Bringing in the New Year…….

The bubbles are flowing, the heels are out, the tunes are singing and the sparkles are shimmering…..its new years…a time of year to celebrate what was and to imagine and hope for whats to come…bringing in the new year.

New Years Resolutions have never been something that I have routinely followed. And to be honest…they have always accompanied with them a sense of uncertainty, pressure and exepctation. I mean, what really are these new years resolutions about…a time to set yourself a year long goal, that you have to hold yourself accountable too, regardless of what unexpected life events present themselves to you??

resolution list

I mean isn’t it a little tokenistic???!???

 

When I originally wrote this piece, last year, I asked my partner if he has ever set a New Years Resolution and he reminded me that we actually set one for this year….our goal was to better our lives by getting through our much desired home renos. As we reminisced about this, we both gave out a half hearted, tired, delirious, funny laugh…because in terms of goals…we failed (insert image of my partner in life and love giving the big thumbs down). To be fare, we were probably aiming a little high considering we at the time had a nine year old (now eleven), a sixteen month old (now three)  and a bub due in feb (now two in feb). Instead of reaching our new years resolution..we had our toughest year yet. Adjusting to life with another new bub, job instability, financial pressure….you name it. Don’t get us wrong, when we reflect back on our year, we do so in awe and wonder, firstly at how we survived but mostly at our beautiful babes and how big our hearts have grown to fit them all in.

 

When I was researching for this piece..weblinks such as ’50 new years resolution ideas and how to achieve them’ ‘top 10 healthiest new years resolutions’ ‘epic ways to screw your new years resolutions’ popped up….within these weblinks….well meaning authors make suggestions for your new years resolutions….these range from ‘get into shape’ ‘meet new people’ ‘stop procrastinating’ become more confident’ ‘earn more money’…..Ummmm yes please!!

sparklers

One website defined New Years Resolutions as ‘the perfect opportunity for all those who have failed to start making the changes that they said they would make’…I mean…come on…I can almost imagine an overly authoritarian personality type,  you know the typical representation of a strict rule abiding school principal, standing in front of an assembly of innocent, bewildered students… hands on their hips, glasses on their noses,  and saying these exact words….and yet a new years resolution is meant to be something that we hold ourselves accountable for.

On the more light hearted side of things…another more light website described new years resolutions as ‘similar to a baby, fun to make but hard to maintain’ (insert giggle here).

The New Year year is without a doubt a time where many, including myself, find themselves reflecting on the year/s that has passed by, whilst looking forward to the year that is ahead. The inner nerd in me has ALWAYS loved the freshness that the new year brings. Freshly contacted school books, clean crisp diaries, new schedules and routines, new projects, new people, a new chance….the smell of sweet sweet summer in the air…it does have a sense of rest and refresh about it.

sparkler

So if we do choose to follow this well aged tradition of picking a ‘new years resolution’, how do we go about this in a way that’s going to set us up to feel accomplished, hopeful and well, rather than ridden with self blame and guilt about not achieving what we set out to achieve despite the fact that the stats say that more than half of those who set themselves a resolution are off course six months in.

All in all, A New Years Resolution is a tradition in which we are meant to make a promise, to ourselves to do an act of self improvement…..but, who said that new years resolutions have to be just about improvement of our self or our life…in a way that seems to imply rectification of a fault.

Another way, maybe a more helpful way to look at it, is through a self compassionate lense, which gives you permission to be kind to yourself. Almost like granting yourself a year long permission slip to take care of you, whether that means saying no to a new year resolution, or setting one that feels achievable and realistic.

When goals are specific rather than broad and general, measureable rather than obscure, agreed upon and supported by those around you, realistic given your current circumstances and timely in the sense that you will likely be able to achieve the goals in a given time…. your chance of following through and achieving the goal are much higher.

Or to form a resolution that is values based….working towards something that brings you  a sense of fulfilment.  Could it be..spending more quality time with those you love, reading more about something that inspires you, planning and researching your next travel adventure; big or small…

Or could it be that a resolution that will unintentionally fill us with those wonderful altruistic feelings like gratitude is a resolution with a shifted focus, a focus towards those around us….our partners, our kiddies, our mama village. Bettering the lives of others builds a sense of connectedness, gratitude, optimism, purpose and fulfillment. All states of mind that lead to higher levels of well being….and wouldn’t that be the bees knees of new years resolutions….to feel well, ‘happier’.

 

new years eve cheers

 

So, in keeping with what has been written here..I wish those of you making new years resolutions a sense of fulfillment in achieving what you set out to achieve and those of you who aren’t, I wish you the same sense of fulfillment in the experiences that this year brings, and what you bring to this year.

 

Wishing you all 2018 that is filled with love, resilience and hope.

 

Xx

 

happy new year

 

Fill Your Cup…

Self Compassion, Kindness to Self, Self Care, Taking Time for You, Filling Your Cup…. all terms that we often find ourselves talking about. Whether its that inner voice trying to urge yourself to take five. Or that compassionate guiding voice you hear exit your mouth as you take a friends hand and remind them, they should take five.

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Self Care is absolutely something that we tackle head on when working with parents, particularly new mums.  And often, when working with mums who are having difficulty with emotional and mental health…self care…is something that is seen to be the first thing we take steps to become normal parts of everyday life, once again.

 

I recall running a postnatal depression and anxiety group, during late pregnancy with my first little love. It was around a five session group, and a significant amount of the time was spent talking about the importance of self care, the barriers to engaging in self care through motherhood, and setting tasks for the mums in the group, to really make self care a priority. Sounds easy right!!!!!! As a therapist yet to experience the emotional and practical demands of motherhood (particularly in the early days, weeks, months……ok YEARS!!!!!) it seemed to make sense, it seemed like a manageable way to ensure that well-being was a priority. I mean how hard could it be to set aside some time for yourself and go watch a movie, go for a walk…..take a shower uninterrupted?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? Cognitively I knew all the tricky parts of making this a reality, but emotionally….Mama Being Frank….I really had no idea.

 

A couple of months ago, I was scrolling through my social media accounts, and I came across a post from The Mindful Mum….’Fill Your Own Cup’ it read…I kept scrolling. A few days later I came across the same post…I kept scrolling. Again I came across the post, I clicked the link and begun to read what was on offer – a free five day online workshop on how to introduce some self care centered activities into the busy life of a mama, ten minutes a day was promised….. my ears pricked. My interest was sparked, both from the mind of a mama who despite knowing the benefits and counseling others on the benefit…personally finding a balance of this, like many areas of parenthood, has been hard…And as a result, at times I have suffered.

