“Mudging” (Mum-judging)

If you’re yet to join the ranks of motherhood “Mudging” would have to be one of the weird made up words you’re yet to involve in your day to day vocabulary. Mainly because I made it up, but thats besides the point.

But the act of “mudging” or “mum-judging” is VERY real, in fact, so real that I’m surprised it hasn’t become a common hashtag or catchphrase yet. The reality of it tends to be quite hidden, that is until the day you, as an unsuspecting first time mum join the “mummy groups” that are the hidden forums of the judgy-mcjudge dark side of the internet.

At first you’re delighted by the empowering and basically utterly adorable posts… “#normalisebreastfeeding” and “#fedisbest”, Babies everywhere, milk teeth on show, wrinkly bums out for the world to see. There are threads on postpartum advice, advice on the best bottles, a plethora of info on where to buy the best baby things at the best prices. I mean, I could go on ALL day about the beautiful thing mothers pages appear to be, but thats obviously not what you clicked on this title for.

It appears the one thing they forget to give you in your “pregnancy and motherhood” gift pack you receive at your first antenatal appointment is the pamphlet that apparently almost every other mother out there has read stating:

“MOTHERHOOD IS A COMPETITION! DON’T TAKE LAST PLACE!” 

But I’ll tell you now, you’ll find that pamphlet plastered passive aggressively in the comments section of almost every single post on your friendly neighbourhood “mum’s page”. You wouldn’t believe it but the drama we thought we all left behind in high school is surprisingly alive and well in the same “empowering” posts we all thought were here to make us feel better about ourselves.

But it doesn’t begin and end with disagreement. There is name-calling, blatant shaming, gang-up type behaviour, unsolicited advice, posting of articles that are completely biased and mostly entirely unreliable used in order to “educate” people on what they should be doing with their OWN children.

Post upon post made in spite of other posts because people are too passive aggressive to address issues on the original conversation. But commenting their opinion on the post would be disregarding the “scroll on” rule that almost every single one of these pages has, so better to create an entire other post on the matter right? So it doesn’t appear as though its a response to something that’s not agreed on, rather a new “topic” to discuss.

Yet no matter how many rules are made, or how many people are “removed” from these groups the issue is still there. The people that are removed simply create their own “NEW GROUP!” that is somehow better and more positive then the last. Spoiler alert, it never is.

The reality of it is, in most situations people just can’t help feeling they know better then someone else. And motherhood just so happens to be one of those things that people who have experience in, think they know ALL about.

There is no doubting women are strong, incredible creatures. Not only for what our bodies are capable of, both in pregnancy and childbirth, but also in our remarkable ability to carry on through the struggles motherhood itself can bring beyond the womb. But with our strength comes a fire we are using against ourselves; fellow mothers who are not only experiencing the same difficulties motherhood presents us with, but women with their own life struggles and hardships.

There is no denying the beauty behind women who support one another, and we all know that these groups are started with that intention. But FAR too many times we let our ego and our hunger for “knowing best” get in the way of our ability to empathise.

So much time is wasted dragging one another across rock hard ground without ever stopping to contemplate the fact that we are all just women who love their children with every ounce of who we are and who we ever will be.

I am sick of reading and hearing about women purposefully hurting other women for the sake of an argument. And if it were as simple as leaving the “mums groups” I don’t think I’d see enough reason to write this post. But in all honesty it is everywhere. It is facebook posts on public profiles, and in the comment sections of public videos, its in the judging remarks of one woman to another on the street (even if one of them never actually hears it), it’s in the looks we give and the sounds we make, the messages we send, the phone calls we make… even in the thoughts we think of ourselves as we stand in front of the mirror questioning our own ability as a mother.

And if that isn’t the saddest part about all of this then I don’t know what is.

Our inability to consider one another with empathy and love is hurting our ability to consider ourselves with empathy and love. And how can any mother can be the best they can for their children without first being the best they can for themselves.

#StopMudging

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xx Emily @ Lovinglittlone.com

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Our experience with bedtime and crying

Notice how the title doesn’t say “controlled crying” or “cry it out”. Yeah, I did that on purpose. Mainly because the method we use doesn’t have a name, we just did what felt right and what worked for us. If you read this and think, hey that actually is a method written about feel free to let me know! I’d love to read it.

