Comparing

Comparing

I have had the same problem my whole life and it is the root of all of my insecurities. Comparing. I, for as long as I can remember, compare myself and my situations to everyone else. Everything from my body, my relationships, my experiences and now my mothering journey. I spend more time comparing myself to others that I sometimes fail to see my own journey for how unique and beautiful it is to me. I’m realising it more so I’m able to stop myself spiraling into an envy depression but it’s something I still have a lot of work to do on.

I’m not a jealous person, I feel like it’s more to do with my low self confidence and self worth. Like fuel for the inadequacy fire I battle against too often as I generally feel like I’m not good enough in regards to most things. I know, how sad, boo hoo, my life is so hard blah blah sob sob. I’m also not an ungrateful person, well not intentionally, and I know I’m extremely lucky to have the life I do. But I just can’t help but feel like everyone else around me has a better grip on things than I do, like they just know how to do life and I’m over here struggling to keep my shit together. It may seem from the outside that I’m getting on with things just fine but in reality I’m stumbling through everyday; life, motherhood, wifehood, existence in general. I know I’m not ‘failing’ but I do feel like I should be doing a better job of things.

I am a confessed Instagram addict, I don’t spend a lot of time on Facebook and I never understood Twitter. Since starting my blog I have discovered so many gorgeous bloggers and mothers on IG that I’m in awe of. The beautiful pictures and amazing inspiring words they share are what gives me hope that even though Chloe has just thrown her third bitch fit for the day and it’s only 10am that we all have these moments but they will pass and it will all be worth it. I’m aware that Instagram is a highlight reel and a lot of the pictures people post on social media are of the beautiful moments, I mean who wants to see pictures of an unfolding catastrophic tantrum over being told ‘NO’ for trying to poke the cats bum-hole as it resembles a belly button (yeah, this happened – poor Smudge). But the beautiful white squares I scroll through at least a few times a day have me wondering if I’m just failing at this mum life. All those happy babies, beautifully put together mummies and gorgeous monochrome and pastel scandi-chic nurseries and playrooms gets me a little envious. I manage to get Chloe looking cute as shit some days and even capture her rare but heartwarming smile on camera but as for me, well let’s just say thank baby Jesus for the Valencia filter. My Insta feed doesn’t feature yours truly a lot, 1. because I’ve been sporting the ‘I woke up like this’ messy hair for the last 14 months and it just doesn’t photograph well and 2. my child is a limelight hog and doesn’t like sharing the frame. Apart from not having a photographic gene in my body, I am usually fighting just to get Chloe to sit still for a picture or capture her without an ugly cry face which is her most frequented expression.

It’s no secret that I have a lot of insecurities about my body, I’ve shared a blog about it previously. Pre baby I was never really 100% happy with what I saw in the mirror but I was strong and fit and convinced myself that I would stay healthy during pregnancy and after birth. I think I gave up on the gym at 6 months preggers and although I went on the occasional walk I used the cold weather as an excuse to curl up on the couch and eat cookies off my bulging baby bump instead. Now 15 months post partum I see other mums with their bubs that are around Chloe’s age or younger and all the Insta fit mamas and just feel like I really dropped the ball on my health, granted I know they have worked hard for it and I just haven’t (apparently purchasing the Kayla Itsines app doesn’t automatically give you a hot bod – mind-blowing I know). I stare longingly (and possibly a bit creepily) at those gorgeous mamas in their active wear, stunning mum buns and rocking bounced back bods and just feel extremely inferior. I live in active wear but 9 times out of 10 the most activity I manage a day is running after Chloe and unintentional squats bending down to pick up all the garbage she has pulled out of the rubbish bins. And let’s be honest, jeans are about as comfortable as the thought of the first pap smear after childbirth so yoga pants for the win. Although I don’t think I have the right to compare myself to all the MILF’s as I have been quite lazy in the whole ‘post partum bounce back’ race so I really need to use it as motivation for my lacking determination to be healthier and happier with my body, this might take a while still but I will get there!

