Blog

My toddler will break me before you do.

If I had the time or the energy to respond to all the negative comments on the the Newshub article about my most recent blog, this is what I would start with. Although, I’m pretty sure that there would be a few more choice words and a MF in there somewhere too if I’m honest.

The fact that this blog in particular blew up more than I expected it to and the negative sentiments shared about it has not broken me. In fact, it’s made me stronger. Those of you who know me well, know I don’t do confrontation. I rarely speak my mind and I certainly don’t openly judge other people. I have always given too much thought to how others see me.

This has taught me to stand tall in spite of what others think or say.

We have such a belittling culture in our country it’s no wonder we have a massive mental health issue. People are made to feel as though their struggles aren’t valid unless they’re on the bottom of the pile. From some of the comments I can only conclude that those people didn’t get it or didn’t actually read it. Frankly, it’s not a competition about how tired everyone is or how many hours everyone works. It was simply sharing a perspective that some people may not completely understand.

The message was not political, it was personal.

Those comments made my heart race which is why I stopped reading them after an hour. Just as those people made huge assumptions about me and my life I can only assume that they’re unhappy with the way theirs has turned out that they feel the need to have an opinion about some one else’s.

What I’ve learned is that sharing your story takes courage. I shared what I did because that is how I felt. Writing my thoughts down and sharing them with friends has become my personal way of dealing with my mind when those thoughts take over.

If you are struggling with anything at the moment, no matter how insignificant it may seem, I would encourage you to share it with some one. In words or in writing, in your own name or anonymously. Just get it out of you and start healing.

There is comfort in knowing there are others who feel the same way as you. There are also lessons to learn from those who don’t.

 

xx

 

Listen to your farmers New Zealand.

Some of you may be wondering why I have been absent on here for the past few months. A few of you even messaged me to check I was okay. I am thank you. 

The short answer is I’m tired.

Among other things, this year has been our first year in business, taking over the lease of our family dry stock farm.

It’s been hard. The days are long and often lonely. My husband has worked 12 hour plus days, in the rain, wind and cold.

I am a full-time mum, I also run the business side of our investments and I work part time to make ends meet.

We rarely see each other.

On top of this, since taking over the lease in April this year, we have been dealing with and trying to get our heads around the Waikato Healthy Rivers Plan Change 1, the Zero Carbon Bill, and as of last week the National Freshwater Policy Statement. These are all major policies that have come about in a very short period of time. Each comes with a raft of different documents relating to the proposals often over 100 pages long. That’s a lot of reading and a lot of information to digest. It’s also a lot of uncertainty.

So many people I talk to simply say “Why would you even go farming?” and honestly, I ask myself the same thing every day. But we’re doing it. We chose it. And we worked our butts off to get ourselves in a financial position to be able to do this for the last 10 years.

We’re not doing it to get rich.

We’re not doing it to destroy the land we walk on or the water we drink.

We’re doing it because it’s the life we both know and love.

We’re doing it because we enjoy being outside – in the bush, in the paddocks, in the water.

We’re doing it because we love animals and we’re giving them the best life we can.

We’re doing it because we want this land to be enjoyed by generations to come in the same way it was enjoyed by us and those before us.

We’re doing it because, if we don’t, who will?

I think a lot of people generally think farmers are just a bunch of entitled moaners. But have you ever really listened to what they’re saying? There are a lot of farmers out there at the moment trying to have their voice heard over the noise in the media but no one is listening.

It’s hard to put yourself out there knowing the negative comments that will inevitably be fired back.

But we have to.

We have to at least try and take control of our futures, our farms, and our family’s well being.

If we don’t, as an industry, we risk being the scape goat for what is undeniably an unbalanced distribution of accountability for climate change on a global scale.

We acknowledge that changes need to be made. But there must also be acknowledgement for the groundswell of activity that is already happening on a huge scale to protect our land and waterways from further deterioration.

As a dry stock farmer, the saddest part of all this, is not only the impact it’s having on the farming industry as a whole, but the impact it’s having within it. The proposals as they stand are unfair in so many ways and they’re causing not just a rural urban divide but also an industry divide which has to end.

