I never thought I would write. I have always loved children and babies and I seem to have a natural connection to young children which they generally respond positively to. I adore making those connections and having fun with them.
Initially I always thought I would become a primary school teacher. I loved the idea of forming a bond and nurturing young children. I did realise quite quickly that the parts I loved were only a small percentage of what was actually involved in the job of a teacher. I was not really keen on teaching the same thing year in and year out or doing the mammoth amount of programming, planning and paperwork that comes with the territory.
So, perhaps I wanted to be a midwife? I knew I would be excellent at the nurturing, post-natal side of the role. Supporting women who have recently given birth, checking in on them and caring for their mental health. Unfortunately, I knew I was not interested in the business end of the job, conducting internal examinations and dealing with infant loss were things I just couldn’t cope with.
Next on the list of career possiblilities was to become a doula. Providing the support and guidance pre and post-natal without the pressure of being responsible for the medical side. When I researched courses however, I realised that while I love the idea of a doula and support the way they encourage calm birthing and intervention free deliveries. I couldn’t in all honesty say that I agreed with all philosophies. I think it is perfectly fine and in fact important to get drugs if you want them. I think having a Caesarean is a perfectly acceptable option and not one to be feared or opposed to. I think breastfeeding is incredible and wonderful and so damn convenient but if a woman doesn’t want to or, for whatever reason, cant, I again don’t think it is worth talking about.
So, with Doula out of the picture, I moved on to training as a Newborn Care Specialist. This training isn’t provided in Australia so I trained with a company based in America and completed the course online. If I am honest, I already knew most of what was taught, having had two children of my own and worked for many years with babies and young children. It was alarming to see how many young women (there were no men in the course) really knew nothing upon entering the training. They would watch a few videos on how to wrap a baby, check for cleft palate, change a nappy and look out for early warning signs of post natal depression and then given a certificate and plunged into the world of newborn care.
What a lot of younger babysitters and nannies and unfortunately some agencies don’t realise is that when you are caring for a baby under 12 months, especially one under four months, you aren’t just caring for the child. You are taking care of the mother as well and that is a huge responsibility that should only be entrusted with someone with maturity, confidence and experience.
When I ran my business, Sweet Baby Daze, I had my share of tiny little clients. I supported weary and emotional mothers by taking over care for the baby for a while so she could rest, and I was happy doing that for a while. Then I came to realise that I had allowed myself to become a really, qualified and experienced babysitter. I was only getting calls from parents with older babies who didn’t quite trust an agency nanny who was young and perhaps not quite confident enough to take on a baby. I understood completely, I wouldn’t want to leave my baby like that either but it wasn’t what I had set out to do and after a lot of soul searching and wondering why I didn’t feel fulfilled, I realised that it was the mother I was passionate about. I wanted to support her. Care for her. Advocate for her.
That is where Mothering Me came in I suppose. I got tired of the extremes of an either glamourous, well put together mother and the frazzled mums of four. I was an average mum, two children because that is all I could manage. Trying to figure it all out and tackle each curve ball as it came while working and attempting to navigate married life with a mortgage and too many bills to count.
Its real, it’s not always pretty but through it all I am here and I hope that I can make other average mums feel better. Whether you have one kid or five of them. It’s bloody hard at times and we should all be boosting each other up.