Now this is a touchy subject. I’ve seen MANY heated discussions on bedtime methods and what people think is right and wrong for children. And I won’t deny the science or the methods out there in books and in documentaries but we decided quite early on that we would take parenting as a day to day thing, do what feels right and if and when it stops feeling right for us or our baby, we’d stop.

Until our daughter was 6 months old we had a pretty easy run, she would fall asleep in our arms and then we would move her to her cot and she would stay asleep until the next feed, whenever that may be. She never slept through but this is something we were and are still ok with. She would wake up at night, have a feed and nod straight back off to sleep. I’d either shift her back into her cot or enjoy a bit of co-sleep cuddles for the night, whatever felt right at the time.

After 6 months we started noticing her “bedtime” was getting later and later, because no matter how hard we tried, if she was being held around a light or tv or conversation, we was too curious to fall asleep. This posed an issue for us, because it meant I either had to go off to a dark room in silence and hold her until she fell asleep OR switch up our method. I endured 4 months of the first option before I’d decided enough was enough. And that’s when we introduced a proper, scheduled night time routine.

Kids LOVE routine. And we’d always had a rough routine of what order things are done in but never really set times. So we decided, start cooking dinner at 5:30, she eats by six, bath time by 6:30-7, book and bed before 7:30. “Bed” was into the cot with me beside her but not touching or talking to her.

The first few nights were tough. She sat and cried and cried at me, every 10 minutes or so I would give her a short little pat on the back and a reassuring “I love you” but I wouldn’t pick her up… she was tired and me picking her up would only prolong sleep. The first few nights it took about 30-40 minutes of crying. Not terrified crying, not hurt crying, not hysterical crying, just whingey tired crying.

Slowly but surely, the amount of time she would spend crying got shorter and shorter. After about 4 nights of the new routine she was only crying for 10 or so minutes. And by a week and a half I could walk into her room with her in my arms, place her down in the cot, pat her quietly for about 10 seconds or so, say I love you and leave the room with absolutely NO fussing or crying.

I was astonished. This was a child that hardly ever self soothed, now going to sleep almost entirely on her own, no fuss, and almost HAPPY to be going to bed.

Now I’m not here to preach, every baby is different and every parent will do things differently so I’m definitely not going to tell anyone what to do or that it will work for them. And I didn’t walk into this new routine thinking we’d see that much of a difference but HOLY, it has changed our lives. Our night times are almost completely stress free, beautiful in fact. My partner and I can enjoy alone time without fear of having to listen to tears, or trying to be quiet so she would go to sleep in my arms.

She doesn’t sleep through. She never has, but she’s easy to get back to sleep, so that’s never been a problem with us. I am just so surprised at how well this has worked for us.

I’d love to hear stories of bedtime success! No judgement from me either as to how you got there! It’s a long and tough journey but such a feat when you finally reach it. So share away in the comments!

Violet Rae: Nine Months (of mischief)

As per usual, it astounds me what these short months of Violet’s life have brought us. So many beautiful moments of peaceful cuddles and smiles. Nine months have passed and I’m struggling to believe that she’s now been out in the world longer than I carried her inside of me. Is it just me or is pregnancy SO MUCH SLOWER than any other time period? I’m pretty sure we’ve discovered a way to slow time, it’s not for everyone but if you’re really desperate, fall pregnant!

I want to take a moment to be real with you, this month has been… testing. Her curiosity is at it’s peak, tied in with the new found mobility of crawling and climbing and grabbing, I find myself spending every waking moment making sure she isn’t strangling herself or throwing herself off of high furniture onto hard tiles. Naturally, I find myself saying “no” a LOT, and then shaking my head as I realise that she doesn’t understand “no” and even when she eventually does understand it she will probably ignore it anyway. She is cheeky to the core, and meets every scold with giggles and clapping no matter what ‘cranky face’ you pull. No area of the house is off limits, she has discovered everywhere from the bathroom to the laundry, with the kitchen being her favourite (more cupboards to open and random objects to play with).

