I support you: It’s your baby. Feed them however you need to.

Support

I am participating in the I Support You campaign (1st to 7th November) run by Mama By the Bay. This blog post is in aid of supporting all loving mothers NO MATTER HOW they feed their babies or what parenting choices they make. 

#ISupportYou

Look, I’m just going to get straight to the point on the issue of feeding our babies. Despite how we feel when we have our first babies (I can’t speak for subsequent babies so I’ll stick to my own experiences – please feel free to add to the conversation if you have more than one), the way we feed them is not how we should define ourselves. Neither is the method by which your child is delivered. They are just facts on a timeline. Things that happened in our journey. A path we had to take (even if we chose it we did so because it was best for us and our babies). It does not define our child’s life. As I look at my almost 3 year old (how time flies!) I don’t fuss that he was mixed fed from day 1. I don’t care that he came to us via C-section. It’s just a memory now. It hasn’t determined the rest of his life. He sits at the dinner table with us, munching on whatever I make him (well mostly – he is a toddler after all). I have a scar, but I only notice it when it tingles after a couple of cocktails (true story – it’s weird). My Little Mister is funny, charming (most of the time), he is healthy and he is bright. Medically, all is quite well too. He has the immune system of …whatever only gets sick once a year (touch wood) and he is developing quite normally. While it took me time (about a year) to feel this way, I have NO regrets. None. Oh, except that I wish I didn’t worry so much what other people thought about my choices. THAT was the one thing I wasted time on. The one thing that kept me awake at night (even when my baby was sleeping).

Please allow me to do some very blunt myth busting in the name of supporting anyone who has ever had to feed a baby (it’s kind of a necessary task – you know, for keeping them alive and stuff)…

*ahem*

Brace yourselves.

Myth: “If you stop breastfeeding, you’re going to miss out on a special bonding experience with your baby.”

Um, no. No you’re not. While breastfeeding is a beautiful way to bond with your baby (I can attest to that), it is certainly not the only way. It is one of many gorgeous ways we connect with our children. If you cannot (or choose not to) breastfeed, you are not to buy into that BS, OK? You’re a loving mother who has many tricks up her sleeve. Cuddles while bottle feeding – lovely. Talking to your baby. Singing with them. Eye contact. Smiles. The gentle way you tend to them. Quality time getting to know each other. The love you have for them is pretty powerful stuff in itself. You really think your baby can’t feel that bond? How do we expect adopted babies to flourish in the loving arms of their new parents (a heads up: I’m proof)? How do we expect awesome new dads to connect so beautifully? They can’t breastfeed and that does not diminish the love. Have faith in yourself. If the love is there, you’re going to be just fine. Sorry to be a little feisty, but FFS. I hate that people perpetuate this kind of judgement.

Myth: “Feeding your baby formula is the easy way out. New mums give up too easily on breastfeeding.”

Look, I have not met one new mother who has found the decision easy. I know that for me, to give up breastfeeding was a huge decision. I tortured myself over it for a long time before I went through with it. I weighed up the pros, the cons. I was educated on the subject. I had a great support network. I could argue that for a lot of new mums it’s harder to give it up. We have to change our expectations of ourselves that we may have had since before we were even pregnant. We have to admit to ourselves that whatever the circumstances, our bodies may not understand what we’re asking (this can mean working through feelings that we’re failing – we’re not FYI). We have to face the judgement of others. We have to fight our inner critics (the worst ones of all). We have to do so much more work (sterilising/prepping/warming bottles), spend more money on formula and the extra bits and bobs that come with the job. You call that easier?? We are f*cking warriors too – don’t you forget that. All new mothers are.

Myth: “Formula babies are fatter than breastfed babies. It’s like you’re feeding your baby fast food.”

Some babies just need some extra help to thrive. I’m sorry, but a thriving baby is better than the alternative. Also? Some of the cutest, chubbiest babies I have EVER seen were breastfed. And they were gorgeous. And healthy. And they grew out of their Michelin Man features quickly enough. And that’s saying something, because the Little Mister was a chubby bub indeed! Was it the formula? Probably. But only because he was able to thrive, just like the other babies, despite my body’s challenges. He, just like the breastfed babies his age, has suddenly grown into a boy shape (eek – when did that happen?) and wouldn’t you know it? You look at him, then look at his little friends and *shock horror* you would not be able to tell the difference. I know some people argue about the long term effects, but formula has been fed to human babies for generations now and I would not be able to tell the difference when I look at my friends or even my friends’ parents. So many more environmental or genetic factors determine our health and our body shapes as we grow. Formula is the least of our worries!!

