Table for three?…

As a mother, dating has proven to be a whole new kind of challenge. And not the normal kind of challenges like spinach in your teeth, or peeing quietly during the night. I’m talking full on crazy stuff like “hey this dinner has been really nice, but I have to get home to read Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy and go to bed at 8:30”

Recently I went to breakfast with a guy. We made plans for 8am. In my past life this would have involved two hours getting ready to achieve a perfect “I didn’t get ready” look, a pep talk with the girls at around 7:30am, and 4 outfit changes at 07:58am. What it actually involved, was making two bowls of cereal because one was pegged at my head, washing my hair because of said cereal pegging, trying to dry my hair with a 12kg baby climbing my leg like a tree, and the only person who got a last minute outfit change was Henry because he shit himself.

Anyway, I went to breakfast in the skirt I pulled off the dirty washing pile, half wet hair, and a pep talk from yours truly. So I’m sitting there eating my breakfast thinking I probably should have ordered less so the cute boy doesn’t know I eat like a sumo wrestler and also that I probably would have thought to order less if I had the required prep time this morning, and to be honest I would have shaved my legs as well.

Now luckily the cute boy was blinded by my charm and dazzling personality, and for some time now I’ve managed the juggling act of being a mum and the perfect date all at the same time. But next comes the elephant in the room, when do the two worlds collide? And all of a sudden instead of worrying about your average run of the mill issues like “do I sleep in my makeup” and “when do I start leaving my toothbrush in his bathroom” – I’m dealing with when do I let the cute boy and the human I’ve created in the same room as each other. The worst part is they’re yet to write an article about this in Dolly magazine so it seems I’m on my own.

So ladies and gents this brings me to my conclusion. After collecting data from very reliable sources such as gossiping at work, and online quizzes I’ve realised that there are absolutely no rules. There’s no handbook that someone forgot to give me, because lord knows if there was I would have found it by now. So for now I’ve got one foot in both doors, and it’s working just fine. It means sweat pants by day and little black dress by night, and to be honest if anything I think the juggling has made me better at both. And really, is forcing your date to watch Wiggles Dance Party going to benefit anyone?

Oh. And I already left my toothbrush 😉

She’s a single mum…

A few weeks ago I was at the airport service desk having some issues with checking in my bags, and the attendant had to call her manager for assistance. I wasn’t really paying all that much attention to what she was saying on the phone, but what I did notice was that she referred to me as “a single mum” like it was going to make some kind of difference to the outcome of my bag check. I mean what kind of difference could it possibly make? Are there special prices for single mums? Different coloured bag tags? And for that matter, how did she even know I was single? I mean aside from the baby attached to my chest, the lack of wedding ring, and apparently the large sign pasted on my forehead🙄

Anyway, so Mr Manager walks over and after much deliberation solved my bag issue, but not before giving me pity eyes and a metaphorical pat on the back. It’s funny how life stages can really change the way people look at you, and in turn affect the outcome of subsequent events. I have no doubt if I arrived at the airport with a husband and a baby, or even a group of girlfriends that I would have been standing there arguing for a lot longer and probably would have left $120 poorer due to my overweight bag 💼

When I first had Henry I got “young mum” a lot, which was nice I guess only because it’s better than “old mum” – but still curious that people feel the need to distinguish between them. The difference between “young mum” and “single mum” though, is that for some reason the latter carries the connotation that I’m struggling through life, dragging my baby into Centrelink to pick up my welfare check at 9am on a Thursday so I can buy ciggies and a new dressing gown. So I would just like to clear a few things up – Firstly, Centrelink opens at 8.30am on a Thursday. Secondly, I’m doing just fine. I’ve got an amazing family network, who love my son more than they love me and I’ve got fabulous friends who drag me out and force tequila shots down my throat when I need it.

Now don’t get me wrong, being divorced with a toddler at 26 certainly wasn’t in my life plan, and it’s really gotten in the way of my career as a Victoria’s Secret Model. But what I’ve learned is not to get caught up in what might happen next week, because let’s be honest ladies – sometimes getting through the day without murdering your child or taking up heroin is an achievement in itself. I have challenges I never planned for, like opening a first date with “hey I’m divorced and I’ve got a 2 year old, what’s your favourite movie” – and that has definitely been a road block but I find if you look super cute while you say it, it’s not so bad.

