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

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Violet Rae – 5 Months New

I can’t believe I’m sitting here writing Violet’s 5 month update. How quickly has that gone?! Yet here we are.

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It is an incredible thing watching a child grow, and when it is your own child it is even more amazing. From barely opening her eyes or smiling when she was just hours old, to the squealing, excitable, playful 5 month old she is today. It’s amazing how quickly they grow and learn.

We are still very much on our journey together of breastfeeding, and as of late she has been favouring one over the other… oh the joys of having lobsided boobs! She’s also picked up the adorable habit of scratching me while she feeds to entertain herself, so if you see me on the street with a scratched up neck and chest, we do not have a domestic situation, my daughter is just fascinated with the feeling of ripping skin under her fingernails (which I do cut by the way, they just seem to grow at lightning speed).

The list of things that have gone in her mouth (to eat) other than boob however is rather short, which I’m happy to say as we didn’t want to start the real journey to solids until she’s 6 months. Of course we’ve had a bit of play with texture and flavor though! Pumpkin, rice cereal, mandarin and daddies fingers are all on the list, pumpkin wasn’t so much a winner… you can see her reaction on our youtube channel if you haven’t already and want a bit of a giggle -> Baby’s first solids . As I was saying about the six month mark, her brain and stomach will be a lot better prepared for more full-time solids then, so we’re not taking the food game in any way seriously until then, we usually only have a play when she seems interested in what we’re eating anyway.

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The sleeping situation is going great, of course everyone asks “Is she sleeping through?”, well no, but thats not the goal here with us, the goal is to get into a routine that works for us both. A regular bath time, quiet time and bedtime leads to better timed feeds during the night that don’t turn me into a zombie in the morning. She normally wakes 3 times during the night after going down at 7pm, she’ll wake around 9pm, around 1am and then again at around 4am and wake up for the day around 8am! Yay for sleep ins! (what’s the bet tomorrow morning she pulls a fast one on me just because I wrote that?)

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Violet also went swimming for the first time ever this month in a lovely heated swimming pool at the Mantra Chevron Towers on the Gold Coast while we were visiting her Nanny and Poppy and watching her uncles play squash. She absolutely loved it, we can’t wait for summer to take her swimming at the pool in our complex!

She’s rolling, grabbing and squealing with joy more often than not and usually only gets grumpy when she’s tired or wanting a cuddle. We see more and more personality shining through every single day, and despite everything I wouldn’t change a single moment that I get to watch her learn and grow for the entire world.

 

Emily @ Loving Little One

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The love of a Child

The love of a child is like no other.

It is the warmth of the sun on a cold winters morning. The smell of rain after an entire season without. The kiss of the cool water as you step into the ocean. The breath of fresh air after a long flight home.

It is in the way they smile, with their whole heart, as your eyes meet each other in the early hours of the morning. The way their fingers explore the texture of our skin as if with every day it is new to them again.

It’s the way that no one can settle them like the arms of their parents, the way your comforting coos and embracing cuddles reminds them that they are safe, and you are here.

It’s the fiery passion for their happiness and safety you’ve built in your heart without even realising you were trying. It burns brighter with every day you hold them in your arms, and drives you in every way to better yourself. For them.

It’s incredibly motivating and moving to see someone who is half of you and half of the one you love, look to you, with all of the trust in their entire world, and feel for you with nothing but overwhelmingly pure love. You, and only you, are the only thing in their universe that matters.

Suddenly nothing else is important anymore, not the world’s politics, not the price of fuel or the amount of money in your bank. It’s them, and somehow, through all the pain and misery the world might throw at you, the fact that they reach for you for comfort and for love… It erases everything you ever thought to be wrong in your life, and replaces it with a space large enough to cover solar systems and galaxies filled with nothing but your baby’s heart.

I can’t possibly describe exactly what it’s like to be a mother, it is a journey like no other and I feel incredibly blessed to have taken this journey, even if it was at an unexpected time. Violet lights up my world and has turned even the darkest parts of my life into something truly, remarkably beautiful.

Dedicated always to my Violet Rae

xx Emily @ Loving Little One

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Don’t tell me I’m too young to be a good mother

With a pink blanket under her head and her seatbelt nicely fastened I walked through our local supermarket collecting our groceries for the week with my daughter in the baby seat of my trolley. This particular week I decided to start purchasing foods for my daughter to try, now I’m not really about those premade baby foods (but if you are then you do you! nothing against it, just a personal choice) so I was putting things in my trolley like organic sweet potato, pumpkin and avocado. Unbeknownst to me the truth of societies still prehistoric views on parenthood was about to rear it’s ugly head.

As I turned the corner I very nearly bumped into a woman’s trolley which she had left in the middle of the refrigerated isle. I veered pretty sharply in order to miss the trolley,  which of course startled my daughter, no more then running into the other trolley would have anyway. She cried, like babies do, so I stopped momentarily to talk to her and comfort her out of her fright. Whilst I paused I unknowingly had blocked the woman from her stranded trolley, so she approached me with a louder than necessary “Excuse me!”. I pardoned myself and moved my trolley aside, my daughter still crying and myself completely in my own mum world deliberating whether to pick her up to stop her crying or to try and distract her with the dummy she had lost interest in five minutes ago. So it took me by surprise when the woman turned to me for a second time as said “she’s not yours is she?”

