A Case of the Feels 

The last month has been a bit shitty for me. I battled a nasty cold for 3 weeks, lost my voice for 2 weeks, sprained a rib muscle, Ash has been going through a developmental leap and I got to meet her highly sensitive, explosive, and mischievous alter-ego (argh, in simple terms she’s just been a turd), Tay has been teething, had an ear infection and a sleep regression, I had to go through some solo parenting, and to top it all off, our beloved pet dog Diesel was ill and we had to put him to sleep. 

They say bad things happen in 3’s and I’m hoping that I’ve met the quota. Naturally, I’ve been feeling quite flat. I’ve been experiencing the works in terms of emotions over the month. I’ve been sad, felt hopeless, helpless, exhausted, stressed, anxious, lonely, defeated, and I’ve felt a great sense of grief. It’s just been shit. But you know, I’m okay with this.

I’ve been open to sharing what’s been going on in bits and bobs to people who have asked me how I’m going. Here’s what I am not okay with: the tendency for people to want to try and fix or redirect a person’s feelings of shittiness.

If I am open about the fact that I’m exhausted as a result of sleep deprivation and managing meltdowns, and trying to juggle the needs of a baby and a toddler, on top of trying to minimise the chances that I’m going to fuck either one up, I have been met with these gold nuggets:

“Oh that’s ok that they want extra cuddles”

“But the time goes by so quickly, just enjoy them while you can”

“The baby stage goes by so quickly, every child is different” 

When I share my frustrations over my current injuries and how this means I have to take a break from strength training, I received this gem:

“Don’t be upset about this, just rest and take care of your babies”

And after the passing of Diesel, this corker came my way: 

“Don’t be too depressed, unexpected things happen in life”

All these responses initially gave me the shits, but once I took a step back, it got me intrigued. While they are all indeed in my opinion, quite invalidating, they all share a common theme: we must get rid of unpleasant feelings. Holy moly this is a concern for me.

We’ve become so uncomfortable with tolerating the experience of unpleasant feelings. We have a tendency to try to fix things or try to make people think and feel positively about a situation, or we try to redirect them from their painful feelings. More often than not, these feelings are legitimate. Sometimes we are just going through a rough patch, and we just feel like shit. It is okay to feel hopeless, sad, hurt, disappointed, grief, helpless, dejected. We need not fear these feelings. When we start fearing these, we then attach labels to them. Unpleasant feelings become “negative” feelings, ones that need to be avoided. Judgements and labels get attached to these feelings – ones that criticise a person’s capacity to cope and function as an individual. This then ultimately leads to self judgment and self criticism about one’s worth based on how everyone else thinks these unpleasant feelings should be dealt with. This is a dangerous space to be in. This is where mental health concerns arise because people are trying so hard to avoid or get rid of their unwanted painful emotions. People then start to feel discouraged from sharing their struggles with others and then miss out on much needed support.

As a mum, I am very much aware that my children will grow up quickly, that what I’m going through is a phase and that they do not remain babies for long. But it does not mean that I need to stop feeling anything unpleasant because I need to be grateful and enjoy every.bloody.moment. My child is not sleeping – I’ll enjoy the moment! My child is having a major meltdown because I didn’t use the correct coloured bowl – I’ll enjoy the moment! My child almost bit my nipple off and I think it’s detached but I’ll enjoy the fucking moment because I’ve been told I need to be grateful, and if I blink, my child will be 30 and married off. While having children is such a special experience, it’s unrealistic to think that every moment will be a cherishing one. Having children is hard and the struggles are real. It is okay to feel exhausted, anxious, hopeless, and resentful. It is ok to want your child refunded, because sometimes the situation just calls for this.

When we lose someone or something that was have held so dearly to our hearts, it’s ok to feel a deep sense of sadness, grief, and heartbreak. Time does not heal all wounds, and nor does it need to. It is okay to miss something or someone everyday. How great is it that we have the capacity to even feel and experience love? To know that we have given someone or something the experience of love. That’s pretty special. Where there is love, there will inevitably be pain. They go hand in hand. Everybody has a right to carry a sense of grief with them, alongside happiness. 

We have every right to feel what we are feeling. Unpleasant feelings do not need to be avoided or fixed or redirected. Sure they don’t feel nice. But rather then fearing them, and doing what you can to make them go away, make some space for them. When we are able to sit with them for long enough, they become growth opportunities. We need to be aware of this. It is okay to feel pissed when you face a setback in life. You need to be in that space to process what’s gone on and then consolidate and work out your game plan. 

