Parenting | Lifestyle | Food | No F--king Idea

Tag: motherhood

How To.. get out of the house with a little one

How To.. get out of the house with a little one

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 […]

Jess Rasho: Breastfeeding Goddess

Jess Rasho: Breastfeeding Goddess

I am so excited and humbled to introduce you all to my beautiful friend, Jess. Jess and I met through the Peanut app when our babies were two months old. If you aren’t familiar with Peanut it is essentially Tinder for new mums. Jess and […]

Remember me?

Remember me?

It has been over two months since I last posted and truly, I have no idea where that time has gone. Next Monday, Hunter is eight months old. EIGHT MONTHS. That’s almost nine months, which is pretty much ten months, which is pretty much one year which is a hop, skip and a jump away from him being eighteen.

A lot has happened in the ridiculous world of Hunter and Leah over the last couple of months. I got all four tyres of my car replaced for the first time ever. Then, precisely two days after that, when Hunter and I were exiting the car park at Top Ryde, a woman ran a red light and hit us and wrote off my car. Yep. Airbags deployed, the ambulance was called, tears were shed, whiplash was had. So that was fun. I have had the best run of books I have ever read. Hunter experienced the beach for the first time. My mum sold her cafe. I bought a sweet pair of flares (SO EXCITED THEY ARE BACK). I reconnected with my best friend and definitely cried with happiness. I learned how to make a unicorn cake. Meanwhile, Hunter started self-feeding, he learned how to sit up, he can stand unassisted for about four seconds at a time and he made an entire bus-full of people laugh by smiling at them.

So yeah, it has been a mixed bag of life stuff over the last couple of months.

I’m learning, however, that that is how things are going to be from now on. Before I was a mum I knew what each day was going to look like, pretty much. I woke up, got ready, bought a coffee and went to work, worked, came home, made some dinner, curled up with Pete and watched some television and then passed out to do it all again the next day. But now, every single day is different. Even if Hunter and I go to the same places and do the same things, each and every day is completely different to the last because he is different every day. Watching him grow and learn is truly remarkable and I know I am not alone when I say that.

Hunter has been such a driving force for me when it comes to wanting to run my own business, be my own boss, etc. etc. I have always had projects on-the-go, but it wasn’t until Hunter came along that I realised just how determined I am to make something out of my creative pursuits. The problem is choosing which to pursue. Every day I struggle with knowing how to spend my free time when Hunter goes down for his naps. Do I read or paint or draw or bake or write or blog? Lately, I have been reading in any spare time that I have. I have always loved books but over the last few weeks I have read some truly incredible novels by some truly incredible writers that I have fallen in love with the written word in a whole new way. Having said that, I would love to start a book club again. I would love The Cliterature Club to become a huge thing – a national movement where women, mothers and everyone in between are able to meet like-minded people and find their tribe. And then there is my love of baking and food and cheeseboards and events. What I am working towards is to have an event and catering business. I will cover all aspects of a function/party/hens night/wedding from the decorations, to the drinks, to the food. I would love to be inundated with cookie and cake orders. I want to offer ‘takeaway’ cheeseboards that people can order for picnics and whatnot. I have had orders here and there, and more are slowly trickling in, and I am currently giving away whatever I bake to get my food out there and into people’s bellies!

And then there is the book I am still writing and this blog that I still really want to be somewhere where mother’s feel heard and safe and everything.

I have no idea what the fuck I am doing.

(Also, most of the time I am going off like, four hours sleep so my decision making is not quite as keen as it used to be)

(Nah, nah, its more like seven hours now. Hunter is slowly sleeping better so that’s exciting)

Anyway – I would love to do a ‘call to arms’ if you will just indulge me. If anyone out there is keen to be a part of a book club, raise your hand (aka, send me a message or an email). If anyone is hosting an event of any kind and would like it to be catered AT COST, please let me know and we will get it happening! If anyone out there would like to order cookies or a cake, let’s chat! And if anyone has any other amazing things that they want to talk to me about, I’m here.

Sorry I have been away so long everyone but seriously, look how cute my son is.. can you blame me?!

My Tribe

My Tribe

I have a new tribe. Hunter has brought with him a whole new way of life, an entirely new lifestyle and, rather unexpectedly, some of the most beautiful friendships with the most incredible women. One of us is a champion breastfeeder. One of us couldn’t […]

Not the post I was going to post

Not the post I was going to post

I had another piece that I was going to post today (or three days ago, actually) about how wonderful I think it is that Instagram is trialling the hiding of ‘likes’. I had a whole spiel ready to publish but now, it all seems irrelevant. […]

Do Something

Do Something

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.

I’m a Mama

I’m a Mama

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. […]

Why people need to stop asking me whether I have a ‘good baby’

Why people need to stop asking me whether I have a ‘good baby’

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 […]

Alaric Alexander John Powell

Alaric Alexander John Powell

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 girls, finding our place not only within the school walls but also in the larger sense. It were the days that we spent at Riverside Girls High School that set us up for everything that we had no idea was coming our way.

