Work-life. Mum-life.

 

I have never really thought about it before but I have always been a working Mum. After having Leo I went back to work, albeit initially only for a few hours a week, but I was back after about five months. I consider myself extremely lucky to have worked in a field that provides flexibility in my hours, and I have made the most of that flexibility since becoming a mother. I have just never really thought of how working and what you do is so much of who you are.

Since moving I have found it difficult to find work. Well that is not true, I had a job lined up, which happened quite easily, but unforeseen circumstances have meant that that job has now fallen through and I find myself twenty weeks pregnant (almost) and without a job. Yes, I still have my own little business, but this was never the main provider, I almost didn’t even think of that as work because I just squeeze it in around whatever other job I had at the time.
To say I am stressed about it is quite the understatement, I have worked since the moment I could. I am a worker, and with the stress of having no on-going job plus all the wonderful pregnancy hormones,  most days, you will find me in quite a mess by the time we put the children to bed.
Luckily for me, I live with the most stress free man in the world. He is forever reminding me there are worse things that could happen. We have means, we have two beautiful, happy, healthy children, I have a baby in my belly who is giving me nice strong kicks and we both have our health. Things are fine. I know all this, but the worrier in me can’t help but worry.

I have never thought about work so much as now, when I am not really working.
It’s funny, all these articles are constantly popping up on my Facebook about the guilt that working mothers feel. What about the guilt that stay at home mum’s feel? The feeling that you want to contribute, the reminder that you have to give yourself that you are contributing by looking after the children. The feeling that you want to help provide for your family, the feeling that you want to show your children a good example of working in a career that you enjoy and maybe even love. The guilt that you feel because you remember the break you used to get at work, and how you want to be away from the kids for just a little while.
I have two small children, I know I work hard. I have one child who loves to find the scissors, where ever they are and find things to chop (yesterday I walked in to the kitchen, Leo sitting on a stool with the scissors in one hand and his little finger in between the cutting aspect of them: Childproofing does not work for super tall three year olds!!), and another who climbs into precarious places (the bathroom vanity for example), there is no break. Not even a toilet stop equates to privacy and, some days, the nine hours that my husband is away feels like an eternity.
I am not saying I don’t love my job as a mum, I do, I love it, I feel so lucky to get to do it, it’s just some days, going to work was easier.
I never felt guilt in working. I missed them and I worried about them but I never felt guilt.I do feel it in not working.
It is a huge privilege to stay home with the kids. And quite frankly, it is a privilege most of us cannot afford. We all go to work so that we make a better life for ourselves, for our families, not just financially but mentally as well. I am quickly learning it is good to get away from the four walls of your house and the small chasing hands of your children, working gives us the chance to do this.

I can’t help but think that I should take this, “non-working” time to re-evaluate things.
Truth be told, before we found out we were having another baby I was looking at different courses I could do. Then those lines showed up on a pregnancy test and the idea of that was shut down.
I think the hardest thing for me, between the career I currently have and my little hobby of writing there is really nothing that is calling me. I loved what I did and I was good at it, I love writing and I’m going to keep doing that regardless of whether I am good at that or not. But how do you really know what you want to do when you grow up? What if you are already a grown up with a real grown up job, how do you know if it is right? [see being home is giving me too much time to think… and bake but that is a whole other issue!]
I know so many Mum’s go through this. It’s what I call a Mum-Life Crisis, not knowing if the job they had before is what they want to do now they are a Mum. I think that is why we see the birth of so many fantastic small businesses owned and created by Mums.
Like I said, so much of who we are is defined by what we do, and what if who you are has changed since becoming someone’s mother? Your needs change, your priorities shift, your goals are different, or maybe I’m the only one and everyone just stays the same and goes back to the same old job, fitting the baby into the same life they had before pre-kids.

I write this not for sympathy about my lack of job, or to pass my stresses on to anyone else, but in the hope that other Mum’s can relate. Know that they aren’t the only ones questioning what they want out of their work/life/family balance. I know I am not the only one who has questioned their pre-baby self compared to their post-baby self in relation to work and career. And, if you are a stay at home mum just know you need that break that work once gave you too, so go for a walk, go for a drive, do the groceries by yourself and for goodness sake take your time!
As for me and my work, I will probably go back to what I was doing before I had my babies. After all, I do have a job lined up for after baby number three comes, and in the mean time, I will keep trying not to stress about what cannot be changed. Keep applying for whatever comes my way, and importantly and quite easily, enjoying these days that I am getting with my little ones while I wait.

Image-1 (1)

 

The easiest banana cake you will ever make

Another week, another Banana Cake.

Bananas are such an easy food for kids. Portable, within their own wrapping, relatively mess free.
My only issue with bananas is I always buy too many. It seems like every second week I plan the shop wrong and end up with a whole heap of spotty, soft bananas and with that I have had to come up with a simple, adaptable and kid helper friendly banana cake.

We are continually changing the recipe for what we have, some weeks the cake has sultanas, some weeks it has hints of cinnamon or honey, some weeks it is laced with yoghurt, some weeks it is sour cream.
The base recipe of the cake stays the same, but if you have followed or tried any of my recipes in the past you will know it is rough, it is all approximate and the cake will almost always (it has for me anyway) turn out somewhat delicious.

