Mums behaving badly

I’ve wanted to write a blog on this subject for quite some time but wanted to wait until I had a bit more time under my belt as a mother before I did. After all, once noticing that the world of motherhood wasn’t what I thought it would be from a few weeks post partum, I had to allow myself the leniency of “what if you are wrong?” So I have given it a few more months of observation. In this time I have discovered that my earliest discoveries about this new mum world are correct. Brace yourself it’s a long blog 😜

I would like to note here before mothers with multiple children criticise me for still being such a new mum – that YES, I do admit I am still just that. As I’ve said before I cannot be any further along in my journey than I am at present. I am still fresh as far as experience goes. I have much to learn overall and in no way am I a perfect mother. I have often voiced that I don’t think I’m a very good mother in some regards and it HASN’T come naturally to me. So in writing about this subject I am not putting my mothering skills on a pedestal in any way. I am shining light onto a subject that parallels actual mothering, my intention is to unveil and openly discuss it. I’d like to fall into the category of a realist blogger so I feel subjects that are uncomfortable such as these should be spoken about publically and am happy to write about them even if people disagree or don’t like me for it. This blog is more so my experiences and observations of mothers and women themselves and how I have found them to behave. It is also mixed with stories I have had certain friends disclose to me about their experiences with mums.

Some mothers are, without a doubt, the bitchiest, most backstabbing and 2 faced group of people I have ever encountered in my life. They relish in gossip and drama, they compete with each other, they subtly make each other feel inadequate, they team up, they twist your words and use it as harmful gossip, they body shame each other, they exclude other mothers and they create and maintain clicks amongst each other, and they give forceful, wrong and even at times harmful advice to each other. Even worse than this, they even try to sabotage each other. Fortunately I have not fallen prey to this, only observed it in the early stages happen to others.

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Harsh meme but oh so true for countless mothers I’ve met or interacted with.

I hope there aren’t any women reading this blog coming back thinking “really? Is this sort of thing actually happening?” I cannot for a second imagine that mothers could be that naïve and don’t know or see what is so blatantly obvious about how mums behave badly. Whether you’ve been subjected to bad treatment or have witnessed it happen to other mothers – one must acknowledge it happens and it’s a growing issue.

I do acknowledge that to every negative story there is a positive – some women have found large amounts of support from other mothers through mothers groups, mums and bubs fitness classes, corporate mothers events and more commonly social media. Personally I have encountered and met a small handful of genuine and beautiful mothers on social media and in “real life” that I have found to be lovely, encouraging and supportive. There have only been a few though, and these mothers aren’t clicky and are often lone wolves themselves in some regards. Perhaps that’s why they are genuinely nice?

I have also met a few mums who maintain they have never been caught up in “mum drama” and haven’t ever been either obviously or subtly excluded, bullied or shamed in any way. They acknowledge it happens but deny having anything to do with it or are aware of the extent. Out of these women I see maybe half are genuine and have indeed had very little exposure to this toxic “world”. The other half just say that to try and parade a sense of superiority over you. As in – “wow you must be such a screw up if you’re involved in all this” and act as if they are so far above it or removed from it. Some of these particular women I have seen subtly belittle other mums or ooze that self-superiority over them. But they are artful and duplicitous about it. So yes naturally they haven’t been on the other end of it because they are the perpetrators! Go figure!

I am pointing out the 2 words I continue to use when it comes to mothers behaving badly – SUBTLY and OBVIOUSLY. Because there are 2 categories and some of us have been subjected to both and others just one type. Both are awful, but it’s the subtle category that drives me insane. It makes you question your sanity until that particular nasty mother comes out and DOES do something obvious and then you have that morbidly triumphant moment of “YES, I was right and I could sense she had a problem with me all along!!” Happy dance? 💃 Hmmm probably not quite haha but it is a relief to know you’re not assuming things and going insane!

Obviously I am one of those mothers who have not only felt but HAVE been excluded both conveniently and deliberately, both subtly and obviously. I have had my words twisted, been gossiped about, and have had other mums compete with me. I am not ashamed, embarrassed or so over confident that I will not admit to this.

I would say I am a confident woman in my own right and don’t struggle with low self esteem or question my status as a woman. This is because I have Christ in my life and He is the unwavering and unshakable foundation of me. I know I am accepted and loved unconditionally and He has transformed me from who I used to be. I also have been undeservedly blessed with a husband that surpasses all normal standards for husbands. In marrying Phil I also have further developed that confidence that I am loved, admired and found beautiful in my own way and own right. I no longer need or care for the opinions of others to validate myself. However in saying all this, there are occasional moments where I do experience confusion, anger and even hurt at how mothers have treated me. It has caused me to not trust the majority of those I meet – despite the appearance that I may. I am a socially engaging and vocal person, so others perceive this as me trusting everyone and perhaps being in tight with a group. This isn’t the case. Despite being confident in who I am it does not mean I do not feel isolated, excluded and lonely at times. It doesn’t mean I kid myself and allow myself to be deluded by the notion I am well liked. I know I’m not and I am ok with it, and I even like this about myself at times. I will never change myself to become more likeable to others. I am not a conformist. However this doesn’t mean I appreciate or am unphased by the treatment I have received from other mothers.

I have had to discuss this subject with my husband at length and he has given me some sound advice about how to handle mean mothers and even opened my eyes to some things. He has even had to set me straight at times. He often can see more in a situation and a scenario that I can, and he will often read women more thoroughly than I will. He sits back and quietly observes where as sometimes I get sidetracked by the excitement and can only observe with one eye. I am sure I am not the only one with a husband that has this trait!? He has vocalized with me that he has witnessed mothers behaving the way I have spoken of, and has fittingly said “it is a whole other world” of which he is glad not to be part of.

Recently I have come to experience other mothers directly lie and bitch about me and twist my words to make me out to be the demon. This has been a new experience as a mother but not a foreign one to me as a woman altogether. There are obviously certain things like dealing with awful social media trolls and being body shamed that I haven’t experienced enough to the extent to personally write about (there have been a couple of minor episodes but nothing major!) I do sympathise greatly to those mothers that have had to endure this and it’s utterly hurtful in its own right, but I am not touching on that much in depth today.

I wish I could caution all women and tell them appearances can be deceiving and things are never as they seem with mothers. Gosh if only they were! How blissfully simple life would be! If you want me to count how many mothers smile at me and mooch over my son calling him cute – then there are TONS. It’s one thing to call someone’s child cute and leave a little love heart emoji on their Instagram picture or approach them in person and ask for a cuddle. It’s another entirely to treat the mother of that child in a pleasant manner and go out of your away to be genuine to her, to acknowledge her. Compliments about your child or the outfit you’re wearing in no way symbolizes that mother likes you or accepts you, or even wants to get to know you and include you. I discovered this early on.

I do see some mothers that are easily flattered and believe if another mother compliments their child that this means they are liked and part of the click/group. HAHA. No. It means they think your child is cute and no more. There can be that separation between your child and you personally. They might say your child/baby is adorable but secretly think you’re a mole. OR they are jealous or threatened by you for some reason. These reasons vary so much I would have to type a 3000 word blog just to go into them. But believe me reasons for some women not liking, accepting or excluding other mothers can range from ones appearance to someone’s wealth status. It can pendulum from disagreement on beliefs and how you raise your children, to your relationship status and how happy you are in your life compared to them.

