Today was tough but we are tougher.

The other day was tough and it was one of those days where I just felt like the worst mother in the world.

We went to our first session at our local playgroup with a bunch of other mums and their sweet babies from our antenatal group. We all get along really well and having this support system is truly amazing. Nothing else beats it, but that’s a whole other blog post of appreciation for another day.

I’ve been very slowly building up my confidence with going out with our baby. It’s quite a scary thing to do if you’ve never had a baby before. I set little challenges for myself and with each one my confidence grows slightly. Going to the supermarket, visiting a friend, going to a cafe – they all become such big things when you are still kind of half terrified of not being a good enough parent and have no clue what you’re doing most of the time.

We got in the car and she slept the whole way, right up until we stepped through the door. Suddenly she started crying and then very quickly progressed to screeching quite loudly. Slowly we have come to notice that she is quite a vocal/loud baby. Anyway, by this stage I was holding her and walking with her and trying to comfort her but she wasn’t really having a bar of it. This went on for most of the session. She would get really unsettled and upset and then quieten down for maybe 20 minutes, and then the cycle would repeat. I kept stepping outside with her because she was so loud and I just felt so useless.

Everyone else there seemed so … capable. And I know everyone has their challenges and that this doubt is all part of being a new parent but it’s so hard not to compare your journey to those around you. Eventually I decided to try and feed her even though I could tell she wasn’t really hungry but I thought it might settle her. I handed her over to one of the facilitators for a few minutes so that I could prepare a bottle and she really quickly settled with them and fell asleep. Although I am so thankful for their help, that part of the situation made me feel even more useless and bad at being a parent. That I was so bad at comforting my own child but that someone else could do it with no trouble. I looked around and watched all the other mums with their babies and they all looked so content. Relaxed. Knowing what they are doing. Some of the babies fussed a little bit but nothing major, nothing loud, nothing that I felt even compared.

I know that I don’t know what goes on behind closed doors and that every parent has their own challenges, but in the moment it’s hard. You look around with comparison at the forefront and it is truly so weakening. It steals all of the things that you do right and all of the little wins away from you, leaving you with just a whole heap of doubt instead.

So that was our Wednesday. At first I was ready to never ever go back to playgroup, but now I know that we have to. Simply because it was hard and because we did it anyway.

Writing about this was hard too, but I want to share what’s real on here. It’s kind of freeing in a way. And if you have read this far through my rambles – thank-you for sticking around.

Our little mantra of lately has been “today was tough but we are tougher.” And you know what? It can be true for you too.

Lots of love,
Kaitlyn.

A big change in a small bundle.

It’s funny how someone so small can completely change your world. A few kilograms of little human dressed in unicorns or dinosaurs alters your perspective, your attitude, your love. They change everything, yet sleep through it.

We welcomed our baby earthside in March and she has transformed our lives, well us, in every way. Having her here with us has been the greatest thing and the most difficult too.
Nothing good comes easy, and boy, this is true.

Before she was here, we had no clue what it would all be like. And to be honest, it’s truly impossible to know or fully prepare until you’re in the thick of it. When you’re exhausted beyond exhausted and your baby is screaming and your heart is overflowing and you realize that this is now your life. It’s tough. It’s the best. It’s every ebb and flow.

At first we were a mess. But everyday we all learn a little bit more about each other and it’s slowly getting easier. To adjust, to grow, to merely learn how to live within all this newness and wonder. Some days I just cry and some days I smile so big and every day I feel the weight of her on my chest and I just know that I’m the luckiest.

Written words are my fuel, my fire, and the best way I can express myself. And so I’m going to write little bits and pieces of our journey together on here, simply because it’s freeing and uplifting to document and share. Our story isn’t perfect but that’s what makes it real and ours.

Sending lots of love and sleepy newborn snuggles.
Kaitlyn.

Guilt and soon-to-be motherhood.

Our baby hasn’t arrived yet and won’t for a little while, but I am already starting to feel guilty.

I feel guilty that if I stay home with our baby once it’s born, that I won’t be contributing financially as much as I would feel that is “right”. But then I would also feel guilty about eventually returning to a job that is out of home, as I would feel like a bad parent for leaving our baby as he or she grows up, and my time and energy towards them would be compromised. And most recently I have started feeling guilty about also wanting to have a career. It sounds very old-fashioned, but I do feel guilty about it because is that selfish of me? To crave the best of both worlds?

Is this what the term “mum guilt” refers to? The feeling of no matter what choice you make, that it is never right nor easy. To feel as though you will always be doing the wrong thing, and not knowing what choice is best for your child, if you are even lucky enough to have a choice in the matter.

Logically I know that there is not only one path in motherhood and being a parent in general. There are many trails woven within this journey, and all are equally valid. There is no right way to do it, and that there will always be someone who doesn’t agree with you and who does things differently.

This also got me thinking about dads or husbands or partners or anyone else in the picture – do they feel this irrational guilt about these aspects of parenthood too? Cameron has just been offered a really great job in the city we are moving to, and does he feel guilty about this progression in his career? I highly doubt it, and nor should he! He is just fulfilling his role that we have planned for the next little while, as I am going to be as well.

I feel as though mothers will always be the most criticized in parenthood. It’s in all of the books, movies, and reality too. When dads go to work, it’s seen as working hard to provide for their families. And if they are stay-at-home parents, praise is shouted at them from the rooftops. Either way is good, but I just wish that mums could make it through with the same support and clear conscience. Our Prime Minister here recently had a baby, and she was harshly criticized from all angles about being a bad mother and a bad leader, despite doing a wonderful job and most of the men in government and past prime ministers also having kids, which no one blinks an eyelid at.

Maybe it’s because we’re women. Maybe it’s because this is an age-old battle, but just the parenthood edition. It just feels like we have to fight ten times harder. I think that guilt comes with the territory of becoming a mum.