The most important gift we can give someone is the feeling of being validated and understood. And how do we go about this? By just being with them, in that space. By acknowledging that what they are experiencing is real, is legitimate, does suck, and that they will still be respected and valued and loved while they are struggling. By regularly checking in to see if they would like some support, some company, comfort, distraction, or some cuddles. 

When we create space for these feelings, we are no longer creating a fear or a stigma around them. Whatever the situation, it can be a really lonely time. It’s important that we offer support in our presence – that while we may not be able to understand, we will stand with them and provide some comfort while we ride out the wave with them, without judgement. There is power in just “being with”. 


•CLEAN EATING• raw caramel slice 

Sometimes I find “clean” desserts frustrating. They don’t taste as good as they sound, and often they’re sweetened with honey, maple, agave, rice malt syrup, etc, so really regardless of how “healthy” these ingredients are, they are still sugar, and are still treat food. And to me that just sucks. If I’m not allowed to pig out on clean desserts, I’d rather just have the real thing and enjoy it in all of it’s sugary glory. Sometimes you just need to eat that slice of cake and enjoy the damn thing. I believe in everything in moderation. 

I still tinker around the kitchen experimenting with clean desserts and I do trawl the net for yummy looking recipes. I’m pretty happy with this recipe for a raw caramel slice. I stumbled across it on the Food Matters site, and made slight adjustments to the recipe. I admit that it doesn’t taste exactly like a caramel slice, BUT it is damn good and will satisfy your need for a treat. It is also really easy, requires few ingredients and very few utensils. You need to make this.

Recipe (Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Paleo)


  • 100g Almonds (Raw or Roasted) 
  • 8 Medjool dates, pitted
  • 3 Tbs Coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 Cup Cacao powder 
  1. Place all ingrediants in a food processor and process until you get a nice crumb. 
  2. Line a rectangle slice pan with baking paper and spread the mixture evenly at the base of the pan. Press on the mixture firmly. 
  3. Place the tray in the freezer while you make the middle/”caramel” layer.

Caramel Layer 

  • 12 Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1/2 cup Coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 Tbsp Hulled tahini
  • 2 Tbsp Maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup water
  1. Process the ingredients, aside from the water, until combined. You will notice that the mixture looks like I has split. 
  2. Gradually add small amounts of the water bit by bit, and process until you get a thick, smooth, and creamy paste. 
  3. Pull out your pan from the freezer and spread this evenly on top of the base layer. Place the pan back in the freezer for 30 minutes.

Top Layer

  • 1/4 cup Coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup Cacao
  • 1/4 cup Maple Syrup
  1. Whisk and combine the ingredients together.
  2. Pour on top of the caramel layer and leave it in the freezer to set.

Once the slice is set, cut into small squares and serve. The slice needs to be stored in the freezer. 

Enjoy! x 

Having 2 under 2: Matters of the heart

Six months ago, I became a mum of two under two.

We welcomed Miss Taylor into the world on Boxing Day, and she has been a happy and delightful little addition to our family. She’s reminded me of how much I actually adore the baby stage, and for some reason, time seems to be going even faster with Tay than it did with Ash.

Maybe it’s because a majority of my time is spent trying to keep Tay alive.


Parenting a toddler and a baby is hard. I think hands down, the hardest thing I’ve done. Prior to Tay’s arrival, I used to worry about how I would manage and cope with all of the practical challenges – how am I going to feed Tay and entertain Ash at the same time, how I will juggle 2 nap schedules and not be house bound all day, how I will be able to meet both of their needs if they have a meltdown at the same time, etc, etc.

Really all of that stuff is insignificant. You work that shit out. The real struggle is with my mumma’s heart. Everyday my heart is full and broken at the same time. Everyday I wonder whether I am doing enough for each child.

When I was pregnant with Tay, a close friend gave me some advice. She said, “make the most of the time you have with Ash. It will never be just you and her again.” This really resonated with me. With Ash, I really miss us. Even just typing that makes me teary. I miss the days where we would go out on little adventures and it would just be me and her. We had all the time in the world – in and around her sleep schedule of course :p. I really heeded my friend’s advice and I ramped up our activities together up until Tay arrived. We would build things and knock them down over and over, head out to the park and go on the swings together, grab coffee and a babycino and soak in the sun, sing and dance, go to swimming lessons, share delicious baked treats on benches and watch the people go by. Often I would sit and just soak in the moment, and just enjoy being there. Ash is the most mindful person I know.

