Moving Forward….

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It’s been a week now since my nana left the world in which we live. Since then we’ve shed many tears, reminisced about the wonderful times we’ve shared with our beautiful lady, we’ve laughed, we’ve cried some more and we came together to share in a memorable service to celebrate the fabulous person my nana was!

Now it’s the aftermath….
The time when everyone goes back to their respective places of dwelling, work resumes again and the times spent together are fewer than they’ve been. It’s during this time, now the formalities are over, that the real grieving process begins. Over the coming months we’ll feel as though we are climbing a sea of mountains with many peaks and troughs! Today we feel worse than yesterday, but tomorrow we may feel better, until the next day rolls over when we feel worse again. And it may just take a song or a piece of material to remind us of the hole that nana has left, but together and with the ever lasting memories of nana we will get each other and more importantly grandad through this difficult time!

It still feels so wrong that we’ll never be able to hold nana’s hand again, help her out of her chair or brush her hair to make her feel relaxed, but to save our own health and sanity, we have to make peace with the fact that nana isn’t suffering anymore and that she will always live on with us everywhere we go! Nana would want us to pick ourselves up and keep soldiering on and in her memory we must do that! If there is anything I’ve learnt from the dearest grandmother I know, it’s not to feel sorry for yourself. My whole life I’ve seen nana in pain as she had scoliosis from a young age and was told she would be in a wheelchair by the time she was 50. At 75 she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and was still walking and never once in the 33 years I was blessed to have her, did she ever complain or say “why me !”…even when her daughter and grandson passed away!

It’s quite ironic that although nana isn’t physically here anymore, she will be the one to help us move forward. Every time we weep, every time we feel sad or mad about the situation all we have to do is think of how nana coped with all the terrible things thrown her way. Time after time she moved forward and with such grace and dignity…if nana could then so can we!

To my beautiful family: we can do this! It isn’t going to be easy but we have been given a gift from nana and that is the gift of strength! Nana taught us how to love, how to nurture, how to laugh, how to be creative and most importantly how to be strong. It’s with this strength that we will feel happy and content again. It may not be today or tomorrow but the day will come when our tears are less and the smiles are greater. It’s a hard pill to swallow the thought of picking yourself and finding ‘normality’ again. Moving forward is not about forgetting nana, it’s about enjoying life for nana as she is unable to anymore…..

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Until we meet again….

Tears are rolling…
Our hearts our broken…
Yesterday we lost a great lady…Gloria Holpen – my darling nana!

She was a loving wife to my grandad, mother to my mother and uncles and was ‘nana’ to 10 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. She was a mother in law, a sister, an aunty and a true friend to anyone she met. She was loving, she was loyal…one of the greatest women I’ve been privileged to have in my life!

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5 weeks ago nana was rushed to hospital when she fell ill with a stomach obstruction. We were told to prepare for the worst then, but through her pure strength and determination, nana recovered and was ready to be discharged when a spot became available in a nursing home. Then last thursday unexpectedly, nana took a turn for the worst and started vomitting…another stomach obstruction, this time worse, this time there was nothing the medical professionals could do. Sadly nana was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease 5 years ago and now that she was in the late stages of this horrible debilitating disease, her bowel and gut system was paralysing and she was unable to eat or drink. We were told last weekend that nana only had a couple of days to live. She lasted 8 days.

We were shocked to say the least. We knew that she may be at risk of another obstruction, but months or years down the track…not weeks;( When the realisation came to knowledge that nana would need to be cared for in a nursing home, that was hard enough to stomach at first, but we accepted that and my mother worked so hard doing everything she had to do to find nana a nursing home placement and now instead of getting nana ready to move, we are busy planning her funeral. It just seems so wrong;(

In her final days, most of the family were able to spend time with nana, comforting her when she was in pain, holding her hand when she seemed scared and whispering in her ear how much we loved her and that she needed to be brave. This past week has been gut wrenching. Watching my grandad in his final days with his wife of over 60 years was nothing short of torture! Seeing how distraught my mum was at the thought of never seeing her mother again. We’ve cried an ocean of tears, but the most uplifting part of this week has been the realisation of how powerful family love can be.

