A working mumma

Sick babes
I’m literally typing this as my three-year-old runs rampant round the house, unable to play for ONE MINUTE ALONE. Why? Why is it that when you’re on the floor with them they’re happy to use their imagination and couldn’t really give two hoots you’ve got into character and Rubble is ready to be on the double, but the minute you decide to cook dinner/check your emails/write a blog they can not possibly do anything alone?

Anyway, I digress. I actually jumped on to tell you I have a new title: Working mumma of two.

That’s right peeps, I am once again an active member of the paid workforce, paying my taxes and shit. Yip.

Last week was my first week back since having Beau and my first week back juggling two crazies, work and just life in general.

It was far from how I imagined it would be because not only did I go back to work, but I went back in a completely new role. Haha, yeah. Because that was a good idea.

To their credit they prepared me with a day’s training and then were like ‘cool, you’re ready to go’. And I was like ‘yeah, totes’, while breathing into a paper bag and working out how we’ll live when they politely ask me to close the door behind me.

Seriously though, that side of my brain has not had to work under that sort of strain for more than 10 months. Add to that the countless other things going on in there and of course important information which I need to remember in order to function and not turn up to work naked, and that shit is full.

By Friday afternoon I had rung my boss that many times he literally answered the phone by saying “I have a migraine”, I was like ‘mate, you and me both’. He was fab though, ultra-patient and didn’t make me feel like a dick for being so needy.

And, add to that all the people I work with making me feel SUPER spesh, it was actually really nice to be back. I got to eat my lunch in peace, go to the loo alone, and swear without it being repeated in the supermarket later that day by my three-year-old after I tell him he’s not allowed a lollipop.

But on top of that I’m proud of myself.

It was important for me, and our family, that I go back to work. I have nothing but admiration for the women, and men, who are full-time stay at home parents – but that role is not for me. I’ve loved every minute (that’s a small lie) of being at home with my babies while they’ve REALLY needed me, but now it’s time to do something to benefit us all.

For me, and this is a completely personal decision, I wanted to go back to work. I’ve worked hard for my career and to get where I am. I enjoy what I do and I love to be challenged.

But more than that, I want my boys to grow up knowing that their mumma is happy. I’m making decisions for all of us. And hopefully, I’m a better mumma for it.

Though in saying that, the guilt I give myself over taking my kids to daycare and knowing they’d rather be at home is a heavy load to carry. But in the bigger picture, it means we can help provide opportunities our babes might otherwise not have had.
It really is a hard decision to make, and an individual one at that.

So mummas, who of you decided to go back to work and who decided to stay home? What were your reasons? I’d love to hear from you.

Side note: My girlfriend was like ‘so, how’s it being back at work?’ And I was like ‘Oh good, a bit like someone took out my brain, smashed it with a hammer, ran it over and popped it back in’. So just in case you’re wondering how I’m feeling after my first week back – that about sums it up.

Also, we’ve had a total of four days at daycare and I can indeed confirm one of my children has an ear infection, only the third within a month, and the other has a chest infection. Daycare in winter for the win. Insert crying face here.

Back to work

 

Picking your battles

Zoo teddy

What no one tells you about parenting is that some days it sucks. Like really sucks. Like you could possibly just give your children away if it wasn’t for the fact you’re pretty sure people would start asking questions.

Honestly, even just writing this makes me feel like the worst mumma out. Who talks about their kids that way? Well I do, and I live by the moto that if one person is thinking it, chances are so are others.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my boys fiercely, but when they’re having an off day and tag teaming me with their tantrums/crying/whinging I seriously second guess myself.

I try to do nice things for my kids, take them places that I think I would have liked to go when I was their age. And legit, at least five times out of 10 I will report back to Mr Knees saying these exact words: “I honestly don’t know why I bother trying to do nice things for them, they’re so ungrateful”. But are they? Or is it that perhaps I expect too much from them? They are, after all, nine months old and three.

Case in point: I took these two wee cherubs to Werribee Zoo on Wednesday, we’d had two relatively quiet days so I thought hey, lets do something fun, get away from the neighbourhood and see some animals. Well f**k me, I wish I hadn’t.

