Lets talk marriage

Okay so only moms will know what I am talking about; there is nothing that puts pressure on a marriage like having children !

Especially your first haha, looking back now it is crazy to think how much we fought, and by fought I mean taking everything out on each other, the lack of sleep, the stress from breastfeeding and just being a mom, the very big change in priorities and countless other issues that seemed to have overwhelmed us as new parents.

it changed literally every aspect of our marriage, you see each other differently, that man is the father of my child, and I am the mother of his child, it changes the way you love each other, you share this amazing bond now, and no matter what the future holds for the two of you, you are now always linked by your child, you will always be apart of each others lives.

And to be honest, having a baby takes the romance and mystery out of it all a tiny bit (okay a lot, between the post baby crying and huge pads), and some days you really need to dig deep to find time to be intimate or romantic because you are just so so tired.

But at the end of the day your relationship is stronger for it, we have only been married two years and our baby girl is now turning one, and it feels like we have known each other our whole lives because we have been through so much together in such a short time.

So yes , starting a family puts pressure on a marriage, but you know what they say “diamonds are formed under pressure”.

Don’t give up, you will get date nights again and romantic get aways before you know it!

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Dad Instincts

The other day my husband and I were having a tiff over whether our baby girl is in fact teething or just being fussy for no reason; I believed that she is teething, and my husband believed that she is just having an off day and that I don’t need to always assume the worst. Needless to say; this turned into a huge argument, I explained to him that I have “motherly instinct” and that he needs to learn to trust that, he replied by telling me; he also has instincts as a dad – which brings us here.

I have since come to realize that I have this ugly side to me, one that feels I need to be the superior parent, that I somehow need to be the one my baby needs, and that only I can console her when she is upset or not feeling well. The fact of the matter is; that although this is mostly true, it is not true every time.

There has countless times where my baby is upset and I can’t console her, her dad takes her, and she calms down, there could be a million reasons for this; she feeds of off me , so that day I might be a bit more emotional, upset or stressed out, and she feels this too, it affects her world just as much as it does mine, if not more. Her dad on the other hand; takes things in stride, he is generally more laid back, relaxed and rarely gets stressed out (we balance each other out quite well).

At first, this made me feel quite irrelevant, it hurt my feelings that my baby girl was not comforted by me, and that she needed her father instead.

As a new mom, I constantly put pressure on myself to do things “right”, I was adamant that I will be the best mother and I would research anything before making a decision about my baby girl’s development and wellbeing, whether it be her feeding, her sleeping, her play time, her stimulation – EVERYTHING.

This was starting to drive me insane, I was always tired, no matter how much sleep I got at night, I was constantly stressing about her at night for no real reason, constantly doubting my own abilities as a mom. It was taking all the enjoyment out of being a mom in the first place, it made me miss the little moments that I was supposed to be enjoying with my family.

Overcoming my insecurities

Studies have found that a woman only matures at the age of 25 – mostly emotionally, according to this; you only really know what you want to do in life and can face the challenges life throws at you with maturity and a clear head. Well, I don’t know about you, but I am 27 and still don’t feel sure about myself and my future most of the time, and some days I really don’t feel all that mature either.

Overcoming this silly little insecurity took quite some time, I had to really work hard at it, and change my perception of the situation, my husband being so involved is a GOOD thing, him wanting to help and give opinions when she cried or was being cranky; was him being a good father and a good husband, it did not mean that he thought he knew better than me or that he is questioning my abilities as a mother. He simply wants to play a big role in her upbringing, and although he respects my opinion and realizes that I am the one that looks after her the whole day, sometimes, a fresh new opinion or suggestion from the outside is just what a situation calls for.

Looking after your child during the day, every day, can become intense (especially those days that they refuse to sleep and just basically refuse to do anything you want them to), you tend to get into your head too much and it becomes very difficult to take a break and gather your thoughts, or just to even have a cup of tea and plan your day.

