We need to stop asking parents with one child when the next baby is due.
I feel like our society puts so much pressure on mums to re-conceive. If it’s not tick-tock your biological clock, it’s the outdated assumption that one baby does not complete a family. To quote a former Federal Treasurer, “have one child for Mum, one for Dad and one for the country”. All well and good for somone on an exhabindent government pension and possibly little understanding of contemporary women’s issues.
You never know the struggle some parents may have gone through to have just one child. The miscarriages, the infertility, the IVF, the countless negative pregnancy tests, a traumatic birth or postnatal depression. And what if… just what if… one child is enough? Crazy right? But for some of us Gen Y’s, we don’t feel an urgency to repopulate the country, nor can most of us afford to.
We are told “don’t just have one, they will be spoilt and lonely”. “Have them young, you don’t want to be 50 and still doing school drop offs”. But on the other hand “have them later on in life, get a career, travel, live your life first!” And of course there is the age old advice of “have them close together, so you get them out the way”. But no, “have at least 5 years between them, so the eldest is at school when baby number 2 comes along”.
STOP! Just stop. As parents, we are given unsolicited advice on just about everything, starting right from pregnancy. We have no right to presume young families need advice on how many kids they require to be happy, or when they should have them. Each family unit is unique.
The concept of the average Australian family no longer exists. The stereotypical stay-at-home mum, the absent dad, the 3 free range kids, a cattle dog, a Kingswood, a clothesline out the back, verandah out the front, and an old rocking chair. It doesn’t exist anymore. Today we have blended families with step-children. We have same-sex parents who choose surrogacy or adoption. We have stay-at-home Dads and mum bosses who are taking over the world. It’s the new look, modern Australian family unit, and I for one love it.
As a 31 year old mum of one, who has experienced misscarriage, who has an amazing husband and is completely in love with her beautiful son, I feel ok with “just one”. I don’t know if this will change later on, and I won’t feel pressured by any biological clock. I won’t feel guilty if my son is an only child, or if I conceive later on in life and become an “old mum”. This is the path my family has chosen, and we are happy.
Weather a couple has no children, 1 child or 6; what is important is it is their choice or it’s their personal circumstance. So before you ask a young mum & dad when baby number 2 is due, perhaps take a moment to appreciate that they might be happy, just the way they are.
I want to chat about one of my favorite mum products from @mummycouture. Pregnancy and post-pregnancy fashion can sometimes be left wanting. The under bump jeans that expose our lovely love handles. The over the bump shorts that roll down after a few attempts at sitting. The overaly exposed breastfeeding tops that leave you feeling like a neon sign in public. And then there’s the fact that our bodies just don’t fit into our old clothes as well as they used to. It can be deflating and detrimental to our confidence. We should feel comfortable and beautiful throughout our pregnancy and the days that follow. Our bodies are going through massive changes that our wardrobe and our waistlines can’t keep up with.
After my first pregnancy, I’ve learnt it’s all about the staples. A few key items that work with every occasion and every change. One of these staples was designed by fellow mum boss Emily from Mummy Couture; a breastfeeding friendly, mum-life friendly kimono, to carry you through pregnancy and beyond. You’ve most likely seen me wearing this little gem countless times in my insta stories. Average kimonos and cover-ups can often feel constrictive and are less than flattering. The Mummy Couture kimono is beautifully lightweight, which is perfect for the upcoming summer. It’s designed to drape and sit longer at the back, providing a gorgeous silhouette and even better coverage. And guys, it has pockets! I have been teaming this beauty up with my famous mum-tum friendly high waist tights and my go-to singlets. But now the weather is warming up, I’ve also been wearing it over my swimmers during our Wet’n’Wild adventures. I took this kimono to Hawaii for our family holiday, and teamed it with shorts for a humidity friendly, mum-tum friendly, island style.
Mum life means I can’t spend as much time pulling my wardrobe apart looking for clothing that, number 1 fits, and number 2, makes me feel good. Staples are the key ladies! And this kimono is certainly one of them.
The Mummy Couture kimonos come in several gorgeous prints ranging from XS to XL. I am wearing a S/M Small Medium.
