No more babies? How do you really know when you're done?


Do you ever know when you’ve had your last child? When I held my baby boy in my arms almost two years ago, it felt so definite that I was done. Our family of four was complete. But as that same baby boy nears his second birthday and I slowly give away and sell the big items of his and his big brother’s babyhood, the question sometimes rears it’s head again ‘Are you sure you’re done?’.

I’ve pondered this question over the last couple of weeks and for me, I think the answer really is ‘yes’ but the tug of emotion that comes with change and letting go of those baby years has hit more than I thought it would. Maybe two years is the length of time you forget the struggle of that first year and the idea of snuggling a newborn head to yours and taking in their sweet smell becomes somewhat romantic, maybe it’s purely the biological pull or perhaps it’s my inner hoarder trying to trick me into keeping all the baby stuff ‘just in case’. Whatever it is, despite all the emotions, my rational self has made up its mind and it continues to pull these thoughts into line. So, maybe you’re never really done – you just reach a point where you make a decision to be done?

So, how does my rational self (and that of my husbands) know that two children is the right number for our family? Here’s the thought process I’ve gone through, and the discussions we’ve had, to reach the point that we’re getting rid of baby things. My hope is that it will help you, if you are tossing up whether to have another child.
1. Financial situation: Look, I wish that money didn’t have to come into it but for us having another child would severely stretch our finances. For us though it can’t be the only reason, as there are always ways to make do and you really can’t put a price on the love that children bring into your life.
2. Life goals: For me, this meant looking at what kind of life you want for you and your family and if adding another child would impact this in a positive or negative way. This can be tied to the financial goals, but it can also be about freedom, travel and personal growth.
3. Demands on time and resources: For us, this was a bit of a biggie. With J needing extra assistance with his speech and gross motor skills, it already sometimes feels we’re struggling to fit appointments and practice in, while also allowing him time to just be a kid and give Hugo the same opportunity. Having another child would make this even more difficult.
4. Demands on sanity: I’m the first one to admit that the baby years had a huge impact on my mental health and sense of self. I don’t function well with lack of sleep and combined with my perfectionist tendencies, I end up being really hard on myself. The past few years have taught me a lot about being a bit kinder to myself but even so, my feeling is that another child would push me past my limit sanity wise.
So now it’s back to packing up those well-chosen things that served our baby boys and us so well and moving onto the next stage with memories of those sweet snuggles and struggles that got us here.
How about you? I’d love to hear how you decided you were done with the baby years? Or how do you know you’re not done just yet?

5 sanity saving tips while caring for sick kids

looking after sick kids

It would be an understatement to say that last week kind of kicked my arse a bit. Hugo was sick with a virus and then an ear infection and the poor little guy needed his mum ALL the time. Which is fair enough, but with being needed in such an intense way comes a side of exhaustion that I think all parents can relate to. Getting up at 4.30am everyday, being woken at night and then gaining only an hour reprieve during the day (if I was  lucky) can quickly send you a bit crazy, which I realised when on Sunday morning at 4am I screamed at my awake children that ‘I’m not depressed I’m just tired! Go watch TV if you won’t go back to bed’ Yes, friends it was not my finest parenting hour, but that’s what a week tending to the sick on no sleep will do to you!

So, given that there will be many times when we all experience the ‘joy’ of sick children, I’ve put together five lessons from my week of snot mopping and panadol-filled syringe toting for you all.

1. Embrace the helplessness

Looking after sick kids is such a helpless feeling, but the first step to staying sane is embracing that helplessness and then get stuck into what you CAN do. It won’t be something that takes away the pain entirely but it may be something that gives your child a little bit of comfort when they’re feeling anything but comfortable. These things will almost always be excruciating for you (like watching endless repeats of Charlie Bear), but your child will feel that little bit better for it.

2. Embrace the inconvenience

It’s an unwritten rule that children will get sick at the most inconvenient of times. For me last week it was during the end of the production schedule for the magazine I work for. Print deadlines wait for no child, however sick – but having a stressed out mum, trying to do it all is no help to either party. So, I hatched a plan. With one story to finish, I went into work to get the files and information I needed, while Mr P negotiated with his work to start late. I then let my work know I’d finish my final story at home and would be in touch by email. The story was finished later that day and sent for appropriate approvals in time for the sick boy to be wanting my attention. I can’t pretend it was quite as carefree as that sounds as I was quite stressed about it, but by embracing the inconvenience and coming up with a solution that would work for me, my sick boy and my employer I felt more at ease with moving onto point number 3 …

3. Be, not do

As discussed in point one – sometimes a sick child just wants the comfort of their parent close AT ALL TIMES, as my Hugo did last week. I’m not always comfortable with sitting down for lengths of time – my head whirs with all the things I want to get done and why is my house so dirty and I need to hang out the washing and gosh, I haven’t blogged for ages (you get the picture). I found that I could feel more relaxed and almost relish my extra caring duties when I just let go of the need to DO and embraced the need to just BE. All those other things can wait … a sick child is a call to be in the now, to pay attention to what is and what won’t be for much longer.