We all need to work together. We all need to inform ourselves properly before saying our bit. And we all need to be aware of the emotions and situations that go on behind a click bait headline or image.

Do you eat meat or dairy?

If you do, I would encourage you to reach out to any farmer you know and let them know you support them to do their best. You have no idea the difference this would make.

If you don’t, that’s fine, I support the choices you make, but please be considerate of mine and accept that although our choices are different, they remain just that. Our choice.

You know you have a toddler 2.0…

So I feel as though it’s time for an updated list.

If your wee one is still in the early stages of this wonderful phase then I’d highly recommend you go back and check out my previous blog. If, like us though, you are well and truly entrenched in the toddler-hood then hopefully you will relate to one or two of my personal observations.

Here we go, in no particular order…

  1. You sing or hum Wiggles songs ALL. DAMN. DAY.
  2. You choose your supermarket based on the brand of dry shampoo they stock
  3. Your minor OCD tendencies have morphed into CBF’d ones
  4. You used to enjoy long lazy lunches on the weekend but now every meal is a long one and the novelty is wearing off
  5. You find every utensil in your kitchen is now a play dough play thing
  6. You’re constantly trying to squeeze into hiding places that you shouldn’t but your tiny person is surprisingly convincing
  7. You think you might be ready for another baby but by the time your head hits the pillow you’ve changed your mind
  8. You haven’t even gone to bed yet and you’re already looking forward to your morning coffee
  9. You’ve swapped your black slimming clothes, as well as the light snot friendly ones, for whatever is dry and convincingly clean
  10. Your concept of clean is quite different to what it used to be
  11. You always have a tissue handy
  12. You therefore always have a rouge tissue go through the wash
  13. You’ve started preparing for the morning routine the night before by sitting your coffee cup conveniently close to the kettle
  14. You forgot what it felt like to have a teething baby for 10 minutes but then…molars
  15. You never knew a song with ONE word could be so catchy, case in point “poppadom – poppadom -poppa – poppa – poppadom -poppadom – poppa – poppa -poppadom” (The Wiggles)
  16. You’re grieving for the long afternoon naps that suddenly disappeared
  17. You never eat your two year old’s treats but the cluster of carefully hidden cupcake wrappers suggest otherwise
  18. You explain EXACTLY what you’re doing 75,431 times a day
  19. You’re way past yoghurt drops. It’s chocolate or tantrum nothing
  20. You spend too much time making dinners you know won’t get eaten
  21. You swear you never loose your temper but when your child slaps a flat surface and shouts “NO” in a cross voice, you realise you’re sadly mistaken
  22. You just want one sleep in but you get up at 5am, drink copious amounts of coffee and watch cartoons instead
  23. Your car interior could be confused with the pick and mix isle at Pak n Save
  24. You have no loose change lying around the house anymore but someone has a suspiciously heavy piggy bank
  25. You basically have no idea what you’re doing but when you look around, you realise YOU’RE NOT THE ONLY ONE!

Until next time

xx

Why I’m ALWAYS late

I wasn’t always late.

In fact, I absolutely HATE being late. It makes me feel lazy and stressed at the same time – if that’s even possible??

Well meaning Linda’s say “honey, you’re just not prioritising your time” but Linda, honey, that’s just not true. Don’t you remember how it feels to wrangle a small child into their car seat when they just don’t want to go?

I’m not late because I slept in, or had a long shower, or spent half an hour drawing on my eyebrows.

I didn’t straighten my hair or iron my clothes.

I didn’t sit down at the table and enjoy my breakfast while reading the paper.

I didn’t go for a run or do yoga on my living room floor.

No. 

It’s because while I was rinsing the breakfast dishes I noticed that the scraps needed emptying.

So I emptied them.

Then on my way to the compost bin I passed the laundry and remembered that the washing I put on last night needed to be hung out.

So I went to do that.

But when I went to fill the clothes basket there was already a load of washing in it that I didn’t have the energy to fold the night before.

