6 Tips For An 18 Month Old Frequent Flyer

I found myself battling a toddler in a seat barely wide enough to cater my own width. His legs flailing and arms shooting over swiftly to grab chunks of a ladies hair that was wedged between the seats in front of us.

At any moment we would start moving, but we weren’t yet, and I had THAT child on a plane. But could I really blame him? I dragged him out of bed at 5:45am, sat him in the car for over two hours on the journey to the airport and now at almost 11am he has had it.

There is no way he will sit still.

I took a deep breath and catered to the arms and legs, to the head to head contact and the kicking of windows, because there was nothing else I could do.

And I thought taking a baby on a plane was stressful! We have done this flight 10 times now, and it doesn’t get any less stressful. I could count on one hand how many times Archie has been painful, in actual fact I wouldn’t even need one whole finger, because he’s a dream on planes once we get past the sitting with seatbelts.

But I have come up with a few tricks as he has gotten more and more active.

1. Baby carriers are an absolute godsend!
Up until this flight, I used a baby carrier to carry Archie around the airport. It keeps him contained while im checking in, and frees up my hands for other things. We do have to take it off to get through the security gates but that’s it, I wore him as we boarded the plane, right up until I sat down. Sometimes he even fell asleep as we got on the plane!

2. Always carry snacks.
When you think you have enough, pack more. If he doesn’t sleep during the flight he can get very wriggling towards the end, so I always have 3 or 4 different options of food he can nibble on while the seatbelt is on.

3. Take a travel pillow.
If you have room of course. I got one from spotlight for around $10, its about half the size of a toddler pillow, and fantastic especially in the early days to rest his head on when he’s nursing or sleeping, or even to put under my arm, to stop the dead arm from the armrest.

4. Time the flight in with nap times.
This one is a biggy for us, mainly because by the time we get on the plane, I need a break! The nose of the engines and the slight turbulence as we take off is the perfect combination for a snooze. If its the right time, I can normally keep him asleep until we start to descend, winning!

5. Get everything organised in front of you.
Before you get comfortable and strap everyone in, get everything out of your bag in into the little pocket in front of you. There is no way you will risk waking a sleeping baby/child on that flight for the sake of nibble to eat, so be organised. Things I normally put in front of me; snack for me, my book, phone, headphones, couple of baby wipes (you just never know), spare dummy, and I try and stuff my drink bottle somewhere but that doesn’t always work.

6. Have something they have never seen before
Have something they can play with in your bag they have never seen before. More points if its something they can do. My favourite one, and one that gets all the questions, is so simple yet so entertaining. Use a bit a masking tape, and tape a few popsticks scattered across the upright tray table. Its fantastic for keeping them looking forward, its best for kids starting to use their fine motor skills because they will try and pull the popsticks off, but what they need to do is pull the masking tape off first. We have done this a couple of times, its one that we have shared around to other kids on the plane that are having trouble keeping still.

‘Snap’ and just like that, he was out to it! thank goodness.

There is just something about the roaring of the engines, the subtle swaying and that close contact with me that sends him to the land of nod. My sigh of relief came just as a lady popped her head in to say what a wonderful job I did to calm him down so quickly.

It may not always go to plan, but at least I know not everyone is thinking the worst when it doesn’t.

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Exercising with a toddler – even the pros agree it’s hard work

We compromise to make it work.

My workouts are often hindered by Archie being strapped to my back. We make it work, but not because I want him there. Because I have to so that I can do something for me.

It’s the only thing I do each week that isnt 100% Archie, but let’s be honest, it’s still 50% him.

I don’t get to workout like everyone else, I can’t get in the zone completely and block out the world while pumping iron with my headphones on. I can’t always workout for as long as I want, and I can’t just go when I feel like going.

When I’m there, I spend my time making sure he is not hungry or thirsty in between sets. I check that he’s not too hot or too cold. And sometimes we even talk while I’m deadlifting.

But I can’t let that be my excuse.

I back carry him for most of my workouts, I still push as hard as I can when I can. I still lift weights, and carry one too. I am achieving new PBs every week, and slowly but surely proving to everyone who sees me that I don’t have an excuse I have a reason.

A reason to be fit and healthy, a reason to show what determination looks like and how it pays off and a reason to keep going.

I may not be able to workout as much as I like, and sometimes I need to leave the gym not long after I get there, but even the professional PTs in the media are now realising how difficult it can be and how motivated you need to keep goals in check post baby.

Trusting your gut

I get my best ideas when I’m doing the most mundane of activities. In the shower or on the toilet, the best ones are when I’m hanging out the washing. Strange right?

Well there might be some science to it (at least I’m calling it science, lets see what you think). It seems to be the only time my brain shuts off my to do list, don’t ask me why, if I knew I would definitely be utilizing that shit for sleep time!