Myth: “Pick a side and stick to it. Breastfeeding or bottle feeding. Which one are you?”

Firstly, it’s nobody’s damn business. You don’t owe any nosey parker an answer. Secondly, why can’t you have the best of both worlds when necessary? The Little Mister’s life began with mixed feeding. For the first 3 days he was exclusively on formula by default as I had no supply and he was in a hospital an hour’s drive away from me. The next 3 days I was stressed, on a heavy course of antibiotics (which no-one told me might interfere with my supply – this would have been so much more comforting for me to know) and getting stir crazy in the hospital. No milk! After a terrible first night with the Little Mister when he returned to me (he cried because he was essentially starving), a kindly midwife suggested formula top ups. She made it OK. There was no point starving him and distressing everybody involved. The first days of parenthood are hard enough! After I got home, with the help of some medication, I had some supply. It wasn’t awesome but it was enough for him to reap the benefits. I fed mostly on demand during the day but he had some top ups at night (I would breastfeed first and then offer him a little formula if he needed it). If we went out, I would pack some formula, because my boobs were super messy and unpredictable. I couldn’t rely on them as well as I might have liked to.

In my mind, he got the benefits of breast milk, but his diet was also supplemented to give him the amount that would help him grow and thrive. It was hard work to do both, but it was worth it. It was the right thing for us. And there was nothing wrong with that. There is no need to pick a side. What side? How about we all stay on the side of keeping our babies happy and healthy? However we need to in our unique circumstances? Yes please.

If you have a super hungry baby cluster feeding and crying for more when you have no more to give, what is the harm in supplementing his intake with formula? Gives your boobs a little more time to restock and helps your baby to feel satisfied and to keep the weight on in those important early days.

I know that we were lucky and there was no nipple confusion with the Little Mister – he was stoked to have anything and I am grateful. But seriously, if you’re struggling – like really struggling – anyway, what is the big effing deal? The worst that could happen? Your child wants a bottle over anything else? Read all of the above. It’s gonna be OK. I promise. Give yourself a break. You’re awesome. You care about your kid. A WHOLE LOT. You’re not failing. A lot of factors have to come together just right for exclusive breastfeeding to occur (your body has to come to the party, the baby has to learn how, and a whole lot of other things can affect your experience). Some women are lucky and others, not so much. It is NOT a reflection on your ability to parent. YOU ARE AMAZING no matter how you feed your child.

Newsflash: No-one is better than another person just because of how they feed.

I am making my stance clear here. I support you no matter how you feed your baby. Not in some kind of passive aggressive BS kind of way, where I say it because it’s the right thing to say, but then make little judgey comments here and there. I actually really mean it. I really really do.

We are all doing our best.

If you could write a message of support to new mothers, what would it be (doesn’t necessarily have to be about feeding)? Leave a comment – it might make all the difference to someone x

You might choose to spread the word via blog or social media yourself. Share my blog post, write your own (you can find ideas here), utilise Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. Use the hashtag #ISupportYou or #ISYWeek

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Happy Hallowistmas.

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October can be a really confusing time. My supermarket actually has an aisle filled with both Halloween and Christmas items. This wasn’t always the case but as more and more Aussies seem to be embracing the Halloween spirit(s?), I’m feeling that the ‘holiday’ season is getting more jam packed towards the end of the year (not to mention the gazillion family birthdays we have)! This makes me thankful we don’t do Thanksgiving too! Ha. See what I did there? Although, I do like baking and pumpkins. Perhaps I am missing out haha.

Last time I blogged about Halloween I was pretty well up the duff. I think I only had a week or so before the Little Mister showed his face via emergency C-section (that’s pretty gory – now you have your last minute fancy dress idea – you’re welcome). Having gestational diabetes was a great excuse for being a trick or treat grinch! If I couldn’t have sweets, no-one else was either, dammit!

Look, I might not welcome the knocks at the door at this point in my life, but I do not have a problem with people celebrating. I would even happily attend a fancy dress party or take the opportunity to embarrass the Little Mister (photos for his 21st birthday anyone?). I’m just not a fan of door knocking at this point. Never say never (times are a’changing), but I like to lounge about on my couch watching Home and Away (my embarrassing guilty pleasure) after the Little Mister goes to bed, no bra, pants are optional. I am not staying dressed so I can share my precious treats – are you cray cray?! ;)

I feel like we’re rookies at this whole trick or treating game in Australia. As a Halloween grinch (sorry not sorry!) who has had one too many persistent and annoying knocks on the door for treats which I do not have, I think we could take a page out of the books of other countries who are better at this than us. There’s an etiquette, you see. We need to have a big, national meeting. Like a family meeting, but with around 23 million of our closest friends.