I will touch on a couple of these reasons for exclusions. I was warned by a much older mother that I should be careful how much I disclose to other mothers about how happy and content I am in the personal life. As in my strong and secure marriage and the fact I respect and am still IN LOVE with my husband. I needed no explanation from her saying this and cottoned on immediately. The sad fact is – If you express your happiness in life too much, and don’t have anything too negative to say in general discussion with other mothers who are experiencing hardship or are disgruntled – be prepared to be shunned or excluded on that account. Be prepared to be as ostracised by this as you would be for having a different belief system or religion to other mums. Prepare that they will grow to be jealous of you. Women all love to get together to discuss hardships. So they should to a degree as it’s what friends can be for. I do feel many of these group verbal bashings of men should be kept to one on one coffee dates though, not broadcasted as public knowledge. But we all know mothers who take this to the extreme and it’s almost like a competition of who has it hardest and who has the greater woe. You don’t have a woe to talk about? Well, “aren’t you little miss perfect??”

Further on from that, there are those mothers (not meaning to generalise but in my experience I have found most to be mothers with 2 children or more) that are married and on face value like to make out they have a home life to be envied. Not too long after you get to know them more they start bitching about their husbands. There literally are only a very small number of women (talking real life) that haven’t bitched about their husbands or partners to me. These men would be shocked if they knew what was being openly spoken about! Their laziness, their inability to fulfill their obligations as a father, their lack of romance, never showing initiative, not appreciating enough, having a wandering eye for other women…….the list goes on and on. Before you know it, there’s a larger than life bitchfest going on and you have nothing to contribute because you aren’t having issues at home, you don’t hate your husband and you don’t find him lacking. So you are now an outcast because you won’t delve into negative slander about a man in your life. You feel the silent push of exclusion happening because you have nothing to add to the conversation.

Another example of exclusions: A group of mothers will arrange catch-up’s amongst themselves right in front of other mums yet not invite 1 or 2 particular mothers. I’ve seen it happen to others and it’s happened to me. You think you might be included in a particular group yet you see photos or videos on social media of outings you’ve been completely excluded from. Not a mention of an invitation. This is not always a nice feeling trust me! You get those awkward moments where 2 mums are going to have a casual unplanned coffee catch-up and you’re kind of just standing there as they talk about it – then they turn to you and say “oh…..you can come if you want.” Ahhhh the fake pleasantries. It’s the backhanded invite where they are probably said under their breath “please say no, please say no.” Yes, this has happened to me. Then there are more major invitations and events that you were told you would be invited to, then there is a change of date and venue and you weren’t told about or reissued an invite. Awkward. And hurtful. Then because you weren’t there you become even more of an outcast. Yet again, this has happened to me.

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Motherhood can be like the movie “Mean Girls” but with designer nappy bags, mum buns and a baby on the hip.

A special mention needs to be made of those mothers that compete with other mothers. Being a mother that trains and lives an active lifestyle I am exposed to many “fit mums” both in real life and on social media. I witness the competitiveness more than anything in this arena. This is one of the ways that mums behave badly that is generally as subtle as they come. Women silently compete with each other over who gets back into shape faster post partum, who is fitter and can lift a certain amount, who had less ab separation, who can do more exercises than others. One way some (more commonly instafamous women) like to compete is by excessively flaunting and parading what they have physically in order to try and make other mothers feel inadequate. I’ve touched on this subject before. Every woman has had a different pregnancy and post partum journey and should be credited for training throughout pregnancy and post baby. Absolutely. But there is some face rubbing that goes on for sure. Those women that peacock and constantly overexpose themselves usually have something amiss in their personal lives. Validation and love from strangers and peers is necessary in order to maintain self-preservation for these women.

Some mothers in the fitness industry that I have recently been in connection with will openly “bag out” other mothers for not being fit in their eyes, for not being at a particular standard. They criticise a particular body part of that woman, or her training style. I do have some strong opinions about what I deem as fit and strong but I don’t always disclose it. My own personal opinions line up with what I try to achieve fitness wise. My opinion and goal is my standard, and I am entitled to it, and often just keep it to myself. I do feel the word “fit” is thrown around too often yes, however I don’t appreciate people in the fitness industry openly paying out on others who aren’t to their standard of what they believe as fit. Particularly mean are those that pay out on other mothers that are in the industry to make a living. I have recently terminated training at a facility for one of many reasons but this being one of them. The talk about other mothers in the industry got too much and I knew it was a toxic environment and I could fall prey to further gossip if I wasn’t careful. Often these fit mums believe they are superior in their level of fitness but I know that there is always someone fitter and more capable than they are and perhaps one day they will be humbled. Once again, usually these women lack something in their personal lives and like to big note themselves above other active mums to reinforce with themselves that they are important and matter. Often these woman have stale personal relationships and also fall into the category of women to bitch about their husbands and partners as I stated above.

Where you train and where you socialize – and with whom, really does matter. Choose your tribe and your environment carefully. A mother can quickly be pulled down into a gossip fest if not careful, or land herself in hot water. I am no exemption to this and have answered questions I thought were harmless and admitted to knowing certain information about someone that was of interest to another mother. I guess ill admit I’m not always on guard and sometimes a simple questioning tactic escapes me and I’m like “yeah, I know her.” Or something like that. Boom. Now they want to know more and I should have seen it coming. Mothers delve for a reason. I am yet to become more experienced at detection. Aren’t we all to some degree?

Sometimes conversations can take a drastic turn and suddenly it’s almost too late to change subject! I have stated my opinions on things out loud to the wrong people and have had my words twisted to a point where something I did say quite neutrally was misquoted into making me a totally horrible person. Mothers will gang up on others and start spreading lies to try and drag another mothers name through the mud. I’m learning more and more to say less in a group environment where there are more prying eyes and ears, and keep anything beyond surface chat to a private 1 on 1. Women want a “safe place” to chat – well these days seek a counsellor and pay for that service because to me, no environment is safe to talk about personal matters as they can get manipulated, twisted and thrown back in your face. Women in the fitness industry want to know about other women in the industry and with the wave of “fit mums” that are emerging so is this incessant need for other mothers to compare and compete, find out about each others personal lives. This is one of those scenarios where you’d have to be involved in the fitness industry to know what I mean. Competing for fitness levels, 6 packs and tight booty’s is not the only form of competing mothers delve into.

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This truthful quote came from my husbands mouth only a few days ago to me about mums we have interacted with. I then found it online.

Mothers also compete when it comes to their offspring. It’s quite disgusting really. They treat and talk about their children as if they are a direct extension of their entire being. They try and live vicariously through them to an extent. They act as if the developments their child makes physically and mentally is an addition to their own achievements and ego. They state things that their child has done that they know yours hasn’t. “Oh my son walked at 9 months” – how often I’ve heard that one. “My daughters were climbing things at 4 months.” Yes, I’ve actually heard that. Not sure if that’s even possible but it was said. As if it’s a reflection on their own physical condition? Yep, ok.

Is your son doing this yet?” “Is your child sleeping through?” “Are they rolling over yet” blah blah blah you can hear the condescending tones behind their questions. Many of us can relate. They ask these questions because they cannot wait to brag about how quickly their child did this or that. As if it makes them a better mother and their child is more advanced than yours? So terrible. Then queue the fake reassuring “oh don’t worry, he will get there” type comments. These comments aren’t meant at all and don’t come from genuine encouragement, let me assure you. It’s just a way they can close the conversation. Everything they wanted to achieve has been done – to compete with you and let you know your child is below theirs in development of something. I see this all the time its terrible!

