4 Weeks Back!

WELL THAT WAS A GIANT SLAP IN THE FACE.

Whoever said “mamas can have it all, or even try to have it all”, made me laugh evil-y last week. I did not have it all. Any of it. What I did have, was a flu from being run down, boob milk on my suit jacket and a new, special kind of super-exhaustion that made me about as upbeat and positive as Eyeore from Winnie the Pooh (you know, the depressed donkey). No amount of positive trash talk, which usually motivates me, like this or repeat plays of Level Up saved me last week.

I found myself sitting at my desk, thinking “No, I do not want to answer your email immediately” and “No, I cannot jump back into things like nothing has happened.”

The truth is, so much has happened. I have to accept that my weekday cannot revolve around work like it used to. I have another, way cooler job of being a mama that I would like to have enough energy to do well (or well enough, am not weighing myself down with expectation here).

I have to remind myself, this is a transition, and it is hard, and that is ok. I also didn’t factor in getting sick with the flu last week. I know they say in tough times, dig deep. But digging deep when you need to dig deep is, well, tiring, and boy was I tired.

SG Expressing

The joys of the mid day pump…

My attempt to dig deep saw me (unconvincingly) reminding myself “everything is hard when you are unwell, so don’t be so hard on yourself there, mama”. My better half reminded me of this important message, for that I am so grateful. And in my own mama’s words, “just participate, make it through each marathon day one day at a time and give it a red hot go”.

So I had a day off, and then gave it a red hot go. And this week, I am pleased to report, is infinitely better. I am not sick and I am making it through the days, dare I say, well (hoorah!).

But know this, to all of you glorious, ball-juggling-mind-and-time-management- guru-working-mamas out there who have gone down this brutal transition path before me: I salute you. I now join you on the gloriously gruelling journey of WELL-HOW-ON-EARTH-AM-I-GOING-TO-MAKE- THIS-WORK-AND-NOT-GO-INSANE?

Don’t even get me started on pumping – is it not the most laborious, pain staking thing ever?

Please, wish me more luck.

Sxx


Sophia

Sophia is a new mum, slowly adapting to the many changes that a new baby brings to life. She is a keen writer and adventurer who loves to travel, although now considers leaving the house and walking around Kennedy Town, where she lives, an adventure in itself (ah, how times change post baby).

Follow Sophia on Instagram!

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THE BIG RETURN (TO WORK)

As my maternity leave comes to an end, I am a bundle of nerves and fears.

At my worst, I feel like I have just got into the swing of things, Bub and I have our own (loose) routines, plenty of hugs on tap and the odyssey of learning-to-breastfeed has finally been overcome, only to be ruined by the Big Return to Work which will send me back to square one of how-will-I-cope-ever-again.

At my best, I am so proud of how far Bub and I have come, little man is ready and raring to gain more independence and I feel ready to use my mind and to have conversations that aren’t to the tune of a nursery rhyme.

But back to my worst, because I spend more time in that zone at the moment, dreading the Big Return.

The fears are many, and range from: How and why would I want to leave Bub ever, let alone for 8 hours in a row? Will he forget me? Or worse, will he be bitter and hate me for leaving him? Will he cry constantly? Will he take the bottle every day? Can I survive without him in my sight? The wildness of some of these fears as I type does not escape me, yet I feel these things all at once.

My mind turns to the giggles, stories, songs and rocks to sleep I will miss during the day, the looming pain of the breast pump sessions to come at the office. Ugh, sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the mountain ahead.

But then the tiniest voice of encouragement peeps out from behind it all: come on there, mama. No one said it was easy, no one said you won’t feel a million things at once, no one said the season of first time mama hood will be fear free. Don’t quit before you’ve even started, give it a go and try your best, you can’t do any more than that.

In my heart of hearts, more than anything I feel grateful. Grateful that I got the precious gift of spending this time with Bub, bonding in a way I could never explain or understand without going through it.