Your frustrated, tired, and then dad walks in and says – “maybe you should try and put her in her pram instead” – Immediately you are enraged at the thought, because you have been trying to get her to sleep the whole day, and yet you did not think of that (you can’t tell him that though because you feel stupid for not doing it in the first place)

The Change

I realized that my husband (just like me) also finds joy in parenting, and the fact that our baby girl is comforted by him, yes, he might not have the same bond with her as I do, and yes, he is not always right about what is wrong with her, but neither am I for that matter. Making him feel like he is wrong all the time, also hurts his feelings, so now; even if I know she does not have a fever; if he suggests it, I take her temperature just to be sure, and this level of respect has changed our marriage for the better, he also now feels like I value his opinion and I don’t just brush it off.

This had a ripple effect, he is now more confident in looking after her if I am not there, because he is more confident in his fathering skills and his “fatherly instincts” so to speak, he does not feel the need to call me every ten minutes when she cries, he now knows what to do with her.

We as mothers are quick to dismiss things like “fatherly instincts” because we don’t believe that it could really be a thing, although I don’t think it is more important than “motherly instincts”; fathers all over the world are moving away from the historic “mother does all” way of life and becoming more and more involved in parenting.

I have even seen my husband googling “sleep regression” and “teething symptoms” a few times.

Now that I look at things a little differently; these things warm my heart, and I am so lucky to have a husband that is such a good father to our precious baby girl, and he deserves all the credit in the world for his “fatherly instincts”.

The “mom” flu

“Mom Flu is exactly like normal flu, except nobody cares”

This rings so true once you become a mother, you read this on memes and all-over social media and it’s hilarious, until it’s you!

Take me for example; I have had toothache for about a week now, and I just don’t get the time (or the babysitter) to go and get it fixed, and the pain is excruciating; but I still have to get up at 6 AM and feed my baby girl, she still has to have her naptime routine, and the dishes still need to get done, dinner still needs to get made – time waits for no mom !

Being a mom really is a 24/7 job, and I say job because it’s hard work, although incredibly rewarding, it still takes up most of your time, especially for the first few months, and you rarely get time for yourself, your marriage, or any other relationships in your life.

Whether you are sick, tired, cranky, emotional, or just having a rough day, you somehow always gather the strength to look after your baby and tend to them as if nothing is wrong and still give them the attention they deserve and need.

Since becoming a mother I could feel myself change, looking back on those first few weeks; I cant imagine how I used to get up every two hours to feed, while still recovering from my c-section, the hormones that came flooding in the first few days, struggling with breastfeeding, the paranoia of whether your baby is still breathing, is she comfortable, is she lying right, and lets not forget the sleepless nights googling about whether her amount of spit up is normal.

And I know that this is just the beginning, we haven’t even started teething, solids, potty training, sleep training, tantrums, and all the rest, and somehow I just know that I will cope with all of it because that is what being a mom is all about, you are not allowed to give up, and that to me , is so powerful, and it just makes you stronger every day, you just see the world differently when you become a parent.

Being a mom is like having seven balls in the air while holding your baby, and trying to catch them all , whether it be trying to juggle having a personal life of some sort, friendships, marriage, a career, and the moment you pay attention to one of these, you immediately feel some sort of “mom guilt” over not being with your child, or not spending all your time tending to them, or just simply worrying about them.

I strongly believe that having children humbles you, although I have never seen myself as a selfish person , I did put myself first in many scenarios, and since my baby girl was born , putting her first comes so natural, I don’t need to think it over, or decide whether I really need to go play with her or go to the hair appointment my hair desperately needs, it’s a no brainer.

Don’t get me wrong, I do believe that “you cant pour from an empty cup” and you are no good to your baby if you are stressed out and unhappy, our basic needs still need to be met and we deserve to be happy in all aspects of life in order to be a good example to your children as they grow up.

It is exactly like the safety demonstration before a flight; “place your own oxygen mask before tending to others”.

It is just that some of the things that used to give me sleepless nights before I became a mom, seems like minor issues to me now, and I feel more capable of handling outside stressors in my life, I feel mentally and emotionally stronger even.

Mom flu is not just actually being sick , it’s a constant state we find ourselves in where we put our families and relationships above our own wellbeing sometimes, and I don’t know about you , but I wouldn’t have it any other way !n The rewards of being a mom , far outweighs the sacrifices and I cannot imagine my life without my precious sweet baby girl.

