Motherhood is hugely transformational and it’s often the time when you’re left feeling completely isolated, trying to figure it all out on your own. Whilst it can feel that way; you’d be surprised to learn how common those feelings are…
Struggling with your new identity….wanting your own life back…feelings of resentment…boundaries being challenged…deciding your current life path no longer aligns with your values…yep, this is all completely NORMAL!
In this blog series, I’ll be bringing you stories from women of all walks of life, sharing how motherhood has shaped them.
See how whilst each story is unique, there are common threads that link us all! x
“The early days are tough… but the insane love makes it all worth it”.
This is how Krissy summed up new motherhood.
Becoming a first-time mum, Krissy felt like she was entering the unknown and unsure what to expect. Following all “the rules” when it came to parenting a newborn; it often felt like a headspin and advice overload!
Feeling uprooted after moving cities with a newborn baby and struggling to find likeminded mum-friends; Krissy had a chance meeting on a plane with another new mother and the rest is history!
I’ve been following Krissy online for several years (and the proud owner of her amazing DIY no-tox product books) and absolutely love how kind and genuine she is as a person and authentic to her values. I know you’re going to love Krissy’s story and find so much value in her advice.
So let’s dive in!
Paint a picture of who Krissy was before your beautiful kids came along. What was life like back then?
Well, I was a Health and Phys Ed teacher and incredibly passionate about that. I think anyone who chooses to educate anyone (but especially children), really needs to love what they do. And I just loved teaching Health and Phys Ed.
Health in particular has always been a huge focus for me in life…it’s funny actually, because I recently did a past life regression and it turns out I was a healer in a past life! I remember kids at high school kids telling me years later when they saw me out and about how things that I had told them (when they were in year 9 or 10), like healthy ways to start the day and positive thinking and routines and stuff like that; how they were applying it to their life still years later. So that’s pretty awesome!
I’ve always loved just the concept of health – improving personal health concentrating on moving our bodies; thinking well; eating well – so the body as a holistic entity that we should look at in its whole, not just particular individual aspects.
I always liked being quite social. I’m that person that people will say I just accumulate friends wherever I go, because I’m very good at staying in touch with them and maintaining friendships and communication and things like that. I’m very proud of that! I really do think that friends are the family you choose.
I love going out. I love dancing. I love singing (loved and still love – so that’s never changed!).
I came out of school and went straight to uni and that’s where I met my husband. We went straight from uni to jobs, to engagement, to a house, to babies to life. And I have no regrets about doing life that way!
I love that I can travel now with my kids and experience the world with them, whereas a lot of our friends traveled first (which is totally fine) – we just chose to do it different .Totally different experiences obviously, but my kids are now 12 and 10, so they’re actually great company on holidays. Whereas when they were little, it was a little bit tough.
I love how the passions that were there in your younger years have become the main focus of everything nowadays! So you and your husband had your daughter Charlotte – how was new motherhood for you?
I found those early days tough.
They were amazing and I looked at Charlotte every day and just thought “you are perfection” and I didn’t realize I could love someone so much, but it was really hard.
We had lived in Queensland for a number of years and relocated to Melbourne for my husband’s job when I only just found out I was pregnant. I had Charlotte in Melbourne and three months later, we relocated back to Queensland. I felt I’d been uprooted and had to start again in a place I was familiar with… but with the baby. So it was a whole different life! It was tough finding mum friends.
I was really lucky that I had met this chick (who I swear we’re soulmates!) on a plane who had a child who was actually flying from Mackay, specifically to Melbourne for a Britney Spears concert. I met her on the plane and her son, Jackson was 11 days older than Charlotte and it was crazy, we just hit it off straight away. She became my pillar. We both were each other’s roots in Mackay when it came to motherhood – so that was definitely a saving grace.
But those early days of stressing and obsessing about sleep and what they’re eating and what colour their poop was, and whether they were pooping enough and flaking skin and everything…
My husband was flying in and out so I did a lot of it by myself – Monday to Friday.
I probably followed the rules too much for me, in my opinion, in hindsight. I read books and I tried to do it the right way. Now, if I could have my time over, I would just throw all the books out and just go with my gut, but I didn’t know any better, so I just did it, how I knew it. It was probably too much advice and that was a bit of a headspin.
I remember when Charlotte was two weeks old and she just wouldn’t settle. I was thinking “this is impossible – I just don’t know how to do this”. But you know what, every day we just plowed on.
My biggest issue was breastfeeding, which I was adamant to continue (and I did for 13 months in the end), but at the start it was hard. My milk was pink because my nipples were so cracked and bleeding and the pain was unlike anything I’d ever experienced before. It was crazy. The anticipation – every two hours / every three hours – knowing it’s coming again.
It was, I’m going to say really tough… Those early days were really tough. I have a lot of compassion for new mums, especially a first time baby because you can never be fully prepared for what’s actually in store, but the insane love just makes it all worth it.