Since Hunter has been born, Sam has been one of our biggest cheerleaders. Everything that I have posted about Hunter and about motherhood, Sam has been right there, supporting us. When things have been tough, it has been her words that have really helped through. Being a mother has brought me so many beautiful thing apart from my incredible son, and one of them is definitely the new friendship that I have found with Sam. It has also confirmed why I continue to push forward with this site, this brand and the huge goals I have for it; there is nothing more important than having support, love and a community around you.

Samantha had a very different birth story to what I did, and it is the first time that I have really had an insight into what some families go through when welcoming their child into this world. Pete and I are grateful each and every day that Hunter was born without complication. He was healthy, happy and we were able to take him home the day after he was born. Though I feel lucky and honoured and so very thankful every day for Hunter’s health and wellbeing, before hearing Sam’s story I think I was naive about anything else outside of my own experience.

If there is only one post that you ever read on this site, let it be this one.

Thank you Sam for being so vulnerable, open, raw and honest; thank you for allowing me the opportunity to share your story here, today. Hunter and I think the world of you.

“It’s amazing how much one tiny human can teach you about yourself and about life in such a short space of time. When my waters broke at 32 weeks (conveniently in the hospital) and my 3rd and final bubba Alaric Alexander John was born, I don’t think it really set in how much of a profound effect he would have on my life. Alaric was born at 10:55pm on the 3rd of November, 2018. He was due on the 28th of December, 2018 I barely got to hold, let alone lay eyes on him until nearly two hours later. My first real glimpses of him were via text message from my husband who I had sent down to the NICU with Alaric. Whilst he was born a nice 5lb, he was actually quite a skinny little man with his little noodle arms and chicken legs. He didn’t have eyebrows or eyelashes but he did have an amazing head of hair. As every mum thinks of their child, to me, he was perfect. My first time seeing Alaric didn’t even feel real, it was hard to comprehend that a few hours ago I was at home pregnant with at least another five weeks of pregnancy left to go. But here he was.

I think the big thing people don’t understand about having a baby in NICU/SCN, is that even though you can’t physically do too much for them in terms of picking them up and cuddling and loving them, it is more of an emotional roller coaster. It is physically and mentally exhausting. IThe unknown is overwhelming. It is lonely.

I mean, I had so many people checking in and wanting updates and making sure I didn’t need anything. I had my mums group on facebook chatting away in our private group chat, but it was so hard to know what to say – you just dont want to talk to people after a while because honestly, unless you’ve been through this journey (and every prem journey is different), you can’t even begin to understand the emotions that the family is going through. I had no idea what to say about anything to anyone.

We were in our own little bubble; Alaric and I. Having a husband, a hoard of dogs and two kids already at home who needed me, my heart was always in two places. I missed my big kids, but they were okay. Their teachers at daycare were showering them in love and my husband was managing to hold down the fort, so I stayed with Alaric as much as I could.

The big thing though was milk.. despite being tiny, this bubba ATE. He was fed every three hours via tube for the first two weeks before he was truly trying to breastfeed. So, when I wasn’t sitting with Alaric or looking after myself or sleeping, I was pumping milk. For any of you needing to do this, a few key tips that helped me were:

1. A good TV series is a must! It kept me awake and made the time pass a hell of alot faster especially at 2am when I was playing the nodding dog game.

2. Water!! Lots of water – I swear I was part camel with the amount I was consuming.

3. SNACKS!! Nearly 6 months post partum and I still wake nearly every night at 3am and I’m starving!!! You are feeding a human being, you need to feed you too! Screw the diet! If you want pizza at 3am – EAT THE PIZZA!! My personal snack of choice was biscuits – oreos and 100s and 1000s biscuits specifically.

4. The amount you pump and produce is not an indicator of your supply – honestly every drop is awesome. So be it 1ml or 100ml, mama you are amazing.

I did have to supplement Alaric with formula for the first 48 hours as I was beyond exhausted and the lack of sleep combined with everything else, my boobs went on strike until I looked after me. From then on though, it was as my husband dubbed it “Bessie-the-Cow” time every 3 hours. I am very pro breastfeeding, but at the same time I also am in full support of ‘informed is best’. As long as you have the correct information for the different options that support your choice then no one should judge what you choose. All babies need to eat and as I’ve witnessed, breastfeeding isn’t always possible for everyone. We were allowed to cuddle Alaric once a day for a short period – prems often have trouble regulating and holding their body temperature, so you are encouraged to embrace kangaroo or skin to skin cuddles which also helps build a bond. I lived for these moments; just the peace and serenity, the amazing newborn smell – everything. I let my husband enjoy the first cuddle because he was on limited visiting time as the hospital was a 45 minute drive from home and his work schedule was jammed packed. But when my time came it was beyond worth the wait.

The hardest thing I ever had to do though, was go home empty handed.

Nine days as an inpatient at the hospital, I had stayed beyond my allowable days and since we were considered local (yep, 50km one way is local), it was time for me to head home and make the daily trek to see Alaric and drop milk off until a place at our local closer hospital became available now that he was older and more stable. I remember bawling my eyes out because as I was leaving the hospital there were other families wheeling their babies out of the ward and to their cars. I remember waving to my ward mate who was heading home with her third little girl as our cars crossed paths. It felt weird – I walked in pregnant and I was leaving not pregnant with no baby. I knew it wasnt forever but it was definitely one of the harder things I have ever had to do.

