The helicopter mum jumps out of the plane..

IMG_5551.JPGHave you heard the term- Helicopter parent? It’s a mum (or dad) who pays very close attention to their children at playgrounds/out in public- I think we all know them- it goes beyond the general caring for your child to make sure they don’t die while at the park- I’m talking about the parent who is one or two steps away ready to jump in when needed. They are hyper aware, standing at attention to defend and protect their child. Was I a helicopter mum.. am I a helicopter mum? Thinking introspectively- perhaps. I make super conscious efforts not to be when out with friends or at a safe park but sometimes it just happens, especially with the sacredness that comes with your first child.

Last week at an indoor play place I let Ava go. It probably wasn’t the best play area to do so as it is a HUGE indoor area with really really high climbing areas (which she wouldn’t be able to climb to without my help.. I think).. but nonetheless, I let her go. I let her go and play independently- so much so that I actually couldn’t find her at one point. I had seen her enter one area of the large child magnet contraption but not come out so I headed over to see what she was up to. I called her name, I scanned all the little girls to see if I recognized her strawberry blonde hair- I couldn’t find her. My next thought was (though fleeting)- did someone take her.. quickly countered with, no- I was sitting near the door no one could have walked out with her without me seeing..

Eventually we found her coming down a makeshift slide that started up pretty high (how she got there I don’t know) but it was definitely a test at letting her go.

She came running to me, crying, twice because of “the ball.” We’re assuming she slipped on a ball twice, coupled with the fact that we were 2 hours overdue for a nap who knows what actually happened, but all in all she did great.

It took all the will power in me to not know where she was at all times. She’s not even two- what if she breaks an arm or a finger or gets a concussion and I can’t find her.. those were very real possibilities that quickly raced through my mind.. and then my logic kicked in- broken arms mend, broken fingers mend, there’s mum’s everywhere- she wouldn’t be concussed without anyone knowing.

When your little one suddenly becomes independent and starts to do things on her own, it’s as if the moment you have been dreaming about collides with this very real motherly need to be needed.

After a long day of being generally overtired she woke up at 9pm inconsolably crying- I picked her up, carried her into bed with me and we slept the night away.

While I worked on not hovering that day I think she realized I needed to be needed just a little bit extra.

It’s been a while..

Wow.. I didn’t realise I hadn’t posted in 2 months! Life has gotten busy to say the least.. and I’ve been in a bit of a funk. I don’t feel like I have anything very interesting to say.. they say comparison is the thief of joy.. well there are A LOT of amazing bloggers out there with amazing families and kids and DIY projects.. and here’s little ole’ me from the backside of Sydney just trying to juggle one child and a part-time job.. It’s been hard.

Ava tuned one while I was on a bit of an unexplained break- YAY! We had a great week of celebrations with her. She ate way too many sweets and had one to many servings of cake, but I’ve adapted the motto- if it won’t kill her let’s give it a try.. my how times have changed. I didn’t pull out my good camera once for her birthday so you’ll just have to head over to instagram to see a little snapshot of weekend parties!

She has gotten way more talkative! Her vocab is probably around 20 words now.. and her second top tooth has finally caught up to her first top tooth- YAY! Symmetry for the win!

With Ava turning one has come a whole new set of struggles. Last night was actually the worst she’s ever acted- my husband and I looked couldn’t help but look at each other in shock. She is strong-willed and defiant! We will tell her for e.g. not to drop her water bottle off her highchair- she’ll pick it up and throw it over the edge. We smack her hand (yep..we lightly smack her hand), pick the water bottle up and say “no, leave it on your highchair”. This will happen two or three times- by now the tears are starting to fall. She will stop pushing the bottle of the highchair for a minute or two, and then put her hand on it as if daring us to do something. She will then look at either my husband or I in the eye and as if in slow motion push her bottle of the highchair.. argh!! It drives me nuts!!

We love her to death, but we are definitely on the parenting journey. I constantly struggle with the thought of “am i harming or helping her.” Are our boundaries and discipline too soon, or are we actually helping shape her for her 2’s and 3’s?