 

And so, I chose, for myself and for my followers, and for my clients – past and present, and for my village of mamas…to sign myself up.

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I just want to note, this isn’t a professional review or critique of the program that was offered, or the activities that were introduced…but a personal reflection on my ongoing journey of ‘filling my own cup’. And the lovely mamas at The Mindful Mum, have kindly given me permission to publish a blog post, sharing my experiences of the journey. And like all journeys, everyone’s experience can be different, each taking something so very different from the same moment.

 

As a psychologist we often pair the action of self care with the frame of mind, self compassion. Different in many ways, but difficult for one to function well without the other. This for me, has been particularly true in my experiences as a mum. And were highlighted in my time with Mindful Mum, Fill Your Cup Challenge.

 

The fill your cup challenge was a five-day online workshop which introduced different activities all of which focused on teaching manageable ways of creating change amongst the routines that we move through, each and everyday. These activities aimed to draw energy and care inwards, in an attempt to balance how much energy and care we mamas direct outwards.

cup of tea

I loved the concept behind the idea…building an online community of mamas who were all in need of dedicating more time to self, to reenergize, to rest, to reflect and to be. The challenge was all on line – accessible. Each daily activity was emailed straight to your nominated email – convenient. Each activity only required a small amount of your time each day – timely… The challenge also invited you to join a face book group where you cold post pictures, share experiences, stories and thoughts – supportive.

 

I found each of the activities really enjoyable… once making the time to participate each day. The activities did not require an extensive amount of time. What I felt was really effective was how some of the activities were about reworking parts of our existing routines, in a way that draws energy inwards. And I will absolutely utilize some of these approaches in therapy, and hopefully in my own daily life.

 

What I found most challenging was not the practicality of ‘making time’, as I had predicted…but the mental and emotional battle of ‘deserving time’…or making this self focused time a priority amongst other ‘things’. Some days I didn’t get to the activities, and at the time the reasoning was ‘just too busy, just too tired’.   On the days that I did make the time…it was always an afterthought, following the long list of everything else that had to be done that day, it would occur in the time of the night where you engage in a mental debate as to whether or not to spend time on self, or catch a few extra minutes of sleep.

 

This part of my journey had me thinking…if I can make time to put on one more load of washing, read one more story, send a couple of quick emails, without guilt, without hesitation…why cant I ‘find’ the time to…..care for me.   And what I realised is…without a sense of true sense of compassion towards self, how can I expect, myself to easily prioritize, time for me.

 

Self compassion is a state of mind, a state of looking inwards with a sense of kindness, gentleness and love…just as we look outwards to others that we care for.

 

Through this experience, I also had to catch myself when mama guilt came tapping on my shoulder…maybe it was because I had set myself a goal, or made a commitment, but the mama guilt of ‘failing’ at the challenge, did begin to creep up. Recently I read another blog post titled “This Is What ‘Self-Care’ Really Means, Because It’s Not All Salt Baths and Chocolate Cake”, By Brianna Wiest. Brianna speaks about the worrying notion that ‘Self Care’ has become a trendy topic, suggesting indulgence, rather than a normal way of healthy living.

 

Brianne refers to a quote, which really struck a cord with me

The act of self-care has become yet another thing women are expected to be good at”. Amil Niazi

 

Mama Being Frank…the way in which we choose to take care of ourselves does not feel the important part of this topic…what feels most significant, is the CHOICE in itself. The choice to choose you. Finding a place where emotionally, taking time for you, is just as important, as giving time to others, is what matters.

The awareness that there is some part of who you are and how you are travelling that needs some attention, some time and some care…is what matters.

 

Whether you notice the need for change, as I did, and choose to start by making a commitment to yourself. Or whether you notice the need for change and mindfully start to adjust the internal dialogue that may be holding you back. It all counts, it’s all about making a change, of some degree, to better your state of being.

 

Mama Being Frank…despite what messages we are sent about ‘self care’…there is no right or wrong way to do it. Everyone’s emotional, social and physical needs are met in different ways. For me, as a Mama, front and center in my own journey, and as a Psychologist sharing in those journeys of my clients…. the most important part of all of this, is responding to yourself with kindness, and compassion, the rest should follow, just as you need it to.

 

aqua quote

Parents are Human Too…

 

When I started writing, I was inspired by the idea of sharing my experiences. Truthful tales of what I thought the journey into motherhood would be, and what the honest reality was like. I felt – I wrote, I struggled – I wrote, I learnt – I wrote.  I was imagining myself doing the Carey Bradshow thing, it was great. I was building another road, exploring another passion, fusing my worlds. But then I reached a lull. Was it tiredness? Was it busyness? Was it avoidance?

writing

 

Turns out it was none of the above… rather it was about coming to terms with the change in shape, substance and material of where my journey now is, and what my experiences now are. I guess you could say that I have been through the journey of pregnancy, those early first days and stages of motherhood. The physical, emotional, relational and role changes that pregnancy and early parenthood brings. The fatigue, the hormones, the ups and the downs. The welcoming of a new sibling, the adjustment of becoming mama to two, and all the complexities that this brings. I was fuelled to write about how significant and important it is for mothers and fathers to be aware of and respond tenderly to their ever changing states of well being and mental health.

 

Sure this continues throughout our parenting journey, but when I stopped and actually connected with what was most real for me, now…..I could see that like all journeys, my road has shifted …I am now head deep in toddler hood and ‘parenting’. I am covered top to toe in all it takes to nurture and raise three humans. Little humans who have giant spirits and very clear ideas of who they are and what they want!!!!

I have two very different but equally wonderful toddlers. They are active, curious, passionate, loving, challenging, demanding, kind, determined, creative, emotional, expressive, spirited little beings. And I love them with every ounce of MY being.

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Once again though, I have been confronted with that voice inside my head saying ‘hah, you thought you knew’. And it’s true, to some extent I did and I do. My work heavily involves helping parents navigate and understand what the relational and emotional needs of children are. What are these mystical little beings trying to tell us through their behaviour, through their play, through their choice of words or actions? What I did not come close to anticipating was the emotion I would feel, both beautiful lovely emotion, and, hard uncomfortable emotion.  And how this would sometimes impede on my thoughts…..and my actions.