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The hospital staff were amazed at how long nana held on for. For an 80-year-old women to last 8 days without food or water showed how strong and courageous nana really was. And although nana had many loved ones waiting for her on the other side, she knew she was leaving so much behind! The closeness and love our family shares started way back when nana and grandad started their own family…nana has left this legacy behind and as a family we will keep this going.

How do you say goodbye to someone who has been there for every stage of your life?

As I close my eyes I remember so many precious moments with nana. Her gorgeous smile, her laugh, her beautiful blue eyes and how she always had the ability to put a smile on my face. I’ll treasure the safe and secure feeling I always had when in my nana’s presence and to say I won’t have that again is something I’m trying to come to terms with.

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This week will be tough for everyone. Even though many tears are still to be shed, we are determined to make sure nana’s funeral is a celebration of her life and the amazing lady she was. When nana’s time on earth came to end on June 1st at 11.15am, heaven gained a special angel who will be there to watch over us every step of our ways. So for now nana it isn’t goodbye, rather until we meet again…..

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I’ve Watched…..

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Throughout my life I’ve been blessed with being able to watch and learn from a wonderful women who I will always call my nana!

Over the years…
I’ve watched my nana love and care for her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren as her natural instinct of mothering has always been impeccable.
I’ve watched her love and nurture grandad like the fantastic loyal wife she’s always been.
I’ve watched her give her opinion with a strong view as nana always liked a good debat.
I’ve watched her laugh so hard till she almost wet herself as nana always had a great sense of humour.
I’ve watched her cry at many different situations as she always held her emotions on her sleeve.
I’ve watched her grieve as we’ve lost love ones along the way.
I’ve watched her support us with everything we’ve ever been involved in from our sporting events to our academic achievements.
I’ve watched her play many games of bingo…some she won and some she walked away with the poops!
I’ve watched her make gollywogs, croquet blankets and baskets as nana loved her sewing creations.
I’ve watched her sing and dance at concerts as nana was a groover!
I’ve watched her work her magic in the kitchen whether it be on a roast or bangers and mash as nana was a great cook!
I’ve watched my nana embrace her natural beauty as she never pieced her ears, never coloured her hair and would only ever wear her signature pink lipstick…we tried so hard over the years to get her to shave her legs, so a tattoo was definitely out of the question lol!
I’ve watched her enjoy many cups of tea, coffee and slices of cake as that’s what nana loved to do.
I’ve watched her relish in the company of all of her family as family was her life!
I’ve watched her say goodbye to her family home of 50 years and move two doors up from me – this I will always cherish!
I’ve watched the thrill all her grand babies have brought to her over the years of their developments.
I’ve watched her at her absolute best and her absolute worst.

For a long time now, I’ve watched my dear nana struggle like none of us would know how to. I’ve watched her cry in pain and I’ve watched how determined she was not to let the pain defeat her as she never winged and always had room for her beautiful smile. I’ve watched my devoted grandfather care for her and keep her comfortable at home for as long as he possibly could and this was accompanied by the dedication of my wonderful mother.

In her final days I watched my nana fight with the strength I’ve never seen from a single soul. I watched my family shed tears for the lady who has always been the glue that holds our family together. I watched my grandad’s heart break as he told her he loved her and we would be ok. I watched my nana hold onto dear life until she felt we were going to be ok because nana always put everyone else before herself.

Now that my dear nana is dancing in the meadows of heaven with other loved ones, I will forever live in peace knowing that she will be watching over us all. Our family has another angel now who has left behind a legacy that we will continue to uphold during our days.

I love you forever nana…you will always be my inspiration – today is not goodbye, rather until we meet again xoxoxoxo!

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Time Machine….

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Is it just me or does anyone else wish they had a time machine that would take them back to a special memory or moment in time that was once lived?

This past week has got me thinking a lot about my past and all the wonderful memories that have been made. I’ve closed my eyes several times this week and imagined times when I was little, times with all of my loved ones, times when I was at school, times when I made netball teams, times at high school and even as recent as the time when I first became a mum. All these memories make me smile and have help shape the person I am today!