We still do a lot of those things. Naturally it’s been scaled back while I juggle 2 nap schedules and routines. This often means that in a day, we generally only have time for one activity. Grabbing coffee is my priority and then we would head out to the park, or a play date, or any other place that is toddler friendly. Ash is generally pretty happy with whatever we choose to do. But my mumma’s heart breaks each time she says “mummy sit down”, and pats a spot next to her, where she has allocated for me. All she wants is for me to be in the moment with her, and I can’t because Tay needs me for feeding, or cuddles, or settling, or because I need to get us packed and ready to go so we don’t miss the critical window for naps. But I would very much love to just sit down and join her in whatever she’s doing. My heart also breaks when Ash needs me for cuddles, and I have to cut it short, sometimes before she is ready. In these moments, I wish time would stand still so I could provide endless cuddles.

With Tay, my heart is just filled with so much warmth and joy. She is such an happy little soul, who is content with enjoying whatever experiences that come her way. I love soaking in all of the cuteness, tenderness, and fun that comes with the baby stage. My heart breaks because with Tay, there has never been an ‘us’. Ash still goes to a daycare 3 days a week, which gives me some precious one on one time with Tay. I wish there was more. We are still somewhat limited with what we can do together because of nap times and daycare pick ups. I can’t do as much with Tay as what I did with Ash when she was a baby. It makes me sad to know that this time together will end once I return to work early next year.

I feel pained each time I have to pop Tay down on her lonesome while I sort out her sister’s meltdown. Or when she has to come second best because her sister’s audibility and desperation in demands indicate that she will actually combust if she doesn’t get her needs met right.this.second. There are so many times in my day where I wish I could just enjoy cuddling, and playing with Tay for just that little while longer, but instead it’s cut so short because of Ash’s competing demands.

These days are hard because they both need me in equally important ways. Time spent with one, means less time with the other. At times I struggle with this. Maybe it’s because I don’t want to miss out on a second with either one of them. Maybe it’s because I know that this time is finite. That they will grow before I know it and they will no longer need me in the same way. That one day, they will go off on their own and lead their own little lives and other people or things will be more influential and more fun. That one day, mummy kisses and cuddles will not solve their world’s problems. When tea parties, blocks, play doh, picking flowers, going on the swings together, singing and dancing to the Wiggles will not be core business anymore.

Whatever it is, all I know is that my mumma’s heart yearns to savour each sweet moment before it’s gone forever. I want them to feel equally loved by me. It is my hope that in years to come, they will look back and feel that what they had with me was enough.

Lifting Weights During Pregnancy

It’s taken me a while to write this blog post. Originally I just wanted to share my workouts and how they’ve changed to adapt to each stage of my pregnancy. It seemed straightforward enough. But I still struggled. I didn’t want this post to come across as showy – as if I’m trying to say “look at me and what I can do being heavily pregnant”. I most certainly didn’t want it to come across as being judgemental to how a woman chooses to experience and manage her pregnancy. The message I did want to convey was that pregnancy, strength training, and fitness, can go together quite nicely and most importantly, safely.

Interestingly enough, since falling pregnant, no one really asks how I’m going with my training anymore. And if I happen to mention it, I might get awkward looks and the subject quickly changes. Like minded people will be encouraging though, and most well meaning people will tell me to be careful or expect that I would stop altogether. I’ve noticed that I don’t really talk about my training all that much. And when I think about it, it’s kinda sad because lifting and swinging kettlebells is something that I really enjoy doing. I just can’t be bothered with putting myself out there to be judged.

As soon as a picture comes up on social media showing a heavily pregnant woman lifting big weights in the gym, people are quick to comment about how irresponsible she is, how she’s putting her baby at risk, how self centred she is, etc, etc. You don’t see many comments on how awesome, healthy, strong, and beautiful that woman looks. People are more focused on how irresponsible she is to herself and her unborn child. This really intrigues me. Why is it that weightlifting while pregnant gets so much disapproval? When women are seen gorging on junk / fast food and eating for two, it’s acknowledged as normal behaviour because that’s what women do when they’re pregnant: they eat a whole tub of ice cream or fried chicken – or both – in bed in the middle of the night. Because cravings. I find it so interesting how exercise is seen as being “bad”, but eating lots of high processed and sugary food is “good” when a woman is pregnant. It’s so weird how it’s the reverse. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not bagging off these women at all. It’s their pregnancy and their choice. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

And then it gets me thinking – why do people care so much about other women’s business? How a woman manages her pregnancy is her choice. Why do people feel the need to put in their opinions, which most of the time is not constructive, and chances are they know very little about the woman or her situation? I think what matters is how the woman is feeling and the well being of her baby. Most of time, only the woman will know this. People need to respect this and just back off.