My ‘Do as you please’ Banana Cake

Ingredients

175 gr unsalted butter – this amount is never really measured just approximately 175, it could be a little bit more or a little bit less but that’s OK
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
3-4 tablespoons of natural vanilla yoghurt or sour cream
2 cups of self raising flour
A good splash of milk, just to make the mixture cake batter consistency (maybe 1/2 a cup or so)
2-4 overripe bananas depending on how many you have (I find it works best with 2-3)
(Additional optional ingredients: a couple of boxes of sultanas that I can only use with the kids permission as they are precious delicious treats in this house, a good tablespoon of honey or maple syrup, a good sprinkle of cinnamon, choc chips if you are feeling adventurous)
Also: my cup size is any random coffee cup that I can grab and I just use the same cup throughout the recipe so that is how I keep’ consistent’ measurements.

Method

  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
  • In a mixer, cream butter and sugar.
  • Once pale and creamy, add eggs one at a time.
  • Once eggs are well incorporated, take off mixer and fold in yoghurt or sour cream. I personally like the finished product with sour cream added, but whatever you have is fine.
  • (This is where I would add honey, maple or cinnamon).
  • At this stage, sift in flour, perfect job for the kids, yes it is messy, but Leo likes making Elsa’s snow so the mess is worth it.
  • This is when I pour in a splash of milk, just maybe a quarter of a cup at this stage just to moisten the mix up a little bit.
  • Mush your bananas, child job. They need some muscles to do it, but i usually start them off and Leo mixes them around, feeling accomplished and important because they are the most important ingredient after all.
  • Pour in and fold through the bananas.
  • (If I were using sultanas or choc chips I would fold through at this stage as well).
  • Pour mix into lined 20-22cm cake tin and bake for approx 30-40 minutes, until cake is golden brown and a clean skewer comes out of the middle.
  • Cool on wire rack and enjoy slightly warm or cold.
    (We have iced this with a simple whipped butter and icing sugar icing but it is perfect without)

As I say, I change this recipe all the time to whatever I have in the house.
I have used wholemeal flour in the past, I have added grated apple, for me it has worked every time and every time the children have loved every last crumb.

FullSizeRender (6)

 

 

To the baby that we have not yet met

Some may try and tell you, you are the forgotten one. The one who just had to go along with the older ones, the one who had to fit in, but I am here to tell you you will never be forgotten.
I felt you before I felt either your brother or sister, and because of those little flutters, the truth is that I will know you the longest.

You may not get the time that your brother got, just us parents and you, something I worried greatly about before your sister was born but I am here to tell you, you wont get that time, but what you will get is so much more.

You have a brother who is telling everyone you are coming. He is so excited, he kisses my belly goodnight every night before he goes to bed. He is kind, he is sweet and he loves his sister more than anything, yes he wants you to be a brother, but I am sure if you are not that will be OK too.

You have a sister who loves babies, something I think she has inherited that from me. She doesn’t have too many words yet but she so clearly says baby when she rocks her toys against her chest. She is so loving, she is our little social butterfly, she may not realise that you are coming but when she meets you I know she will never want to let you go.

You have a Dad who loves being a Dad. He is the reason you will be so used to squeals and laughter coming from your brother and sister. My time with you so far has not been easy but he is the one who has looked after us, you will quickly learn he is good at that, looking after us. He will be the calm when you need it, he will get burps out of you that I just can’t seem to get out, and he will probably get your first smile.

We still have a little while to go just you and I.
You in your peaceful little home and me with your secret little kicks just for me. Our time is passing quickly and you are growing quicker than I remember either of your siblings growing. The sickness that you gave me is slowing, for that I am so grateful, and I am quickly beginning to remember why I love being pregnant so much. I love this feeling, knowing that you are always with me, wondering who you will be, dreaming big dreams for you and imagining how you are going to complete our little family puzzle.

So my little Baby, no, you may not get those one on one moments that your brother was so lucky to have. Your feeds will be interrupted, you will cop a few bumps here and there from your over excited siblings, and you will have to learn to nap with the background hum of toddlers playing, but instead of just two people waiting to meet you, you now have four and for that you are so lucky.

So just keep giving those kicks Baby, I am sure you will hear your brother’s excitement when he finally feels one. Enjoy the peace while you can, we will keep watching you grow and wait with anticipation for the big day of our meeting, even if it is still a long way off, the excitement for you is palpable and you are already so loved.

xx

Big News

We found out we were having a baby on the day after Duncan had completed his last day of uni. As one chapter ended, another one was just beginning. Our life as a family of five.

