Was I prepared for this?...

So recently, I became a mother of two. It was planned, and when I was pregnant, I simply couldn’t wait. Throughout my second pregnancy, I barely had time to really focus on what was coming. To really allow it to sink in and prepare myself. With a wild toddler to try and tame and a business to grow, I had my hands pretty full. Then on Easter Sunday, the Easter bunny came and delivered me the. best. gift. ever. A baby girl. A sister for my first, another daughter for my husband and I. And boy was I not prepared.

People always asked, “how will you love your second as much as your first?”, “Do you think you’ll always favour your first?”, “Aren’t you content with just the one?” And even though I felt sure in our decision to have a second, I did occasionally let those questioning doubts drift in to my mind. What if I didn’t love this one as much as our first? What if I did subconsciously “prefer” my first born? Am I basically telling my child that she isn’t enough and I need more? Add to that the classic “mum guilt” thinking, “what if I can’t give as much to the second as I did to my first?” or “will my first feel unloved?” It’s enough to drive you crazy. But luckily, those thoughts were fleeting and I was sure within myself that I would love this baby just as much as my first, and that they will love each other too.

So, back to my Easter pressie. As soon as my second baby girl was hauled up on to my chest (she was a biggie) my heart exploded. I could not believe my luck to have two beautiful girls. My girls. That my husband and I made and that were us. Bits of him and bits of me. Those shocked and blinking eyes searching for my face. I knew instantly that we had made the right decision to have another. And just when I thought my heart couldn’t explode anymore? The beautiful moment that my first baby girl met my second baby girl. Ah my heart. She was so proud. The proudest big sister. And somehow, she knew that this new little baby was ours. She wasn’t jealous, she welcomed her with open arms and I could see that she had so much love to give to her. She didn’t want to leave or let go of her new baby sister. That night in the birth centre was my first night away from my toddler. I felt emotional but not sad. I missed her so much but I had this new little human with me. There wasn’t room to feel sad. That emotion didn’t seem to exist anymore.

I can’t explain how my heart felt that day, I honestly felt like I might implode. I felt so blissful, so incredibly full that I could scream. I smiled constantly. No, not smiled, BEAMED. It was the happiest that I have EVER felt. And that feeling hasn’t gone. 14 weeks later and I still feel like my life couldn’t be any more perfect. My heart still feels like it is this gigantic thing taking up my whole body and I could easily not care about anything else other than my girls.

Now I am not saying it’s a walk in the park. It is hard. Bloody hard. And there are moments where I want to scream and run away and hide in the wardrobe for a minute. There are moments when my eldest is having a tantrum over absolutely nothing. Literally. Nothing. Mums of toddlers I am sure you can relate. And my baby is unsettled and crying if I put her down and I am in my underwear needing to get dressed with half a face of make up, teeth attempted to be brushed and looking at the time knowing that we are going to be late to wherever it is that we are meant to be. I can however, say that I have now mastered the one handed makeup application whilst bobbing up and down with a baby. Mascara application was the biggest hurdle there.

There are times when I have the baby in the sling (a godsend by the way) and my toddler is refusing to walk and wanting carrying, which I can’t really do as I am already carrying a 8kg baby, a handbag, a nappy bag and some toy that my toddler simply had to bring but then doesn’t want to carry herself. I look and feel like a pack horse. When my toddler is told the terrible news that she can’t be carried and she has to walk, she is now in the habit of literally sitting down on the floor wherever we are, be it the shopping mall, the middle of the street, a cafe and refusing to move. When I ask her to come on, she looks me dead in the eyes and I kid you not, slowly slides backwards further away from me. Now that is such fun.