Some suggestions to those of us who are new to the Halloween game (thanks to google):

1. Be mindful that some young children may be sleeping and their parents might be freaking out (they likely haven’t slept properly in some months/years), so try not to knock like it’s a horror movie and your life depends on it. Perhaps try not to scream really loudly as you get closer to someone’s front door.

2. Don’t go to someone’s house more than once if they have not answered the door or have told you politely that they do not have any treats to give. Combining this with my #1 tip is a nightmare!

3. Have some pre-arranged signals to let others know if you’re taking part this Halloween. It can be as simple as simple decorations mean you’re happy to give treats, or your front outdoor light being off can mean you’re not participating (or you’re done for the night). Seriously, guys. We need to get together and coordinate this shit.

4. If you’re not a fan of your kids trick or treating at strangers’ houses and are planning to just hit your own street where you know the neighbours, give those neighbours a heads up so they can be ready. That would probably make it more enjoyable for all.

5. Don’t disrespect anyone. If you’re not a fan of Halloween, there’s no need to bitch about it constantly or verbally attack those who choose to celebrate respectfully. If you are a trick or treater, be nice to those who choose not to participate. Yay – everyone’s happy!

Despite my own Halloween grinch status, I hope that everyone who celebrates has a wonderful time and stays safe this Halloween!  I do enjoy looking at the creative costume photos in my social media feeds very much ;)

Got any tips to add to the list to make Halloween more enjoyable for all?

How to stay (relatively) sane on the internet.

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The internet can be an amazing forum/resource for parents (especially those of us who are new to the game), because it can offer us support groups online, and gives us a connection to other people, even when we’re stuck at home feeling a little isolated.

On the flip side, it can be a nightmare! There is information out there that is very dubious. There are people everywhere who think that having an opinion and a keyboard qualifies them to insult, degrade and fight (dirty ugly fighting) with those who have a different opinion and a keyboard too. There is a flood of articles thrown at us daily on how to do this, how to do that. It can make your head spin. It can make you feel worse.

Yeah, yeah. You’ve probably read these ‘how to have a good time on the internet without being a douche bag’ guides and tips a million times over and I have debated with myself over whether to even bother. BUT I think it bears repeating sometimes. At least here is my own personal spin on it all. These are the things I try to do. The things that help me to stay sane.

Stop reading if it makes you feel icky.

It’s that simple. You know that sinking feeling you get when you read something that makes you feel bad about yourself? Or perhaps you read something that makes you feel anxious because it makes you feel judged and makes you question everything you do? Sometimes it’s our own sensitivities or insecurities on a given day, other times it’s because the writer is inciting these feelings. It really doesn’t matter. If you feel icky, you need to take a moment. Y’know? Perhaps reading that thing isn’t the best thing for your mental health right now. Take a break.

If something you read makes you see red, if it makes you so angry that all you can think is four letter words towards the writer/website/Facebook page, that is a lot of negativity to be bathing yourself in. Scroll past. Unfollow. Do what it takes to not willingly return to such material. You don’t need that in your life! It’s wasted energy we could be using to better our own lives or the lives of those we care about. I mean, you could have been using that time to laugh at videos of Jimmy Fallon’s lip synching battles on YouTube, instead of reading about that writer who hates SAHMs/working mums/breastfeeding mums/bottle feeding mums/school mums/funny mums/serious mums/mums who are pretty and fit/mums who are overweight/mums who…you get the idea. Don’t buy into the hate-fest.

If the writer doesn’t write in a way that shows you the respect (you can respect people even if they do not share your opinion), do not give them the time of day. They haven’t earned it.

Do not bite the click-bait. 

Ever read those provocative headlines? The spiel before a link to an article, which is designed to entice readers into clicking and giving a website a lot of traffic? Some of it is just blatantly designed to get us hate-reading by inciting an outrage within us, which makes us say, “WHO WOULD SAY THAT HORRIBLE THING? I MUST KNOW.”

It’s so tempting. SO tempting. I’m trying harder to resist. I want to read things because I want to learn something, not because the website has tried to suck me in for negative reasons.

“WHAT THIS MUM DID NEXT WILL HAVE YOU OUTRAGED.”
“THIS WRITER HATES CHILDREN AND HERE’S WHY…”

You know the kind. If a website is resorting to that kind of manipulation, that says a lot. It also says a lot that it’s probably, sadly, working. I want to try harder to not be a part of the problem. If I know I’ll be angry when I read it, that’s not a good space to be in. I don’t need the virtual drama cluttering my head.