Ladies, let’s do ourselves a HUGE favour. Let’s stop comparing ourselves to those mummy bloggers. You know the ones. I respect these women, and enjoy allot of their content. However, I sometimes find myself looking at a perfectly staged, perfectly filtered, perfectly perfect photo, and think to myself “I fall short”. These women in no way intend to make us feel this way. But we are creatures of habit, and it’s in our nature to compare ourselves and judge ourselves harshly. We MUST remind ourselves, we see only a fraction of their lives. A small, tiny, little fraction.
Let’s reality check: that well-organized cupboard sponsored by IKEA was probably pulled apart but a toddler only moments after completion. The matching mum and baby outfit pictured in that well-lit, very well posed photo, was most likely covered in spew by that afternoon. That “super simple” daily skin care routine, involving 17 over-priced products, only happens like once a week, because what mum has time? That incredibly tidy house, with the matching monochrome furniture, was likely covered in toys and biscuit crumbs instantly after that photo was taken. That perfect selfie, with immaculate make-up and on-point smile, is probably hiding a sleep deprived mum on the edge of a minor breakdown. Professional bloggers may share some of this, but certainly not all. It’s their job to stage beautiful photos in order to achieve whatever it is they wanting to achieve; sponsorship, promotion, brand development.
I know that for me, I blog because I want connect and I want to write. Writing has been a huge part of my life. I wrote my first novel when I was 24, and I want this to lead onto more content writing or even a proper writing gig. Most of us follow bloggers or write blogs in order to connect, share and feel a little less alone in this crazy world of parenting. If you haven’t got 24k followers, don’t compare your instagram account to someone that does. If you haven’t got a seamless instagram feed, or perfectly staged photos, that’s ok too! We need to keep it real in order to stay true to why we do this in the first place. I want to see the make-up free, over tired, slightly unmaintained mummas. I want to read about your mum-fails and your mum-tripumps. I want to sympathize, empathize, learn, interact and connect. You can’t always do this with 24k followers. You can’t always write great content if you are more focused on meticulously staging photos.
Mummy bloggers and followers, if you can take anything away from this, take this: you are every bit as perfect, beautiful and balanced as those other mummy instagramers. You do not fall short. We are all going through this crazy, tiring, sometimes thankless, journey together. And my dining table is covered in laund
I was bullied at high school. It feels like a lifetime ago now, but I remember every moment. Bullying has this lasting impact. I went to an all-girls catholic school. It lived up to every social expectation you would have of such a school. There were the skinny popular girls, the rich boarding students, the poor boarding students, the science geeks, the netballers, the swimmers who also played netball, the drama crew, the quirky group who sat outside room 9. That was us. The quirky group. In my first year of high school, I knew very few people, and the girls I did try to sit with at lunch did not want any part of me. I was told one Tuesday lunchtime that Tuesdays were “Lexie free days”. They were establishing themselves as the popular group, and I was a chubby, extremely naive girl who definitely did not fit their mould. I remember walking away, trying to hold back tears. So much so, my throat was aching. But I didn’t want anyone to see me cry. How embarrassing. It was in this moment of utter shame, that I found my people. A group of girls just as quirky and just as weird. And we spent 5 years, navigating school, hormones, boys, break ups and teenage life. But bullying doesnt stop just because you have friends. I remember one day in year 10, a girl started a rumor I was gay. Insert Jerry Seinfeld’s “not that there’s anything wrong with that!”. But at an all-girls catholic school in the early 2000’s, it’s a rumor that brings with it allot of side glances, whispering and giggling behind your back. Cruel right? I shouldn’t have had to set any record straight, but the constant undermining from some students became impossible to deal with. I remember being dropped off at school, and feeling a sense of dread in the pit of my stomach. I didn’t want to walk through those gates, and see people pointing and snickering. It completely destroyed my confidence. I was known as the funny fat one. In order to be funny, I had to hide my lack of confidence behind jokes and humor. Something I know we’ve all done at least once in our lives.
High school is a harsh awakening for all kids. I’m thankful I grew up in a time with no social media in school. I think that gives bullying a whole new platform.
But if I can give any advice to the quirky, funny, weird kids out there; your weirdness now will make you stand out in the crowd later on in life. 15 years after high school, I have the most beautiful friends, a hot husband, I have an amazing career, a gorgeous son and an incredible life. It’s a life enviable to so many that once were the perpetrators of that bullying.
