Kids have tantrums, deal with it!

Kids have tantrums, deal with it!

I was at Coffee Club yesterday with my little cub for a bit of lunch (a nearly daily ritual as Chloe seems to whinge less when in public) and I overheard the women in front of me make a snide remark about the mother behind us trying to talk her son down from a tantrum about finishing his lunch. The boy was a tad older, possible 8 or 9 and was having a meltdown I would liken to that of a 3 year old. He was crying and screaming and throwing his arms around. The mother was holding his arm and telling him to keep his hand on the table and trying to reason with him. What I saw was a struggling mother trying to calm her irrational upset son and I thought she was killing it. I would have given her a high-five if I weren’t so shy.

The lady (the remarker) was middle-aged, possible grandmother aged. She was visibly upset by the shenanigans at play and scoffed to the cashier in a volume I would imagine was meant to be heard by the struggling mother; “Well if she’d get off her phone and pay attention to him maybe he wouldn’t be so unruly” as she turned in the direction of the mother, flipped her hair and rolled her eyes.!

If I could grow a pair of lady balls and wasn’t so afraid of confrontation I would have said something along the lines of “Excuse me ma’am, what gives you the right to judge someones parenting?! This might be the first few minutes she has had today to check her phone while her son is distracted, she may have had a family crisis so needs to keep her phone on hand, she might be checking her bank to make sure she has enough money to pay for groceries today. What ever it might be, it’s none of your concern and she’s doing her best to calm her son down without yelling and pulling him by the hair out of the shopping centre. You shouldn’t pass judgment so quickly and you shouldn’t feel the need to make another woman feel ashamed of her ability to parent”. Then I would have flicked my cape, saluted the mother and hightailed it outta there in a puff of glitter.

Fortunately the mother didn’t hear the comment and the older lady didn’t choke on her soy cappuccino like I had quietly wished. But honestly, why do people feel the need to bash on others parenting?!? I’m not saying I’m a saint and that I don’t think some mothers need to reign their troll patrol in when they are darting in and out of the isles at Woolies almost causing trolley crashes. I think ‘far out, I would clip those little critters around the ear if I were their mother’ but I think it, in my head, without verbalising and possible offending or shaming someone. Because I’m not arrogant and I don’t feel like I’m better than anyone or an expert at parenting so why would I disrespect or judge someone I didn’t know. I think it’s simple but I dunno, I’m pretty naive.

The whole incident actually reminded me of an article I read a while back about a lady (let’s call her Jane) who got agitated at a tantruming child in a shopping centre. The mother was quite flustered so Jane took a second to empathise with the mother only to discover that the child had autism and the mother was struggling to deal with the behaviour. From then on Jane took a moment to think about the circumstances behind questionable parenting situations, I can’t remember the article exactly but I think there was one moment where a father was on the phone while his kids were getting restless on a swing set. It happened that the children’s mother (or grandmother, the details are fuzzy in my memory) was in hospital with cancer so he was focused on the phone call rather than appeasing his children for just a moment. Maybe a bad example as I can’t remember the details exactly but I think you get the point.

I had an experience like this myself very early in my pregnancy. I was in the shopping centre and a young boy was having an epic spine chilling tantrum as his grandmother wanted him to either sit while the trolley was moving or walk and hold the side of the trolley. Well needless to say neither option was his idea of fun so he squealed and screamed and I’m pretty sure I heard the voice of satan at one point. It was so unbearable I tried to hand a shirt that I wanted to come back and purchase to someone who didn’t work in the store just so I could get the fudge outta there until the mother had removed the screaming monster. I visited another few stores in the vicinity and I could still hear the screams. I crossed their path as I went back to the store and the child was still squealing and the mother and grandmother were happily chatting away unphased by the glares from fellow patrons with said demon child in tow.

At the time I just couldn’t understand why they wouldn’t just get the child out of the shopping centre and try to calm him down outside. That may have been a good thing to try but for all I knew that might have been the only time the mother could get to the shop and needed to get things done, they might have been struggling with toddler tantrums so were trying a new approach, they might have just given up on trying to reason with the boy and were on their way out to try and calm him. But in hindsight they actually coped really well in the situation, I’m sure if I were in that scenario (as I’m sure I soon will be with a temperamental child like mine) I would probably just burst into tears and drop my shopping and leg it outta there in fear the floor would open and swallow us back to where ever my feral child came from.

