How my marriage and baby has made me less selfish

Before I met my husband, I lived alone for 7 years. 7 years of doing what I wanted when I wanted, I made the food only I like, I watched the shows only I like, I went to bed whenever I like, and I came home whenever I wanted too.

Marriage

After I met my husband, we moved in together quite quickly as we were doing the long-distance thing and we just missed each other way too much; so after only 6 months of dating we moved in together, a month later we got engaged, 8 months after that we got married and a short 3 months after that we were expecting our precious baby girl. To say we moved fast is an understatement, we just both knew the moment we met each other, that this was it, we were soulmates and why wait.

This short amount of time together did not give either of us much time to adapt to one phase before moving on to the next, so you can imagine that a lot of fighting went on through all these big changes in our lives. For me, the biggest challenge was not being alone anymore, or well, at all!

It might sound silly, but I literally had to learn to now take my husband into consideration when I did things, and it just was not as easy as it sounds. At first, I really struggled to put myself second, my dad always calls it the “I Problem” – which is exactly what it was, I just did not know how to put my own needs second and depend on someone else to meet them.

This was a huge challenge for my husband and I; we had to both learn to be with someone else, and to take each other into consideration, I had to “let” someone be there for me, and share the decision making (which was not easy). This was such a learning curve for me, and we really had to work hard at it; to change little habits and to basically change the way we have both been living before we met.

Then came the biggest change of all. . .

The Arrival of our Precious Baby Girl

I though marriage was a big change, boy was I wrong, having a baby is so intense and places so much pressure on any relationship, and yourself. Being less selfish for my child however, was not hard at all, in fact it came naturally.

The first six months after she was born I didn’t really have any clothes or shoes that fit me properly (you know that awkward phase where your maternity clothes are too big, and your pre-pregnancy clothes are too small) and it didn’t bother me one bit. I had a messy mom bun (let’s not kid ourselves, I still rock it most days), no makeup and slippers where the only item in my closet that actually fit my still very swollen feet.

It is not like I decided that I will be less selfish when I have a baby, it just well, happened the moment she was born. Becoming a mother changed me, don’t get me wrong, my personality is still in tact (thank goodness) and I still like the things I used to like before I got pregnant, its just, its hard to put into words; it is like you are looking at this tiny perfect human, that grew inside of you, and was apart of you for the better part of a year, yet you never got to meet until now, you loved him/her before you even met, and that little bundle is still apart of you, depends on you for everything. It is the most intense feeling in the world, the most intense love I have ever felt in my life.

This is the definition of true love. This love fills your heart and leaves no room for a shred of selfishness.

“For you are wonderfully and fearfully made” – Psalm 139:14

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3 Tips for traveling with your baby

Traveling with a baby is no small task, it takes careful planning, timing, and a whole lot of patience.

We live quite far from most places, my family, and any major city for that matter, we are about 500 km’s from Johannesburg, which is the closes city to us. Which means, that we must travel quite far and often to see my family and to do some much-needed baby shopping.

My baby girl is used to far trips by now (she is 6 months old), the day we brought her home from the hospital was a three-and-a-half-hour trip, and she has been to see her grandparents and godparents on numerous occasions, and yet, she still struggles with the distance sometimes.

There is no set way to make traveling easier on your baby, every baby is so different, some are just naturally good travelers, while others (no matter how often they travel) just struggle no matter what.

From my experience so far, I came up with some tips that works for us, and maybe for other moms out there that have tried everything else to date;

Timing

Timing, as with everything in life, is everything! Wait too long and your baby is overtired, leave too early and your baby is too excited and gets over stimulated and again – overtired.

For us, leaving when she needs to have her nap has worked wonders for us, she is already drowsy, and we put her in the car, and once we move, within minutes, she sleeps. The constant rhythm of the driving then also makes her sleep longer and she is happy when she wakes up, and we don’t struggle to get her to have her next nap later.

However, life happens, and this type of punctuality is just not always possible, and Murphy’s law will most certainly also ensure that this is not always possible no matter how prepared you think you may be.

The only thing you can do, is give yourself and your baby about half an hour to play around with, this way, he/she is not overtired yet and you don’t have to rush to get on the road.

