New Chapter

It’s been three months since our new chapter began, with hubby coming home to be with the kids & invest more energy into his business, and I jumped back into a full time role in the corporate space.

Three months of adjusting, three months of working out our new normal, three months of finding our feet (& still counting)…

Three months of me…

Learning a new role, a new company, new people, new systems & processes

Learning how to switch from Mum mode to work mode & back

Learning what it’s like to arrive home each evening at the peak of witching hour(s) & being thrust into the kids nighttime routine before winding down

Learning the importance of the train ride & walks home to support switching modes & resetting

Learning to let go of expectations on getting all the things done, or things being done differently to how I would do them

Learning to deal with the real FOMO that comes from not being available as much for family & friends, or being part of the regular school routine

Learning to share the opportunities

Learning to prioritise even more & learning to let go of the guilt that comes from not being able to get to everyone or everything

Learning to appreciate the weekends in a new way

Learning how to keep my passions (quality family time, & my creating & sharing through my business) alive, & to keep those promises to myself that I wouldn’t let those passions slip…

And whilst I can’t & won’t speak entirely on hubby’s behalf –

Three months of him…

Learning a new role & new processes in the same house, with the same little people (for a whole lot more time), with less other people

Learning what it’s like to be a stay at home Dad, juggling 3 kids & their needs, whilst running a business

Learning what it’s like to eagerly wait the arrival of that second pair of hands

Learning of the special bond that deepens

Learning to let go of expectations to get all the things done whilst having little ones as your number 1 priority

Learning how quickly plans can change, & how to steal little bits of time where you can

Learning to prioritise in a new way, with new activities and responsibilities

Two roles

Equally as important

Equally as new

Equally as many challenges

Equally as many milestones

Equally offering a new perspective on the other

All of our triumphs & challenges to date have set us on this path & brought us to where we are today, & I am so grateful for this new chapter, however short or long it lasts, & for what we are both learning, & equally as important, for what our children our learning too

We have a new found appreciation & respect for the roles we held before & for the roles we each hold now. We both understand & have experienced the challenges of each role, & we have both experienced the joys that come with each role.

Never under estimate the opportunity to see another perspective

To embrace a new experience

And to go where the universe is guiding you 💛


Us

Yesterday, we had a whole day of just us 💛

We were so grateful to have my wonderful in-laws offer to have the kids for the day so that we could finish building the kids main Christmas present, & to clean & sort the house for Christmas dinner tomorrow night, to prep for events after Christmas & finish some shopping etc.

With a big list of things to do, I decided that we’d make the most of our time together & start the day (once hubby dropped the kids off) with a walk on the beach & breakfast. I couldn’t tell you when the last time we’d done that was, but to be out in the sunshine together, without rushing to an event or to be doing anything but enjoying each other’s company was amazing!

It gave us such a boost, & we just had such a great day (& so productive!!), despite the rest of the day being ‘chores’ that we were given uninterrupted time & space to do 💛

If you can make the time / create the space over the Christmas holidays to do something together, in day light hours, I highly recommend it! Even if it’s just as simple as a 30min walk while the kids stay back with the family at the holiday accommodation if that suits your plans 💖

Becoming parents for the first time changes your relationship. Really changes it.

When you add a beautiful child into your relationship, the love you have for each other changes as you witness each other become parents & grow into your new roles. There are new milestones that bring a new level of excitement & more to celebrate. You are amazed at what you have created together & you grin when you say things like, ‘the three of us will be at Christmas lunch’ 💛

Whilst becoming parents brings a new level of love, & lots of positivity, it also brings extra tensions & challenges to your relationship. When you bring a bundle of joy into the world that needs your full attention, creates sleep deprivation / general exhaustion, needs so much of your time, changes your roles in the house, adds new financial costs changes your communication – ‘can you go & get a nappy for me, can you hold baby while I do this, have they had a feed, what time did they wake, are they due for another sleep, do they need a nappy change? etc. new pressures are added to your relationship.

Things then continue to evolve and there are new challenges (as well as joys) as your baby gets older & you decide what sort of parenting style you want to have, how you want the household to run, and then adding extra babies (twins in our case), changes things even more as all of the above doubles or triples.

As parents, you have to work harder to make time for each other, to communicate better, to check in on each other. To apologise when times are stressful & you both get snappy, to listen, to compromise. You have to put extra effort in to create the lightness & laughter that existed in the days of less responsibility, to make the effort to show your appreciation & affection.

Now it’s not all doom & gloom 🙈 but it’s important to note the changes & challenges, & to know that we all experience them in some way or another.

It’s also so important to go those extra miles. To communicate openly. To make time for each other. To spend time together, separately, & altogether as a family.