I don’t think you are ever prepared to become a mum or dad.. it’s so much more than getting pregnant and birthing a child.. you actually have to now raise them..

It’s such an emotional, exciting, overwhelming, crazy role to live out.. One that we are extremely grateful for.. but boy.. is it challenging!

For any mumma’s out there- I’m sure you’re doing an amazing job.. It’s okay to countdown the minutes till bedtime.. It’s okay to hide in the bathroom and eat that chocolate bar.. it’s okay to reminisce about when it was just you and your partner or when you didn’t have to vacuum for the ONE THOUSANDTH TIME! It’s okay to dream of that rug in your living room that was once spotless but is now COVERED with little specs of food.. it’s okay to struggle to remember when you last showered or actually finished a meal or a hot cup of tea… oh sorry.. did I lose some of you there? Guys.. I am totally being real right now.. this journey is challenging.. but if you asked me to do it all over again I would say yes in a heart beat. I would literally give my life for my baby girl..and you know.. the past is never as great as you remember it.. and who else will feed the tiny ants that you sure are living in your rug anyways?

Woven- To know her is to love her..

For those who have just started following Growing A Bebé, Woven is a new series of stories from the women around me- their stories of labour, love and growing their little families.. I hope you see the imperfect perfect of this experience we call motherhood in the tapestry of stories woven by each woman..

My next guest in our series, Woven, is a dear friend of mine who I look up to so very much. She has been my Pastor’s wife for nearly 8 years- side plug, if you’re looking for a church in Sydney, come along and check out ours here– it’s an amazing church!

She has two children, a beautiful daughter named Qiana and an amazing little boy called Joaquin! To have met her is to love her.. trust me..

You know those people who, when they hug you, are really hugging you? Like they are conveying their love and support with how tightly and confidently they hug you? She is one of those ladies.

Today, I introduce to you Robyn Harvey!

FullSizeRender (1).jpgRobyn (far right), Joaquin (bottom right) and Qiana (middle)

Okay, so here we go..

How big is the family you come from? I come from a family of 4 kids. I am the youngest of the four. I have 2 older sisters and an older brother. There is a 13 year gap between my oldest sister and I.

Can you tell me a bit about your family? My parents and siblings migrated here to Australia in the mid 1970’s. My parents were Pastors in the Methodist Church in Fiji. An opportunity arose for the position of a Pastor in the Northern Sydney suburb of Berowra that was offered to my father. There were strong links between the Australian Methodist and the Fijian church. It was a leap of faith for my parents to move their family to a country that they did not know. My siblings were young then and I was not in the picture yet.

They found it difficult to adjust to a new culture in the beginning and were faced with many challenges. My father was the first non- Australian minister to pastor an all Australian church. They were interviewed by 3 of the local papers at that time and published in the local news. We lived in Northern Sydney for a few years and moved around Newcastle, Yallambie Heights, Berowra and Hornsby, where I was born.

*I tried to find this article, but with it being so long ago I didn’t have any luck! 😦

Okay, so now onto your own family! How many children do you have? I have 2 children.- Qiana & Joaquin, who are my world.

How were your pregnancies? My first pregnancy I had morning sickness up until I was about 7 months. Towards the end, I had a lot of fluid and couldn’t wear closed shoes for the last few weeks and I had put on about 15kgs…yikes! With my 2nd pregnancy, it was great. Morning sickness ended at the 3 months mark and I had a pleasant pregnancy, no fluid like the first one and I was able to wear most of my normal clothes until I was about 7 months.

Where did you have your children? I had them both at Liverpool Hospital.

..and Natural or C-Section? I had a natural birth for both children. I was in labour with my daughter for about 16 hours. I was induced and had to be laying on the bed. Through the excruciating contractions I was unable to walk around or stand as I was strapped with the drip in my arm as well as the machine that was monitoring baby’s heart rate. With my son, I was in hospital at around 11:30pm in the evening and gave birth at 4:37am, it was a much shorter labour and less intense.