Those times, those are the ones where it is easy to think “fuck”. But I wrote a little note to myself after a long. long. day to remind me of how blessed I am and to leave this tricky day behind. I’ll share it with you now…

No matter how stressful it gets, no matter how much you want to scream, no matter how much house work needs doing, no matter how much Rosemary is refusing to get dressed and driving you insane, no matter how late you are running, no matter how much Olive is crying and won’t settle, no matter how much you want to cry, just stop. And remember how blessed you are to have two healthy and beautiful girls. Two girls who need you. Two girls who are so loved and love you so much. Remember how blessed you are to have a whole family, a healthy and thriving family, a roof over your head and food on the table. You can provide love for your girls, and they give you love in return. These times shall pass and there will come a time when you wish you could go back and relive this moment. Even this time right now, this time where Olive is grizzling, Rosemary isn’t listening to you and you have 1000 and 1 things to do. Relish this moment and remember just how lucky and blessed you are.

I wrote that to read to myself when I am having a moment and boy does it help put things in perspective. I know I have so much to teach these girls but they also have so much to teach me. They teach me about a love like no other love I have ever felt. It’s not even a love that you feel. It’s a being, it’s a powerful thing inside of you that just is. It’s you. It’s too strong to label as a feeling or an emotion. The love that you have for your children is so overwhelming and all encompassing that it can’t be described. You literally feel like you can’t contain it. Like it is bursting out from within you.

So the answer to the question of, can you have as much love for your second as you do for your first? Hell bloody yes. The love just doubles. You feel what you feel for your first and then again. It floods through your entire being and feels oh so amazing. You feel so full with it that you literally feel that people can see it. And maybe they can. Maybe that is the glow, the aura that people ridiculously in love have.

Was I prepared for my second? of course not. Is it tricky having two? Fuck yes. Would I change it for anything? A firm NO. Am I going to do it all over again for a third? Abso-blooming-lutely

x x x

Ahh Motherhood

Ah motherhood. The most beautiful and joyous job role you will ever take. But it is also the most intense, challenging and life changing one. It should come with a job description, "this will be the best job of your life. But beware, it comes with sleepless nights, sheer exhaustion and the overwhelming realisation that you are not just you anymore. You have a tiny human/humans that depend completely on you. Also is not salary based." If this sounds like I am trying to put you off if you have not already stepped into motherhood, then you are wrong. On the contrary, I think it is the most rewarding and wonderful thing you can ever do. 

But no amount of research, advice (whether it was asked for or just given), or preparation can really make you ready for the journey of parenthood. Before my little girl came along, I was forever reading articles on baby routines, how to sleep train, when and how often to feed, whether swaddling is good or bad. Add to that the obsessive Instagram scrolling of these seemingly perfect mums and babies who look so gorgeous and camera ready with a sleeping angel in their arms in a candid heavenly photo. Fast forward to after my baby was born and that could not be further from the truth. I practically lived in my dressing gown and maternity leggings for the first few weeks. And the thought of putting any makeup on my face was a far away dream. If someone was to take a photo of me, they'd see a rabbit in head lights, wild hair and eye bags the colour of that much needed coffee. There was no Instagram worthy, effortless photos. I breastfed which meant that constant cycle every 90 minutes of feeding, burpring and sleeping. Constantly. I remember a few nights after Rosemary was born, I went for a shower. A seemingly easy and nonchalant activity. But two minutes into my much needed shower, I could hear the desperate cries from the living room. My baby was hungry. My mum (who was an absolute godsend), came into the bathroom innocently saying, "she's hungry!", and that was it. I broke down. I cried. Could I no longer have a 5 minute shower to myself anymore?!

