baby lotus


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Try not to compare.

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My little daughter Olivia is growing up so fast. She will be 1 in two months, and I feel like it was yesterday I brought her home from the hospital in her little tiny onsie. She is my little bubble of energy that keeps me on my toes.

Before she was born I thought I had this mummy job thing worked out. My son Jensen, was a little text book baby, who honestly was the easiest going little boy. Play, sleep and eat. He was good at all of them. I was confident, and excited about baby number 2.

Then Olivia came along, and shook me to my core. She wasn’t doing the things I was expecting her to do, and was nothing like Jensen was. She wouldn’t sleep at night, and if I wasn’t holding her or near her, she would cry for me. She was so tiny, and so damn cute and so exhausting. And unlike your first child, I didn’t have the luxury of devoting all my time and energies on her. It was shared between two babies.

Please don’t think this is a post about all the negatives. Quite the opposite. I am writing this to let people know what I have learnt with my second. What Olivia has shown and taught me about my abilities, and strengths and the love a mother has for her children.

Olivia is 10 months now, still wakes at night, and still loves me holding her all the time, but that is what I am here for. It is tough at times, and I wake up some morning looking like something out of a horror movie, but that is the beautiful thing about your children. They can drive you mental one minute, and make you laugh the next. Olivia can literally drive me to exhaustion, but then come the morning I will walk into her room and the way her face lights up and smiles when she sees me is priceless. Those moments make it all worth it, and so grateful that I am her mummy.

It is so easy to compare your children, and assume you know what is in store. But if I could make one suggestion, it would be to keep an open mind, and remember that each child is different in their own special ways. Whether you have one or ten children, each one comes with their challenges and blessings.

I am still learning how to be a mother to two children. It isn’t something that comes naturally at first. It takes trial and error, and lots of tears and tantrum from us all. I think you never master it, because your children are ever changing and growing, and reaching new milestones. You just have to learn to be flexible and roll with it. Don’t get comfortable, because before you know it, they will change that script on you.


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Child Care

I have friends from all walks of life, some have had to return to work when the baby was 3 months old, and some have been stay at home mums till the child goes to school. I believe it is a personal choice, and should be made by the parents, what ever their reasons be.

When I was on clinic for my course late last year I remember very vividly a mother that came in with her little daughter. The child was 13 months old and the mother was asking should she send her child to day care as it will help with her social skills, and becoming a bit more independent. The mother couldn’t afford child care, but wanted to know if it was a bad thing she couldn’t do so.

What the nurse said in response has stuck with me, and will never forget. The nurse basically said “what could your child possibly learn in child care that she can’t learn with you?”. “You spending quality one on one time with your child is all your daughter needs”.

Basically what the nurse was trying to do was make the mum realise that just because she couldn’t send her child to a child care facility, her child was in no way going to miss out on any vital learning opportunities that the mother couldn’t teach her herself.

So before one goes and judges a parent, it may be more helpful to remember that whether it be financial or personal reasons, not all children go to child care. There are good and bad child care facilities, and there are good and bad parenting. Children flourish in all sorts of environments, as long as it is a safe place that gives them the opportunity to grow, learn and play.

I will never judge a parent and their choices, because I know that not everyone thinks the same. Not everyone has the same options in life when it comes to raising their children. I believe there are plenty of different ways to successfully care for a child, and set them up for a wonderful start in life. Given the right environment, a child can reach all their milestones and thrive.


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Self Soothing

My friend recently who has a 4 month old baby was talking about self soothing, and helping her son fall asleep on his own. It got me thinking about my experiences with that, and it occurred to me that I actually never put any real thought into it.

My son who is about to turn 20 months, is a really good sleeper. He was a finger sucker from the day he was born, and still does it to this day to put himself to sleep. You can find thousands of websites that tell you that you should not let your child do this, and give them a dummy instead and blah blah blah. But the way I see it, is that a baby will find something to help comfort and settle themselves, and all of them have their pros and cons. Whether it be the dummy, thumb, blanket, music, cuddling, co sleeping, rocking, pram, car seat, nursing, it is very rare to come across a child that has been sleeping through the night from a young age and not used one of these tactics to help them do so.

Choose your own battle. Figure out what it is you are willing to live with and roll with it. I don’t judge anymore. What ever it takes to keep the peace, and get you some sleep then do it. No one is perfect, and there is no one hard and fast rule to parenting. Don’t worry about what everybody else is saying and doing, and do what is going to best suit your family and their needs. Take comfort in the fact that if you do what you want to, then life will be a lot easier, and most likely involve a happier baby.


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Grateful

I recently read an excellent blog written by a mother.

https://boganette.wordpress.com/2015/02/26/i-am-grateful-now-fuck-off/

Basically what she said was that she is grateful, but life can still suck at times. Her message was that as a mother times can be really hard, and having a vent and whinge about the kids, and being tired etc does not mean you are ungrateful.
I can relate to that. Sometimes you fear judgement if you complain, or aren’t feeling 100%. When you have had a really bad night, feel like crap, and just want to tear your hair out, having a cry or venting your feelings can help. That doesn’t meant I am not grateful for all I have. It just makes me human, and not super mum that everyone expects me to be.
I always try and put things into perspective, and I know I have a lot to be thankful for. I have never for one minute forgotten how lucky I am, but some days do suck, and it should be okay to say so when it is.