Keep it classy. 

Often people use the old, “it’s my freedom of speech” excuse for being a**holes. Yes. We are all entitled to our opinions. We are allowed to disagree with other people on an unlimited range of topics. But in my mind we have a responsibility in how we express them. You don’t need to attack somebody else’s character, belittle them, wish awful things on them or enter into a week long commenting argument with them to make your point. Try to be eloquent. Make your point in a way that might actually get through to the other person. Calling them fifty names probably won’t help the situation. If you are truly passionate about telling someone else what you need to say, then make sure your communication is effective. It ceases to be effective if you are insulting somebody. All they will see is the insults and not the message. You’re better than that. And that goes for passive aggressive comments disguised as constructive feedback. Come on. We’re not stupid. That doesn’t count as taking the high road! It’s not genuine. Just LET IT GO.

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And? If you’ve shown all the class you can show and the recipient doesn’t want to understand or refuses to reciprocate? LET IT GO. They’re just strangers on the internet who disappear when you turn off your computer (or click unfollow). You don’t need to win them over to know that you’re an awesome person.

Yay! :) You are, by the way.

We can pick our battles too. People power definitely has a place (advocating for the equal rights of all people is important), but sometimes silence can be a dignified response – it can be all something deserves.

Think critically. 

Where is this information coming from? What are the interests of those publishing it? What are their motives? Are they a reliable source? Are they using reliable sources? This helps me to sort the junk from the stuff I might want to be paying attention to. I know not to get my knickers in a knot over stuff that has little credibility. I won’t be taking their advice to heart, that’s for sure.

Also? This includes reading all of the article/blog post carefully. Dissect the writer’s intentions. Where are they coming from? What are they really saying? Read it a couple of times if you have to and carefully consider your own response. If the writer explicitly says, I don’t agree with ‘a’ but I do understand why some people do, then don’t rant at the writer about how they are agreeing with ‘a’ and how wrong they are. It will undermine your credibility if other readers can see that you haven’t taken your time to understand what the writer is saying.

Have empathy. 

You might not agree with the writer or what they do might not feel right for you, but if you put yourself in their shoes for a minute, you might understand their intentions and be able to give constructive feedback. Also, it’s not always somebody’s fault if they do not ‘know better’. They might be struggling or simply not have certain tools to work with. You can’t always know the whole story in a few hundred words. You can either be a helping force or a negative, judgemental one. How would you like to be spoken to if you’d had the courage to put it all out there?

Come at it with a positive approach.

Proofread! 

Lastly, if you are a blogger or a commenter, re-read your comment/blog post before clicking ‘post’ or ‘publish’. I try to re-read everything I write – more so if I know I’m commenting on a contentious issue. I make sure I’m not letting my emotive response overtake my message. I make sure I haven’t insulted anyone. I make sure that I’ve said it in a way that it can be read easily (I am a waffler and I am sorry haha). I remind myself that I am saying something in a public manner. This has saved me many a time. I’ve even written comments and then deleted them when I realised I was not offering something relevant or helpful to a discussion. It reassures me that I won’t write a knee jerk response before I can calm down and think about it rationally. I only want to write things that will let me sleep at night!! There is nothing worse than saying that silly thing and then feeling haunted by it (or worse feeling the backlash over something you didn’t really mean to say because you didn’t think it out).

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I know I am not perfect so I don’t mean to preach. I am just passing on the stuff I’m working on. ‘Working on’ being the operative words. I mostly just hope that I’ve made a space where my readers feel free from all the crap out there.

I feel like parents in blog land and on social networks need to band together more. Have a supportive, nurturing approach, not a shaming, judgemental one. We have such great opportunities to build online communities and to learn so much from each other. Let’s not waste them with ‘mummy wars’ (just that term makes me want to spew a little in my mouth). Let’s not fall for the tricks of those bigger websites (who shall remain nameless) that rejoice when we go into a frenzy. We are seriously better than that. We are amazing people from all walks of life. Let’s not lose perspective.

And did I mention that you’re absolutely gorgeous and you’re doing great stuff? ;)

Do you have anything to add to my list of tips? What do you think? 

Fake it ’til you bake it.