I definitely think differently now that I am a mother, I understand it’s almost impossible to reason with a child until they are around 4, crying won’t make a child blow up and kids have tanturms so you just gotta deal with it. I would love to give a big pat on the back to all the mamas and papas I see struggling with traumatising public tantrums but I’m a still a slight introvert so I just give them a smile and little nod. No one knows what’s behind a child’s behaviour or a parents reaction in those situations and assuming a parent is doing the wrong thing by what they are or aren’t doing is not necessary and commenting on it is just rude (unless of course the child is being verbally or physically harmed but that’s a different story all together). Just be supportive, offer a hand, a smile or a gesture to make sure they are ok – I know I will the next time I encounter a parent with an erupting child-cano whilst out and about.

Could I do it all again?

Could I do it all again?

I don’t know what is scarier, the thought of having another baby or never being ready to have another baby. With having started back at work and the husband no longer FIFO it is something I have had to ask myself but can’t bring myself to discuss out loud.

I guess it’s the natural progression of life, on your wedding day every man and his dog asks when you’re having kids, then you have a kid and everyone is asking when you’re having the next one before the umbilical cord is even severed. It’s no secret that I’ve struggled adjusting to motherhood and anyone that knows me would be right to assume I’m probably not ready yet but societies expectations are putting the pressure on to pop out another child. I’m still trying to loose my baby weight and perfect the mum bun I’m supposed to be sporting on the daily. Enough with your expectations! But honestly, do I want another baby in the near future? How far apart do I want my children in age? Will I survive all of this again? Will I ever get this mum bun looking decent?

Several years ago I was content with the possibility of never becoming a mother, trying to look after myself caused me enough anxiety so I didn’t know if I’d ever be ready to be responsible for another life. I can still remember my life before becoming a mother, I worked long hours during the week in a job that I didn’t necessarily love and my weekends were spent either home alone in my own bubble (usually either cleaning or just recovering from the long work week) or out seeing friends or family. I was never a big party gal, occasionally I would go out but I would always control myself and usually ended up looking after my drunker friends. I was somewhat of a home body and as any young person I was happy being free to do what I wanted when I pleased.

Now I work longer hours but I don’t dislike my job (well not everyday anyhow, the boss can be kind of a bitch though – bloody 1 year olds) and if I don’t get out of the house at least every second day I start going a little bonkers but I absolutely don’t get to do what I want when I want. A trip to the shop takes effort so planning an outing can be taxing and some days I’ll stay in just to avoid the drama of Chloe’s public meltdowns and the park-rage I get when I see a work ute parked in the full ‘parents with pram’ bays. A trip to the toilet needs to be planned, is Chloe distracted?, do I need to take her?, are toys required to entertain her?, are there things in the bathroom or the surrounding area she can get into that I don’t want her to? Life certainly isn’t about just me anymore so I can only imagine life with two mini humans fighting for my attention 24/7, just the thought is actually a little exhausting. Fucking kudos to all you mammas with more than a few babes, you deserve a trophy and a barrel of wine ladies.

Am I ready to leave my job again (my actual paying job, not the one where I work for the occasional forced cuddle and get spewed on a lot by a miniature human)? Having gone back to work part-time has been such a positive experience and has helped my sanity immensely. To be just ‘Sami’ and not ‘Sami the mummy’ for a few hours a week is incredibly fulfilling and is just enough time to clear the grumpy mummy cloud from above my head before it all gets too much and pours down on me. I know I’m only working 2 days a week so I’m by no means a career woman again but I’m not sure if I’m ready to give it up yet. I’m really loving the little bit of baby free time I get each week but I guess I have to consider if I keep working part time then once Chloe is starting school pop out another one and it all starts again for 4 years, or if I have one sooner so I can get back to work full-time quicker? I’ve only just got comfortable with having strangers watch Chloe while I get my working-mama on, I’m down to one call a day and they still seem happy to answer the same three questions “has she slept?”, “has she eaten?” and “has she taken any other babies out?”, this one plays a bit rough.

What will another baby do to my body? I am under no false assumption that my body will ever be what it was pre baby but I know putting it through another pregnancy is only going to make getting back into any shape other than an inflated butternut pumpkin even more difficult. I only recently accepted that maternity wear is no longer acceptable 12 months postpartum. I’m not ready for stretch waist bands yet, even though they are comfortable AF! That’s a lie, I would whip those babies back out tomorrow if I didn’t have to accept I still look 6 months pregnant in them. I really don’t care too much about stretch marks and the wads of cottage cheese that have found refuge on my thighs but I know now that stomach tattoos weren’t the best idea. Poor Snoopy, he’ll never be the same again, the pup is going to look like a bulldog after I’m done housing another foetus (yes, my first tattoo was a small Snoopy on my lower left pelvis area #noregrets).

