Category Archives: stay at home mom

My family are my teachers 

My family are my teachers. 

After almost two weeks away from my husband and children, I am itching to get back to them and give them all a great big hug, and while I knew I would miss them like crazy, this time away has allowed me to really delve into my inner self, and put everything in my life into perspective.

All those little things; like being woken during the night because my daughter just wants to feel me close to her, or my eldest son talking my ear off when I’m trying to work, and even my husband having the TV so loud at night, he could very well wake up the neighbours three doors down… These are the things I miss the most; the small things, things that I have often taken for granted in the past. 

I am extremely grateful for having had the opportunity to go on this incredible trip with my Mum, and I will surely miss being able to sleep all night uninterrupted, and being able to just sit and read or have a shower in peace, but while it’s been a wonderful opportunity for me to recharge and have some ‘me time’, it has also reminded me just how much I love my life; in particular as a wife and mother. 

 I am so very blessed to have such a supportive husband, who has grown so much in the last twelve months, that I couldn’t be prouder of him if I tried. We have had our fair share of challenges over the years, and now, we have genuinely fallen in love with one another all over again. Our relationship has reached a whole new level recently, and I don’t know what I’d do without him. My husband is my best friend, and he has taught me the importance of patience and allowing life to flow naturally.

My children are so very different from one another, and yet, all share the same beautiful, deep emotional connection with me that I love so much. My (almost) teenage son is able to talk openly about his feelings, and has such a wonderfully kind heart, which I am so proud of him for. Even though he is my son, he is often my rock. He keeps me grounded, and reminds me to honour my feelings

My toddler has already overcome some amazing feats since being born, and he is just so full of energy and raw emotion most of the time, that he just amazes me. He is my little warrior, and reminds me that I can overcome anything with courage and determination. 

And my daughter; while she is not even yet a year old, is so full of pure love and joy, that she brings a smile to all of our faces, no matter what is going on. She is a mirror image of myself as a baby, and she reminds me to nurture my own inner child.

So, from now on, I am making a promise to myself, and to my family. I promise to embrace every single little moment, because every minute of every day, every challenge, every joyful moment, makes us who we are as a family, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

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The journey begins…

Off we go! Today, my beautiful Mum and I set off for our two week “Peaceful Pilgrimage” and I couldn’t be more excited if I tried! 

We are flying business class for the first leg of our journey; something I’ve never experienced, so right from the get-go it’s looking like we will be in relax mode. I’ve got my colouring book and pencils, and a heap of ebooks loaded on my iPad, but I dare say I might end up having a bit of a snooze at some point! 

So, first stop for us is Bangkok. We are staying there one night, then board our flight to Kathmandu, Nepal tomorrow morning. I’ll do my best to try and post from Bangkok tonight. 

Off we go!!  

For anyone who missed my first post about this trip, see here:

https://soulsistachristie.wordpress.com/2016/02/18/im-a-mum-does-that-mean-i-cant-have-a-holiday/

I’m a Mum. Does that mean I can’t have a holiday?

In a couple of days time, I am leaving for an overseas holiday with my Mum and I’ll be gone for two weeks. Nothing out of the ordinary really, except that I have three children, and they’re not coming with me.

I saw a post on social media recently where another Mum was in a similar situation, and I felt for her, I really did, because some of the comments she received were horrible. She was called selfish, a bad parent, and irresponsible, just to name a few. There were only a small handful of people (including myself) who actually supported her choice to go on a kid-free holiday, and I found that very sad indeed. Why people find it necessary to be so damn judgemental is beyond me. This poor woman was doing something very similar to me, and her children were of course, going to be in safe hands with their father while she was away. Yet still, in their eyes, going on a holiday without your children was a massive no-no.

I must admit, I still have a lingering feeling of guilt about my upcoming trip; after all, I am going to miss my children terribly, which is natural of course. BUT,  I’ve realised that the guilt I’ve been feeling is not so much coming from within, but externally, from people like those commenting on that woman’s post, who have this preconceived idea that it’s wrong for a mother to have a holiday without her children.

