisition, conservation or improvement of any of the property that the parties have.
  3. Contributions to the welfare of the family
    • Contributions made by either party in their capacity as homemaker or parent.

The significance or the weight which is afforded to any particular contribution is a matter for the court. However, in reaching an outcome which is fair and reasonable, it is not sufficient to say that “I have paid for everything, he/she should get nothing!”.

If you want more information about the contributions that you have made to your relationship, please do not hesitate to contact James at McIntosh McPhillamy & Co on 6331 1533 or email him directly at jhorsburgh@mcmc.com.au

James blog

{The Nest Rant} To the super helpful 20-something…

| R A N T W A R N I N G |

This is to the SUPER helpful 20-something that told me yesterday in the supermarket that I “shouldn’t be SO stressed with my three little girls because her brother works fulltime, has four kids and handles it just fine”. Well woo-fucking-hoo.

You know what you tiny, clean, non-pelvic-floor-compromised person GET FUCKED. Don’t judge me, until you have walked in my shoes you don’t get an opinion. I have kept three little humans alive. Plus, they even usually use their manners. Like yesterday when they didn’t tell you to mind your own goddamn business.

I have pushed three children (including one just under five kilograms) out my very own vagine. My body has fed them. My brain has taught them. My mind has nurtured them. My heart loves them. So, if I’m a little stressed you don’t know what got me to that point.

Your brother might be doing a fantastic job and good on him, but I am doing my goddamn best and some days we eat spaghetti on toast for dinner. Whoa! I know that must be devastating to hear to a judgmental know-it-all like yourself.

You know what, I get to wake up everyday and see what it is like to be loved by a tiny squad of people I made myself and you have EXACTLY no idea how good that feels.

It may have been my choice to have children, but babez, it is also my choice not to listen to you and your small mindedness.parent3

End rant.