For a very long time, my family has found it extremely hilarious and entertaining how punctual, organised and time-aware I am. Where my brothers and mum are relaxed and keen believers of ‘going with the flow’, I am the stark opposite. I would rather be […]
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 will be a good’un; until then though, I want to focus on one of the principles that really resonated with me.
The do something principle.
Before I dive headfirst into this post, there are a selection of quotes from the book about this principle:
“Don’t just sit there. Do something. The answers will follow.”
“Action isn’t just the effect of motivation; it’s also the cause of it. Most of us commit to action only if we feel a certain level of motivation. And we feel motivation only when we feel enough emotional inspiration.”
“Inspiration > Motivation > Action > Inspiration > Motivation > etc.”
“Your actions create further emotional reactions and inspirations and move on to motivate your future actions.”
“If you lack the motivation to make an important change in your life, do something, and then harness the reaction to that action as a way to motivate yourself.”
“You can become your own source of inspiration. You can become your own source of motivation. Action is alway within reach. And with simply doing something as your only metric for success – well, then even failure pushes you forward.”
As a writer, I have always used the excuse, “I didn’t/can’t/won’t write today because I’m not inspired/motivated/in the right frame of mind.” I cannot tell you how many days (years) have passed me by, my page remaining blank, my heart riddled with shame and guilt. Over the past couple of weeks I have written several blog posts, none of which have made it onto the website. Some of them I completed writing, only to have them lay dormant in my notebook; others I didn’t even bother finishing because I thought they were utter rubbish.
Right now however, I am breaking that pattern. Instead of handwriting my post first (I always handwrite everything first) and then judging my work and then curling up and crying in the corner, I am choosing to simply DO SOMETHING. For me, that something is to simply type. I am going to finish this blog post and press publish even if I could have written something far superior, something far more meaningful, something far deeper.
As much as I don’t like the term (nor the connotations that come with it) the fact of the matter is, is that I am a stay-at-home-mum. I have the absolute privilege to be able to devote all of my time to Pete’s and my beautiful son; while, on the flip side, all of my time goes to Pete’s and my beautiful son. When I was at work, I was able to see the results of my hard work in a very literal way. Now, I have to remind myself that I am doing one of the most important things a human is able to do – raise a child. Even when my day seems mundane and all I have done is clean the house and entertain Hunter, I need to remember that there are the results of that, even if I don’t realise it. Hunter has learned how to grab, how to roll, how to put himself to sleep, how to bounce in his bouncer. His two front teeth have already erupted, he can almost sit up unassisted, he can stand extremely well (while I hold his hands) and he is eating solids like an absolute champion. For the most part, I taught him that. And that is pretty special. That is me doing something.
What else have I been doing, I hear you ask?
Well today, for instance I baked a batch of pistachio, oat and white chocolate biscuits from the Wholesome Pattiserie. A couple of days ago I baked a big batch of cookies for a beautiful friend of mine, packaged them and sent them to her office. I also practised baking and decorating Madeline cookies for a friends’ daughter’s first birthday that is coming up. Not only that but I also have another first birthday that I am catering, as well as a baby shower. So, I mean, that’s super exciting!
I have also been doing all of the laundry to have ever existed ever. No one tells you that when you have a kid you will go from doing 1-2 loads a week to like, 57 loads of washing a day. So, yeah, that takes up about 45 days of my week, every week.
My ‘To Be Read’ pile is looking healthier than it ever has – which is exceptionally exciting. At the moment I am reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s City of Girls. If there was any book that was going to be able to follow up with how I felt when I read The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A Fuck, it is this one. It has been a very, very long time since I read her debut book Eat, Pray, Love, but the voice behind City of Girls is one of a different writer (I mean that metaphorically, of course). I liked Eat, Pray, Love don’t get me wrong, but it didn’t have the lingering affect on me that in had on so many others. But it was her non-fiction book Big Magic (okay, I just realised that THAT was the first non-fiction book that I completed. My bad.) that really got me paying attention to Elizabeth Gilbert as so much more than an author. She is just fucking spectacular and remarkable and wonderful and all different kinds of intelligent. City of Girls is in a league of its own. I am about halfway through it and I am happy to report that it is one of those books that stays with you even when you aren’t reading it.