Build a tribe..something I hear a lot in the blogger-sphere. Since having Chloe a lot of my friendships have changed which I really wasn’t expecting. Some have completely fizzled and some are hanging on by a thread. I really do try and keep in contact with my dearest friends but life can be a bit hectic with adulting alone but throw an unpredictable baby in the mix and sometimes it’s just all too hard. Many a plan has been cancelled as Chloe hasn’t slept enough, mamma hasn’t had enough sleep, Chloe has a strange cough or funky coloured slime dripping from her snoz so best we keep the germ on lock down or the most frequently used, Chloe won’t stop crying so mummy can’t stop crying so I may have a nervous breakdown when asked “how are you going?”. But it’s something you aren’t aware of until you become a mother yourself. I have felt it necessary to apologies to friends that have had children before me that I wasn’t there for them. You just go about your life thinking that they must be fine, they are baby spamming the shit out of Facebook on the daily – they must be killing at home with that sleeping/feeding/pooping bundle of cuteness. Now having been there myself and using the happy snaps to hide the struggles I went through daily (of course I’m not going to share a picture of both of us bawling like Kimmy K after a diamond earring goes for a dip) I know there is more behind all those cute milk drunk candid’s and first smile stills. It’s lonely and sometimes you just want to cry on a friend’s shoulder and for them to tell you it’s ok and you’re not crazy. I think if/when I do decide to have another bebe I’m going to do what I intended to do with Chloe and get that babe out of the house and used to sleeping in a pram so I can still maintain somewhat of a social life. And please Jesus, if the next one couldn’t cry so much that would be fucking sweet. The number of shops I can’t return to due to my public displays of emotion when I can’t get Chloe to stop crying is slightly ridiculous.

Silent reflux…oh typing the words just gives me chills. I won’t touch on my struggles with this hideous ailment as I’ve harped on about it enough. But as it turns out it is a family trait on the hubs side so chances are pretty high that any future children are going to suffer from it too. This in itself is probably the main reason I’m hesitant to take the plunge again, I won’t go as far as to say it robbed me of my first time mothering joy but it definitely made it a whole lot harder. People say that the second is generally easier but I don’t want to lull myself into a false sense of security so I’m preparing for the unexpected. I could get lucky and get a happy chilled out baby but I’ve been extremely lucky that Chloe is such a good sleeper so I’m bound to get a happy baby that doesn’t sleep opposed to a grumpy baby that sleeps like a champ like Chloe. Reflux, colic, soul of satan..there’s no telling what I’ll get next but if the reflux gene does repeat I would like to think I will be able to handle it better than the first time around. Plus how hard could it be, a teeny toddler terrorist and a new-born with reflux – piece of cake (wide eyed terrified emoji).

When I see a little chubby delicious baby whilst scrolling Instagram or I see a pregnant woman about to pop on the street I get all gushy and clucky. I had a pretty easy pregnancy and quick delivery so I’m definitely not scared of pregnancy or birth. But when I see a mum struggling to sooth her new little cherub all the anxiety of those early days comes flooding back. I don’t think it has gotten easier, it has gotten harder especially with the recent premature toddler tantrums Chloe is throwing at us at the moment (apparently I’m a totes asshole parent sitting her on the floor to play with her abundance toys or trying to change her nappy – how dare I!) but I am better at coping (i.e. ignoring her and making a coffee instead) and I have developed the patience of a saint in the past 12 months, the neighbours are probably stoked not to have heard me screaming “why Jesus, why me!!” several times a day in a while. I am sure we would make it through again, having the husband home every night will make things a lot easier and I am certainly more prepare for the struggles that come with a new-born. There are things that I would do differently next time around and I definitely want to feel the joy of bringing another human into the world – maybe not today, maybe not in a year but one day we will bless Chloe with a sibling…or we’ll just get a puppy, that could be fun?!

“The baby comes from where?!”
I don’t got this 

I don’t got this 

The support fellow mamas show each other on social media is incredible. I know there are some nasty pasties out there that think they are above everyone else and feel the need to be judgemental and mean but for the most part I see so much encouragement and love from mother to mother, support, well wishes, advise sharing, story sharing, laughing at and with one another and backing each other up when those keyboard warriors strike against the motherhood. The resounding ‘You got this mama!’ is like a warrior call to the fellow mother that they are doing amazing and to keep strong. But what about when you just don’t ‘got it’?