A wise mother in her 50’s said to me late last year “you know when your child is 18 it won’t matter in the slightest how old they were when they walked or crawled.” Too right. So these silly competitive stories mothers tell about their children will have no relevance later in life and gives NO indication of how their child will turn out, or how their mothering skills are. I got a bit of a complex earlier days about Jonah’s abilities based on what a couple of mothers said to me. Now I see through it and just shut it down, or ignore it. I then identify there is an underlying issue with the mother. I encourage other mums who have been through the same to come to that same conclusion – and quickly. It’s just another ploy to compete and make you feel less than them. They have problems. Don’t befriend that mother if she is saying things like that. Best to steer clear.

I was deceived into thinking that once you’re a mother you’re all in it together, you’re all automatically accepted and part of a universal group of mature attitudes and ways of behaving and thinking. WOW I couldn’t have been more wrong. It’s like high school magnified and amplified. The sheer amount of 2 faced backstabbing behaviour I see regularly has quickly made me see that my assumptions before I started my motherhood journey were almost laughable. Welcome to the cesspool of a large percentage of women who are toxic, bitchy, conniving and lying gossipers with virtually no genuineness to them whatsoever. Shocking but true statement. I’m always stunned by the 2 faced behaviour I see, and this proves I am not desensitized to it yet (is that a positive? I can’t be sure!)

Social media gives even more opportunity for 2-faced women to gain momentum. I see women I know liking and writing lovely comments on other mothers photos – and I’m instantly confused and almost angry at their level of audacity!! Based on things I’ve heard her say about this mother in my mind I’m almost screaming “oh my gosh you don’t even like her!!!” Yet this mother on the receiving end has no idea. Well maybe I shouldn’t say that. Maybe she does, and it’s a case of playing that mother back, beating her at her own game. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer kind of thing? Who knows, it makes my head hurt. On a side note – at least I KNOW I’m not always well liked. Some mothers walk around as if no one has a bad word to say about them. Oh how wrong they are. However they say ignorance is bliss. Is it best not to know?

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The 2 faced game is as common as garden weeds. Truth 🙌🏼

What can a mother do if she has been ill treated by other mothers in any of the above examples I’ve given? (I am sure there are quite a few ways I still haven’t mentioned!) Well you can approach this particular mother and tackle it head on, or the entire group. Call them on their unfair, immature or cruel behaviour publically and hope that the heated chat leads to closure. Mothers who prey on other mums never like to be exposed publically and often try and play victim if push comes to shove. Confronting them may succeed but on the other hand it may lead to open denial and more lies could follow, entangling you further. You possibly wont get to the bottom of it.

You could always try the investigative approach when it comes to discovering lies and gossip (which I have tried before) – If it’s a case of “she said versus she said” when the truth comes out, I would examine the facts carefully and weigh up what was said, who started it, the motives and who had more to gain from it. You can try and decipher who is loyal to you, who is being truthful. Sometimes this strategy works, if you’re good at being objective and have all the facts and information about this particular mother that has said or done something wrong by you. But it’s a time consuming process.

What I have started to do is simply distance myself from these types of mothers. Not associate with them any further or remove myself from the environment where I was interacting with them. Usually once this happens there is a knee jerk reaction on their part. They may have a go at you when they detect you’ve gone “off” them or unveiled them. They may delete or block you on social media (this is always a laugh to me as it completely cements their guilt and their position towards you deep down) or they may start rumours about you furthermore. Their behaviour there afterwards will completely indicate what sort of person they truly are, and how petty they can be. If they truly missed your company and interaction they would approach you respectfully and maturely and ask what they had done to offend. However this is rare that someone would do this, mother or not. Never be an enabler and tolerate mistreatment from any mother, despite a possible attachment to the circle of women or environment you’ve come to enjoy that she dominates or circulated in. Complete extraction is the only remedy.

After you’ve been mistreated, excluded, gossiped about or bitched about by mothers all you can do is be grateful you know what they are like sooner than later and avoid others that show similar traits and behaviours you meet in future. Perhaps learn not to try and befriend the “queen bee” in the room but the mother that is quietest and doesn’t appear to have minions following her around. Befriend the lone wolf so to speak. She may add more value to your life than the mothers that are always bitching and talking, the mothers that want to excessively verbal vomit about their personal lives, the mothers who seem to know the latest dramas about others, the mothers who appear to have colourful social lives. Don’t let appearances deceive you. Don’t let someone’s social media account deceive you either.

My final conclusion is to be slow to make friends and examine the ones you have already made. Sometimes developing a “mum crush” for someone way too quickly can have you backpedaling faster than you can manage when you find out what she is really like on close acquaintance. Also, be open minded to the fact that just because a particular mother is nice to you, doesn’t mean she is that way to other mums. She may not find anything about you that is a threat to her and she may not see you as vulnerable. This doesn’t mean she doesn’t prey on or mistreat other mums (past or present.) Everyone has different experiences with different people. If you do find out that a mother you like has bullied, excluded, shamed or deeply hurt another mother you know or meet – reconsider your friendship and alliance with her. Don’t be so blinded by a friendship that you can’t see that person has flaws. We all do really.

I’ve actually befriended a mum bully before (only to an extent thankfully!) without knowing right away. Even up until recently. More than once. But the truth really does come out eventually and you can free yourself from the friendship. Always remember after you’ve been burned by a mum behaving badly – her behaviour is actually because of something more deep seeded that she is yet to deal with or overcome in her own life. Some sort of insecurity or endless inadequacy that she feels towards herself or her personal life. Sometimes it can stem from bitterness and jealousy because of something she is going through behind closed doors. Sometimes mothers are just bitchy, jealous and competitive by nature and there is no family grievance that has triggered her mean spirit. There are a few possibilities but do know and find comfort in this: It comes down to this simple and well-known fact of the matter – it is not you. It’s them.

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The bible warns us about the dangers of bad friend choices.

Love to all the mothers out there that can relate to any of the above. Never tolerate any form of bullying and don’t let your silence endorse the behaviour either if you witness it. Support other mums you know of that have been subjected to nasty behavior and raise awareness that subtle and obvious mum bullying, shaming, exclusions and backstabbing gossip is not ok.

Jess xx

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7 month Europe trip instead of a mortgage

Two months ago in October we had a huge change of mind and heart. After the past year and a half of saving for a house deposit, my husband suggests what many people would freak out and run for the hills about – spending it all. And not on a house.

“How about we forget about trying to buy a house for now and use the money we’ve saved to travel around Europe? Let’s just do it. Money is just money. We can always make more, but we may never get this chance to explore again.” – My husband, October 2016

😁 I didn’t freak out at him at this sudden suggestion. I was more curious as to where the discussion was going to lead. I was slightly apprehensive to begin with, a bit unsure if it was doable. Then as we spoke more it all sounded so ideal, so beneficial and exhilarating.

Part of me to begin with was thinking  “really, no buying a house anymore? Is that dream totally over?” “How long would it take to start saving again?” – however I then remembered our struggles with our attempts for getting a loan and how it hasn’t been achievable for us as yet nor will it be for some time. Understandably  these questions briefly went through my mind but they were quickly dismissed moments later.

We had come to the stage many weeks back that we were resigned to trying to pursue buying a house for a while and were tossing up whether to put plans on hold. The banks make it very hard for families on a single income to buy a family home these days and Phil is the sole income earner in ours. I do the odd bit of hours here and there at market stalls etc but it’s inconsistent. We’ve been rejected once and assessed again and told it’s not possible in our current situation. I must return to work for significant part time hours before they will consider us – and I’m not willing to do that as yet. Jonah isn’t ready, he’s still breastfed 3 times a day (I’ve already cut back 1-2 feeds) So I’m not ready either as I can’t and won’t try and force him to drink formula just for financial gain. Coz essentially that’s what it would be for. Phil and I are very firm on the fact we want to raise our son and have him 90% of the week. I don’t want someone else who most likely has different morals and beliefs spending the better part of a day or week with him. So for this major reason house loans are out of the equation for us at this point. Honestly we had become over trying to exhaust the topic and our options. Those plans are a couple of years away at best. And that’s ok…because travelling will bring so much more to our marriage and family life than what buying a house would. Anyway as Phil said – money comes and goes. It’s only money. We can save again. It’s not what you earn, it’s what you spend. We’ve become very sensible with our dollars and know how to save well (as proven) – So we can do it again.