The 55 minute drive there was spent with the baby asleep but the three year old yelling, winding down the window on the freeway and kicking the shit out of my seat while eating almost all the lunch I had packed. Sweet, off to a great start. We got there, I told Teddy he needed to sort himself out because the animals wouldn’t want to hang out with a grump.

We had an ok period while looking at the gorilla and lions but when it came to going to the safari bus it all just fell apart.

Teddy has an inability to sit still at the best of times but while on the bus, while driving through herds of wild animals, you’d have thought he could just follow one instruction. Nope. No sitting, just mucking around getting up and down, yelling about being hungry and all while the baby decided it was the perfect time to poo while simultaneously being STARVING and cry about everything, EVERYTHING. By the time we got off the safari I was almost in tears. I decided we needed to get into the café, all have something to eat and we’d all feel better.

You can all laugh now.

Zoo Beau

Here’s the best part. I don’t often buy things for Teddy while we’re out, juice and cookies and that type of thing, only because I don’t like it to be expected. I’ll do it but I like it to come as a surprise, not when it’s demanded. So, while waiting to order a well deserved coffee, Teddy asked if he could have a biscuit. I said yes, because he’d eaten almost all his lunch, but that he’d need to wait to eat it until we picked up the coffee and got a table. Just note as this point, that I realise where I went wrong.

So the tantrum of all tantrums ensued, because Teddy wanted to eat it NOW. And the louder he got and the more he lashed out, the stronger I stood my ground, because hell no he wasn’t going to get a cookie after behaving like that. I fought back tears while people watched, knowing I was being judged.

It wasn’t until yesterday I realised I picked the wrong battle. I always seem to pick the wrong battles. Who gives a shit if he eats the biscuit before we get to the table. Are you serious. Why did it matter? It didn’t, but instead we all had to suffer because I made a mistake. And while I blame the kids for a lot of the issues we have, I need to be accountable for some of it. That situation could have so easily been avoided.

But to be honest, it all capped off a pretty average week. My baby had daycare orientation yesterday so needless to say I spent most of the day crying about it. I go back to work in two weeks – into a new role, and I have about 1000 things on my “to-do list”, which for every one thing I tick off, two more seem to appear. It’s just one of those times where everything is mounting and I’m overdue for a mini breakdown.

So to all you other mummas and pappas having a shit day with your kids, whether it’s because they’re sick, or you’re tired or they’re just generally being assholes, or it’s you that’s being the asshole – I hear you, and it’s totally ok to feel that way. Just don’t give them away, I promise you’ll probably regret it… in about two weeks.

One to two

babies

I often get asked “what’s it like going from one babe to two?”

“F**ked, actually”, is what I’d like to reply, but usually I’m more like “yea look, it’s a bit of a different ball game”, with a casual nervous laugh at the end.

The truth is, for me, I felt the change more than going from none to one.

Having Teddy was a game changer, obviously, your whole world changes. But for me it was still relatively the same – I could work around one babe when it came to social occasions at the same time as naps, I could still duck down to the supermarket and run in to grab a hot chicken, I still had that one hand to do all those things I needed to do.

Running down to the supermarket now takes a full hour of planning and negotiation, and usually results in a Kinder Surprise I promised myself I wouldn’t buy.

It also requires some form of equipment, whether that’s the pram, the carrier or a food trolley. It’s not as straight forward as running in, grabbing what you need and going. You have no hands. NO HANDS PEOPLE. You cannot carry those groceries, and if you think that your three-year-old can be trusted for 30 seconds if you let his hand go you are kidding yourself. That kid is going to touch everything, stick his fingers into all the things, walk into people and then head straight for the treats, because they’re shiny and colourful and at f**king eye level for your small friends.

Brothers

I suppose in a way it gets easier as the older one becomes a bit more independent. Except, he doesn’t. He’s still three. He still needs you to take him to the loo, even if you’re in the middle of feeding a baby, and trust me on this one, you don’t want to gamble with how long they can hold for.

Getting out of the house would have to legitimately be the hardest part of our everyday lives. I’m 100 per cent sure every time I arrive anywhere I look like I’m about to have a breakdown.