Luckily I haven’t yet experienced the whole “Oh Chloe isn’t crawling yet, gee – little Timmy was crawling months ago” or “She’s not saying much, how many words does she use? She should be saying at least 10 by now”. But I think like any first time mum I see other babies do things that Chloe hasn’t mastered yet and I worry a little. Why isn’t she doing that? Should I be spending more time teaching her that? Is she not reaching her milestones? I’m even comparing my child to other kids, where does it end?! Or at least I was, I like to think I’ve relaxed up a bit now that she’s surpassed 12 months and I’ve manage to keep her alive – I must be doing something right, right? But every baby is different and might develop at different rates. Chloe was the last in my mothers group to crawl and cut a tooth but she was the first to walk (#proudmum). These babes really do have a mind of their own and I’m putting unfair pressure on Chloe and myself as a mother by trying to compare her to other children her age. I feel she’s a lot more unsettled than other children but even that isn’t a fair comparison. I’m sure the lady that had to restrain her screaming son from pushing Chloe off a coin car ride at Hilary’s the other day would beg to differ, she probably feels she has a pretty close winner to the worlds most unruly toddler on her hands too.

As I said, I know that some times the ugly, frustrating and hectic moments aren’t captured and I myself have posted many a cute picture gushing about how #blessed I am whilst behind the shot Chloe is mid meltdown over me not giving her my phone after bribing her into laughing and smiling for the camera. I am a pretty honest person, too honest at times perhaps (sorry not sorry), and I share a lot of my feelings but I also hold a lot in. Mainly so society doesn’t think I’m bat shit crazy but also because I don’t want people to think I’m ungrateful for the life I’ve been blessed with. I know how lucky I am to have my beautiful family, my health (apart from the sanity I’ve lost during the first year of mummyhood – I’m not expecting to get that back any time soon) and a roof over my head. A lot of people don’t have that and I need to stop comparing myself and my life to others. This is my journey and it’s not going to be as easy or pretty or even as hard as someone else’s. This is my story and only I can live it, everyday won’t be perfect but it will be beautiful in its own way.

My sun, my moon and all my stars
Advertisements
Stop the hate 

Stop the hate 

I remember in early high school there were clear groups or cliques. There were the popular kids who were confident and were at all the party’s, the smart kids who were quiet and never at the party’s, the rebels who were loud and throwing the party’s and the in-between kids who kinda floated between everyone else. But then by year 10 we all kind of got along as a large group, I remember it being the best year of my schooling life. We had all kind of gotten over the shit that divided us and everyone was friends and respected one another. There just wasn’t a lot of drama or hate.

I feel like if a group of 50 early teens can coexist without constantly taring one another down with negativity and hate then why the hell can’t we as adults do the same? When did it become ok to make another human feel lesser than themselves? I may be naive or maybe I just grew up with different values but I really don’t understand why people think it’s ok to devalue another human.

I’ve only been doing this blog thing for a little while and luckily I haven’t had to deal with any hate yet but I see other bloggers who I admire being bought down by haters and trolls. Some things I read I don’t always agree with and I’m pretty sure with my lack of filter there are things that I say that aren’t agreed with, but if you don’t have a valid respectful option to share then move along. What affect is it really having on your existence if you don’t like something you see or read? Is it affecting you so much you feel the need to address it and make someone else feel like they have wronged society by expressing themselves? Unless it is something that is specifically about you then it’s not your place to target someone with hateful words. A healthy debate and expression of opinion is wonderful but when it starts to get personal or a person is just being blatantly rude then that is not ok.

Words can hurt. I feel like the expression ‘sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me’ doesn’t hold true these days. The words that people use can be more painful than physical abuse. And even worse can lead someone to self harm if the words drive them to a depressive state. Some people are strong enough to rise above the words but they can keep chipping away at your confidence and eventually break even the strongest person. When key board worriers start making you question your self worth it can affect a person in so many different ways; mentally, emotionally, physically. It is so much bigger than people contemplate and is just something that I struggle to comprehend how is still happening especially among grown women on social media.