Bathroom Breaks

For your sanity, don’t rush to your destination, leave early enough so that you have some time to stop along the way, your baby’s body gets sore from being in the same position for long and they get irritated if they cant get up and move around a little bit, which will make your trip feel so much longer (we have tried to just stick it out and get there, but oh boy it just does not work).

Giving yourself and your baby, a break is essential, take him/her out the car and just walk around for a few minutes, do a diaper change and some food if needed, and then continue.

Stay Overnight

Staying over night gives you and your baby a break before heading back again, and a well deserved rest!

Although, finances and well, life, does not always make this possible, so if you need to head back the same day – may the gods be with you.

There is no set way to do this, traveling with a baby is daunting, and quite stressful (even though we do it quite often, it still stresses me out because you never know in what mood your baby is going to be, are they going to eat well, and take naps and be happy once you arrive). It really is a gamble, and every baby is different! Try different things until you find a way that suits you and your baby the best, but don’t let traveling be too scary that you end up staying at home, getting away a little bit, whether it be to see family or friends, or on a holiday; does everyone the world of good.

Babies get stimulated by a new environment, and usually benefits from the general mood of a holiday as everyone is more relaxed.

Safe Travels

Angelique & Paige

 

Days where everything just seems to go wrong

I should rewrite this headline to “weeks where everything seems to go wrong”!

My week in a nutshell

I know I am not alone on this, this week has been the most intense in so many ways and its only Wednesday; we started of with having to make a unplanned trip to Johannesburg (which is 5 hours way by the way) in order to do bio-metrics for our trip to Australia soon, get there, only to hear that they only have an appointment for my husband and not our baby girl, long story short, we sorted it out after much effort!

We then had to stay over because the trip is just to far for our baby, and did another 500 km’s the next morning, got home to find out our water cooler had leaked in Paige’s room and the carpet was damaged, settled and then we heard that my horse’s foal had sadly passed away – this the day before her new owner was supposed to come and fetch the two of them.

All this in a matter of three very long days, and a baby in-between who is out of routine and teething!

One thing I have noticed is that when I am upset, she is upset, how crazy is that? Today I busted into tears while changing her nappy, and she immediately started crying too, I felt so bad that I stopped and so did she, we forget sometimes that our babies’ sense what we are feeling, or if we are stressed or having a bad day, they feed of us when they are this small.

I am exhausted to say the least, you know when one night’s good sleep does not even make you feel better? That is where I am at that point, so I thought I would write about it as this always help to work through issues and just to feel better, you know, put it all out there. Life just sometimes throws these weeks at us just to make sure we still got it – ha ha

Bouncing Back

Apparently, I do, it is amazing how resilient we all are, somehow the sun always manages to come up the next morning and you look at life with a little more positivism.

I always say that it is fine to have a breakdown or to feel down, own it, you are human, and you can’t always be strong, keeping emotions bottled up is so unhealthy for the mind and the soul. The most important thing is to always get up afterwards, brush yourself off and stare life dead in the eye, and smile!

I am so lucky to be surrounded by so many family and friends that are always willing to lend a hand (or an ear) in difficult situations.

My baby girl must know that her mama needs a break today because she is sleeping so well, and giving her mom a well-deserved break to write 😊

Angelique

 

Why having a baby is such hard work

I know we hear it a lot from moms out there – “babies are hard work” !

Well they were right ! 🙈 Being a first time mom you don’t really realize how much of your time a child would take , and its not just the attention (which to me is the best part) but your other chores.

My whole day revolves around getting my baby to nap and eat at the right time ! Routine in this matter sucks ha ha it leaves no room for spontaneity or unplanned events .

In between these naps (which are sometimes only half an hour) I need to get to work (luckily we live on the same property as our lodge) and wash and make myself presentable and cook breakfast and dinner and make food for my baby and wash and sterilize bottles and and and and … there just never seem to be enough hours in the day to get to Everything!

That whole thing about “sleep when the baby sleeps” only works when you have a newborn, this type of sympathy disappears very quickly as your baby gets older and you become less emotional (admit it, we were all a wreck those first few days at home).