The most fondest of memories I’ve been playing over and over in my head recently are ones with my dear nana:) If you are a regular follower of my blog, you would know that my nana has been living with Parkinson’s Disease for the past 4 years and just of late has really deteriorated. The most recent mishap has caused nana to be hospitalised. Up until last week nana was living at home and being cared for by my grandad with the help of my wonderful mother, Blue Care nurses and staff and of course all of us would pitch in and help where it was needed. But regrettably the time has now come for nana to go into a nursing home….this breaks my heart even typing this;(

I’m 33 years of age and have had my nana for that whole time…but somehow it only feels like 5 minutes and I would do anything to go back in time and relive all the wonderful times we’ve shared together. My grandparents are more than just that…they have been second parents to us girls and I’ve been so lucky for the past 8 years having them live two doors down from us:) I already miss being able to pop in and say hello to nana, taping on her window after a run, beeping the horn when I drive past and just knowing that she is so close by…this is how I feel…I can’t even imagine how my poor granddad feels;( How do you move forward when your life as you’ve always known it is no longer? 60 plus years of marriage and living together to suddenly not having that anymore;(…it makes me sick every time I think about it. My heart breaks more and more each day for the beautiful couple who love each other dearly and have spent three-quarters of their life together.

How things can change in a short time. No less than a week ago nana was at home and in a good routine. We knew that the time was getting closer to nana needing full-time care by professionals, but that doesn’t soften the blow any. It’s taken this turn of events to kick the decision into overdrive and it’s really hit everyone hard. I only said to mum the other day…”how did we get to this point!” even though nana is 80 it just doesn’t seem right and we’re not ready…but will we really ever be?? I just can’t comprehend how such a vibrant intelligent women has been dealt such a cruel blow and instead of my grandparents enjoying the ‘retirement’ part of their lives where they should be enjoying cups of coffee out on lunch dates, grandad has to watch his wife fight hard everyday through pain and discomfort!

But I am so happy to say that nana had an endoscopy today and the reason why she was rushed to hospital has sorted itself out…what a legend this women is! A true inspiration to anyone who knows her. It was only a week ago that we didnt know what was going to happen to nana and the worst case scenario was devastating everyone. She still has a road ahead of her to be able to be discharged from hospital and then the beginning of a new chapter will begin…but as hard as it will be, as the strong family unit we are, we will all make sure the transition will be as good as can be for both nana and grandad!

It is certainly times like this I’d love a time machine to go back in time and relive all the great times I’ve shared with both nana and grandad…forever those times will be fond memories and the times spent with them both now will always be cherished!

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This photo just oozes true love:)

Don’t Lose Sight!

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Life can be hard. It can be complicated. When you think you have it figured out and it seems as though things are sailing along nicely, that’s when you can almost guarantee that something will be layed out as a hurdle in your path to happiness. But that’s just life isn’t it!

In the 33 years that I’ve lived, my family and I have been through many ups and downs. The cycle usually consists of everyone going about their business – living, loving, laughing while working hard and then usually it only takes the ring of a phone to create a new sequence of events. We’ve been there for each other through deaths, injuries, illnesses and loss but as much as we feel upset, disheartened, heart-broken or depressed at the time, we find the strength to pick ourselves up and move forward in the direction we were heading when that phone call was made!

This year has seen so many things happen already. It’s been one thing after another and just as you feel as though you are standing upright from the last knock, you are facing the ground again! Our recent mishap for our family happened on Sunday. While our very talented nephew, who has a very promising rugby league future ahead of him, was playing footy, ran 100m towards his try line and instead of scoring he was tackled around his ankles, which ended with his lower leg being broken in three places. How things can change in a split second and from one simple action.

We were guttered for him. His season that just started, the week commencing which involved Broncos training, rep training and the start of his high school football has been put on hold until further notice! He is our champion, to us he was invincible. But no one is invincible, at anytime anything can happen to anyone of us. And I guess that’s the joys of rugby league. It’s been a massive few days. Watching my first-born nephew who is like a son to me take the pain not only from his leg and having it surgically fixed where a plate was inserted, but the pain of having to put his love of life on hold, all in his stride. He’s been so brave through it all, as has my sister and brother-in-law. I’m just so proud to call them my family.