I value honesty, authenticity and realness. And if I’m going to be ‘Mama Being Frank’, there has been so many times, where I have felt like a fraud. How can I as a professionally trained and qualified expert in the field, be standing here with my own little one, bursting with emotion and questioning where it all went wrong. What did I miss? What am I doing wrong? Is my baby ok? Quick!!!!! Where are my text books?!?!?!?!?!?!?

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The defiant ‘no’s’, the determined bargaining, the strong willed boundary pushing….these are not the moments where I begin to self doubt, to question, to criticize myself. It’s the moments where my little loves experience the level of emotional upset that fires up my need to help them, to fix things, to make it all ok. The moments where they are spilling over with frustration, hurt, tiredness, excitement, worry and overwhelming emotion. The moments that leave me feeling frustrated, depleted, helpless and sometimes desperate for answers. These are the moments that I (maybe naively) had a very different expectation about.

What I mean is, logically and rationally I know that these behaviours, the expression of emotion through behaviour….is normal. And that when our babes developing brains are flooded with emotion, their growing ability to think, problem solve and act with consideration is subdued.

And when in these moments of responding to my babes emotions…I…Emotionally, as a Mama, as a HUMAN, can be vulnerable to moving straight too…….WORST CASE SCENARIO!!!! Because its true, us super hero mamas…are actually human too….and our brain does just that of our babes. Yes we have had more time to learn different ways of regulating this. But add on top of emotions the fatigue, hormones, responsibilities, adulting, mama guilt and the continuous juggle of all things parenting… its reasonable to expect that we cant possibly be on top of our game ALL OF THE TIME.

So, in actual fact, isn’t it reasonable that sometimes, we too react based on emotion, in a way that may not be ideal????? Even those of us who have trained and now practice as professionals with expertise in just this!!!!!!

Breathe deep mama, this emotional desire to ‘do it right’, comes from a place of love, a place of intention that wants to be that perfect parent for your child.  And that is a beautiful place.

breathe flowers

Some of the time I respond in the way I hope for, the way that builds my little ones up to be emotionally resilient, kind, connected little beings. Responding as the adult, who is stronger, wiser, kinder (Circle of Security). But at other times, my own emotions get in the way. And I don’t respond as the parent I strive to be… Resulting in feelings of guilt, thoughts of criticism, and catastrophic long analysis about of how it all played out.

Which leads me to the fuel behind this blog, and possibly a shift in my blogging journey moving forward…even in our most authentic, loving, conscious attempts to be the parent who is understanding, emotionally in tune, empathetic…. mistakes happen. We as parents are living, feeling beings. Parenting is hard. It’s an emotionally charged journey that is fueled with universal judgment and SELF-judgment. Perfection is not possible. Being a good enough parent is… One who holds their child’s well being and happiness close to their heart, one who is able and willing to reflect on their mistakes, and one who takes the time to repair their relationship with their little one, when things do become unstuck.

embrace

 

The ‘Circle of Security’ talks about a concept called repair…an opportunity, when our emotions as parents (even those of us who are trained in the psychology of children, attachment, parenting and family), get in the way of our responding. Repair encourages us to respond in a way that will help our children trust that our relationship will almost always set things right. And when these moments of repair are available, how powerful they can be. There is nothing more human, more real than recognizing where we have gone wrong, and making the effort to reach out, and ensure that the person on the receiving end is ok. And what a wonderful moment of teaching this can be. So when those familiar mama guilt’s spark, reassure yourself, there is no such thing as a perfect parent, ‘I can repair’.

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When ‘good thanks’ is not good enough…

Good Thanks..

Ok, Thank You..

Fine Thanks…

Not Bad Thank You..

Pretty Good Thanks..

Sound Familiar?!?!

The social curtesy of asking the question ‘how are you’ or…….’are you ok’?  Often has me cringing, as even on a tough day, I hear myself say ‘good thanks’.

Why?!?!  Why don’t I just say ‘having a rough day today’….

are you ok black

I find myself asking….what does conforming to this habitual way of responding teach my babes? What message does this send to myself? How does this ‘polite’ way of responding feed into the social understanding that tricky feelings, are not to be shared, but to be kept private….and in turn, how does this fuel the expectation that struggle is outside of the norm?!?!

I don’t know about you…but often on a day of tiredness, crankiness, sickness and all the rest…a trip to the local coffee shop for a breather has me floating outside of my body as the kind and polite cafe chicky asks the question ‘hi how are you today’…on these days…i actually want to cry out aloud and say ‘I am soooooooo tired and sooooooo cranky, would you mind playing with my kiddies whilst I drink a hot cup of coffee, and take a few deep silent breaths……..pleeeeeeeeease’!!!!!!!!  But instead what I hear come out of my mouth is ‘good thanks, how are you?’ and what I (looking at myself like I’m watching a bad reality show) see is a fake, try hard, stiff smile appear on my face as I mutter the words that have no meaning.

My partner is honest.  He is a ‘call a spade a spade’ type of guy.  I love this about him.  This is also something that challenges me.  If he is stressed or tired, and asked how he is, he calls it.  I ask myself once again questioning, why does this feel uncomfortable.  Why do I silently will him to put on a fake smile, and say ‘good thank’s!!!

Im a Psychologist.  Teaching people how to accept and express emotions is embedded in the core layer of what I do.  Encouraging people to express truth, in an attempt to receive validation and support…..is what I do.  Dismissing my own feelings, in moments like above, has me feeling like a fraud..

Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to encourage a giant verbal and emotional spill of personal stories to the local cafe employees…..but what I am trying to redirect is the social expectation that ‘good thanks’ is the norm.  That saying ‘having a touch day today’ is inappropriate or outside of the norm.

Not long ago, I was in session with a young girl, primary school age.  She said to me that sometimes when asked how things are going at the end of a day, she says ‘good’ just because she doesn’t want to talk about how she is really feeling.  When we spoke about why that is…she shared with me, something that struck a cord which echoes silently through me.  She expressed….that she rather keep her feelings to herself than cause worry to others.

I ask….in what world is it ok for anyone, let alone our children to feel that sharing their honest feelings is burdensome on others.

So here is what I think….Mama Being Frank….

hand holding

Expressing how we feel opens opportunity for support and validation.

Expressing how we feel, helps us connect, accept and repair from the emotional state that we are in.

Expressing how we feel shows others that when we have experience periods of toughness, emotions that feel heavy….this is normal.  Normal in the sense that…difficult feelings are ok, and not something to be covered up or hidden, linked with shame or fear of judgement.

