Saturday, 29 September 2012

Letter to my pregnant self

Today marks my son's 9 month birthday. I can't believe he's now been in the world for as long as he was in my tummy; time definitely flies when you're having fun. It has got me thinking though, about how much can change in a month, a week, a day.

It feels like 18 years not 18 months ago that I was worrying and asking myself: 'How hard will my labour be?' 'What if I don't bond with my baby' 'How will I deal with the sleep deprivation?' 'Will my relationship with my husband change?' 'What if I'm a bad mother?' 'Am I ready for this?!' 'What if I'm not ready for this?!'

I wish I had started this journey knowing a few more things. So, what would I have told my pregnant self if I could?

Dear pregnant Mel,

I have some things I want you to know.

Most of what you have worried about in your life will seem
trivial once your baby is born, so you need to stop worrying. NOW. Your perspective on the world is about to change, and that "thing" you've been waiting for your whole life is about to happen.

Labour will not be as bad as you were expecting. Your husband will get cramp in his arm whilst in the delivery room, but you will get through it together! Haha. You will only remember the good bits anyway.
Me and Joshua, taken Sept 2012 by Ted & Li Photography

Don't fantasise about what it will be like when you first see your baby. You will be so tired and overwhelmed, that moment will be a haze. You won't truly fall in love until he smiles at you for the first time several weeks later, after which your heart will never be the same again.

Despite him constantly spinning, kicking and doing aerobics in the womb, he will be a calm, content and laid back baby. Don't tell the other mums when he starts sleeping through the night at seven weeks - no-one wants to hear it and no-one will have sympathy for you when you're trying to figure out why he's waking up every 2 hours again!

You will love your husband even more when you see him as a Dad.

Your baby will have your husband's eyes and your cheeks. Invest in a good lip balm so the thousands of kisses you give those cheeks each day will be soft.

He will suck his thumb, grow chubby rolls on his thighs, sing to himself and have little leaf-like ears that make your heart melt. You will ban him from ever playing rugby the moment you see those ears, and worry about the first time he brings a girlfriend home as soon as you see him charm everyone with that grin. 

Don't bother with baby-exercise, flash cards or memory games. He will learn to sit, babble, wave, stand and clap without them.

You will have time to clean the house, tidy toys, shower, make the bed and keep everything organised. What you will soon realise is the child you love so passionately cannot be organised, nor can you save him from every danger and scenario in his life. While your outside world will remain in order you will have to deal with the chaos in your heart, and let your little one be his own person.

Every stage of his babyhood will come with its own set of challenges and benefits, but he will grow up so quickly you will miss the challenges when they're no longer there. You must enjoy every moment. Trust me, the first 9 months of his life will go a thousand times quicker than the 9 months you're counting now.

You are about to spend more time with yourself, with your thoughts, than you ever have before. So finally, be kind to yourself.

Enjoy the ride!
Love me

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Walk it out

I gained a lot of weight when I was pregnant. Much more than I "was supposed to", but it turned out to be a completely healthy level of weight gain for me.

I'm glad I had people around me at the time who encouraged me to put the pregnancy books down (and the scales away) and instead focus on staying healthy, eating a balanced diet and continuing with low-impact exercise.

The last bit was easy actually. I've stepped inside a gym a mere two times in my life, but regularly step one foot in front of the other and that seems to be enough for me. Yup, it's called walking, and it kept me fit through my pregnancy and then helped me lose my baby weight afterwards.

So simple yet so effective, and I'm not the only one that thinks walking is good for the body (read: thighs and bum) and soul. A recent study by Bupa has found that walking an extra 15 minutes each day can help extend life expectancy by up to three years, while reducing the risk of stroke, heart disease and type 2 diabetes, and increasing mental wellbeing. I'm sold!

I don't know about you, but I love getting outdoors for a dose of Vitamin D by pushing the pram down to the park or down to the deli or somewhere local for a coffee. I also love pounding the pavements with other mummy friends (usually in single file so our SUV-sized prams don't hog the whole walkway) because it's a great opportunity to chat and the babies love watching the world go by.