What people fail to realise is that most women who weightlift while pregnant are doing so at a very reduced volume compared to their pre-pregnancy program. Most women are in tune with their body and with their baby. Unless you know that the woman you’re criticising is actively trying to lift heavier and heavier, that the movements that she is performing is definitely dangerous, and she is trying to get insane PBs; you have no right to judge.

For me, it’s not so much what I lift, but more about how I move. My aim is to maintain correct form and good functional movements. I’ve shared my fitness journey while pregnant with Ash here. With this pregnancy things are pretty much the same, except my mindset.

I didn’t know what was ahead of me when I was pregnant the first time around. I was anxious about regressing and losing my strength and my skills. Basically I didn’t want to end up being a weak, sedentary, resentful, and depressed blob. My trainer monitored my program and put on the brakes when I needed it. This time, I’m driven a lot by my senses. I’ve learnt to trust my body and the process. It didn’t take me long to get back to where I was and literally before I even realised I was pregnant again, I was smashing PB’s with my weighted pull ups.

I got to see that my body remembered how to move. It didn’t really matter how much or little I was lifting – I really got to see that if my body remembered the correct form and alignments, it didn’t take long to build my strength back up. So this time, my only focus is on good form, with reduced, easy weights. I hardly build up a decent sweat in a workout. I don’t strain. And I am really ok with that.

My body is used to performing the same movements and lifts with differing intensities, multiple times in a week, over the last 4-5 years. People might bawk at the amount of weight that I’m lifting, but it is relatively light compared to what my body is used to. With correct form, I deadlift 40kg, I squat with 20kg, I clean with a 24kg, and I do one arm presses and swings with a 16kg. I pay attention to my abdominal wall because I experienced abdominal separation the first time around, and I am kind to my pelvis, back, and shoulders. I pay attention to my centre of gravity. Anything that feels too difficult, I stop immediately. I make sure I am monitored by my trainer once a week. And I reckon most women who weight train during pregnancy follow the same mindset. The key is that we have not started anything new – we’ve just scaled back and modified our program to respect the needs of our bodies and our growing babies.

So, women out there who continue to lift weights with a modified program – good on you. There is no shame in this. You are not irresponsible or selfish. Go forth and post your pictures, because in my eyes you look fantastic, you look strong, you look focused, you look competent and healthy.

I’m Still Alive

Hi! How are you going? Gees it’s been such a long time since we’ve connected!

Life has been all systems go over the last few months, and my poor blog has been neglected while these few things have happened:

I returned to work

Argh this requires a separate blog post in itself.

I am currently juggling this whole working mum thing. It. Is. Hard.

I have quickly learnt that if I am not organised I will screw myself over. I have come on board the bulk production and freezing of food, as having a hungry toddler upon daycare pick up is nasty. We are up at around 5am frantically getting Ash ready, fed, and ourselves sorted. I am now focussed on time. Everything is timed. I need to get to work by a certain time, I need to see my clients around certain times, I need to leave work at a certain time because Ash needs to be picked up, fed, bathed, and cleaned by a certain time. Otherwise, I will have to deal with a tired and hungry child who will not eat because she’s so tired, and who will not sleep because she’s so hungry, and she needs to be up at a certain time the next day in order for the whole work/life balance thing to work.

The flip side of this is that I am now a machine at work. I am as efficient as ever in getting stuff done. I must appear completely snooty because I’ve become so antisocial in the workplace. I just don’t have time to chat. Sometimes this makes me a bit sad. I love chatting and I’m a very social being. There are days when I do feel lonely inside my office. Not because I have no human contact, but because the only significant conversations I have are ones with clients and their families, which a lot of the time, are around dysfunctional things. But, unfortunately it’s a sacrifice I have to make so I don’t end up shit creek with a mountain of work to get through.