I think anyone that has read my blogs knows I haven’t taken to motherhood like a fish to water. I’m not going to claim to have had it harder than anyone else, I hear enough from my family that what Chloe does is normal, she’s a baby and that’s what babies do. There are babies out there with illnesses and disabilities that make things 1000% harder than my experience and I feel guilty when I complain about how tough things can get. But I haven’t coped well, I’ve cried a lot and I’ve doubted myself daily. I share a lot of how I’m feeling on my blog but I always try and put some sugar on it, I don’t share how dark things get in fear of judgement. But things have been pretty dark lately.

Yesterday I found myself curled up on my wardrobe floor in the dark bawling my eyes out. I had got Chloe out of bed from her afternoon nap and as I sat on the couch with her she lost her shit and would not stop crying. She cried for 15 minutes and I tried walking around with her and cuddling her but she just kept pushing away from me. I tried putting her on the play mat with her water and she started crying harder. I snapped. I turned around, walk to my bedroom, closed (i.e. slammed) the door and collapsed in the wardrobe and cried with my face in a pile of clothes untill I started gagging as I couldn’t take in air quickly enough. I felt like I was drowning. I couldn’t hear Chloe crying over my own wailing and I physically couldn’t move, it was like a heaviness was keeping me from moving.

This isn’t the first time I have done this and I know it won’t be the last. But this was different. I could feel myself loosing control and for the first time I was scared, scared to get up and keep pushing on through all these emotions and feelings I didn’t know how to control and rise above. When I heard Chloe’s cry coming towards me I stopped and it was like the logical part of my brain poked me and said “You done?!? Now get your shit together and go be a mother”. So that’s what I did, what else could I do? I let myself feel like I had lost all control then I wiped away the tears, picked my grown ass up off the floor and got back to life. I frequently push my feelings down with the thought that it doesn’t matter and there’s nothing I can do about it. I realise that this is dangerous and those feelings (like they did yesterday) can build up too far and explode but I’m yet to figure out how to let myself feel the frustrations of being a mother without having a complete breakdown and feeling completely helpless and hopeless.

It took me a while to accept that I had developed Post Natal Depression when Chloe was 3 months old. I had been prescribed an anti depressant but was reluctant to take them with my husband working away. I thought my feelings of angst and being overwhelmed were due to Chloe having silent reflux and I figured they would dissipate once the reflux stopped. I thought that being a sobbing mess at times and not being able to eat or sleep was a normal part of parenting but when I tried to think of the last day I hadn’t cried uncontrollably and not woken up several times in the night worrying about everything under the sun I knew it was more than the baby blues. I started taking the pills and after a few weeks I started feeling a little more in control of my emotions but I still haven’t got a full grip on them.

The same traumatic emotional outburst has happened again twice today (although not as intense) and I’m feeling it’s a mix of Chloe having been sick for a week, only getting a few hours of adult time this week before picking sick Chloe up from daycare and now me being sick with a cold myself and praying I don’t pass it back to Chloe. On top of this doing it all alone as yes, husband is still on his last swing of FIFO work. I don’t have a lot of mummy friends close by that are regularly available for catch ups, a lot of them work and the rest live a fair distance from me and let’s be honest, I can hardly have Chloe skip a nap or she’ll be even more of an unstable emotional troll and unfortunately she won’t sleep in the car (rolling eyes emoji).

I know it’s important to have a support network but to be honest I just don’t want to bother people with my complaining about my struggles. Well apart from feeling like I’m overreacting and that Chloe will turn on the sweet girl act as soon as someone else walks through the door making me out to be a total diva, I’ve just never been one to ask for someone else to take on my responsibilities. I wanted this, I waiting nearly 2 years to become a mother and now I can’t handle it. I feel some days that I don’t deserve to be a mother, there are women out there that would give anything to be a mum and I’m here taking it for granted. I know most of my dearest friends would be here if I truly needed them but as I’m nearing a year of being a mother I just feel I should have a better handle on this motherhood business.

I’m sure my emotional instability is more that likely to blame for Chloe not always being a happy sweet giggling baby, I know when you’re around other adults that are always on an emotional pogo stick you tend to feed off of them so I suspect it’s the same for babies. I do try each day to be as happy and cheery as I can when I’m in Chloe’s presence and she does bring me so much happiness but I still have a lot of work to do on myself and controlling and accepting my emotions. I need to accept that there are going to be challenges each and every day in my parenting journey and some times I won’t be able to figure it out, some days Chloe will cry for absolutely no reason (or everyday as it would seem) and if I turn to a ball of emotions she is only going to think that isn’t normal to cave when you are challenged. And the hardest of all, I have to accept that I am worthy.