If you need any more convincing, here are 5 more reasons why walking should be in every yummy mummy's exercise regime:
  1. Feel better: Research shows that people who exercise regularly have fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety.
  2. Stay in shape: A brisk 15-minute walk can burn more than 250 extra kilojoules, helping you to feel and look good.
  3. Reduce your cancer risk: According to the Cancer Council, physical activity, such as walking, can greatly reduce your risk of bowel and post-menopausal breast cancers.
  4. Invest in your health: 30 minutes or more of brisk walking on most days of the week can help lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes and bowel cancer.
  5. It’s easy: Walking is a gentle, low-impact exercise that comes naturally to your body. It’s simple and can ease you into a higher level of fitness and health.
Pounding the pavements while on holiday in South Australia
It's Bupa Walk to Work Day on Friday 28 September here in Australia, and while I don't have an office to walk to I'm still going to get out to mark the occasion. Why not gather some likeminded pram-pushers and do the same?

As always, would love to hear your thoughts - particularly any ideas you can share on healthy ways to lose baby weight.

Disclaimer: Bupa contacted me with some information on Bupa Walk to Work Day along with current research and top tips on walking. I have not been paid for this post, and the content within is based purely on my experience and the areas of the Bupa research that interested me. For more content from Bupa please visit the Bupa Walk to Work Day website. 

Monday, 24 September 2012

iPhone 0.2

I need a new phone. Mine is one of the original iPhone's and is practically an antique, complete with cracks, chips, scratches, baby slobber, curvy edges and no more room for music.

I had a weekend of two halves you might say. Time without bub one day and glorious family time the next. Although, both days have highlighted that the old mobile is not keeping pace.

I enjoyed a gorgeous Latte Mums Ladies lunch on Saturday at the suitably chic Chiswick. The weather gods ensured we had enough sun for the first Rosé of the season, which in turn ensured the conversation and laughs were plentiful. I must say, it made for a refreshing change being able to have a proper girly gossip without the constant interruption of the little one.

However, as I placed my phone on the table - just in case I was needed for some unforeseen emergency back home (unlikely, but better safe than sorry) - I realised I was completely behind the times. A quick glance around the other tables confirmed my worst fears... my iPhone is prehistoric, particularly given the iPhone 5 has just launched. First World Problems, hey?!

Sunday's sun shone even brighter, giving Sydney its first truly summer's day in months. So, we packed up the little family and headed down for a paddle at Balmoral Beach. It was the first time our little boy placed his pudgy feet in the sand and felt the ocean against his bare legs - although a mis-timed wave meant an outfit change was required!

I realised once we got to the beach that I had left the camera at home. Every mother's worst nightmare! So, I was left with my trusty iPhone to take a couple of pic's to remember the day by. Here's one of the better ones... you see what I mean?!

Crappy camera's aside, it was a perfect day. A perfect moment.

Are there any technology failures you've had? I hope I'm not alone!

Friday, 21 September 2012

Latte Mum challenge

Why do we define ourselves by what we do instead of who we are?

It's practically an obligatory question to ask when meeting someone new isn't it, but why? I've thought about this alot since becoming a mum. The last 8 months have offered numerous opportunities to meet new people and I've asked and answered this question more times than I can count.

I should know better. The PR girl I once was, who lost sleep worrying about the wrong shade of tablecloth ordered for an event or a 5 second delay in reaching a journalist, has been replaced by a woman perfectly content with the love of her family and knowing that everything else will work itself out. While proud of all that I've achieved in my career thus far, my job description isn't who I am.

For me, it's a momentous shift in perspective.

Even though I'm interested in finding out a person's profession, by not also asking them about their dreams, the challenges they've overcome, or their views on politics, life and love, I feel like I'm wasting an opportunity to truly bond with them.

So, I'm issuing myself a challenge to dig deeper. To ask an interesting question everytime I have a latte date. To simply enjoy watching my cheeky little monkey's personality develop without stressing about what he is and isn't doing.

Starting today. Join me?

Monday, 17 September 2012

Celebrate life

Life is short.

I've heard this little phrase hundreds of times over the years; taking it simply as a green light to do whatever while smugly assuming I will live forever. But things have changed.

Of all the new parent anxieties I was expecting, I wasn't prepared to feel scared about dying.  I'm sure this fear was created when my body was magically installing other 'mum super powers', you know, like eyes in the back of your head or soft hugs that will soothe away any tears. I mean, if I'm scared about dying then surely I will better protect my little family from danger, right?