You get one ready and then start on the other. You then realise the first has done a poo and needs to be changed. So you change him, and while that’s happening the other one has take his shoes off, his hat off and is in the process of ripping all his clothes out of the drawer because he wants to wear the jumper with the dinosaur on it.

Meanwhile, I’m still in my pyjamas.

Funnily enough I’ve always thought I’d have three kids, boys actually, so when Teddy was born and he was a boy, I thought ‘woah, here we go’, and then came Beau – and now everyone who knows me is like “so, you going to have another one?”, and honestly – I don’t know. A lot of things would need to happen but it’s not off the table, and I’m happy with that.

But we’re eight months in and while it’s still hard, everyday is different. And there’s one thing for sure – it’s worth it.

I recently read a quote saying “the days are long but the years are short”, I couldn’t agree with it more. I try to remember this when I think the neighbours are calling child services due to my yelling.

So in a bid to help some other mummas out there on this mummahood journey I’ve included below a few (hopefully) handy tips:

*One thing I worried about endlessly before Beau was born was, would I love this baby the same. And the answer is yes, 100 times yes. I can’t explain how it happens but it does, and then, just like with your first, you can’t imagine life without them.

*The second time round you are SO much more relaxed. First time mummas are just that, first timers. By the time your second is born you’re a pro. You know what to pack, you know the routine, you know the tired signs, and you know what warrants a trip to the doctor and what doesn’t.

*On the back of that, second babies definitely don’t get that same time with you as your first did, they have to share you a lot more. But, take comfort knowing that they are getting the absolute best mumma, you’ve been there done that and got a vomit stained t-shirt to prove it. They have a mumma who knows the ropes, who’s relaxed and just has a lot of love to give.

*Ask for help if you need it/take it if it’s offered. This is a big one. For us, our friends are our family since we live abroad and they have at times been our lifeline. From cooking for us to looking after Teddy when Beau was born they have been amazing. I hate asking for help but I’ve definitely learnt to accept it if it’s offered, people won’t offer if they genuinely don’t want to and you will be super thankful for an extra set of hands – or just a glass of wine with your hubby.

*Get ready first! This one sounds strange but trust me, it works. When you’re going anywhere for the day, get yourself ready first. Once you’re done get the kids ready, that way the minute they are ready you’re on your way.

*Sounds obvious but pack your bag the night before. Make sure you’ve got everything in the bag ready to go, nappies, wipes, outfit changes, bibs and any food that can be pre-prepared (or is in a packet haha). That way, in the morning all you have to concentrate on is breakfast, getting dressed and putting your babes in the car.

xmas

Earthside 1.0

Teddy and mumma 1

What better way to get to know me than by reading my birth story. Boom, bet you weren’t expecting that one.

Well get ready ladies and gents, grab a coffee, or a G&T and let’s get it done. Warning, this post definitely contain pictures of Teddy entering this world – but not the ones you might expect.

It was a Friday (April 2015), I was 39 weeks preggo and my dad and his family had just flown in from NZ for some hang time before I was split into two. We were meeting in South Yarra for dinner and Mr Knees was attempting to find a carpark before losing the plot and telling me just to get out and he’d meet me there.

My dad was waiting outside (like a gentleman) and as I reached up to give him a hug I pulled a muscle. Well, that’s what I thought anyway.

By the time the drinks were served I had been to the bathroom twice having a one on one chat with the mirror in an attempt to convince myself my pulled muscle was not that painful and I needed to get over it and enjoy myself. But by 10pm, and one meatball later, I was being walked to the car and told to lie down.

We got home and went to bed. Well, Mr Knees did anyway. I spent the night convinced I had gastro, pacing the house, in and out of the loo and bouncing around on my swiss ball until morning came and Mr Knees woke to me telling him I had a kidney infection and needed to go to the hospital.

I shit you not, I was absolutely convinced I had a kidney infection. No baby, a kidney problem. I believe my words were “I need to get this sorted before the baby comes”. Yip.

So, we rang the hospital, told them of the suspected kidney issue and were told to go in.
The car trip was pretty horrendous, a fair bit of vomiting and me telling Mr Knees I just needed them to start the antibiotics and I’d feel better in no time.