As a mother, I feel like there is a lot more pressure put on us. Pressure from society to get our “old” bodies back, to portray motherhood as an easy, effortless act and to make everyone see how perfect and dreamy our lives are. Then there is the pressure of actually being a mother. Constantly feeding our babies, giving them the time, attention and endless love that they so need. I am not saying the dads have it easy, but let’s be real, they have it a hell of a lot easier than us mothers. Sometimes I feel jealous towards my husband that he can still have time to himself, lounging on the couch, when our baby needs feeding or just need their mamma (I am waiting for the day they invent a pill for dads to produce breast milk). That was a joke, I love breastfeeding, I love the closeness and connection, but sometimes it is overwhelming, especially when your baby LOVES the boob. All day, all night. I digress... Her dad can leave in the morning to go to work without being obviously absent in our daughters life. Don’t get me wrong, the heart fluttering emotion I get every time our daughters eyes brighten and the look of sheer pleasure on her face when her daddy walks through the door after a day of work is so beautifully wonderful that it makes me want to cry every time. But still, he has the freedom to do what he likes. Even writing this, I feel guilty. Guilty for saying these words because I truly love being a mother, I adore our daughter and cannot wait to give her more brothers and sisters. But it’s hard. And society today makes it difficult for us mothers to express our struggles. Difficult to put our hands up and say “this is bloody hard!” Difficult to confide in loved ones saying we need time out. Difficult to admit that sometimes, we just want to lock ourselves in a room and be us, just us. For one moment, our own bodies and be with ourselves.  

I love social media, the few moments when my baby is sleeping or I lock myself in the loo (we all do it!) and scroll through Instagram is great. But there are constant images of beautiful mothers and babies posed in such a way that makes their lives seem so easy and effortless. I mean, where is the baby sick stain on her dress? Where are the eye bags from being up all night with their baby? Where is the food debris on the table and floor from breakfast that morning that still needs clearing up? It is easy for some of us to then doubt ourselves. Doubt our mothering. But let’s remember, people don’t want to capture the difficult, not so beautiful times. People don’t want to capture the tears, mess and craziness that a baby brings with it. So let’s not look at those images and think “why is my life not like that?” Because guaranteed, they are struggling too. Let’s all be in this together, let’s raise our hands and say yes motherhood is damn hard and I’m not afraid to show it. But it is also the most perfect, the most insanely beautiful and fulfilling thing, and even during those 3am feeds, where you are crying with exhaustion, remember, you are SO blessed to have that angel in your arms. And before you know it, your baby angel will no longer be a baby. They will be spreading their wings, ready to explore what the world has to offer. So revel in each and every moment. It’s okay to cry, it’s okay to ask for help. But always be so grateful and thankful for the life you have created, and the mark you will leave on your baby, even long after you are gone. Enjoy every day, be present and remind yourself how wonderful life is.

Mary

x x x

Mind over Matter

Our minds…They can be our best friends and our worst enemies. They can be our biggest cheerleader, most supporting fan, then turn into an abusive, criticising bully. How are our minds so powerful? What can we do to better control our thoughts and why is it so important?

I’ve heard a lot recently about the power of the mind. But what is that and what does it mean? Obviously our brains are powerful, they control everything in our bodies and everything that we do, so isn’t saying our minds are powerful just stating the obvious? The way I understand it, our brains and our minds are two different things. Our brains control our bodies, our nervous system, our actions, our breathing, everything we need to survive. But our minds. Our minds are a little more complex and in-depth. Our minds are those whispers we hear telling us that we are not good enough. Telling us that we made a mistake or we shouldn’t have said those things. Our minds are what triggers those wonderful, butterfly feeling positive emotions and the dark, all-encompassing negative ones. Our mind seems to…well…have a mind of its own. Our minds say to our bodies, “nah. You guys do your thing, I’m going off on my own here”. It has a sick fantasy of clinging on for dear life to the darkest, most negative thoughts and refuses to let go. Ever noticed how you can have 100 compliments thrown your way, an abundance of positive things happening to you, yet the one negative comment, the one negative event that happens, your mind clings on to it. It ignores everything else, all the magic and wonder and happiness. It dwells on to the bad stuff, cradling it like a precious baby and wants to be at the forefront of all of your thoughts, reminding you constantly that it is there.