At the end of the day , you just got to keep on keeping on, there is no down time, nor do you get to quit because you do not feel well or you are having a bad day, motherhood builds character like no other situation in life, you learn selflessness in its purest form, and a type of love that no words can describe.

What an honor to be called mama !

Angelique

Why it is So Easy to Forget About Your Marriage with a New Baby

Being a mother takes up so much of you , and I didn’t say time , because its more than that , it takes so much emotion and worrying and constant doubting yourself its emotionally draining and so rewarding at the same time ! Its the most beautiful thing in the world ! 🌸

What I tend to forget is that my husband needs to fit in there somewhere, I am so lucky to have a husband that adores me and that craves my attention and actually wants to spend time with me, yet it seems so difficult some days to make time for him as well.

At the end of the day I am so exhausted and drained , especially when she has been difficult, so the moment she goes to bed it feels like I can breathe and take some time for myself and gather my thoughts and recharge for the next day , but the reality is that this is the time I am supposed to spend on my marriage !

Starting a family is life changing , mostly in good ways and little feet bring so much joy into a home, but we tend to overlook how difficult it is for men , I see it in my husband , he does not get the attention he used to , it used to be the two of us against the world ! He loves our daughter dearly , but we always talk about how difficult it is for moms to adapt and forget about the dads.

This has been such a learning curve , for both of us , and I just realized that spending time on your marriage even if you feel dead on your feet is vital, in the end your children leave home and you only have each other , don’t drift apart, all relationships are hard but as long as you stick together through the tough times, the good times are even sweeter !

Angelique

Being a Mother is Like a Roller Coaster Ride

I am a first time mom , so that in itself already tells you that I am a bit all over the place , with well everything 🤣

But what gets to me is the fact that I feel like as soon as I figure the one thing out , the next thing hits me … and I have no clue what to do again.

Motherhood right !?

It is like she is just making sure I am still paying attention to her .

We just finished the most intense two weeks with a sleep consultant and guess what ?! Now we are teething 🙈

Its like the universe is out to get me , we spent the longest time getting her to self soother and to sleep in her own bed , it was great she did so well ! And last night ? I ended up sleeping in her room with her in my arms , the poor baby ! Its horrible seeing your child in pain and so unhappy , I am just so glad they don’t remember any of this !

So here we are , all routine out the window just trying to get through the day and praying that a tooth pops out VERY soon !

For all the mothers out there going through teething on zero sleep …. SALUTE

Angelique

Lets Have The Talk | Post Baby Sex

Talking about sex in general is so uncomfortable for most of us, especially post baby sex.

My husband and I never had any problems in this area until I got pregnant ….

Let me set the background for you ; I was HUGE !!!!! Everything and I mean everything, was swollen , I was uncomfortable , I couldn’t even find a comfortable position to sleep in , so needless to say my usual flexibility was something of the past 🤣

I was also quite moody (although if you ask my husband he would debate the “quite” part) so being intimate was the last thing on my mind and being touched while 7 months pregnant in a 46 degree South African summer was out of the question !

Needless to say we got through this phase with humor and we are even closer for going through this time in our marriage.

Then came our beautiful baby girl , and we were naive enough to believe that our sex life would soon go back to normal , boy were we wrong !

I had a c section so the usual 6 weeks applied before any intimacy, it goes without saying that the first time was everything but sexy 🙈

The weeks that followed came with such hectic baby blues and was just an emotional roller coaster for both of us , being new parents is so much harder than you ever thought it would be, no one can prepare you for it , even if you try mentally before the time , it just does not prepare you for the amount of love and the overwhelming feeling of looking after this tiny baby.

Now, almost 6 months later everything is back to normal , the amount of pressure a baby puts on a marriage is rarely talked about , 2 am crying will most certainly make you turn on each other!!

The good news is that everything goes back to normal , and even better than before , you and your partner get to know each other and get to see a whole new side, some of it bad , but all of it building blocks for a stronger relationship 💜

Being parents is the biggest blessing in the world and seeing your partner with your baby is just the most amazing sight you will ever get to see.

Angelique