{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

{This is life} What to do in your dead time

Successful people seems to have this whole time management thing down pat. Seriously, you don’t hear people like Oprah or Richard Branson twiddling their thumbs between meetings and making paper aeroplanes do you?

Well, I reckon, in my highly unqualified yet enthusiastic opinion that these people know how to utilise time in their day for better purposes. You know when you do your things during the day, brush your teeth, drop the kids at school, have a shower and then the little bits of time between doing those daily tasks is a thing I call ‘dead time’.

Dead time is often only a few minutes but it is time that can easily be absorbed by doing nothing, or you know twiddling thumbs and making paper aeroplanes. It took me a while to realise (because I am el-averageo at maths) that just five minutes a day of dead time adds up to 35 minutes a week or nearly two and half hours a month. If you really want to get drastic it is 30 hours a year! So there is 30 hours of your year that is just dead time.

It is unlikely you are relaxing because any good chilling takes more than five minutes to achieve. You’re not likely to be doing anything particularly effective, nor are you likely to be motivated. So, that my friends is where dead time comes in.

You can choose to utilise your dead time in a magnitude of ways. I have recently found that doing a little bit of mental health rehab during my dead time has assisted me greatly.

LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE

I have discovered a love of TED Talks. The talks are brilliant and I literally dare you to not be interested in at least one of the talks. TED talks are based on the philosophy of ‘Ideas Worth Spreading’. These talks range from motivational to emotional, moving to inspirational. The cover form and function, emotion and technology. They are a brilliant way to learn a lot about something in a very short amount of time.

If you like listening then I am sure you could find a podcast that is to your liking. Podcasts are literally everywhere and are the easiest way to find out about anything you have ever wondered about. The topics and content associated with podcasts are varied and often unexpected but informative and entertaining. You can listen to commercial radio or investigations into crime. You can learn about cosmic energy or learn about each song the Spice Girls ever made. They are great to listen to while driving or even vacuuming. Keep you brain active and you will be rewarded – well at least your trivia game will be next level strong.

LIST IT

If you take a couple of minutes of dead time and prepare a couple of lists of things that need to be done you will shortly realise how much of a big difference that can make to you. Just a simple list of house chores or a grocery list can help assist your mind to be clear. I find the simplest list of all is preparing a meal plan breakdown for our family. If I do this I save myself from the ridiculous anxiety of having to think what to feed the family every night, it doesn’t seem like much but it really makes a difference.

list

MEDITATE LIKE A BOSS

Meditation is the simplest way to achieve clarity and possible the best way to utilise five minutes of dead time. There are a bunch of apps that can help get you in your happy place and recharge you quicker than you can say ‘I need 8 hours sleep’. Check out the ‘buddhify’ ‘Calm’ or ‘Headspace’ Apps to get you started.

TAKE ME TO BED

Make your bed. This job literally takes three minutes at the ABSOLUTE maximum and makes you feel good all bloody day.

bed

CLUTTER IN THE GUTTER

Choose a place in your house and chuck the crap. I find the handbag is the el-grando cluttering spot in my house – that or the dining table so I often spend no more than two minutes literally chucking out the receipts and bits of paper that clutter your house and build up without you really knowing. You generally don’t need more than a couple of minutes to really make a big difference.

CUP OF LIFE

Make a cup of tea and just sit. Don’t let it get cold on the bench. Don’t talk a phone call. Just make a full cup of tea and drink it in one sitting. Often as a parent you don’t prioritise the power of a cuppa but those Brits are on to something I am sure of it. In my house we have recently implemented the following motto “first we drink the tea then we do the things”.

tea

LANGUAGE UP

Did you ever think you could learn a language in just a few minutes everyday? Download an app and then just learn a word or two a day. You might not be speaking fluent Japanese within a week but you will eventually get there. Eventually you can improve your skill by reading a newspaper online in the language that you are learning. Just a few minutes can make your tongue more talented.

JOURNAL

Get a journal and write in it. Sounds simple enough doesn’t it? Well, all the cool kids are doing it because once you write something it sticks with you. Did you know schools like Harvard actually refuse to let their students take notes on computers – rather telling them to bring a notepad and pen. Write down your feelings, write down your day, heck just write what you are grateful for. A good mind makes for good health.

journal

BE MINDFUL

The moment you recognise how much difference can be made by just doing little things in your dead time the more successful you will be. Being mindful is not something you will learn overnight but I promise once you realise how much more valuable your time can be you will realise its importance and just how quickly it can add up.

