The Baby Stages – Newborn Vs. Not

I can feel my sister in laws eyes on my child, and I know exactly what she’s thinking: “Please don’t ever let my baby get to that age”. She’s thinking that because she has a 3 month old. A 3 month old who lies where she’s placed, mewls instead of shrieks doesn’t grab, tug, pull or play, and still naps for most of the day. As much as it saddens me, I get it. I thought that too when Carter was that age. I used to meet friends for coffee on maternity leave, and while my son slept in pretty much any position he was placed in and would stare at nothing for hours, other (older) babies always seemed exhaustingly busy.

I’ve said it before, but having an almost-8 month old is 100 times harder than having a newborn. It’s also 100 times more rewarding. The old ‘I hope my baby never grows’ up Kate is so relieved he did. However, there’s a small part of me that misses the newborn phase, and here’s why.

Newborn Mess. Sure, when your baby is a tiny infant he or she will undoubtedly vomit, shart or urinate over you. The thing is, it’s never a daily occurrence, and when they’re that small and ingesting only milk nothing really smells. It’s all very innocuous. Mess with a new born means delicately dabbing yourself and your baby with an embroidered, monogrammed cloth.
Baby mess. My son is eating fruit, meat, grains, egg, ants, the dogs feet and every flip flop lying around the house. His turds are Dr Phil worthy S shaped and the smell is no different to a grown mans. Solids entail 30% of the food being ingested by him, and 90% landing on me. (I get that number doesn’t add up, but that’s exactly how much excess food there is after any given mealtime). Crawling means black crusty fingernails, scraped knees and (unless you’re Martha-bloody-Stewart) dust, everywhere. Basically, you will never be clean again. I implore you, if you are OCD like me and thinking about starting a family in 2016 – stop showering for several months to prepare your body for the offensive odour it will permanently emanate once your child turns 6 months. Just to further drive my point home – last week I was changing my sons nappy. Apart from the usual excrement inside, I found a piece of chicken, a squashed wedge of paw paw, a block of cheese and a white slimey suppository shaped biltong stick. Mess with a baby means dabbing yourself with a cloth, then stripping down and hosing both you off with a pressure hose.

IMG_0455
It is NEVER clean.

IMG_20151209_152245.jpg

Newborn sleep. Oh Lord, is there anything more incredible than a newborn sleep? Sure, they wake up a lot for food but when they’re not drinking they’re pretty much sleeping. Carter could nap anywhere. I took that kid everywhere on maternity leave and he would nap in shopping trolleys, restaurant floors, peoples beds, carry cots, travel cots, car seats, laps, dogs tummies and concrete floors. I used to watch funny videos doing the rounds on Facebook – of parents ninja dropping and rolling to avoid their alert baby noticing them exit the room – and smugly praise myself for being the BEST PARENT EVER.
Baby sleep. I am now that parent dropping and rolling to avoid my baby noticing me exit the room.

IMG_20150507_173022
I’m just gonna nap here on dad’s chest. No biggie.
IMG_20150519_120507
Watch me whip, watch me nap nap.
IMG_20150605_163948
Not even the rancid breath of a hound shall stop me in my sleep mission.

Newborn noise. When not eating or sleeping, a newborn will occasionally grace you with their attention by making one or two adorable grunts and mewls. Heart melting, 1 x new mom would invariably whip out a video camera of sorts to capture said adorableness on video. Even a newborns cry is quiet – I’ve had dogs toys that squeaked louder.
Baby noise. There’s nothing better than your baby’s first laugh and giggle, and when it becomes a guttural belly laugh you think your heart might pop from excitement. Sadly as your baby grows in size, so does his vocal abilities, and according to the unwritten rule book of an almost-8 month old, the best time to screech like a goat on one of those Youtube videos? In a restaurant, in the quiet of a game reserve or anytime between 2 and 4 am.

Newborn stimulation. Feed, burp, rock, sleep. Every now and then you try in vain to get them to grab a toy or make eye contact with a plastic mobile.
Baby stimulation. Things they don’t really love: 200 brightly coloured balls and inflatable ball pit. Coloured spaghetti, water tables, blocks and boards, wind up toys, wind down toys, toys that sing, ring shout and offend. Books, teddies age appropriate overpriced toys or anything from Fischer Price. Things they love: Small insects, jewelry, smartphones, swimming pools and edible boxes. Basically, the more potential an item has of killing them, the more they like it.

20150904_140337
Newborns. Happy as a pig in sink.

