For more than 10 years Australians have turned to Kidspot to help them solve their parenting problems. I was so excited when Carrol Baker contacted me and asked if I would be interested in being featured for a story with a reach of 3.6 million people! Without question, I agreed and lost lots of sleep over the weekend thinking about it, waiting for the phone to ring Monday morning.
I would like to thank Carrol Baker from Kidspot for contacting me to do a story on being a mum with a brain injury. Thanks for the laughs! I had fun chatting and discussing how far I have come in seven years.
If you would like to have a read, you can do so by clicking here…
It is NEVER too late to be what you might have been, – George Eliot.
Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.
It was back in 2015 that I actively decided that – “That’s it, get up out of bed and stop being a little bitch!” It was at that moment that I came alive again. I started chipping away at self-development, spiritual development and started a bit of self- education.
After finally moving home back to Ingham (which felt like at least five years – My time perception is really bad now #ptsd) I realized how depressed I was. Being the sort of person I am – I was not going roll over and die, I was going re-create a person I was happy to live with for the rest of my life.
I have had to completely rebuild myself, my life. You see – at 21 I had a horrific quad bike accident that left me with a traumatic brain injury and a severe brachial plexus injury which means my right arm barely functions. I’m working so hard everyday to make it work again. I’m getting movement back slowly – my arm was fused, but in future, who knows what medical technology will bring. I know it will work again, maybe just not as good as my left.
I’m riding the education train, trying my hardest to make life easier for my family. I have purpose in my life now – raising my boys and trying to build an empire… It helps that my impulse is currently out of this world and my head is as hard as stone… really… I took on a tree and I won.
“See me, I’m still standing, I may be bleeding, but I’m still breathing” – is a line out of one of my favourite songs back in my high school days…
I can not believe how much you can change your body in a matter of weeks. Since the above size 12 photo was taken (first weekend of March), I’ve dropped heaps more fat and have toned up pretty decent. It took me until the start of March to be comfortable in my own skin, I can finally look at myself naked in the mirror and not scream and run away. OK – it wasn’t exactly that bad… but you get it, right?
One of my friends from high school owns a coffee shop (which makes me really happy because coffee is life!) And I made the comment the other day that if you think about it – this is me being an adult for the first time… at 28, I’m finally an adult. Before my accident, I was still trying to find myself and wasn’t going about it the right way.
I guess what I’m getting at is we all need to have a little more trust in ourselves and a lot less self-doubt, because at the end of the day I feel, that is what separates those who are successful and those who are not.
Go forward in life with a twinkle in your eye and a smile on your face, but with great and strong purpose in your heart.
So I started writing this article on the 19th August 2019, when the Sugar Cane Harvesting Season had only been running for maybe two months in the Herbert River District, I chose to write a little bit about the lifestyle and the struggles I have as an impaired stay-at-home mum. But, the truth is, every mother, whether they are fully functional or not, whether they work or not, struggle.
I grew up in a household where it was the norm from the get go. The 2019 season will be my dad’s 40th season, I’m so ridiculously proud of him! I remember mum always taking us places or doing something fun with us – It wasn’t until I had children of my own that I started to understand that it wasn’t just for us, it was for mum too.
This season, my husband has had to push much harder to get things done. That means there’s little time for the boys and even less time for me. This season I’m not handling it very well, which makes me angry because I always knew what the season was all about. I knew that it was going to be hard, I just didn’t expect it to be this bloody hard!
I guess what I’m struggling with most is the lack of communication and conversation between my husband and I. By the time my husband gets home at night, winds down, spends some time with the boys, helps put them to bed, I’m tired…. Nobody likes a tired Aquo… She’s a snappy (for lack of a better word) b.i.t.c.h!
From right back when I could first understand the world, I knew that when the season runs, the wives become single mums. I don’t mean that in a bad way, the season is long hours, mixed with a lack of sleep, mixed with frustration, and the list goes on. The wives do everything with the kids, and that’s really hard work. Hats off to all the single mums out there! I don’t know how I would pull it off – and I have an absolutely amazing support system!