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I didn’t really care for baking until I got pregnant with the Little Mister back in 2011. When the urge hit, I went a little bit nuts (I’m really not joking). Luckily my joy for it has since evened out and now I like doing it regularly. It can be a cost effective way to fill out Mr Unprepared’s work lunches and to provide the Little Mister with interesting enough snacks. It is also the way that I pad out the end of the pay period (when the cupboard and fridge are looking a bit bare). I find ways to throw as many random ingredients into a muffin or some other such thing as I can. Everyone thinks I’ve done something special for them (yay – baked goods), but all I’ve really done is scraped some weird stuff together so we don’t have to go back to the supermarket any sooner than we have to!

(and yes I do love love love online grocery shopping but sometimes I forget to order it ahead of time or can’t be bothered which is probably the most lazy – or tired if I’m kind to myself – a person can possibly be)

But make no mistake. I am not actually that awesome at it! I am never going to be on Masterchef and I honestly do not really know what I’m doing most of the time! I am not spending hours studying the art of whatever it is that people who can cook real good study (and I’m not even going to apologise for that poorly constructed sentence). I’m a total fake and I don’t care if everyone knows it.

It can be hard to find time to gather ingredients and it can be difficult to then create something with them, with a demanding toddler (who as much as I love his enthusiasm is not always as helpful as he – bless his heart – thinks he is).

*whispers* Sometimes? Sometimes I use *gasp* PACKET MIX. Yeah. Those cupcakes on Instagram? PACKET MIX. My secret? Raid the cake decorating section of the baking aisle in any major supermarket *OMG*.

Seriously. No-one cares. THEY TASTE LIKE CAKE.

Another tip? Have a baking kit. Once I started to keep one, shit got so much easier. I can bake almost any time I have a chance, instead of thinking, “WHAT? This recipe requires FLOUR? What kind of f*ckery is this?”

Here’s what I keep in it (always replenishing stocks):

  • Self raising flour
  • Plain flour
  • Caster sugar
  • Icing mix/icing sugar
  • Brown sugar
  • Baking soda
  • Vanilla extract
  • Cocoa
  • Patty cases
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons

Well, those are the basics, anyhow. It sounds like a lot, but if you go to the shops just the once, to begin with, the hard part is done! I’ve slowly added some extra bits and pieces (piping bag with nozzles or choc chips and sprinkles etc), but those simple things can get you a long way if you have some eggs, butter and milk in the fridge (don’t even get me started on how awesome and magical and versatile eggs are)! I know a lot of you are looking at this thinking, Kez. This is hardly revolutionary. I mean, who doesn’t have these things? Well, all you people who can probably bake better than me, until recently, I did not have these things. Ever. Every single attempt to bake was either thwarted from the get go or involved a time consuming, inconvenient special visit to the supermarket. It made it all a BIG DEAL. So tiring, really.

Now I just google recipes that have the ingredients I have to work with (e.g. a banana and a lemon or something equally weird) and get started! The other day it was canned corn kernels, store bought salsa dip and grated cheese!! WTF? I find that taste.com.au is an awesome resource (and no this is not a sponsored post – it is just my honest and independent opinion).

Another tip? Keep it frickin’ simple. Stay the f*ck away from recipes with ingredients you’ve never heard of or will never use again. Stop reading that recipe when it starts talking about doing weird things with the ingredients that you do not know how to do and cannot learn that day. I mean, I admire those who like a challenge, but for anyone like me who just needs to put something on the table to avoid mutiny, just stick to what you can handle! Use what you’ve already got. Trust me. People will think you are way more awesome than you feel you really are. Don’t make it more stressful than it has to be! There are HEAPS of really tasty recipes out there that I just know you’ll be able to handle. Also…Siri is a gun at converting things like farenheit to celcius, so don’t worry if that awesome recipe from an American blog/website/Pinterest sounds scary with all its weird numbers and measurements ;)

I do love learning new things here and there. It gives me a sense of accomplishment to master a new skill. I just don’t always have the time for it and I’m so OK with that.

Fake it ’til you bake it.

Or buy it from the shops. No judgement here haha.

How are you at cooking/baking? What’s your favourite thing to make? Or are you the buy it at the shops type? x

I have an announcement.

*drum roll*

You may not know this, but this week we added another member to our family! A gorgeous puppy. I’ve never seen the puppy and the Little Mister in the same room for some reason, but I know they’d love each other if they ever met.

This furry member of the family entered our lives last Tuesday. I thought it might just be a one day thing at first, but he seems really happy with us and he’s stuck around.

The crazy thing? This puppy (who the Little Mister has named after one of our other dogs – original) is the most obedient and well trained creature I’ve ever had the pleasure of raising (even easier than a toddler).