Everything feels a bit more intense now (thank you hormones), but along with the fears and nerves feeling strong, the moments of joy and wonder are richer than ever before too. Our precious Bub has made my other half and I into a family. He has changed it all for us and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I just have to try to accept that my bundle of emotions are part and parcel of mama hood now, and the right decision will always present itself, and worrying about future ifs and buts help no one.

I came across a brilliant quote from Mamadisrupt’s Instagram that will have to become my mantra for the next few months: She was powerful not because she wasn’t scared, but because she went on so strongly despite the fear.

Wish me luck.


Sophia

Sophia is a new mum, slowly adapting to the many changes that a new baby brings to life. She is a keen writer and adventurer who loves to travel, although now considers leaving the house and walking around Kennedy Town, where she lives, an adventure in itself (ah, how times change post baby).

Follow Sophia on Instagram!

An Ode to the Pram Fan

Pram Fan, I laughed at you when I first saw you clipped onto another baby’s pram, for this I am sorry.

“That’s abit over the top” I thought, “Does a baby really need a fan?” pre-Bub Sophia was clearly a fool. So judgey. She had No. Idea. Whatsoever.

Post-Bub Sophia knows her place and has seen the error of her ways.

Pram Fan, you are a god. Let me count the ways:

You keep Bub from roasting in the stroller in the Hong Kong streets of sweltering summer.

You clip to anything, anytime, anywhere.IMG_7515

You are so mobile, you can be used while breastfeeding to fan mama as well as Bub.

You can transform to Hand Fan when Bub is in the ergo baby carrier and you get hot so close to mama or dad.

Your gentle breeze has the magical power to soothe Bub to sleep.

You don’t eliminate sweat (impossible in 90% humidity) but you do a good job of keeping it manageable for Bub.

What’s more, your cool air fans away mosquitoes and those dreadful midges that lurk in green areas of HK from the pram.

Nothing hurts more than when your battery runs out in the middle of a walk, and Bub returns to his sauna-like state, melting away with no respite.

You are the best $78 I have spent this summer (i.e. $13 Australian, $10 US).

Others may laugh, but I don’t care. You are glorious. You are the enabler.

You allow us so much more adventure for six months of the year, which would be otherwise intolerable.

I cannot, nay, will not, go without you ever again.

Quite simply, Pram Fan, I love you.

S xx


Sophia

Sophia is a new mum, slowly adapting to the many changes that a new baby brings to life. She is a keen writer and adventurer who loves to travel, although now considers leaving the house and walking around Kennedy Town, where she lives, an adventure in itself (ah, how times change post baby).

Follow Sophia on Instagram!

Bub’s Macau Weekender

The Vegas of Asia is hardly the place for a bub you might say, but we made it work this long weekend with a little family jaunt to the City of Dreams. Hard to believe I know, but Macau is actually doable without the promise of the big win at the thousands (ok, hundreds) casinos scattered across the place.

We packed our bags, carrier, pram, spare change of clothes and spare change of everything (Parenthood = So. Much. Stuff. Always.) and headed off to the Macau Ferry. Lesson number one: do not ‘wing it’ when it comes to transport with child. Phrases like “let’s just rock up” and “let’s catch whichever ferry comes” and “let’s play it by ear” used to serve my other half and I well, but it no longer works when you live your life in three hour increments between each feed.

Turns out our ferry wait was 2.5 hours (!) but we took it in our stride and did what any self-respecting expat does with their free time waiting for a ferry, we feasted on dim sum at Maxim’s Palace downstairs. No regrets at all. Delicious.

While we arrived later than we thought, we immediately bee-lined for the hotel pool and got some afternoon sun. Bub was a champion of champions and did some quality napping on the ferry, in the taxi and even by the pool on arrival. Turns out he is better at relaxing than his mama. Way better.

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We stayed in the old town so we could explore the historical sights by foot/stroller, which worked really well. We spent Sunday adventuring through the fantastic Portuguese influenced historical architecture, the ruins of St Paul’s being a real highlight. St Dominic’s Church was absolutely stunning as well, definitely worth taking a look and doable with a stroller.