In conclusion, I love my kid more than life itself, I would take a bullet for him – and being a Mum is a big part of my life, but it doesn’t define the person I am. And honestly, my biggest worry right now is organising dinner time around Married at First Sight – so don’t feel sorry for me.

Kids on a Plane – Part One

Kids on a plane. Kind of like snakes on a plane, but worse. Flying with kids is kind of like childbirth; painful, messy, loud, and once it’s over you forget how bad it was and one day you’ll make the stupid decision to do it again.

So let me set the scene for you. I’ve got the whole day planned out: the flight is at 10am – will have to wake Henry, organise his clothes, then probably wake him again. That’s half an hour down. I’ll need fifteen minutes to wrestle his dummy out of his mouth, and probably another five to treat any battle wounds. He will need breakfast, so that’s half hour to clean the floor, walls and ceiling and maybe the inside of the cupboards and at least 20 minutes to restrain him and change his clothes twice. So I’ve worked out if I get up at 1am we should be out the door by 7. We decided to get the train in, because “oh my god Henry will LOVE it, he will be sooo cute on a train!”. Unfortunately, the passengers of the train we interviewed after the incident wholeheartedly disagreed. We finally made it to the domestic terminal, carrying enough luggage to circumference the US border twice, and almost left Henry on the train (on purpose). Now this may sound like an embellishment of the story designed for your entertainment, but I shit you not – the lifts were broken. “Out of order, apologies for any inconvenience”. Inconvenience is the understatement of the year CityRail – I had to strap my toddler to a suitcase and carry him up 1937 stairs. Just kidding, I gave him to the least serial killer looking stranger I could find at the bottom of the escalator and asked him to carry him up for me while Aunty Mel and I carted up the pram, cot, car seat, and 87 bags.

So far so good. Waited in line for half an hour – I’m chasing Henry up and down the barriers and asking him in my loud nice mummy voice to stay still while secretly pinching him in the back. We are sweaty, our hands are blistered, I’m pretty sure I’ve pulled a hammy but we’ve made it through security to the gate. Collapse onto a chair, and I’m thinking I might hit up the shops for a well deserved latte and by this point I was thinking I might take up smoking as well, and then Henry looks up at me with those beautiful blue eyes and says “Poo Mummy”.

To be continued…

You do YOU!

As a first time mum, I spent at least 90% of my time santitising everything in sight, including my kid. Bottles were boiled and then soaked, clothes were washed in organic baby safe detergent made from unicorn horns with antibacterial properties, and I bought NSW out of hand sanitiser – which I poured over anyone who came to visit Henry. I was so paranoid about Henry getting sick from germs, I would actually give his bath a bath before he was allowed in it. Obviously now that I have a 16 month old teenager, this has all had to change – because Henry licks the floor on a daily basis and just last week he brushed his teeth with toilet gel.

So anyway, I had Henry in the pram recently and was strolling around home (Kmart) mainly looking to purchase things I can’t afford and don’t need, and I was stopped by a woman who had picked up Henry’s dummy off the ground. “I’ll give you this, he obviously can’t have it back now” she said. And for some strange reason, I immediately replied with “Oh nope, definitely not, we’ll take that home and then wash it” – knowing full well that as soon as she turned the corner out of the bathroom accessories aisle that dummy was going straight back in my kid’s mouth. Reflecting on it afterwards, I’m not sure why I didn’t just tell her “whatever’s on the floor here isn’t as bad as the dog turd he ate in the park last week” but oddly it was my immediate reflex to just agree with her – and then wait for her to leave the scene before I gave Henry the dummy, like I was committing some kind of crime.

So here’s my advice that I clearly didn’t follow – be proud to do what you’ve gotta do to be the best mum you can be. And don’t let anyone tell you you’re doing it wrong – because at the end of the day, if you made it to Kmart and wrestled a toddler into a pram, you deserve that candle – and if that means floor-dummy then so be it!

Don’t worry, it will get easier..