So I emptied it onto the other two loads piled up on the couch.

Then I went back to the laundry to get the wet washing again but on my way I saw my daughter eating the dogs biscuits.

So I went over and explained why we don’t eat dog biscuits.

Again.

While I was there I saw that the dogs water bowl was almost empty.

So I refilled that.

Then I went to the clothes line to hang out the washing and when I came back the dogs water was spilled all over the floor.

So I cleaned that up and spent the next three minutes trying to find a dry set of tiny socks.

While I was hunting through the washing pile, my child also found her favourite top.

So then we just HAD to put that one on instead.

While we were changing her top I saw that I hadn’t even washed her face or brushed her teeth yet.

So we went and did that.

Then we put our shoes on…

Seriously. Stay calm. Remain CALM!

Finally, I pick up all the bags, the files, the snacks and the child and walk to the car.

I don’t know where the next 12 minutes go but POOF! They vanish!

I turn the key and as we drive away I realise I forgot to pack my lunch. I also forgot to get something out for dinner. And I can’t for the life of me remember whether I locked the front door or not. The small but mighty child in the back seat also pipes up and decides they would like to eat their toast now; even though they refused it for the last hour and had a huge bowl of cereal instead.

Of course, half way down the drive way, now you want the toast.

Cue tantrum #573.

I pull over and gently explain why we can’t go back for the toast and how she should have eaten it when it was offered. Then out come the gummy vitamins (aka “lollies”) aaaaand we’re off again!

Only 27 minutes late today. Not bad.

I sigh and remember how lucky I am to have that small dragon child in my back seat sucking on her lollies. I think about the piping hot coffee I’m going to sip when I finally sit down at my desk. I take a deep breath and start to mentally prepare myself for the  daycare drop off and tell myself I’m doing my best. 

And that’s enough.

I want to leave you today with a little quote that I have pinned to my home screen at work. I look at it every Tuesday and Thursday morning when I’m sitting at my desk questioning my choice to be a working mum. It says…

“I, myself, am made entirely of flaws, stitched together with good intentions”
Augusten Burroughs.

And that my friends is enough.

You, are enough.

xx

 

 

There is no Perfect, only Perspective

Do you punish yourself for not being where you want to be yet?

Do you compare your life to those around you?

Do you persistently try to please others?

Please stop (she say’s as she continues to do all these things).

If there is one thing I have learned in my blogging/shameless oversharing journey so far, it’s that our desire to attain perfection is destroying our perspective of motherhood. I have seen and talked to so many mums who are struggling to keep it all together. Myself being one of them. But why?

Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves?

We strive to be the perfect mum, the perfect wife, the perfect friend, and we look to others to see how to do this. We see other mums who appear to be doing it all, and doing it well, and all we really want to know is how to juggle ALL the balls like she does.

Let me share this with you…

She too has dropped a ball or two. She doubts herself and has the same negative thoughts that you do. The only difference is she isn’t willing to tell you that because she hasn’t yet learned that this is not how motherhood needs to be. She has not yet learned to surrender to the joy of NOT GIVING A F*** about what other people think.

Does my child eat sugar? Yes, she say’s NOT GIVING A F***

Does my child wear hand me down clothes? Yes, she says NOT GIVING A F***

Does my house look like a tip? Yes, she says NOT GIVING A F***

It really is quite fun once you get into the swing of it.

Anyway. Moving on.

The point I am trying to make is that we should be looking to other mums for inspiration, yes; but not as the destination. Their life is their own and they are doing their thing. But your life is yours and no one can take that from you. Your children chose you, you were made to be their mum. If we change our perspective and look to others as inspiration, not the destination, we can bring joy back to the daily grind that motherhood can be.

Social media is particularly damaging to our perspective.  The carefully curated culture we are exposed to today is not real. Please don’t get caught up in comparing yourself with what you see as ‘the perfect mum’ on social media. You know the one…

…she makes the best packed lunches.

…she dresses her children in designer clothes.

…she doesn’t give her children sugar.

…she drives the latest Audi.