Take a moment to think about how you would feel if a family member of yours was affected by online bullying or harassment. Imagine they were trolled online so much that they felt the only way to escape the abuse was to harm themselves. You would be pissed wouldn’t you? You would want to find the person/s that made them feel unworthy and belittled and give them a piece of your mind and/or your right hook? I know it isn’t always this intense and it can be as simple as an off the cuff comment that strikes a cord with someone but if you wouldn’t say it to someones face then you shouldn’t write it to someone. Being nice is just so much easier and happiness is contagious, if you really don’t agree with something you see then just unfollow or discuss with your girlfriends over your next coffee catch up, don’t feel the need to take time out of your life to spread negativity – there is enough of that in the world.

Every single person on this earth is here for a reason, we are all beautiful in our own way and no one has the right to make you feel you aren’t worthy. I know I won’t be able to protect Chloe from everything during her life but like any parent I don’t want to have to protect my child from senseless bullying. I can only hope that humanity will be kinder as she grows but I am also aware that there are people out there that feel their opinion is superior or that hurtful words will somehow make them feel better about themselves. Stop the hate, uplift one another, empower and encourage each other and spread some positive energy instead.

capture
* Picture from Pinterest *

 

It takes work 

It takes work 

Becoming a parent changes so many aspects of your life; your lifestyle, your priorities, your body (for mamas and sometimes for papas) and what I have recently had to accept, your relationship. Some couples thrive becoming partners in parenting, their bond gets stronger and they form an unbreakable team to raise their little mini human together. But sometimes the stresses of parenthood can drive a divide in some couples. There has definitely been a switch in my relationship with my husband that I was not expecting, we are by no means about to separate or even thinking about anything like that, we are very much still in love and plan on spending the rest of our days together but we absolutely have work to do to strengthen our team and make this little family work.

So a bit of background without getting too personal – my husband (Brett) and I have been together since we were teenagers, he moved in with my family when we were both at that crazy age where we thought we could just die without one another (young love, so pure and utterly ridiculous). We grew up together and our personalities developed in cohesion with the others. For the most part we balance each other out, we are both very anxious people and both irrationally emotional at times but to different degrees and luckily at opposite times so when one of us is spiraling the other is usually able to keep a level head and calm the other. We don’t fight often but like any couple we bicker and like to pull fun at one another (the mum jokes are at a whole different level in our house). We had very different childhoods and the parts of our personalities that developed from our younger years are polar opposite. I refer to Brett as a grumpy old man regularly, he gets frustrated very easily and would forget his head if it wasn’t attached to his body. I, on the other hand am very tolerable (I wouldn’t use the phrase ‘easy going’ as I can be unbearably anxious at times but I go with the flow most of the time) and I’m very organised and rarely loose anything (well now that baby brain has encroached and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere I’m loosing more than my mind now days). We honestly don’t have that much in common other than our inappropriate sense of humour and love of tattoos but as they say, opposites attract.

So I’m not claiming to have had it any harder than any other first time parent because it is hard no matter what the situation, but our first year of parenting was made even more difficult as Brett was working away on an unpredictable roster so he was away more than he was home. I have struggled with Post Natal Depression and have had a hard time processing my emotions and communicating them effectively, you know – other than crying hysterically for no particular reason on the regular. For a while I was taking out my frustrations on Chloe with my shouting and retreating to my bedroom to cry myself silly leaving her to tough it out by herself (only ever for a few minutes, don’t go calling CPS on me) but eventually I realised that wasn’t doing anyone any good so I have found forced cuddles and some fresh air in our backyard is more effective. But in the last few months of Brett being home based permanently I have had to check myself as I have been lashing out at him in times of frustration which only causes him to get defensive and an argument will usually result. It is generally over in a few minutes and we are back to normal after some huffing and puffing then apologies but the frequency of the spats are getting more regular than I am comfortable with and for the sake of Chloe I would prefer that they didn’t happen at all. There is no screaming or very little if any voice raising but the energy is just not very nice and I can tell that it upsets Chloe at times. It’s a roller coaster and a far cry from our steady and carefree relationship pre-baby.