Which brings me to why I wrote this blog. Plenty of people everyday are faced with ill-health, broken bones and situations that seem unbearable, but it’s a bump in the road that I believe has been put their to test our passion and strength. Situations like these can make or break a person, but life is too short to let it take us down! Life is precious and it’s there to be lived and enjoyed. It needs to be nurtured. Since finding out about my heart condition (although I’d rather not have it), it has been the best thing that could have happened. I’m now the fittest I’ve ever been (mentally and physically), the healthiest I’ve ever been and when we are faced with situations that aren’t pleasant, I feel as though I’m a much stronger person when dealing with whatever it is! My heart condition has not allowed me to lose sight of living a great life, it’s given me the determination to live life to its fullest!

My nephew’s broken leg is terrible, it’s disappointing, but it’s just a bump in his road. Him and I had a good talk last night about not letting it disheartened him enough to lose sight of the bigger picture. This situation I believe will show us just how passionate he is about his rugby league career and when he has made a full recovery and returns to the game, he will be bigger, better and stronger than we’ve already seen.

I believe things happen for a reason. Sometimes we figure these reasons out and sometimes we don’t. Sometimes that answer comes to us straightaway and other times it can take days, months and even years. But in all of life’s mishaps it’s so important not to lose sight. Life is about being challenged and it takes guts, strength and determination for these challenges to not knock us down. As humans we are allowed to feel upset when things are going wrong, we are allowed to shed tears or scream to the sky above. But we should never feel as though we are defeated!

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All in a Year!

Exactly one year ago I started my blogging journey. I’ve put myself out there to the world and exposed myself as a mum, wife, daughter, sister and friend. I’ve covered parenting topics from breastfeeding to middle child syndrome, I’ve shared my highs and lows with you all. I’ve captured moments of my running achievements and posted pieces about my cake creations and my love of decorating and fashion!

Blogging for me is a great hobby where I can release my inner thoughts and a perfect way to capture my life as it stands. I started blogging in the hope to help people! As a teacher I love to offer something to someone and help them to learn and as my blog’s caption says ‘life is about learning’, it’s nice to know that someone out there could be learning something from the pieces that I write! And even though I started blogging to help people, it also didn’t phase me if only a few people here or there read my posts as it’s a great memory for me to always look back on.

I remember when I posted my first blog, within hours I had people respond…it was a bit weird at first! But from one blog to the next, it became a natural routine of my week! And I’m happy to say that so far I’ve had nothing but positive feedback and a wonderful supportive audience who I appreciate them talking time out of their busy schedules to read what I have to say!

To celebrate my year’s journey, I’ve included my top 5 most read blogs over the year and my top 3 that I loved the most!

Top 5:
Number 1 – Tattoo
Number 2 – Bulging Belly
Number 3 – ‘Jackpot’
Number 4 – Tiger Stripes
Number 5 – 10kg Gone

My favourite top 3:
Number 1 – In the name of ‘love’
Number 2 – Bond of sisterhood
Number 3 – End of Breastfeeding

I hope you enjoy reading over some of my favourite blogs that I’ve written. I can’t believe I’ve posted over 100 blogs now! When I was choosing my top three there were pieces I went through that I forgot I’d written about…always such a wonderful memory of what has been achieved! Once again thank you for your constant support it’s always warmly appreciated! I look forward to sharing more of me and my Party of 5’s life over the coming 12 months!

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Change of Life!

Being a parent is one of the most rewarding jobs to do, but it’s hard work! You are ‘on call’ 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and there are times when your toileting and eating habits are pushed to the kerb as you become so busy at times, you literally forget to eat and go to the toilet! Imagine doing all of this and always being on your own!

Up until recently I had a husband who worked awesome hours and close to home. He would leave at a time in the morning where he was able to get breakfast for the kids, he would arrive home at a time in the afternoon where he was able to have a kick of the footy with Bailey and be an active participant during the witching hour and we always had our two days on the weekend where we spent time as a family and time maintaining our home! Things are quite different at the moment!

My hard working husband has a new job that is a much longer distance from home, long hours and most weeks he works on Saturdays! This has made for some big changes around our household! I now more than ever have to be super organised with everything!!! From the weekly groceries, to meal planning, my running, to after school activities, it has affected so much of how I use to do things! My husband’s new work hours sure shed some light on the reality of what a lot of people’s lives have always been like!

Prior to this, he was always around at crucial times when a second set of hands were needed, but now I’ve had to learn to cope on my own! I’m happy to say all is going well and I’m so use to it now, but I certainly crash and burn on the couch when the kids go to bed at night! The kids have been pretty resilient and are use to not having their daddy around as much as he use to be, or so I thought!

