So yesterday was my birthday and for me it's the time of year where I spend the whole day really seeing my life before me. I can't believe it's been seven years since Cam and I were living in London exploring every corner of Europe because we could, shopping only for myself because I could, sleeping in and spending the weekends doing nothing or everything .... because we could. In March 2008, that thought process began changing and when Jack came along in December, I was never going to think like that again.... it's all in my dreams now. So for now, I don't sleep in, we spend weekends doing sport and going to birthday parties. I buy clothes for the kids and we go camping for holidays. But! Although this has it's moments, I wouldn't change it back for a second. I can no longer imagine my life without my kids, and although it has it's stresses and chaotic moments, it's good. In fact, pretty amazing!
Deep down I am still me and since starting The Realistic Mum, that has began to bubble up to the surface slowly. I have found a passion in me and something that is solely for me to do. My children's picture book 'Look At The Clouds, What Can You See?' will soon be yours to own through iBooks and I feel like this book and this blog have been a huge achievement amongst the business of life. So while I'm not going to call myself The Mumma of the Month, I decided to use my interview questions so you can see into my personal life, not just the part I share with you weekly. I want all you lovely readers to know me properly and see that while you may read and have a laugh about my stories, you can see the workings behind these stories and know that whatever it is that is stirring in you to do for yourself, you just have to start. Below you will see just how easy that is with a little bit of faith and some added confidence put in. Your dream can start from the moment you press GO!
Here We Go!!!
Apart from being a mum, what do you do with all the free time that you don’t have?
I love routine and structure but over the years and since moving to Sydney, I have learned to be really flexible. I have no family here and all my friends and kids have their own lives so my kids come everywhere with me because they have to. So we have a blackboard in our house that all the appointments, sport times, play dates, sounds of the week, you name it goes up so I can stay on top of everything I need to do. Cam works crazy hours in the city so Monday to Friday, apart from a plate of dinner covered in glad wrap, he's not around for the bathing and making breakfast etc etc. I don't have pity parties about it and I know mums who have their husbands travel for weeks on end so we role with it. We don't really know any different as it's always been this way so we make it work and when Cam is around we prioritise quality time with family dinners, movie nights, bike rides etc.
So my days pretty much run the same each week, as I'm sure most of you do and I just hang out for the weekend where I can share the load with Cam.
In saying that though, I set aside three hours Monday, Wednesday and Fridays when I can sit down and write to you guys. I still have my kids but make the most of using my writing times during the kid's naps. I have cut down a little bit lately as Eva goes to school next year so want to make a bit more time to spend with her. I am however super excited for next year where I can have a lot more free time to spend working on my books and TRM (The Realistic Mum).
How did you see yourself as a mum before you became one?
Becoming a mum was my dream job, may sound weird but as a little girl I wanted to be a mum and a teacher because that was like being a mum as well. I was an aunty at 11 having a bigger gap between my sisters and my brother and me so there were always kids and babies in our very close family. I absolutely love being an aunty and when I was a teenager and would drive to the shops for something, I usually had a little shadow in the back. I felt really lucky because when you become a mum, there is so much you don't see and although I still felt that way because there were loads of things that I hadn't experienced before, I had seen my sisters up at night with sick kids and had seen them in their moments where it was too hard. I had also seen how their life revolved around their kids in an incredibly balanced way and I just couldn't wait to have that for myself. My nieces and nephews were always so well behaved and just awesome kids all round so figured why stuff up the method and decided to follow in my sisters footsteps. I had ideas of what I was going to do and not do but on top of that, I just wanted to be a really great mum that my kids loved and were proud of as well as wanting to share their feelings and dreams with me.
Can you give us three rules you made pre-mum that you have now broken? Have you stuck to any?
Ah yep, Wow I was a bit mean on this one with the three because I have a few hundred! First, I was never going to have kids in my bed during the night. I was good with Jack and Eva because they were awesome sleepers and while I personally wouldn't with a young baby, we gave in with Franklin when he started waking up 500 times in the night after he turned one. With some support from friends, I just needed some sleep to have some energy for the day. I was getting run down and fighting sickness so was no good to any of my kids. We figured he is only two, we will catch up on some much needed sleep time and deal with it when we had the energy to. We have been doing that and lately he's been coming in at 5:30am and I have never felt so awake in my life having had such a big block of sleep. I am now going to bed more like 9:30 -10pm than the 8pm I was doing before and hated.
Second was that my kids were always going to wash their hands before every meal. I have never done it because I actually just cannot be bothered so please don't judge. My kids are good and germs help build your immune system so I doubt I will ever change on this one.
