How a Boy Mumma dealt with gender disappointment

Its weird before I had kids I never really thought about the gender of my kids I guess I just kinda assumed I’d have a boy and a girl. It never occurred to me that I’d only be a mumma to one gender and that that gender would be boys!

When I was pregnant with my first the gender didn’t really matter but I won’t lie. When I found out it was a boy I was momentarily disappointed. I think it was a mix between my mum saying she thought it was girl and the fact that I’d got it in my head that it was. Or maybe it was the idea that having a kid the same gender as myelf felt safer, like I would be more prepared for a girl than a boy.

The feeling didn’t entirely go away and I didn’t honestly believe it was boy until he was born. But as they say the moment he arrived it was overwhelming love at first sight and I have loved being his Mumma. He cracks me up everyday. I’m navigating my way through his construction obsession and love playing trains, cars and firemen with him. I love little boys fashion and spend way too much on chinos, boat shoes and gorgeous wooden jumpers for him.

When I found out I was pregnant with number two though I found conversation about what gender was really difficult. So many people commented that we must be hoping for a girl that I started to feel like I’d be a failure if my baby wasn’t. A good friend of mine with a boy the same age as me had just had her second and it was girl. I felt jealous that she had created the textbook family and wondered what my future held. At the 20 week scan they told us we were expecting a boy. the extended family were excited but there was definitely disappointment on a few faces that they weren’t going to be little girl outfits or seeing a mini me running around. I too felt upset. My good friend who’s second was a girl said something really profound to me though. She said” you have to mourn the one you don’t have. She hadn’t found out the gender of the second until she was born, and even though she had hoped for a daughter she had slight gender disappointment at the birth. You see when she realised it was a girl she had to mourn the boy she thought she might have. She had envisaged a little boy as well, picked a name for him, and part of her was sad about not having him even though she absolutely loves her daughter.

I too had to take the time to mourn the daughter I wasn’t having. I also had to mourn the idea that this may be my last pregnancy and I may never have a daughter. I will always be the mother in law. I will always be outnumbered at home, and may not have a sidekick joining me shopping or getting our nails done.

Interestingly though I found as I entered the later part of my pregnancy I started to feel relief that I was expecting another boy. I loved being a mum to my first boy and having sons felt like familiar territory. The two of them will be best buddies, they will be able to enjoy the same toys and similar activities not to mention all money id save on boys clothes. Boys love their mumma’s and they are so affectionate. I just love all the cuddles and kisses and the way they’re teaching me to look at the world differently. I am at peace with having two boys, and just want you to know that even though you may be disappointed now I promise you it will change when you meet your baby. Don’t feel guilty about how your feeling take the time to mourn the one your not having, it doesn’t mean you love your baby any less.

Mumma Z xxx

How I’m coping with two kids!

Being a mum of two is really hard. I have a newfound admiration for mums of multiples. I literally do not understand how you do it when kids in your household outnumber the adults. I get anxious enough thinking about all the things I need to pack for two just to leave the house. Let alone the amount of washing, cooking and entertaining!

A lot of people have been asking how I’m coping. The word cope literally means to ‘deal effectively with something difficult’. Yes we’re coping but life with two kids is difficult. Some days they’re both chirpy and I have no issues. Other days they’re both crying, and I have to decide who needs me more in that moment. 

I constantly feel guilty for not paying attention to each of my boys enough. My day revolves around putting one down to pick the other one up on repeat. I would literally pay someone to teach me how to get both of them to nap at once. 

No, I don’t have a routine for my newborn yet and I’m fine with that. In fact, I’m trying not to over think it all. The only structure that exists in our day revolves around my toddler’s routine:

  • Breakfast by 8am
  • Morning Tea 10:30am
  • Nap time 12:00pm
  • Lunch 2pm
  • Dinner 5pm
  • Bath time 6pm
  • Bed 6:30pm

Survival is key, and the activities that we do between these mealtimes are all about coping.