My son is almost 8 months, so I know there are moms reading this who are snorting quietly (because they don’t want to wake their 2 year old who just passed out from tantrum induced exhaustion) and thinking ‘Just wait’. I know this, because I’m one of those moms who see your 2 year old throw said tantrum and thinks “please don’t let my child ever get there”. But he will, and when he does I’m going to remember my once-almost-8 month old and just like I did his newborn memories, think just how much easier it all was.

20150824_171029
Older woman aren’t really his thing.
IMG_20150707_160953
Carter as a newborn next to his 4 month older baby friend. Clearly not thrilled.
Continue Reading

I Love You. But You're Being An Arsehole.

Human beings can survive many things. In South Africa we survive just by surviving, but lack of sleep? That has got to the fastest sense of humour killer out there.

My child. My usually happy, smiley and content almost 7 month old has been displaying signs of what I refer to as ‘close to adoption tendencies’. He will not sleep, he will not eat and he moans at pretty much everything. When he does eat, he projectile vomits (his hand blended lamb and vegetables) minutes later and when he does sleep it’s when I’m wide awake at 2am wondering if I’m a terrible mother for calling my baby an A-Hole.

I can’t remember when last I wasn’t bending over his cot, shoving any form of pacifier or drug into his mouth to make him stop moaning for just one minute. Short of swatting him against a wall like I would a mosquito guilty of the same annoyance (and also, who has time to clean up all that 7 month sized blood anyway?) I find myself praying with the gods above to please just let him close his fucking eyes and sleep.

(In other news – I take back all the judgey judgeroo thoughts I ever had around moms co-sleeping, drugging or doingwhateverthefuckittakes to get your baby to nap)

Before you get all waggy finger in my face and ‘calling Childline on you’ I get that babies are tiny and helpless and teething happens and fever happens and they feel sore and yuk and miserable, and if I could, I would take away all the shitty pain that growing teeth presents, because it shatters my heart to see my small child in constant pain. Sadly though, teething in babies seems to be the equivalent of genital waxing in grown men, and Carter is feeling the effects more than any male salon go’er I know.

My lack of sleep, all consuming work load, loss of interest in anything and general ‘eff you’ mood has left me with one simple conclusion: You cannot have an easy newborn and an easy half year old. The world does not work that way. If everyone’s experience with raising a baby was a constant joyful affair, then even the most hard core anti mom would be walking around rubbing her engorged belly and picking out cot linen and hospital pads.

So, whilst I love my child with all my heart, I really don’t like him (lately) between the hours of 6 and 6. And that’s OK, right?

aGoToSleepBIGMiddleGo_the_fuck_to_sleep

Continue Reading

I Can't Remember When Last I Pee'd

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, being a mom is hard. Being a career woman is hard. Putting the two together and being a working mom is probably the hardest thing I have ever done.

For anyone who has ever really wondered why I, and thousands of woman may ‘change’ when we become mothers, I’ll give you a little glimpse of what really goes into the day in the life of a working mom.

Its 4 pm. I’ve been up since 4 am, and several times throughout the night tending to you, my baby, who needed a dummy, a blanket or simply a reassuring cuddle.

My husband was flying to Cape Town today, so I managed to squeeze in a 30 minute jog before he left home. It felt awesome. At 6 am I fed you, changed you, then changed you again because you decided your morning poo would be better in a brand new nappy. In between showering and dressing for work I checked emails, sang to you with my hair dryer, fed the dogs, made my lunch, packed your bags, packed my bags, and managed to leave the house to drop you off at crèche. All without you falling off the bed (again). I managed to avoid most of the traffic fuckery and got to my desk just after 8:30. There were a few raised eyebrows of course.

I worked hard today. I even landed a new client, and managed to get everything done on my list, and then some. I drove very far for a meeting, secured some budget for a new client campaign, and man, I enjoyed every second of my hot cup of coffee. I bantered with colleagues, ate my salad whilst typing a report, and declined the after work drinks invitation in my diary.

I work harder than ever before, baby. I guess its what happens when you feel like you have something to prove. When you feel that people assume you cant have working ovaries and a brain.

At 4 pm I bolted from my desk. There were a few raised eyebrows. I managed to get to your crèche by 5 pm, the time was filled with a call to a client. Yesterday I wasn’t so lucky. Yesterday I got stuck in a terrible hailstorm for 2 hours and reached your school last. You were so forgiving and gave me that toothy grin that melts my heart.

