Hey Sleep-Deprived Mama, Take Yourself Out On a Date

If you’re a sleep-deprived mama that stays up late for no reason, I get you.

No, really. I get you.

I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that at one point, someone has said to you: Okay, you’re sleep deprived – it’s essentially all you ever talk about, so why are you still up now that the kids are in bed?

My very logical, rational husband doesn’t understand why, despite the fact that I haven’t slept for longer than a two-hour stretch over the past couple of months, I still stay up well past the kids’ bedtime. You say you want ‘me-time’ – but isn’t sleep the ultimate ‘me-time’? he asked me once.

Before I had kids, the concept of ‘me-time’ was pretty stock standard. I’d take the full hour lunch break at work and walk through the shops with no agenda whatsoever. On the weekend, I’d set off to the gym on my own for an hour and then stop by my favourite cafe and grab a cappuccino. Sometimes I’d get more than one bout of ‘me-time’ in one day. It was great.

Me and myself had the perfect amount of quality time together.

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I’m Done Waiting To Lose Weight

We finally got some professional family photographs taken last weekend. Truthfully, I’d been putting this off over and over again because I wanted to wait until I’d lost the baby weight after having #2 so that I could look somewhat presentable in these photos and not have to look back, 5 or 10 years later, and cringe at myself.

But recently, a light switched on in my head and made me think to myself: you know what? I’m done waiting to lose weight.

I’m done.

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I Need My Mama Tribe

I need my mama tribe.

I remember when I first became a mother, and someone asked me if I’d made any “mommy friends” yet. I brushed it off with a casual, “ah yeah – I have a couple, I guess,” and didn’t give it much more thought.
I didn’t know that the small handful of mommy friends I had at the start, which has now grown into a sisterhood of women that support, love and encourage each other, would become my strength and my sanity on my most difficult days.

Have you found your mama tribe? I hope you have. Whether it’s just the two of you or twenty of you; we need our mama tribes.

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Oh, how we need our mama tribes.

Because you need that mama who knows how sleep deprivation can turn you into a scary and unfamiliar version of yourself, and will ask you – no – TELL you that it’s time to go get caffeinated together, kids in tow to terrorise fellow cafe patrons, matching messy buns so that together you can both get through the rest of your day without eating your young.

Because you need that mama with whom “workout chic” or “pyjama vogue” is always an acceptable dress code. Let’s just agree to turn up in gym clothes so that we can appear to society to have just completed an arduous boot camp session, when really we’re going to go devour cinnamon rolls together and complain about our achy backs, you’ll say to each other.

She’s the one that you don’t have to dress up for, put mascara on for, or even brush your teeth for. And she’ll still want to hang out with you and your raw, un-hairsprayed gorgeousness anyway.

Because you need that mama to talk to about poo for half an hour. You’ll send each other pictures of the contents of your kids’ diapers to get a second opinion as to whether those are chunks of undigested watermelon or something more untoward; she’ll get as disproportionately excited as you when you tell her your toddler is no longer constipated; and you’ll lament your potty training woes with one another.

Because sometimes you need to turn up to a play date with your mama tribe, knowing in advance that the likelihood of you breaking down and crying is approximately 99.7%, because things have just been that difficult lately. So you soldier on through your morning with your kids, counting down until 3.00pm, but once you’re finally with your tribe, you hand someone your crying baby and someone else preoccupies your toddler while you open your heart, cry, get hugged and feel heard.

Somehow, you walk out of that play date feeling like superwoman, because they’ve told you how you’ve got this, but more importantly, you’ve got them and they’re here for you.

There’s that mama that has seen you at your worst, and doesn’t judge you or think less of you. She’s seen you lose your patience with your toddler. She’s seen you shamelessly bribe them so you can just have a couple of minutes to yourself. She’s been there with you when you’ve clumsily tried to detonate a tantrum and then tells you afterwards what a great job you did; how you did everything right and that you’re a wonderful mother.

Because we doubt that we really are wonderful mothers, don’t we? Motherhood can be such an isolating experience sometimes, and you can feel like everyone else has is so completely together, except you. It’s so easy to feel guilty, helpless, overwhelmed, and frustrated. And then these incredible women, these sisters you didn’t know you had, will step in and remind you that we’re all going through it. Everyone struggles sometimes and no one really has it all together. Despite having their own things to deal with, they’ll drop them and do what they can to give you what you need.

I need my mama tribe. I’ve been thinking about every single member of my mama tribe lately, and how so very lucky I am to have found them. Thank you for sending that text message exactly when I needed to hear those words. Thank you for pre-emptively telling me I shouldn’t feel guilty about something you KNOW I’ll feel guilty about. Thank you for bringing me food, laughter and company while I was housebound recovering from a C-section. Thank you for loving my babies the way you love your own, and for just stepping in and making things easier without being asked. Thank you for *just knowing* what I need in a certain moment, because hey, you’ve probably been there too.

We need our mama tribes. I need mine. You need yours. We all need each other. Ladies, you know who you are <3.

Today, You are 2

Tuna,

Today, you turn two years old.

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It’s been exactly two years since that day we met in that freezing operating theatre. I lay there, with your Papa standing in his chalk blue scrubs by my side, when, although numb from the waist down, I felt the exact moment they took you out and you took your first breath. Your first cry was moments later. And although it felt like an eternity at the time, in a couple of minutes they had wrapped you up in blankets and placed you in my arms.

In those early moments with you, one of the thoughts that kept crossing my mind was that at one point, I thought I’d never get to meet you. Continue reading

Love is Sweatpants and Take-out, Actually

In case the marketing everywhere miraculously hasn’t reached you yet, it’s Valentine’s Day this weekend.

And maybe you’re like me.

I grew up watching Disney movies and rom-coms. Prince Charming, happily ever after, adorable meet-cutes, gigantic, suspenseful, highly emotional grand gestures, perfect lines in the perfect moment, so on, so forth, et cetera. Ah, that warm fuzzy feeling. That whole, “oh-my-gosh-that-perfect-guy-is-so-perfect!”. That sense of hope that one day, you might have someone bulldoze through crowds of people at a busy international airport to stop you from getting on that plane so that he can perform a heartbreakingly beautiful soliloquy about why you two belong together. Sigh.

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How to Leave the House With a Toddler & Newborn in 12 Easy Steps

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1. Mentally gather up the nerve to set foot outside the safety of your home. Hesitate over whether you’re ready. Decide that you are. Decide that you probably aren’t. Force yourself to do it anyway.

2. Excitedly announce to toddler that you’re going to “go bye-bye” together. Watch toddler’s face light up with glee as she hears the welcome news that her cabin fever will finally be cured. Note toddler’s sudden increase in energy upon hearing news of impending outing. Immediately regret decision to leave the house and, more importantly, to tell your toddler that you’re doing so. You’re all in now. There’s no turning back.

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I’m a mother of two, and I get it now.

I get it now.

A week after giving birth to my second child, I get it now.

They said I would be overwhelmed with a combination of emotions I couldn’t comprehend – I get it now.

That I will feel immense love beyond anything I could ever have imagined, but at the same time feel fear that maybe I’m not going to be able to ever handle both kids on my own.

That I can look at my toddler and marvel at how she seems to have grown up overnight,  but at the same time feel like she’s my little baby who still needs so much from me and worry about whether I am going to be enough for her now that my attention is divided.

That I can look at my newborn and almost literally feel my heart explode with a love so mind-blowingly powerful that it totally consumes me, and also feel guilt in knowing that there are some things I was able to do for her older sister which I can’t do for her.

I get it now.

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