To all the moms out there who are juggling life and motherhood and feel like you are dropping balls left and right, hang in there, you are not alone, and you are doing an AMAZING job!

Life happens FOR YOU and not TO YOU , and once you realize that, a whole lot of things come into perspective, you stop seeing everything as a chore, and realize what a blessing it is to be able to have children, and friends and a marriage or relationship, and although being a mom is such hard work, you stop looking for validation in other people and start finding it in the little face smiling up at you and within yourself.

And who is a better critic of whether you are doing a good job other than your baby? No one!

 

Angelique

 

 

How we underestimate small talk

Who has the time right !? We are all so busy and overwhelmed with our own lives and motherhood in general, that it sometimes feels like no one understands what we are going through, we tend to isolate ourselves in our own self made unhappiness.

Well I do anyway, it cant be said for everyone because some people are better at addressing their own issues than others, but I tend to feel like my husband does not get how hard it is to be a full time mom, to live in the middle of nowhere (#farmvibes) and to have no family or friends nearby to vent to when things get too much (because lets face it; they do).

Today I did some self reflection and it came to me; the reality of the situation is that, well, he doesn’t completely understand, nor can anyone. No one can truly know what another person is going through unless they have been through it themselves, and even then; people handle situations differently. So instead of focusing and fighting about something that simply cant be changed, I just sat and had a casual conversation with him. Simple right?

Afterwards, I felt so much lighter, it was the first time in so long that I wasn’t focused on how stressed or overwhelmed I was, I just shifted my focus for a minute and it gave me a whole new perspective on things. Don’t get me wrong, there will be days that I still wallow in it, because I am only human. But I just realized what a difference it makes to not focus all of my attention on the hardships in life, to basically give myself a break from it all, by simply not talking about it.

Value those conversations, and make an effort to talk less and listen more because it makes all the difference.

The Bond Between Mother and Baby After C-Section

Everywhere these days you see people favouring natural birth, the benefits for both you and baby are endless; recovery, your babies’ strength and the thing we hear mostly is that the bond between you and your child is so much stronger because you both went through this process together.

The problem with this is that life does not always work out the way you expect it to, life happens!

And it is statements like above that make women feel like less of a mother because they had to have an emergency c-section or opted to have one instead of natural birth, women are bullied and shamed for making this choice instead of going the natural way (it is the same with the whole debate about breastfeeding vs formula feeding).

The fact of the matter is that having a c section does not lessen the special bond between you and your baby, I had a c-section, and from the moment she was born there was nothing but love, I still had my skin to skin, I still breastfed for about 8 weeks, she still cried for her mommy and she was still comforted by me. In no way did I ever feel as if my bond between my child and I was not as strong as I hoped it would be, in fact; it surpassed everything I thought it would be, the love I have for her is indescribable and in no way did the way she was brought into this world, affect that love.

I admire women who gave natural birth, to me, having had a c-section; I can’t imagine how incredible that whole process must be, and how amazing and proud you must feel afterwards for having done it and bringing a healthy baby into the world.

But for me, in that moment they cut me open, nothing else in the universe mattered but my baby being healthy and okay, how it happened did not matter to me, how far along I was at the time didn’t matter, how many toes she had did not matter, if I was going to breastfeed did not matter, how much she weighed did not matter, all that mattered was hearing that  first little scream and knowing she is okay, in that moment; I couldn’t care less about myself, when I heard that first cry, the biggest sense of relief washed over me – my baby was okay and now I can breathe.

I have read so many stories about women who are distraught and so disappointed because they ended up having an emergency c-section, and they really wanted to give natural birth, and this breaks my heart, it happens so often where society places so much pressure on moms to do things a certain way, what they think is best for you and your baby, and then when a woman can’t do it that way, due to whatever reason, we immediately feel like we failed as mothers.

I am here to tell you that it is okay, you did your best, and your baby is here, that is all that matters, what they eat or how they came into this world will not matter to them when they grow up, what type of parent you are will! Whether you were there for their first heartbreak, and how you treat them when they make a mistake, whether you spent time with them growing up; these are the things that will matter to them as adults and what they will pass on one day to their own families and relationships.