So don’t conform. Don’t follow into standards set by others. Don’t change to fit in. Your uniqueness will grow into something beautiful, and make you a star in an otherwise night sky. One day in the future, you too will have beautiful friends and relationships. You’ll have strong direction. You will have respect and love. One day, you will be living your best life. High school is brief, don’t let it define you.
There is a quiet expectation that new Mums must lock themselves away and reside themselves to a life of solitude and observance. That in order to be a “good” Mum, we must forgo everything from our previous life, including our social life. A new Mum shouldn’t need a babysitter, or a night out. A new Mum shouldn’t have a drink or get a hangover. A new Mum shouldn’t get her hair done, or go for a spray tan, and she certainly shouldn’t return to work too soon! That’s selfish, irresponsible and detrimental to baby. A good new Mother pumps, washes, cleans, folds, nurtures and sleeps with baby firmly attached.
On the other side of the coin, our society has normalized and encouraged new Dad’s to go out and “wet the babies head”, which is another term for “go out with the boys and get blind drunk”. And we all know that the image of ‘beer’ and ‘Dad’ go together like ‘laundry’ and ‘Mum’.
My problem with these social ideaologies is that we, as new Mums, are expected to completely give ourselves up as a person. Why must becoming a Mum mean we are no longer a human being? Yes, our priorities change when we become parents. Doing sambuca shots at the club whilst dropping it to The Black Eyed Peas no longer interests me.
But in order to be the best Mum, I need to be my best self. If that means going to the gym, or having a date night, or getting a babysitter, or having a few glasses of champagne at your cousin’s 40th, then do it! Sure, that hangover might not be worth it when baby wants to play peek-a-boo at 4am in the morning, but those karaoke memories will live on forever.
Becoming a Mum has been the most terrifying and beautiful experience of my life. I never thought I could love somone so much. He has encompassed every aspect of my life, and I love him all the more for it. But every now and then we need a reminder that we are these fragile, funny, sexy, fun people, who need to love ourselves just as much as our kids. Being a “good” Mum is simply just being a happy Mum.
PHOTO DISCLAIMER: Daddy had baby for the afternoon so Mummy could go on a boat and drink champagne like the classy queen she is. 👑
This is realistic guide for all mums and dads who are bravely going where many parents have gone before, and instantly regretted it … on holidays with an infant baby! So strap yourself in, and let’s trundle through my messy success story of travelling with my 7 month old baby to Waikiki, Hawaii!
What to Pack: “Don’t overpack” are my famous last words, usually said only moments before overpacking. So in order to really try and keep to my goal of not over packing, I did something very few women have done before … I decided we were taking ONE suitcase. Yes, you read that correctly, ONE suitcase, for 2 adults and 1 baby. And ladies and gentle, I am pleased to announce, that with all my stubborness and lots of sitting on the case to shut it, I DID IT!!!
Carry-on Bags – being a 9 hour flight, I packed portioned formula for 6 bottles (encase of delays), 3 sterilized bottles, nappies, hand sanitizer, a toy, a small blanket, spare change of clothes for baby, his favourite pouch of solids, and baby Nurofen and a dummy. All of which got through security with no problems. The dummy and Nurofen really helped with his sore ears from cabin pressure.TIP: Airplane bathrooms use recycled water, which is no good for washing babies bottles. So I recommend taking as many sterilized or clean bottles as you think necessary.
Pram – there are two options with it comes to prams, either you can hire one once you get to Hawaii OR you can take a compact fold up pram with you on board the plane. We choose the latter option, and purchased a cheap Stealcraft folding pram for the trip. This made having baby at the airport so much easier. We deliberately chose one that reclined, so the Edward could nap in the pram also. Check with your airline what restrictions or allowances you have when travelling with baby.
Formula – if baby is not breastfed, then you will most likely need this. Some will argue that you could just buy it over there. However I could not find the particular brand we use in any of the convenience stores in Waikiki. We took one tin, which lasted the 7 days exactly.
Solids – This of course depends where you baby is up to with solids; Eddie is currently having purees three times a day. Although we found that difficult to keep up whilst on holidays, I did pack a few of his favorite puree pouches.