Anyway, my brain likes reflect on experiences I’ve been through or thoughts I have had on the fly that almost represent a business opportunity or career option etc.

A lot of the time, my head telling me what I ‘should’ do pushes these out. But according to whom? Well these ‘should’ excuses are justifying to myself why I haven’t or wont start this new venture; this person says the progression isn’t great, that person says it’s a hard industry to be in and sometimes I just have no reason.

I have read that these excuses are also doing a great job of masking our gut feeling. A gut feeling that should be listened to, however we have learnt to ignore it and just make a decision as quickly as possible, something that comes with the world moving at an all time fast pace.

So here’s something we can try together. List the times that your gut feeling has come through for you, and maybe even times you can recall your gut telling you the opposite of what you decided. I think I know what mine will look like before I even put pen to paper.

Supporting a mindset change

Working out what you want to do with your life has to be one of the greatest challenges. Especially when you feel as though your meant for greater things.

That’s not to say fame or fortune is what your chasing, but you feel unsatisfied by the mundane. You are constantly searching for the exciting, adrenaline pumping action that gives you a greater sense of purpose and achievement.

What’s harder than trying to work out how to get this? Being on the supporting end.

Being the only cheerleader in the corner.

Knowing that you would do anything to make them happy and feel accomplished, if only they knew what that was.

So here’s the thing. Once someone has a moment in their life where they can experience what that rush is like for a few days, feel what it’s like to achieve goals and break down their barriers to show what they are really capable of. What is the true impact after walking away?

I’m almost tempted to say it’s a tease. 

A taste of what life can be like, but isn’t. An example of what your capable of achieving if your pushed to your absolute limit surrounded by a team a cheerleaders, only everyday your not. A show of your true colours when sleep and food deprevivation go hand in hand, but your fridge is full.

So how are you meant to support a mindset change from an experience like this when you almost look more broken than before you left? When the experience seems to have made you feel more guilty about not being as productive or achieving as much as when life wasn’t getting in the way.

The fear of failure is becoming more evident in people’s lives, but yet these experiences are not only showing you how much you can achieve if you push yourself, they are also proving how much your not achieving as a whole, and isn’t that more damaging to a persons mindset?

So how do I support a mindset change, when it seems like that change might trigger more confusion and questions than before the experience?

Some nights all they want is you – and its down right exhausting

This is the 3rd night in a row Archie has literally been attached to me Basically all night. To the point where if I try and sneak his dummy in to give myself a break he cries. Like he’s not even asleep enough to trick him with his dummy.

3 nights! And when he’s attached, I’m not sleeping.

We gave in to co-sleeping at around 7 months, for the sanity of the household. It’s the best thing we did, but it doesn’t mean every night is good. Nor does it mean breastfeeding is easier.

In actual fact I think some nights he feeds more, especially when he is in pain. Which is less of a feed and more of a suck, and a weird hand that rubs across the top of my chest while he tries to relax back to sleep. 

It drives me crazy.

So after a whole night of non stop bad date spec touching me. The next night we battle it out. 

And by the morning I’ve had enough of the touching, in fact of anyone touching me. 

So we drive around in circles till he naps in the car. I sit there with no one touching me for over an hour. It’s bliss. 

It makes the 3rd night a little easier, but I definately have to give myself a pep talk on the reasons I’m still breastfeeding at that point. 

I have zero idea why he’s having a hard time, but when does anyone know what’s going on? 

I’ve given him some panadol and he’s just fallen asleep watching me type (I know, I wouldn’t have believed it myself if I didn’t see it!) . 

Fingers crossed he sleeps all night, apparently we are going to the gym at 6am.

Wish me luck!

That sinking feeling

Not a night goes by that I get into bed and don’t feel I’ve forgotten something. To the point where I get that absolutely dreaded sinking sensation of “oh my gosh” I forgot to…

You’d think it was something terribly important by the way my body responds to the thought. And to be honest sometimes it is, but most times, it’s not. 

Mostly just things I should have done during the day but don’t get to. Some days I’m so busy I don’t get to sit down till Archies in bed, and then I don’t really know what I actually achieved. 

The washing I brought in and put away, is all over the floor – Archie

The bed I made in the morning, looks like I’ve been having a nice nap all day – Archie (not from sleeping I can tell you)

The floor I vacuumed, has biscuit crumbs and blueberries smooshed into it – Archie

Im seeing a pattern here. No wonder it feels like nothing gets done. 

I spend half my day doing the same 5 things over and over and the other half looking for my things as if they were hidden treasures. Stashed away in trains, draws, shoes, boxes, the play tent and sometimes even under my pillow.

It would be easier to just walk out and leave it, but I can’t do that, imagine what it would look like then! 

Everything I have I give to you

I give you my undivided attention, my imagination and my curiosity. My encouragement, artistic flare and advice.

I give you my antibodies, healing kisses, my courage and my strength. My habits, good and bad, my patients and trust.

