To the ones who stayed

Thank you.

Thank you for understanding all of the messages I forget to reply to and that I’ll probably never be the first to message you or call.

Thank you for understanding when I can’t make it to your party or bail on plans for the 40th time.

Thank you for understanding why my house isn’t always spotless when you visit or when I don’t check in for months at a time.

You see, I’ve been a little busy, a lot of the time. I have two little people who need me, but I need me too, in the tiny moments of freedom of mine.

I could make empty promises, to be more reachable and present. But the reality is, I can only take each moment as it comes and hope that you’ll always be as understanding as you are now, without resentment.

This journey that I’ve been on, becoming a parent, is something you’re yet to experience. And I know it must be hard to understand exactly how I’m feeling, but your understanding all the same is such a blessing.

You still check in when you can, and you know that a few months without conversation doesn’t mean anything other than we’ve both been busy. Most importantly you still see me for me, kids, messiness and all, and gift me with little reminders that you still love who I’ve turned out to be.

I started my journey a lot earlier than most, and I’ve lost some friends along the way. But the beautiful thing I’ve come to realise, is who is truly here to stay.

Xo Emily @ Loving Little One

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The Hazy Days: Getting through the first month with a newborn

There is no doubt about it, bringing a child into the world will be one of the most incredible and most exhausting things you will ever experience in your life. I’d consider myself a bit of an old hand at it now, having done it twice, but that would mean I know what I’m doing. And let’s be honest, none of us do!

There are a few little things I’ve come across in my experiences that have at least made things a little easier. Hopefully this can help at one or two people out in their journey to parenthood, I know I wish I had read something like this before I had my girls!

Be Lenient

This is a skill you’ll soon learn very quickly. But knowing you’ll have to be before the time comes does make the pill a little easier to swallow. In childbirth, the early days, into toddlerhood and no doubt beyond. There will be times when things don’t go to plan, you’ll need to be prepared not let go of your expectations and go with the flow.

Sleep when your baby sleeps

I can’t stress this enough. Guests present or not, you need to rest. Take every moment you can to get that rest, you’ll be all the better parent for it

One word, SWADDLE

Your baby is used to being all tucked up inside your very comfy uterus. Once out, their natural startle reflex can be confusing and more often than not will startle your baby out of their sleep. In my circumstances at least anyway, I found swaddling an unsettled baby really helped calm them down and keep them asleep for longer. I highly suggest the ergo swaddles or the Love to Dream, zippers are your friend. Traditional swaddles are fine of course, but when you have a Houdini on our hands, a zip could mean all the difference in the amount of sleep you get.

Don’t be afraid to do the (safe) things you said you wouldn’t

So what, you SAID you’d never use a dummy, or you’d not co-sleep, or you wouldn’t pick your baby up too much? Whatever feels right once your baby is here, so long as it is safe, is okay to do. Don’t beat yourself up over promises your non-parent self made… you were exactly that, NOT a parent. Sometimes doing those things you’d said you’d never do, helps more than you could imagine.

Be okay with saying “no”

If you’re anything like me, “no” is hardly in your vocabulary. But for sanity sake, if you need to refuse visitors, or refuse unsolicited advice, DO IT. Your baby, your time, your body… You just had a baby! Do not feel bad for putting your needs before others. And don’t feel bad about refusing advice that doesn’t suit the way you want to parent.

Take a moment for you as often as you can

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the world of a new baby. Don’t forget to take those moments to have a shower and just breathe. Wash your hair, shave your legs, clean your face… or whatever you like to do that makes you feel human. If someone is around get them to watch the baby for that time, or even if someone isn’t, I used to drag the tummy time mat into the bathroom and put Violet on it so I could have a couple of “mummy moments” to myself. They really are so imperative. You need to look after yourself just as much as you need to look after your baby

Talk when you’re not okay

There will be tough days, plenty of them. The hormones that surge your body after having a baby are beyond crazy, and they can leave you feeling anything but yourself for a while. Remember that it’s ok to feel the negative feelings sometimes, and it doesn’t make you a bad parent. Reach out as often as you can, you’ll find that a LOT of other people have gone through what you’re going through, you’re not alone. And if you do feel as though your feelings are beyond “just hormones” PLEASE seek help, you’re entirely worthy of receiving it, and you will always be worthy of happiness.