Expressing emotions in an honest way, can give permission for others to also share in a real and honest way.

Recently, whilst reflecting on this topic, I came across a fellow mama blogger who shared this;

“Hey there mumma..how are you doing? I know you’d usually answer that you’re good, or you’re fine, but how are you really going? Are you really good? Are you really fine? Or are you hiding behind a mask today?” (Laura Muzza – Mum On The Run)

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So I ask you..for the community of mamas…be true, be real.  Struggle over daily hardships and Gratitude over the humbling moments can exist.  To say you are having a hard day, does not say that you are failing.  To say you are tired and need a break, does not mean you are giving up.  To say that being a mama is hard work, does not mean that you wouldn’t give the world to your babies.

Being honest, being real tells our society, that being a mama is the most wonderfully, challenging job, and possibly one of the most important things you will ever do in your life time.  To do this well, we must take care of us.  To take care of us, we need to practice being honest with ourselves and honest with others.  Celebrate the wanders, share the struggle.

Emotional well being is not a matter of ‘fake it till you make it’!!!!!  Sure some days, heading out into the sunshine for a breath of fresh air can help shift a mood….but talking and connecting is where the real change can happen.  Its through others, we have our deepest needs met, and the right help offered.

Let’s empower each other, our children, by first empowering ourselves.

Ask someone….ARE YOU OK?

And when you answer this question in return…speak with honesty, speak with openness, speak from the heart.

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The Day Care Debate…

When should I send my baby/toddler to care? Where should I send them? What should I be looking out for? What tells me that they are ready? What tells me that they are not ready? What tells me that I’m ready and should this count towards our decision?

question mark

Is it just me, and my occasionally over analytic anxious self….or is it truth that we as a society, engaged in a 180 flip when it comes to the care of our children from a centre or person outside of our immediate circle. Somehow, we have moved from a place where sending your child to care before a certain age, was frowned upon as selfish on the mothers part, too early for the child’s development, and shouldn’t be done. To a place where now, if your child doesn’t attend by a certain age you run the risk of being labeled as an anxious clingy mother who should and should have their child in the care of someone other than yourself, otherwise running the risk of impacting their development. I myself have very often received the comment…. ‘what your toddler hasn’t gone to daycare yet?’

 

Any choice as a parent can be riddled with perceived and real consequences, both positive and negative, and therefore are often accompanied by self-doubt. The daycare debate as to when and where to enroll our biggest little love has been a significant one for me.

 

Without sounding completely ungrateful (because I am so grateful for the option of staying home and raising my babies) a close friend and I have both reflected that the decision to send our big little loves to day care would almost be made easier if we didn’t have the choice…..what does this say??? In a time where choice has become a luxury, could it be that choice has also become a burden. And instead of providing freedom it entails guilt, anxiety and unmet expectation.

 

 

So like many of my posts, I found inspiration and comfort in sharing my journey and my experiences within this journey both professionally as a psychologists supporting others through similar transitions, and personally as a mama, who lives through the many challenges and milestones that parenting presents.

 

 

 

When it came to the decision of whether and when to send our first born to day care, we were in two minds. She has always been a social and outgoing bub who seems to mix well and play well with others. She has always liked to be close to me, most of the time she seeks me out for comfort and reassurance, she was breastfed to sleep up until the time when her baby sister arrived, she likes me close as she falls to sleep at night and she continues to co sleep with us some of the time.

 

This journey has been a start and stop one for us. We tried our biggest little love in Family Day Care when she was about 16 months. We were expecting buba number two in a couple of months and my partner and I thought it would be a positive step for both our love and our family as a whole. We had chosen a family day care close to our home, and we were happy with the choice of carer and the environment that she would provide. I remember so clearly the gut churning feeling as I dropped her off on her first day. There were no tears from her, but there were many from me as I sat in the car blubbing away to my partner followed closely by my mum. The feeling of leaving my baby with what felt like a stranger, was so very unnatural for me. Our baby girl did so well for the morning, but come transition to sleep time, she needed her mummy. Needless to say, we gave it two more goes, but it was becoming upsetting for all, so we decided that it just wasn’t the right time.

 

Fast forward 12 months and we were ready to try again. We looked at family day care and we looked at day care centers, we explored the option of holding her off until she was over three, and starting at Pre School. Through exploring each of these options, I couldn’t help but question, was I being an overly anxious mama??? Was I looking for things that wouldn’t work, out of my own feelings of separation anxiety??? Was I looking for reasons not to send her because I wasent ready???

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We explored family day care…The family day care we found again felt like a perfect fit as far as the carer and the environment was concerned, but the other children were quite a bit younger than our love, and I felt that she wouldn’t experience the benefits of social interaction with children her age….

 

We explored Day Care…The initial centre we looked at we had actually enrolled and moved through the process of orientation, but something just didn’t feel right. Our love was happy to go there and play, the centre was new and resourced very well. But something about it just didn’t feel like it was the right fit for us.

 

And then we got a call from another local day care centre advising they had a spot for Addie, we went for a visit, and it FELT RIGHT!! At the same time we found out that most preschools in the area were so full that Addie would most likely be four or close to it, before she was offered a spot. Personally for me, the ‘feel right’ part comes from the relationships and connections with the carers. At the center we chose, all of the carers stopped to take the time to talk and connect with both myself and our love, and I truly feel like this has made the difference, for both of us.

 

hand

We went for another visit prior to starting and again, it felt right. Our biggest little love showed signs of separation anxiety wanting me close as she explored the environment and observed her peers. So I held her hand as she moved around, reassuring myself and her that this feeling of uneasy is normal.

 

Our loves first and second day at day care went better than I could have hoped. When I took her there, she showed the normal signs of separation anxiety, but didn’t show signs of distress. She wanted me close as she entered, but was ok to say goodbye. She had a great day both days and I could see she was forming a strong connection with some of the children and a special bond with one of the carers. The third week we were absent because of sickness, so week four was a challenge. Our baby girl was upset when it was time for me to go.

 

I also feel its important to reflect on how separation makes both us and our child feel, and to acknowledge that this in itself will be different for every parent, every child and every parent child relationship. Have you ever overheard or received the comment   ‘he/she doesn’t cry when dad does the drop off’ or ‘she doesn’t get upset like that with me’. These comments may be true, but that is not an indicator that you are doing something wrong. Most of the time its an indicator of the strength and closeness of the connection you have with your child.   Experiences of separation anxiety are normal. And just because they are normal, it doesn’t mean that we cant feel upset, sad, confused or any other feeling when it comes time to say goodbye.

