ARCHIVE: June 2015

The Judged

June 30, 2015 | 0 Comment

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Is there anyone alive judged as much as a mother?

This occurred to me last Saturday when I was on my lunch break from work. I really felt like sushi, which was readily available, but my first thought was “but now that I think I actually look pregnant, what if someone says something?” I still bought sushi, but it took it back into the store to consume out the back in shame.

It got me thinking about all the decisions a mother has to make that opens her up to judgment, and how it starts right upon conception. How early do you tell people you’re pregnant, how you choose to eat and drink, where you’re comfortable birthing, what pain relief (or if any) you use, whether you required a caesarian or whether you just elected for one because of your own deeply personal reasons.

Even as to whether you’re married or not. I know when my rings stopped fitting my swollen fingers in my last trimester with Jack, I’d see fellow commuters take notice of my pregnant belly and then glance at my bare left hand, whether out of curiosity or silent judgment I’ll never know. But I couldn’t help but feel judged and want to wear a dress ring that fit that finger, even though I personally couldn’t give a rats what your marital status is. It’s none of my business and these days it doesn’t matter in what order you have a child/buy a house/marry or not marry. Everyone is different.

Then of course when the beloved child arrives we are judged on how we are supposed to feel towards and bond with the baby after the birth, how we feed, how often we feed, whether we sleep with our child or not, whether we circumcise and when we decide to get our daughters ears pierced. Not to mention the pressure put upon women to bounce back after pregnancy, as if amongst everything new mothers have already been though, it matters at all. It just never ends. Jump on any forum today and I promise you there will be threads closed down because of arguments got out of hand surrounding many of these issues.

It seems so incredibly unfair. For a time at least, we leave the workforce or give up our careers and work for free for our children and care for our husbands, in the hardest yet most rewarding role we’ll ever take on. We all feel the same anxiety, worries, fears and all have days where we can only cry. Yet we are the judged. Not only that, everything we read and everything we hear makes us judge ourselves. Am I doing the wrong thing? Am I a bad mother?

I’m going to be honest, because I’m a prime candidate to be judged. With the full support of my excellent obstetrician, I eat exactly the same while I’m pregnant than when I’m not and I’ve been on the receiving end of some comments. I devour feta, deli meats, sushi and soft cheese. I can’t even name everything I’m not supposed to have because I don’t know the full list of what I’m supposed to be avoiding. I just use my common sense and judgment as to whether I think something is fresh. I’ve had at least 3 half glasses of wine or champagne this pregnancy. One to celebrate our 6th wedding anniversary, one to celebrate a 70th and another last weekend celebrating a friends 40th. I was exactly the same with Jack and I’m immensely proud of the funny, happy, healthy little boy I’m raising. Having said all that, I’m never going to judge YOU because you choose to avoid these things. You are doing the right thing by YOU and how you feel is all that matters both to yourself and the health of your child. I actually admire your discipline.

I think a good rule for those that might want to judge someone’s choices is to ask themselves “how does their choice directly affect me?” If it doesn’t, leave it alone. Mothers heap enough pressure on themselves without everyone else doing it too.

I’m off to cook dinner load up the newest episode of The Bachelorette (US version) cause hubby and I are obsessed – please, no judgement haha.

Belinda x

There’s Always Something…

June 26, 2015 | 0 Comment

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Roundie Playmat by Bella & Moo

I know I said in my last blog post that Jack was at my favourite age yet. Well, there’s one new occurrence that I’m not loving…

My child doesn’t want to sleep without me. It sounds sweet doesn’t it? Though it’s actually kind of frustrating. Nothing has changed in his bedtime routine and yet now as soon as we go to leave the room, he sits up and starts crying. This has probably been going on for about 6 weeks now. On his worst nights, if I took him into bed with me he fell asleep straight away. This same child that always hated co-sleeping! Not that we ever encouraged it, but on the rare occasion if he was sick, teething or uncharacteristically unsettled I’d see if laying down with me would help. It never did. He wanted to be in his own bed. Fast forward to now, and he’d happily sleep next to me but we don’t want that to be the full time solution.