I'm sure this is true, but part of me knows that now I've seen such a wonderful and precious side to life, I don't want this bubble to burst. I want to see my children grow up and I want to meet my grandchildren, desperately.

Does anyone else feel this way?

Yes, life is short. It really is. If I'm lucky, I'm expected to live till I'm 82. That's only 52 more summers on the beach, 52 more times that I'll see the blossom burst on the trees, 52 more cakes with candles, 52 more xmas BBQ's with family.

So, I've decided to live my life with another cliche in mind - "live each day as if it were your last". With extra kisses, cuddles, lattes, bubbles and cherries on top. I see no other option!

Is there anything you do to celebrate life each day?

Monday, 10 September 2012

Babies & barefoot bowls

My weekend was a concoction of my favourite ingredients - giggles, yummy brunches, friends, beers in the sun and family time with my two favourite boys.

At some point during our Sunday afternoon stroll by the water, I realised that times have definitely changed. Saturday night bar hops have been replaced with family afternoon antics and hangover's replaced with baby's cuddles while the sun rises. I must say, I'm really enjoying this change of pace.

And by change of pace I mean "turn left and take the scenic route" rather than "act like you're towing a caravan" - as you know, my social life as a mummy is far from stalling!

In fact, this weekend my mummies in crime and I descended on our local bowling club for a game of barefoot bowls in the Saturday afternoon sunshine. With husbands and prams in tow, we successfully staked out a play area for the babies using picnic rugs, and managed to enjoy a couple of hours of healthy competition while sipping beers and pimms. The game and venue was relaxed enough for us to juggle feeds, naps and play time with the little ones too.

This was definitely a fun afternoon that reminded me of old times and something I'd recommend to families with babies not yet on the move (like us) or older children who can get involved. The day concluded with my husband's team grabbing the Winner's Trophy while my team was awarded the Horses Arse for coming dead last with a score of 0 - perhaps not much has changed after all!

Are there any group activities you've done lately that worked well with the bubs too?

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Stop and smell the flowers

For the first time in my life I am truly present. In the past eight months I have been taught many things, and being present is perhaps the biggest lesson of all.

In my life BC, I wonder how many moments I missed because I wasn't always enjoying the here and now. I was thinking about this during our morning walk yesterday, treading a path well worn by my two feet for the past few years and unchanged except that my two feet are now pushing four wheels.

It could be because I'm content or because I have a gurgly baby excitedly looking at the world around him or a combination of the two, but I saw flowers around every corner. Glorious flowers, of every colour and fragrance, flowering as much from trees and plants as they were from crevices in garden walls and fences. I'm sure they've been there every Spring, I've just had my blinkers on.

I managed to pinch a wisp of Jasmine from the neighbours to pop in a vase, and the scent seems to have an instant calming affect on me. Apparently scientists have proved that fragrant flowers alter gene activity and blood chemistry in ways that can reduce stress levels. Who knew flowers could be so good for frazzled new mums?!

I am now more determined than ever to truly experience and enjoy every moment. Let's face it, I'm enjoying my baby's chubby wrists and cheeks too much to worry about what he'll be like as a moody 15 year old!

I hope you're enjoying Spring with your babies at the moment, and I would love to hear of any special moments you've enjoyed since becoming a mum.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Spring style
I've always been a dress-up kinda girl. I admit it. I feel happier in heels and lipgloss than I do in my trackies.

I've found I've had to adjust my sense of style, along with many other things, since becoming a mum. Let's face it, the practicalities of life just take over when you have a baby. Heels make way for pram-walking flats and putting on make-up just doesn't seem worth the bother when you could be playing peekaboo with your bub instead.
In saying all that, it's amazing how much better I feel when I do stick a brush through my hair, moisturise my legs and put some concealer on those dark patches under my eyes. Call it what you will, it's true.

Now that spring has arrived (yay!), I feel even more motivated to look and feel my best.

So, I wanted to share some of the yummy mummy pieces I'm loving right now: bright OPI nail lacquers, the lightweight Seraphine knit from Queen Bee (it's great for breastfeeding too) and an oversized Steve Madden tote that's currently my nappy bag.

Are there any yummy mummy pieces or style tips that rock your world?