  • I keep books on the couch so that I can I feed on demand whilst reading to my toddler.
  • The TV goes on when I need a moment to prep food or change a nappy and I refuse to feel guilty for the screen time.
  • When I get a chance during my toddler’s nap, I set up activities outside such as playdoh or water table so that when he gets up, he has something to occupy him for 20-30 minutes.
  • His play table always has pencils and paper our ready to go. 
  • We go to the park if its sunny or walk around the shops if it’s raining just to get out of the house. 
  • Luckily my toddler loves babyccinos (just milk foam) and will sit quietly at a café drinking one so that I can have a coffee. I save this activity for mornings following nightmare sleepless nights.
  • Mum is on speed dial to lend a hand or take my toddler for the day so that I can catch my breath and prepare to do it all the very next day.

Coping with two is crazy but we’re doing it, and you can too. Don’t be too hard on yourself, you’ve got this one day at a time.

Mumma Z xxx

The Kitchen Dilemma

There are many things I love about being a mum. The laughter, the pure joy my sons having playing games and discovering new things and those super snuggly cuddles when they first wake up from their naps. But I have to tell you, I was never made aware how much time I would spend trying to keep my kitchen clean. Long and behold my kitchen dilemma. My kitchen is like an all-consuming never-ending dirt accumulating monster. I don’t remember the last time I entered the kitchen to see it clean without a dish in the sink or a dishwasher that didn’t need to be emptied. See our household is a strict dishwasher using society. Our routine goes something like this:

The Kitchen Dilemma
  • We load the dishwasher with the dirty dishes
  • Turn dishwasher on
  • Dirty dishes pile up in sink whilst dishwasher is on
  • Empty dishwasher
  • Load with dirty dishes from sink
  • Turn dishwasher on
  • Empty dishwasher
  • Load with dirty dishes from sink 

On repeat all bloody day! 

It is a ridiculous roller-coaster of loading and unloading that I never remember signing up for and that’s just the dishwasher. Don’t get me started on everything else that grubby in my kitchen!

At least three times a day I can been seen washing the benches down, curled over the dishwasher or on my hands and knees picking stuff up from the floor. No need to ask where mummy is, she’s in the kitchen because in between the cleaning or she’s creating the mess in the kitchen by making the many meals and snacks my family needs. I have not secret solution to it; I haven’t worked out some fandangle routine to keep in spotless and I’m not going to make any promises that it’s going to improve. So instead please enjoy this silly poem I wrote and send me a comment if you know the fix to my kitchen cleaning dilemma.

Oh kitchen you marvellous room

You allow our MasterChef ambitions to bloom

My only gripe with you, you see 

Is that no matter how hard I try you fail to be clean?

I wipe, I sweep, I rinse, I dry

And yet the mess continues to be in oversupply.

Almost every day I wish and hope 

That I’ll wake up in the morning without you requiring soap

But for now, I’ll persist with the endless decree

Of mopping and spraying as your loyal trustee

Mumma Z xxx

Grocery Shopping is NOT a break!

How much easier would it be to do the housework without having to watch the kids at the same time? To make dinner without little ones at your feet or fold the washing? But if us mums do get a chance to do these tasks kid free let me be clear- it is not a break! I am still working; I am indirectly still looking after them.

https://community.whattoexpect.com/forums/hot-topics-1/topic/mom-breaks-101139834.html

Many of us mums have seen this post it’s been circulating quite recently and quite honestly, I could not have summed it up better. There seems to be this universal idea that when you became a mum you decided that for the rest of your days you would have no break!

How is it in 2020 we could even presume that doing household tasks kid free was time off for mums? The mental load of the household has not stopped during these times, she has not wound down or taken a minute for herself. She has not had a moment to think of herself. It has been all consumed in the household and her kid’s needs. Also, what is with the 1950 mentality? Housework is just that- work, it is not a relaxing task we just can’t wait to do.

A break is going out to dinner with a friend, getting my hair done or binging Netflix alone!  

I haven’t showered alone since my second was born- we’re going on 6 weeks now! When I do take a break, I’m conscious of the time I take and always race back because I feel guilty for going out. My husband seems to be able to go out carefree to play golf or go out for drinks and never feels guilty for the time he takes. 

So why don’t us mums take more breaks. For me I find taking a break really hard. The prep work taken to even think about having a break is huge. To leave the house I need to have expressed milk and found clothing that is clean and fits. By the time I’ve accomplished this I am so exhausted that I need a nap instead.  The other thing that plays on my mind is the knowledge that whilst I’m gone half of the work, I would have done won’t be completed. When my husband watches the boys, he does just that, he plays with them and supervises them. He doesn’t try to cook dinner, clean the house and put a load of washing on. He doesn’t think to do it and to write him a list of things I would normally have done during that time would create even more work for me.

