I recently read Mark Manson’s book The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A Fuck. It should be noted that this is the first non-fiction book that I have ever completed. When I eventually get around to typing up all of my book reviews, this one […]
The last couple of weeks have been pretty smooth sailing, really. There have been no major screaming sessions, little man is sleeping well and, even when Pete went away for four days and Hunter and I both had the flu we both managed just fine. On the home, baby and mama front, we’re killing it at the moment.
But me? Leah Cwikel? Not so much.
I am loving being Hunter’s mother. It is the best thing that I have ever done, and he is the best thing to ever happen to me. In the last week or so he has stood up by himself while holding onto the lounge, he has discovered a new, huge, loud laugh that he loves to show off, he is playing with his toys and starting to chew on things and he has a plethora of new sounds that he is rather proud of. I love the challenges that each new day can bring. I love motherhood in its entirety.
What I have come to realise is that being ‘a mother’ makes up the majority of my identity now. And, like I said, I love being a mother, but it has been a really big adjustment. And the adjusting just keeps on coming (and coming, and coming).
Hunter and I having the flue for most of last week meant that we were couch-bound and all cabin fever-y. That is never good for anyone’s mood. With very little energy and no motivation to speak of, my self esteem took a bit of a beating and my mind wandered. Will I ever be myself again? Will I discover a new identity that includes being a mother and being the woman I want to be?
Other mamas will know the mad rush that takes place as soon as your little human goes to sleep. You run around like a crazy person fuelled by too much caffeine; the dishes the laundry, the vacuuming, crunching through the piece of cold toast that you forgot about from an hour and a half ago. By the time you have caught up with everything that needs doing, Bub is awake again and ready to be fed and cuddled and entertained.
I have really big dreams, hopes and goals for The (Oblivious) New Mama. There are so many things I want to odder and feel and write about but I have no idea how to marry them together into one cohesive brand. Its a bit of a catch-22 situation I find myself in: I wouldn’t have this website and these dreams if it weren’t for hunter, but loving Hunter and looking after him leaves me very little time to work on those dreams. It is this reality that I have been struggling with.
Yesterday I made a batch of cookie dough while Hunter was asleep. The cookies were meant to be sold to the cafe. For some reason, even though I used the exit same recipe that I always use, yesterday it just didn’t work. The dough was wet and sticky and uncooperative and no matter how much more flour I added, it just seemed to make it worse. I threw out the entire (double) batch, wasting my ingredients and my time. No sooner had I closed the lid of the bin that Hunter woke up again.
I was defeated, deflated and sad.
The batch of cookies weighing down the rest of the rubbish in the bin felt like my dreams. I felt really sorry for myself and I started to feel like I was failing Hunter. And then those thoughts snowballed (probably helped by the flu and lack of sleep). I started thinking about the fact that for the first time in my life I am completely reliant on my partner for not only my wellbeing, but my child’s. I have no savings of my own and no income right now that if anything happened that saw our circumstances change, I wouldn’t be able to look after Hunter. Now, I realise how dramatic that sounds and that there are so many moving pieces and it is in no way as simple as that, but that is where my mind went.
I so desperately want to be able to work from home. I want to be able to write and bake cookies and turn this humble website into something really special. And whenever I look at Hunter, I realise exactly why I want that. I want to be around for school pick-up. I don’t want to work for anyone but myself. I want to create a business that I am proud of and that I can use to help other mamas.
The dream is there, it’s just the patience that I need to exercise to achieve it that is missing. Because this venture is still in its infancy, it feels like a failure. But now that my flu has subsided (somewhat) and I have regained some kind of energy and motivation, I know that these things take time. The (Oblivious) New Mama is my future and I have so much faith in it. Instead of imagining what would happen in the worst case scenario, I am going to do my best to focus on the amazing opportunity that I have at the moment and do my best not to waste it. I have an incredibly supportive partner and, when Hunter is asleep, I have the time to put the work in to make my dreams a reality.
There are things in the pipeline already. There are clients that I have lined up for cookies and whatnot. And slowly but surely, and with some serious scheduling and multiple to-do lists, I know that everything will come together. This stage, the beginning stages of this website and this business will be something that I look back on one day. This moment will be a memory all too soon.
I may not be this positive or have this clarity tomorrow, but I have realised to just go with it when I feel it.
(And just on the down low, I have written just over 10,000 words of my novel.)
Guaranteed, at least once a day someone will come up to me and ask me, “So is he a good baby?” I cannot tell you how sick of that question I am – not just because I get asked it so often, but because when […]
Samantha Michelle Fishburn and I went to high school together. We were in the same Maths and PDHPE classes together. We crossed paths regularly, saw each other every day, but we were never close, we were never friends. We both sat with different groups of […]
If you were to ask me how my nigh was with Hunter last night, there is no way that I would be able to tell you. I don’t remember it. All I know is that at some point in the early hours of the morning, Hunter and I ended up wrapped in a blanket on the lounge. On Monday, we were awake from 2am onwards. Yesterday morning we were up from 3am onwards and today, like I said, we were just awake.
For the last week or so, Hunter has been going down easily from about 6pm and will sleep until just before midnight. He was in this (glorious) pattern for about ten days when all of a sudden it was as if he regressed. He has gone from waking up once in the middle of the night, having a big feed and then passing out again, to having lots of little, restless and fidgety feeds every hour and a half or so and then screaming at 2am.