Third was my kids would only eat home made food. I grew up on it and my mum is amazing but after Jack, I went seriously down hill on that one. It was a matter of thirty minutes of cooking veg with a screaming child next to me or letting him suck it out of a packet, happy and done. Easy decision for me! HOWEVER, while I completely broke this rule, I started to bring in a balance last year and do half and half. I love baking and so do my kids so we bake stuff that we can snack on instead of opening a bunch of packets everyday. I don't have the type of kids who go crazy after sugar hits at birthday parties and I think that's because I give them both options. We are pretty heathy in the week and on weekends I don't care as much. My kids love every fruit they can get their hands on and eat all vegies but I really believe it's because I haven't forced them and don't keep them from 'bad' stuff.
What do you love most about being a mum?
My kids are so much fun! They crack me up daily and I honestly love everything about them. I love that, with them there is so need to ever feel insecure and they never judge. I love that I can be me around them and when they say things like 'I love you' or 'you are so funny mum' there is no greater feeling.
I love looking at them and seeing similarities to Cam and I. Jack is just a mini Cam and Eva is so like me, it's scary, where Franklin is a little mixture. Meanwhile they all bring something special of their own.
While I think being a mum is stressful and exhausting, and there are many times I cry and want to pull my hair out, I get amazed how that feeling can pass in a second. It has always freaked me out how I could be close to a nervous break down during a stand off with Eva but then be absolutely smitten by how beautiful and lovely she is less than five minutes later. She's the same, hence the stand offs!
I love that I am responsible for the shaping of these three little treasures and when they achieve something, I burst with pride thinking 'I made that kid and they are awesome'.
I love that I can race out the door hands in the air screaming freedom but spend my alone time or a date with Cam, thinking and talking about them!
What are some of your challenges as a mum?
It's really tiring and I don't do well tired. I need 8 hours sleep at night to function as a good human being but haven't had that in years so I'm surprised my friends still like me! For me it's the build up of little things and while I am a pretty patient and calm person, I can sometimes catch myself overwhelmed and out of routine that I begin to stress. I try to not be jealous of parents who are all home at 5pm and share the morning routine but funnily enough when Cam is off work or home early, I need him to go watch TV or something because I am not sure what to do with him and he gets in the way.
Little things like forgetting a main ingredient for dinner or running out of milk and packing the kids in the car to go buy one thing does my head in. My fault and it's hardly a challenge but it annoys me regardless. I love going back to Adelaide where my mum will send me off to grab milk and It's just so easy when you are buy yourself. And a hell of a lot cheaper!!!
Who are your mum people and how have they influenced you as a mum?
My mum and my sisters were that for me when I started having kids and still are. They are all insanely amazing mums so I will always ring one of them first. Like I said before whatever they did, I literally copied and learned my own things along the way. Living in Sydney though, my friends have become that for me as well. We all have kids around the same age and if I see something I think works then I'm totally stealing it! It may have been turning thirty a few years ago but since then and having to do so much mum stuff without Cam around during the week, I stopped having time for anyone who wasn't encouraging or supportive. Not that I dumped friends or anything, I would never do that. I just made friendships with mums that valued my family and treated us like part of theirs. Mums who are judgemental or look for conflict were not the people for me to hang around with so everyone I have made friends with has been the type of mum I want to be like and I'll let them influence me any way they want
Tell us a mum moment of yours (funniest, grossest, sweetest etc)
While it is fresh in my memory and you know you will always hear these moments from me this one tugged at my heart strings yesterday.
I came down on my birthday morning yesterday to find three kids smiling ear to ear in front of a bike. They just kept yelling 'do you love it' and 'now we can going bike riding as a family' (something Cam just did with them while I walked or stayed home). They were then so excited we were having a family dinner and I just absolutely adore how much my kids love us together. I love my family and think they are the best people in the world and to see my kids feel about us the same as how I feel and at their young ages, Is the best birthday present I could ask for. Oh God, now I am crying!
What would you say to a mum about following their dream and doing something for themselves?
Oh pretty please do it. When you feel like you have gained back a bit of control of your life then take out a few hours a week and do something that you love or miss. You will know when it's the right time as well because it will be the moment you find your feet and a little thought would pop into your head. I didn't think I would do anything until two years ago, I started to crave wanting to write a book and start a blog to mums. I was running a mums group and it was incredible and did that for five years. It is still an amazing group today and where I will have these friends and network for the rest of my life. But something in me felt like there were so many mums I needed to meet and reach so started TRM. I opened my laptop, started to type, rang all my friends for a bit of encouragement and hit the publish button. This has had such an amazing domino effect on other things beginning for me now. I'm in the midst of setting up a little proofreading and editing business so I can write and work as well all from home and around my kids lives. Just have a try and when you have challenging months as a mum, put it aside until you can focus on it again. Start slow and stop at a pace that you can work at. Whatever you do make sure you love it because if you find you get to a point and you hate it or it's too much then it's time to shelf it for a while. It's about doing something for you not because you have to but because you want to. Plus you have me to talk to anytime! I've got your back always and your biggest fan