I think he’s getting better, but at the moment we have to ask him to lie down, to reassure him that we are still there, and leave the door ajar. Then repeat this process a few times in 10-15 minutes before he’ll relax enough to settle to sleep. It’s probably a good thing that he’s not yet in a toddler bed, because I don’t think there would be any way he’d stay in it!

Has anyone been through this?

I’ve consulted Google, of course, and it seems a common issue to have with children his age or older but solutions are varied or the authors of similar posts have never come back to update on what worked for them. My guess is their poor souls finally succumbed to toddler-induced sleep deprivation or they were reunited with a healthy bedtime routine and thought “see you later, suckers!” to the rest of us.

I’ve been very open about the fact that I’m a big believer in the benefits of sleep training, but only between the ages of 6-12 months. This is not something I believe will work for Jack now. He’s older, more aware of what’s going on, growing rapidly, at an age where the 8 most painful teeth can come in and he’s old enough to be anxious or scared. He needs comfort and reassurance, not to be left to cry. As I’m pregnant, I’m also aware that he might have a sense that something big is happening, that things are changing. Kids, even children this young, are so much more intuitive than I ever would have thought, though it upsets me to think that he’s nervous about the future, or wondering what is going on and why people are talking so much about a new baby.

So, I ask, how do you comfort them without implementing bad habits that we’ll have to try and break later? I guess we’ll continue to reassure as we have been and hopefully ride out this stage.

I’d love to hear any tips if anyone has any.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone. It’s Friday night and I’m spending it at home with my homemade spinach & ricotta pie, that I baked earlier whilst Jack chased our dog around outside, and the football. A perfect evening!

Belinda x

Toddlers & Freedom

June 23, 2015 | 0 Comment

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I went out for dinner with a friend last night* and I’ve been out every Friday night for the last month. No, I promise I’m not entering any most popular awards, I’m mentioning it because I’m three months away from giving birth to my second child so I’m taking advantage of it now.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this on my blog before, but I don’t like toddlers. Correction, never used to like toddlers. Sticky fingers and runny noses. The tiny, unreasonable, tantrum-throwing dictators with one word, “NO!” Now I of course don’t mean that I didn’t think I’d love my own child when he reached toddlerhood but imagine my surprise when this has (again) become my favourite age. His little voice and new words are music to my ears, his intentional cuddles and purposeful kisses melt my heart and watching as he understands my instructions and carries them out is incredible. He now reaches up to hold my hand as he approaches a road because he knows that’s our rule. Not long ago he was my baby, now he’s becoming his own little person and it‘s beautiful to watch.

The other reason I’m enjoying toddlerhood? Freedom. They get to an age where you find you can just DO more.

They aren’t so dependant. They’re not milk-feeding constantly and they sleep once during the day (if you’re lucky – mine still has a 2 hour lunchtime nap). They don’t need a list of instructions, a strict schedule or a U-Haul truck of supplies. Except snacks, always pack snacks. He’s an easier age to babysit and we take advantage of it without pushing our luck with the grandparents.

Life is going to slow down again with the arrival of our second baby, socially at least. When it comes to parenting, it’s about to ramp up. I hope we’re still able to head out for a date night or with friends every now and then, and I hope babysitting two kids isn’t too much to ask. It’s scary adding a newborn to the mix! Having said that, I couldn’t be more excited about another baby as it will most likely be our last (though don’t quote me on that!)

*I started this post last Thursday and it’s now Tuesday and I’m finally getting around to posting it. I need to slow down. Oh, and I’m finishing it in bed, with a cup of tea while Jack naps. I’m so exhausted from all the working and going out that I could fall asleep in a second but I find I feel worse if I do, so most days I do a one-hour pram walk up the hills of my suburb to wake myself up. Yes, I’m crazy, but Jack loves it, the dog loves it and it does help boost my energy.

Belinda x