If you had to narrow down one of the things you struggled with the most, being a new mum, what would you say?

The hardest thing I struggled with becoming a new Mum was listening to all the different advice that people would give me. It was confusing and overwhelming at times. My mum would tell me how it should be done, the midwives would tell me what I need to do, my friends would tell me something different along with all the many pregnancy and baby books I had bought for myself. Who do I listen to?

We normally only see Joaquin and Qiana at church on Sunday where everyone is either serving, or participating in the service. I asked Robyn to share a funny story involving her kids!

Well, my son never crawled due to his low muscle tone, so he would roll everywhere instead to get around. (Well one day) I left him on the lounge room floor on the playmat to get his lunch ready. When I returned to the lounge room, I couldn’t see or hear him anywhere, I panicked a little and started calling his name out, but he wasn’t responding. After I had called out his name a few times, I heard a small voice that sounded distant, I kept talking to him until I could find where the voice was coming from. As I approached the sofa in the lounge room, it got louder. I got on my knees and looked under the couch and there he was, with the biggest smile on his face chewing on his, “chewy tube” (therapeutic tube) for babies with sensory issues. Cheeky monkey.

Let’s talk about work..Did you work outside of the home when you had children?  Yes, I did work outside of the home. At the time I was a Case Manager for a Welfare Organization working and supporting single young mothers who were homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. I worked 3 days a week. Qiana was in Family Day Care for those 3 days. By the time my son was born, my mother was on her way to retiring and was only working 2 days a week. So she arranged her roster to work on the days I had off and then she would have her days off when I went to work for the 3 days. This worked out really well for the next 5 years until my son was in Kindergarten.

Where, are you currently working? Well, in 2014 the program I worked 16 years for, lost funding and I was made redundant. I then worked for another Welfare Organisation in the CBD for just over a year, whilst studying my Diploma for Interior Design. When I completed my Diploma, I felt like I needed a career change after working in the Welfare Industry for 17 years. Interior Design has always been my passion. I started my own Interior Design/Styling Business (Salt & Light Interiors) in September 2016. I work for myself from home and I also do Freelance Interior Styling for a styling company in the City.

Robyn is an amazing interior designer- so I’ll make a little plug here, if you are looking for an interior designer in Sydney- I cannot recommend her enough! Her company is linked here: Salt & Light Interiors.

What do you find the hardest thing now is, at this stage of life with your children?

My daughter is now a teenager, that just says it all. Dealing with a teenage girl has proven to be difficult and challenging at times. I guess adolescence is a difficult stage in life, having to deal with changes in the body, mood swings, hormones etc I’m learning everyday.

My son is turning 10 this year and he has an Intellectual Disability. We have had quite a journey with him, one of many challenges and obstacles, but also one of growth and many triumphs. His journey has not been easy, and will continue to be that way throughout his life. He is a placid boy who is very gentle in nature and always has a smile on his face. We will face more mountains to come as he gets older but with the support of our wonderful family, friends and therapists it makes a world of difference. We are so very thankful and so blessed.

As we round up our interview, could you give one piece of advice to a new mum out there?

My one piece of advice to a new mum is always, “Sleep when baby sleeps”. It is so important to be rested in our bodies physically and mentally. Having a new baby is such a wonderful and joyous life event for us but it can also be a very stressful one, having had a enough sleep helps you to think better as well as feel better.

 

 

Woven- Two little peas in a pod

For those who have just started following Growing A Bebé, Woven is a new series of stories from the women around me- their stories of labour, love and growing their little families.. I hope you see the imperfect perfect of this experience we call motherhood in the tapestry of stories woven by each woman..

My next guest in our series, Woven, is from a dear friend of mine. We have been friends since we both can remember; we’ve celebrated birthdays, weddings and kids together! We both married Greg’s in the same year as well (a little fun fact)!

Today, I am excited to introduce Rachel Willmott!

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Okay, question number one- how big is the family you come from?  Not very big at all! Mum has 1 brother & dad is an only child. I am blessed to have 2 grandparents still here with us. I am the eldest of 3 siblings.