4. Sleep when you can

It’s so tempting to use the time’s they’re asleep to catch up on all the things you didn’t get done while partaking in enforced couch time. But I found a little nap, even if it’s for half an hour, is enough to charge the batteries and improve the mood. I also put myself to bed early instead of staring blankly at a TV or computer screen and awoke the next day a lot happier for it. The day after my 4am crazy yelling bout, my husband got up to the boys while I enjoyed a couple of hours extra rest and here I am a day later feeling like a completely different person. It’s OK to insist on some extra sleep, I promise you’ll feel better!

5. Escape if you can

This one also falls into the self-care category and although it’s last on the list, it’s definitely one of the most important! Being home with a sick child all week, with noone to talk to in real life can make you go a little bat-shit crazy. So, take any chance you have to escape once the child is asleep and in the care of someone else. I didn’t feel like going to my usual yoga class but I made myself go and found a little bit of myself while doing so and on Friday I arranged to meet a friend for a meal and a glass of something bubbly. This human contact made me feel less zombie and more human and ready for whatever the next day threw at me.

So, these are just 5 of my lessons from caring for my sick child last week. What’s your best tips for looking after you while looking after a sick little one?

Hi I'm Belinda and I'm crap at craft

Take a peek at any number of blogs, facebook, Pinterest and Instagram and it seems everyone is just whipping up gorgeous little Christmas trinkets with their little ones. Me? I’m just struggling to instruct how to put together some ready cut out Antler ears from a Kmart craft pack! Why oh why are there no instructions? Am I really the only one around on planet motherhood who is crap at craft?

Head over to A Little Bird where I’m lamenting my craft challenged ways. Luckily for mums like me, there are plenty of free Christmas craft workshops on around town at the moment. So check out the post and get some ideas of where to go for the best kids craft activities in Brisbane.

Are you crap at craft? Please tell me I’m not alone!

Motherhood words of wisdom

Wouldn’t this be nice? Do you think it’s possible, or am I having one of my hippy idealistic episodes (of which I have many!). I don’t think any of us are immune from getting a visit from Judgey McJudgey occasionally, but I actively try not to indulge him when he comes a knocking.

Afterall, we don’t know what is happening in other people’s lives. Behind their closed doors. Inside their minds. The things they struggle with. Where they’ve been. I remind myself of that constantly, that things are not always what they seem.

I think the celebration starts with being honest, really honest. With ourselves and with other mothers. Not just playing lip service to the parenting cliches.

Let’s own our parenting decisions, so if someone does try to judge them they won’t get very far. And if we struggle to own them, let’s find the strength to ask ourselves why so we can try and fix what doesn’t feel right.

There is no right way to parent, we all find our own way through by loving and nurturing and doing what feels right to us.

I am still finding my way. I’m a work in motherhood progress, yet aren’t we all?

How are you progressing? What words of wisdom have helped you on your parenting journey?

When attachment parenting doesn't work

Attachment parenting has attracted alot of interest of late and I think it’s great that this style of parenting is getting more coverage in the mainstream media. With Jarvis I accidently fell into a style of parenting that was more attachment than not.

We did alot of baby wearing, we co-slept, I breastfed until 15 months and did so on demand and his weaning was mostly baby led. I didn’t set out to follow this path, but it was the style that worked to soothe my fussy little guy and mostly worked for me too. There were times I did find the demands of the attachment style completely exhausting and by 15 months I was well and truly ready to get a bit of space back. So an attachment parenting fundamentalist I was not, although I admire those who are as they are made of more self-sacrificing stuff than I.

Ultimately I was happy with my decision to trust my gut and follow this path, as my little guy has grown into a confident and independent toddler. So for baby number two, I had planned to do things much the same.

But the thing is, Hugo has had other ideas. Continue reading

How I survived three days as a toilet training recluse


This week I’ve been living the life of a toilet training recluse. And it almost broke me, it really did.

This is the second time we’ve attempted toilet training with Master J and at first things were much the same: hiding to do number 2s and weeing anywhere but the toilet or potty. When questioned about a need to wee the answer was a definite and terse NO!! The attitude had ramped up in the last 6 months that’s for sure, and I really had to channel a lot of ‘serenity now’ to keep a sunny ‘it’s okay’ demeanor in the face of umpteen accidents on day one and two.

Day three (yesterday) was probably the worst of all, despite the first ever wee on the toilet the night before J seemed determined not to have any of this using the toilet caper. I had a reward chart, stickers, promises of toys and cool superhero undies and he had a toddler load of stubbornness. My gadgets were no match for an unreasonable toddler on a mission. Serenity now was out the window. My grip on both sanity and reality was slipping away. Continue reading

When mummy becomes a dirty word

The media it seems are just obsessed with ‘mummy-bagging’ at the moment. ‘Mummy bloggers’ are just opportunistic wenches looking for freebies to mindlessly blog about to a mindless readership. Women of child-bearing age read ‘mummy porn’ described as crap-tastic drivel aimed at the lowest common mum-dominator. And now the ‘mummy mafia’ are camping out at a school gate near you, ready with a whispered and bitchy critique of your drop off ensemble, your child’s behaviour and a stack of party invites without your child’s name on it.

All this ‘mummy’ nonsense is just sexism plain and simple and I’m sick of it. Excuse me while I don my ranty pants. Continue reading