This puppy can roll over, sit, stay, lie down, fetch and shake hands on cue. This puppy follows me around faithfully. Enjoys head scratches and tummy scratches. Wags his tail when he’s happy. He’s even partially toilet trained (my other dogs certainly were not when they arrived). He doesn’t have fleas or allergen inducing fur. He’s the perfect pet.

He jumps a little bit and he pants a bit, which is a bit of an annoying sound, but he’s just delightful. It’s really funny when he gives Mr Unprepared loving licks to the face.

Yep. That little puppy is indeed the Little Mister’s alter ego. He’s been pretending since last week. It’s hilarious but I admire his commitment to his character (and he’s an adorable and easy going doggie). Also, a new actual puppy? Ain’t nobody got time for that! ;)

World Mental Health Day: My promise.

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I have a confession. I am an appointment putter-offer. I find ways to procrastinate when it comes to my health and well-being. I am by no means a martyr (trust me), but I just let time get away from me. I support my husband in making the appointments he needs to and I will always have the Little Mister’s back. I just can’t seem to be as motivated to do it for myself. I don’t say this with any smug pride about putting everyone else first. It really isn’t a great thing. I admire those who remember themselves and make sh*t happen. I know that for my family to function, I need to function!

I often wait too long. Whether it’s for me-time like beauty maintenance or for regular health checks (skin, lady things etc), I always wait until I’ve lost the plot before I make those calls and commit to those times. I always wait until the fatigue, anxiety, resentment or lack of confidence in myself have gotten on top of me. I always seem to wait until I’ve snapped at someone or had a mini meltdown. Because that’s healthy.

Sure, sometimes circumstances might mean that it’s impossible to do these things at the optimum time for my sanity, but I need to try harder, that’s for sure.

Sometimes I get annoyed at Mr Unprepared because he just decides on what he needs to do for himself – socialise, make appointments etc – and then he does them. Not a bloody care in the world! No guilt! I get so jealous. SO JEALOUS. But I need to take his lead more. I need to stop telling myself it’s too hard. I need to stop talking myself out of everything. I need to stop getting so ridiculously guilty about asking someone else to take care of the Little Mister for a few hours here and there. I need to be a bit more honey badger (honey badger don’t give a sh*t) and put myself first when I need it. Before the meltdown. It’s called maintenance and that’s perfectly justifiable and why haven’t I ever thought of it this way before??

Yesterday I took the whole morning to myself. I used a spa voucher from my sister and brother in law to get my nails done. It was glorious. I got to soak my feet in a petal filled tub and everything. There was peaceful music playing. I could talk to the beauty therapist without being interrupted. I could also just sit back and say nothing and soak up the quiet. QUIET. I got to leave the spa with the fingernails (and toe-nails) of a chick who looks like she’s got her sh*t together. Hell, my nails are so hot right now. I could almost be the next Pinterest nail model (if there was such a thing). I am THAT on trend. And while I am not easily sucked into the superficial, there is a bit of a thrill about that. Just a reassurance that I haven’t totally lost touch! Cool stuff doesn’t have to just be for everybody else to enjoy!

I am so glad that even though the voucher still had about six months left on it, I got on with it. I booked it (a big step for me haha). I was so grateful for such a gift. I also got to feel even more guilt free because I didn’t have to pay anything – so basically it was perfect! Awesome! Also, my parents stepped up and took the Little Mister when my brother was feeling ill and couldn’t (although it is always SO appreciated that he’s willing to do that for me)! Thanks, family.

Today is World Mental Health Day. Last night I visited the website and made a mental health promise to myself (they have a really cool Promise Wall which you should really check out and post your own promise too). I had only 140 characters to work with, but basically I called myself out on all of the above. I will look after myself. Maintain instead of fall apart (physically and mentally).

I chatted with Mr Unprepared about my promise last night. He told me that he has my back. Always good to hear.

I am lucky to have the support network and resources in my life that I do. I need to utilise these sometimes.

What promise would you make for yourself and your mental health? Leave a comment!

Short mama problems.

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You may be aware that I am quite vertically challenged. At only 5 foot tall (that’s about 153cm in my case), I would probably not be making the basketball team, is what I’m saying. Actually, there are other factors like my lack of coordination, athleticism and general lack of interest, but let’s not let that get in the way haha.

I’m pretty OK with being short. I get called ‘cute’ a lot. I can’t reach stuff. But life is good.

One thing I hadn’t anticipated was having a tall child. I am sure (sorry dude) this is all just a ‘going to peak early and be a short-arse like his parents’ situation, but for now he is tall. He is well over half my height already (he’s three in a month’s time) and that’s an understatement, I think. About half way between my belly button and my boobs. This doesn’t stop me from looking after him quite effectively (I think). I have grown muscles I didn’t know I could grow and there are always ways to adapt. Wrangling can be challenging on a not-so-great day (usually in public of course), but it’s all do-able.