Walk away for a minute

Babies can cry for long periods of time, at times it can make you feel a little insane. If you’re having trouble coping or feeling frustrated, pop them down somewhere safe, like their cot, and walk away for a moment to somewhere you can’t hear them, only for a few moments. Just enough to breathe and remind yourself that this won’t be forever, they won’t cry forever. There will be peace and quiet again, just breathe mama, it’ll be okay.

Take all the photos, and spam all of your socials as much as you like. Your baby is beautiful and they’re all yours! Enjoy every moment, soak in that newborn smell and take comfort in knowing that that little baby is and always will be yours.

Xo Emily @ Loving Little One

I Didn’t Graduate Today.

The cohort I began my university degree with graduated today. Four entire years of hard work and study has come to an end and they’re now qualified primary school educators.

Whilst the feeling of admiration for them doesn’t waver, my sense of wonder at how different things would be if I had been graduating with them does linger. It’s not a negative feeling, nor a positive one. In fact, I don’t really quite know how to describe it.

I found university incredibly difficult, in all aspects of the word. Mentally I don’t think I was ready, fresh out of high school I thought I had made the right decision in regards to my career, and as my teachers from high school would put it “the start of the rest of my life”. But the reality was a much more complex one, I was young and uncertain.

I loved the idea of working with children, but when the reality of planning and curriculum came into play it was almost as if my brain fuzzed over. I found practical placement intimidating and draining and my assignments began to make me feel sick to think about, let alone sit down and complete.

My friends were bright and successful students, and I loved watching them succeed, though I had a doubt within myself that grew with every passing week and each grade I’d received back which was never more than “average”.

I knew I needed to take a break. My mental health was suffering at a level I’m not even sure I’m able to describe, but the feeling of not wanting to disappoint my friends and family also grew along side it.

Just before the second semester of my second year began, I found out I was pregnant with Violet. The single piece of information changed my plans… all of them , even though deep down I was unsure of what they were to begin with.

I think part of me knows that I probably wouldn’t have been graduating today even if Violet didn’t come along. I was far too unsure and insecure about where I was headed to be certain that I would graduate. Vi was more or less the crunch point for that decision making process.

But here I am now, two and a half years later. Two beautiful daughters and marrying the man who means the most to me in the entire world within the next year. Still pretty uncertain about what I want to do with my life, but entirely sure of how I want to feel. Happiness is my biggest pursuit.

I certainly lack a degree of any kind. But I’ve honestly done more learning and experienced more personal growth in these past four years than I ever anticipated. I sincerely hope that regardless of my academic status, my friends and family are still proud of me. It’s silly that the matter should bother me at all, and yet it does.

I’m continually asked when I’ll return to finish my degree. And the real answer is, I really don’t know when, or if I will at all. My values and goals have shifted so much in the past couple of years that I hardly recognise myself. I still possess my credits from my course, so if I choose to return I can. But for now it’s certainly not in the forefront of my mind.

At the moment, I really just want to be a great mother. I want to be here for our girls as they hit their milestones and help them grow into smart and independent little people themselves.

The exciting part about what lies beyond motherhood for me is that my future career is still a mystery! While this would worry some people, it excites me. Nothing is set in stone. I LOVE my blog, and writing, and I also have a growing passion for childbirth and postnatal care which I’m also thinking of chasing. There’s a million things I could do, and be really. And it doesn’t HAVE to be just one thing either.

If the world has taught me anything from becoming a mother, it’s that things don’t always go according to plan. In fact, YOU have the power to change your plans, and change them again if you will, and sometimes the plans will change on their own. As long as you are staying true to yourself and what you want most, nothing can deter you from fulfilling your passions. Whether that be a degree, a travelling adventure, parenthood or simply self improvement. You are the captain of your own destiny, even when things go astray.

So far, my destiny has given me two beautiful little girls to love. And although when I began my degree in 2015 I certainly wouldn’t have anticipated to be seeing in 2019 with two children, I’m not at all deterred or intimidated by the fact that I didn’t finish my degree. Great things will always be on the horizon, so long as you look for them.