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But despite what appears to be naughtiness, our baby girl really is starting to become a little girl, and dare I say it, a toddler. She is discovering the world around her, including the boundaries she likes to tip toe around. And somehow no matter how frustrated you get with her, she can still make you smile and your heart melt inside. She’s constantly talking, mostly about “dada dad” and never afraid to giggle for the sake of it. Food is still basically the centre of her world, whether its your food, her food or the dogs food, she wants it and will try he best to get it, even if she has to climb over a few things to get there.

Breastfeeding is still a very big part of our routine, and I am hoping to keep it that way for as long as I can in an effort to avoid formula and cows milk until her stomach is more matured. For the moment the comfort it offers her is irreplaceable and I feel as though I would miss the midnight snuggles that happen with ease when there is booby involved. I can see nothing but benefits of extending our breastfeeding journey, from both a physical and psychological perspective for the both of us.

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Along side Violet’s milestone of 9 months my 20th birthday has come and gone and I am now no longer considered a “teen mum”, however thats not to say have any better idea about what I’m doing. It does thrill me a little to think that by the time I am 40 I will be long past my last nappy change and hopefully getting a full nights sleep while my babies are off finding their own place in the world, which is sad, but very exciting. I’m getting very good at treasuring every moment, they are only small for such a short time.

Now is around about the time when people start to ask questions about a sibling, usually by asking the baby (who has no idea what they are saying) “when are you going to have a little baby brother or sister?”. Our answer at the moment is “we have no idea”, in my head I feel as though getting Violet through toilet training would be easiest before another little one joins us, but we all know that things don’t always go to plan, so for now we are just rolling with the punches. (if you want an explicit answer: I’m not pregnant and not planning on it for at least another 6 months to a year, but we will see how we go)

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However! Violet did obtain a furry little sister this month, Mila. Mila is a domestic kitten who is just on 3 months old, she is from a great rescue in Brisbane called Best Friend Felines. We welcomed her into our home on my birthday and are very proud of the way Violet has taken to both her and Moey in the last few months. Can definitely see an animal lover shining through. If you’re after a cat or kitten please don’t hesitate to check out Best Friend Felines on their website or Facebook, or any other similar rescues before heading to a pet store or breeder. Little rescue babies and big loveable cats need love too, and there are so so many of them out there who need homes before it is too late for them. You can view profiles of cats and kittens available for adoption through their website (here). Because who doesn’t love looking at photos of cats and kittens right?

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It’s safe to say, after 9 months, life is finally starting to set into rhythm again. A beautiful sense of normality has returned, and although I might have some loose skin here and there I am mostly back to my pre-baby body, only I now have a cute little girl to hold my hand wherever I go. What an epic 18 months we have had! I honestly cannot wait to see what the next 18 months hold.

 

xx Emily @ Loving Little One

 

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Violet Rae: 7-8 months

If I could sum up the last 2 months for Vi in one word, it would be mobile. She is crawling, climbing, sitting, standing, pulling things down, pushing things over and putting things in her mouth she probably shouldn’t. Turn your head for even a second and she’s off in a completely different corner of the room to before.

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You don’t realise how busy parenthood is until these months. Prior to this I could sit her down in one spot and be confident that after I’ve been to the loo and come back she’d be in the same place. Now if I leave her to go to the loo she follows me, with great enthusiasm, which quite frankly is a little intimidating when you’re doing your business.

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Nothing is private anymore, and nothing is just yours. If you’re on your phone, Violet wants your phone, if you’re changing the channel Violet wants the remote and god forbid if you’re eating without her and not giving her any. \

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Food is currently the centre of Vi’s world, besides booby of course. Never in my life have I seen an 8 month old as enthusiastic about food, ALL food, as Violet. Generally, anything you put in her mouth she will eat, and before she is even done chewing she is asking for more by flailing her legs and grunting.

Saying Dad, Bub and blowing raspberries is what she spends most of the day doing with her mouth (when she’s not eating). And the milestone of “mum” has been achieved, but only comes out when she is crying. To be honest I’m not sure whether to be flattered or offended by this, but at least she’s saying it right?