When I cuddle the Little Mister, people probably can’t tell who is carrying who.

I’ve noticed that normal people with normal sized children don’t get a second glance. When a normal sized person carries their normal sized toddler through a shopping centre, everyone goes, “Awwwwww.”

Because they think it’s sweet. Oh, bless. That toddler is a bit tired and awwww look at how they are resting their heads on their mama’s normal sized shoulder. Awwwww.

When I carry my toddler through a shopping centre because he refuses to walk and refuses a trolley or stroller, everyone looks scared. I can see their minds working sometimes, “OMG. That kid is so big compared to her! Why is she carrying him? Isn’t there another way? She might drop him! She looks overwhelmed!!”

Sigh. I want the ‘awwwww’s!! Give me the ‘awwwwwww’s too!

Sometimes it can be harder to deal with the kinds of toddler protests where he ends up lying like a wet noodle on the floor. I can’t scoop him up as easily – although it’s not as pretty, I manage – and march off with him. Maybe my centre of gravity is too low or something haha. I can feel a little self conscious when it happens in front of other people. I always feel like I look less confident/competent/assertive or something. Obviously I am very grateful that Mr Unprepared is a help with it all when he is not at work. It’s easier for him! Often I have worn myself out during the week and it’s a relief to have a small break from the physical stuff. I’ve been known to gasp, “No more! No more wrangling! Aaaargh!” at the end of a very long week!

It will be a relief when the Little Mister becomes a little less unpredictable (as toddlers can be when let loose)!

The main thing is that he knows I’m the (loving but firm) boss, because one day he’ll be taller than me and that day might not be so far away!!

Do you have a tall child? Are you a short parent? Do you look at short parents with tall kids in the shopping centre and wonder what the hell is going on? ;)

Some inspiration for decision making.

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Making change in our lives can be scary and intimidating. It can mean jumping into the unknown (or the relatively unknown). We often have to take some kind of risk in order to reach our goals. Moving to a new town/city, taking a new job, changing your lifestyle, making that big investment. Turning up at those events where we do not know anyone. Sometimes when we know that it’s the ‘right’ thing to do for us, we just have to let go and jump right in. The worst thing we can do is never take any risks at all, because of fear. Sometimes getting out of that rut or that well worn comfort zone can be exhilarating and open us up to new experiences which will enrich our lives. Sometimes we really truly know deep down that we need to do something a bit scary in order to grow and strengthen our character. It can be something huge or it can just be as simple as talking yourself into driving somewhere you’ve never been on your own (instead of making an excuse not to go) or striking up a conversation with someone you’ve never met before. Gotta find that courage!

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I think that sometimes we live life on auto-pilot and the result we want is not reflected in our actions. I try to stay really conscious of whether my actions and thoughts reflect the changes I want to make in my life. You’d be surprised how often we can catch ourselves doing the same thing we’ve always done, but just praying it will all miraculously turn out differently somehow! Remember that little saying about the definition of insanity…?

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People will always have an opinion. Some people speak from direct experience, but sometimes people are quick to tell you that the decisions you make go against THEIR principles. They might even go as far as worrying loudly about you, because you haven’t chosen the same way they would have (even though you’re really happy with what you’ve decided). Unless they are the ones who live with the results, should they really have a say? You know best what your desires, passions, dreams, and aspirations are. You also know better than anyone how your decisions will affect those closest to you. YOU will have to live with the outcomes of your decisions, so YOU need to be comfortable with them. There’s no point being uncomfortable because you’re scared of what somebody else (who is removed from it) thinks.

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Sometimes we are asked to decide things. Tough things. But when we ask ourselves what we value more – what we’ll look back on our life and be glad about – it becomes really clear what we need to do. Do you value family, relationships, career, money, happiness etc etc? What is more important when some of these things are at odds with each other? Hey presto – there’s your answer. I am not saying that executing those decisions is simple and easy, but knowing what you need to do can be if you stay true to yourself and maintain your integrity.

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I hope that whatever decisions you face today, you are able to do what is best for you :)

Thanks for reading! x

Where I’m from.

This post has been inspired by Fat Mum Slim’s September Photo a Day challenge x

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When people ask me where I’m from, it often means “Why are you an Asian looking person living in Australia? How did you get here?”