Now I’ve had my fair share of questions in public, mostly regarding my daughter being my sister and my own mother looking too young to be a grandmother which are all usually met with a bit of a laugh and then me explaining that she’s actually mine. This time I felt a sting of judgement coming through. I smiled at my daughter and looked at the lady and said “she sure is! isn’t she beautiful, she’s four months old”. She peered at me down her pointed nose and said “Well I don’t think children should be having children, but she is quite cute. Bit of a shame” A SHAME. If you know me you would know I hate confrontation, unless I know you well enough to pull you up on something I generally let it slide for the sake of saving an argument. This is my family though and I’ll be damned if I let someone tell me that it was a shame that my beautiful daughter existed as my daughter.

“Thanks for your opinion, although I didn’t ask for it. Not sure how many children you know but not many of them are in 5 year relationships with the person they want to spend the rest of their life with. Guess I’m just lucky hey? Have a nice day” my heart was pounding and I was out of there as quick as I could go, neglecting to pick up the butter I was in the refrigeration isle for! I pushed the conversation to the depths of my brain hoping never to think about it again but after seeing a few fellow “young parents” attacked on social media recently for their age and their apparent inability to care and love their own children I figured now would be a good time to think about it, and god forbid, talk about it because it is 100% not okay.

All parents, regardless of their age, love their children, they want the best for their children and they will do anything they can to help them grow into wonderful, compassionate and loving adults. Regardless of the house they live in, the clothes they wear, whether they are married, how much they spent on their car, if they’re homosexual OR if they’re still what you would consider teenagers. If they were mature enough to make the decision to bring a child into the world then they should be admired for doing so, and for doing the best they can for that child.

The love you have for your child can’t be measured by how many toys you’re able to buy them, whether you could afford to send them to an expensive school or buy them all of the latest gadgets. Love is measured by the smiles, the hugs, the kisses and most importantly the empowering conversations you can have with them about becoming the greatest person they can possibly be. To care for the people around them, to love unconditionally and be accepting of everyone regardless of their differences.

I might not be 25 with a mountain of savings in the bank reserved specifically for having in children, my partner and I might not be married but we sure love each other like we are and we’ll give our daughter every ounce of love we have to give before we will ever let her feel unwanted or unloved. Young parents, don’t let anyone ever discourage you, your baby thinks you’re the greatest mummies and daddies in the world, and without you, they wouldn’t exist. You’re doing an amazing job, and if anyone thinks any less then maybe they should take a look at what’s missing in their lives before they make any negative comments about how beautifully full of love your life is.

 

xx Emily

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You Matter Too, Mumma

A reminder for even the toughest of mummies, to care for yourself just as well as you care for your beautiful children 

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When it’s 3am and your partner is fast asleep while you’re heavy eyed and nursing, remember Mumma, you matter too, and he knows that. He just doesn’t have the boobs or the perfect sleep inducing snuggles you do.

When it’s been hours since you’ve stopped to breathe and your housework is up to your knees, remember Mumma, you matter too. And the dirty dishes can wait until you’ve napped, they’re not going anywhere.

When the babies washing is a mile high and she has a poop explosion for the third time, remember Mumma, you matter too. And no matter how much poop you get on your clothes, in your hair and on your arms, you’re still a hero.

When the scales seem broken and the loose skin on your tummy makes you feel that you’ll never be the woman you used to be, remember Mumma, you matter too. Your body is a temple that grew life, it will always be amazing.

When people judge you for breastfeeding/not breastfeeding/cuddling too much/letting baby cry… basically everything, remember Mumma, you matter too. And your parenting will always be what’s best for your baby.

When it’s been months since you’ve slept through the entire night and your baby wakes with aching gums for the 6th time since midnight, remember Mumma, you matter too. This chapter of your life is so very tough, but also so very short and so tremendously filled with love, treasure even the toughest of times.

motherhood is filled with ups and downs, things that make you yearn for your days that were filled with nothing but yourself and the TV remote, but at the same time you couldn’t ever imagine being as happy as you are without them. Taking a breather every now and then to remind yourself of just how important you are is such an underestimated thing. Light a candle, run a hot bath, read that book you’ve always wanted to read, get your nails done or your hair washed and blow dried, call your mum, or your dad, or your best friend, take a nap, heck take two if you can. Of course we all feel like there isn’t any time for these things but there really is, we’ve just got to make it. I’m breastfeeding as I write this if thats any indication.

We’ll move mountains for our kids, we’ve got to remember to soak in it’s beautiful springs on the way up.

