Apr
06

On our first year, with family.

Written by | 1 comment »

Looking after a 1 year old is not as easy as I’ve been under the impression it is.

Huh?

Well as you’ll know if you follow this blog, Ivan and I have spent the majority of the last 16 months chasing our families around the globe. We’ve been lucky enough to have lived with my mum and dad and close to many of our closest friends for the first 8 months of Mika’s life and then for the last 4 months we’ve been living minutes away from Ivan’s entire family in Mexico with Ivan’s mum coming to help care for Mika every single day. It has been amazing.

And now, all of a sudden it’s just me and Mika from 8 til late in a city where I know less than a handful of people and I can actually start to appreciate how much work it all is. It’s not bad work, it’s just a logistical thing rather – like I have to think strategically about when and how I’m going to take my shower, cook lunch, go toilet (?!), head out for a run, shower after our run (or not?), visit a coffee shop etc. It’s cool, we’re on like day 4 and we’ve totally got it down. But until the other day when I was busting to go toilet and Mika was all like ‘hey mum look i’m climbing the stairs!’ and I was all like ‘woah, can you hold on like two minutes?’ I had never really even considered it could be an issue. And the other day we went running together. Mika chilling out in our awesome extreme rental jogging stroller (long story) and me getting my sweat on and then we get home and she’s all buzzing and awake and I realise that there is no way I’m getting a shower in now until Ivan gets home. No big deal, but just…something I never thought about before as there has always been someone nearby who could watch her for me!

So now I can join the mums who actually care for their babies on their own club rather than the ‘I get so much support that I somehow still have time to go running on my own, cook gourmet lunches, shower and style my hair each day’ club. Does that make me more legit?

Working out and using our lonely self-timer on the camera makes us pretty much awesome.

Sometimes I feel like I haven’t been a legitimate mama until now. How can I compare with women who are alone with their babies from 7 til 7 each day from birth? They’re like the epitome of strong and amazing. I dunno – surely I would have adapted and managed just fine if I’d needed to – but I feel like we had the option to take the help and it’s honestly made things so enjoyable and easy for us, I can’t imagine it any other way. At first I was skeptical about it all. When I was pregnant, the last thing I wanted was to be around extended family and have them all up in our space. But now? There’s plenty of time for us to have our own space. We’ll end up settling down somewhere eventually and chances are it won’t be NZ or Mexico and we won’t have the support that we’ve had for the last year. So the time that Mika has had with both my parents and Ivan’s is really important to us and we’re so glad that it was possible.

I feel like I’m trying to justify my decisions here! I know I don’t need to justify anything to anyone and I know that everyone has different experiences and situations. I just want to share my positive experience of having our family and friends really close to us during the first year of Mika’s life incase there’s anyone out there who is wondering ‘do I want to be close to my family or my in-laws while I’m pregnant/our baby is little?’ because we could have easily decided the other way but I’m so glad we didn’t!

If anyone else has a positive experience of receiving great support (from family or friends) during their child’s first year I’d love to hear about it!!

  • Ingrid

    I think it is sad that so many people have to raise children without extended family support. “It takes a village to raise a child” – everyone gains when everyone shares in the responsibility of raising a child. Having said that though, Paul and I didn’t have extended family. It may have been hard at times, and it may seem selfish, but I loved the time i had with my babies all to myself.