We got up to the maternity ward just in time to hear one woman being ripped from one end to the other, only to be told I did not in fact have a kidney infection but instead possible round ligament pain – so my initial suspicions about a pulled muscle weren’t too far off.

But oh how wrong we all were.

I was sent home and a couple of hours later shit got real.

While Mr Knees enjoyed his McDonalds on the couch while watching the Warriors choke yet again, I was on all fours in the lounge vomiting into a bucket when BOOM, my waters broke.

And just like that it was one of those lightbulb moments: “Holy shit, I’m in labour”.

Now I’m not kidding when I tell you I hadn’t had any contractions until that very moment – once my waters broke it was game on – they were coming thick and fast. It took me an hour to get some pants on and get into the car, all the while no words were exchanged because f**k that asshole for doing this to me.

By the time we got to the hospital I was seven centimetres dilated. SEVEN. F**ken seven too many.

Anyway, it was two hours of me trying out the gas (placebo) and trying to convince myself I wasn’t going to die, before I felt the urge to push.

Mr Knees was smashing some Minties while I tried to find a position to get the demon out.

The midwives were so good, just guiding me along but after a while and not a lot of progress they suggested I try and do a wee. What a suggestion. Anyway, on I hopped and as it turns out that was the position which felt the best, so I went hell for leather.

Needless to say, everyone came running in because apparently you’re not allowed to give birth in the toilet when you have a whole room with birthing equipment available to you.

So they bought in this chair, kind of like a stool with a hole in it. Amazing.

I sat down, gave it a jam and then had a break. As I allowed myself to relax, I put my head down and what do you think I saw right there on the floor. A mirror. A f**king mirror. And do you know who saw that mirror at the EXACT same time as I did? Mr Knees.

After a moment of shock, we laughed until we cried and then we got our shit together because I needed to get this thing out.

But, it all headed downhill pretty quickly. I had been pushing for two and a half hours and to almost no avail.

By the time the doctor came in to check the situation, I was signing a form and heading for an epidural before getting to try out some nifty forceps.

Now, I was 10 centimetres and having contraction on contraction while they tried to give me an epidural. They were like ‘oh we just have to wait for a break until we can put it in’. To which I replied, ‘Mate, stick it in my eyeball just get this shit done’.

It’s all a bit of a blur from here but once the epidural kicked in, my legs were put in stirrups and a pair of giant tongs were trying to get my baby out. But within seconds the baby’s heartrate dropped, people were coming in from everywhere and I was being told I was having an emergency caesarean because the baby was in distress.

It was the longest couple of minutes of my life. My body was being thrashed around and forceps used to get the baby out because he was stuck so far down the birth canal.

I honestly don’t think I took another breath until I heard that beautiful baby cry.

Teddy was born at 1.38am on Sunday, April 19 – 29 hours after I went into labour.

Teddy's birth

Unfortunately for Mr Knees, he took a wrong turn on the way back from cutting Teddy’s umbilical cord only to see his wife in pieces on the operating table. Less than ideal.

Teddy was put in our arms and to be fair, our lives have never been the same. I still can’t believe we made a babe, and one just simply perfect.

Recovery from my c-section was pretty smooth, to be honest I was just so pumped I had made a babe that I almost forgot the trauma of the whole situation. I was up and showering that afternoon and busting for people to come and see what we’d created.

I remember looking at Teddy and thinking ‘f**k I’m clever, look what I just did’.

I don’t think there’s anything as powerful as birth – no matter how it happens.

Teddy 1

Happy Mother’s Day

 

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Growing up my mum (Nikki) put the fear of God into me from a very young age. 

One look was all it took for me to stop doing whatever it was that was upsetting her, whether that was having the television up too loud, hanging around the kitchen asking what she was doing or standing too close when she was drawing her eyebrows on and not giving her enough elbow room to move.

How she came to have this power over me I’ll never know. She’s five foot five, size 8 and compared to me, tiny.

None the less, we grew up never seeing eye to eye and constantly bitching and moaning at one another, secretly, I think it was because we’re so alike.

But not when it comes to food.

That woman may be small but my God she can eat.

