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.

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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

Mama wins today.

“Mama wins today,” I smugly said to my husband over dinner tonight.

He smirked at the conviction with which I made that statement.

“Mama wins today,” I repeated, as I proudly looked at the settled, alertly awake newborn in my arms, the happy, albeit exhausted, toddler on his lap eating a nutritious meal I had prepared, made from scratch with fresh, wholesome, food-blog-worthy ingredients, which involved oranges, greens, purples and pinks.

Are you a brand new mother, mama? Or have you been a mama for a little while now, but have no idea how to handle the stage your child is currently going through? Or are you, like me, trying to navigate the treacherous new path of being a mother of one more than you previously had? Or are you a veteran mama that is just going through a more trying time than usual?

If so, then maybe you’ll understand my sentiments.

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This Too Shall Pass.

Last night, as I lay in bed eating gummi bears while watching Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, exhausted beyond belief and wondering when Tiny Boss #2 would wake up next for a feed, I had to remind myself: this, too, shall pass.

There are a lot of things I forgot about having a newborn.

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Those first few weeks can truly be the most exhausting, the most challenging, the most painful and the most terrifying as you think to yourself how your world has been turned on its head and will never be the same again.

Repeat after me, mama: this, too, shall pass.

Last night, I spent two hours solely dedicated to trying to settle my fussy 20-day-old, while her father got her almost two-year-old sister ready for bed. I envied his task a little; its predictability, its dependable routine, its lack of screams and cries, and lack of moments of self-doubt and desperation. Those moments of “what do you want me to do?!” as you try and figure out what this little person needs from you. Continue reading

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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9 years ago, I met a boy.

22 November 2006. I was 21. I was in a new and exciting country, visiting my sister who had been doing volunteer work for almost a year. She’d convinced me to come along to one of her friends’ farewell barbecue celebration. I was reluctant. Frankly, I wasn’t in the mood for small talk and meeting new people. But I went anyway. Heck, I like my sister’s company and I was only there for a few more days so didn’t want to miss out on precious time together.

We arrived. I did the smiles, the hand shakes, the spiel about what I “did” and how long I was staying; a spiel which I’d perfected due to repeating it so many times, and the “yes, we don’t look alike at all, you’re right!” And repeat.

I have to say, I met a lot of cool people. One of them was a golden-haired, aqua-eyed fella with a sense of humour and impeccable taste in music. Once he started playing the album Things Fall Apart by The Roots, he caught my attention, as did the fact that when we arrived, he was, being the Australian-raised man that he is, expertly putting the proverbial shrimp on the barbie (I think it was actually lamb chops this time, but hey). Continue reading

How to spot a veteran preggers from miles away

Pregnant mothers of more than one: you know how when you get the rare chance to go somewhere sans your offspring outside the womb, you get all those sweet, knowing looks from people who think this is your first pregnancy? I’ve been getting those a lot lately. It’s almost a look of reverence. Of respect. But not without a hint of “oh…sweetie. She has no idea what’s coming!” But we know, sunshine. Boy, do we know.

The sharper belly observers will very quickly realise that this ain’t my first rodeo. Here are five surefire ways to know, without a quiver of doubt in your heart, that this mama has done it before.

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