Yesterday I tried something I never had before – I took both boys to Mission Beach with my sister, I just thought about the boys, how much they would enjoy it – I didn’t think of myself and how much a big day like that isn’t the best thing for me. Today, I’m in so much PAIN! I also have the blackest rings under my eyes – My eyes have never been that black before! I’m just lucky my big boy went up to spend the day with Zia and I have an Au Pair here helping with the baby (who was up more than I would like to let on last night) who is teething next level.
I start to wonder what it would have been like if I didn’t have my accident, then I stop myself – Because deep down I know my accident was a blessing in disguise. It has made me appreciate my family and friends so much more as well as life in general. Who knows, living life in the fast lane, I may not still be here to tell my story if my accident didn’t happen.
It’s not personal, on any level, but more times than not, that’s the way we let ourselves think. I’d love to think, ‘Oh there’s only 8 weeks left’ – haha I wish! not for us! Harvest finishes then the spraying starts. So really, a 6 month season turns into 9 or 10. I do love my own company, but there comes a time where those little voices in my head start to play off each other. Those feelings make me scared, angry, confused, defensive, negative – and I really really dislike being negative.
Sugar Cane Harvest is the only way of life I know, I have always loved it. I really don’t want something I’ve been so passionate about for so long be something I begin to dread. You know that song – wake me up when it’s all over… yeah that’s where I’m currently at and I don’t like it one bit!
I might have to go see the girls at Ingham Travel and plan a well overdue honeymoon – alone, on a secluded island, with unlimited bundaberg rum!
Bring on the 2020 season! Here’s to a more positive, successful, flourishing season in the Herbert River District.
This is another write up that hits pretty close to home… for all of us. Every mum these days is trying to be a super mum, trying to make sure your kids are getting enough stimulation – but not too much, making sure they’re eating healthy and are always well, and are well behaved when we go out. But come on, lets face it, all of our beautiful little munchkins are at times are all little assholes that have been sent to test us, to show every other person out there what we’re made of.
That perfect mum, yeah… she’s a myth! I had my first son in 2017 and did everything from making all of his baby food, didn’t allow him to eat anything processed, bathed him everyday from a new born, would clean my floors everyday, took him to playgroup every week, stuck our routine like glue – you name it. I honestly thought “what is everyone winging about? This is easy!” Fuck I was naive!
But seriously, none of us really know what we’re made of until we have two, and I mean go through two separate pregnancies, none of this “oh I have twins, this is so hard, I’m not going back and having anymore” BULLSHIT. You realise it’s going to be so much harder when you have to chase after a toddler, you have to get up every… single… day… because you don’t have a choice. It’s not your child’s fault you can’t keep your legs shut. Haha – You don’t get a chance to rest when you want or need to for that matter.
So… my second bub is 11 weeks old now, I still have a clean house – put bub in baby carrier and off I go – but I don’t look after myself as well. My nails are currently an embarrassment and my hair is so oily we could deep fry chips in it. Yes I do get help because of my disability, but no where as much as I used to so now I’ve adapted to push through and get shit done. Even on my worst days, I make myself get at least one chore and make sure the boy’s bottles are made up.
When it comes to looking after myself, I will always put my health and fitness before anything else. Getting fat again is my ultimate fear! Exercising makes me function so much more efficiently. I don’t get much time to go to the gym at the moment, so I force myself to go walking – even if I have both boys with me. My plan at the moment is get down to a size 10-12 then tone the shit out of my body! #mommystrong
I was searching the net one night – aimlessly and found a site for Mumcations… I thought that would be so awesome! I can see me and my friend now (she has ffff five kids!) It could get rather messy! I would so much rather that than going with my husband. A kidless vacation means no kids… Even the big ones – “Babe I can’t find this” – ummm it’s right in front of you (hits myself in the head).
I have always tried to portray myself as strong, emotionally and physically. I guess that comes with a brain injury – at times you feel people think your “different”. Even though I come across as a cold hard bitch at times, I still have feelings but.