Sippy Cup – keeping fluids up in a hot climate is important. I found plenty of low sugar juice options at the local convenience stores, which I watered down for those hot days.
Sunscreen – this might sound simple enough, but I highly recommend picking up a high 50+ UPF rating kids sunscreen and packing this in your suitcase. Just encase you can’t find a high rated sunscreen in the convenience stores.
Swimmers – again, sounds simple enough. But we invested in a high UPF swimsuit from Rashhoodz Swimwear Australia.
Nappies – yes, you can buy nappies in Waikiki. However, I could not find my prefered brand, Huggies, in any of the local convenience stores in Waikiki (I have been told some Chemist’s stock them, which I couldn’t find). I found the main brand available, Pampers, were nowhere near as absorbent as Huggies. I also packed the Huggies Swimmer nappies, which worked great for our pool and beach days. Don’t forget those nappy bags to help dispose of the poo explosions whilst in the run!
Baby Toiletries – I packed a little bag with some baby essentials. Band-aids, baby Panadol, sudocrem, baby cotton buds (to clean out those ears post beach and pool), bath wash, bottle wash and scrubbing brush, baby lotion, antiseptic cream, nasal aspirator (for those runny nose days), tweezers, and an emergency dummy (because we all know those suckers run away!). You can get most of these items in small travel friendly sizes.
Clothing – keep this simple, as the temperature is usually quite warm, and baby will most likely spend allot of time sans-clothing and wearing just a fashionable nappy. We packed a few Bonds onesies, wondersuits (mostly for the flight or when in air conditioning), and his Love to Dream SleepSuit for night times.
Getting Around With Baby: After doing some research, I found you can travel with a baby unrestrained (on your lap) on all public transport (taxi’s, shuttles etc.). However, I didn’t want Edward to be unrestrained, so I found a fantastic and affordable transfer company called Hawaii 23. Not only were the transfers super easy to book and private (no sharing with anyone!), they provided an infant capsule free of charge. The driver picked us up right outside of immigration at Honolulu Airport. Our return trip was just as easy. Cost was $USD30.00 one way (not including tip) for 2 adults and 1 infant.
We also hired a car via Turo – a ride sharing app which allows you to hire private vehicles for much less than major car hire companies. We hired a very spacious Cadillac which came with an optional infant car seat. Turo is great because you can choose a level of insurance coverage which suits your needs (we got the premium), as well as select your prefered pick-up or drop off locations, and there are hundreds of very cool cars to choose from. We did a few day trips with the car, to Kona Brewery and North Shore, and baby was very comfortable in his air conditioned, full leather interior Caddy!
Where to Stay: On a previous trip to Waikiki (sans-baby), we stayed to the Moana Surfrider (5 Star). This property does suit families to a degree, and is a spectacular establishment. However it has a only one, very small, pool, and limited child friendly activities.
If you are on a budget, I recommend the Aston Circle (2 – 3 Star). Although this property has no pool, it is directly across from the beach, and offers oceanfront views, and double beds (baby can have one and you the other). Cots are also available free of charge. The staff can also arrange beach toys for the kids.
For a family friendly mid-range property, I recommend the Hyatt Place (3.5 – 4 Star). The property is a short walk to Waikiki beach. They provide an ample continental breakfast, and the rooms are very large and well maintained.
For a high-end option, I recommend either the Hilton Hawaiian Village (5 Star), or The Sheraton Waikiki (5 Star). The Hilton Hawaiian Village is a slight walk from the centre of Waikiki, but offers the most family friendly in-resort facilities out of all the accomodation options in Waikiki. These include a large lagoon with watercraft hire, large pools with kid friendly slides and direct beach access. Their kids club, Camp Penguin, is also well renowned and available for ages 5 and up. There are also several room categories to choose from to suit your budget.
The Sheraton Waikiki is where we stayed this trip, and offers the only other in-resort kid friendly pool on Waikiki beach. The kids pool is quite large, and has a slide, waterfall and small pool area for the tiny tots. The resort has optional day-care from 3 months of age up. We unfortunately didn’t get an opportunity to utilize this service, as it was booked out in advance. The rooms at the Sheraton Waikiki were quite large, and we could comfortably fit the provided cot with lots of room to spare. There is no direct beach access, however it is only a short walk from the pool areas.