Those gushy feelings and overwhelming love really does help you get through the struggles!
How did you feel after emerging from that newborn phase – did much change for you?
I think that as time went on later…definitely! Well, and to be honest, it still continues…. but that could just be my own personal growth and the focus I’ve now put on to becoming the best version of myself and really honoring the values that I do have. I’m a reformed (or at least recovering) people pleaser.… but that’s probably a whole other topic!
I definitely think relationships in terms of with my husband – you meet someone, I was 20, he was 18, we were like kids and then all of a sudden, you have a baby! I was 27 when I had Charlotte so we’d been together for seven years, just us and then all of a sudden there’s a baby and she becomes the most important thing ever. He’s still working, so then a little bit of resentment can come creeping in. That was hard because I would sometimes look at him and think ‘you’re so lucky you get to leave the house and escape this’.
I say that, and it sounds terrible, but because I’m genuinely grateful for the opportunity to have been able to stay at home and create a business in my spare time (which has turned out to be what I do, my life’s work)… but I definitely looked at him and thought, you’re so lucky you get to leave.
I know when I’ve had a break from the kids, I have so much energy for them and I’m so happy to be at home and I so much patience and whatever and so he gets the privilege of that every day. So that I think in terms of relationship was difficult.
Otherwise I think I probably valued the opinions of other mum friends more… even family who’ve had kids. I was looking to discuss and throw around ideas – I’m a talker when I have problems. I like to say my worries out loud and then get feedback. Whether I take it on board is another thing…but just being able to say it out loud… so I probably strengthened certain friendships and relationships, but I mean, it’s all worked out in the end.
This is around the time I met my friend Kate – I think I met Kate at three months (the friend from the plane) and by the four month mark, we both just got talking. We got so excited. We both needed something to do. I’ve never been able to sit around and “just be a mum”. I needed something else. I needed personal fulfillment. Something that was completely personal – not doing it for my child – which is clearly super important.
I am very proud of my beautiful, thriving, balanced children, but I needed something for myself. And the old saying ‘look after yourself first or put your own air mask on first’ – it’s so true… particularly when it comes to parenthood, because if your tank is running on empty then it can never end well.
But there were some pretty tough times there, particularly from the perspective of my marriage.
How did life look at the one year mark? This is often a time that brings up a range of emotions as your baby becomes an infant and there are other transitions in your life too.
So I’m looking at the one year mark…. It makes me smile.
I just remember that age being delightful, like everything sort of falls into into place. You figured it out a bit, you feel like you’re a pro because you’ve been doing it for 12 months. I think the one year birthday is more of a celebration for parents than it is for the child who has literally no idea what’s happening, lol.
So yeah, I just started then with a friend drummed up a little side hustle where we just went to local markets and we sewed cute things for babies and these proved to be crazy popular in our little town and it was just so great. We felt so fulfilled and I have such fond memories of that and I can see Charlotte just pulling out the rolls of fabric out of the boxes and lining up all the zips in a row and just fun stuff. Very, very good memories around that after the one year mark.
Awww, what a sweet little helper Charlotte would have been back then!
Looking back, is there anything you wish you’d done differently?
Oh my God, yes! Like so many things.
But at the same time, I’m a firm believer in…and I do think this is the beauty of hindsight….you look back and you think every single day you do the best you can do, and you could only do your best.
It’s so cliche, but I don’t think I would have changed anything at the time because I did at the time what I thought was right and what I knew how to do and what I was capable of doing.
Like I said, looking back, would I change anything? Yeah, I would just go with the flow more because that season does end and then the new season starts.
I’ve always been the one to say, “oooo I can’t wait till they start crawling and I can’t wait till they start walking” and I’m not going to say that I wish I didn’t think like that because no, that’s just how I was. I never wished away moments, but I really looked forward to the next stage. It felt exciting and it felt like something to celebrate.
In saying all of that, if I could just go back for a couple of days and hold my beautiful babies again, when they were teeny tiny and they smelled delicious, I would because those times are just so beautiful.
But I wouldn’t actually change anything. I don’t think….
I agree – that newborn smell is absolutely delicious! And you’re so right about seasons ending. That was one of my biggest learnings when stuck in the ‘I’ll never sleep again phase’.
What’s a piece of advice you wished you’d received a new mother?
I think I’ve pretty much said it… if possible, live in the moment and know that it will end.
Whatever phase you’re going through – those Wonder Weeks where they seem to shut down while they upload a whole new program… and that could be rolling over… it could be crawling, walking, learning new words…whatever it is.
Probably the best advice I’ve got would be to look after yourself first… which, maybe sounds a little bit selfish, but in today’s day and age (my daughter’s 12), back then we didn’t really talk about self care and self love as much as we’re talking about it now, but I love it!
And I just think, find those opportunities to do something for yourself whenever you can. If it’s a walk because you love walking by yourself, go!