We normally race home from crèche, because you go to bed not long after. Today I had to pop into Woolworths for dog food and wine. The store didn’t have those baby seats on the trolleys, so I carried you instead. I couldn’t manage the dog food and the wine while carrying you, so I sadly put the Merlot back on the shelf. I really needed wine today.

The store is decorated in Christmas colours. I get a lump in my throat. I’m so worried about money. How am I going to afford Christmas presents this year? The closes I’m getting to a bonus is 2 for 1 tampon specials at Clicks.

At the till I remembered we also needed baby food for you, because after cooking 3 kilograms of organic mince on the weekend, you decided you hated mince. I got a few raised eyebrows from other women in the store.

We got home not too long after and the dogs went mad with joy. I lay you on the floor with them – surrounded by pillows of course, because you still topple over sometimes, for just 2 minutes so I could wee, but somewhere between yesterday and today you’ve realised when I leave the room, and the sound of your frantic screams stopped me midway to the toilet.

You’re in your high chair now and I’m about to feed you the overpriced baby food from Woolies. You’re very distracted and I realise I have to change your nappy. 5 minutes later you’re back in your chair and I’m a plethora of aeroplane sounds as I try and convince you that pureed chicken and broccoli is more exciting than eating the plastic of your chair.

We skip the chicken and start on the yoghurt and fruit. Then the finger biscuits, grated cheese and dried mango. All along I’m teaching you and chatting to you about your day. For every mouthful you swallow, another 4 mouthfuls end up on you, the hounds and in my hair.

There’s another storm brewing outside, so I start running your bath while cooing at you in the next room. The sound of running water reminds me just how badly I need to pee, except you start crying again. You really do hate it when I leave now. You love the bath and we splash for several minutes until the first lightning bolt strikes. I whisk you out and take you to your room where you fight me and the onesie to the bitter end.

It’s too early for your bottle, plus I haven’t made it yet, so I bring you to the kitchen where I try start on dinner for myself while trying to give you my undivided attention. Your father phones to tell me about his holiday work conference in Cape Town. He’s been on a wine farm all day. I want to stab him in the face.

We read a book. I choose ‘The Gruffalo’, because even though you’re too young to enjoy it properly, I love playing the characters and putting on the voices. You don’t enjoy the story too much, but the pages are apparently delicious.

I let the dogs outside and play with them and the Frisbee for a while. I almost threw you accidentally, you thought it was hilarious.

The smell of burning brings me back inside. I’ve scorched my supper, for the second night in a row.

It’s now nearly time for your bed, and I take you into your room to give you a bottle, which you refuse. Ten minutes later though I’m hanging over your cot feeding it to you again, because apparently that’s how you like it now.

Eventually, you’re asleep. Its 7 pm and I start cleaning the house, wiping yoghurt off the floors, walls and ceiling and steaming fruit for tomorrow’s meal. Dinner ends up being a box of popcorn and a beer. Your dad messages me to tell me about the curried pasta he’s eating at some fancy restaurant.

It’s 9 pm now and I’m signing off on a few emails. The house is quiet, and clean. I lock up the house, brush my teeth, and eventually I sit down to pee. You cry out, I think you’re experiencing nightmares.

That pee can wait.

 

Continue Reading

15,897,600 seconds.

It’s amazing how time differs for different things.

Pregnancy. The 40 longest weeks of your life. Then your baby is born, and its ‘blink and it’s gone’ fast. Everyone tells you how quick it goes, everyone. You believe them, but you don’t quite get it until it’s your baby. One minute he’s next to you in the hospital bed, drowning in his new-born baby grow, all pink face and puffy eyes, and the next thing he’s rolling, and sitting, and shouting, and eating solid food (sometimes) and you’re booking his first birthday party in your diary.

Carter James is 6 months old today. Half a year. I can’t quite believe it. On one hand it happens too quickly, and on the other hand I can’t remember a life before him. How did I fill my time for the past 31.5 years? (Actually, that’s a silly question. I slept, and exercised, had boobs that stayed in their bra, had a clean house and went out, a lot.)

6 months. 184 days.4,416 hours. 264,960 minutes. 15,897,600 seconds.

I wasn’t quite sure I’d enjoy having a baby older than infant sized. Honestly, I found them exhausting to be around. Always moving, always vocal, always needing stimulation and always so busy. SO BUSY. My naïve pre-mom self thought that newborns were perfection. You could doze with them on your chest, dress them in doll sized clothes, and gaze adoringly at them for hours on end. While this is all true, and while Carter’s newborn stage was one of the highlights of my life, I cannot explain just how much I am enjoying him more and more as each day passes.