On the weekend my husband went down to Sydney to watch his beloved Bulldogs (lose) the grand final! Leading up to his departure, the kids had seen him for their usual hour each day during the week! They were satisfied with him going (as he has been several times before) but by the midmorning of the first day, Bailey started to feel the pinch of not having his dad around as much! He was watching me bake cupcakes and out of the blew he said “it’s not fair we don’t have a daddy anymore!” while my heart started to break, I put my arms around him and said “oh Bailey we do darling, you know he hasn’t gone forever!” One shattered little boy cried softly into my chest telling me how much he missed his daddy:(…tears welled in my eyes and I explained how much daddy loved us and wasn’t going anywhere!

Our life has changed (due to reasons that were out of our control) and you have to do what you have to do….a job with my husband’s new work hours, is better than no job at all! But it has made me realise how hard it must be for sole parents! I take my hat off to anyone male or female who are sole parents to their children! Not having another adult to help with feeding, changing, discipline and bounce ideas off when things don’t seem to be working. Always being the one to make the hard decisions and even just having an adult conversation at the end of the day! And as much as children are resilient, kids need a mum and a dad. I completely understand that situations happen where that isn’t possible, but from all of this, I’ve noticed more and more that a boy especially needs his dad!

So much of my life at the moment feels as though I am a single parent taking the brunt of everything….I’m the mother, cleaner, cook, decision maker, I have to think for everyone and there are times when I feel suffocated, but then one of the kids tell me they love me or plants a big kiss on my cheek and that kicks my butt back to reality to appreciate what I have! Our daddy/husband may not spend a lot of time with us at the moment, but we know he will return home each day! And it’s not as if he is out partying, I’m the lucky one who gets to see and spend so much of the day with our children while he is out there supporting his family! That I am extremely grateful for as I only have to work a couple of days a week.

I live in hope that our life will return back to what we use to have and that is having more quality time as a family! Our life at the moment is what it is and as long as we have our home and the kids are happy and healthy, there isn’t much more I could ask for….I know there is one thing I’d like though, after the year we’ve had – a two week tropical holiday!!!!!

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My Mid Year Resolutions!

Sometimes, well let’s be honest most of the time, life just keeps traveling too fast! I mean for goodness sake it is almost Ekka time again!!!! Before we know it tinsel and Christmas carols will be staring us in the face and ringing in our ears literally! Where has this year gone or should I say why does it seem like each year flies by faster than the year before???

I don’t know about everyone else, but I felt like I started this year on the back foot! I went back to work in January after having 13 months off having my third baby and because last year consisted of a whole whirlwind of events, one – I wasn’t ready to go back to work and two – my household really wasn’t ready for me to either! We are half way through the year and I finally feel like I’ve got my act together! I don’t dread going to work (most of the time lol), I’m becoming more organised and on time and all three kids have settled into the routine of me going back to work!

I feel like the past 18 months has been a complete blurr…..which could have something to do with my burning tired eyes lol……so now that I finally feel like I’ve come out the other end, I’ve made some ‘mid year resolutions’ with myself, as I was quite in denial that a new calendar year had even begun when it did and my head space was only just coping with starting a new routine in life let alone fixing stuff that was already happening!

They are…..
*I will make sure I stop and enjoy my beautiful family:
Just recently we went through a massive month of one thing after another. Parties, football carnivals, reports, sickness, birthdays! I felt like I barely had time to breathe! Even though I get to stay home five days out of seven, some weeks I feel like I hardly get to spend quality time with the kids! They are growing up way to fast before my eyes and I’m determined not to miss anything and embrace my family for who they are! By last Saturday I had had it and I forced myself not to do much except for play with the kids….it was awesome! So Saturdays are my do nothing except for relish in the love and care Kane and the kids give me and so far it has been awesome:)

*I will listen to my body:
Since April until now, I have been sick several times. The kids have been spreading their germs as they do, but somethings have taken me longer to get over than usual. As we all know as mums we put ourselves last and get lost in the busyness of life until we get ill and realise it’s time to get a reality check. I’ve learnt now to rest when I can and stop worrying because if something doesn’t get done, there is always tomorrow!