I can’t begin to describe how proud I am of my friends from University who graduated today. And I can’t wait to see where life takes you in your new careers.

Xo Emily @ Loving Little One

Bittersweet Babyhood

These are the days, where we long for sleep and the simplest of tasks seem to take us half the week.

Where our patience tests us (our toddlers too), we wonder if we’re ever doing enough, and surely we do?

To keep them busy,

To keep them happy,

To fill their day with fun.

Whilst we feed, and we burp and we rock to sleep the newest little person, so little, like they were once.

With so much to do, and so little time, it’s a constant fear of missing the little things that often fills our minds.

So, I sit, a little longer than I should. One on my knee and one right beside.

I read three or four books more, even when she’s sleepy eyed.

We play outside a little bit passed dinner, and bath time is often a little bit late.

But our bellies are always full and there are always more games to play.

They’re only little for such a short time. And my heart grows a little heavy when I think about how they won’t always be little and by my side.

Though, that’s the bitter sweetness of it all, some day they’ll have their own little hands to hold.

So, for now I treasure every moment, cuddles and tantrums alike. And when I’m stuck on the couch for the fiftieth time with a baby that won’t settle and a toddler with an attitude as large as mine…

I’ll remember that these moments only last a very short while and no matter how big they get, they’ll forever be my babies- just like I am to those parents of mine.

Xo Emily @ LovingLittleOne.com

The Second Time Around – The differences between my first and second pregnancies

Theres nothing quite like waking up to being slapped in the face with a block. Furthermore theres nothing quite like waking up, 7 and a half months pregnant and being slapped in the face with a block. Delightful and refreshing to say the least. It’s mornings like this that make me laugh to think about how drastically different things have been for my second pregnancy. Although physically they’ve been largely similar, the whirlwind that is life with a toddler makes things… interesting.

No Time Alone (ever)

I remember being 32 weeks pregnant with Violet. Though I did work, for the most part my days were spent watching netflix, reading and going for long walks in the evening, on my own. Hours were filled with excitement and anticipation for what was to come, talking to baby and marveling at the beautiful, tiny clothes we had stored away in a little box marked “baby things”. It was like something out of a novel and had a similar feeling to what you’d expect running through a field of daisies to some beautiful music would feel like.

This time around is like marching into battle with an extra 3 kilos strapped to your stomach. You’re aware that there is life growing inside of you (and how beautiful it is) but you have a JOB to do. And that job is wrangling the beast that is a nearly two-year-old (a cute and loveable beast of course).

Less Marvelling at Tiny Clothes

Amoungst our move I put aside the box marked “newborn” because I know I have to go through it and start washing things and finding a place for them shortly. But the truth is, I’ve not peeked inside even once yet. Not because I don’t want to, everyone LOVES looking at tiny baby clothes. I just simply haven’t had the time, and I know if I do peek the mum instinct will kick in and I’ll then feel obligated to wash it all now. And to be honest, I’ve got enough washing to do at this very moment.

Having EVERYTHING we need already

The beauty that has presented itself at present is the utter EASE of having a second child the same gender as the first. I have bought ONE item for her so far, and I bought it because I bought Violet the same thing in a larger size at the same time and went giddy over the thought of having them in matching outfits. But we honestly already have an entire wardrobe of clothes for her from birth to 20 months, and we haven’t needed a single thing more. The stress I had from the first pregnancy of not having enough is completely gone, and I can say that in utter confidence.

Not Rushing, for any reason, like ever

Above all I’ve felt a huge sense of “theres no rush” this entire pregnancy. No rush to buy things and no rush to set things up. So much so that when I went to my last appointment and my midwife told me I should probably start packing my hospital bag I was shocked, I hardly even realised that there was a possibility of us meeting our daughter within just a month or two! With Violet I was constantly counting down the days, this time, every time I hit another week I’m gobsmacked. Time passes so incredibly quickly when you’re busy with a toddler, even if you’re not doing anything in particular at all.