 It seems somewhere along the line I’ve contributed to this problem. I’ve set ridiculous standards for myself that no one is holding me to- especially not my husband. I’ve used my breaks to go to the grocery store on purpose because I’m stressed about getting things done and I feel better for having completed a household chore. I’ve not taken the time to relax and unwind even when I’ve been given the time. Instead when my husband’s watching the kids, I’ve pounced on the opportunity to get something done around the house that I can’t do when I’m watching them. 

But I’m tired and grumpy and I need some me time. This Mumma is not her best self when I allow myself to become this burnt out. I need to prioritise break time and plan activities for this break time that does not involve the household in any shape or form and I’m starting today.

Do your self a favour and take a break mumma. You deserve it! Mumma Z xxx

Sleep deprived Mumma! My baby doesn’t sleep

Help – My baby is a milk monster!

After my first son didn’t sleep through the night until 10 months, I had illusions that with my second I’d be better at the whole sleep thing and he’d be the perfect scheduled snoozer. Fast forward 4 weeks into his little life and I find myself up for 4 hours straight a night. Sleep deprived, desperate, and an absolute misery to be around. I’m constantly arguing with the voice inside my head that’s screaming at him to just rest, and the tears that are streaming down my cheeks from exhaustion. I know that exclusive breastfeeding isn’t for everyone, and many mums don’t even get the opportunity to do it. But it doesn’t make that reality of it any easier especially when it comes with little to no sleep. The whole thing seems unfair to me though. I follow the rules, I breastfeed, I burp my baby then put him down to sleep. But no one tells you what to do when every time your baby leaves your arms and their head meets the bassinet that they cry and don’t stop. No amount of rocking, singing, holding the dummy in their mouth settles them. Your partner can’t settle them and any amount of crying results in you having to settle baby again with more milk! You are physically and emotionally exhausted. Then the irony of it all is that your baby sleeps all day. Again, this is despite the fact that you’ve placed them in front of the window to let the sunlight teach them day and night. The fact that you’ve played with them, done tummy time and taken them out for a walk.

So, what to do?

Do you persist with the breastfeeding overnight or do you succumb to everyone’s advice that formula is the secret? 

Feeding is an interesting topic for me. As we all know ‘fed is best’ but would formula really be the ticket to sleep?  Always optimistic I went out hopeful to the pharmacy and got myself a lovely golden tin of sleep, or so I was told. Only to find out very quickly that my just like my first, my second won’t accept a bottle either. The golden ticket to sleep has failed me with both my boys.

Fast forward three weeks and sleep is getting a little better. He is waking every 1.5-2 hours still but my persistence with the feed, burp and put down method is finally paying off. We even got a 3 hour sleep the other night which you know for a newborn is cause for celebrations.

Here is my only advice to date.

  • Make sure that you give them a full feed. Sometimes I feed him on one side burp him and put him down. Then I quickly run to the bathroom and have a drink. Normally in this time he starts to grizzle so by the time I get back I pick him up feed him on the other side burp him then he’s ready to sleep.
  • I don’t always change his nappy at every feed overnight. I actually find this unsettles him too much. I know it’s supposed to help wake them up to have a proper feed but it hasn’t really worked for both my boys.
  • When he wakes between 3-4am he’s the hardest to put down in his bassinet after a feed because its the coldest part of the night, and I’m super snuggly and warm. So I keep an extra blanket and put this one on him after this feed it seems to help.
  • If I’m really struggling to stay away during the feed I play games on my phone, find one that keeps you focused but make sure to turn your phone to night mode so that the blue lights don’t interfere with babies sleep.
  • During the day I only let him sleep on me once- normally in the early evening. All other times I make sure I put him down. The only exception to this is if he’s been really unsettled then I reset him by having him have a long nap on me. The longer blocks they get in their day sleeps the better they sleep at night. it has something to do with them learning how to connect their sleep cycles.
  • The morning nap seems to be the most crucial nap to get him to sleep with otherwise I have a very cranky hard to settle baby for the rest of the day.
  • If baby has had lots of cuddles from different people I find he has a really rough night, so I try to reduce him being held to much by other people, and ensure he’s had adequate time on me during the day.