See, right now, in my head I am saying, “that whole paragraph was useless, no one cares what book you are reading or what you think about Elizabeth Gilbert.” But, I AM PERSEVERING ANYWAY.
My son is a chatterbox who has learned how to repeat his actions when they make us laugh – he’s a regular comedian. It took him two days how to self-settle without his dummy in his own bed (yes, I am bragging about that because he is obviously a genius). I got up early to watch the Matildas play their matches in the FIFA World Cup which is the first time I have watched women’s sport – something that I am very upset about. I hadn’t realised how much I missed it nor how much of my identity it formed; sitting on the lounge in the wee hours of the morning with my gigantic mug of coffee and my snoring baby boy lying next to me – well, I felt more like myself than I have in a long time. It was nice to rediscover that part of me. I was looking at old photos when I came across one of me in New York. I was slim, I remember feeling really confident in my body and I was on the other side of the world with my best friend. It has taken me a while to be comfortable with the fact that my body will never be the same as it was before I gave birth. It wasn’t until today, however, that I really started to appreciate my new body. I’m still getting used to it, don’t get me wrong; but there is something that I love about the skin on my belly that is still stretchy. I jiggle in places that I have never jiggled before. I choose to look at those parts of me as a reminder that my body is capable of. Whenever I see a woman’s body that is curvaceous and wobbly and uber feminine, I swoon. I think female’s bodies are absolute works of art. Why then, I wondered to myself, is it so hard for me to turn that very same gaze and feelings towards myself?
Anyway – this post has taken me about five hours to write. Not even kidding. I have had my laptop open since midday and have been typing in between feeding Hunter, bathing Hunter, folding washing, dealing with the fucking cat, receiving a delivery, feeding Hunter again, getting him to sleep, preparing dinner, making biscuits, putting more washing on.
So here we have it, me simply doing something.
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 […]
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. […]
Over the course of your pregnancy and well after your little human is born, people will tell you what you will need to buy, what you will need to have on hand and what you SIMPLY CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT. I did a couple of google searches throughout the pregnancy: “baby shower gift registry ideas,” “things you need for baby,” “what should I buy before my baby arrives?”, “what to pack in hospital bag.”
I was a bit of a google slut.
But to tell you the truth, there were a lot of things that everyone says you should have, and even more things that no one tells you will most definitely need. Like gripe water. “What the fuck is gripe water?” I hear you all asking. Well, I still have no idea what it is, but what I do know is that every single mama should purchase a bottle of gripe water before bubba is born.
So yes, gripe water is definitely something that you should buy. You can get it from any pharmacy and it helps your little one with wind – and trust me, your baby will need all the help they can get when it comes to wind. Hunter absolutely hates the taste of it, even though we only give him a couple of drops with a syringe at a time (it’s kind of cute though because he squishes up his face and shakes his head). Hunter gets almost instant relief from it, so I would definitely recommend every mum and dad have a bottle of it in their arsenal because seeing your child with wind knowing that there is nothing you can really do to help is heartbreaking.
Children’s panadol might seem like an obvious one, but not only did I not even think to buy some, no one else suggested it either. Hunter had his six-week-old immunisations a week and a half ago and it was possibly one of the most awful, traumatic and horrible moments of my life. Your little one will get two needles, one in each leg administered simultaneously, as well a an oral medication that they drink. Hunter wasn’t too bad once I calmed him down after the initial pain of the needles, but what I wasn’t expecting was how uncomfortable, in pain and sick it was going to make him that night.