The Conversations

One difference I’ve certainly picked up on is the conversations I have with people about my pregnancy (mainly people I don’t know, as the people I do know are always very supportive). With Violet it was almost constantly about how young I was and how daunting it must be to be having a baby. I’m not sure if its the bags around my eyes, the toddler on my hip or the ring on my finger, but people seem to be a lot more accepting of the fact that I’m pregnant, while at the same time voicing how exhausted they think I’ll be when the baby is born… Babies are exhausting, toddler or not, they’re a lot of work. So I have no doubt that I’ll be tired, but I certainly don’t need reminding of that every time I venture from my home.

A LOT less reading

I wouldn’t say I’m heading into the birth of our second daughter knowing everything, but I am lot more confident this time around. I did so much reading when I was pregnant with Vi, about what to expect and all of the different things that can and do happen during pregnancy, labour and birth. This time, I glance at my pregnancy app once a week, learn a little about whats happening on the inside and carry on. Every baby and every birth is different, so I’m certainly not expecting things to go exactly the same way, but this time I KNOW what labour feels like, I know what to expect if things go according to plan, and I’m prepared for things even if they don’t go according to plan. I’m not such a novice anymore, and I do like fe feeling!

KNOWING

This is a big one, because having already experienced pregnancy and child birth there is one thing I know about that is overwhelmingly exciting, and that is the incredible love that you experience when you hold your baby for the first time. Nothing can compare to that. With Vi, I was excited, but also quietly sh*tting myself… This time its all LOVE, and that is an amazing feeling.

It’s strange because you get so caught up in the world that is parenthood that you often forget that you’re carrying another tiny person inside of you wherever you go. I still have moments where I’m shocked to remember that we’ll have another tiny little person in our arms in such a short time.

 

xo Emily @LovingLittleOne

Making a Change – We’re Moving

In my last couple of blogs I’ve mentioned we’ve been going through some pretty hectic change, and I do feel as though now is the time to share what that change is with you all.

There is no fluffing around it, so I’ll just get straight to the point, we won’t be living in Brisbane very much longer. And by very much longer, I mean we’ll be moved and settled within the next month, so BEFORE this baby is born.

It’s funny because I feel as though everyone thinks we make sudden decisions and never truly make up our mind on things, so this might seem very sudden, or you might be thinking “they probably won’t end up moving”. But the reality is, we’ve been thinking about this for well over a year. The first time we thought about it was literally an entire year ago when our lease was due for renewal, but at the time we had some things happening in our life that seemed to indicate that we weren’t ready for it just yet.

But now we’re here, a whole year later faced with the decision to either make a change or continue on with the way we currently live our lives. Both Dan and I agree that although the way we live our lives now isn’t necessarily bad, it’s not sustainable for our future. It might be sustainable for a 22 and 21 year old without children, but thats not our reality. And we want to be living life in a way that is sending us UPWARD, not flatlining us.

Brisbane is wonderful, really. We’ve been so privileged to be able to call it our home. We’re surrounded by supportive friends and family at almost every corner, and have the convenience of having pretty much anything we could possibly need at our fingertips. But that convenience is also an appeal for thousands of other people, which means the cost of living here is unbelievably high. I’m not about to share figures, because you just don’t do that with the internet, but I am about being honest, and we honestly can’t afford to live well here, thats just the reality of it.

Some people might say, “you’re getting by, why do you have to be able to live well? If you’ve got food on the table then you shouldn’t be worried”. We are able to put food on the table, sure. As well as pay our rent and bills on time, but at the end of the day, after ALL of the expenses, we’re left with absolutely nothing. We’re sitting in a house, paying someone else’s mortgage with almost every cent we earn. Dan is literally busting his butt to get to the end of the year with nothing to show for it. And thats something that we’re just not okay with anymore.

We want to be able to afford to have Dan take a weekend off, and not struggle for money for the next 2 weeks as a result. We want to afford to take our kids on little camping trips, which literally cost next to nothing besides fuel and our time. To be able to afford to have a date night (JUST Dan and I!) more than once every 6 months. There’s honestly so many more things I could list off that we can’t afford right now that we would love. But more than anything, I want Dan to get home from work at the end of the day and not feel like he’s suffocating in a job he doesn’t enjoy to live in a home we can barely afford to be in.