…she went back to size 6, three days after giving birth.

…she makes gourmet meals for her husband.

And she NEVER farts.

It is so important that you can see social media for what it is and create your own little  circle that inspires you to be YOU. Follow people who genuinely make you feel good about your own life, not those who try to make you feel envious of theirs.

Personally, I love following other mums who genuinely share the real aspects of being a mum as well as the products that they rate and personally use. I don’t love following people who make me feel like my life isn’t as good as theirs because I don’t have ‘x,y or z’.

I love following people who post inspiring messages that lift my mood and make me feel good about myself. I don’t love following people who post egotistic messages that attempt to plant the seed of self doubt in my mind.

And so I have created my own little space where I see what I want to and avoid the things I don’t. You can too. Shape your perspective and bring back the joy.

Follow people who make you feel good about YOU, not them.

Follow people who inspire you to be YOU, not them.

And just live your best damn life the way YOU want to.

And while you’re muddling your way through just try to remember that she is muddling her way through too.

 

There is no perfect, only perspective. 

 

Until next time.

xx

 

5 Things To Consider Before Going Back To Work…

I have a confession.

The work life balance thing has gone out the window. Moving from two work days a week to four has been a real struggle. If you were thinking I was winning at this working mama gig you would be wrong. Flattering, but wrong.

The reality is it’s not going back to work that’s the hard part; it’s trying to fit the other 99% of my life into the hours that are left over that I’m struggling with. Something has to give and I just haven’t worked out what that something is supposed to be.

You know that quote “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”

WELL, I’ll tell you this for free, if my weeks went to plan we would be away laughing.

But, I think a more accurate representation would go a little like this “Those who plan will probably end up planning everything again, so, make sure you plan to plan a plan for when the plan turns to shit”.

‘Cause it will. Just saying.

To cut a long story short I’ll just say the end result is that I feel frustrated. I feel guilty. I feel sad. I question every thing I do. Do you know how it feels to have your child 99% toilet trained only to have them revert back to nappies at daycare. It feels like BIG FAT FAILURE. Like sit down in the shower, let the water wash away your tears failure. Toilet training is hard. But it’s even harder watching their progress literally go down the toilet (or in this case, NOT).

It’s just too much.

Over the past four years I have worked hard to get myself to a place of balance. A place where my well being is valued more than my bank balance. Where my happiness is valued more than some one else’s. The question I keep asking myself is – How did we get back here?

You might be reading this and just think ‘come on, get a grip, get over yourself’. If you are, I wouldn’t blame you, but don’t think I haven’t said this to myself 100 times already. You might be judging me because my version of motherhood doesn’t look like yours. If you are, I wouldn’t blame you, but don’t think I haven’t judged myself more than you ever could.

I’m sharing these thoughts because it helps me get my head around how I’m feeling. I’m sharing because maybe it might help some one else in a  similar situation who thinks they are the only one not coping. I’m sharing because maybe you might be considering going back to work too.

If any of the above resonates, maybe you could take 10 minutes to sit down and really consider the following five things and weigh up your options again. These are the things I wish someone had told me before I went back to work. Things that no one tells you because going back to work is a deeply personal decision and is absolutely different for every single parent. But, never the less, things you should think about either way.

Firstly, and I think most importantly, do you have a boss that values your work as well as your role as a mother? Because the only thing worse than feeling shit about your life, is having someone else make you feel even shittier. Your boss needs to understand that work is work. It’s not your life.

Second, do you have wriggle room in your week for the unexpected? Do you have back up child care or a scheduled breather day? I cannot tell you how much this helps to smooth out the bumps in the week. Literally, #humpdayathome for the win.

Third, are you prepared for your child to be sick for the first 6 months? Because it may take them this long to build up their immune system and people send their kids to daycare when they’re sick. Annoying, I know.

Fourth, can your child handle the extra stimulation and activity? Some children thrive in the business (busy-ness?? Eh) that is daycare life. Others need a slow and calm environment to be the best versions of themselves. It’s important you recognise this and make changes to ensure your child is getting the rest they need.