I’m fairly happy to answer that I’m adopted and that I’ve been in Australia all my life – it’s pretty much all I’ve known! Earlier this year, I got to visit my birth country (South Korea) for the first time. The photo above is a shot I took at night time on the beach of Busan, the city I was born in. While it brought up a lot of feelings for me, it was also a really cool place. I’m so relieved I liked it so much!

Visiting Korea really taught me a lot about myself. Clarified for me a lot of feelings I’ve had surrounding my adoption. I am so glad I got to experience it with my family – Mr Unprepared, the Little Mister, my parents and my brother (who was also adopted). Today, if you were to ask me for my honest answer about where I’m from (and were willing to hear the true answer straight from my heart), I would tell you nothing has changed. My answer is ‘Australia’. It’s my home. It’s where my real family are from – the family I’ve known and loved (and been loved by) all my life. I am very happy with that. You know, hashtag blessed and all that.

You can read more about my experiences visiting my birth place here:

Busan: The city I was born in.

How it feels to revisit the place I was born.

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On a whole other note, today marks the last day of September. That means that the challenge I set myself – to blog along with Fat Mum Slim’s Photo a Day challenge for the whole month of September – has come to an end! I must say it has been so wonderful to do. I was feeling a bit ‘blah’ after I’d finished blogging about our big trip to Korea and Japan, so this came along at a great time, when I needed my creativity to get sparking again. Some posts have been better than others this month (oops), but I have really enjoyed writing a lot about stuff I might not have thought of, had it not been for Fat Mum Slim’s daily photo prompts. Thanks, lady! :)

I admit that it was very time consuming and at times, tiring. I found that weekends were the hardest. I skipped one day. I wrote some of my blog posts a little late. By the end, my posts were getting a bit short. By the end of the month, I was kind of secretly looking forward to today. I am so grateful for my new followers, who I am assuming came to me, because some stuff I wrote during this challenge caught their attention – hello! I am so glad to have you here! I loved that blogging daily (or almost daily) kept me motivated and documented my daily life in a way that tells my story for a snapshot in time. I really hope that after this challenge I am able to find my own daily inspiration (although days off will be great too)! For those who have stuck by me during this month, while I tried something different, thanks! Back to regular programming as of tomorrow (whatever that is)!

I will just stick to Instagramming my #fmsphotoaday from now on, I think!

You can check out Fat Mum Slim’s prompts for October here, if you like! If you choose to blog it, let me know! I’ll cheer you on! x

See you in October, everybody (that’s tomorrow so you won’t have long to miss me)! ;)

Wish: Spring, where are you???

This post has been inspired by Fat Mum Slim’s September Photo a Day challenge.

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I am a big fan of thinking positively, but I’ll be the first to admit that I need to have a bit of a silly rant…

I thought I had escaped the winter blues. I really thought I had beaten them. It really really helped being away for the month of June and spring tricked us into thinking it was here early – showing exciting signs as early as August (something quite unusual). But no. The rain, the cold and the wind are back. Very clever, winter. Very clever. I see what you did there. It’s October in a couple of days, so you’d better f*ck off soon. You’ve out stayed your welcome, well and truly!

Is this because I went shopping for summer clothes? Started eating salads and exercising? Well, haha. Joke’s over now. Come on. Be fair. I’m getting pretty annoyed, really. I feel sluggish again (something about lack of Vitamin D I am guessing). I am almost approaching white hot rage when I step outside and I feel the horrible chill in the air (even worse when that chill has invaded the INSIDE of my home). Winter, I am DONE. We are so O.V.A.H.

I am wishing for clear, bright, cloudless days. That beautiful feeling when you wake up to a sunny morning. That summery feeling in the air. People out and about, inspired to make plans for barbecues and beach days. The freedom of not having to wear layers everywhere. Just me, a cheery sun dress and a smile on my face (oh and underwear – I would wear underwear). I love how awake I feel each morning when the weather is beautiful. That craving for beer in the sunshine with friends and family.

I wish for that beautiful gap between freezing winter and sweltering summer (I think it’s supposed to be called spring – hello where are you) where you do not have to run air conditioners or heaters. You can just co-exist with the weather in perfect harmony, without fighting it. I wish for that.

I wish for beautiful Sundays spent with my little family at the foreshore, checking out the markets and getting out of the house together just for fun. I wish for trips to the local parks and playgrounds, knowing that the play equipment won’t be too wet to use. I wish to wear open toed shoes all day, every day.

I have become seriously frustrated. And lethargic. But mostly frustrated.

BRING ME SOME SUNSHINE AND NO-ONE GETS HURT.

What is your favourite kind of weather?