So, to those people who think that this is somehow ‘wrong’, I ask you the following:

If it were Dad taking this holiday, would this be viewed differently? (Mind you, in my case, Dad is taking his own holiday later this year)

If it was a business trip I was going on, would that make a difference? 

Do I not work hard enough, live each day on hardly no sleep, give my heart and soul 24 hours a day enough to deserve a break? 

I noticed one comment on that particular post where someone had said, “You’re a Mum. That’s your job. You don’t get to do things like that when you’re a parent.”

Well, I disagree. Yes, I am a Mum, and it’s the best job in the world. I love my children unconditionally. But I am also human too, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with honouring myself as a person as well as being a Mum. Being a Mum is not the only thing that defines me as a person; I am many other things as well. 

So, I am going on this once in a lifetime trip, and I am going to do so with no guilt, because there is nothing for me to be guilty about. I am going to relax, explore the culture of the places I’m visiting, and be grateful for this amazing opportunity. I am going to enjoy a much needed break, and quality time with my Mum. I am going to share my experiences with as many people as possible, without feeling as though I should somehow be ashamed of what I’m doing, because that’s what people do when they go on holiday. 

As for my children, they are going to spend some quality time with their Dad, and are of course, in great hands. I’m sure they will miss me just as much as I’ll miss them, but you know what? I am going to come back home in just two short weeks, getting right back into the swing of things, but there’ll be one difference. I’ll be relaxed and re-energised, ready to keep being the super awesome Mum and wife that I already know I am.

  

No Room for Comparison 

Enough is enough. I’ve decided to make a promise to myself. A promise that I should have made long ago, and one that every person would benefit from making for themselves.

I promise to stop comparing myself to others.

It seems quite a simple commitment to make in such a small sentence; one that many people will know, that in reality, isn’t quite that easy. On the contrary, you may be reading this thinking, “Oh, I don’t do that anyway”, but let me ask you this: Can you honestly say that you never, ever judge yourself based on what others think of you (whether real or perceived), or that you don’t question your decisions with someone else’s beliefs or way of life at the back of your mind?

Perhaps you can, and if so, that’s wonderful. But for those of us that do need a little reminder, it’s time we took back our personal power and lived authentically!

When was the last time you stopped yourself mid-thought; wondering whether “X” would make the same decision? What would they do in the same situation? Should you do what they would do, or go with your own instinct? What would they think of your choices? Would you feel as though you’re being judged? Better still, what would society think of your the choices you make?

These are all questions that we need to stop asking ourselves when it comes to making life choices; whether it’s a big decision like changing careers, or an everyday choice such as whether you can afford to buy yourself that new book you’ve had your eye on.

Comparison comes in many forms. You may be comparing:

– Your career and the success you have in the workplace

– The way you look 

– Your relationships with others (family, marriage, friendships)

– The amount of money you earn 

– How you should ‘behave’ in certain situations 

…and the list could go on…

Now, let this sentence sink in for a moment:

Each time you compare yourself to another, you are taking away your own power.

Personally, I’m not too fussed with material things, such as having fashionable clothes, or the latest hairstyle. Comparing myself to someone based on what I have or don’t have, is not an issue for me (thankfully). For example, I couldn’t care less about owning a big fancy house; that’s not what’s important to me. I am however, happy for anyone who is able to have this for themselves, if that’s what brings them joy.

For me, at this point in my life, comparing my parenting choices to those of others (as well as what is ‘expected’ from society in general), is my greatest challenge, and one that I intend to put a stop to right now. The choices I make daily as a parent, is what I struggle with the most; even though in reality, I shouldn’t. The fact that I’ve been a parent now for almost thirteen years, have three children, and several years of early childhood education training and experience up my sleeve, still doesn’t seem to stop me from questioning my choices at times; simply because I am comparing myself to others, or wondering whether or not my decisions are ‘the best thing to do’ in societies’ eyes.

So, for anyone who finds themselves guilty of comparing themselves to others (in any form- not just parents), I ask you this:

Why do you allow yourself to do this? What makes you think that you are not capable or knowledgeable enough to make the best possible choices for yourself (or your children) without comparing yourself to others? Why do you even think that others would be judging you anyway, and if they are, why does it matter so much?