 

 

Everyone has different ideas about what makes your choice ‘feel right’, but I truly believe there is one thing, we as mother and fathers have, and it’s instinct. We know our children better than anybody does. Each child, and each parent child relationship is different and unique. Which means, there is no exact recipe or guideline around what is going to suit each individual child, and their family unit. So I pose the question, shouldn’t our parental instinct override any other expectations sent from those around society and us in general. In theory, yes it probably should, but in reality, it often doesn’t. Hence why we as parents find ourselves in emotionally pressured situations, feeling uncertain and doubtful about our choices.

 

addie

In fact, MAMA BEING FRANK, being secure in your instinct and parental confidence is probably one of the biggest challenges, parents, in our day and age has to face.

 

 

Feel confident and at ease with you’re right to look around and explore different options of care for your child. Ask questions, visit the centers, talk with the carers.

 

Feel ok about changing your mind.

 

Take an approach that both you and your child are comfortable with. Visiting the centre with our baby girl before starting gave myself and our bub time to adjust to the new environment and begin to build a sense of familiarity and connection with the people who would be caring for her.

 

Continue asking questions. I am one of those mamas who started off by calling at least three times a day to check in. At first I felt intrusive, but with reflection and managing thoughts of self doubt, I feel now feel comfortable that I am not an overly anxious mum, I am a caring responsive mum who has every right to know how my baby is travelling, and whether she needs me.

 

Talk to your child, follow their lead. Its amazing how much our babies understand from such a young age and how much they can communicate from a very young age. Naming and normalizing big feelings can be so reassuring for them and for you. We often talk about how saying goodbye makes us feel sad and that’s ok. Reassured with, mummy will always come back and pick you up, and how fun it is to talk about the day that has been.

 

Trust your instinct!!

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I encourage you to try to notice, when the expectations of society and those around you are placing unwanted pressure on you and your family. Sit back and reflect on how YOU feel about the decision at hand. And make a choice that feels right for you and your partner, and your child.

 

If you enjoyed this post, I welcome you to follow me via instagram @mamabefrank and on face book by searching ‘mamabefrank’

 

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Gently with Love…Pinky Mckay

Pinky McKay…a best selling author of 4 titles published by Penguin Random House, including Parenting By Heart, a mother of five and a grandmother of four, an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant), breastfeeding advocate, creator of boobie bikkies, Mum of five Pinky McKay specializes in gentle parenting styles that honour mothers’ natural instincts. Pinky’s ‘get real’, no-nonsense, approach, along with a blend of humour, sharp wit and wisdom, make her a popular source for major network TV and various publications, internationally. www.pinkymckay.com.

 

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I came across Pinky’s work as a tired, stressed, and overwhelmed first time mum. At the time, I was drawn into the exhausting social expectation that babies should follow a schedule, babies should all put themselves to sleep in their cots, and they should stay asleep…. all night. For me, a mama of a new baby who breastfed to sleep, loved a cuddle, loved to co sleep and was up through the night, sometimes a lot…this view, which seemed to hold with it some kind of parenting badge, and was often spoken about as THE milestone for babies to meet…. was ANXIETY PROVOKING and stirred feelings and thoughts of failure and self doubt.

 

Being the type of person I am…when something doesn’t sit right, especially when it comes to my babies, I struggle to just ‘sit with’ my own intuition. I search for evidence that I’m doing either the right or wrong thing. Something I am constantly work on. So…I began googling for research and authors sharing their insights on babies and sleep. This is how I came across Pinky. When I found Pinky’s work, it was (pardon the metaphor) MUSIC TO MY EARS!!!!

 

I find Pinky’s work gives me confidence as a mum. Her insights align closely with my values as a mama, and this feels good. I also Pinky’s advice is non prescriptive and supportive. And from a professional standpoint, two crucial aspects in the recipe of mama well being.

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So, as you can imagine, when the opportunity came up to interview Pinky for Wonderful Mama, I jumped at it. We laughed, we shared, and we connected.  As a professional with a large following, I of course felt humbled when Pinky chose us to share her insights and experience with.

Enjoy.

 

 

RB – Using five words, describe yourself as a mama?

PM – just before you rang I was on the phone to my daughter and asked her to share her thoughts on this one. She said that I am a “creative” “Playful” “Loving” “Encouraging” and “Optimistic” Mother. Something she said, which was so lovely to hear, is “You enjoyed us when we were little” which is so true. I am someone who is not bothered by mess or chaos, so when my children were little, we used to all sorts of creative things, like paint on the walls of the bathroom, and change the light bulbs so that the room would be all sorts of colours.

 

RB – What is your parenting philosophy? Does this differ between personal and professional life?

PM – I don’t feel as though my personal parenting philosophy differs from my professional one. I begun my professional journey as a nurse, and then following the growth of my own family, was inspired to do, what I now do. Motherhood has been an experience that has humbled me. My philosophy for my work and my personal life is to Trust Yourself, Trust Your intuition, Trust your connection with your child and Trust your child – each child is so very individual and will take a different development path and will pave out their own journey. Children cannot be molded, and are not badges of competency. Mistakes made are opportunities to learn, behaviour expressed is communication about what is going on in their world. As a parent, it takes courage to step back and to be gentle and responsive to our children. When I was a parent to my children, as babies, natural intuition was just that…natural. Now these ways of parenting seem to carry a label ‘baby wearing’ ‘co sleeping’ and are constantly being critiqued and evaluated. The Internet has also changed the way we view parenting. We now have access to so much information that this sometimes competes with what we, as the mother, feel is right.

 

RB – What hopes to you have for you readers?

PM – My biggest hope for all mothers, is to see them carry a smile on their face, expressing the enjoyment they are experiencing when being with their babies. Not all the time but most of the time. My wish for women is for them too not feel the pressure to be perfect in their role as mother. And for them to feel free in expressing that being a mum is hard, and help is needed. And when women seek help, for this not to have the underlying message ‘there is something wrong with you’.

 

RB – Most commonly asked question, and answer?