I’m sorry, moms, for ever judging you when you posted another ‘solids’ pic on Facebook, or gushed about teeth, sitting or milestones. You deserve to post them. It’s an incredible feeling to watch this tiny, helpless (read: boring) infant turn into a small human who swallows, and grabs, and chats and rolls and learns new things every single day.

Carter smiled at 4 weeks, rolled at 11, got his first tooth at 5 and a half months, and then straight away a second, sat just before 6 months and fell off the bed the very next day (induction to parenting I suppose). Carter laughs at funny things, grabs and chews everything in sight, gets frustrated when he can’t do something on his own (definitely his moms child then) and smiles at everyone he meets.

So yes, whilst I may be in a spin about just how fast they do grow up, I am also shit excited for the next 6 months, and the next after that. Because watching your child grow up is a privilege that just cannot be explained.

Happy 05. Birthday to my beautiful son.

6 Months In vs 6 Months Out
6 Months In vs 6 Months Out
Carter is 6 months old today!
Carter is 6 months old today!
Continue Reading

Solids, Sickness and Sucking It Up. Plus – Win A Medela Breastpump!

There’s a magical time in the life cycle of a parent, where for a split second you know exactly what’s going on. Your baby’s schedule finally resembles something of order, he’s sleeping, crapping and eating on time, and you’re high-fiving yourself for a job well done. And by high-fiving yourself I mean drinking 5 glasses of celebratory wine.

Then, without notice or warning, your baby goes through one of his seventeen thousand growth spurts (it’s true, I Googled it) and everything changes.

For me, it was around about the time I went back to work, Carter decided night time sleep was not necessary, and waking up every hour was more of his vibe. He also then decided to bring home every germ known to man from crèche and make me ill and himself perpetually snotty in the process.

So, as if sitting in meetings with racoon eyes, a permanently-resides-in-my-gut-now tummy bug and a third of a brain cell wasn’t bad enough, we then also had solids to contend with. I have been dreading the progression from milk to solids – it felt  like a monumental chore to me.  Not only would I now need to leave the house with everything and then the kitchen sink – now I must remember microscopic portions of blended, pureed vegetables (a variety, just in case he hates carrots), as well as spoons, bibs the size of small countries and another 6 changes of clothes. Lord, it’s hard enough remembering the baby!

Like most things in life though, solids have proven to be way more fun than I imagined. Sure, you end up dirtier than a Kardashians divorce, but the baby loves it, the dogs standing underneath the feeding chair love it, and its overall a pretty rewarding thing – having kept your baby long enough that he or she now eats from a (albeit rubbery and purple) spoon.

Baby weaning to solids

This is not a post on baby food recipes, or tips on how to keep kid clean during feeding (hint: you must actually throw the baby out with the bathwater) but it is a little note to all the moms who are nearing this milestone, on how I’ve managed to incorporate solids into our lives, without having too much of a logistical breakdown.

  1. Start slowly. Your baby still needs his milk (breast or formula) throughout the process. The initial introduction of solids is small, and for the first few weeks it’s simply there to get him used to something other than milk. So don’t panic about it – it’s pretty impossible to mess it up too much at this point. For more info on formula and what’s best for your babe, check out Diapers.com
  2. Start with porridge and then only move on to vegetables.
  3. Because Carter has the ‘crèche-plague’, I’ve been mixing his porridge with breast milk as opposed to formula. Lucky for me I have a nice stash in my freezer to use. I’ve also been substituting one bottle of formula a day with breast milk (the stuff is magical as an immune booster!). If you are going back to work soon, invest in a travel pump so you can express at the office.
  4. When your baby is ready for veggies – make sure to find out what veggies he will eat. It’s completely pointless steaming an entire pumpkin when he ends up hating the stuff. Because we only started vegetables this weekend, I’ve made 1 batch of each veg, and will be introducing one to him a day – that way if he loves a particular one I will know to make more and freeze. My child is 50% my husband, so Im not holding my breath on him loving anything green that rhymes with megemabel.
  5. In term of portions – I’m still trying to figure out how little or how much, but the general consensus is to steam, puree and freeze in ice trays. Then, when it’s feed time, simply pop a cube or 2 out and go from there. Please, and this is very important, make sure you still have normal ice trays available for your wine. It’s also quite important to not confuse the 2, and give Little Johnny a spoon of Sav Blanc, or drop a frozen block of sweet potato in your Chardonnay.
  6. It’s best to introduce solids between meals – and because I work full time, I’ve found that 5 pm works best for us. Carter now also has porridge after his morning bottle, and then a nap. (remind me why we wanted to be adults?)
  7. A few other foodie options I’ve played with are breast milk lollies, teething biscuits and banana in a mesh food bag. In a few weeks I’m going to introduce biltong and dried mango – because I’m loaded apparently.
  8. Like I said, I am NOT the expert. Luckily for you, there are some moms out there who have it waxed. I found Baby Jakes Mom to be a huge help.
  9. Lastly, have fun! I have very quickly had to get over my anti-mess OCD tendencies, and have resigned myself to the fact that for the foreseeable future I will probably never be clean again. I keep reminding myself of the mantra that ‘messy play is good for babies’.