I’ve also quickly discovered that working and either being unwell or having a sick baby or both, is really really nasty. I end up being an absolute zombie, I’m on edge and checking my phone just in case I get the dreaded call from daycare to pick up my sick child, I’m falling asleep in meetings in a very obvious and ungraceful manner, and somehow I always have questionable looking stains on my “professional” clothes. There are lots of times where I really question whether this work life balance thing really does exist – or maybe I’m not doing it right?

My baby turned one

I have no idea what happened here. One minute I was breastfeeding around the clock and was a sleep deprived mess, next minute I’m chasing after and constantly redirecting a toddler.

Time does fly like an arrow and I now spend my days off with a little person who can communicate exactly – and I mean exactly – what she wants. There are some days where I look back fondly on the early moments of Ash’s life, when all she was was a little milk drunk bundle and I would lap up all of the unlimited cuddles.

Nowadays, while mummy cuddles are still a remedy for illness, when things are a bit scary, or when things hurt, Ash has adopted and uses an escape manoeuvre where she can somehow slide out of my arms instantly. This commonly occurs in exciting places such as a carpark, out on the street, in a busy shopping centre, or when I’m trying to pay for something. She is constantly exercising her rights as an independent woman. Holding Mummy’s hand when prompted is a violation of this right. And quite frankly she is busy.

But the cool thing is that now, we can do heaps more together. We can be silly and make funny sounds and play with strange things, and I can enjoy the fact that all that matters to Ash in the moment is what we’re doing together. And that’s a very special space to be in. As a result, my priorities have shifted dramatically. I don’t care about the state of my house or whether chores are done. My house looks like a hole at times, but I’m having a ball of fun blowing big fat sloppy raspberries at our reflections in the mirror.

Ash is going to be a big sister!

We’re having another baby girl! She’s due on Christmas Day. Again this in itself deserves its own blog post. While I have been lucky to enjoy another smooth sailing pregnancy, it’s a whole different ball game being pregnant, having a toddler, and working at the same time.

There will be 18 months between Ash and her sister. We are pretty stoked with the age difference, but very aware of the pain we will be subjecting ourselves to in the beginning. We will have two under two and there are days when I really think “oh crap, what have I done??!!” But as always, I’ll just have to let future Jess deal with that one :p

So there you have it, my life over the past few months in a nutshell. It has taken me a while to find my blogging mojo, but I am back. I hope you’ve been well and I am looking forward connecting with you more frequently now. Especially once I start my next lot of maternity leave in 3 weeks!

What have you been up to over the last few months?

Travelling with Baby – how do people do it???

Gosh I realised it’s been a while since I’ve blogged. We’ve been away on a trip in Adelaide, South Australia. My husband was attending a conference so we thought we’d make a little family holiday out of it. Well all I can say is that the trip felt like it was going on forever, and it was probably the first time ever while away, that I was looking forward to coming home.

In our childless days, trips away would look like this:

  1. Last minute packing, usually the hour before we’re due to arrive at the airport. If we forget anything, oh well.
  2. Take red eye flight. It’s cheaper. Meh we can sleep all we want on holiday.
  3. Check in with 2 suitcases, minimal carry-on. Make sure I can get a window seat. Peruse the airport shops to kill time, maybe buy a crappy airport coffee before boarding.
  4. Board plane. Sit down. Browse in flight magazine. Plug in headphones, check out entertainment.
  5. Enjoy meal in flight, maybe have a glass or two of wine. How delightful.
  6. Land, get bags, take public transport to hotel. We can travel like the locals. No need to pay ridiculously expensive amounts for direct transport.
  7. Check out hotel facilities, how lovely. Go to bed late. Sleep in.
  8. Be completely random the next day, go wherever tickles us fancy, eat whatever we come across and whenever we like. Go out for dinner and drinks every night, or chill in hotel with snacks and wine.
  9. Take flight home. Come back with a holiday glow.