TIP: Most resorts and hotels have in-house coin operated laundromats. We all know how much laundry baby can create, and this is a simple and affordable way to keep on top of it during your trip.
Baby Friendly Activities: Sadly baby can’t sit at the bar with you and drink Mai Tai’s (well at least not all the time), so how does one keep bub occupied in Waikiki?
Firstly, we hired some baby friendly toys, to help keep Edward occupied whilst we were in our room or by the pool. After a bit of research, I found a hire company which didn’t have minimum spend requirement. Paradise Baby Co. offer hire options for almost everything you would require for baby, including sleeping aids, feeding options, travel accessories and lots of toys! We hired a play mat, floaty for the pool and a bumbo (so we could feed Edward his solids whilst we were in the room). They drop off the items to your hotel, and pick them up upon your departure. Super simple and so much to choose from to help making travelling with baby that bit easier.
We also took a day trip to North Shore, which was easy and relaxing with baby. As mentioned, we hired our own car, and drove 60 minutes north to the small historic town of Haleiwa. There is pram access to most restaurants and shops, and most walking paths are sealed. From there, we travelled along the coast line back to Waikiki, stopping at Pipeline Surf Beach (Banzai Pipeline), as well as Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck, for the world renowned garlic shrimp! It does take a full day, depending on how many stops you make, but by having our own car, we could do it on babies time.
Diamond Head Luau is a great family friendly night out. It doesn’t run super late into the night (concluding at 7.30pm), and offers plenty of kid friendly cultural activities prior to the show. The activities start at sunset, so it’s not too hot for baby, and offers a spectacular view of Waikiki beach at sunset. The venue is pram friendly, and kids under 3 are free. The show is a little loud, so I wouldn’t expect bub to sleep through it without headphones. But all in all, it’s a baby and kid friendly night out.
What Worked: The flight was a success! I was so nervous that Eddie would cry the whole time, or get sore ears from the cabin pressure. We took everyone’s advice, and gave him a bottle on take off and landing. I took a dummy on board with us (which he never usually takes), and he sucked on it most of the trip. We flew Hawaiian Airlines, and requested a bassinet. Although Eddie only just fit, he slept and napped fairly well in it, and this meant we didn’t have to hold him the entire time.
The reclining pram was a saviour! As we were out and about allot, when he became fussy or tired, I could lay the pram back, give him his dummy and bunny, and he could nap anywhere, anytime. If you can hire or take a reclining pram with you, do it!
Another success was the infant floaty. Sounds simple enough, but the floaty made pool and beach time so easy. Eddie was super comfortable floating the water, and if it was too sunny or hot, we could just attach the shade cloth.
Plus Hawaii is just kid friendly in general. All the of the restaurants we went to were more than accommodating for both the pram and baby. Getting around the streets is fairly easy, and the night life is extremely low key. The weather is not as hot and humid as South East Asia or Bali, and waikiki beach is very swimmable, even for little ones.
What Didn’t Work: To start with, the sleeping arrangements! Edward sleeps in his own cot at home, so we requested one from our resort, confidently thinking he would sleep fine. Not the case! The cot provided was an old-school, metal bar cot, with no-bumpers. So Eddie was getting his legs and arms stuck every other minute, and waking up crying. So we did what every single parent ends up doing on holidays, having him co-sleep with us! I take my hat off to parents that co-sleep. It is beyond mathematical and scientific reasoning as to how a small baby can take up an entire king size bed, and snore louder then daddy after a few beers. So restful sleep was NOT ticked off our holiday bucket list. If I had my time again, I would have hired a better suited porta-cot.
Along with crappy sleep, Eddie lost his appetite, making for painful feeding times. I did take a few pouches of his favourite solids, however he straight up refused most solid food, and took a less of his bottle then usual. I put this down to lots of distraction around him, and being out of routine. I had to accept that our feeding routine was just not going to be as on-point as it is at home. Routine went out the window, but hey, you’re on holidays! His appetite returned as soon as we got home, as did his sleep routine.
