Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Real Mums wanted!

Bye-bye BFF Giuliana
I realised tonight that Giuliana and I have grown apart, and I am gutted.

With baby asleep in bed, I happily nestled into the couch with a glass of white in hand and pressed play on the first of several episodes of Giuliana & Bill I had cued and ready to watch. After watching Giuliana's heart wrenching and courageous journey to motherhood in previous seasons, she and Bill have finally welcomed baby Duke into the world. I couldn't wait to see how everything unfolded, and share many a knowing nod at their new-parent trials and joys. Furthermore, with my hubby away for work I get to enjoy back-to-backs without his endless commentary about Giuliana's ridiculous vocabulary or Bill's teeth. Bliss!

My excitement was short lived because, Giuliana, you lost me at: "Bill & I are just heading downstairs {in the Four Seasons} for a couples massage while {our baby nanny} Phyllis looks after {2 day old} Duke", and you had me totally shaking my head when you said to the lady giving your barely-worked hands a manicure: "Man, it's so tiring being a new Mum - I die... no wait, I gag... no wait, I yawn" (she does have a weird way with words now that I think about it). Then, had I not been so desperate keen to enjoy the one and only glass of wine I would have tonight, it would have no doubt been downed in one gulp when I saw she was out with her girlfriend for a 25-course-degustation with matching wines to discuss the hardships of motherhood.

I'm sure it's not all massages, champagne and frivolity for her, and I realise there's nothing very TV-worthy about a Mum that's about to change the sixth nappy for the day, before hanging the washing on the line and then picking up toys that have been scattered over the floor while singing nursery rhymes to a need-to-be-stimulated-now baby. But it's made me wonder, who are our mummy role models these days? It seems our lives (or possibly just mine) are filled with images of mummy celebs who are too posh to bath, dress, walk, entertain or spend any time with their child, or Mums with 18 children and counting, or teenage Mums with 4 children under the age of 5... hmmm, perhaps I do watch too much reality TV?!.

While you and I both know that parenthood is actually a unique combination of incredible joys and head scratching challenges, with lots of mundane but necessary things to do each day in order to keep our children thriving, I am a little worried that the unrealistic picture our limelight-hogging sisters portray feeds unhealthy expectations and adds pressure to those of us without cleaners, nannies or massage therapists.

I realised a long time ago that my "Mummy celebs" are actually my Mum, my sisters, my friends, my peers. Not the plastic fantastic ladies that entertain and frustrate me in equal measure. Maybe that's another reason why I wanted Latte Mum to exist, so that I could connect with you all and hear your wonderful, funny, inspiring, terrifying, uplifting, and very real pieces of mummyhood advice instead.

So, what did you do today? My TV is now off.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Is your heart at home?

What a difference a year can make. Twelve months ago I was breastfeeding around the clock and carefully nurturing our newborn bundle, this year I am a fully fledged Mum of a busy toddler who has just celebrated his 1st birthday and Christmas.

Yep, the mummy training wheels are well and truly off and I feel I've added many more feathers in my cap this past year: sandwich maker extraordinaire, building block architect, pram packer expert, and healer-with-a-cuddle... just to name a few.

Yet while I've been learning about life, love and this little being we've created, said boy has been learning and growing in what can only be described as epic proportions. In the two wonderful weeks we have just spent with our extended family in the mother country, his latest feats include (but are not limited to):
  • Figuring out how to put {the right} shapes {into the right holes} in the shape sorter (thanks Aunty Hayley)
  • Getting into a sitting position from his tummy, on slippery tiles, without moving backwards (thanks Grandad)
  • Manoeuvring forwards, backwards and side to side on a little toy trike (thanks Granny, Poppa and Nonnie)
  • Developing his own kind of sign language - hands up and waving, hands on eyes, hands on mouth, hands on side of head, hands on tummy, and {my favourite} hand on heart (thanks Aunty Jasmine)
  • Ate a raw stick of carrot (I was impressed!), and cake, and a piece of chicken, and ham, and other grown-up food (thanks Daddy, and all the chefs)
  • Riding a {rocking} horse (thanks Nana and Poppa)
  • Sleeping soooooo well (thanks everyone for tiring him out by keeping him so entertained)...

Incredible what a 1-year-old "sponge" can do in two weeks when exposed to new experiences, new environments and new people. All I managed to sponge was rich food and endless bubbles.

So, after being the star attraction every day for the last two weeks, he was a little bored with just his Mummy during our first day back as a twosome yesterday. I already miss seeing his face light up at a familiar grandparent who adores him back just as much. I miss watching him learn from his extended family; he really did blossom in every single way.

Loving the lawn
New Zealand (namely my hometown Christchurch, where we spent most of our holiday) held other surprises too. It seemed to sparkle. The quiet streets immediately relaxed me. The houses with lawns and children playing were a welcome sight. The newly created city mall with perfect coffee and colourful boutiques made me feel all kiwiana. My heart broke just a little when we had to leave.

I thought I had grown out of New Zealand many years ago, when the bright lights, thriving crowds and trendy apartment living of Sydney beckoned. But if I'm honest, if home is where the heart is, then I haven't been at home in Sydney for a while now.

Perhaps 2013 will hold some big changes for us.

Tell me, what do you hope is in store for you this year?