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Parenthood and Mental Health: Becoming the best version of you, for them

The following contains discussion about mental health, if the topic may lead you to feeling upset or ‘triggered’ please refrain from reading. Remember that there is always support around you, never be afraid to reach out

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Something about my personal life I’ve never really delved into is mental health. Mostly because of the stigma around it all, and also because for some people, it’s a difficult topic to stomach. But here I am opening up, because if you know anything about me, I think outdated stigmas stink.

I have dealt with different difficulties to do with mental health for a long time. I’m not worse off than anyone else, I don’t glorify it, but I certainly believe that everyone, to some extent, deals with some kind of mental barrier, large or small. For me, for a long time it has been anxiety. It has affected my schoolwork, my performance as a young elite squash player, my relationships, my career choices and the paths I have to take to reach my goals. It’s not sad, I’m not asking for sympathy, it’s just an aspect of my life that I have learnt to live with and even at times, embrace. I certainly feel like it is something that needs to be talked about more though, especially when it comes to parenthood.

Becoming a parent is a mammoth journey of emotion, personal growth and empowerment, it’s a given that you will be tested to your brink, beyond and back again. Here you are, two (or maybe even just one) individual people, suddenly given an entire new life that is now fully your responsibility, a tiny little person who relies solely on you and you only to survive. If thats not enough to scare the pants off you then clearly you should be having 20. It’s a huge task, and incredibly daunting and it is 100% okay to feel completely and utterly petrified.

I’m not a professional and I can’t give any professional advice but I can share my own experience in hopes to provide some kind of reassurance that no one is truly alone. For me talking about my emotions has been an incredible influence on my mental health. Finding someone I trusted in the early stages of pregnancy to express my concerns about my choices and the impact that those choices would have on my life was so important. And having or finding a support network to support your choices positively is worth every single person involved’s weight in gold.

“finding a support network to support your choices positively is worth every single person involved’s weight in gold”

After pregnancy into the first few weeks can be full of extremely complex emotions, for both mum and dad. And baby blues, as well as full on postnatal depression is something that I truly believe can happen to both women and men.

I can’t begin to stress how important it is to realise, for everyone to realise, that struggling mentally is something that deserves your attention, much the same way a broken wrist or leg would. And tending to your mental health isn’t something anyone should be ashamed of, when you have a little person relying on you it’s something you should prioritise. If your baby had a serious cold or needed medical attention you wouldn’t put it off, and much the same as your physical health impacts them, your mental health does too. If something doesn’t feel right, seek help, you and your baby deserve to know the best version of you ever to exist.

There are various places to reach out to including;

beyondblue.org.au 

mindsuatralia.org.au

cope.org.au

wayahead.org.au

as well as various mental health hotlines that you can call no matter the time of day

BeyondBlue – 1300 22 4636

LifeLine – 13 11 14

PANDA  (Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia) – 1300 726 306

And my email, facebook inbox, and blog are always open to anyone who feels as though they can find someone to open up to in me. Even if you aren’t a parent, everyone deserves to be the best version of themselves, you aren’t hindering anyone by expressing your feelings, and there will always be someone who cares.

 

Breastfeeding Without a Cover (gasp)

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I honestly find it hard to believe that now, in 2017, breastfeeding is still taboo. Society as a whole has grown so much in so many ways, yet here we are still chucking little tanties about babies suckling from nipples in public.

As natural as it is, it still makes people uncomfortable… The same way women talking about childbirth makes people cringe. It must be something to do with the fact that they produce milk, making them large, because last time I checked males have nipples too and even the ones who aren’t dads run around with theirs hanging out.

I’m not really talking about the instances of covered feeding, because thats pretty widely accepted. Because the little muslin wrap somehow makes everyone forget that theres a nipple underneath with a baby attached. I’m talking about uncovered, in the open feeding; no fiddling to get yourself covered, no baby pulling it off half the time. Just baby and nipple, out in the sunshine.

I breastfeed. Exclusively. Not because I am against pumping or formula but because it’s just damn easier. As difficult as childbirth was made for women, the gift of being able to breastfeed truly makes up for it a little. There is no cost, no need for heating (or keeping it cool in storing), no washing up and the best part, it’s always readily available. I currently take the ‘all-guns-ablazing’ approach. If I’m going to feed in public I’m going to do it my way, comfortably without a cover. And for some reason (well beyond my knowledge) a lot of people think that this gift, of feeding my child whenever and wherever they become hungry is, wait for the grown-up word… gross.

Because nourishing a newly growing human being from the organs made to do exactly that is somehow right up there with the gross things of the world like picking your nose and godforbid eating it in public.

So gross that you’ll be judged with an updown glare from a 14 year old in a crop top smaller than your maternity bra while her mother suggests you “cover up because there are children around who don’t need to see it”. Children. Lady, you do realise children are fed this way right?

Freedom of speech is all good and well but freedom to feed comfortably also relevant. Just as relevant as every other pressing issue of the 21st century from misogyny to racism. Insecurity around feeding only leads to added stress and greater difficulty in completing the task in the first place, and insecurity comes from unnecessary glares and comments. We’ve got a right to have our boob out, just as you have a right to look away. Don’t make something natural and beautiful difficult and uncomfortable when it doesn’t need to be.