I distinctly remember sitting on the lounge trying to breast feed Henry on day 4 (felt like day 24) home from the hospital, crying my eyes out wondering how something that everyone says is so wonderful could possibly be so hard. My gut looked like i had just stepped out of the ‘supersize me’ mini series, my hair hadn’t been washed since i excitedly blowdried it in preparation for labour almost a week ago (what a waste that was), there was breast milk on the walls (you would not believe the distance that stuff can go), and my nipples felt like someone had literally rubbed sandpaper on them for eight hours straight and then set them on fire. I also remember, that everyones answer to all my questions, worries and complaints was “don’t worry, it gets easier”. Henry is now fifteen months old (ok, ok almost one and a half) – and last week he shit on my arm. So, I’m starting to get suspicious that it doesn’t ever get easier, what actually happens is that by the time they turn one, we are so tired, defeated and hairy, that we have become desensitised to things like shit on our arms, and our brains are tricked into thinking the storm has calmed. Things that most humans would find totally unmanageable (and in some cases, revolting) become normal, and things that were normal before, like having time to shave both legs in the same shower are now unheard of. So here’s my advice to new mums for what it’s worth – don’t freak out when time goes on and you haven’t found that miraculous “easier” window yet. Sure, the kinds of challenges that come with each age are going to evolve – but even though you might not be walking around in spanx and a vomit stained shirt any more, let me tell you – trying to make a one year old eat their broccoli before their sausage will make you seriously re evaluate how bad the vomit really was.

Another day in paradise…

So this morning at 3am as I stumbled down the hallway toward Henry’s room feeling my way along the walls with my eyes still closed, using his ear splitting scream as a guide to find him in the dark – I thought to myself, “wow this is the life”. Finally made it to his bedroom, spent the better part of half an hour patting him on the butt so hard the whole cot shook with every slap, while trying to keep myself upright in between micro sleeps – and just before I tip toed out I thought it would be a good idea to re start his music so he didn’t wake up again. So I’m feeling pretty pleased with myself, he’s snoring away quietly in the corner and I’ve gone for the quick tap on the iPad to start what I thought were soothing lullabies and by some sick twist of fate, something resembling old school Eminem with a base line on steroids starts blaring out – I kick my toe on the beside table in the rush to turn the volume down and in assessing the pain I’m thinking I’m going to need an amputation. Next minute old mate not only wakes up again and screams but proceeds to start dancing and fist pumping his dummy in the air to the beat. He looks me right in the eyes in the glow of the iPad still going on max volume and if he could talk I swear to god he would have been saying “epic fail mum”. Admitting defeat, I tucked him under my arm and marched back up the hallway, now very much awake and threw him in bed with me hoping for the best – and then spent the next hour having my eyelids peeled open, my neck skin pinched and a high pitched giggles echoing down my ear drums. Another day in paradise – what a time to be alive. 

Are you ready for a baby?…

My expectations about being a mum and what its actually like being a mum can be accurately compared to reading the Harry Potter book and then seeing the movie. COMPLETELY different.

It goes beyond my aspirations to be a trend setting milf taking my baby to cafes and wearing oversize sunglasses in perfectly filtered Instagram photos. Incidentally, going to a cafe with a baby is now in my top five nightmares, and in fact you couldn’t pay me enough to voluntarily take Henry anywhere in public that involves food with no splash mat or gurney handy. But more significantly than any of that is the difference between what i thought about having a baby IN my life, to whats actually happened. The baby has taken OVER my life.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the little dude more than words can even come close to describing. I think I just got caught up in that mentality that I could be, and had to be prepared for motherhood. That having all the rights toys, and learning about the sleep routines, and getting my mum hair cut somehow meant i was ready. Like studying for an exam. The difference with that is you do all your learning and do the exam and then it goes away. Henry kind of stuck around.

Every single day is a learning curve. I finally got the hang of breastfeeding (that is, my nipples stopped falling off) and then suddenly it was time for formula and that meant taking fifty bottles, a thermos of hot water, and trialling enough different formulas to feed every baby in the southern hemisphere to find the right one. I came out the other side of the baby vomit, nipple cream and 2am poo on the carpet and made my grand entrance back into the public setting, cautiously making my way further and further distances from the safe haven of home where i could properly deal with category 3 poonamis and screaming reflux episodes. Then i blinked and Henry started crawling and eating solids which meant going out to the shops became a combination of wearing protective goggles and constantly apologising to waitresses, and chasing after the little ninja in a very public scene that looks like a human version of animal planet.