Even now, with the age my kids are, every now and again my husband will take them away for weekend. Recently, they just went to a hotel in the city and it’s nice because it gives me a chance to just look after myself and enjoy my clean house, make dinner on my terms, enjoy a glass of wine while I’m doing so, catch up with girlfriends if I like. Just not having to coordinate things and plan things is great. Getting that time to myself is so valuable and that’s my biggest advice is where possible (if that’s something you’re looking to do) get that time where you do something that you enjoy. It could be scrapbooking. It could be sewing. It could just be sitting on the grass with bare feet.. whatever it is… but just uninterrupted…or out go out dancing! I do that sometimes too. I love it! A girlfriend and I will go out a couple of times a year and just stay in the city, get a hotel and we’ll dance till 2am in the morning. And then I’m so excited to come home then because I’ve had the break. Fill your own bucket first!
Also, I think what helps me create some very intense connections in friendship that I have is being real about it and actually telling people how you feel. I think this is why I created such a strong bond with my friend, Kate, because we weren’t afraid to say we had a really crap night last night. It’s just so hard. I don’t know how to do it. And then you talk it out and you’re like, “okay, cool, great. I think I’m good now.”
Whereas, there’s always going to be the people you’ve come across who tell you about their child sleeping all night and everything seems to be going great – which, might be true in some cases but it often feels like there’s this stigma attached to ‘you’re doing good as a mother if your child is hitting the milestones and doing all the right things’. And that adds pressure to certain people and personality types.
I’ve made a very big point in everything in my life… I’m very real… so if something feels like rubbish, then I’m going to say it out loud. So if I’ve had a rubbish night I’m going to say I’ve had a rubbish night, and I think that helps certain people feel more comfortable with the fact that other people are going through it too, and it’s okay. Not being alone, I think is probably the key in that. Knowing that you’re not the only person who’s been up at 2am in the morning, trying to get through a sleepless night with a teething baby or a bout of gastro or whatever it might be.
So many great tips in there! Love the idea about maintaining the aspects of yourself that you previously adored and made you feel whole – filling up your own cup first really does allow you to be a more present mother!
What does life look like now with a 12 year old and 10 year old?
I run my own business – it’s not the gorgeous little sewing business that I had with a friend… but a business around educating again on health. Trying to help people lead the most natural and sustainable eco-friendly life that they can. I love it!
I love that I’ve been able to build this with my children, by my side. I’ve done it for my kids. It makes me quite goosebumpy and emotional to think that they’re the reason why I’ve done this.
While health has always been a priority…an aspect I never considered was the things we were putting on our bodies and spraying in our homes and things like that, so I think it’s because of them, that I’m doing what I do. It feels like a legacy that I’m building for them.
So that’s where I’m at – I get to work from home every single day. I’m only accountable to myself, which sometimes isn’t it the most productive way, but that’s ok! A lot of self motivation is needed.
But being able to pick them up from school every day and take them to school and just be there with them is awesome. Hence, why I need some of that time to myself.
I think everyone does things differently. I’ve got girlfriends who work full-time and they love that. They need that. And I’ve got others who do work because they have to do it…sometimes it’s whatever you have to do to survive.
In terms of where I’m at, that’s what I get to do and that feels like a complete blessing!
What’s your vision for the next 12 months?
Well, my daughter starts high school, so surviving that is the first step, lol. She’s very hormonal now, surviving that is another important factor!
For me, it’s just continuing to work on myself to be the best version of myself that I can be. As I mentioned before, I’ve always just defined myself as a bit of a people pleaser and that is a really tough habit to break, but gosh, it feels good when you just honour yourself. When you honour your own heart and soul and I feel like that’s what I have been doing. And that’s what I need to continue doing.
I’m quite a spiritual person as well so tapping into that side of things has just been another pretty heavy journey that I’ve been on in the best part of a decade, but it feels quite intense at the moment.
So, yeah, just to continue to create that balance for my kids and see them grow up with good values and a positive thinking is huge for us here. When we get sick, we typically don’t reach for the Panadol first. We have our little mantras “Everyday in every way, I am getting better and better” or ” I’m strong, I’m healthy, I’m happy”… things like that. Love doing that with the kids.
From a business point of view, I would like to probably release another book, I would say. I have a few more ideas; probably something aimed at the kids again. I feel like they’re our future so if we can influence them positively and get them thinking about themselves and the planet and environment as a whole then tomorrow they’re going to be our leaders. So they’re going to be the ones making the policies and it excites me that they’re so ready and willing and excited to learn and to do better than we have done for them in the past.
So yeah, genuinely, despite the chaos in the world right now, I have a very positive feeling about the 12 months ahead not just for myself, but in general and I’m excited to see what it brings.
What an exciting 12 months ahead! I can’t wait to see your next book when it comes out – if it’s anything like your others, it will be incredible! Thanks for chatting Krissy.
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