When the kids are all grown up & leave the nest, we’ll want to remember what it’s like to just be the two of us & to remember each other ❤️


Innocence

Going back through the photos that our boy took on his camera on our recent Zoo trip, getting to see things through his lens, I can’t help but reflect on his innocence. How free our young children are to look at things without judgement or presumptions.

I’m not sure if it’s the older I get, or the more children I have (possibly the latter as my age didn’t triple overnight, unlike the number of children we have 🙈), but I find myself challenging my reactions & thoughts more and more. In those moments where I find myself taking certain things personally and reacting defensively, I’m also trying harder to question myself and my reactions, and to reason with myself by adopting more of an ‘innocent until proven guilty’ approach.

I find myself reflecting on my own actions, you know the times where maybe I’ve looked at something and then been distracted (usually by one of my cheeky monkeys) and have forgotten to respond, or perhaps haven’t put the usual thought into my response. Or the times where something has completely gone over my ‘Mum brain’ and I’ve missed a key piece of information or an important cue. There’s also been the times when I’ve been caught up in my daily activities and I’ve forgotten to check in, or I’ve been dealing with something greater and haven’t been able to be where I’ve really wanted to be (either physically or mentally). All of these imperfect moments and actions that have taken place unintentionally, or without the intention of hurting or offending anyone.

By putting things into perspective, remembering we’re all human (and that this parenting gig is all-consuming in both amazing and challenging ways), and that the way we see things can be (and often is) so very different to those around us, I’ve found that it helps me to refocus and let go of those niggling thoughts.

Don’t get me wrong, this is still very much a work in progress, because I am exactly that (aren’t we all!?), but I’m happy that I’m in this place of challenging my thoughts and making improvements.

So, whether you’re reading this and thinking about how important the innocence of our children is, or you’re happy that someone else takes things personally (often unnecessarily), or you’re relieved that you’re not the only crazy who talks and reasons with themselves 😜, or perhaps it’s made you rethink how you’ve reacted to something – it’s important to remember to be gentle with yourself (you’re only human), and to be gentle with others, maybe giving them the benefit of the doubt (they’re only human too… I think). We’re all on this crazy ride together, so let’s relax and enjoy it 💛

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Who’s to judge?

Judge, judged, judging and judgement. I feel these words come up all too often on the subject of parenting. Whether it be a conversation with my partner, a family member, or friend, about an experience had, a situation seen in public, something on social media etc., the question has been raised numerous times, ‘why are we judging each other?’ Parenthood is the most rewarding experience, but also the most challenging. The constant judgement by others and ourselves, makes the challenges more difficult, not to mention the impact it has on our mental health. In a world where we can communicate instantaneously, sharing every move, thought or feeling freely, I feel it is important that we talk about judgement, and without judgement.

For the sake of how we think about others and how we think about ourselves as parents, I think we need to be reminded of a few things (yes, yes, myself included). I’m not a Scientist (so no judging), but I feel it could be helpful to go back to our Science lessons at school where we learnt about controls, controlled variables and variables. If we consider the control group to be us as parents, we need to remember that there can be many different variables, and that when there are different variables in play, there will be different outcomes.

In many aspects, we parents are all the same. We are all striving to be the best we can be, and to raise our children to be the best they can be. We are all juggling a million things – finances, relationships, running our households, keeping little humans alive, etc. We are all trying to balance our needs and wants with our kids needs and wants (we know who wins here..). We all have our struggles, and we are all constantly learning about life and parenthood. As these things are often the same for us all, we could say these things are ‘controlled variables’.

Whilst we may have similarities, we most definitely have differences. We all look different, think differently and feel differently. We have different bodies that function differently, we like different things, dislike different things, have different values and beliefs etc. Just as we are all different, our journeys as parents are different too. Some of us have one child, some of us have several children. Some of us are solo parents, some of us have partners. Some of us work, some of us stay at home. Some of us have singletons, some of us have multiples. Some of us have had greater difficulty falling pregnant. Some of us have boys, some of us have girls and some of us have both. Some of us have children with special needs. Some of us have good feeders, some of us have good sleepers, some of us have neither, and some of us (you lucky ones) have both. Although I have only touched on a few, the point is that there are so many things that can be different about our situations. There are so many ‘variables’ that make our journeys unique.

The next time we look at another person, whether firsthand or online, and make judgements about them or about ourselves, let’s pause and be mindful of a few things. We have all been raised and shaped in unique ways, which means that we think differently and feel differently. After all, how boring would life be if we were all the same!? Our experiences, both the positive and the challenging are unique to us, and therefore we cannot place the same expectations on ourselves and others. Whilst our methods might be different, and we don’t yet know the results of our experiments, we all share the same goal, to raise our children to be the best they can be, and we are all learning along the way. So, let’s celebrate our differences, judge less, compliment more, share our experiences and support each other. Let’s enjoy the ride together!