I definitely know I don’t have to explain our reasons, so I suppose this is where a post I’ve written is more for me than anyone else. But we know that this is the right thing for us, as much as we’re going to miss the place we’ve made a home together in, and the people who have so warmly supported us. There is so much more to be felt in life than stress over money and time, and good things can be found anywhere if you look hard enough.

Perhaps the wonderful thing about all of this is the possibilities that lie ahead. Change petrifies the both of us, but also fills us with hope as well as gratitude for what we’ve already been so lucky to have. So while things are still so uncertain in terms of where exactly Dan will be working or the home we’ll bring our latest little addition home to, we do know that the change we’re making BEFORE we know those things will propel us into a brighter future, not only for us but for our children as well who will always be one of our biggest priorities.

Stay tuned for updates! Because there will be MANY.

Xo Emily @ LovingLittleOne.com

“Who the hell am I” : Challenges with self image in Parenthood

From the moment you lay eyes on your first born, you feel a shift. Suddenly, everything you once deemed important becomes a shadow behind this tiny little human that lays quietly (or loudly) in your arms.

The first moments are often peaceful and relieving, and most often remembered through a haze of exhaustion and hormones, no matter how your birth took place. Though the one emotion that will forever be cemented in your brain is the tremendous amount of love you felt, and still do.

Your days become a giant mixing bowl filled to the brim with crazy things you would have never imagined in your life before your baby. Not only learning to navigate feeding, sleep, changing and settling your little one, but doing the same for yourself whilst in full blown recovery from likely one of the biggest physical events your body has ever been through.

There is no use in trying to be polite about it, your body is a mess. Your hormones are through the roof, you bleed for weeks on end, you leak endlessly from your significantly larger (and significantly more painful) chest balloons, all while getting the equivalent of about 3 hrs sleep every 24 hours (depending on circumstance of course). So really, there’s no wonder you may be sitting on the couch at 3am with a newborn attached to your boob thinking, “who the hell am I?”. In fact, your life changes so much after having children its no wonder at all if you’re still sitting on the couch at 3am long after your toddler/teenager has gone to bed thinking “who the hell am I?”.

There is a lot to be said about the way we think about ourselves. Outside influences almost always contribute to this, so it is only natural that your self image changes after becoming a parent, for women and men alike. I know, as a mum, there is almost a constant looming pressure to provide the absolute best experience for your children as you can. From tummy time and sensory play when they’re tiny, to outside park play and time spent with other children in toddlerhood. I find myself almost always analysing our days wondering if we’re doing enough. Even though I can almost guarantee that if you’re there for your kids, they’ll feel like it is enough regardless of what you get up to.

Beyond those moments, there is the downtime, when you’re alone and left with time to think about you. Social media for me, is one of the major things that triggers these moments. It’s more or less allowing myself to think about the fact that I am really not sure of who I am beyond parenthood. I’m not sure of my style, or what people think of me as a person beyond being a mother (not that either of those things should matter). I’m sure this is something other parents experience, and even people who aren’t. The path to understanding yourself is very complex, and often confronting. But it has definitely been something I have been left to contemplate quite often.

The main thing I take away from it, is that its okay not to know these things. And it’s certainly okay for now, to let “parenthood” be my definition, even if its just for a little while. Because the truth is, what defines you is something that is constantly evolving. I mean, many aspects of my life have defined me; my love for art, reading and learning, my determination to improve myself through the sport that I loved (squash), and even the places that sport took me throughout the years, as well as the people I’ve grown up with, and the people I’ve met along the way. Every detail of the events and people in my life have helped create “me”.

And for better part of the last 3 years, parenthood has been a massive part of who I am. My life, twenty-four seven, 365 days of the year. So yes, I am a mum. I’m also a lot of other things, some of those things I understand, and some of them I don’t. But for now, what I most understand is my life with my loving partner and my soon to be two children. And right now, I’m totally okay with that being all I know, because more that will define me is yet to come.

xx Emily @ LovingLittleOne.com