 

In my situation, there is quite a simple answer to this question. It’s because as a parent, I want the absolute best for my children; that’s a given. The choices I make however, should not be based on whether I think others would agree with me, or how other people might think or feel about my decision. I am the parent of my children, and ultimately, I know what’s best for them, based on how I want them to be raised.

If I co-sleep with my children because it helps me to get some sleep at night (and I sometimes like the snuggles myself), that’s my choice. I own that choice.

If I take loved ones up on the offer to babysit my children for the night so my husband and I can go to the movies, that’s my choice. I own that choice.

If I enrol my children in daycare because I believe it is actually beneficial for their learning, that’s my choice. I own that choice.

And finally (this is a big one that I’ve been made to feel guilty about), if I want to go on a holiday and leave the kids at home with their Dad while I’m away, that’s my choice. I deserve a holiday and I own that choice.

It’s also important that I acknowledge the times where I don’t have the answers, or when I’m having a challenging time. 

When all I feel like doing is crawling up in bed and sleeping because the kids have kept me awake all night, that’s okay. I’m allowed to feel that way. 

When I sit my toddler in front of his favourite movie or give him the iPad to ‘keep him entertained’ so I can have a moment’s peace to fold the washing or heaven forbid, go to the toilet, that’s okay. I’m allowed to give myself some space.

When I’m so flustered from lack of sleep, trying to work from home, and having a nagging teenager, toddler and baby all wanting my attention at once, that I fall into a heap and have a good old cry, that’s okay. I’m human.

Obviously, these examples are based upon my personal situation, and are relating to parenting, however, this same concept can be adapted to any situation where you wish to take back your power and stop comparing or questioning your life choices. After all, who is in charge of your life? Is it society? Friends and family around you? Or you?

I promise to stop comparing myself to others. 

Do you?

   

 

I wanna hold your hand

My almost two year old son Nate has quite a few ‘rituals’ and one of them is holding my hand when he’s tired. This has proven to be a bit of a challenge at times, because he simply must hold my hand; regardless of whether it’s during the night when he wakes himself up, or when I’m trying to feed his baby sister at the same time. Needless to say, I’ve become frustrated many, many times, especially in the middle of the night, when it’s near impossible to be holding his hand while also trying to settle his sister to sleep! 

Now, when I say he holds my hand, I don’t mean that he just needs to feel me near; he has to intertwine his little fingers into mine and hold my hand ‘properly’. While it’s absolutely gorgeous, you can imagine what it’s like for me if for some reason, I can’t, and he starts crying; waking everyone in the house up (including his little sister). It then becomes a never ending switch between the two of them, while I try my hardest to soothe them both back to sleep. Not fun!  While this may simply be ‘one of those things’ that toddlers go through, with Nate, I believe there is a lot more to it, and it has to do with the first few weeks of his life. You see, Nate was born five weeks premature and at just ten days old, had open heart surgery to save his life. Not only was he in a humidicrib for the first eight days, but he was then wired up to so many machines, with tubes and all sorts of things hanging out of him, that the only real physical contact I was able to have with him for the first few weeks was to hold his hand. So, I guess you can safely say that it not only means a lot to him, but to me as well.

The more I think about it, even though it’s quite inconvenient and can frustrate me to no end, this is the kind of stuff I’m going to miss one day. Of course, it’s hard to be in that mindset in the middle of the night when all I want is to get a couple of hours block of sleep, but in years to come, when my little man is happily sleeping in his own bed and doesn’t need his Mumma’s hand to hold, I have no doubt I’ll look back and wish that he’d want to do it one more time.

How many jobs do I really have? – A day in the life of a stay at home Mum who works from home

How many jobs do I have? Hmm…let’s see.

My paid work that I do from home is  that I co-run not one, but two businesses with my sister in law. A spiritual healing business (psychic tarot and medium readings, reiki healing, teaching psychic development and tarot), and a publishing company (writing and publishing both our own books, as well as others’ work). That’s my paid work, and while it is most certainly real work, it’s still not seen as being real by some due to the nature of it.