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Our First ‘Family of 5’ Getaway

Last weekend we went on our first ‘family of 5’ getaway (just us!) down to Margaret River. Hubby surprised me by booking ‘a weekend of fun and relaxation’ for Mother’s Day… I’m thinking there must be a second weekend coming up where he’s just booked the ‘relaxation’ part for me though 😋

In the days leading up to the trip, I wrote my list of packing essentials, did the last minute washing of anything that we needed to take and started piling up a few things ready to pack. The plan for the Friday morning was to throw the bags (& half the house) into the car and be on the road in time for the twins to have their morning nap on the way down. Sounding pretty organised for a little weekend getaway right..? Well as you know, nothing goes quite to plan when you throw kids into the mix. So instead of the relaxed morning that I had planned, the kid’s plans were to be hyped up and going crazy (Isaac), to be clingy and unsettled every time we tried to put her down (Evie), and to adventurously explore everything whilst getting hurt in the process (Noah). Needless to say, there ended up being the usual stress-fuelled spouse disagreements over why certain things weren’t done earlier, we ended up getting on the road later than planned, and there was silence (on my part) for the first 15 minutes, as I sat there bitterly thinking it would have been easier if we’d just stayed home.

The trip then turned a corner when both of the twins fell asleep and Isaac settled into asking his 50,000 ‘why?’ questions. Just as I started to relax, thinking that things were going to plan and the twins would sleep until we got halfway and could stop for lunch, Isaac decided it would be an appropriate time to belt out the ‘Bob the Builder’ theme song. This resulted in the twins waking after only 30 minutes, becoming unsettled and wanting feeds earlier than planned *cue first pit stop*. We got back on the road (surprisingly still heading towards Margaret River) and I received a text message from my beautiful sister telling me that she’d booked me a relaxation massage for the next day and to enjoy our weekend away – her timing couldn’t have been more perfect! After a great lunch stop with some seagull chasing, a play on the playground and some truck watching, we finally arrived at the resort (a 2.5 hour journey stretched to 5 hours) and got settled in. While Adam fed the twins their dinner, Isaac and I put on our gumboots and went searching for some puddles. We then had dinner in (some amazing local Fish & Chips) and called it a day.. well after the usual toddler bedtime fiasco 🙈

The next day couldn’t have started any better! We fed the twins their breakfast and then headed out for our own breakfast. Everything went smoothly from finding a great café with enough highchairs for the twins (big win!), great food / coffee, Isaac behaving like an angel, and the twins being easily entertained. We then went on a drive to a few places, with a playground break and chocolate stop getting us through until we ended up back at the resort, where all the kids had a sleep while I snuck out and enjoyed the most amazing relaxation massage ever!! (So lucky!!) I floated back home and once the kids woke up we all went out for a walk and early dinner. It was our first dinner outing with just us and the kids and.. it was hard work! Isaac was not interested in sitting in his chair (nothing could distract him) and the twins weren’t too happy either. We certainly learnt our limits, but we didn’t let it ruin the fantastic day we’d had. We went back to the resort, got the kids into bed, and I organised our clothes for the next day and packed up most of our things to ease the pain of the morning checkout. Adam and I then sat and relaxed on the lounge together and enjoyed having no dishes to do or house to tidy (another win!).

Sunday morning went relatively smooth again with Adam packing up the car whilst I entertained the kids. We checked out and set off on our drive to the Yallingup Shearing Shed, via a coffee and bakery stop. We had been looking forward to the Shearing Shed all weekend as this was our biggest treat for Isaac and we were excited for him to see and do something special. It did not disappoint, and he had a great time feeding and petting sheep and watching the shearing and sheepdog shows. We stopped in Dunsborough for a picnic lunch and then made the journey home. Once again, the car ride didn’t quite go to plan with out of sync naps, more stops than planned, and that last 20-odd minutes where everyone is a bit fed up and just wants to get home, but it wasn’t anything a bit of a sing-a-long couldn’t fix!

All in all, we had a great time! We got ourselves out of the house and got to take the kids (especially our eldest) out for some fun adventures. We got to test what works for us (breakfasts for now, no dinners out) and we were reminded of the beautiful place we live and how lucky we are to have our family of 5! On the car ride down Mr 3yo said to us ‘I love you so much, I love having you in my team’ and that’s what we are, a great big team of 5 who love doing life together!

For those travelling with young kids (especially a 2yo and 9mo twins), I’ve included my survival tips below:

  • Pack plenty of wipes
  • Bring extra clothes for messy activities
  • Plan but also be flexible
  • ABC – Avocados, Bananas & Cereal – makes feeding the twins whilst out & about so much easier (hubby did the banana part :P)
  • Pack some toys to entertain the kids whilst out or just whilst back at your accommodation
  • Always allow extra time for travel
  • Don’t forget sleeping bags, blankies, music etc for making bedtime as easy as possible
  • Enjoy making memories!