*I’m going to start saying “no!”:
I have this problem where I find it hard to say no! Even if I’m busy and someone asks us to do something, we do what we can and fit it in. I’ve come to realise that there are just times when I have to say no!

*I’m making sure everyday I treat myself:
When I started loosing weight, it took a lot of will power for me to give up some of my favourite treats. Now that I have reached and maintained my goal weight for a few months, I happily treat myself to my favourite foods (within reason) without feeling one bit of guilt!

*I’m going to take my husband out on a date:
Before Kane and I became parents, we had the best social life and spent so much of our time going to the movies, out to dinner and generally just hanging out together. That gets pushed to the side once little people come into your lives, but I think it is still important for a husband and wife to go out and enjoy themselves once in a while. I am going to make sure Kane and I go and see the last Twilight movie together and maybe we might even be able to start a date night routine once a month or so!

*I’m going to make sure I start to be on time:
If you know me well, one of my worst traits is being late! It’s never intentional, my problem is I try to fit too much in before I go somewhere. I start the day on time but some how I always find myself racing around in the end like a chook with its head chopped off. From now I will do the necessities first and leave the rest for a later time or if I have time once I’m ready to go!

My mid year resolutions are only a snap shot of what I want to achieve by the end of the year. I still have cupboards I want to clean out, a toy room to redecorate, scrapbooking to finish from years ago, but I figure you have to start somewhere. I know I’ve jumped on the ‘resolutions’ bandwagon quite late in the year, but I believe if someone is attempting to make a change to something, you can never be too late! I think it’s better to attempt change when you are really ready, in order to have a chance of experiencing success!

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A Starting Point.

5 months ago I decided to start my own blog. The idea came from a thought when I was out running. At first I had plans to create a fitness fan page on Facebook to help motivate other mums who were trying to get their bodies back after having their families. But after talking to my lovely Neighbour Lolly, she suggested blogging. What’s that I ask? Technology is obviously not my biggest strength in life!

After procrastinating for a bit, I decided to give it a go. Lolly helped me create my blog and start me on this new journey – a big shout out to her:) The idea of me starting a blog was to have somewhere to write my life stories and to have someone read them and judge whether my writing is good enough to read! This being because I’d love to write a book one day!

It took me a little while to establish a routine and discipline with producing pieces that sounded good enough to read. I haven’t hit a brick wall with topics yet, everyday something pops up and I write it down. But I am amazed at how much I love blogging. I always preferred maths when I was at school and writing assignments was never something that sparked an interest for me, but now I consider myself a writer!

I’m very appreciative of the support and positive feedback that my audience has given me. Whether it be about the quality of my writing, the layout of my blog or how the pieces I’ve published have been truly touching has enabled me to write with confidence.

Another moment of me not keeping in touch with technology….when Lolly asked me if I was interested in making money from blogging I answered with “can you do that” lol! How did I not know this? Have I been hiding under a rock or something? Lol I never envisioned making money from publishing my blogs. Like my blog’s caption says ‘Life is about learning’ and if I can teach someone something from reading my blogs than I feel like I’ve earnt something by doing that! But recently I received an email from two companies who read and loved my blog and are willing to give me a go! Surprised I surely was, chuffed as well!

It’s nice to know that what I’m writing is worth reading. My aim now is to keep building my audience! With each blog brings about new followers and now that I have started a fan page on Facebook and linked my blog to Twitter and Pinterest, hopefully this will attract a broader range of followers as well! My latest edition to my blog is my logo. I created this to use as the face of my blog….something that people will remember!

So where to from here? I’m just going to keep on living and blogging! Since starting this journey back in March, this is my 31st published piece and I have had over 3500 views of my blog by people right around the world! Hopefully one day my blog is highly recommended around the world, but for now what I’ve achieved so far is a great starting point!

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My logo I created for my blog:)

Head over to ‘My Party of 5’ fan page on Facebook and ‘like’ my page to keep up to date with everything relating to my blog:)

Life After Birth!

Having a baby to me is the most wonderful gift you can be granted. My 3 children are the most precious angels and my heart aches whenever I think of them! They are the best thing that has ever happened to us and my husband and I always say, if we haven’t done anything else right in life then we are doing pretty good with the 3 most adorable children we’ve created!