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Friends

Quality Not Quantity.

It is not how many friends you have. It is about having those few friends in your life that you can truly connect with and be your true self with.

I have recently been thinking a lot about the friends I have in my life, and how things have changed since having children. Having children changes your availability and priorities. Suddenly those delicious cocktail girls nights aren’t so important. Instead it is trying to figure out what is going to get your baby to sleep that matters.

It is very easy to drop off the radar when it comes to your social life after having a baby, and turning down invites. I always said before my son came along that having a baby wouldn’t change me, and he will just have to come along for the ride. I was in for a big shock, and it took some time to realise that if you want a happy baby, then you have to surrender to them running the show for a while. They are not babies forever, but they need you, and no mother can be in two places at once.

So thinking about friends, there is a shift and change when a baby comes along. I remember before having babies, having no interest in hanging out all the time with friends with babies. I wanted to be out partying and tanning on the beach. I wanted to go shopping, and go out for dinners. I had no interest in listening to someone talk about potty training, or breastfeeding, etc. And now after having a baby those are now the things I want to talk about and analyse. I am not saying I have dumped all my non-baby friends, but I have found myself naturally gravitating towards friends who do have children. People I can be brutally honest with and they get it straight away, and hopefully have some tips to help.

I have some wonderful friends around me, and not all have children. I am grateful for all their love and support. I guess since having a baby, my time is precious. “Me time” is limited, but as the kids get older it will increase. And hopefully through it all my friends will still be there on the other side.


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Anaphylaxis

My son yesterday was confirmed by a paediatric immunologist to have anaphylaxis to egg and dairy (all non human milk).

It came as no surprise, as we have been to emergency twice in the last year due to these severe allergies. First time was a year ago when he tried some formula for the first time, and the second was last november when he accidentally ate some egg.

It is very scary as a parent watching your child in such distress and pain, and unable to do much. You feel helpless, and blame yourself for causing it. He is so young, and can’t understand what is going on. All he would know is that he is in pain, itchy, and in a very strange place with strangers poking and prodding him.

As a mother of a child with these severe allergies it has always been a concern when leaving him in the care of others. Whether it be family or friends, it is sometimes hard to really rely on other peoples vigilance. I am not talking about people not caring, but quite often I have been shocked that people don’t realise how much food out there contains dairy and egg. Foods you wouldn’t suspect have these ingredients. So many foods are so highly processed with 101 ingredients, that it is easy to miss an ingredient that is derived from egg or dairy. I religiously look at ingredients, and if I don’t know what is in it, I will not give it to him. I cook all dinners from scratch at home, and try and give him foods that are nutritious and contain calcium. We don’t eat take away, as it is hard to really know what is in it. Main reason being is that I can’t count on others knowing what ‘dairy’ means. That might sound obvious, but people often assume I am just talking about milk and cheese, but forget the other forms of dairy such as cream, butter, sour cream, custard, mayonnaise, etc. All it takes is a smear of butter on a sandwich to cause a reaction.

The Western world is very reliant on dairy in their diet, but so many other cultures and countries don’t eat dairy like we do here in Australia. It took a while to shift my way of thinking and think outside the box, but in the last 12 months it has gotten easier to live with. There are alternatives, you just have to go searching for them. Australia is the number one country for allergies followed by New Zealand. We still don’t know exactly what the cause is, but we know it is something in our environment that we are exposed to. Whoever finds the cure will no doubt win the nobel prize!!

Living with a child who has allergies just becomes a way of life. It is always in the back of my mind whenever we are out and about. Toddlers have a tendency to eat food off the ground or grab some out of another child’s hand or plate. They are curious, and innocently exploring the world. I am always having to watch my son to ensure this doesn’t happen, and often feel like the paranoid crazy mother at play group. I look forward to the day when he is a little older and can understand a little better.

On a positive note, majority of children with milk and egg allergies grow out of it by the age of 10, so fingers crossed this is the case for us.


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Stay at home mum

Quite often in the media there is debate and controversial comments made about the ‘stay at home’ mothers out there.

Is it real work? How hard can it be? Should we be entitled to take time off work to raise our children? Should the Government financially support parents who want to stay home and care for their children? And so on…….

Up until recently when someone would ask what I do, I would say Registered Nurse. It is what I do, and a huge part of my identity. But lately I started reflecting on this and realised that what I should be saying with pride is stay at home mum. I have been off work for almost 2 years, and my full time job and priority now is caring my my 2 children.
It is weird that I feel that saying ‘stay at home’ just isn’t enough of an answer, as though I should be adding something else in there to justify me not going back to work any time soon. As though I won’t be taken serious. I feel ashamed that I would think that, but to be honest it is also a part of me unwilling to let go of the past. I loved being a nurse, and at times really miss it. I miss the challenges, and rewarding work I would do. I have no doubt when the time is right I will return.

But till then, I will wear my stay at home hat with pride, and enjoy this short period of my life when I was given the opportunity to be the primary carer of my children, and witness these precious early years of they life. I honestly have nothing but high respects for all parents that care for their children full time. Unless you have lived it, it is something I can’t explain. Everyday you wake up to the unknown, and depending what day you ask me what it is like, my answer will be different. It can be scary, awesome, tiring, wonderful, frustrating, hurtful, rewarding, confusing, powerful, deflating, exciting and terrible, to name a few moments.