Nik, as Andrew (dad) and I like to call her when we’re trying to piss her off, has a very set eating regime at night. This starts with dinner at 6.30pm, which is filled with meat and at least five different sorts of veggies piled high onto a plate. She will then have seconds. Now, that amount of food will generally feed a normal size person for the next two days, but not mum. At 8.20pm, before the 8.30pm program starts, she will jump out of her chair, ask Andrew what he wants to eat with his cup of tea and make her way to the kitchen.

This is where the fun part starts.

The jug is boiled, not once but twice. Toast is put down and tea is made. The first course usually includes two pieces of toast, thick with butter and honey. The second round is usually savoury again, a mug full of shapes, and to finish it off it’s more often than not a bag of chocolate fish, like a whole bag.

If I ate like this I would need to be crane-lifted from my house. Seriously.

Apparently, she’s into “lollies and chippies” at the moment. I can only imagine how horrendous their food bill is. When I went home she had nine blocks of chocolate in the cupboard. NINE.

Mum’s also a fan of the list. She has a whole basket dedicated to lists. It sits on the kitchen counter, filled with pens and notepads just begging her to be filled with ridiculous messages she must remember to tell me, her 27-year-old daughter, who lives in another country. There’s also a special list which lives on the fridge. This is the most important one. It’s the one she will go off when I’m at home for a visit.

‘Moosey, have you been to the dentist? Did you remember to call the bank? When was the last time you checked your superannuation? It’s Judy’s birthday in September, don’t forget that.’ Etc, etc.

The lists I can deal with, I’ve grown up with them and to be honest I’m pretty sure it’s part of the reason I too, am obsessed with lists. How else do people remember to brush their teeth and go to work?

But where we differ greatly is in routine. And Nikki’s routines are not a joke. 

Night-time is the worst, it starts with the food, the boiling of the kettle twice and the routine of eating each food in order. It then moves to the checking of the house. She walks around, checking and double checking every lock and door before making her way to the bathroom and eventually into bed. But it doesn’t stop here. She then reads for a bit, gets back up out of bed and checks and re-checks the entire house again. She told me she can check the doors anywhere between 38 to 45 times. I think we might have an issue.

I thought perhaps these quirks may have to do with her star sign. Nikki’s a Gemini, but she will tell you she’s actually a dog.

According to astrology, Gemini’s are a mix of the yin and the yang, and are represented by twins. The Gemini-born are ‘intellectually inclined, forever probing people and places in search of information. They can be wishy-washy, too, changing their mood on a simple whim’. Now we’re talking. When it comes to mum there are definitely two sides – one’s a psychopath and the other’s everybody’s best friend.

But mum prefers to go off the Chinese horoscope, telling everyone ‘I’m a dog’. So I did some research.

‘The dog is very righteous, and always is the first to speak out against injustice’. True. You do NOT want to be the checkout chick at the supermarket who tries to charge my mum $1.99 for rice crackers, which were CLEARLY on special for $1.59.

‘The dog is an agreeable companion – when they are in a good mood. But when panic strikes, they can turn nasty, and bark till they are tired’. Hmmmm, yes.

Then I found this: ‘Dogs are born old and get younger as they age’.

Well I guess that explains why my mum turned 50 and in the five years since has had eight or so tattoos, not including the time she thought getting tattooed eyebrows would save her loads of time in the morning, you know – not having to draw them on and all that. Mum also loves a party, (and she can drink anyone I know under the table), she loves a dance and thinks she does a better rendition of Celine Dion’s My Heart Will Go On than Celine herself.

At my wedding she met one of my friends Dan. This is a friendship I should have been worried about, but didn’t give it much thought since, you know, I was getting married and all that.

Since then, almost every time I talk to mum she asks after him.

This is a segment from our last conversation:

Mum: How’s Dan? Is he seeing anyone yet?

Me: He’s good, yea kind of, I think we’re going out for dinner with him next week.

Mum: I would go out with him if I was younger, yip, he’s right up my ally. He’s funny, yes I would definitely do that.

Well mum, judging by Dan’s latest snapchat to me, he’ll be waiting in the wings.

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But in all seriousness, Nikki may be one crazy mumma, but I wouldn’t change her for the world. She’s my best friend, my mum and my dog.

Happy Mother’s Day you crazy beautiful woman X