PM – The most common question asked by parents is ‘why wont my baby self settle?’ Closely followed by, ‘am I creating bad sleep habits for my baby?’ My answer for this is, newborns physiologically cannot self-settle. And babies who do learn to self-settle still often wake through the night to have a need met. I would then reassure parents by advising them that cuddling and helping a baby to feel secure as they fall asleep is an investment in their future. My motto for changing any part of a baby’s routine is ‘gently with love’.

 

RB – Biggest thing parents struggle with?

PM – In my experience, parents struggle most with the pressure to ‘do things right’ all of the time. There are so many critics and warnings about how to parent, and these are so widely accessible via the Internet and social media. All of this information targeted towards parents is often rigid in nature rather than presented as options. As well as this, the advice given is often closely linked with a warning ‘do this or suffer in silence’. My advice about this is for parents to not rush. There is no urgent need to change a baby’s routine. Allowing your baby to be rocked or cuddled to sleep will do no harm. And when in doubt about advice that has been given, ask yourself these three questions; is it safe? Is it respectful to you and your baby? And does it feel right?

 

RB – Something you wish all parents knew when they bring their first born into the world?

PM – As parents bringing a new baby into the world, I wish they would be told, to just surrender and slow down. You cannot control a baby, and you can’t control life with a baby. Bringing a baby into the world is a journey for everyone, a unique journey. Breathe it all in. You don’t need permission to cuddle your baby. And you cannot spoil a baby with too much love. And with each difficulty, because there will be many, tell yourself, ‘this too shall pass’.

 

RB – What does a typical day look like now?

PM – I try to keep my days flexible and usually bunch certain things together, like errands, writing, meetings etc. On a typical day, I begin by writing in my pajamas. I tend to focus better because nothing can draw me away whilst I’m in my pj’s. I then move between house errands. The afternoon may be spent doing house calls and consultations with mums as well as meetings and marketing for boobie bikkies at the office. The evening is usually spent engaging in social media and connecting with my husband.

 

RB – Words to live by?

PM – Honesty, Family and Fun

 

Fast five:

Coffee or tea? Tea

Night owl or early riser? Night Owl

Dine in or Dine out? Dine in

TV or podcast? Podcast

Heels or flats? Flats

The Power of Play…

Today, as the mama in me sat by and listened, watched and felt, the therapist in me was reminded of the simple yet magical power of play.  And reminded of the importance of play for the little people in our lives.

As the after lunch lul set into our little home, the restful remains of the day unfolded.  Dad under the house building and tinkering.  Corey our eleven year old moving swiftly from scootering, helping dad and playing on his choice of device.  Addie, our almost three year old, and Kaylee our seventeen month old…playing.  And me, mum, pottering, pondering and watching.

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The weekend almost reaching an end had been a slow moving one where we were bunkered down trying to recuperate from a family bout of winter illness.

Our bubs are moving into a beautiful stage where their close age gap is opening up more and more opportunities for them to engage in play, together.  Sometimes it is led by our biggest little love, sometimes its side by side play, and occasionally its led by our littlest love.  Maybe it was the warm winter sun shining in my eyes, but today it seemed to be a perfect mixture of both.

What was most powerful about what I was noticing was the depth of their play.  Particularly for our biggest little love.  As she engaged in this imaginary world of play not only was she engaging in role playing, turn taking, sharing and building creativity, she was connecting with the special people in her life that she missed; visiting her favourite aunty and playing with her much loved cousin.  And she was expressing and resolving the difficult parts of her world through projection of play.

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I know, for our little loves, particularly our Addie…  allowing her the time to enter into these worlds of play, to express, to unwind, to rest and to be..is crucial for her well being.  And today I was reminded why. Play helps children make sense of their world.  Play gives children an opportunity to express and to resolve.  Supported play helps children feel safe, connected, loved and worthy of love.

In a world, where we as parents are striving to do our best, provide the best, be the best we can be …somehow we are finding ourselves living lives where the simple, yet important things are being lost underneath our efforts to give our children what they need to live a happy and fulfilling life.

The lives of children are becoming scheduled, highly stimulating and full of excess.  It seems, what children are missing is…time to just be.  Time to use their wonderful imaginations, to allow themselves to enter into a world where their minds and spirits can grow, rest, resolve and repair.

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This is a simple reflection…a reminder…maybe to myself…that making time for play is crucial in raising happy, thriving, little beings.

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There were three in the bed and the little one said…muuuuuuuuuumy

“Yes bubba I’m coming to pick you up, no darlin you can’t go outside in just your singlet and skirt, why because its really cold outside today, yes mate I will try my best to find time for the skate park, bubba what is it that you have in your mouth gosh I hope thats not what I think it is, yes darlin I will most certainly read you that book once I hop off the toilet, mate can you shut the front door so your sisters don’t escape, bubba that is sissy’s dolly say ta and give it back, oh darlin bubba is a bit big for you to try and carry her around, yes mate I would love to see you outside on our scooter but be back in half an hour to check in, girls we only use our hands in a kind and gentle way…. please don’t push your sister, argh mate I know she is giggling but please don’t throw her tooooooooo high into the air”……..and so it goes.

Siblings…a relationship like no other, in many ways more than one.  Similarly, Parenting siblings opens up a whole new world, in more ways than one.

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I am one of three…the middle child to an older sister and younger brother. And I can as far as siblings go, our relationships have all had their… tests 😉 but as we move through adulthood together, I could honestly say that I would choose these two as my nearest and dearest, regardless of any genetic ties, funny family memories, complimentary senses of humour and heart driven loyalty.

Don’t get me wrong, we have had our ups and downs, twists and turns…. that time that my little brother drew through my favorite Barbie book whilst I was at the doctors, and the typical tensions of two sisters….who took who’s belongings (usually me) and who wanted to do what first…just to list a few. But all in all, over the years we have built relationships of love understanding and acceptance. Understanding and acceptance of our differences, love and appreciation of one another’s strengths.

When you think about it..siblings are the people we practice on, the people who teach us about fairness and cooperation and kindness and caring.  And when you see siblings together, there is something, that ties them.  Not always as blatantly obvious like the raw, open, live in your pocket sibling relationship that we see on my all time fave sit com..’Off Spring’.

So naturally, when becoming a mama to more than one, the desire to have a large family with strongly bonded siblings was a big one…and one swimming with unrevealed expectations about how these relationships may look, grow and feel. I had a golden and glorious ideal of what my babies would be like with one another, how they would love one another unconditionally, accept one another whole heartedly, and always choose to be kind and considerate of one another (insert wicked ‘hindsight’ laugh here). So, like most expectations, I had let go of some, change the shape of others, make new ones, and hold tight to others.