And lastly, are you a flexible person or do you loose it when routine goes out the window? Knowing yourself and catching yourself  before you hit tipping point is just as important as point number four. Everyone is going through different things in their lives, really consider whether you can cope with this on top of whatever else you have going on.

That’s my two cents anyway.

I hope this helps some one feel better about their own situation, whatever that looks like. Some times just knowing you’re not the only one struggling is enough to give you the motivation to keep going. I did have a brief moment of clarity earlier this week when I felt we were through the worst of it.  I told myself that change builds character. Challenges only make us stronger. You know, all that stuff. It kind of worked.

So, I’ll just keep riding that line between chaos and calm for now and let you guys in along the way. If anyone wants to make me feel better by joining in my pitty party, I’d be okay with that too! Just bring wine.

Until next time.

xx

Family Planning Anxiety

If I can, I would like to take you back for a moment. I would like you to think back to the birth of your first baby.

Yes, come on, you can do it. Stay with me.

Do you remember that feeling? You know the one. It was straight after the baby came out. You were lying on the bed, legs in the air, a gaping hole the size of, well the size of a BABY, between them. You barely had a chance to realise it was all over when your baby was placed on your chest for the first time. The first time.

Your head fell like lead to the pillow beneath. You don’t know where you found the strength, but you lifted your arms and rested them gently on your baby’s back. You felt the rise and fall of their tiny chest in the palm of your hand. You closed your eyes, and let the tears fall. Eventually, you looked up to your husband and said something like this…

“WE ARE NEVER HAVING ANY MORE!!!”

Yep, well this is pretty much how it went for us.

As a result, the thought of falling pregnant again has filled me with anxiety.  Simultaneously, the thought of NOT WANTING to fall pregnant has also filled me with anxiety (insert sweaty nervous emoji face *here*). If you’re familiar with anxiety you’ll understand the constant overthinking that goes on within the mind. The self doubt. The sabotage. You’ll know the way it can mess with your head and your ability to cope with stressful situations.

For me personally, becoming a mum was the scariest thing I’ve ever done. There is so much you simply cannot prepare for. So many unknowns. So. Many.

The decision to have your second baby is no less difficult. You ask yourself how will you run around after a toddler AND grow a baby? Let alone care for baby once it’s born. How will you love TWO tiny humans equally and with all your heart? Also, how will you maintain your sense of self while doing all this?

Generally, how will you cope.

Well. This week Isla and I went for a little drive to visit one of my good friends and her sweet baby girl Freya. We talked about labour, leaky boobs and life without sleep. We agreed that no one really knows what the hell they’re doing, and taking each day as it comes is the best thing you can do.

While she fed baby quietly in the armchair, I chased my toddler around trying to get her to sit still with her banana. Seriously, WHY did I bring banana, of all things?? While she gently burped baby on her knee I wrestled my giggling toddler out from behind the blinds. Needless to say we only stayed for an hour, but it filled my love tank to the point of overflowing and set the slow but steady process of defrosting the old girls in motion.

You really do forget how delicate and light a new born baby feels. Their soft skin. The way they smell. I was doing so well until Isla came up behind me, hugging me from behind she leaned over my shoulder and looked at this little baby in my arms. She smiled in a way I hadn’t seen before. And in that moment my heart (and ovaries) just melted. This is the moment I knew we had room in our little family for another.

It took me 18 months to get to this point. To feel like me again.

There’s that old saying – feel the fear and do it anyway, my advice would be do not listen to this! Take your time. Get your head around one baby. Feel like yourself again. Rest. Then, when you are ready, you will probably still feel the fear but the fact you’re considering it will tell you you are ready.

Let me just clarify. I am not pregnant. Repeat. NOT PREGNANT. I said this was a slow process. You never know, maybe we are only meant to be blessed with one beautiful child, maybe we’ll have five (doubtful, very doubtful). All I’m saying is that I no longer fear the thought of falling pregnant again. Having another baby and a toddler no longer fills me with anxiety. Which in itself is a huge relief.

When you’re ready, you will know.

xx