Another issue we faced was lack of availability for day-care or nannies. I understand this is not for everyone, however as we were in Hawaii for a wedding, I was hoping to hire a nanny for the day/night. We did find that most services were booked out way in advance. Even so, through all my research I found the best rated and most highly recommended services were through Aloha Sitters. If you are wanting a nanny or daycare for baby, I recommend booking in advance
And lastly, but most importantly, the dreaded hangover. Yes, this mother of the year had my older Sister babysit one night, and ended up drinking one too many Mai Tai’s, whilst making up for the last 12 months of no social life. Bad…idea. Not only do hangovers suck in general, they suck 1000 times more when you have an active 7 month old baby, who’s body clock is telling him to wake up every hour for a night feed, and wants to play pick-a-boo at 5am in the morning. Safe to say that i’m turned off Mai Tai’s ever (tragic), and i’ve learnt the valuable lesson all new mum’s eventually learn…you can’t party like you used to.
To Conclude: If I can pass on anything after travelling with baby, it’s do your research, and make sure your expectations for sleep and down-time are LOW. I recommend having plenty of little activities to keep baby entertained on the run, and making your itineraries as flexible as possible. Expect to spend a little more time in your room then your usual baby-less holidays, so baby can nap in the air con or have some quiet time. Try and avoid a hangover if possible… who am I kidding, aren’t they the reason we drink? Happy holidays!!!
“Can I speak to a man please?”; I am asked this by customers every damn day. See…I run a mechanical workshop. Yes…an actual testosterone filled, 50 degree heat on a good day, steal capped boots essential, down right greasy mechanical workshop. For those of you who don’t know, a mechanical workshop is that bizzar, incomprehensible place that you often are forced to visit if your car decides to shit itself. It’s that place filled with smelly blokes who seem to almost speak another language when conversing with you, and all that time you wonder “are they trying to rip me off?” Well…not my workshop. In my workshop, I run the show. I had the front office renovated, beautiful furniture added to the waiting area, air-conditioning installed right above my work station. ***ahhhh yes…I thought I’ll revolutionize the mechanical industry!
(Phone rings) “Yes. Can I speak to a man please? “. “Is there something I can help you with?” I respond with all the grace and poise only a lady can encompass ***insert eye roll .
“Nah. I need to speak with one of your guys.” So I proceed out to the workshop to find one of the “guys”, only to find them all busy as shit, stuck under trucks or out for test drives. ***reluctantly takes phone off hold; “Sir, all the technicians are currently busy. Is there something I can help you with?”
“Nah I’m not sure you’ll understand. It’s about me brakes.”
“Yes. I can help you with that. What issue is your vehicle having with the brakes?”
“Nah get one of ya boys to call me back.”
“Good girl”; now there’s one expression that really hurts my over-senstive, probably because I’m ovulating, feelings. And it’s always said to me when I achieve the unbelievably challenging task of…wait for it…booking their car in at their requested date and time. Those 4 years at University really made me a good girl. #revolutionizingtheindustry
Or how about, “can I speak to owner?”; “Sir, I am the owner, is there anything I can assist you with?” ***insert laughter from the male customer who clearly believes no woman has run a business before, let alone a business with loud, noisey, mechanical thingys, that are painted pretty colours, go really fast, have amazzzzing sound systems, and what’s that guys name from The Fast & the furious again….?
What about the age old belife, widely ingrained in your average bloke and/or sexist anthropoid, “women can’t drive”! Yep..two customers sat in the waiting area and discussed this clearly under appreciated topic for almost an hour……an hour…
What about the customer who was waiting for his vehicle to be finished, and proceeded to tell me about his upcoming trip to Bali. “Oh, you’ll love Bali…” I responded, with only the enthusiasm of waking up at 4am after 2 night feeds with baby, working through lunch, and having 3 phone calls on hold, could contain.
“If I took you to Bali, we’d never leave our room…shhhh don’t let your husband hear that!”
*** wait….what did he just say?
“Your wife and I might have a better time together.”….isssss what I wanted to say.
I don’t know whether it was my need to keep the customer happy at all costs, or my ever present need to avoid confrontation…or even worse…my hidden 1950s housewife, looking to escape and take over the kitchen! But nonetheless, I did nothing expect say “Hahaha (fake laughter) that’s o.k”. Thats o.k….what did I even mean by that? That it was o.k…. don’t forget #revolutionizingtheindustry ***insert exhausted, underwhelmed emoji