20151018_161654 IMG_20151012_174417

Lastly, in keeping with the spirt of healthy, happy and well fed babies- the kind folk at Medela have a Harmony breast pump to giveaway to one lucky Rupert Approves reader. So, if you’re pregnant, current owner of a freshly baked baby or know of someone who would like to win this awesome prize, all you need to do to enter is the following:

  1. Make sure you like the Rupert Approves Facebook page
  2. Follow the Rupert Approves Blog
  3. Leave a comment on this blog and tell me a story about your solids experience (if you have a baby) or if you’re as far away from being pregnant as Donald Trump is to winning the elections – simply tell me who you would like to win this breast pump for.

The Ts and the Cs

  • All competition mechanics must be followed in order to be entered in to the draw
  • The competition runs from 22 October and the winner will be picked and announced on 26 October at 3 pm
  • All entrants must visit the Rupert Approves blog to find out if they have been chosen
  • The prize is not transferrable
  • The competition is open to anyone worldwide, however the prize can only be delivered within South Africa.

About the Medela Harmony

  • Medela Harmony single manual breast pump is designed for mums who mostly breastfed and is great for travel or as backup.
  • Light and discreet: Switch between this pump and a double electric pump, or use the pump on its own if you aren’t a frequent pumper
  • Medela Harmony single manual breast pump is designed for mums who mostly breastfed and is great for travel or as backup. (Perfect for the office!)
  • Elegantly designed and comfortable to use: assembly is intuitive and the pump has an ergonomic twist handle
  • Features 2-Phase Expression technology

Medela Harmony

UPDATE

COMPETITION WINNER

Congratulations to DEBS on winning this competition!! Please pop me an email to katenicolekearney@gmail.com to claim your prize! 🙂

Continue Reading

5 Things That Really Happen To Your Body After A Baby. (that everyone is too scared to tell you)

I feel like I owe you all an apology. I’ve been holding something back. I’m normally so honest with you, but this time I haven’t been able to bring myself to tell you what I’m about to say.

It’s not pretty, it’s not cute, and it might just send you off to the hysterectomy clinic the second you’ve finished reading it.

Ladies, for those who are already pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant, this one’s for you.

We’ve all read the articles about the weight gain, flatulence, stretch marks, leaky boobs and heartburn. None of this should be a surprise anymore. But what these sons of bitches don’t tell you, is what happens after you give birth. After the C section scar has healed, after your milk has dried up and after you’ve pretty much returned to normal. THAT’S when the shit-fest fun starts.

I first noticed it about 8 weeks after having my son. I finally found the energy and enthusiasm to shave my legs. Well, atleast I thought I’d shaved my legs, but when I woke up the next morning the hair had returned, thicker and darker than ever before. Blaming the mum-dumb I returned to the shower, and shaved them again. Only to find that within minutes, more black-pube like hair had sprouted from the very place where the razor had just touched. Turns out that having a 3.7 kilogram human pulled aggressively from your womb isn’t torture enough – your body then decides to manifest hair faster than a drain at a communal camp site.

(Oh, and in case you were wondering, this isn’t limited to legs and armpits.)

Hairy legs after baby

Think back to a time when you were the most nervous, and when your body, startled into action, produced the most sweat it has ever produced. For me this was on my wedding day. Granted, it was mid November, hotter than hell and I happened to be dressed in a frock made entirely out of feathers and poef, but I was shvitzing faster than Bill Cosby at a modelling convention. Fast forward to 5 months post partum and my wedding day has nothing on this Sweaty Betty. In pregnancy you glow, in post pregnancy you shall sweat and stink and berate the CPA for falsifying Mitchums 48 hour promise.