Now, after my second kid I don’t give two shits about any criticism that comes my way, I’ll be over here… doing my own thing. If you don’t like it… well, anyone who knows me well enough knows what comes next. 🙂
So today is Saturday and today I have a mega velcro baby. I was planning on having a pretty laxed day, because I woke up feeling like crap! WRONG! I saw things needed to be done so I pulled up my big girl pants, had my banoffee smoothie (recipe will follow), a berocca and started smashing out jobs. The baby is 10 + 1 days old and last night slept from 7pmish to just after 3am this morning so I woke up feeling like a new person (until now, he’s has slept 4hrs max). Edit:- Now he sleeps from 8pm till 5am! yay!
I decided that today was going to be the day I start working out again… IT WAS POSSIBLY THE BEST DECISION I HAVE MADE IN MY LIFE…. EVERRR! I am feeling so energised, dealing with two screaming kids is so much easier, dealing with people in general is so much easier! I decided to do a bit of cardio and some weights for 20 minutes and I did it with the baby in the carrier and a toddler jumping on me. It was awesome. I’m going to start turning back to the Fitmom program that Sharny & Julius Keiser started in 2012 and has since become a very successful platform for those wanting to get healthy.
Mums – How good would it be if we could have the same set routine everyday! But I’m a realist and I know that that will never happen! it would be good right?? NO, it would be amazing! I find that getting up even half an hour before the boys get up and have my breaky smoothie and my morning coffee in peace watching the sunrise and process my day, check the calendar and both my electronic diary (phone) and my paper based diary.
If a load of washing has to be put on I will go do that, make sure dinner has been taken out of the freezer, make sure there are enough baby wipes – if not,make more, make sure my toddler has a lunchbox packed for the day (even if we’re at home, Mr independence likes to go to the fridge and get what he wants… AT 2!), put a loaf of bread on (I love my bread maker), and make sure both boy’s bottles are ready in the fridge. It doesn’t happen like that everyday, but I like my Mondays to start of like that, it helps the rest of the week to go a little smoother.
For a snack I like to make my own nut mix:
A block of 95% coco Lindt chocolate (you can use any)
A handful of dried fruit (Today, I used apples)
A handful of Goji berries
A handful of peanuts
A handful of cashews
A handful of walnuts
A handful of pumpkin seeds
A handful of pine nuts
I don’t measure ANYTHING! I use any nuts, seeds & fruit I have around the house so it works with anything… BE CREATIVE!
For lunchbox fillers I buy a block of cheese that I cut in little squares and put in snack bags (I wash and reuse them as I go through so many). I also buy 2 or 3 boxes of crackers and divide them up into snack bags, and I make sure there are yoghurts (kid ones & adult ones).
I have learnt the art of speed cleaning – which is all about getting the essentials done without taking up too much of your precious time. During the week, I make sure the essentials get done and on Fridays I get in and do everything I can’t do myself with the help of a support worker. The following blog is all about speed cleaning:-
Since I have lost over 20kg since the operation to have a plate put in to hold my shoulder in place (as I had a severe brachial plexus injury from my accident), the plate is now sticking out of my arm and causing so much pain – it’s epic! With two kids it is a massive hinderance! Most days, I just have to push through and get shit done – mums out there, can you relate?
I never want to be seen as a failure as a mother first then a friend. My friends mean the world to me – as after my accident I lost many of my so called friends. However, my kids come before anything! my husband, and even my dad – my dad and I are so close. I weanted to see what other mums out there have to say, I found the following blog and much of what is written hits home – BIG TIME.
It is so true that you believe the lies you tell yourself when your tired, stressed, run down. Our failures, weaknesses and sins are NOT who we are! The fact that you even care means that there is always room for improvement, growth and adversity. You have to take life in, make the best decisions for yourself (even though we all struggle with that at times) and your kids. When I became a parent I realised that I was in charge of keeping a small human alive and I needed to have more structure in my life.
So yeah – when I became a parent I realised that I was in charge of keeping a small human alive and I needed to have more structure in my life to make sure things ran as smoothly as humanly possible to make living with my disabilities and two little boys as easy as it can be. I still struggle, don’t get me wrong…. I have my blowouts to blow off some steam but then I return to be the best mum I can be for my boys – that means being organised.