Aside from the initial reactions I did feel (and still do at times) a little overwhelmed at the scope and duration of the trip. Initially we were talking about travelling for 9 months but have scaled it back to 7 😮😬 There’s a lot to be planned and thought over. Since these first couple of long talks we had about it, Phil has researched so much, so have I. We also have our desires of where we want to go and favourite countries. We decided to explore most of Europe, the UK, Scotland, Ireland, Croatia, Slovenia and Morocco in a campervan. We have been down to Escape Travels in Bulimba and 2 lovely travel agents who work there (Danielle and Serah) have been so incredibly helpful and attentive, not to mention so thorough in planning with us the where, the how and the why for each location. Together we have begun to map out a rough itinerary which Phil and I have continually tweaked and adjusted.

We booked our flights about a month ago on the 17th November so there is no looking back. The more we have planned and organised the more exciting it’s becoming, and such a worthwhile decision that neither of us regret. May 2017 is a month that we will look forward to immensely as this is when our adventure will begin!

“One day” “Sometime soon” “In the near future” “Maybe one day” “When we retire” or the very common “When the kids leave home” are phrases that are thrown around all the time when it comes to travelling or parting with a substantial amount of money to do so. Phil was looking at this forum online when we just made the decision to do this, and the amount of comments that resembled the above were astounding! What was scarier was the amount of people who said (even tagged their partners in the comments to join them in the discussion) that they were going to do this but never followed through. Comments like “we said we would and still haven’t” were said repeatedly. Many couples or families didn’t actually get around to travelling. Life got in the way, there were other expenses, another house to buy, another car, their kids didn’t leave home until much later than they thought, poor health. The other day someone told me a story about their parents who said they would always travel but only when they retired. Well their dad only made it to his early 50’s before he died suddenly. They never got the chance. We get so caught up in trying to build a life in the suburbs instead of going out and living it, experiencing it. There is so much more life to be had outside one city or one town. By the sounds of it many people don’t know that, and may never know. Excuses pile up, or there are restrictions that have set in that will take years to live through or pass before they can have the option to leave the country. By that stage it’s a big IF or MAYBE.

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Our moto ✌🏼️

We have been met with mixed reactions to our major decision. Some people have made it known that they believe we are being foolish or stupid, that we are making the wrong decision. They feel we should buy a house instead or just keep saving for when we can, and believe we can always do all this travelling another time. Well, to those people the above is a logical rebuttal to their judgments.

We have considered all major factors and have spoken at length about them. Most of these factors or points were clear cut and obvious and we didn’t need to over think it – they were advantageous if anything. I’ll briefly include these points below and perhaps they can encourage others in some way if they are considering doing something similar to us. Perhaps the points I will make may help overcome a particular hurdle in your brainstorming if you are considering making a large trip overseas also.

✖️ We have a passion for travel we want to share together ✖️

Phil has travelled quite a bit more than I have. Before we met and whilst we dated. When I met Phil he had a one way ticket booked to travel most of the globe and maybe never return!! He’s a bit of a drifter and hippy at heart and exploring new countries and cultures is very appealing to him. My first overseas experience was our honeymoon last year when we went to Vietnam and the Philippines and it triggered a passion in me to continue to travel. I’m so glad I waited to travel with my husband and didn’t do it with an ex boyfriend or ex friend so I don’t have any negative memories or attachments to any country I’ve been to 👍🏼 After doing a small spot of travelling in New Zealand in a camper last year when I was pregnant with Jonah, that cemented that I wanted to travel further with my husband as we had a ball together. Because Phil and I haven’t actually been together long (we got married just shy of our 10 months) and fell pregnant with Jonah quite quickly (7 weeks post honeymoon) we didn’t get the chance to travel together like many couples pre children. However that’s no reason for us to not still enjoy travelling together now just because we have our little man in tow. Children should not make you neglect enjoying your life, embracing adventure and change, or making new memories. You must enjoy each other after you have children, not cease to make plans out of the normal because of society making you feel you are at a standstill. This leads me to my next point we considered.

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Switzerland view while on the road

✖️ We have a young child ✖️

“But you have a child?” People will say, and have said.

Yeah so? Having a child means you’re chained to suburban living for the rest of your life? Who decides that our lives as parents must cease to be exciting once a child becomes part of the family? Phil and I still have a passion for adventure and travelling and don’t see having Jonah as a deterrent in fulfilling our dreams and aspirations. We intend on including him, not allowing him to become a preventative. The only thing between allowing children to be a prevention instead of an inclusion is simple – making a choice and putting it into action.

Jonah is such a good boy who has such a chilled personality. Aside from the odd clingy moment he is low maintenance and wouldn’t be hard work at all. Besides, he is small enough to be very portable 😂 He is also young enough not to be stubborn and refuse to join us in any day trip, escapade or journey anywhere. At 15 months he will be too young to have a hormonal moody outburst and ruin the plans made for the day, or wander off rebelliously somewhere to get away from his parents 😂 He will be happy to fit in with what we do and so enjoy the stimulation, the sights, sounds and tastes of new cultures. He will learn so much and gain a real advantage when it comes to social interaction compared to what many other children his age would get exposed to. Admittedly it will be manageable because we have just him to watch and cater for between us, not multiple children. This is one significant reason we are choosing to make this trip now. Before we have a second baby and there is more work involved.

✖️ We are a team ✖️

This is a huge reason to consider if and when you travel. Some people may be puzzled this is a reason to consider. It’s actually very important. You can’t have one person being stuck with doing all the work, all the research, all the planning leading up to the trip and DURING the trip. Not to mention the mundane everyday things that need to be done once you’re overseas. Basic chores, responsibilities and schedules still exist and need to be maintained. If both husband and wife are a team they can both get things done and also feel like they are enjoying themselves on their holiday. If you are someone with a lazy, complacent or non-enthusiastic partner who doesn’t show initiative, this may be a big reason NOT to travel as a family. Without teamwork a trip of this magnitude with a child isn’t possible. Or it may happen with a lot of help from a travel agent but once you’re over in another country doing all the work you may not feel up to being adventurous or that blissfully happy about your holiday plans after all. Sharing the workload and all travel responsibilities is the way to ensure everyone gets the most out of their overseas adventures. Hubby and I are a united and supportive team so this makes our daily lives so much easier here in Brisbane. We are in unison and harmony about everything. We consider each other and we help each other – with chores, with cooking, cleaning and all things Jonah. Travelling won’t change any of the above, merely the environment in which we do so.