I give you my problem solving skills, my words, emotions and understanding. My nights and early mornings, cuddles and loving kisses.

I give you my thoughts and my deepest worries. My entertainment, signing and dancing, wonder and discovery.

I give you my lessons, explanations, questions and reassurance. My watchful eye, wishful thinking and future plans.

I give you my time and unconditional love, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

Are we really spending time with our kids?

As a stay at home parent, I do a lot of going to activities or playgrounds and letting Archie run around. He sometimes plays with other kids, depending on his mood that day, and sometimes he just wants to sit with me and watch.

Its in these moments that Archie just sits with me that I have the time to look around. What i see is a lot of singular parents sitting on their phones, while their kids play on the playground. At first, it annoyed me, they weren’t paying any attention to what was going on. They were with their kids, but not present in the moment, their kids would yell out something, and they first few times they would ignore them, before saying something like “great” or “ok”.

But I stopped myself right there.

Thats not a fair judgement.

Staying at home with any number of children is a full time job. You get up and make breakfast, sometimes its eaten sometimes not. sometimes you spend all day trying to get them to nap, you read books, play with puppets, crawl around on the floor pretending to be a dog, dinosaur, horse, whatever it is, its hard and tiring. You spend all day making sure they have eaten enough, drunk enough, have clean nappies on and are not getting into anything they shouldn’t. Somewhere in there you need to keep up with the general housework, which depending on the age can be handwork in itself.

So you know what I do when I’ve just about had enough.

I go to the park.

Why?

Because I can sit and watch Archie play while I have five mins to myself, and if the playground is fenced, thats even better, I might be able to check in with the outside world, and know there really are other people out there having hard days too.

Mothers give everything they have every second of the day. There are no lunch breaks, no weekends, no days off. We do it when we are sick, tired, frustrated, on our birthdays on days when our closest friends and family pass.

Its hard to switch off, so next time you see a mother on her phone, have a think about how hard her day might have been so far and its not even over yet.

A Message For A New Mother

Soon you will go on the biggest adventure of your life. One that will test you to your absolute limit, one that offers every emotion from the deepest of lows to the highest of highs.

You will be given every ounce of advice, some maybe helpful, but most not. Some from people you love and a lot from people you barely know.

You will be made to feel like you need to categorise your parenting style to fit the norms and surely be judged on everything.

You will be told the “right way” to do everything, but yet it’s still not good enough.

For some reason everyone thinks they can poke their head inside your pram and touch your baby, everyone wants to know how old they are, what their name is and if they are a “good sleeper”.

Strangers will ask you when you will have another baby! (I know that seems ridiculous buts it’s true), other mothers will start comparing stats with you like your just casually talking about a game from the weekend and you will walk away feeling like a failure every time.

You will be up all night, sometimes for days. If you try breastfeeding, it will hurt, like toe curling hurt for weeks, could be up to 6 weeks, at least every 3 hours if not more.

You might hate it, you might love it.

You might resent everyone around you for what seem like the most ridiculous reasons.

And this is just the beginning.

But I’ll tell you now, it’s all worth it.

You’ll walk away from your birth feeling like you can conquer anything irrespective of how you get that baby out. Through the miracle that is life, that baby will know exactly who you are the minute they come out, they will feel calmed by your smell, your breath, your voice and above all your heart beat. The closer to you the better, and if anyone tries to tell you, you have a Velcro baby tell them to get lost.

You will gain a sense of responsibility like no other, the clothes on your back can become non-existent if you needed to, and your protective instinct will kick in. Listen to it, it’s their to protect you and your baby.

If you don’t feel comfortable, say something and say it proud. Don’t be afraid to make decisions that will be different to others, you know what’s best. And trust me, you do know, just listen to what your inner motherstinct is saying.

It’s ok to sit and cry for no reason, or for every reason, it’s hard.

It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

Find a mother’s group and fall for them, they will be your place of sanity, your circle of trust, somewhere you can just talk and not worry about offending anyone, and then keep talking to them, stay in contact, they will be the ones up at 2am when the rest of the world is sleeping. Use them as your tribe, they will validate your feelings and support you in the moments you just can’t explain.

Remember that every night spent up changing, burping, feeding and holding your crying baby is another step closer to a first moment.

Take photos, lots of them, but make sure everyone around you takes photos too. You need to be in them, so when the hard times are over and the kids are older, you can look back on the memories. At the end of the day all they will have one day are photos, are they are more precious then anything.

And finally, its ok to feel lost, to feel like you don’t know who you are any more. Becoming a mother changes everything, your whole world changes, yet everyone else around you seems to stay the same. It takes time to feel like you again, to feel like the different you that motherhood has created.

Im here to cry to, celebrate with, ask questions, or just talk if you need to.

 

The Reality of Becoming Mum

Delete the Judgement – We don’t have room for that

Sometimes your the only thing they want