Haha I almost find the above list funny. Oh boy was this trip different. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not being an ungrateful cow. I’d been sick as a dog since we arrived with this horrible cold/flu like virus. My nose was like a tap, I hardly had a voice, I was coughing like I had been chain smoking, and my head was all foggy. To add to the experience, Ash was also a bit under the weather and needed some extra TLC. And when I’m feeling like shit myself, that really sucks.  So this is what the trip looked like:

The Flight

The calm before the storm

  1. Plan well in advance what to pack. Not for me. For Ash. Think of all worse case scenarios that will lead to tears, pack things that will prevent or avert crisis/es. Make a list. Forget to put things on the list. Forget where list is. Forget that a list was made.
  2. Arrive just in time for boarding. Check in with 3 suitcases and a stroller bag. Make a quick dash to the toilet because there is no way you can pee in peace on flight. Take massive baby bag and backpack on board. Have lots of snacks.
  3. Hope for an isle seat with more leg room. Secretly make deals with the universe to make it an uneventful and quiet flight. Hope that no one is seated next to us.
  4. Plane is preparing to take off. Ash is strapped to my lap. The frustration kicks in, “I don’t want to sit down in one spot!!!”. We get out the snacks. Why is it taking so bloody long to take off???
  5. Shit, the snacks have run out, Ash is screaming, and I stare eagerly at the seatbelt sign waiting for it to turn off. All you can hear through the cabin are bloodcurdling screams. It sounds like we’re tormenting our child. I feel really sorry for the other passengers and hope that nobody stares at us or says anything nasty. I don’t think I’m capable of being graceful.
  6. Spend the rest of the flight fixated on how much longer it will take to arrive at the destination. Take turns with husband to rock and walk Ash down the narrow isle, hoping that she’ll fall asleep.
  7. The flight attendant asks us if we want our meals now or wait. Of bloody course we want it now, Ash may not ever fall asleep and we’re bloody starving. Work out how to strategically place trays so that Ash doesn’t fling food everywhere. Take turns to eat while the other one paces with Ash.
  8. Ash finally falls asleep as we’re about to land. My husband holds Ash and finds a way to manoeuvre off the plane without waking her up. I collect all of the luggage. Take the quickest and most direct route to the hotel (aka taxi). Silently do a deal with the Universe in hope that she’ll sleep through the night.

Staying in Adelaide

Before baby, we used to have the mentality that it didn’t matter where we would stay in terms of accomodation. So long as it’s clean, it’s all good because we would hardly be at the hotel. This time around, it mattered a lot. We booked ourselves into a hotel apartment so that we can have a room to put Ash to bed and she won’t get woken up by the TV. We also wanted kitchen facilities so that we can conveniently make her food. Where we stayed mattered because we would be in the hotel more often than not, due to Ash’s sleep. Unfortunately, she does not fall asleep in a stroller, in a car seat, or in the baby carrier anymore. So, we couldn’t go too far out stay out for too long because we’d have to make it back for nap times. Forget going out for dinner or drinks. We were not prepared to deal with a cranky, tired baby. We resorted to take away meals and bottles of wine in front of the tele. 

I envisaged hanging out with Ash through the day, frolicking in the Adelaide sunshine, exploring the city, checking out the shops, greenery, cafes. Instead, I felt like death, my body was falling apart on me, I just wanted to stuff my head in a box of tissues and hibernate in bed. At the same time, Ash was very clear in communicating that she was well and truly over the trip. There were massive tanties communicating things like “I don’t want to eat that”, “I can’t sleep”, “I feel sick”, “I’m bored”, “I don’t want a bath”, “I want to / I don’t want to sit in the stroller”, “I don’t like this bed”. These were often paired with blood curdling screams, which is all very fair and well, but when we’re in a hotel, and it’s at all hours of the day and night, it’s just f*ing awful.

Out and About

I happen to have a baby who gets bored very easily, and likes to be out and about exploring, and actively doing stuff. I really can’t complain because she takes after me. Gone are the days where we can be completely random, where we can say, “hey lets go here!” and casually make the trip, stopping at places along the way, being completely impromptu. I’ve now become obsessed with how long things take. How long it will take to stand in line, how long will it take to get to a destination, how long will it take to get food, how long it will take to participate in an activity. I also don’t leave without a bag full of snacks. I generally don’t like anything that will take too long because chances are I’ll be out of snacks, and then I am left to deal with a bored and restless, and cranky baby.

However, we do like to push the boundaries sometimes, you know, give things a go. My husband and I decided late one afternoon that we should go and check out Glenelg, which is a popular beachside location in Adelaide. It would be a 45 minute tram ride. In the back of my mind, I was preparing myself for the wars because, usually between 4 – 6pm each day, I am faced with this:

So on the tram we went at around 4pm, and it was peak hour. People were crammed in like sardines, Ash finished all of her snacks, and was quite vocal about her discontent with how long it was taking. My husband and I spent the whole ride staring eagerly at the tram station map, counting down the number of stops until the end. When we finally arrived, it was raining, it was windy and it was freezing! We decided to grab a quick coffee and some cake to refuel us for the long trip back. Again,  Ash was very good at communicating her boredom. Yes. I think perhaps the timing of this trip was off.