✖️We are healthy, fit and in our prime ✖️ 

This was one of those very logical points that we didn’t have to touch on very much. It’s a huge advantage to us travelling NOW instead of later. Its also one reason why we will find it easier raveling with Jonah – we are energetic enough to manage looking after him and also enjoying ourselves at the same time. If we were 60, we would have a more limited amount of energy (just from living life longer) and less get up and go. As you get older the tendency is just to kick the shoes off and relax over exploring tirelessly for 10 hours a day! Understandably too! Phil and I are both in great health with no physical ailments aside from a couple of old injuries that surface from training occasionally. We have no intolerances, no allergies and no physical conditions that would prevent us from travelling anywhere or eating anything. God willing we will always be this fortunate but as life goes on there is no guarantee is there? SO our health is perfect and our ages of 29 and 32 put us directly in our physical prime. A very easy point explored and answered for 😛

✖️ We don’t want to be a “conventional” couple yet ✖️

This is just our way of thinking. It doesn’t have to be everyone’s, and we realise some people may like being conventional. We can’t relate to them at this point really but hey – we are all different and desire an array of different things – and it’s a great thing we do! There are a few different ways to not fall into the trap of being a conventional couple or family, this is only one way not to be. There are others. I am not saying going on holidays makes us non conventional. That’s silly. I am saying our ability to follow through with what we say makes us non conventional. Our ability to not let fear rule our lives. Our ability to say we will be adventurous together and ACTUALLY live that out. Make plans and follow through by experiencing them. Diving in the deep end. Really taking the repetitive phrase that is used by so many “YOLO (You Only Live Once) seriously. Phil had said when we first got married and we would talk about the future and not slipping into the same boring trap of monotonous married life – “I really don’t want us to say we will do these things like travel yet never do.” We made a promise to each other that we would not get caught up in the suburban life (or trap) of slaving away for bills and house repayments with a dull repetitive rhythm. To us, not being caught up in this repetitiveness means that we are less likely to take one another for granted and grow a gradual distaste for the other.
As human beings we can often have a recurrent nature and slip into a systematic, dull and tedious pattern of work, work and more work. With our limited downtime we may often go to the shops to buy things we don’t need, drink alcohol, eat takeout, go to the gym, talk about going to the gym, spend copious amounts of time online, gossip about others over coffee dates, fight with friends or family, fight with our spouse, get angry at our kids, spend time reminiscing, spend time daydreaming etc etc the list goes on. When does the pattern or mould break? For many it never does. How much strain can this sort of life have on a marriage or close relationship? A great deal, but over many years – so you don’t notice right away. For us the mould breaks – it has too. It’s one reason we wanted to start a life together…our attraction of this trait in each other to pursue a life free of conventional restraints was prominent right away. It’s a promise we made to each other, and we are following through on our promise which shows our commitment to not only being non conventional but more importantly our commitment to our marriage.

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We will spend 3 weeks exploring Italy and the coastline is something we don’t want to miss. So beautiful!

✖️ Life is short ✖️

Before you realise it and in a blink of an eye you are 40, which is only a decade from being halfway to a century old. People say age is only a number. I agree with this to an extent, but age does alter us physically and is reflected in the energy we output. The months and years are escaping us all. They slip through our hands like grains of sand and can never be retrieved again. I look at my son now and cannot believe he is 10 months old. It’s so bittersweet this time that passes us by so quickly! We all make comments about time escaping us in relation to something or someone in our lives. We have all wished we had done something more memorable with our year every time we come to the end of another. So…maybe you can?
After discussions and many thoughts on the alarming fact that life is short, we have agreed to make a decision to seize this exciting opportunity and take flight on a fearless journey NOW before we blink and are middle aged.

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Tulip season in Holland – can’t wait to see this!

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I will endeavor to blog on my experiences in each country whilst we are on the road. We do intend on staying in some hotels in certain countries (so I will upload my entries when I have wifi) but will write as we travel day to day in our van. We depart May 3rd and fly to Abu Dhabi to spend 3 days there, and then continue on to Heathrow Airport. Once we arrive in the UK and spend a week recovering from flying we begin our summer journey in Belgium, then onto The Netherlands, Germany, Czech Rebublic, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Greece, back to Italy for the west coast, France then Spain. After that we will catch a ferry over to Morocco and spend 2 weeks exploring – it’s actually one of the places we are most excited about visiting! From there we spend Autumn in UK, Scotland and Ireland, then will finish early December for winter in Norway and Sweden to see the Northern Lights and for Phil to experience a husky sled ride (on his bucket list.) I am sure in 7 months I will have many experiences to blog about being a tourist travelling in a campervan with a young family. My entries will also be like a journal that we can look back on of this once in a lifetime trip, and one day I may even look back on them as further inspiration to travel again! I hope some of you enjoy reading my blog along the way and find it insightful, entertaining and inspiring at the same time. 🌎

Take care,

J xx

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The Nothern Lights in Norway 😍 Can only be seen after November so we finish our Europe trip in December so we don’t miss it!

The game of likes and follows

A couple of months ago a mother I follow on Instagram mentioned a Followers App on one of her posts. I was instantly curious about it and asked her what it was. I was told it was an app you could get that tracks who follows you, unfollows you, blocks you or deletes likes/comments they’ve made on your posts (the last 2 points I discovered about this app myself!)

I immediately went and downloaded this app as soon as I found out, even though this friend cautioned that it can sometimes be hurtful if you find out about certain people who unfollow you who you assumed were your friend. I can see why some people may be offended or hurt from this, or on the other end of the spectrum those that would rather not know. I am however, one of those people that LOVE to know these sorts of things. Although I won’t tell a falsehood and say I haven’t been slightly offended now and then – or even confused….but my strong desire and urge to know truth in general far outweighs any other emotional reaction that may come afterwards. Call this blog entry a mini social experiment or a collation of my findings, observations and the opinions and stories of others I’ve spoken to. I’m merely exploring one thin spoke of a very large umbrella subject here so this does come across as analytical.

My friends list on Instagram is small and intimate. I haven’t tried to aggressively build my account (this takes committing too much time to social media and I have been outwardly opposed to this as I want a life away from a screen!) I am in no way instafamous or popular by any means. I rather like it this way.

This does mean that without being deliberately petty I do notice and monitor  when my followers numbers decrease or increase. I just want to know who. Call it curiousity, a strange desire to catch a disloyal person out, identify those who are disgruntled, playing the social media game, a cowardly so called friend…..etc etc the list goes on – and I do it for all the above. To some degree if you discover that someone who poses to be your friend in “real life” but unfollows you on Instagram doesn’t this warrant a justified question to oneself? Have you just discovered them to be a liar? That seems a bit heavy but in a world driven and fuelled by social media for news, entertainment, friendships, relationships, business, inspiration and gossip – can’t we just come out and admit that likes and follows do mean a lot more than we realise and they do signify something deeper?

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✖️ Side note ✖️

Some people would probably say “who cares it’s just social media it doesn’t count or matter!” – as if this sort of thing is pointless. Which lets face it, as much as even I don’t like to admit – social media holds a lot of weight and does tie strongly in with your identity even if it shouldn’t. Which is why my attention has been drawn to this curiosity and like of this app. When sticky subjects like unfollowing someone or not liking posts on social media comes into it some women like to pull that whole “who cares about social media” card. Funny that – those exact people post about the most significant moments and memories in their life, vent or whinge, promote their body, CHILDREN or business on their account but will say this sort of thing doesn’t matter when it suits them. When we ALL know that we’ve stalked, unfollowed, bitched about or compared ourselves to accounts, photos and posts before. So to anyone rolling their eyes at this blog post – get over yourself. This whole subject would ring true to you also. You’re not above it all and would no doubt delve into it more than the average. I’m just one of few women who are blogging about it. And this won’t be the last time I do! ✖️✖️

 

Annnnyyyyyway! So while having this app and discovering a few surprises of my own with people deleting or unfollowing me it’s got me brainstorming even more than usual about the confusing, conflicting and colourful world of social media and how it has an effect on us. I have some theories of my own and I believe many of them to hold some truth. In some regards I’d classify this app and time browsing social media to be a form of personal research sometimes. The psychology behind what social media does to people and society fascinates me. Some of my observations and theories based on that I will share……

So what does it mean or signify when a woman unfollows your account and you catch them out?