I’m not saying this to blow my own trumpet or try and boost my ego but I get a lot of compliments, as we all do. But do I fondly remember those? Do I sit and think of all the lovely things people have said to me, with a beaming smile on my face? No. I remember a negative comment someone made to me five years ago. And it was a passing comment. They probably don’t even remember saying it. But me? Oh, my mind loves to throw it in to the forefront of my thoughts every so often. Loves to remind me of this comment. And how am I left feeling? Like crap. Utter crap. Why can’t my mind just let it go? Why can’t it store it away like all the other unimportant and untrue thoughts? That’s the thing. Our words are so powerful, and when you say words to other people, they can have such a profound impact on them and you don’t even realise. As our parents used to tell us, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. If you feel like your words are possibly not the most positive, then just don’t say them. As your words can embed themselves on to someone’s mind. For ever. But that’s a whole other can of worms, maybe for another blog. But the point is, this person who said those negative words to me, may not have even meant them to be hurtful or for them to stick in my mind. But they have. Because our mind loves this shit. It revels in it.

I once read that the things we worry about what other people may think of us, are actually the things we think personally about ourselves. For example, if you get hung up on thinking other people may think you are too loud or too “in your face”, it’s actually YOU who thinks that about yourself. Quite harsh but it’s true. Think about it. I know that rings true for me. When I think about the things that I have obsessed over, thinking that is what other people think about me, it’s because I actually have those critiques of myself. Not others. Me. Again, back to the point of us being our own worst enemies. We say and think things about ourselves that we wouldn’t even dream of saying or thinking about another person. So how can we so freely be mean and awful to ourselves without batting an eyelid? If you have ever said something hurtful to someone, and I’m sure we all have, we feel so guilty about it afterwards. But do we feel guilty about criticising ourselves? Do we feel guilty for looking in the mirror and thinking negative things about ourselves? No. We accept it. As if it is the truth. But it is not the truth. It is not reality. It’s our minds.

For the past year or so, I have really been working on positive thinking. And that is not saying that you have to be positive about everything, because sometimes, really shit things happen. And that’s okay. It’s okay to feel sad or angry, we’re entitled to those emotions. I mean positive thinking in the sense of what you think you attract. Whatever vibes or energy you put out there, they are what come back to you. You create your own reality. And I am sure we have all heard this at some point in our lives, and if not, then I am so glad you are reading this blog, because it is so incredibly true. Let me give you an example of this. Think of the many times you have woken up in a bad mood, or something really crappy happens first thing in the morning. You spill that first cup of morning coffee, or you wake up feeling grumpy and miserable. You then say to yourself, “this is going to be a really bad day, I can just sense it”. So you’ve put those words, that energy, out there. And guess what happens? You have the shitest of shit days. Everything that can possibly go wrong, does. You lose your keys whilst running late for work. There are no carparks when you get to work. Your manager has a go at you for something, you forgot your lunch, you end up having an argument with your significant other, the list goes on. And although you may be thinking “poor me”, “why is everything going wrong?”, “today is just a crap day” blah blah, it’s because you created that. You told yourself you were going to have a bad day. So you focused on all the shit things. You probably didn’t notice that nice guy smiling at you, or a friendly face offering a coffee and a chat. You were so obsessed over it being a bad day, that you made it one. And yes, some things happen to us beyond our control but it is our perception of these things that make it a bad day or a good day with one or two bad things happening. We create our realities. Our minds will show us what we want to see. If you manifest good thoughts and good things, they turn into reality. And guess what? We end up having a great day. I practice this day to day. I forever tell myself where my business if going to go, how well that days meeting goes, how I’m going to have a great day, week, month, year. And you know what? It happens. Because I believe it, I think it, I know it will happen and it does. Let me put it out there, I tried it with the $32 million dollar lottery jackpot, it doesn’t seem to work like that. I literally stood at the counter, choosing my numbers, telling myself that this was it, imagining how I am going to spend my money. The lotto numbers were called. And nope, not even one number. But it does work when you apply it to your day to day life, your job, your relationship. Imagine what you want, and I mean what you really want, deep down. Think about it every day, imagine it happening, and I bet you it will.