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When a husband and wife decide it’s time to take the biggest step in their marriage and have children, obviously things change! You go from sleeping an average of 8-10 hours a night to 6-8 hours sometimes less and often broken. Your bedtime is now 8.30-9.30 not 10-11. Breakfast is done and finished by 6.30-7am not 10am. Your day’s activities are often planned around children’s nap times, feeds or places you visit have to cater all their needs rather than getting in the car and deciding on the way – although we have done that before! It is a a huge adjustment, but when my husband and I decided it was time, I was so ready for all of that!

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From conception, to morning sickness, to scans, to feeling baby move, to baby shopping, to maternity clothes, to decorating the nursery, to a growing belly that everyone always admired…I just loved being pregnant! Then there were the celebrations of a baby shower and fitting in all the last minute things that you may not get to do for a while – dining out, going to the movies and what every women does…..clean, clean, clean!

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Then the anticipation you’d been waiting for for 9 months….the day you give birth and finally meeting the little person your body had been growing for roughly 270 days! What a surreal experience childbirth is! No amount of reading, watching DVDs or birth classes can ever really prepare you for giving birth as everyone’s birth is unique! Call me crazy but I also loved giving birth! After I birthed all my babies who ranged from 10 pound 2 to 8 pound 13, I felt so empowered like I could take on the world! Those first few hours after giving birth are so precious! The skin to skin bonding time, the first time you breast feed, and the first time each family member meets your new bundle of joy are memories that last forever! As the mother, you sit back and watch everyone ogle over this little baby you and your husband have created and feel nothing but proud!

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Then the day you’ve dreamt about since you use to play mummy and baby with your dolls finally arrives and you get to take your baby home and start your life as a mum! Being a mum is fantastic, I believe the best job you can do, but it certainly is one of the hardest, yet so rewarding! Over time you get peed, pooped and spewed on. You spend your whole time worry about things that haven’t even happened. You deal with tantrums, illnesses, children who won’t eat, refuse to sleep and some days you feel so overwhelmed you ask yourself….why?? Then your precious little one looks up to you and gives you a smile, says mumma, tells you they love you, squeezes you so tight, places a sloppy kiss on your face or tells you a funny story and instantly you know why!

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But after all of this, being a mum is not all that life has come to! Yes it is the most important part of life that absolutely comes first, but not the only part of life! Just because we as mums, have given birth, doesn’t mean we aren’t entitled to have a life after birth! After you have a baby, it can take the first few months, 6 months or second child to even feel as though you are ready to go out for coffee with a girlfriend, dinner with your husband, shopping day with your mum or sister and leave the baby/babies at home! Maybe not for everyone, but it takes time to be able to trust and leave your baby with even your husband, that’s just how us mums feel.

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Generations ago, it was solely the mother’s responsibility to take care of the children and men went to work and had a beer at the pub on the way home! Now society has changed and mothers are encouraged to go out to work or to become apart of play groups and fitness clubs….and I say why not! I think it is important not to forget the people we were before kids and the things we enjoyed to do! Obviously this can take time to fit into the busy schedule of a mum’s life and no one can tell you when to make the decision to start enjoying some time to yourself, you’ll know when the time is right!

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It took a long time for me to let go and enjoy time to myself without feeling guilty! For the first few years of being a mum, one of the only times I’d leave the kids was when I went to work. We’d go to weddings, engagements, hens nights and I’d always make time for our mother/daughter outings or friends birthdays! But it’s really only now that our 3 kids are 6, 4 and 1, I feel ok to go out and have time to myself without feeling guilty. I think as mums we are the the glue that holds our homes together and when we are not there things become unstuck! The truth is most times it does lol, but it’s ok because when we return things all fall back into place again and we are able to move forward because we have had the time to breathe, debrief, regather our thoughts and hopefully have a good laugh!

These days I absolutely enjoy my half an hour each day of running or walking. This is my time to debrief to myself about things that are happening at home, thoughts for my blogs or planning in my head what I need to do for the day. I still love getting lost in my craft work and love baking and decorating birthday cakes and of course having girls days out. But my newest adventure is my blog. It allows me to express my feelings and put into words things I’ve learnt in life so far, in the hope to help others. It’s so important to have a balanced life as life after birth goes on for so many years. For me it goes: being a mum and wife, teacher, daughter, sister, friend and then finding time for me!

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