 

*IMAGES: Pinterest*

{The Nest Writes} Why it’s okay to have a favourite child

5coco

Parental guilt is an absolute bitch. It doesn’t matter what you do, nobody gives a shit. You will be made to feel guilty from the moment you push that little sucker out your front bum or from the moment they cut you to pull them out. You will feel guilty if you adopt, you will feel guilty if you had a surrogate. Parental guilt is overwhelming and a real pain in the life.

So here’s a hot tip on one less thing to feel guilty about. I’m going to scream this loud and proud – It is COMPLETELY acceptable to have a favourite child.

I say this because I have three children and at various times they are all my favourite.

My oldest is my favourite. She is wonderful and kind. She is also the one I like taking shopping. She is patient and thoroughly enjoys  the shopping experience. She loves clothes and shoes. She is pleasant and friendly to shop assistants and loves to give her ‘expert’ opinion on whichever outfit I try on. She will happily sit in the car for three hours while we travel to Sydney just to get a bargain at the end of financial year sales. She is my favourite child for shopping with.

The middle born is my favourite. Whenever I go somewhere new I want her by my side. She is approachable and outgoing. She is the first to introduce herself and break the ice. Nothing is too hard and she will dive in head first. At a party she will remember to say thank you and move around the room sidling up to everyone from the baby to the grandpa just to say g’day.  During her first swimming lesson she didn’t hesitate and I didn’t have to negotiate with her to climb into the pool, she just jumped and I only just managed to peel her shoes off her feet before she bounded in. She is my favourite child in new situations.audrey2111162logo

The youngest is my favourite. She is the most charming of all my children and loves to help out. Whenever I cook she plonks herself on the bench (hello parental guilt alert because she will probably fall off) and enjoys passing ingredients and mixing our concoctions in the kitchen. She will spend hours helping me roll dough for school lunch scrolls, she will gently pour milk into the mixing bowl when we make custard or help peel carrots. She loves nothing more than helping me pack and unload the dishwasher and carrying laundry out to the line. She is my favourite helper.

My oldest is my favourite. She is caring. She will bound out of bed on a Sunday morning and look after the younger two by preparing their breakfast and turning on the television so mummy and daddy can have a sleep in.

My middle child is my favourite because she takes pleasure in feeding the dogs everyday and that means I don’t have to.

My youngest is my favourite because she doesn’t rip tissues anymore.

My oldest is my favourite because she loves going to cafes.anni2logo-copy

My middle child is my favourite because she eats just about everything and isn’t fussy.

My youngest is my favourite because she sings twinkle twinkle little star with more gusto than Pavarotti.

See, you don’t need to feel guilty about having a favourite child because they aren’t your favourite ALL of the time.

Think of it this way, you have a circle of friends and you enjoy doing certain things with specific friends. Like I have one friend who I love a coffee and a gossip with, another who I could call night or day for any reason, another for drunken nights  and another for parenting chats.

You shouldn’t feel guilty for realising that each one of your children are your favourite for different reasons. The moment you realise that, is the exact time that you will feel a little less parental guilt burden. Guaranteed.

watercolour

{This is life} Why I run to save my mind

This is an article contributed by one of our fabulous nesters. She chooses to remain anonymous, and we are super okay with that! So, let’s keep it positive and supportive and let her know she is not alone x

watercolourPreface: I wrote this not because I’m pro running or I wanted to encourage people to exercise. Not because I wanted to shame people who sleep train or those who don’t. I wrote this for the all mums who are at their wits end. To the ones who don’t get regular breaks from their children. To the ones whose kids don’t sleep. The ones who feel their control slipping, their world crumbling. The ones who are dying inside.

You, you reading right now, you’ve got this.

You can.

So find what works and do it! Do it every damn day until everything finds its place. I promise that this too shall pass xxx

Let’s talk exercise. It’s always been proudly a word that wasn’t in my vocabulary. Although I consider myself an fairly active person, I mow the lawns, walk my boys to school and I’ve always been the mum that chases her kids at the park. But I’m talking formal exercise. The kind the makes me sweat. A lot. To be honest, it’s not really my cup of tea.

Last year in August I found my mental health slipping, my youngest was nine months and had never really slept, he was, and still is really hard work. My gorgeous little bundle of joy has been a right handful since the day I met him. My baby, he doesn’t like to be carried or cuddled but at the same time doesn’t want you out of sight! Before he could move on his own that would make for a stupidly hard situation. Pick him up to carry him he would thrash and squirm and squeal. Walk to put the washing on and not take him with you?

Stage 10 meltdown.

What am I supposed to do with that?

Getting him to sleep was hard. He never wanted to be cuddled to sleep. He wouldn’t lay in our bed. I couldn’t bare to leave him to cry. How was I supposed to get this kid to sleep? Everyday,  for every sleep I would put him in the cot. He would cry. I would pick him up and try to cuddle him and he would squirm until I put him back down.