Now, to my unpaid work-the work so many people unfortunately still see as being ‘not a real job’. Here we go- here’s my list of my ‘jobs’ off the top of my head (which, mind you, I do 24 hours a day):

Parent, counsellor, teacher, mediator, cook, cleaner, housekeeper, early childhood educator (I actually do have several years experience and qualifications as both an educator and centre director, so this is helpful), driver, shopper, nurse…

I’d say that currently I have 10+ jobs.  There are likely some people out there still questioning this, and rolling their eyes saying something like, “yeah right, ok”. Let’s elaborate then, shall we?

Right now I have a heap of work waiting to be done, and clients waiting on a response. My laptop is open on my desk and everything is ready to go- it has been since around 9.00 this morning. There is a pile of washing that needs to be done, but I put it off this morning because I had to make sure my four month old’s bottles were made up before my client arrived for her session at 10.00am. I would have made them up earlier, but I didn’t want to be late dropping my toddler at daycare and my eldest son at school. Once I got home from the drop off, I quickly made up said bottles, did the dishes from the morning’s breakfast, and cleaned up the lounge room which looked like a bomb had hit it (no bomb- just a toddler). No sooner had I finished doing that, my client arrived.

At approximately 12.00pm I sat down to start doing some work, and bubs decided it was time for another change and feed. Teething, mixed with hunger and lack of sleep from earlier in the morning (being woken constantly by her almost two year old brother) meant that a simple bottle and nappy change took longer than expected, and so I ended up spending around an hour on the couch before she fell asleep. In between all of this, I managed to answer some phone calls, pay some bills, and keep a close ear out for noises outside to catch our dog from barking and waking her up. Oh, and I also got to go to the toilet once or twice and grab something to snack on.

Oh wow! It’s already 2.40pm and it’ll be time to go and collect my eldest from school soon. If I’m lucky, I might be able to squeeze in a bit of work before I do that, or maybe I should sit down for five minutes and read one of the many books I have sitting there that I can’t wait to get into. No, wait. The washing. Oh, and that phone call I need to make to the bank. Oops, and I forgot that we’re also out of formula so I must go to the supermarket before I pick up the boys, otherwise I’ll need to drag them all with me (not fun).

OK, so it’s now 4.30pm and I did manage to get around forty minutes of work done (sporadically however, in between re-settling bubs). To me though, that is productive, as it’s more work than I managed to get done yesterday. Bubs is having an extra long sleep, and my eldest son is hanging with friends, so I’ve been able to get a little more done than usual. Yay for me! I even got to hang out that load of washing… must be on a roll. Ah.. I spoke too soon. I can hear that familiar sound of bubs waking up. Time to go for now.

It’s now 10.00pm and I finally have a moment’s peace. But let’s rewind shall we, to earlier in the evening: It’s approximately 5.10pm and I’m standing at the stove, trying my best to concoct some sort of nutritious and tasty dinner with what we have left in the fridge because the grocery shopping needs to be done. I have my toddler screaming at my feet because he wants to ‘help’, bubs is crying because she conveniently wants her bottle, and my teenage son complaining because he is grounded, and therefore, bored. To be honest, part of me zones out at this point, and I do this to save my sanity (and from laying on the floor myself and having a tantrum). I end up picking my toddler up so he can help because it’s easier than tripping over him every five seconds, and so now, I’m cooking one-handed, all the while making sure his little helping hands aren’t getting burnt or cut.

Half an hour later, and dirtying many more dishes than I usually would have, I’m finally able to dish up our dinner. Toddler is screaming again because he wants his now; not in five minutes when it has cooled down enough that he doesn’t burn his tongue. Bubs has decided that she doesn’t want her bottle now- she just wants to play, and so I sit on the floor with my dinner, while entertaining her at the same time. My phone is ringing but I can’t answer it right now (don’t people bloody know it’s dinner time?) Needless to say, I had a cold dinner; what was left of it anyway, after toddler decided that my identical dinner was better to eat than his. That’s ok though- I kinda lost my appetite with bubs having a poo explosion anyway.