✖️ I’m not talking about a complete random or stranger you’ve had no interaction with whatsoever by the way..as we can’t explain or confront every move or unfollow made on social media. I’m referring to a friend, whether that be in your inner circle or mid circle, someone you’ve had a history with (an old friend) or someone you’ve developed a new connection with. ✖️

In my opinion it most likely means you’ve been shunned or excluded to some degree or straight out dumped as a friend. The reasons could be anything from her being offended in some way you may not know of (and let’s face it, if she’s thinking she’s secretly deleted you and doesn’t count on your knowing it’s unlikely she’s going to sit you down and tell you WHY she’s offended), one of your posts struct a nerve and she needs time away from you, there’s been an obvious offence committed that you both DO know of, hidden jealousies that have built up over time and have gradually become too much so she can’t face your posts in her news feed….OR you’ve just been dumped hard out as a friend. This can make women feel betrayed, used, abandoned, confused, angry, excluded and hurt.

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Reading into it too much? Unlikely. Women are precise. We are deliberate, we are jealous, we can be conniving and bitchy, we have been known to seek drama and gossip, we strategically make moves. Is it likely an unfollow is accidental? No way. I frequently ask women I meet and encounter about their experiences with social media so I know that the reasons I have above are accurate. There are probably more reasons I haven’t covered.

 

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This quote rings so true to copious amounts of friendships worldwide.

 

You do get people who will go off you for whatever reason for a while – but instead of going to the extent of unfollowing or unfriending you, they will give you the cold shoulder and ignore all your posts and photos. They will never comment or like them, and if ever confronted they say they’ve missed it in their feed or haven’t been online much. Hmm interesting as you can check when a person likes a photo on Instagram and clearly see how active they’ve been – and often bitchy women will like posts either side of when yours gets put up and deliberately not like yours and ignore it. These women go half way with punishing you for whatever reason (often the issue lies with them!) but won’t go quite to the extent of dismissing you entirely. Puzzling to say the least.

There are the odd few who loudly alert that they will be unfollowing. Bravo for your direct honest approach 👏🏼 Even I wish I was more like this! I’ve seen women openly post on others photos that they disagree strongly with that particular message or image. It would appear that particular person they followed is no longer what they seem and they make a firm decision to unfollow and say so. It’s admirable that some people can be so clear cut about their convictions. I’ve abruptly unfollowed people due to religiously offensive posts, or frequent swearing (can’t stand swearing!) because I don’t want to see that in my news feed. I haven’t told them that I’ve deleted them though because none of these people were close to me. I think sometimes an abrupt unfollow is warranted without explanation if that person is a random or a distant acquaintance. Do you agree? I mean we are entitled to make a firm split decision in the moment aren’t we, if an offence is quite shocking? What does seem unpardonable are the friends that play slow ongoing games with you based on things unbeknown to you, which is completely different from being suddenly offended.

As upfront as I generally am social media has also made me a slight coward behind a screen at times so I cannot just point fingers! I’ll tell you a story concerning an old “friend” (in real life) who followed me on Instagram. I also followed her. Before I discovered this app she had unfollowed me. I noticed for a long while she had not made any comments or liked my photos (not even the ones of my son) so I knew it went beyond her being too busy and missing all my posts. She has a friends list that is like a 6th of mine so her news feed wouldn’t have been busy. My suspicion was that she was jealous. Perhaps of my happiness in life? Not 100% sure. She’s married herself but in my opinion has always been deeply insecure and troubled. Her attitudes can swing like a pendulum. I don’t know exactly when she deleted me but I will say that while she was obviously growing a distaste for me, mine was growing for her. Her posts had become contradictory to her so called beliefs, they were just dull and boring, self congratulatory and lacked any form of interest or inspiration to me. I wanted to unfollow her but didn’t want to be exposed doing so and followed her for many many weeks out of obligation. So petty really isn’t it? I’m just being truthful. If I had this app and knew when she unfollowed I could have just put myself out of my misery and knew where we stood earlier!! Instead I went through all my followers to see if she was one of them and nope, she was gone. So immediately I unfollow her. Seems teenage really but I know I’m not the only one who has felt obligation to be “friends” with someone on social media when any form of a friendship had become long lost. I just wish I could have been honest with myself and her a lot earlier, known the truth sooner.

Anyway this story was to show you that I am not above being caught up in pettiness on Instagram either. It wasn’t a close friendship so it wasn’t mourned but it was an old friendship that was enough to notice, if I make sense. In this scenario should she have told me herself the friendship was over? Instead of slipping away in a cowardly manner? I ask these questions as I’m not entirely sure. Is there a right or wrong answer? Letting things go seems to be the easiest way around many of these dramas tied up with social media friends lists but we are allowed to wonder.

 

Social media can be strategic, almost political and underlyingly bitchy most of the time. Another observation I’ve made before and after getting this app is the follow for follow game playing and if I could name some names you’d be very surprised who plays along.

There are those women/mothers on social media who have a large following (way more than I do!) and out of the blue will start following me. I’m all like “hmmm ok that’s strange” but then a small part of me thinks “hey maybe she liked something I posted or thinks we have something in common!”

I just hang back, observe them (it’s like there’s a post follow surveillance period 😂) and check out their profile to see what they are about. This usually takes days. I don’t just follow anyone and I’m proud of my small list of people I choose to follow! In this short time of a few days they’ve liked a few photos, made a couple of generalised comments and then unfollowed me. Why? I can speculate it’s mainly due to the fact they never liked my account or found me interesting, never thought we had anything in common or wanted to be my friend. They simply followed me so my attention would be drawn to them and I’d follow back! Because I fail to do so, they unfollow. Ahhh the games. It’s a strategy to gain more followers and it’s so bizarre! I’m sure many of you know exactly what I mean!

But wait, then there are those who do the above plus more. Weeks pass, then they follow you again for the second time. The whole process repeats. Man I tell you what this is commitment to picking up that one extra follower if I ever did see it. They throw out the bait again with more likes and comments in hope I’ll respond and they will hook me. Pity for them I’m just not that daft and frankly not interested in them or their account especially after the previous deception (some of these are mothers accounts too might I add!) Sure enough an unfollow occurs again. What’s even more confusing is some of these people watch my Instagram stories even after I’m unfollowed?  😏🤔 So odd. So maybe they do find me interesting after all. I start thinking maybe I AM worth stalking? Haha it’s a mind boggle this whole following game.

Men aren’t exempt either…I should really include them as my observations have included them also. They do delve into the “follow for a follow” and it’s so petty. One being a boyfriend of one of my friends 😂 Well mate, one way to get me thinking you’re a mature man who doesn’t treat life like a popularity contest 🙄

Many of these observations I’ve made confuse me or make me laugh and shake my head. Who knows the right etiquette to social media usage? Do any of us? Where does honesty come into it? Telling someone you no longer find what they say or post on social media interesting, truthful, wholesome or motivating. Do we avoid confrontation completely now and allow buttons or tabs on a screen to communicate for us? Why do people play games on social media? Is it all just a popularity contest? Can an unfollow bring an end to a friendship? To this question my answer is – I believe it can. Because social media is personal. It means more than it should, and in some cases should mean more to those than it does due to the content they post on there.