In our family we have a deep thinking competitive determined yet patient eleven year old son who is his younger sisters biggest protector. He shows us that he wants to be close to them most of the time, and at other times strives to create enough distance so that he can be hands deep in what it is he wants to be building, making, riding or creating.

Which brings me to our next love, our almost three year old, passionate, determined, affectionate, perceptive, fun loving daughter. Who wants to walk in her big bros shoes, (in the figurative sense) and walk in her little sissy’s shoes (in the literal sense). She wants to do what her big bro is doing, and behave just as he is behaving…they share facial expressions and mannerisms, and have the same strong willed approach to life. She also wants what her little sissy wants. She wants to be her best friend but can’t quite understand why sissy doesn’t want to play just as she loves to play and doesn’t show and receive love just as she does.

And our littlest love, a sweet almost sixteem-month-old ray of sunshine… Full of a fiery cautious kind of curiosity about the people and world around her, affectionate and cheeky with a heart full of love to give. She wants to keep up with her big sis, and watches her every move. She looks upto her with adoration and sometimes moves cautiously away from her with a curious stare. She has been given the gift of being loved and cared for by many, and will never be without a guiding hand. But seems to sometimes wish that those little hands trying to guide her were are….maybe a touch more gentle.

In our little triad, filled with three little people with three big spirits, we have two age gaps that are very different, a large one and a teeny tiny one. both of which have their benefits, and both of which have there challenges. We are also a blended family, which adds a layer of tenderness between our three loves, as well as a layer of worry and obstacles balanced with a sensitive holding of hard goodbyes and love filled hellos.

So as life has it, parenting siblings is quite dissimilar to the happy smiles and golden glowing braids of the brady bunch, and much more like learning to live life managing a secret mission (que baby boss trailer here)…when the initial adjustment of bringing home a new sibling is kind of like a secret mission to suss each other out, learn what the roles of one another are and how their presence in the family impacts on how life used to be….and how life is now.

I remember in the early days of adjusting to having our youngest at home with us…someone mentioned to me the saying…to a child, bringing home a new baby, a new sibling is just like our partner bringing home a new girlfriend or boyfriend, and us being expected to welcome them with open arms, share all of our things with them and try to understand why our partner will sometimes tend to their needs ahead of ours…reality check 101!!!!!

My biggest realization in the journey of being a mama to more than one has been…that with each new baby you bring into your family uint, there will be adjustments, some smooth and some not so smooth.  The challenges that siblings present to one another are usually natural, normal and healthy. They are not in fact indications that as parents we are failing to raise humans that love one another, or humans that feel loved by us. And as the parent, the importance does not lie with who took who’s toy or who pushed who, but in how we, as the adults around them, respond with sensitivity and compassion and show them how to respond with empathy and love.

Teaching children, let alone babies, how to treat each other with kindness, love, empathy and understanding is hard work. It’s a constant mission of monitoring, dialogue, reflection and willingness to step back and allow freedom to problem solve..and lots…and lots of deep deep breaths on our part.

Splitting yourself and your time, between a few is also hard work. For me the constant awareness of the needs of the baby or child I’m not directly attending too weighs heavily. Of course the love for each of them continues to grow, and somehow your heart just keeps growing bigger with each new members to the family. But the energy required of you to spread this love around evenly, can be exhausting. And with that exhaustion is the ever present MAMA GUILT.  In return for this hard work, is the satisfying and heart exploding feeling of watching the bond grow between the tiny humans that you and your partner created and bought into this world.  Seeing them giggle together about something only they know, step into protect one from getting hurt, playing contently side by side, and placing a sweet gentle kiss on the others cheek, just because.

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Be kind to yourself…although the mother guilt is real…being a parent to one, two, three four or more children is hard work, emotionally, physically and mentally. We need to make sure we are ok, so that we can continue giving the best part of ourselves to our babies. Being mindful of when the mama guilt thoughts pop up can help you step back and reflect on things like, in not immediately meeting one child’s need, they begin to learn important life skills like patience and empathy for others.

Be patient and kind to your children…step into their shoes…see their behaviour and interactions with each other as an attempt to communicate how they are feeling and what it is they need from us.

Nurture each child as an individual…all children, even and sometimes especially siblings are different. They develop at different rates and often have different abilities and different interests. In doing this you are also teaching them how to accept differences in others.

 Give them opportunities to build their relationship, with and without your guidance. Of course safety comes first, but one of my biggest challenges has been learning to step back, and step in when they need me, which at times is very different to my need to intervene.

 Be real about the expectations you have for your ‘older’ children. This was a trap that I fell into, and sometimes still do. And I really have to catch myself and reflect on what is a realistic expectation for each of my children, individually.

Do what you can to keep communication open, and the sharing and expression of feelings and needs at the forefront of how your family interacts. His will help everyone feel heard, understood and loved.

Being a mama to three has been and continues to be a journey that has really taught me how important, challenging and wondrous it is to build a family system that nurtures each individual child as unique, promotes the love and acceptance of one another as different but leaves each child, feeling as equally as important and loved as the other.

“The best gift our parents could have ever given us was each other”..unknown.

 

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Draw Your Own Line…

The community of online mamas telling their stories is now bigger and stronger than ever. Mamas are sharing their experiences and their stories through blog articles, insta pics and face book posts. So not only do we have the sharing of stories and experiences of mamas within our own little villages, but we have a much wider perspective of the lives of other mamas.

Imagine this…sitting breast feeding, sitting having a quick cuppa, waiting in the car for the kids to jump in, waiting in line at the grocery store, waiting for the oven to ding, for the washing machine to finish, for the add break to finish, for the buba to wake…common snippets of our everyday lives….if we were to line these images up and scan across them, and play the game ‘spot the similarity’………more than likely the answer would be this… phone in hand, casually scrolling the pages of social media.

 

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So I find myself reflecting…. when scrolling through social media is a more instinctive and a more common practice during a brief coffee break…or a brief mental escape from the toddler in the corner emptying the cupboard for the thousandth time and the buba that just doesn’t seem to need a sleep this day…seems easier and more natural than connecting with the person next to you, with yourself, or your baby….surely we must begin to ask ourselves….what impact does this have on our well being??

These days, social media seems to hold the power of displaying and forecasting what society portrays as ‘normal’.  Our technological advances help businesses thrive, distant families remain connected and let’s face it…proud as punch parents post about their precious babes.