Right, into the bathroom we go, and it goes something like this:

“You need to keep the water in the bath…No, Gracie doesn’t want to drink the enormous bucket of water you just threw in her face… Get off her, you’re too heavy…that’s not funny- now Mummy’s saturated!”

I lift bubs out of the bath before she gets smothered by her brother,then call out to teenager: “Brendon can you stand here for a sec while I grab towels? Make sure your brother doesn’t drown.” I’m now even more saturated and have dropped water from one end of the house to the other, and so when I hear toddler screaming, I’m soon told by teenager that he wanted to get out and he of course ran for his life, slipping on the water and whacking his head on the hallway wall. Is it bed time yet?

Ok so it’s only 6.15 and it feels like 9.00, but bed time is at least in sight, PJs are on, and it’s time for our 208th viewing of Frozen. Thank God for Frozen. I manage to get the dishes done while teenager continues to try and bribe me into lifting his grounding early. He follows me, complaining how bored he is while I clean up the food from the floor, wondering if toddler actually got any in his mouth. I have to stop cleaning up because toddler has decided it’s fun to push his sister with so much force in the bouncer that she might get brain damage. Frozen is on, remember? C’mon!

My phone rings again and it’s my teenagers Dad, so I answer it and end up having a forty minute discussion about his behaviour (by the way, this is fun to do with a toddler and baby wanting my undivided attention). So, the cleaning up has to wait til later. 

7.30 and toddler is ready for bed. Usually he would toddle off to bed happily with Daddy at this point, but he is on night shift this week, so it’s all me. So here I am, sitting in our bed (not his, of course) with bubs in my arms having a bottle, and toddler laying next to me having his. I won’t go into details, but trying to get a baby and a toddler to sleep at the same time, without them waking each other up, isn’t fun. It’s even less fun when toddler keeps deciding he wants to get up, or ‘help’ me get bubs to sleep. It’s around 8.30 by the time toddler falls asleep (which I’m pretty happy with, considering), so I sneak out like a ninja with bubs in my arms, praying to God she stays quiet just got a few seconds until I can leave the room. She does… Success!

So, back to where I am now at 10.00pm. After several attempts at getting bubs to sleep in between either the dog or her oldest brother waking her up from being noisy, she finally went to sleep around thirty minutes ago. I’ve spent that last half an hour cleaning up (again) and I even contemplated doing some work, but I don’t want to risk making any noise in case she wakes up- plus, I can’t concentrate because I’m thinking about all the stuff I need to get done tomorrow. I make a quick list so I don’t forget any of it, and get my PJs on and sit down.

I take a few moments to wonder just how I managed to get through the day with my sanity still in tact. I thank the universe for giving me such amazing children and a patient heart and mind. After a few deep breaths, I get that book out that I’ve been dying to keep reading, but then put it down again just as quickly. Nope, I’m too tired, and bubs will be awake in a couple of hours for a feed. Nigh-nighs time for me!

This was an average day for me, aside from hubby being on night shift (usually he’s home to help out during dinner, bath and bed time) but it doesn’t make it any less crazy! There are other things I haven’t mentioned here, such as when the kids are sick, if my teenager has a meltdown, or trying to keep appointments; not to mention those days where I actually do get some work done! 

I dare anyone to tell me that “all I am is a Stay at home Mum” or that I don’t have a real job. While my jobs (plural) bring me oh so much joy and I wouldn’t change them for the world, I work bloody hard every day and night, with rarely any opportunity for any resemblance of a break. So, next time you hear anyone mumble similar words, perhaps ask them if they’ve experienced it for themselves. Until anyone has had firsthand experience of being a stay at home parent, they have no idea what it’s really like. In my opinion, anyone who thinks parenting full time is a ‘breeze’ or that it’s ‘not real work’ needs a healthy dose of STFU (look it up if you don’t know what I’m getting at). And, for those of us full time parents who also work from home, I don’t know about you, but these judgemental, ignorant fools can kiss my arse! We work harder and much longer hours then anyone else, and our main job is unpaid. Enough said.