Her two uncles came to stay for a couple of weeks as well, they got to know the ins and outs of ALL of the new wiggles songs while they were here, and couldn’t shy from a dirty nappy. Violet was very happy to have their company, and took a few days after they left to adjust to how quiet the house is now.

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In the last 2 months Violet has also made great friends with another baby boy who is only 6 days older than her. Tarver and Vi do swimming lessons twice a week together and are thoroughly enjoying the company of one another after the lessons as well, even if they weren’t I think we would still hang out, having the company of his mum Lilly has been such a breath of fresh air. Since moving to Wynnum I haven’t had much of an opportunity to catch up with mummy friends, But since these guys are just around the corner it has been absolutely fantastic.

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We really have been caught up in the moment of it all. At this age time seems to fly by so quickly, and I spend most of every day captivated by the adventurous, mischievous and beautifully happy little girl she has become. It’s often hard to have the time to sit down and write, but I am very glad I am still doing it. Being able to reflect on previous blogs is already something I truly treasure, so look forward to many more!

xx Emily @ Loving Little One

She Hasn’t Napped Today

She hasn’t napped today; Code phrase for, brace yourself, sh*t could hit the fan at any minute.

One thing people who aren’t parents are yet to grasp is, napping is the key to happiness. If baby naps, baby is happy, if baby naps, mummy can nap too, if baby naps and all the crankiness of both parties disappears.

However if baby doesn’t nap, baby is tired, baby is frustrated, baby isn’t sure why baby doesn’t feel happy and that makes baby ANGRY. Mummy doesn’t have time to clean up the mess from the morning, the sweet potato all over the bench, the pile of dirty baby clothes that need to soak or the toys scattered from the front door to the back.  And on top of this, mummy doesn’t get to nap either, even though she only had 3 hours sleep and last she ate was probably 11 hours ago.

But the world still goes around, despite the crankiness of both mummy and baby. And all of the other people in the world who are yet to have babies smile and say “it’s okay, it’s only a nap. She’ll sleep longer tonight now anyway”.

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Well actually there is this crazy thing that happens, believe it or not baby actually wakes up regardless of how many naps she had because she is HUNGRY. And because she hasn’t napped when she wakes up because she is hungry she is more cranky because she is still exhausted from not napping. Which is entirely baby’s fault, but she will blame you, and the world, and anything that makes any slight noise at her at 3am.

So if you happen to come across a parent who cautions you with the word of warning “She hasn’t napped today”, don’t be surprised if baby wants none of your cuddles or smiles. She is mad at the world for giving her this curse of ‘tiredness’, it steals her awake time and all the joys that it entails. So if baby can’t be happy then neither can YOU.

Yours and tired always, Emily @ Loving Little One

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Half a year, Ten times the personality

Our beautiful little girl turned 6 months old recently. Every time I sit down to write her monthly update I am always so shocked at how quickly time is passing. The days and nights at times are long but the weeks and months are frighteningly short.

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I world is an exciting place to a 6 month old. Just like their mouths are exciting new third hands. And everything that is in the slightest bit interesting, as long as she can reach it, will go in her mouth. The naps are shorter and the tantrums are more directed, in a “Give me that, or I’ll cry” kind of way. But the giggles are in abundance and the games she likes to play like peekaboo never get old (not yet anyway).

We are learning more with every day about her personality. She is so cheeky and playful but also cautiously shy. She will give a beautiful little smile to everyone she meets before burying her face in either mine or her daddies chest.

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She recently had one of her first nights without us, well not the whole night but a fair few hours, with her Aunty Emma. And she is having no issues with bottles that’s for sure, can feed herself actually! We were so glad to hear she wasn’t too fazed despite waking a few times with a ravenous appetite (not that that is out of the ordinary). We find that if she is at home she will generally be pretty relaxed regardless of who she is with, but if we are out she will only really settle with mummy or daddy. Home body like her mummy already clearly.

She is now rolling from front to back, and back to front. And will generally sit unassisted for anywhere between 10 and 20 minutes, provided she doesn’t get distracted by whatever is in her hands first. Tummy time is still a favourite and she can now spin herself fully around while on her belly, she’s yet to push with her legs yet to crawl along the ground. It definitely won’t be long though before she’s crawling all over the place.