It’s a huge contradiction and a maze of people who want a greater number of people to love them and notice them (or in some cases not them personally but their children 😳) That’s a huge void of insecurity in people’s lives and hearts that social media has the impossible task of filling. And it isn’t doing a good job. It cannot possibly fulfill it. Playing the following and likes game won’t add true value to your life, and will only take from true friendships you may have made. A number indicating an amount of people who follow you should not define you or how you act toward others. As much as social media can create relationships between people or connect them, it can also ruin and destroy them. Push you to compare and compete. You’ve got to navigate your way around with the precision and care of a rally car driver to avoid major disasters.

Does social media alter the way we socialise and act towards others? This is a question we need to ask ourselves. Are your followers as genuine as you may think? You may have a large number but how many of them follow you simply to watch you fall and relish in your failings instead of offering true friendship? That’s why I don’t envy people with a large following lists. You have 20 thousand  followers but only 1000-2000 likes? That accounts for a lot of potentially disinterested, inactive, jealous, sticky beak or fake followers on your account – and I wouldn’t want that AT all just for the appearance of being popular.

 

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All I will conclude with from my own experiences with this app is I am enjoying knowing truth in an arena that is full of lies. It makes me feel like I have some sort of honest feedback. It allows me to track the game playing so I can avoid certain people who seem to partake in it. So to those people who are posing as friends who are playing the game with me – I see you 👀

 

Just some food for thought peeps. Hope I got you all thinking ✌🏼️

Take care out there!

J xx

My joy of breastfeeding

I uploaded a photo of me breastfeeding my son well over 4 months ago and did a small write up under the photo of my thoughts towards breastfeeding and how they had changed in the short few weeks of becoming a mum. Being that it was just World Breastfeeding Week I thought I’d elaborate more on my experience with breastfeeding my son using what I originally wrote as a template – explaining how and why I went from being feared of it, to it becoming something I now enjoy immensely and have gradually come to love!

 

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The first breastfeeding photo I took in March, Jonah was about 5-6 weeks old and I felt to write a post about how much my views on breastfeeding had changed!

 

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I’ve taken a few lovely breastfeeding photos over the months. I love looking back on them 💜

 

Breastfeeding was the one thing after labour that I was dreading the most about motherhood. I dreaded it more than tears and tantrums, more than the fear of not bouncing back to my pre baby body and having abs anymore, loosing my high level of fitness, even more than sleepless nights and over tiredness (I’ve been very precious with my sleep for years and dreaded not getting the same 9-10 hours per night so it’s a big deal to fear anything more than that!) I know this all sounds rather dramatic and my list of anxieties were long but I am just being honest here.

Some women look forward to experiencing breastfeeding and soaking up that feeling of nursing their baby – but I never did. I was anxious at the very thought and the idea of a baby sucking at my breast was a turn off and somewhat unbearable. I was fine with watching other mothers breastfeed but for myself imagining it was too much.

In the weeks leading up to having Jonah I started to massage my nipples with oil to try and prepare them for the stimulation that was to come. I was recommended to do this by a few mothers and was told it would help. Even doing this after the shower made me feel uncomfortable and I would get this wirey, agitated and flushed feeling come over me and I could barely even massage my own nipples because of it. Aside from that they were so sensitive – and not in a good way. I didn’t want to even touch them myself, let alone a tiny mouth being attached to them!!! I would cringe thinking of how much harder it would be to tolerate a baby sucking than my own hands and fingers massaging.

I even cried to my husband about this, in doubt that I could cope or endure it, and he would try and say the right things to console me. He even said that if it was too much and I couldn’t manage it, that he would not expect me to continue. He assured me there would be no pressure on me from him and we could use formula after a few days if breastfeeding didn’t work out. This would calm me down of course and I thought “yep I have an immediate plan B in place as I think I’ll need it.”

I’d made comments over the months like “oh if I make sure I feed my child for a month I’ll be happy.” In my mind I planned to only feed for a month at some points, then only 3 months maximum. I’d put time limits on it as I didn’t want to do it and felt unenthusiastic and apprehensive about it. I feared the pain from it and all the stories I’d heard of things that can go wrong. Cracked and bleeding nipples, mastitis, baby not latching properly, not having enough supply…. to name a few. I also feared the task of giving so much of myself to feeding and everything that surrounded that. Like many other people I did have a very prominent selfish side before having a child. I feared how much of my life would be consumed by feeding, being woken up, burping etc etc.

After a while I thought to pray to the Lord for help in this area, about my feelings towards this natural process. I don’t know why I didn’t pray sooner to be honest. I also know that although I did turn to God to ask His help, I still doubted myself and what he could really do to change my mind about this daunting task that lie ahead (that’s how I viewed it!). It wasn’t until after my labour did I really rely on Him to help enable me to do what He had made me (a woman and mother) to do. I asked him to help my outlook on it and to physically cope with the demands of it. Praise God He did more than that!

From the very start Jonah was a perfect feeder, had a perfect latch and suck. He has a big mouth and big lips so this helps I was told. When I was in hospital and he was feeding for the first 2 days, I did experience dry and slightly chapped nipples. It reminded me of when I was young and I forgot to wear lip balm to school on a cold windy winters day and came home with chapped lips that stung a little. My nipples felt and looked like that. So naturally I got worried and nearly had a melt down thinking my nipples weren’t doing so well. The lanolin balm came in really handy I tell you what! I grew an attachment to that stuff!! Also my left nipple would sting when Jonah would latch on a feed for the first few seconds so I instantly got insecure and feared that he wasn’t latching properly and causing me pain on that side.

It wasn’t until I went to a class held at the hospital after the second day of staying there and saw a very experienced lactation consultant did my insecurity fade considerably. She watched me feed Jonah and was so encouraging, told me he was a great feeder and latcher. She also told me what to look for to know if he’s feeding properly, and assured me that the slight sting did not mean he wasn’t latching correctly and that it was more my nipple getting used to the sucking. I was so relieved.

I admit I was also a lot slower to whinge after going to that class and seeing about 8 other women around me have a very hard time feeding their babies! Some women’s babies were not even latching on the nipple properly and they had to squeeze the colostrum out with their fingers (it looked painful and uncomfortable!) and feed their baby through a syringe! This seemingly was quite frustrating for mother and baby and was resulting in tears from mum and a lot of crying from the baby. Some other women had bleeding and cracked nipples and I really felt for them. I looked at Jonah asleep peacefully after I had the lactation consultant watch and guide me feeding him for a few minutes and I felt like a fool for being so dramatic and working myself up over nothing when other women actually did have something to be frustrated or upset about. I couldn’t believe I nearly had a melt down over chapped nipples that stung a little bit. I’m so precious sometimes, with anything to do with my body I always have been. Becoming a mother has really helped work some of that out of me.

 

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Jonah’s first feed. Although I looked happy here (more so relieved it was all over!) in my mind I was SO apprehensive and anxious about him feeding even then. He seemed very calm and peaceful so if it wasn’t for that I would have worked myself up I think!

 

Once I got over this initial hurdle the next wave of fear about feeding came. I feared day 3 or 4 when my milk was due to come. Although I know this varies for everyone, I feared the next stage and all the cluster feeding that was to come. My milk came in at day 3 and my body didn’t handle it well. Like every other woman I had boobs like Dolly Parton – they were HUGE!!! 😳 So round and orb like. They were rock hard. I was almost intimidated by them. I don’t fancy large breasts and don’t aspire to have them…so I was thinking “gosh I hope they go down in size, image training with boobs this big, what a set back!” I don’t know how women can get implants now after having boobs like that for a couple of days! My body must of been in shock I think because the huge boobs were just the start – it took a hard hit. I had the sweats so badly, soaring temperatures one hour to then having the shakes from being so cold the next, a splitting headache, almost fainting from feeling light headed several times. I was as pale as a ghost and felt shockingly depleted and ill. I was confined to the couch and only got up when needed to feed Jonah and go to the toilet. This lasted almost a whole day, but the fevers only lasted a few hours. So that wasn’t the best experience! However Jonah didn’t cluster feed at all, he just consistently fed every 3 hours. So this made thing easier for me whilst I endured all these symptoms from my milk coming in!