Pete and I tried everything to settle and calm him for about four hours that night and even still, Hunter screamed like neither of us had ever experienced before. Just after 8pm, Pete made an emergency run to a 24-hour pharmacy to get some children’s panadol. About twenty minutes after we gave Hunter the dose, he passed out and almost slept through the night.
Hunter also loves a dummy spit – not a tantrum, an actual dummy spit. From a bout two weeks onwards, Hunter figured out that he could launch his dummy out of his mouth with his hands. Pete and I have both been hit in the face with his dummy, and let me tell you, there is a bit of force behind it! More often than not, Hunter will only suck his dummy for a minute or two before he doesn’t want it and that meant that we kept losing his dummy, or having to pick it up off the floor and wash it before he would immediately do it again. Pete jumped onto ebay and discovered a really sweet brand of dummy chain. We ordered two dummy chains from The Dreamy Fox – one of them is a camo-print fabric chain (because Pete wants Hunter to dress exclusively in camo) and the other is a soft beaded chain with Hunter’s name on it. Once again, a dummy chain is something that no one mentioned to us, but ever since we bought them it has made life so much easier. I realise that that sounds dramatic, like how could a dummy chain possibly improve quality of life, but trust me, it does.
There is a post coming soon dedicated to breastfeeding (because trust me, it deserves its own post), but I will say here and now that every mum could benefit from having a hand or electric breast pump. Again, I will go into more detail in my breastfeeding post, but having the option of expressing and having a bottle on hand for emergencies will put your mind so at ease. I have a friend who is pretty much only breastfeeding her daughter, however she uses a breast pump express and freeze it. I haven’t frozen any yet because Hunter just drinks and drinks and drinks and drinks; my friend said that she expresses mainly to ensure her daughter has milk in case anything happens to her, or she gets sick. That kind of foresight is not something that I had encountered yet, but it is so true.
Socks are another thing that I didn’t buy, but definitely needed. Luckily, we were gifted some at our baby shower but I still needed to buy him more. There are some of you out there who will think that I am maybe a little bit stupid for not realising how many pairs of socks a baby needs, but I just assumed that the onesies would be enough. Nope, definitely invest in all of the socks. Bubbas can’t regulate their temperature and I have noticed that Hunter’s feet and hands are always cold. I try and dress him in tops and onesies that have hand covers stitched into them and always make sure that his feet are covered.
Cotton muslin wraps are a staple for any new mum, but something that Pete and I found was that most of the ones that we bought and that people bought us were too small. Sure, they fit around Hunter’s little body, but they aren’t big enough to stop him from kicking and stretching out of them. The ones that you buy from K-mart and Big W are the cheap, small variety and though we have about ten of those ones, I mainly use them to wipe breastmilk off my stomach (because I have learned that breastmilk just goes fucking everywhere). Where possible, I strongly suggest that you buy larger muslin wraps, about 1m x 1m, because you can wrap your little one up super tight and they won’t kick out of it!
A carrier is another thing that I couldn’t live without. I was lucky enough to be gifted an amazing carrier from Baby Bjorn and I use it at least once every day. I use it when I do the grocery shopping because how am I meant to push a pram and a trolley at the same time? The carrier is insanely comfortable and holds Hunter really close to my chest which means that 90% of the time, he sleeps through the entire grocery shop. Not only that, when Hunter won’t settle and I can’t get him to sleep, or if he simply isn’t tired and I have things to do around the house, I put the carrier on and am able to do whatever it is that needs doing. Most of the time, even if he isn’t due for a sleep, my movements will rock him into a deep sleep.
Other than that, I would strongly advise new mothers to purchase the following: instant coffee, a Netflix or Stan subscription, books, extra laundry detergent (because all I ever do is the washing), candles and whatever the hell else you want or nee to buy to get you through.
You got this, mama.
There is so much about motherhood that I have learned and discovered over these last (almost) eight weeks. Things I have learned about parenthood, about my son, my partner, our families and myself. I have also mastered doing absolutely everything with one hand, holding Hunter […]