Whether you want to believe or accept that, is your choice. But you cannot doubt that your mind is incredibly powerful. Manifest good thoughts. Allow yourself to feel negative emotions once in a while but do not let them consume you. Do not let your mind control how you feel and make you feel negative all of the time. Because you know what is stronger than your mind? Your heart and your spirit. Connect with that, trust in that, and maybe, just maybe, you can begin to hold the reigns a little tighter on that rebellious mind of yours. Understand that your mind is so powerful, but you can control it. Find your way. Whether it’s meditating, confiding in a loved one, listening to great music, writing, however you want to connect with yourself. Do it. And make positive thoughts and emotions the norm. Those negative ones can just stay put until needed. Be nicer to yourself. The next time you look in the mirror, say kind words to yourself. Think of everything you love about that glorious body of yours. And the things you don’t like, you can work on. But do not let those darken the way you perceive yourself. Let the great things shine. The same with your life. Whatever bad things are happening, you control how you react and feel. You hate your job so end up feeling crap about life? Okay, accept it and do something about it. Look for something else, see what it is about your job that you hate and work to change that. Don’t let your mind tell you that this is it and you have to deal with feeling useless. Your mind likes to lie. Let your heart take control once in a while, and let those positive thoughts and emotions erupt out of you. And always. Always. Love yourself. Because ultimately, you are all you’ve got.

Mary

x x x

Being a WOMAN

Let’s talk about women. Being a woman…knowing a woman…loving a woman. We can all relate to that. But what does being a “woman” in this age truly entail? What does it mean?

We women are powerful creatures, so powerful yet I don’t think we even realise how powerful we truly are. We are delicate yet incredibly strong at the same time. We are loud and fierce yet know how to listen silently and be there for someone. We are beautiful. And I am not talking about just outward beauty, inside each of us our beauty is so strong yet it’s so easily ignored. We carry the weight of the world on our shoulders, yet we always offer a helping hand to those that need it. We know how to cry, boy do we know how to cry. But we also know how to love so fiercely that it could explode out of us. We are a walking, talking vessel of every possible emotion there is to feel. And we feel those emotions so intensely.

Even as I am writing this post, I am writing it with so much emotion. Can I tell you why I am emotional? No. Of course not. But that’s just the territory that comes with womanhood isn’t it. We feel. Like, really feel. We have intense highs and deep lows. We can cry and not know why we are crying. We can feel so angry and pissed off but have no real reason for feeling angry and pissed off. We dissect every bit of conversation and worry ourselves about whether we got our point across correctly, or whether the other person thinks we are an idiot, or whether what we said upset someone. We scrutinise over what other people, mainly other women, think about us. About how we look, about what we said. About who we are as women. We take things to mean something else, we get upset by the tone of voice used, not just the words. We get upset if someone forgets to message us back, thinking that we have done something wrong, what could we possibly have said? Does that person hate us now? We obsess over how that stranger looked at us, do they think I look too fat/too skinny? Is my outfit choice wrong? We get hurt when our partner doesn’t give us the attention we want, when they don’t tell us that we look beautiful today. We look at other women and compare. We compare our bodies, how successful other women are compared to us. How other women’s relationships seem so perfect and argument free. When we look in the mirror, we see imperfections. Hang ups. Things we want to change. Add being on your period to all of the above and whoa, shit just got real crazy.

If there was a way to visualise a women’s thought processes and emotions for just one day. Scratch that, not even a day, an hour, I think men would be absolutely gob smacked and mind blown and wonder how we cope. I know for me personally, I can flip between emotions within a second. I can have a full on argument with someone in my head, and I mean really full on, over a scenario that hasn’t even happened, and probably won’t ever happen. I can overthink an event that happened or a conversation that was had, and overthink it so insanely that it consumes all of my thoughts and controls my emotions, to the point where it’s all I can think about and I’m officially obsessed.