The feeling of resentment is an ugly thing and is what usually gets me heated and ready for a rowel.  Our parenting journey has definitely been different from one another, with Brett working away from home I just got into a groove of getting the whole parenting thing done on my own. Apart from being hard as fuck doing it alone it has also made me a little controlling when it comes to matters that relate to Chloe. Some days I have to bite my tongue from saying things like “What would you know, you’ve hardly been here!” which I know would devastate him as he was doing the best thing for this little family by working away for as long as he did. The first few weeks of Chloe’s life was a huge adjustment for the both of us (not unlike any first time parents), getting used to life with a new baby and the normal trials and tribulations of first time parenting but then he went back to work. Back to his normal day to day routine just with more phone calls from me and the odd night of broken sleep on his week off (apparently he can sleep through a hurricane as the buzzing baby monitor never seemed to wake him, go figure). As he wasn’t here consistently I just got accustomed to doing most of the parenting by myself and felt bad asking him to help out when he was on his time off as he has just been working 15 hour days for up to 4 weeks straight so I know he needed rest. But it drove me into a cycle of automatically doing everything on my own and then becoming frustrated that he wasn’t helping but in his mind I didn’t need help as I wasn’t asking for it and I was taking complete control when it came to looking after Chloe.

I absolutely don’t think Brett is any less of a capable father as he hasn’t been present for a long period but sometimes I can’t help but feel he has had it easier than me in the last 12 months. I realise it has been hard for him in the way that he has missed out on nearly a year of his daughters life and I know he would have been pining to come home and comfort me when I would call inconsolable as I couldn’t get Chloe to stop crying. But he only had a week here and there of the hell that was 9 solid months of silent reflux and then food refusal/aversion ending in constant soul shattering breakdowns (from me and her) for months on end. Things have levelled out now and apart from teething we aren’t dealing with anything too crazy (oh except for pre-toddler angst) but sometimes I really feel like Brett’s life hasn’t changed the same way mine has and some days I resent his ‘freedom’ and I’m starting to realise I can sometimes give him a hard time when he really doesn’t deserve it. I’ve never been one to tell Brett what he can and can’t do, I’m just not that kind of person, but whenever he goes out on his own I always get a little jealous as I feel like I can’t do the same but what the heck is stopping me? He’s Chloe’s father and is just as capable as me of looking after her while I leave the house for a while. And it won’t hurt him to take on some of the house hold duties so I really need to remember that he isn’t a mind reader and doesn’t know I’m giving him the silent treatment because he didn’t put the toilet seat down 2 days ago and he won’t think I’m a Drill Sargent if I ask him to chuck a load of washing on. I don’t want to be a nag but for my sanity and the sake of strengthening our partnership I need to communicate what I need rather than expecting it.

I don’t tell him enough but I appreciate all he does for us so fucking much, he stuck it out in a horrible job for as long as he could before it nearly broke him and he did it for us. He did it to make sure Chloe has everything she needs and so she doesn’t have to grow up seeing her parents struggle living week to week. He had to say goodbye to us after a week not knowing when he would be coming home and what he would miss; he missed her birth, he missed her first word, he missed so many little but significant milestones and I feel so sad about that every day. But I am happy that he is now home every night and can see his daughter grow and their bond can become stronger and stronger. She lights up every time he walks in the room and we are getting into a new groove with us being a full time family. I know I have to let go a little more and let Brett take the reigns, maybe I’ll even get lucky and escape to go shopping solo or get a manicure when he’s on his next week off. I know I speak for both of us when I say we love each other unconditionally but some days we just don’t like one another. And I think (or hope) others can relate. We don’t always have to be best friends but we need to remember to communicate when the other is driving us a little (or a lot) crazy and talk it out rather than putting out dark energy and giving each other the silent treatment. We aren’t trying to have a perfect relationship but like a lot of relationships we are working on it and we will continue to show Chloe the unconditional love we have for one another and for her.

20150829_092805
Flashback…Daddy & baby Chloe bonding time