Can you tell me a bit about your family? Dad comes from Scicily / born in Australia, and has remarried an Australian. Mum comes from Chile / came over when she was 4yrs old.
I’m the eldest at 30, younger sister at 26, brother at 19 and a half brother who is 5 weeks old.

How many children do you have? I have twins girls who are 2.5yrs old and another bub due in August 2017.

Where did you have your children? The twins were born at Liverpool Public Hospital, NSW.

How did you find out that you were having twins? Take us through that first ultrasound! From the very beginning, our girls have made our parenthood journey an adventure full of surreal & comical surprises. The routine 6 week scan was no exception. Having a heart full of mixed emotions coupled with a bladder full of water, I lied on the bed waiting trying not to shed tears, burst out in laughter or pee myself. It felt as though as soon as the sonographer placed the doppler on me he made a very strange and surprised sound. His english wasn’t very good so Greg asked why he made a strange noise? We remember his words as though it were yesterday, “Looks like double-trouble”, closely followed by “Go halve your bladder – too full”. As I sat in the bathroom, my mind was racing through questions like “his english must be really basic”, “did I hear him correctly?”, “how large will I grow?” and finally “why do they ask you to drink so much water in the first place?”.

When I came back, it was confirmed that we were indeed staring at two little peas in my pod. Greg and I looked at each other in absolute shock and somehow had a magical conversation through eye contact. We had joked about having twins, then to see those twin hearts beating was a surreal moment for us. Obviously once we got over the initial shock, the logistics of having twins began to set in. The journey since has been challenging, often fatiguing but above all extremely rewarding!

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Audrey & Evenlyn (The two peas in a pod)

Did you have a Natural of C-section birth? How long was labour? I had natural births for both girls. If calculating from the actual pushing phase: Labour was from 11:00am – 3:20pm = 4.5 hours. My water broke 8am Wednesday & so I spent the night in hospital where I dilated 7cm without knowing it. I was given an epidural Thursday morning & started pushing before midday. Girls were born by 3:20pm Thursday.

How was your pregnancy? I had a great pregnancy, aside from some back/body aches due to being rather large and having to sleep sitting up for almost 2 months. I had regular ultrasounds and appointments so I was always well informed with my personal & twins’ development.

Did you take maternity Leave? If so, for how long? Yes, my Mat Leave was exactly 12 months.

What was the hardest thing you struggled with being a new mum? Sleep deprivation (I seriously love sleep) and my own personal body recovery & healing. I had to be readmitted to hospital 2-3 weeks after delivery due to Mastitis & an infection from the episiotomy. Not pleasant. At. All. All the while trying to juggle two crying babies, two nappies, two bottles, two of EVERYthing.

Did you work outside of the home when you had children? No. Well I wasn’t ‘paid’, but I sure did lots of work 🙂

What do you currently do for work? I am currently working 2 days/week as a Payroll Clerk for a Transport Company. But I’ll be going on Mat Leave again very soon!

What do you find the hardest thing is now, at this stage of life with your children at the age they are? The hardest thing for me at this stage is trying to find the time, energy and motivation to stimulate their inquisitive brains everyday. (and filling out the day-care paperwork so THEY can worry about paint & dirt & inquisitive brains) haha
Having said that, the girls are actually quite easy to ‘talk’ to at this stage than ever before, which I’m finding a lovely surprise.
Don’t get me wrong, they still have their tantrum-like commands and requests, but I find it’s easier to talk and reason with them at this stage.

If you could give one piece of advice to a new mum what would you tell them? Stress less. This coming from someone who doesn’t stress very much! Honestly, I can look back and say that I worried about insignificant things that I read TO DO & NOT to do. But every mother & child is different. It’s so easy for a new mother to fall for the ‘Keeping up with the Jones’ expectation to have everything perfectly under control all the time. So stress less 🙂

 

Mum Life Lessons

img_2093I initially thought about naming this post ‘the postpartum season- not for wimps’ but decided against it considering it wasn’t very eloquent. I’ve been “on the job” for just over 11 weeks now and I find myself conflicted most days.