 

I am lucky enough to have done this whole pregnancy thing before.
I remember the day before I took the pregnancy test going to bed at 7.45pm, after being exhausted all day, I joked to Duncan that I must be pregnant because I wasn’t sick.
We both laughed saying what a miracle that would be.
Turns out a wonderful miracle it was.

fullsizerender-5

Pregnancy with two children and moving house is interesting to say the least.
The last two months I have discovered that my spirit animal is now a sloth who seems to be suffering an incurable hangover.
I have cried over Leo saying that ‘Mummy doesn’t want to play with him or look after him anymore’ when the truth is I physically couldn’t.
I have told Maisie to go away when she comes for a cuddle, breaking her little heart, while I have been curled around the toilet.
I have realized how time can go slowly but so quickly at the same time.

I am so grateful for Duncan. He has been nothing short of amazing. This pregnancy has really knocked me, when I was too sick to be anywhere but the bathroom Duncan was getting the kids ready, when I couldn’t get out of bed in the night or early in the morning Duncan got up. When I was getting frustrated with all the noise he would tell me to go and have a rest, when I was falling asleep on the couch Duncan would entertain the kids and let me be.
Pregnancy doesn’t only make a Mother it makes Father’s too (and even though Dunc is already a father this still rings true).
Being a good husband isn’t about what dates they take you on or the gifts they buy you, it’s the support they give, the doing it all when you simply can’t, the never complaining, the understanding even when it must be so hard to understand what you are feeling.
I have moved away from my family but the support I have is amazing and once again the only word I can think of is Lucky. I know this will embarrass Duncan immensely, but he is wonderful and we are all so thankful that he chose us.

I have a feeling this third pregnancy will be a blink and I’ll miss it type thing.
I am busy with two other little people, one of which is dropping his afternoon sleeps so there are no breaks.
So, if the first three months are anything to go by, the baby will be here before we know it. We are so excited, we know what a blessing it is to have this wonderful gift and we just can’t wait to meet our next little (or if history repeats itself, not so little) bundle of joy.

 

The year that was. 2016.

I think it goes without saying 2016 has been a big one for us.
Settling in with a new baby, adjusting to life as a family of four.
Duncan’s uni causing random schedules, him going away for placement, him being home for placement, him trying to find he time for study after the children have settled and gone to bed for the evening, him trying to find that ever illusive “balance” between work/life/family/study/self. Myself also always trying to find that balance, trying to be ever present for my kids as well as starting a new business and a new job, this year has been a juggle to say the least.

But we made it, Duncan’s uni is now over, he has a job that we will know when and where he is working week by week (something that we have not had for four years) and we will have a constant, solid income, we are finally there.

In many ways 2016 was the year we wished away. Something that I feel terrible saying because it was so wonderful for us in so many ways, the first year of my sweet little Maisie’s life and the year Leo became a little boy.
But 2016 held so much for us, it was the year we calculated towards, the year that we were hanging on to, the light at the end of the ‘life as university students’ tunnel.

So in my last post for the year I thought I would reflect a little bit on the year that was, yes posts have been few and far between this year (as I said, always trying to find the balance) but it has been a year of so many highs, despite having had this big cloud over the final year of uni, now that it is all over I can’t help but feel slightly sentimental about the year was, the year that I constantly just wanted to be over and done with.

It was the year we learned to function as a four. And wondered how we were ever just a three or a two.

It was the year we learned what tired really was. And how you can function regardless. This year taught me about routines and how they work with my children, something that, despite my random days of flexibility, I am grateful for learning.

It was the year we saw who Leo was going to be. The change that happens to your child between the ages of two and three is enormous, out of nowhere they are a little person, the toddler disappears and all of a sudden they have this attitude, this imagination, this ability to communicate with you and it would have to be one the funnest part of my parenting career so far.

It was the year we learnt not all babies are the same. Even if they are cut from the same cloth. Maisie is cheeky, she is tough, she loves animals and babies and absolutely idolizes her brother.
Although he was what some would say an “easy baby” Leo was timid and shy, he took time to assess the situation before getting involved, where Maisie just dives right in.
Second child vs First I suppose. You don’t think there will be a difference but in our case there definitely was.

It was the year that we learnt that we cannot do it all, and that is OK. After one too many  breakdowns and frantic moments of trying to squeeze everything in, things that we probably shouldn’t have committed to in the first place, we have finally learnt the importance of sometimes just saying ‘no’ and prioritizing our selves and our family time.

And finally, It was the year we decided to take a leap. Despite the fact that it is scary and probably initially surprising to most who know us, we decided to try something new and move our little family to a completely new place. Daunting, yes. But if life has taught me anything it is that moments pass too quickly, and if you don’t take opportunities when they arise then you will miss out.

This year was huge for us.
We have made a life changing decision, we have accomplished things that we once thought were too hard or too scary and we made so many wonderful memories. I am so thankful for all the beautiful people we get to share our lives with, our wonderful families and friends and our two gorgeous children, although there are moments where they severely test my patience, they are nothing short of perfection and I am so lucky to be their Mum.

So here’s to 2016, the year of so many exciting times for our little family, thanks for the memories, but as we roll into another year something is telling me the best is yet to come.

janJANUARY

febFEBRUARY

marchMARCH

aprilAPRIL

mayMAY

juneJUNE

julyJULY

augAUGUST

sepSEPTEMBER

octOCTOBER

novNOVEMBER

decDECEMBER