So in conclusion, my advice to new mums, or people thinking about becoming new mums is there is no such thing as ‘ready for a baby’. It happens and you just do it – because you have to. Its scary and crazy and exhausting and smelly – but it is also the most fulfilling, out-of-this-world kind of love that you will ever know.

 

 

 

The truth about labour

In the weeks leading up to my due date I was determined to prepare myself for labour by finding out exactly what I was in for. So I watched every season of ‘One Born Every Minute’ available on YouTube, and spent hours googling ‘what does labour feel like’. Then, after two weeks of this high intensity internet research I commenced stage two of the investigation – interrogating everyone I knew who had recently had children. There were two statements that I consistently heard;

  1. “Its like really, really, bad period pain”
  2. “As soon as you have your baby, you won’t even remember the pain of labour”

So when I rocked up to the maternity ward, I was ready. I had my heat packs, a handy travel pack of panadol rapid, and my super cute blue fit-ball that I planned to leisurely bounce on in a meditative state while practicing the breathing I learnt in my $300 calm birth class. As it turned out, the only thing the heat packs and fit-ball were good for were throwing at my husband, and panadol rapid for labour is the equivalent of trying to treat a gun shot wound with one of those tiny round finger bandaids.

For all you first time mums out there in the pre-labour investigative stage, and to anyone guilty of using the period pain analogy, let me just clear something up for you. Labour is not like period pain. Not even really, really bad period pain. Labour is like someone has stabbed you in the lower back with a cactus while simultaneously amputating every limb from your entire body. The memory of it isn’t surpassed by your love for your baby, it’s blocked out by your nervous system in an attempt to save the pain receptors in your brain from imploding and causing a major aneurysm.

If you ask me, there is nothing in the world that can adequately prepare you for the horror that is childbirth. I will say though- there is truth to some rumours, and I can confirm that it absolutely IS worth it.

When I packed for Tahiti instead of the labour ward

At around week 30 of my pregnancy I started google searching what to pack in my hospital bag. Such a first-time-mum thing to do. I think I unpacked and repacked my suitcase at least 9 times between week 30 and actual go-time. I had all the necessities.. hair straightener, makeup, 8 outfit changes. My next door neighbour and super mum of two laughed her head off when I asked her what I should pack to wear during labour. Looking back now I can see the joke – because most of my time in labour ward was spent wearing a hospital gown and a three surfboard pads inside a pair of disposable granny panties.

Sadly, i didn’t use the cute little travel sized shampoo and conditioner that I got on sale at Priceline; not because I didn’t need to but because I couldn’t lift my arms above my head to wash my hair (having a scalpel through your stomach muscles will do that to you). I also didn’t get around to wearing the 12 pairs of lacy bonds knickers I had washed and folded perfectly – mainly because the whopper stoppers (maternity pads) provided were a one size fits all and came up around my belly button and bra clips respectively.

On day two my sister arrived with two value packs of the fullest of all full briefs from target, which were perfect and might still get a work out in future as guaranteed husband repellers. SO – in 36 years when I’m ready for another baby ill be packing seventeen boxes of breast pads, a years supply of Bridget Jones undies, and a wheel of camembert. That is all.

I will NEVER co-sleep.. I said

“I will NEVER co-sleep”, “my baby will be in their own bed and if they cry then so be it”, “I don’t understand people who give in to their kids it’s their own fault they end up with babies in their beds”.That was me before I had Henry. If only I could have seen into the future to around 2am this morning after having stumbled between my bed and Henry’s cot like a deranged zombie trying to settle him 84 times. Of course I gave up and put him in bed with me. I made myself feel better about it by deciding he must be coming down with some terrible illness and he needed to sleep with me for comfort or he might not make it through the night – but really I just couldn’t get up again or my eyeballs would have fallen out and rolled across the room.

For the first few weeks after I got home with Henry I would wake immediately and bound out of bed to attend to the smallest cry, sneeze or loud breathing noises coming from the bassinet. But as time went on it got harder and harder – and now at four months in I lie in bed for ten minutes wishing my baby had a snooze alarm before I force myself to crawl across the floor to stick a dummy through the bars of the cot. Moral of the story is – do what works for you and your baby, and if you’re both alive and happy at the end of the day you’re winning.