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Food is the new and interesting thing in our daily routine, with home made purees both hot and cold for breakfast and lunch, not quite dinner yet though as her mood is generally dampened by the evening meaning she’s never really keen on anything but boob. We’ve tried everything from sweet potato to zucchini, raspberry and even steamed pears. She isn’t really fazed by anything at all and always finishes her food to the very last bite. I’ve been using the Fresh Squeezed Feeding Line, kindly gifted to us by our friends Bailey and Katelin at Violet’s baby shower. That is a super handy device that helps squeeze homemade puree into perfectly sized pouches which makes feeding time so much cleaner and with the pouches being disposable little to no washing up! I’ll be doing a youtube video in the coming weeks on how I make Violet’s food so stay tuned for that and let me know if there is anything in particular you’d like to see us make.

Although at times the clinginess can be frustrating especially at night when all we want to do is sleep and all she wants to do is play. It is all 100% worth it when those little eyes look up at you and her little hands reach around your neck as you snuggle her. I didn’t know it was possible, but I’m certain I love her more every day. And on the day she was born I didn’t think it was possible to love someone so much. So that’s an awful lot of love.

 

xx Emily @ Loving Little One

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5 Thing I would tell my 14 year old self

We’ve all had those moments where we think… “If I could turn back time”. When I think back to when I was 14 there are certainly some cringeworthy moments that come to mind. However despite everything those years brought to me, happy and sad, I don’t regret a lot of things at all.

2011 was the year I turned 14, all of the telltale signs of angry adolescence hung directly overhead and I had absolutely no idea the kind of effect it would take on me, nor did my parents or anyone I knew really. I was now a teenager… totally unpredictable, right? Well I have a few words of advice for the newly 14 year old Emily.

 

Black eyeliner and a side-fringe never really suited anyone

I get it, everyone is doing it. You figure if everyone is doing it, it must be cool right? wrong. So wrong. Your almost 20 year old self recently debated the whole fringe thing again, then looked at photos of you and laughed and laughed and laughed and then didn’t get a fringe. It’s not that you aren’t pretty, it’s just the world likes you so much better when you can see your eyes without dark pencil lines and hair dangling half over them. And trust me, the world of makeup deserves so much more respect than what you’re currently giving it.

 

Most boys are assholes

And it’ll take more than one to figure that out. AND might I add that just because you might never officially date doesn’t mean you don’t have the right to feel hurt by them. It’s just the age honey, they have too much testosterone than they know what to do with. When the right one makes his move you’ll know it, trust me.

 

STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHER PEOPLE

For gods sake. Honestly, I don’t need  to elaborate. You do you perfectly well, your friends do themselves perfectly well, so do strangers and people you’ll never meet. The longer you spend trying to justify in your own head why you’ve done better then them is just time that could be better spent worrying about what you’re going to get from the tuckshop for lunch, and god it better be a fresh chocolate chip muffin because let me tell you, you’ll never find anything like it again.

 

Your endless love for squash still inspires me

This thing that you’ve got going, all the training and the healthy eating and the focusing. It is time well spent! I can’t tell you how many times you’ll look back at what you achieved and be so damn proud of where you let it take you. Don’t even second guess the parties you won’t go to, or the apparent “bad choices” everyone says teenagers need to make in order to grow, you won’t make those choices because you will be doing what you love. And it will be 100% worth it, I promise.

 

Don’t let people tell you these are the best years of your life. ALL your years should be

I don’t know how many times throughout high school you’ll hear people say that to you, but it’s a lot. And don’t let that freak you out because, yes, they’re great. But every year after school is great too. And I can’t even begin to explain that your perspective of what “great” really is can change in a nanosecond. Sure times get tough and things test you all the time, but have a look around you, what are you really leaving behind when you finish school? Certainly not your family or your friends, and lets be honest here, those things are really that makes life beautiful.

 

Most of all, stop worrying so much. Everything will work out beautifully, regardless if it was what you expected.

 

xx Emily