On our final day, we decided to hire a car and explore the Barossa Valley, which is a very nice wine region in South Australia. We both hoped that Ash would take her naps in the car. We had screams all the way there and all the way back. Longest car ride ever. One of my close friends had bought Ash (or should I say us) a CD for Christmas and it has been her absolute favourite thing for car trips. I had contemplated taking the CD with us, and naturally I forgot about it. Argh biggest mistake ever. We tried to look up the songs on the CD via YouTube on our phones, but it was too far gone. The cranks were on. It was bad. It really tested our patience. And we were both very patient. We did not lose our shit. We had the car windows down to disperse the sound. We remained very calm and very soft in our responses. I credit this completely to the copious amount of free wine tastings, and also meeting Maggie Beer! Maggie is a very sweet Australian celebrity chef.

Our flight back home was also an adventure. What was sweet was that nobody judged us, nobody voiced or showed their annoyance with having to endure baby tanties. We received lots of smiles, and really nice comments such as:

“I know how exhausting it is”

“I think you need more wine, would you like me to pour the bottle in your mouth while you rock the baby?” (Air Hostess to my husband)

“You’re doing a great job”

“It’s ok, I’ve been there before, it’s hard”

I’m sure as Ash gets older, and has more experiences of travelling, things will get heaps better. But for now, the thought of going on another trip exhausts me. I came home mentally and physically exhausted, with my body still fighting the cold/flu virus, and new patch of grey hairs have emerged. I have huge respect for those who take their little ones on long haul flights. I don’t know how they do it, but man, they deserve a fricken medal.

An Emotional Wreck

I’ve never been a clucky person. I just wasn’t into babies all that much. When I saw one, I would think “meh it’s just a baby”. I would choose a puppy over a baby any day.

Back in my childless days, I used to think that if I did have a baby, I would just take 6 months off work, and then send the child to full time day care. They’ll be right. That way I can go back to my career because I didn’t spend 6 years studying and busting my balls off for nothing. A child wasn’t going to hold me back. I would be a working mum. I thought that I wasn’t suited to motherhood. I didn’t really consider myself motherly at all. I was a career driven woman with things to do, places to go, people to see, and children can just work around me. In fact, I would be fine if I didn’t have kids at all.

Oh have things changed.

When Ash was growing inside me, I loved that there was a little person hanging out with me everyday. I would enjoy her little kicks and turns, she’d endure my singing along to cheesy pop music blaring out of the radio, and I would quietly chat to her about life and the universe and what I’m doing for the day. From the moment I gave birth to Ash, I just fell in love. Nothing mattered anymore.

I’ve been on maternity leave for nearly a year now. I have been in a bit of denial about going back to work. I keep telling myself it’s ages away. Well, time has flown and it’s now a month away.

I’ll be working part-time, but the thought of leaving Ash behind broke my heart. I know its not the end of the world, we’ll still have 4 days where we can hang out. It was just that the baby stage goes by so quickly and I didn’t want to miss out on any part of her development. So I thought I would just let future Jessie deal with it.

We were lucky to get Ash into a really good daycare. They were specific in how the babies would be oriented and when. The first few days just consisted of me going in with Ash and we would spend the morning playing together with all of the other babies in the room. Ash was right into it. Her eyes beamed when she saw all of these new shiny, flashy toys, and she was busily playing and shoving everything in her mouth.

There was another baby there who was further along into her orientation. It was the first time where she would be separated from her mum for about an hour. She was playing happily with some blocks. Her mum kissed her good bye, told her she will be back soon, and left. Her little lips started to quiver. She started to frantically turn around and the panic set in. She started to cry. And out of nowhere, I was bawling my eyes out. I went in, scooped her up, saying “it’s okay, mummy’s here”, while sobbing away, with my nose running and all. Yeah. The only awkward thing was that this was not my baby.

Before I knew it, Ash crawled up to me and gave me this weird look as if to say, “um, I believe you’re my mummy”. Then one of the staff members gently came up to me and said in a soft tone, “it’s all good, we can take it from here”, and took the baby from me. I was handed a box of tissues, and offered a cup of tea. Oh dear. I did not know what just happened.

Great. Now I will be forever known as the mum with “special needs”.