Its still tough though and I’ve had to accept a few things:

  1. Baby wants to be in your arms, they’ve spent 9 months in your tummy and its upsetting to be placed in a bassinet away from you.
  2. Mumma you are doing the best job. 
  3. This won’t last forever! Persist with the feeding, try the formula again. Try your hardest to find the energy to get up when baby cries, wake them up as much as you can by changing their nappy and give them a full feed, burp and cross your fingers and toes that as you lay them down in their bassinet that those little eyes close. This time will pass, slowly but it will. The bond that you are creating, the antibodies and nutrients that you are sharing with your baby are irreplaceable.

Mumma Z xxx

Mumma Z tries to buy a dream-house

Every tried to buy a home? Then you may be able to relate with our current situation…

Photo by PixaSquare on Pexels.com

When I was working full time one of the biggest stressed of my day was travel time. Not to work but to my mums each morning and afternoon to collect my son. On average it would take between 20-30 minutes in traffic each way. That calculates to approx. 5 hours per week!

We recently welcomed our second son into the world and have decided that before I return to work next year, we need to move closer to my mum. It also so happens that our dream suburb is only 5 minutes away from her house. 

We started with the usual initial steps. We enlisted our broker to work out what our budget was and discussed borrowing power. When doing so we talked about using my parents as guarantors as we were only just shy of being able to borrow what we needed to buy in our dream area and don’t want to waste money on mortgage insurance. We calculated what we could comfortably repay per fortnight and then proceeded to check real-estate sites daily to see what was around.

Our weekends became full of home open after home open, aimlessly walking around properties we weren’t interested in just to meet realtors and try to get our heads around what properties were worth. I spent countless hours on the phone to realtors who told me they NEVER sell homes that they don’t put online, only to get a phone call from them later in the week about a property that are selling off the market. 

Then the most beautiful property came up, advertised in the 900k’s in our dream area. We quickly added it to our weekend schedule of viewings. We fell in love with the property and eagerly walked around it twice to ensure we couldn’t see any issues. The market moves quickly, and we knew from past experience that we couldn’t rely on being able to see it the next day before it went under offer. 

After conversation with the realtors we were informed that the seller actually wanted between 1-1.1mil way more than advertised and certainly out of our budget. After careful research of the area I found many comparable properties going in the 900s and we decided to try our luck.

We put in an offer of in the high 900ks- subject to finance/the sale of our property & building/pest inspection. The first draft contract had so many errors including the address of the property we were buying. I couldn’t help but think the mistake represented that fact that the realtor wasn’t taking us seriously and that we were more of a joke to them.

However, I sent the contract off to another realtor to look over and he wrote a list of amendments. A day later we had a second draft contract that was corrected, and we signed across the dotted line…well we email signed but still it was official. 

The next day the phone rang, it was the realtor. She informed us that although we were the first offer there had been two others and they were 50k higher than ours, and not subject to sale. It was like being told you hadn’t got your dream job. I’d already dreamt of myself in the house, we’d talked about where our furniture would go, and what initial renos we would do. I bravely said I understood and tried not to cry and she explained how difficult it would be for us to buy a property with a subject to sale, and how that only works for some sellers who are still trying to find a property to move to themselves. 

I put the phone down a promptly rang another realtor to see if she had any new properties coming on the market, anything to distract me from losing out on that dream house. I mustn’t have been the only one because she was so patronising on the phone, “if we were to buy subject to sale than we’d pay for it” our offer would have to be “higher than anyone’s else’s” and basically she wasn’t interested in helping us. Who knew there were so many cash buyers around with an easy $250k saved? We were just plebs looking with no chance basically.

So, what were our options…

  1. Basically, it was suggested that we sell our house. This would mean we would risk being without a home and would need to put all our belongings in storage and live with my parents indefinitely with two kids under 2.
  2. Lower our budget, not use my parents as guarantors and consider a bridging loan and mortgage insurance ($12,000) to get our dream home.
  3. Keep putting offers in subject to sale of our property knowing full well that a cash buyer could come by and trump us if ours didn’t sell quick enough.

For the meantime we’re going to go with option 3. I can’t face not having a house! I don’t want to waste money on mortgage insurance, and surely the right one will come along and if it’s meant to be our offer will be successful.