tumblr_inline_nfvbnrAX9I1t10bt3

I ran this one past my husband who nearly vomited and told me ‘under no circumstances should I EVER put this on my blog’. Which clearly meant I absolutely had to put it on my blog. Girls, your period, when it eventually returns, will terrify the living bejeezus out of you. Aunt Flo comes a visiting and she’s brought company. Do not get rid of your mattress sized pads they give you in the hospital. You will need these, and more, to staunch the wrath of Satan that launches out of your already weak and vulnerable body. I’m not making this up. This here from a friend who shall not be named:

aunt flo

Leid-Tampon-600x310

I get that most woman, over the age of puberty, have cellulite. But what I can’t understand is why the punishment for bringing a human life into this world, is the fact that our resulting bodies look like a plaster wall before tiling. Cavernous dimples riddle one’s body like the plague. My arms have cellulite. The cellulite in my cellulite has cellulite. Fuck, I’m not even convinced that it’s a dimple on my cheek anymore – I suspect the cellulite on the rest of my body has run out of space and is now moving up into my face.

this-is-all-baby-fat

And lastly, because why stop at Hell when we may as well fast track into damnation. Boobs. The only time I find a pap-sak appealing is when it’s 2 litres in size and filled with red wine. Nowadays, my not-so-fun bags resemble this cat. Except the only difference is that THIS CAT HAS PERKIER BREASTS.

fXj5Kql (1)

Now, before you start selling your unborn child in panic, let me tell you it’s not ALL that bad. Yes, you may be softer, smellier and dumber than ever before, but you’ll also be the richest you’ve ever been. No man, not as in money, ‘cos you’ll have fuck all of that. As in your baby. Your baby will make most of it all of it worth it. Promise promise. Cross my hairy chest and hope to die.

honey boo boo birthing babies

Continue Reading

What Is A Mom?

It came to my attention at 3 am this morning, as I leant over my baby’s cot – for the 18th time that night – that motherhood is a multi-faceted thing. To be a mom is to be provider, protector and parent. But it’s also so much more than that.

It’s holding in a wee, even though it feels like your bladder might burst, to rather spend some quality time with your child

It’s putting their needs before yours. Forever

It’s starting dinner late, if at all, because a thousand things need to be done before you get the luxury of eating

It’s overcoming your OCD tendencies as your 5 month old smears sticky porridge in your face, your hair, and over your not-so-white work shirt

It’s feeling like you will always do more for him, than anyone else. It’s being mom martyr for the rest of your life

It’s sacrificing your free time to rather lie outside with him on a blanket, and sing silly made up songs.

It’s re-applying your makeup for the 4th time that day, because something like bath water, vomit or more baby porridge has smudged it. Again

It’s crying over anything you ever see about sick babies, sad babies, dead babies or happy babies. It’s about never being able to watch Grey’s Anatomy with an air of detachment

It’s worrying about something 24/7

It’s about sacrificing your holiday savings in favour of pool fences and day-care

It’s about rubbing your nose over his soft cheeks while he slumbers, even though you risk waking him up

It’s about going against every bad parenting action you swore you’d never do, just to get them to give you 10 minutes of sleep

It’s about buying bigger jeans, stretchy bra’s and one piece swimming costumes. It’s about wearing your hair in a mom-bun, and investing in concealer that never actually hides the caverns under your eyes

It’s about letting go and giving them the space to grow, knowing that their games will probably end in tears

It’s about saying ‘no’ to things like adult dinners and get-togethers, because your baby’s routine comes first

It’s about squealing when you watch him roll over for the first time, but dreading each day that he gets bigger

It’s about the deals you make with the devil when he just won’t sleep. And the gummy smiles that greet you at 2 am.

It’s about planning his first birthday, before he’s 4 weeks’ old.

It’s about having the weight of the world on your shoulders, as you burden the responsibility of being his mom. It’s about knowing that you will play a very large part in shaping the person he becomes.

It’s about hosting 20 people for a raucous get together, knowing full well that you won’t have the luxury of sleeping in past 5 am the next day.

It’s about learning the value of a love so large that you struggle to breathe

It’s about learning to love, but not smother. To live and let go, and to trust that you are good enough. Every single day.

b54101aeb72dfc109fa770e089b5c9d0

What is a mom

Continue Reading

Moms, I Need Your Help.

“Aren’t you glad you’re past that stage?” Someone asked me this yesterday. She was referring to Carter being a bit older and past the whole newborn/infant part of his life. She asked this because just minutes before, my brand new pink shiny niece had been born in to this world, and I was gleefully counting down the hours until I could leave work and go visit her.