Despite not having a newborn at home, you don’t get alot of sleep as the parent of a prem – continually missing him, thinking and worrying about him and expressing milk, mixed in with the daily grind of being a mum and chief dog wrangler. I was relieved the day that we were transferred to a smaller nursery in our local hospital which was only 20 minutes from home. This meant that in the six hours between breastfeeds (we started at one breastfeed a day then gradually progressed to two tube feeds, to one suck feed to two suck feeds to a tube, to alternate feeds to all suck feeds) I was able to pop home, do housework and get groceries, whatever was needed. It also meant that I could go up to the hospital after dinner when the other kids were in bed. We managed to introduce some kind of balance and routine going where I didn’t feel like the entire burden was on my husband.

One of the many perks of this unit were that there were fewer nurses so you got to know them and they pretty much became your other family, the other mums that were there became your people and you’d make small talk and celebrate the successes no matter how small. I introduced the phrase of “think fat thoughts” when it came time for weigh-ins so we would be forever willing each baby to be just a bit heavier every weigh. I was blessed to make actual friends with two other mums in the nursery – one who was actually next to me in the bigger hospital with her twins and another whose little boy was born three days after Alaric. It was good because they had been living the same life so we were able to trade stories of bad food to embarrassing labour issues. It made the days much more enjoyable and we still talk and catch up now.

It’s just so amazing seeing how much they’ve all grown and changed. Miracle Babies Organisation also run local playgroups which we are a regular fixture of and it’s so amazing seeing so many little fighters flourishing. I always look forward to going because it’s a place where being a preemie is totally normal. The nurses in this unit encouraged us to be hands on and cuddle our babies and learn as much as we could so we were confident coming home. We were taught the daily supplement routine and how to give them pentavite (NOTE TO ANY FUTURE PREEMIE MUMS – PENTAVITE STINKS!! You will NEVER forget the smell) and we were given power to make decisions in regards to things like top-up feeds etc. They were really trying to give us our control and confidence back so we were ready to handle anything once we were discharged.

At 35+3 weeks, or 24 days old, the doctors discharged us from the hospital.

I burst into tears and continued to bawl for 20 minutes upon hearing this. He was tiny, only weighing about 500g heavier than his birth weight and I had NO IDEA what I was doing. I was beyond terrified. I was used to big chunky babies, not this tiny human who pretty much fit in the palm of my hand. I really didn’t feel ready to leave the safety of the hospital and the nurses – hell, we had only become wire-free 24 hours earlier. I was scared of the outside world, its germs and the people. My nurse of the day, Kerrie, just kept handing me tissues telling me I could stay if I wanted, they weren’t kicking me out. I knew though that my kids wanted their baby brother to come home. My husband wanted more than a 50% wife, and I was over expressing and the constant travel. I wanted to be able to stay in my pyjamas all day and just cuddle my baby on my couch. So home we went..

The day after he was discharged we had his tounge tie revised and released and a general visit with the lactation consultant who was empowering and made me feel like I had a handle on this. Every day got a little easier, every day the anxiety lessened as Alaric continued to gain weight and grow. Oh and for any preemie mums – the explanation as to why your baby is so tiny despite their age becomes a second nature conversation as well as the comments about the chubby cheeks that most seem to get. I cannot go anywhere without soneone commenting about my little chubba bubba’s cheeks.

Alaric is, as of the 3rd of May, six months old or four months corrected. In the short six months of his life, he has been through more than most adults – CPAP, two rounds of phototherapy for jaundice, countless blood tests, lumbar puncture, two further hospital admissions – one for meningitis entrovirus and one for CMV -IVs/cannulas of varying natures, visits to various specialists including a paediatric Opthamologist in Sydney (we have a review in June to see if he needs glasses).

He loves bath time, his siblings and our big pointer, Romeo. Bibs are our fashion accessory with the continual reflux issues. We started in 00000 and now fit 000 and a few 00 pieces despite weighing nearly 8kg (no idea where it’s hiding). He has just started to roll and has the most amazing smile, it literally makes everything better no matter what. Me as a mum and as a person, I have grown and learnt so much about myself. I am consistent with my daily meds now, whereas before I could be a little sporadic. I know the routes to the hospitals like the back of my hand, more medical terminology than I’d like and I’ve learnt that even the smallest beings can teach you about strength and bravery, and that preemies are true superheroes. I’ve learnt patience and that babies (and kids) do everything in their own time and not before. I’ve learnt kindness, love and compassion from total strangers. Most importantly, I’ve learnt that I can handle more than I know and that I’m actually a strong person even when I feel completely broken.

To the mama sitting with their baby in the NICU/SCN – it does get better, you are amazing and you have been blessed with your own little superhero. It is okay to cry, even those big, heaving cries.

To the baby in the nursery – keep on fighting, you are loved more than you’ll ever know.

Coffee, please.

Coffee, please.

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, […]