Was it me? Was I doing something wrong? Why is he so unsettled all of a sudden?
Yesterday, Hunter and I met up with our friend Jess and her baby girl, Imani, who is the same age as Hunter. Imani had been pretty much sleeping through the night for about a week (lucky Jess), but when we sat down for coffee yesterday, she described the exact same situation that Hunter and I are in. Imani has been having shorter feeds, been waking up every hour or so during the night and has completely thrown her routine out the window. Jess and I both breathed a sigh of relief at the knowledge that we were going through the same thing. This is just a phase, this is just a phase, this is just a phase.
Yesterday afternoon, Hunter refused to be put down. He would be fast asleep in my rms, mouth hanging open, but as soon as I tried to tuck him into his pram he would wake up and scream. When Pete got home, I burst into tears. Even though I have had far more challenging times than that, for some reason (compounding exhaustion) I just needed to have a big cry. There was nothing specific that set it off other than the fact that I have been deprived of some serious sleep this week. What was amazing though is that Pete didn’t try and stop me from crying, he understood that I just needed to get it out. He put his hand on my leg and simply said, “It’s all okay, I’ve got you.” Ad then obviously, I cried some more.
I trust Hunter. I trust that he knows what he is doing in this life already. I tried to have him sleep in his room, but it lasted two nights before I realised that he isn’t ready for it yet. Pete said to me yesterday, “He will settle, he will let us know when he is ready to sleep in his cot.” I am still putting him down in there for naps when I can, but I have let go of the stress I was holding around the idea that he should be sleeping in there. Hunter is twelve weeks tomorrow and everyone that I have spoken to has said that once bugs hit that three-month mark, everything settles down. I trust my son and I am loving each and every stage that we are going through together.
I think that what I am finding most difficult is that I can only pursue my interests and hobbies and what I hope to be my business one day when Hunter allows it. I know that it won’t be like this forever, but it has been a challenge. I will bake a batch of cookies while he sleeps for ten minutes and then they sit not he bench, uniced for three days because I am tending to little man. The (Oblivious) New Mama as a business is going to be a slow process, but what I need to focus on is that I am making progress. With each word I type, each idea I have, each cookie I bake, it is progress. I know that one day I will look around the office for T(O)NM (yeah, I have big, big dreams for this humble site) and reminisce on its beginning.
I guess what I want to say to all you mamas (and papas) out there today is that everything you are feeling is normal, and perfect and wonderful. Sometimes it is as simple as that. Sometimes we all need a Pete in our lives to say, “It’s all going to be okay. I’ve got you.”
Did you know that bus will sometimes cry because they want to be wrapped? No? Neither did I. Two days ago, Hunter had been fed and burped and cuddled and still wouldn’t settle. I walked around with him, pushed him in the pram – nothing. […]
The name of this blog really rings true when it came to me knowing what the hell I had to do for the birth of Hunter by way of legal documents and appointments and the whole Centrelink debacle. Even just the other day when I took Hunter to the doctor to get his needles I had no idea that I actually needed to book him in to get his immunisations, not just show up to a regular appointment. Luckily, my incredible doctor squeezed us in, but I was informed that for his next lot of needles, I would need to book it properly to make sure he gets them on time.
I had zero idea that I had to book a specific appointment for vaccinations.
I didn’t even realise I had to book in Hunter’s birth with the hospital! I seriously thought that I just chose where I wanted to give birth and then when it all kicked off I just showed up.
What I have learned though is that the things I was most worried and naive about are actually really easy to do. Adding Hunter to my Medicare card, receiving our parental payments from the government, registering his birth – these are all the things that you need to do after the birth of your little one.
I would have found it really helpful if there was a post about these processes when I had to do them, so I thought that that is what I would provide for all the other mothers out there that have no idea what they are doing.
I strongly suggest applying for Paid Parental Leave through Centrelink. I actually started this process before Hunter was born because you can send through the application within 28 days of your child’s birth. You can lodge it online if that suits you best, but because there is a Centrelink office just up the road from our house, I chose to go in. I have always found government documents far easier to manage and lodge in person; I always have questions or am confused about one thing or another so having people available to help me makes the whole process a lot less stressful and a lot less daunting.
I would also strongly suggest downloading the myGOV app onto your phone because you can manage all of your claims, keep track of your payments and upload documents when required.
Although you can lodge the claim, it won’t be completed until after your Bub is born, and you will then have to upload your Newborn Child Declaration document which that will give to you when you are discharged from hospital. You can do this through the app and it will be added to your claim.
It is a similar process to add your child to your Medicare card. Again, I went into their office to do this and the card arrived within a couple of days.
The last thing that is on my to-do list – which I have to do by tomorrow because Hunter will be eight weeks old.. – is to register his birth. This is a simple process, made even simpler by the Parent Pack they give you when you leave hospital (which is where you will find the Newborn Child Declaration form too). The only tedious bit is getting all of the supporting documentation together (passports, licences, medicare cards, etc.) but besides that, it’s straightforward!
I realise that to some people, all of these things seem pretty straightforward and simple, but because I have never been great with forms or anything of this nature, I found it overwhelming until I was actually doing it. And I also realise how mundane and dry and boring this post is, but like I said, I would have found support and solace in a post like this and so here we are.