So.. I decided to jot down a few lessons I have learned over the past 11 weeks since becoming a new mum.. I’m sure there will be many more lessons to follow…

You don’t have to have it all together all the time

No one prepares you for the overwhelming sense of responsibility that hits you like a ton of bricks when you give birth. I remember sitting on a plastic chair in the shower after giving birth, and with tears pouring down my face I asked him “What if I’m a bad mum? What if I don’t know what to do..” I was so overwhelmed with a self-placed expectation to have it all together. When I was pregnant I very much had an idealistic view of what having a baby would be like. I’m not just talking about the birth- I’m talking about life with a baby. I read plenty of books about raising babies and sleep training. I watched youtube videos and read articles online- even with all this research there are days that I don’t have it all together and I struggle to muster up nurturing feelings towards Ava. I hope this doesn’t make me sound like a bad mum.. I would die for her, but when she is sitting in a car screaming for no apparent reason (yes, just yesterday, in stop start traffic) I struggle big time! Guess what? Ava survived yesterday.. and so did I! Life lesson- even on your worst days your baby will survive!

You may do everything right but she will still throw some of the bottle up!

The first time Ava threw up some of her bottle I cried like a baby. It was so heart breaking to watch.. since then she has probably spat up 30 or more times.. On average, if she has had 5 bottles a day, for 11 weeks that’s 385 bottles at least!!! I tried changing the way she lay, the teet, tilting the bottle, keeping her upright.. nothing seems to work.. Life lesson- I can do everything right and things will still get messy!

Worrying won’t get you anywhere

I have envisioned Ava at almost every stage of life and it terrifies me. Every time I see a teenage girl and her mum my mind races to conjure up images of what Ava will look like.. and whether her and I will be best friends like my mum and I. Will we be sitting for coffee or laughing at each others jokes.. where will we be in 12 years time? I see pictures of a father and her daughter at a wedding and I start getting teary thinking about Greg giving Ava to a man to love and cherish. The Bible says that “..all things work together for good”.. Life lesson- Rest in His peace that you are raising a good person! Invite the Lord into every parenting decision you may be facing. God has blessed us with a baby to raise so He will help us!

Don’t trust instagram

I’ve known this for a long time, but instagram is the highlight reel of most people’s lives. For every “perfect” photo there has to be 10 that are miss-matched, chaotic and imperfect! I know.. I’ve tried photographing a newborn! Don’t take everything you see at face value…Life lesson- comparison is the thief of joy..

Surround yourself with people who love you!

Having friends that will force you out of the house are friends that you should surround yourself with! Friends (and my mum) have been my saving grace these past few months! Whether it’s a coffee date, or a play date at someone’s home- community has kept me from becoming a recluse.. I cherish them! Surround yourself with people who won’t let you disappear!

This to shall pass..

Your baby will not be a baby forever. You may not be able to see it now but she will get bigger, and become more self-sufficient. If you choose to, you will go back to work and have that responsibility of helping run a business for a few hours a day instead of managing bottles and nappies. This has probably been the hardest thing for me. From working full-time and being heavily involved in our local Church to timing bottles and changing a bazillion nappies every week it’s been a very big shock to the system. I have to remind myself daily that Ava will not be 3 months old forever..haha.. it sounds very much  like common sense, but it’s hard trust me!

and last but not least.. Just because you find parenting hard doesn’t mean you’re failing at it..

Raising Ava, at this young age, comes with its learning curves- curves that will change during different seasons of her life- they will get steeper and plateau and hopefully stay manageable- as a new mum, if you’re finding it hard to process all the changes, it doesn’t mean you’re ungrateful for the blessing of your baby and it doesn’t mean your failing at mothering. It’s okay to struggle to find the new you, it’s okay if your baby is not your whole world- You can be you and a mum they don’t have to become synonymous.

Wherever you are, if you are a new mum, I hope you’ve found comfort in my ramblings.

xx

P.S Here’s a little photo dump of my growing bebé. I can’t help it..

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