I’m Jo, an Aussie first time mum/mom cooking and creating in Princeton, New Jersey. My daughter AJWjnr was born over here and is a 16 month old dual citizen. She’s just starting to discover cooking and creating in her all-new very exciting toddler life, which is fun. Random strangers have been telling me recently that ‘this is the best age, enjoy it’. I suspect they might be right, but so far I’ve found each age to have it’s really amazing can’t-believe-how-cool-this-is bits and really awful please-just-take-her-away bits. I am still looking forward to having actual conversations with her, so maybe 25 will be the best age.
What does a typical Friday look like in your life?
I’m trying to start my Fridays by going to Baby Bootcamp, 9am at a mall 20 minutes drive away. I haven’t done this in, oh, ten Fridays, but we were in Australia for four of those and had stomach flu (gastro) for two others, so… Otherwise Friday is our choose your own adventure day, in that we have no other daytime commitments – so maybe a playdate, some time out and about in our neighbourhood, a drive to a new park or rummage sale, or even a trip to the city if I feel brave (we’re halfway between NYC and Philly).
What is the best thing about having AJWjnr?
Seeing the joy she brings to other people. It’s like walking around with a smile magnet, and it’s so nice to give that to others, even if they have no idea how badly she sleeps, how she just knocked my tooth out of position mid-tantrum, or how she decided she didn’t want any dinner tonight.
What can you do to get a giggle out of AJWjnr?
I’m part of a Baby Centre forum, and someone there posted that if you need to distract your child during diaper changes, you can put their clothes on your head. This works 85% of the time, sometimes even mid-meltdown. (Although just this week, she has started taking my undies out of the laundry and walking around the house with them on, laughing at herself, so we maybe need to rethink this).
What is the biggest challenge at the moment?
Sleep, always sleep.
How do you handle the days where ‘nothing goes right’?
I pray, for strength and energy beyond my own. While simultaneously seeking the online commiserations of my parents and friends in Australia, especially if it’s near the end of my day and the beginning of theirs (I guess we exchange each other’s new-day optimism?)
What do you miss the most about your life before children?
Sleep. Actually no, I was never a great sleeper. I miss having long blocks of time to myself and to share with my husband (introvert alert). Long-term breastfeeding makes that particularly hard, but I know it’s only for a time and this is one of the greatest gifts anyone can give another human being.
Do you have any words of wisdom for new mums?
Mum-dating might be really hard in the early days, but it will be worth it. I almost found it harder than newborn mum-ing, it felt like being back at school. But if you can start exchanging numbers and arranging playdates it pays off – we just went to the first birthdays of people we met when AJWjnr was four weeks old, and it was phenomenal to think of how far we’ve all come. Related, especially for SAHMs: a friend here suggested to be in the places where like-minded people might be – you like reading? Go to storytime at the library. You like fitness? Go to the baby workout groups, etc. As much as your little person is a new person, you are a new person as a mum and you get a rare opportunity to choose who you spend your time with, unlike work, school, family!
Thank you Jo for being my debut Feature Mum. Check out Jo’s blog New Josey.
If you would like to be a Feature Mum on my blog that would be amazing! Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for reading!