I did spend many days very insecure at the slightest thing to do with feeding Jonah. For the first 2 days when my colostrum was in he would feed every 3 hours for around 30 mins. However once my milk came in the duration of feeding time went down to only about 7 minutes on average. He would suck like a Hoover for a short time and then be done. I worried he had issues with feeding and wasn’t getting enough as all the brochures I was given or articles I read stated average feeding times of 30-45 mins! So naturally I jumped to my own conclusions. Well, when my midwife made her house calls and weighed Jonah it was clear the kid was packing on the pounds and was well and truly getting enough. At day 4 he had regained his birth weight plus nearly 100g! At 3 weeks he was 5 kilos. She said he was a very efficient feeder and was taking what he needed but just in a very short space of time. It was only then I let go of that issue. To this day Jonah never feeds long. 15 mins tops if that! Only before bed will he feed half an hour. Every baby is different, so I’m told all the time.

 

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Token milk drunk photo!
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Now that God has taken me through child birth and I have my son, and I see how dependant he is on me and how much he is growing and developing because I am the source of his food. My mindset has changed. It’s almost as if God has softened me towards this and my fear and dread of breast feeding left after a couple of weeks. I went from enjoying it most of the time to loving it. I love being able to bond with my son through the experience, I love knowing I can give him the best possible nutrients through my milk and what I eat. I’m proud of his weight gain and healthiness because of what I am giving him 😊 It makes sense to me now that if I can breastfeed and my son can latch well and feed well I should be thankful for this experience and not look to avoid it.

Fast forward almost 6 months and I love breastfeeding so much. It’s one of my most favourite things to do as a mother. It brings me so much joy and happiness. So many precious and funny memories have come from Jonah feeding, or latching on. It’s like there’s Jonah when he’s feeding and Jonah when he’s not feeding – 2 different sides to him. If this makes sense? I spend most of his feeding time staring at him nowadays as I’m doing my best to savour the experience. I used to see it as a bit mundane to begin with and the early weeks are a blur. Now I sit there with him, leave my phone behind and just be there in the moment, gazing at his gorgeous little face and his ever changing facial expressions. I get emotional when I think that the weeks are limited of exclusive breastfeeding as I start to introduce more solids. I’m proud of us both and thankful to the Lord that I have exclusively breastfeed for almost 6 months. What a beautiful experience and gift, and a journey that has taught me about sacrifice, selflessness, love and patience.

God has continually taught me through my short time of being a mum that there is no fear in something natural that He has ordained. I’m still learning so much about my new job as a mother but having no fear and to rely on Him is one of the first of many things I’ve learned.

 

Thanks for reading 🙏🏼😘

 

Jess xx

 

 

May the blogging begin – my first entry

No body needs a large following on social media to start a blog. I almost can’t believe that in the opening line of my own blog I’m stating that. However in an age where ones opinion of another seems to rest on what their social media status or “image” is, I think I can get away with it. To some, masses of followers = a voice more worthy to be heard. So they follow, and listen, and copy, and take on board anything said as gospel by this person (or people) exclusively.

Well I disagree and won’t be prevented from starting my own blog site because I’m not well known and don’t have many followers on Instagram (I don’t have Facebook so Instagram is my only social media interaction!) I won’t be boxed in by any ridiculous theory that because few people follow me I am ill advised to start a blog about my passions, opinions, inspirations and journey. There was a brief moment I paused and thought “should YOU start your own blog?” Straight afterwards I was ashamed in myself that I even started to conform to that way of thinking. Of course I can. It may not be perfectly presented and not many people may read it but that shouldn’t deter me. It’s not for the masses it’s for a few. That’s what I want. To encourage a smaller community of women to break the mould and read something inspiring or encouraging written by another woman who may not be known to them but is relatable in some way. I believe women need something of substance to read in a world full of repetitive “junk articles” and in time I hope this blog provides that. In a way this sounds like I’m trying to justify my decision to start a blog so I’ll stop there haha. I can get carried away sometimes as you’ll notice in my writing.

One reason I am starting a blog is because I get pleasure from writing and always have since my high school years. I’m an avid reader and enjoy written language. I’ve never studied it but I enjoy it none the less, and lose myself in a good book or article when I come across one. I go through seasons of extensive reading. When I get over the initial laziness I do also love writing and allowing my thoughts to flood the paper. Or in this case: screen.

I also love passionate verbal conversation, both from an individual or group…seeing people externalising their personal convictions. So really a blog is perfect for me as I get to do all of this. Be a voice on a screen. I also cannot wait to invite other women I know to write their thoughts and experiences on my blog so collectively we can share, touch, bless, educate (in a non patronising way) and encourage one another. I don’t want this blog to be all about me and what I think exclusively. However until I ask others if they would do me the favour and write something for my blog it’s just me for now 🙂

Coming to think of it I suppose I started blogging on my Instagram photos I upload without even realising it. I often write massive spiels about my progress, opinions or experiences on a certain subject.

It suddenly came to me that I could have a larger space to write, blog and document all my thoughts, and also somewhere I can archive recipes and workouts I have been conjuring and creating for months so that I never forget or lose them. Not only this but I could possibly inspire, encourage and motivate other women with the content of my page/blog. So this new venture has a dual benefit for me. I only hope it will positively benefit others, or at least get people thinking.

I will double up here and cut and paste what I have written in the section of “Introducing myself” below as part of my first entry as to how I feel about starting my own blog:

Writing a blog in my opinion is also a responsibility of sorts, to make sure I convey and maintain honesty, integrity and respect in how I approach subjects and voice my opinions. I want to remain true to who I am and my words to be true to my fundamental character at all times. This does mean that I will go against the “norm” with my opinions. I am a passionate non conformist with my ideas and opinions and I do look forward to externalising that through my blog. I aim to write about some thought provoking subjects in an honest and transparent way, with a touch of wittiness 😝

I would say I am aiming to be the 3 words I have written under my blog title: relevant, raw and relatable. I want all women, mothers and otherwise to be able to find something on my blog that appeals, inspires, relates or touches them in some small way. 

 

I have prayed to the Lord for guidance before I have written anything on my blog site so far, as I want Him to be a part of everything I do. I believe I am finally at a stage in my life where I can write from a place of contentment and freedom within myself. A couple of years ago I wouldn’t have been. How one is in their personal life would reflect in their writing – I earnestly believe this. I didn’t want to be writing or exploring subjects from a place of bitterness, a hard spiteful heart, naivety or even jealousy. I don’t want to treat my blog as a nagging and distasteful platform and treat any readers as sounding board for my negativity that would leave a bad taste in their mouth. So because I am a changed person and I am in a stable, happy and content place in my life I feel it’s the right time for me to write. I pray that anyone who reads this enjoys it….

 

Oh one more thing, I’ve designed and created this site and blog all on my own, predominantly using my phone not my laptop 😳 I’m in no way a very IT savvy person so please be kind to me haha it’s basic but I’ve done it all myself and with time I can add some frills. It’s a work in progress and not all tabs are full or complete yet (I’ll add to them as I need to!) I’m happy for now with how it’s turned out! I’ve deprioritised this blog for many weeks now and worked on it little bits at a time since Jonah was a month old from memory. I thought I better actually start writing and can always focus on the creative part later 😝

 

Take care 🙏🏼

 

Jess