It seems that with being a woman, you automatically get labelled into categories. You get defined by people as to what “kind of woman” you are. You wear nice clothes, show off your body and wear makeup? You’re easy, vain or a slut. You are successful in your career and really want to get ahead? You’re a bitch and two-faced. You’re reserved, quiet and keep things to yourself? You’re stuck-up, nerdy, boring. The point is, we are labelled. Like things. By people who think they know who we are just from how we look or first impressions. Why even give labels in the first place? Can a woman not be who she is without being put in a box? From working in bars and restaurants for the first few years of my “career” life, I had to deal with men. I’d get stared at in a real pervy way, I’d overhear men talking about my body. I’d get ass grabs by men old enough to be my father. I’d get drinks bought for me or get asked to join them after my shift. And that wasn’t just me, that was all women I have had the pleasure to work with. And I’m not just saying that only happens in the hospitality industry. It happens to women in all career fields. But that’s just the norm right? That’s what we women are here for, to be a good time for the guys, to be looked at, touched inappropriately.

Well I am calling bullshit on that.

I am calling bullshit on all the “men” (and I am using the term “men” loosely here as let’s be real, they are not men). “Men” who do not know how to treat a woman. “Men” who act like the tough guy by hitting on women in an inappropriate way but actually go home lonely and hating their lives. By “men” who thinks it’s okay to say comments, ass grab, wolf whistle at women like we are dogs. By “men” who need an ego boost so act like a total dick to get high fives from other “men” but by doing so, objectify the women in their lives.

Now please don’t get me wrong, this is not a, “I hate men” feminist piece. And it’s not about trying to say women are better than men. All of the men that I love in my life are wonderful. My father is the most incredible and wonderful man that I know. My husband too. My brothers, uncles, friends are all fantastic men who know how to treat women. The point of this piece is to talk about and praise women and what women go through, and have gone through.

A lot of female celebrities are using their platform to speak out against injustice on women. And there are a lot of movements now including the “me too” movement or the “times up” which are encouraging women to speak out about their injustices and stand up for all women. Whether it is harassment in the work force, equal pay, equal opportunities. Which is a shame really when we live in such an advanced world yet simple things like equality aren’t at the forefront. But it's great that people are finally talking about it. Bringing it to everyone's attention as enough is enough. 

I think it is such a beautiful thing when women come together, celebrate each other, support and help one another. When women can support another women’s success or relationship without being jealous. Because, really, we women are the only ones who know what each of us are going through. We are the only ones who can relate to each other, offer advice about certain things. And guaranteed there is another woman out there who is going through exactly the same thing as you right now. Since having my daughter, I love how supportive other mums are. Pre-pregnancy, I had the misconception that "mums clubs" were where women get together and secretly compare each others children and bitch about how other women parent. But how wrong I was.  I’ve realised that motherhood comes with amazing friends and women who can help you, who make you feel like you’re not alone and who can be that saving grace when times are tough. Because being a mother, we need each other. We need other mothers to relate to, talk to, vent to. We need other mothers who are going through the exact same thing, and those "mum clubs" are something I am so pleased to be a part of.  

Female friendships are so special. I feel like we connect with each other on another level. I am so lucky and so blessed to have a handful of incredibly special women in my life, some who we have been friends since childhood, and some who I have met in my adult life. And I can honestly say I do not know what I’d do without them. Having such special female friendships is a bond that will never be broken. You can tell all of your most secret thoughts and they will not judge you, they’ll probably tell you they’ve thought the same. You can ask honest opinions and not be upset by the answer. You can confide emotionally and feel so much better, like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders. You can laugh so hard until you pee and cry over something so trivial. And the feeling of being another woman’s confidante, the person who makes them feel better, is equally as special.

So, as women supporting other women, let’s celebrate one another. Let’s be happy for each other’s successes and happiness. Let’s be an ear, a smile, a helping hand for a woman who needs it. Let’s love each other and stop comparing ourselves in a negative way. Let’s accept that we are all different, yet all experience the same things in this world so we may as well do it together. Holding hands. Smiling at one another. We women are incredible. Let’s never forget that.