We must stop focusing so much on these small things and focus on raising humble and kind little humans that we can be proud of, and be parents they can be proud of, in the end these are the only things your children will remember about you when you are gone, not whether you gave natural birth, or had a c-section or breastfed or formula fed.

Be proud to be a mom, embrace it, and be the best you can be every day, and I promise you, it will be enough.

Angelique

What NOT To Do With Your Baby

So, although I cannot give you advice on exactly what to do, because I am still figuring things out myself, I can however tell you what NOT to do!

Your Home Life

Nothing in this world can prepare you for being a parent, I don’t care what anyone says, helping a sibling or a family member with their baby will maybe make you used to the idea of a baby and give you some helpful tips even, but in no way will it give you a taste of what it feels like when that little bundle is yours.

No book in the world will explain to you how YOUR baby is feeling and why, yes, it has been put together by experts, but it is the general rule, and not always specific to your baby, I have read so many things and then I think “what? Why is my baby not doing this?” – This is the biggest downfall for new parents, books tell you when what milestone should be reached and how much your baby should be eating, and most of the times this is right, but sometimes it just is not, and this immediately sends us into a state of panic.
Listening to how other people raise their children is also a “no no” , how people raise their children reflects their personalities, their home life and their values, therefore, doing what you see from other people will most probably not work for you, because, well, you are different, you are an individual and your personality and values might not be the same.

And Finally, the most important one; do not, I repeat, do not compare yourself to other moms, this will most certainly drive you insane, and it most certainly has for me, the problem when looking at other moms is you see what they call the “highlight real”, you come over for dinner, and the whole family is on their best behavior, because let’s face it, that’s what we all do. What you don’t see, is that they also fight over who must do the dishes, the mom also locks herself in a closet to cry (a bit extreme but it happens) and the dad is not always the perfect husband you see at dinner.

Some people are just more open about their struggles, to me, these are the best kind of people, they make you feel like you are not alone, like you are not as crazy as you though, and not always overreacting as per your husband’s opinion.
Find these people and stick to them like glue, they are the mom friends that you want by your side on days that you feel you cannot cope, or you just had enough.

Google is the Enemy

Wow, where do we even start on this one?

If you haven’t yet googled “How to get my baby to sleep” stop reading because this post is not for you; the results on this is so confusing and contradicting that it would leave even the most confident mom second guessing herself.

Sleep deprivation is torture, it affects every aspect of your life, it’s just intense!
Google is helpful in the sense that you can find information online at any time of the day or night, there are thousands of “how to” videos, and I myself have watched a few videos on swaddling and latching that were quite helpful.

But overall, you see information and tips that just do not work for your baby, and then you are left overwhelmed once again, with no way out.

Motherly instinct is the best go to you can get, become confident mom! And trust your gut, 9 out of 10 times it is right, the other time your baby was most likely just not feeling well or just having an off day – which happens, if you think about it, your baby is also an individual, and just like we have off days, they do too, they just can tell you how they are feeling.

Most days you end up just winging it!

Fed is Best

This is such a sensitive topic, and I am almost scared to write about it, but here goes!
I personally tried to breastfeed, and did for 7 weeks, unfortunately due to circumstances, my supply dried up after trying everything under the sun, there could be a million reasons for why what when and where, but that’s just what happened, and I ended up giving my little girl formula.

This was so intense for me, as it felt like I failed her and that I am not doing what is best for my baby, but at the end of the day, do what is best for you, there are so many moms out there that will tell you that you are a bad mother for choosing to formula feed.
Don’t you dare listen to them, we place enough pressure on ourselves to be perfect mothers, we do not need added stress to any situation, it is your life, and you do what is best and what suits you guys better. You are still a good mother!

We need to stop mom shaming each other, what I don’t understand is that these women are also moms, they were even once first-time moms, and know how hard is to adjust and to get into a routine that suits your family and your lifestyle, adding to this is not only mean, but unnecessary.

To the moms out there that are struggling with all these things, hang in there, keep doing what you are doing, and it will all get easier soon.

This too shall pass.

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