Truth? I’m not glad. I’ve had a heavy heart since yesterday. I envy my sister in law. A fresh mom, drugged up and in a love coma. Those 4 days in hospital are some of the greatest memories I have with Carter. It was 4 days of chaos, of people, of snuggles and of learning all about my brand new baby. What then followed was 4 blissful but hard months of being a stay at home mom. 4 months of the most quality time that I will ever have with my son. Nowadays I see him for an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening. Weekends actually feel long in comparison – I feel like I’ve forgotten how to be a great mom – and it’s breaking my heart.

My Niece, Lea.
My Niece, Lea.

The thing is, I want to work. Coming back here has rejuvenated my soul. Adult conversation, healthy lunches, Excel! (Look, I’m still using a calculator to work out simple maths, but they do say one the mommy brain hits, it never goes away.)

I started writing this piece, with no answer in mind. For once, I’m at a loss for ideas. How can I utilise my time better with my baby? I don’t want to think back on his infant years and only remember the mundane; wiping drool from his chin, mixing up bottles and buying nappies. I want to remember the play, the laughs and the learning.

So, I need your help. How have you mastered the art of a work/baby balance? How do you counteract the guilt? Do you spend less time socialising and more time at home? Do you attend mommy baby classes, or are you too just trying to fit everything in, while trying not to panic at time wasted.

(While you have a think, browse through the latest selection of Carter photos. because hes cute as fuck, and because, as MD, owner and director of this blog, I’m allowed a little shameless self promotion.) 

IMG_20150929_062446 IMG_20150925_172620 IMG_20150923_080820 IMG_20150919_111945

Continue Reading

10 Reasons Working Mothers Make The Most Valuable Employees

There’s something quite terrifying about going back to work after maternity leave. Despite your hardest efforts, you change a lot as a person during your time off. I tried to keep my brain busy with online courses and adult stimulation, but the change goes deeper than that. It’s an internal shift that happens with or without your permission.

When I was pregnant, I would often carpool with my bestie, Amy, to work. Coming from Fourways, and traveling into Hyde Park, means traffic, always. A stresser by nature, I hated the fact that I was spending more than 3 hours a day sitting on a congested Jan Smuts, when I could be doing something productive with my time. Amy, mom to Ben (nearly 2) would always tell me that my anxiety for things that were out of my hands (read: traffic) would diminish, if not disappear entirely when I had the baby.

She was right. Something in me has shifted, and I’ve found a backbone and will that I never knew existed. My life is no longer just mine, and going back to work means adjusting to a new kind of normal. Do I strive to succeed in the work place any less? Absolutely not, but my priorities in terms of my timings have changed. I no longer have the luxury of dawdling over a task until 6 pm. 6pm is my child’s bedtime. I now steamroll through my work in order to leave at a decent hour and make the painful commute back home, to fetch my baby from crèche.

The past two weeks, of re-learning how to adjust to a full time job, being a mom, and not losing my sanity has taught me some very important lessons. And this is why I believe that working moms make the most valuable employees**. Here’s why:

  1. We are efficient. We keep humans alive, so running a team, managing a client and getting things done comes as second nature to us. Trust me, work is a hell of a lot easier than being a stay at home mom. For any mom who raises their baby on a routine, implementing a similar routine at the office becomes second nature. Timing is everything (just ask the parent who’s been shat on when they took too long to replace the nappy.)
  2. We have empathy. I used to have sympathy for moms when their sick child meant they worked from home, or when they left early to go attend little Johnny’s underwater basket weaving tournament, but now, I totally get it. Sadly, the world does not stop spinning after you have a child (the fucking thing doesn’t even slow down) so getting anything done is twice as time consuming. Just this morning, millions of parents woke up, bathed, changed, fed, burped and played with their kids, before packing their school bags, making their lunches, wiping their nose for the 18th time and shuttling them off to school. They did this all before bathing, feeding and getting themselves to work. I’m not asking for a medal, I’m asking humans to have some compassion towards other humans.
  3. We don’t fuck around. Yesterday a colleague mentioned to me that she’s hardly seen me since I’ve been back at work. That’s probably because I get in, sit down, work harder than hard, and make sure my shit is done before I have to leave for the day. I know that I get 45 minutes with my baby every day, and I need to be able to do that with a clear conscience, knowing that I have achieved my work goals for that day.
  4. We have a zero bullshit tolerance. I no longer have the energy, nor the time, to tolerate bad behaviour. Be it in a personal relationship or a working environment. I will never be rude, but you can bet your ass that your behaviour will no longer go down with me rolling onto my back.
  5. We are patient. Sure, we have a low tolerance for rudeness, but we are possibly the most patience specimens on earth. Any mom of a toddler will tell you that, compared with her child’s “but why” questions 1000 times a day, helping someone with a work related, laborious task, just ‘aint no thang.
  6. We will deliver. Listen up, I have sucked snot out of an infants nose, using little more than a plastic tube and a prayer. That means I am resourceful as hell, and can probably go the extra mile to ensure you get what you need.
  7. We are trustworthy. I’ve kept my child alive this long, right?
  8. We can work under pressure. Having a baby is like giving birth to a ticking time bomb. In the early days, one never knows how long the nap will last, how long the nappy will stay clean, and how long your bebe can go between hunger screams. We live our lives like brave explorers, fitting in hundreds of chores and activities between naps and poos. That means, the more you pile on us in a working environment, the more we can do, You’ve all heard the saying – if you want something done, give it to a busy person.
  9. We are resilient. I haven’t had a full night’s sleep in almost half a year. If that’s not resilience, then I don’t know what is.
  10. When we are there, we are there 100%. Having a family means spontaneity disappears faster than your figure. So, when we do commit to something, it means we have lined up a plan in our absence in order to be there. That also means, we are going to take full advantage of the situation, and be present in the moment. Unless it’s a finance meeting, because I mean, snore.