The summer heat was pretty intense, so intense it turned pretty quickly to epic rain on Saturday afternoon, which was a good excuse to relax at the hotel, enjoy a room bigger than our apartment and generally enjoy precious fam time together.

We adventured with food too, we tried some authentic Macanese food, Chinese meets Portuguese, apparently one of the oldest fusion cuisines there is. If you find yourself in the old town head to Restaurant Litoral for its African Chicken and Minchi (an unusual but tasty spiced mince and potato dish). Portuguese chicken is always a win and we were not disappointed.IMG_7768

Another highlight was a sneaky Spanish Tapas place called Bar Celona, where you could tell the food was authentic Spanish. The drawback was it was on the other side of town from where we were staying and was painful to get a cab there and back with Bub. I had to argue with someone using hand gestures only (the joys of no language skills) to score our cab home. Lesson two (for the public): don’t mess with a mama who wants to go back to her hotel before feed time.

Bub took the changes to his routine in his stride which is quite a win and has inspired us to book the next trip. Its hard to know how much (if anything) he is taking in, but I am hopeful he enjoyed the sights, the bumpy terrain and the new sounds and smells of the old town.

Our little exploration reminded me that adventure, although quite different to what we are used to, is always a good idea.

S xx


Sophia

Sophia is a new mum, slowly adapting to the many changes that a new baby brings to life. She is a keen writer and adventurer who loves to travel, although now considers leaving the house and walking around Kennedy Town, where she lives, an adventure in itself (ah, how times change post baby).

Follow Sophia on Instagram!

Introducing Solids: Finding Bub’s Starchy Soulmate

So it begins, the daily quest for Bub to eat something, anything, in minuscule portions, one at a time. Patience is at the heart of so many aspects of mamahood (I am learning), and feeding solids is another category to add to that list. We have been trying for a week and a half now, in search of Bub’s starchy soulmate – will it be sweet potato? Normal potato? Carrots? The suspense is killing me, one teaspoon at a time. We started with sweet potato and had overall a good first session, with Bub appearing somewhat entertained at ‘This New Thing’ called eating. Day Two was similar to Day One, a swallow here and there and lots of pats on the back between me and my better half. “He’ll be an eater” we said joyfully, “He’s been watching us eat and ready to eat himself, hoorah.” Such fools we are.

Then came Horrendous Day Three. Bub was pretty much like, “Ok look here, thanks for the fun and games, it’s been great, truly, now give it up. Over it now. Let’s get back to the milk please.” All the progress made, out the window. Bub made faces of horror and disgust, tongue lashing out, rejecting anything on the spoon. Towards the end he just kept his lips sealed as if to say, “You can’t get anything in now, haha!”

Days Four and Five were identical to Horrendous Day Three. Time to mix it up, and so we moved from sweet potato to the normal potato. I am pleased to report that Horrendous Day Three has not repeated itself since we moved to potato but it is painstaking work, with little reward. I can’t imagine the day where Bub is eating three times a day, it seems miles away. This is what people must mean by persistence is key, patience is king, one step at a time and all that jazz.

I guess mamahood has a funny way of teaching us more than how to raise a bub, and that chipping away and making a little bit of progress each day is something in itself to be grateful for. Even a tiny mouthful swallowed is now an epic win, a milestone worthy of celebration.

In my heart of hearts, I’m so proud of Bub even though progress is slow and I’m already nostalgic at the thought that he is not the little baby we brought home anymore (tissues please). I finally understand what they mean by “the days can be long but the years are short” – time truly flies.

Now, back to the potato…!

Sxx


Sophia

Sophia is a new mum, slowly adapting to the many changes that a new baby brings to life. She is a keen writer and adventurer who loves to travel, although now considers leaving the house and walking around Kennedy Town, where she lives, an adventure in itself (ah, how times change post baby).

Follow Sophia on Instagram!