It also means that we can see and access the surface of so many worlds, and the private layers of these worlds…so how then do we judge what is realistic? How do we place ourselves in a position in which we use this information as inspiration to better our lives, to boost our sense of self and ourselves and self esteem. And yet prevent it from pulling us into a game of comparison potentially spiraling into thoughts of self doubt.

Parenthood and the journey of mamahood is without a doubt a journey that is emotional, vulnerable, tiring, challenging and wonderful.

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Navigating and managing the impacts of social media, the stories and experiences shared so readily by other mamas that we hold close, and those public mama figures, has been a big part of my journey…both as both a mama and a professional and…and has been a challenge that presented as unexpected.

As a mama I find myself drawn to the exaggerated idea of what its like to be a mama. You know…the sitcoms that represent family chaos and the days were we find ourselves chasing our own footsteps….the mama running around with baby food smeared all over her top, toddler hanging of her leg, walking/sprinting out the door to get Mr 10 year old to school. And the bloggers who write about their realties in an overly honest sometimes-crude way.

A well known blogger recently interviewed on the project was asked the question ‘what about you attracts so many mums out there’ and her answer went along the lines of ‘I think when mums see how much I struggle it makes them feel better’, shortly followed by the thoughtful reflection from Project host that went something like… ‘reading your book was like holding onto a warm comforter’.

So in this journey of mamahood, what is it about hearing of other mamas day to day challenges and speed bumps that leaves us feeling comforted and ok? Yet exposing ourselves to the mamas posting beautiful pics of their trendy and fashionably dressed (not to mention spotless) children, beautifully designed and presented homes, and fit active perfectly balanced work/mama lives, can sometimes leave us feeling unworthy and self doubting.

So as a professional practicing and learning in the field of parent well being, and as a mama moving through this journey and finding her own way…knowing myself and my own levels of emotional wellbeing has been vital.

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Being aware of what tells me that emotionally I may be in a vulnerable place…I know that when I have had a wakeful night with bubs, or a week filled with outings and stimulation…I will be riding the line of feeling depleted and needing rest and recharge.

When I’m riding this line… I know I may be in a place where I’m likely to begin drawing comparisons in a way that breaks into my own sense of who I am, what values I hold true to the life I live and how I go about being a mama, instead of building me up and recharging me for what lies ahead.  The difference is when I’m not riding this line, a scroll through my insta page leaves me feeling inspired and fuels the creative part of my self that wants to tackle a new project, write a blog piece, or redecorate my home 😉

So how I buffer this line is to give myself a break… focus on connecting with what is real in my life and taking some time to care for me and my babes.

Mama Being Frank…Social media, media in general, and the stories we share between each other, in our community of mamas and papas different and alike, provides a snap shot of our lives and the lives of others. Yes it gives us a look into people’s families and people’s homes, but this look is just a glimpse. Whether the person posting chooses to post the joyful, loved filled moments of their day, or the not so glamorous struggles of their day…it remains…just a snap shot just a glimpse. It’s the same as the stories we share between friends and families. They are selected and shared. No one can know what you know about the life of you and your family. Family and the connection between parent and child is a wondrous intricate and unique relationship. Knowing your self and knowing your vulnerabilities, strengths and limits can be the line between comparison and inspiration.

This is article is closely aligned with why I am so very passionate about writing and sharing. Social Media done the right way, used to its potential has the power to develop a community for all mamas and papas to feel connected, to feel inspired, to feel recharged, to feel understood, at any stage in your journey, and during any moment of your day.

@mamabefrank

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I Surrender…

I wrote this piece on and off through a week of mumming that was tough to say the least….expectations were high as we approached the first birthday of our littlest little love (Im a BIG birthday person so planning for these celebrations is a big deal for me).  The meaning of sleep deprivation had hit an all time new level as our biggest little love struggled with tonsillitis and our littlest little love fought off the flu.  Mama guilts were bumping me left right and centre as I juggled to meet both of my babies needs.  If mama will had a super power attached, I’m certain I would have willed myself to grow an extra pair of arms so both my babies could have the constant cuddles they were seeking.

In the brief moments that I had, I found myself drawn to my computer, to a note pad, to anything I could externalise some of my thoughts on.  Rereading this piece, I hesitated on whether to share.  I think the reason for this is that this piece shares my honest, raw thoughts and feelings, and with that comes vulnerability.

The reason I chose to share, takes me back to the core reason I was driven to write in the first place…to normalise the challenges that parenting presents, to encourage others to speak out, to promote that struggling together is better than struggling alone, to emphasise that social media provides a glorified snippet of the real life of a mama and to show that vulnerability is not a negative state to be in and to express is to be well.

Mama Being Frank – So putting my uncertainties and insecurities aside, my hope is that one mama might read this, and then take a big deep sigh of relief, in the knowledge that, WE are in this journey together.

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I surrender

I surrender to the chaos I surrender to the mess I surrender to that nagging voice that expectations are just not met…

I surrender to the love that has filled my now evergrowing heart, I surrender to the selflessness that has come with this gentle but challenging art…

I surrender to the washing that has caught me at my heels, I surrender to the dishes that seem a never ending ordeal…

I surrender to the notion they need me at my best, I surrender to the failing that ill be perfect yet…

I surrender to their demands of love and my affection, to always be there for them, with my fierce undenying devotion…

I surrender to the idea that ill never make a mistake, I surrender to the knowledge that ill give all it takes…

I surrender to days like these where it all seems a little hard, where sleepless nights lead to tired days, and all thats ahead feels just a bit much…

I surrender to the unpredictability, the plans that just don’t go so, I surrender to the spills that feel like an avalanches moving slow….

I surrender to the knowledge that ill always need some help, whether from my partner, from my mother or the from the stranger standing near…

I surrender to not knowing just how things will turn out, I surrender to the notion that I have needs to meet first…

I surrender to the need to take a deep deep breathe, to sit still with my babies and just let expectations rest…

I surrender to the desire to look deep into their eyes, to breathe them in so intensely, that everything else just passes by…

 

I surrender to the idea that to do this does not mean failure,

Nor does it mean give up, or concede or forfeit.

To surrender means simply, just to let it be,

The journey that it is, the journey that its meant to be.

Surrender is not a dirty word,

it means choose to let it go,

choose what to hold on to,

and let the rest be free.

i-surrender