Over and over and over.

Sometimes I could power walk him around the house in the carrier, but he was getting heavy and once he was asleep apin drop would wake him. I could never transfer him to the cot, so I would have to sit slumped over with him asleep on my back crying, balling.

The struggle was real.

I was convinced I had post natal depression. I went to the doctor. I begged for help. I asked anyone that would listen for more than five minutes. No one had any advice. Usually as a parent you are surrounded by people who love to dish out unsolicited parenting advice but when you actually ask for it you get nothing.

Tresillan was all I was offered over and over. I read their parent information book so many times. Their sleep School techniques just weren’t for me.

I yelled at my husband. I blamed him because I couldn’t make it work. I was being pushed into a corner, being forced to do something I didn’t want to do because the alternative was dire, really dire. I was on the edge.

It effected my whole life. I couldn’t remember taking my older boy to school. I would constantly lose things.

My patience was gone.

When the baby did finally sleep, I would lay there so consumed by my exhaustion it was take hours for me to drift off. I was the kind of tired that “here I’ll take you baby for an hour just couldn’t fix” I would laugh at the suggestion, not that it was offered often. Unless you’re taking him for a week, there’s no need to bother. That hour would only be used laying in bed thinking, trying to fall asleep only to have the knock on the door and reality to be staring me back in the face.

I went to a therapist, I told her I was depressed. She assured me that is was indeed just suffering from extreme exhaustion.

It takes a village to raise a baby and my village is small, really small. I passed the baton and that was it. It was my husband’s turn.

My husband,  my hero.

He took the night shift from that day, very day. Every shift. For the next month I slept, every night. I woke up every time the baby made a sound but I slowly drifted back off.

After two weeks, I decided I was going to make a change. I couldn’t just hope forever that sleep was coming. I was now convinced that the baby would never sleep through the night and this was my forever.

So, I started running.shoes

I mostly started because listening to him wake up and cry, killed me. It was a reminder that although the nights are over, the days are here, I was on my own and they were even harder.

Every morning at 5am he would wake up screaming.

So. I set my alarm for 4:30am and run.

I ran from my problems, I ran from the baby and his cries, I ran from my life.

The problem is as I mentioned earlier, I had never actually exercised before. So, really, technically, I didn’t run. I walked, ran, stopped for a stitch and hobbled.

Then came home.  Every day.

Now I can run.

Now the baby sleeps through the night and he doesn’t wake up crying (probably because he sleeps through the night) and now when strangers say “what a happy baby” I don’t feel the urge to kick them in the shin.

Monday to Saturday  6 days a week I run. Not far. Only about 2.5kms to the end of my street and back.

Some days it’s easy, some days it’s hard.

I haven’t lost any weight and let me assure you, I’m not very good at it. You know those coordinated women on the Nike ad? Yeah, no, nothing like that. But everyday I get up and give it a go because I want my kids to know that even though they are hard work, it’s all about attitude. It’s all about trying, giving it a solid go. Not giving up when shits really fucking hard and to never ever be afraid to ask for help!

I found Instagram a place of inspiration and in particular @mrs_paulie. She is a powerhouse and has been my girl crush for so long it’s boardline stalkerish, check her out!

So on that note, Peace lovers This rad bitch is going for a run xxx

watercolour

 

{Parenting} Post natal neglect

Could this be the case? Could it be true that post natal depression is neglect?

I certainly believe this is probably the case.

This article, Post partum depression by Claudia Gold MD is certainly worth reading.

post

Maybe it is society who needs to be diagnosed?

What do you think?

{My Story} The crippling effect of post-natal anxiety

Today is World Mental Health Day and talking about my experience with post-natal depression and anxiety is difficult but if I don’t and someone else is feeling this way and thinks it is normal that is not okay. After my third daughter was born I lost myself for a while and it was genuinely the most scary time of my life.   group

The alarm sounds and I wake from a broken sleep. I don’t even know what time I eventually got to sleep, plus the baby woke four times.

An ache controls my entire body. Continue reading

{The Nest Buys} Seriously Milestones

Friend is having a baby – check

Did receive baby shower invite – check

Am shit at choosing present – check

Enter saviors at Spilt Milk Interiors & Lifestyle – check

Purchase and have delivered to my door without leaving my glamorous pyjama no-bra situation ‘SERIOUSLY – MILESTONE CARDS’

Automatically look like champion gift giver-er person – check.milestone

Pop over and grab some today!

STOCKISTS: Spilt Milk Interiors & Lifestyle

Email | spiltmilkinteriors@hotmail.com

Phone | 0478 013 108