My feeding story

My feeding story

After seeing the incredible Kirsty from themummysomniac post on Instagram about National Breastfeeding Week I thought it was about time I shared my feeding story. I don’t know why I haven’t done this sooner, I think I’m still recovering from the months of heartache. But here it is;

Firstly I admire women who stick it out and persevere with breastfeeding so fucking much, you women are my heroes! I wasn’t strong enough and changed to formula after 2 weeks to save my sanity. Looking back I know I probably made the best decision for me and Chloe at the time as with her silent reflux and my PND it probably would have done my sanity much worse if I’d continued to battle through breastfeeding.

I was never too concerned if I would be able to breastfeed or not, the baby being fed was the most important thing in my opinion and as my sister was unable to breastfeed her 3 children due to poor supply I knew it sometimes doesn’t work and I was at peace with that. But I had no idea just how hard it would be. I really wish they would put more emphasis around the difficulty you can face in the parenting classes, rather than just skimming over it like it would be as easy as buttering toast. It’s not, it’s hard and it can take some women weeks or even months to get into a good rhythm with it.

The only one time I successfully breastfed was at the hospital with the lactation consultant just hours before we were discharged. I was sobbing in pain as Chloe wouldn’t latch properly, the lactation consultant was holding her neck in a vice grip and shoving her face into my boob while I was laying on my side with Chloe laying beside me as that was the only way we could get her to partially latch. My nipples were already raw from hand expressing into a cup for 2 days and unsuccessful latching. The consultant looked at me and said ‘it’s that easy’, I just looked at her with tears filling my eyes and nodded. I knew it didn’t feel right but I didn’t want to say anything, I was a first timer – what did I know?!? I thought the pain was normal and that I would just have to suck it up. When she finally caught on that it was hurting me, probably by the wincing of my face and twitching as Chloe tried so suckle, she suggested a nipple shield and expressing. So as Chloe got her congratulatory leaving hospital shot (yeah, wtf! Can’t they do that before I’m about the leave the hospital as a terrified mess of a woman with a new baby and no instruction manual – I think I was terrified enough without seeing my 3 day old infant getting her first needle) my hubby rushed to Baby Bunting to get a breast pump and some nipple shields.

After a week of expressing and feeding a new born every 2 hours around the clock I was exhausted, sore and did I mention exhausted. I started formula feeding Chloe at night if I had run out of expressed milk just so I didn’t have to pump every few hours too (I had pretty much given up on trying to breastfeed as I just couldn’t get Chloe to latch and she would just cry and cry as she wasn’t getting what she needed from my boobs directly). Then at about 2 weeks my milk started slowing down, probably due to not expressing regularly enough, so I gave in and switched to exclusively formula feeding. Chloe was happy, started sleeping longer stretches and I was able to get decent chunks of shut eye too.

Although I was fine with the possibility of not breastfeeding before I had Chloe I got major mummy guilt after giving up. I thought I had failed by not being strong enough to continue trying. Then at 5 weeks old Chloe started showing signs of silent reflux. The next 6 months was a whirlwind of emotion and trial and error. 4 different formulas (one prescribed by a paed that Chloe hated!), every type of bottle imaginable, different feeding positions, tears tears and more tears (from me and Chloe), 2 Ngala day stays, several mercy calls to their help line and all consuming frustration that I couldn’t feed my child – the main thing she required from me and I couldn’t even figure out how to feed her from a bottle. I was broken, I had tried everything and I was tired. It sent me a little crazy and literally a little too, the mum guilt turned into PND and at least once (more likely 3 or 4 times) a day I would sit with Chloe in my arms with her screaming in pain and three different bottles I had grabbed in desperation beside me tipping milk from one to the next trying to get her to Feed while I sob and mumble “Why, why won’t you just eat. What am I doing wrong?!? I can’t do this anymore!”. It was horrible, I felt like I had lost my connection with my baby and I dreaded her waking as I knew I would have to feed her and I just wanted to give up. The time was dark and long and hard, so extremely hard.

At about 7 months Chloe’s silent reflux started to improve and by 8 months she was off her medication and drinking from a bottle with minimal fuss, she had some feeding aversion from the months of reflux pain but that didn’t take long to subside. Feeding can be hard, breastfeeding as natural as it seems is so fucking hard but bottle feeding can be hard too. Every time I see a post or story about a woman getting breastfeeding shamed in public my blood boils, I have so much respect for woman who do it and I want nothing more than to fist pump every women I see breastfeeding in public but that could be weird so I just flick them a smile. As long as your baby is fed that is all that matters, ‘Fed is Best’ no matter the method!

My endless bag of bottles – seriously, this shit is like Mary Poppins