08 May 2011

Through the Looking Glass

As a child, my father read to us of far away places, different cultures and beliefs as well as fantastic worlds of mystery and intrigue. I recall him reading us the works of Lewis Carroll, particularly that of his 1871 work Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There. Far removed from the Disney version of Alice in Wonderland I was familiar with, Through the Looking Glass was a book that I found interesting but scary. The world on the other side of the looking glass was backwards, things looked the same but were opposite and so many things Alice thought she knew were turned upside down.


I've been doing a bit of reflecting on the year that was. Now that Layla has commenced her second year, things are so different to the challenges of year one. Don't get me wrong - there are still plenty of challenges, but things are very different. We know each other and despite her changing every day, I feel like I've got this Mummy business somewhat under control.

A number of my friends have recently had babies and watching them as well as Layla reaching one has made me revisit my experience. In my professional life, I am an organised, logical and determined woman. I take on challenges with excitement while seeing hurdles as a development opportunity. Before I had Layla, I was a person who got things done, always presented well, knew what was happening and always managed to squeeze the most out of every day. I always knew I wanted to have a child. My maternal instinct was strong and as the years ticked by, I continued to yearn for a child of my own. Having seen my friends have their babies and having spent plenty of time babysitting and nannying in my university days, I felt I knew what to expect and how I would cope. If that was the case, then why when I had a child did I feel like Alice going through the mirror into an upside down, back to front, parallel universe? I was no longer the organised, confident, professional, presentable woman. Instead I was the teary, messing, tired, confused Mum who stumbled from one day to the next unsure as to what was happening on the other side of the mirror. I really shocked myself as to how I fared and how I felt.

I wonder how people saw me during this phase? Did they see me the same way as I saw myself? Did every new Mum feel this way? A few months ago, I was standing in the lift at Westfield. Layla was in the pram, covered in food, her face was filthy and her running nose was reeking havoc on her delicate skin. I was in a tracksuit with remnants of breakfast caked in my leg, my hair tied back to conceal the need to wash it, no make up on, just the bags under my eyes that told a tale of yet another sleepless night. I looked across the lift to see a woman with a young baby, immaculately dress, hair and make up done to perfection. I felt like I was looking through Alice's looking glass yet again. It made me wonder whether the experiences of new motherhood are always what they seem to those on the outside. I wondered whether her baby was a good sleeper, did she have help at home, did she forgo that extra hour of sleep in order to prepare herself? I wondered what she was thinking as she looked at me.

When people would ask me how I was going during that first year, did I tell the truth or did I smile and put up a story of perfection? When I ask my friends do they tell the truth? Does everyone struggle like I did to come to terms with the change or do some people just take it in their stride? Looking back, I feel embarrassed about how desperate I felt at that time. The sleep deprivation sent me crazy. I was no longer that confident professional woman but rather a crazed, tired Mum wanting to stop the ride and get off, if only for a short while. Did I whinge too much about the problems I was having or did I put on a fake happy face and pretend that this was everything I had wished for? I think I did a bit of both. Looking back, I'm a bit shocked that I didn't sail through the early months. There is no doubt that I put in the effort. The problem was that I expected perfection instead of reality.

The first year is the hardest. I never really knew that before I began this journey despite all my reading and preparation. Overall, I survived and so did Layla. We made it past the milestone and are now continuing our journey, this time on the right side of the mirror.

Wishing all the Mummies - tracksuit wearing to perfectly coiffed a wonderful and happy Mothers Day. The ride of motherhood takes you to places you never expected, you never want to go to again and can't wait to revist, all at the same time. Quite a ride!!

04 May 2011

You must be kidding!

The phenomonon of group buying has taken the world by storm. Whether it is Spreets, Cudo, Deals of the Day or Scoopons, there are countless providers offering discount products and services at amazing rates. Despite the countless companies and offers, what seems to be missing is a provider that specialises in offers for kids and families.
This is where KidUNot comes into its own.
 kid u not

KidUNot is a new business that not only offers amazing daily deals on all things kids but it will donate $1 to a children's charity for every person who signs up!

Why not sign up now and you will go in the draw to win 1 in 10 vouchers worth $300. 

Looking forward to seeing and buying amazing deals for bubs!!

03 May 2011

Reaching the 1st year milestone....do I really remember what has passed?

As my due date approached, I would wake each morning and wonder whether today would be the day - the day I would become a Mum. The anticipation, nerves and excitement almost drove me crazy. I wondered what labour would be like, whether I was going to have a boy or a girl, what this little person inside me looked like and what would it's personality be. All the waiting and wondering came to an end on 28th April 2010 when my Layla Jade was born happy and healthy.

Now a year has passed. My worrying and waiting really only started on that day rather than coming to an end. Our first year together has been the hardest, happiest, most testing and challenging, emotional and satisfying year of my life. The little bundle who starred into my eyes, with such a constant gaze, has turned into a confident, beautiful, happy and clever child.

I began writing this blog out of frustration. If so many women had had babies, why were so many things about having a newborn such a mystery? Why did everyday bring a new challenge that was emotionally, physically and mentally so taxing? Why didn't women talk about and educate expectant mothers about what to expect? This week I figured out why......because we forget!

Last week, Layla turned one. Planning and preparing for a birthday brought back so many childhood memories of cakes, candles, decorations and fun. As expected, Layla was spoilt with gifts and love.
Preparing for Layla's birthday was exciting, stressful, fun and exhausting......a reflection of the first year really! Everyday brings a new challenge and new experience that is all encompassing. The journey to get to this point has been amazing but distracting too. At each point along the way, I have been focused on the here and now. The challenges of last week seem like a lifetime ago. I think the reason why along the way I felt so surprised that no one had prepared or warned me was because my Mummy friends were dealing with their own Mummy challenges for their kids at their particular stage. Every stage from birth onwards brings it's own challenges, worries, stress and joy. We don't go out of our way to hide or gloss over the hard stuff, it's just that we are preoccupied with the here and now. We forget how hard it really is. Our memory gets clouded.  So forgive us if we don't call enough, offer to help enough, are not compassionate enough. Just know that we have all been there and survived. Tomorrow is another day that will mean one step further from yesterday's worries and one step closer to the next.