** I’m not saying every single working mother is a win though. I have worked with a mother of 2 who proved more useless than Eskoms delivery promise. I’ve also worked with childless people who couldn’t arrange a piss up in a brewery. So, basically, some people are great, some people are dicks. You can’t win them all.

Continue Reading

Motherhood. Expectations Vs. Reality.

Oh, pregnancy. A sweet time of glowing skin and great plans. Alas, just as your uterus shatters, so do your big parenting ideas.

I will get my post baby body back.

No. No you won’t. Sorry. (Unless you’re my friend Amy. Fuck Amy).

I will always look presentable. No mom jeans for me!

You will never look presentable again. Yesterday I put on a crisp white work shirt and dropped Carter off at crèche. The parent gods laughed and laughed at me when Carter threw up, not once, not twice, but thrice on said shirt. I spent the remainder of the day sniffing myself, wondering if anyone else could smell the curdled Nan.

I will still cook gourmet, healthy meals.

If that means opening a tin of curried vegetables and pouring a mug of wine, then yes, I’m positively Nigella’ing this shit.

I will make time for my man. No baby shall come between us.

And if by ‘making time’ you mean grunting at each other from across the lounge, while sprawled on your couch, mug of wine in hand, and Idols Season 76 on TV, then yes, we are living the dream.

I will never drug my baby.

Until you use Telament for the first time, and the angels in the heavens open their sweet, sweet mouths and sing your praise. “Hallelujah” they chant, “for your baby shall now nap”.

I will not over document my child’s life.

I see your ’18 photos of Juniors solids’ and raise you my birth photo, Facebook gallery and 416 Instagram snaps.

I will never help my baby to sleep. He will sleep when I tell him to sleep.

Sister, you will rock, swing, walk, run, coo, kiss and lick your baby to sleep. There are days when I find myself rocking slowly back and forth…and my child is nowhere in sight. Acceptable at home, not great in a business boardroom.

I will not let one small human getin the way of my life’s plans.

And if by life’s plans you mean living, breathing, napping, pooing, working, shopping, cooking, socialising and cleaning Nan vomit off your white shirt, then sorry. They will get in the way of it all. I have held a wee in for the better part of a day. Your body is a miraculous thing. It can hold a baby, and urine for equal amounts of time.

I will not bring up my kid in adult conversation.

Boss: “Have you done that budget recon, Kate?”

Kate: “No, because have you seen how cute my baby is?”

I will still have money leftover for nice things

A telephone conversation with my husband this morning went along the lines of “Darling, remember all that money we had saved for house extensions and that new custom made TV stand? Well, it’s now all going to be spent on a pool fence and some nappies.”

I will not feel guilty about re-priotitizing my life.

You will apologize for everything. Sorry I can’t make your function, sorry I’m leaving work now to fetch my child, sorry I’m late, sorry I’m sorry, I’m sorry I take a million Instagram photos and talk about my son all day. Sorry, not sorry.

You will never be the same again.

“The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new.” and so in you the child your mother lives on and through your family continues to live… so at this time look after yourself and your family as you would your mother for through you all she will truly never die.” – Osho

Continue Reading