There is nothing better or harder than having my babies. I loved every single bit of it, even the pukey, snotty, red-eyed, no sleep zombie stages of their childhood. I say this because I am a great believer that the human race are born survivors and for this we get constant amnesia to erase any unpleasantness in our lives.
I didn’t want to give the child-rearing task to anyone, nor did I trust anyone to do this job from me. You can say I was and still am a control freak mum…a Tiger Mama….
At the start, my time was consumed with trying to decipher this angry, colicky, non-sleeping alien and occasionally cooked dinner if I was not half dead by 5pm. My babies didn’t like sleeping and I was pretty much a kangaroo mum. They never left my side. I recall one time I was so sleep-deprived that I almost fell asleep standing up rocking my baby to sleep.
The thought of going back to work just never entered my mind. Surviving and taking a day at a time was the only thing I could do.
On top of my baby not sleeping, I had mastitis on and off. Looking back now, I think this problem was from lack of rest, problems latching on and poorly designed maternity bras.
So ladies, if you plan to breastfeed and you’ve never done it before, try to go to breastfeeding lessons held by your maternity hospital or local breastfeeding group. Also, get yourself good quality maternity bras that are both comfortable and supportive. And… beautiful… we also need to look good and feel good.
So people often ask me, when did you feel you were ready to tackle work again?
Well, let’s go back to the past once more and explore my two biggest milestones as a mum:
First Big hurdle: Toilet Training
Oh that was a horrible, horrible and difficult time in my life. I had one child that was scared of pooping (to the point that she got constipation) and one that couldn’t stop pooping. Toilet training is not easy. Don’t let anyone fool you. It is the worst.
Just when you think you’re over teething, you get slammed with the fear of poop. Pooping at inconvenient times, poop escaping from nappies, nappies being taken off nowhere near the toilets and poop not coming at all.
I read the toilet training books. I played relaxing music, I sang to my poop-fearing child, and got cross with her many times over. Nothing worked for my daughter until one day I thought I’d ask my pediatrician for help because both my daughter and I were starting to be petrified of the number two. He recommended at the start to use a laxative to help her clear her pipes, and from then we saw the light at the end of the tunnel, figuratively and literally! The solution for all our angst. So moral of this story is, seek professional advice. Don’t feel like you need to face and fix everything yourself.
Second Big Hurdle: Cleaning themselves After the number two
The second major hurdle I faced as a mum was teaching my children how to clean their own bum and trusting them to do a good job.
Oh life is good when they can go to the toilet and wipe their own bum.
So when did I know I was ready to tackle work? When they can take care of their own bodily functions.
By this time, they were at school and I had at least a few hours in the day without children in tow. I understand that as a mum with school-aged kids, your days are very segmented. I feel like punching people who ask mums, “what will you do with all those free hours that they’re at school?”. I don’t know run around naked and sing Hallelujah?!? Between grocery shopping, laundry, cleaning, cooking and getting to school early enough to score a parking spot, mums generally only have about 1 – 2 free hours in the day.
The Realisation: Need for a different challenge and further fulfillment
By the time my youngest was in year one and was doing well at school, I started feeling like I wasn’t very fulfilled as a person. Professionally, I didn’t know what I could and couldn’t do anymore. I was scared that I couldn’t use the current version of Microsoft Word. This is from me, the person who designed and implemented one of the IT systems and processes for the Police Department some ten years ago.
I don’t like feeling scared or unable to conquer something and conquer it well. This coupled with the desire to have contact with people in the real world, made me realise that I needed to get back to work. But I had one caveat to returning to work – whatever I did had to be meaningful to me and to other mums. I was not prepared to sacrifice my time and effort to something that had no tangible purpose or value for mums just like me.
So one rainy night whilst on holidays in Bali with my sister, sitting under our bungalow, we decided that it’s about time that mums have beautiful lingerie for breastfeeding. This is how Tiger Mama Intimates was born. This is our new baby.