I met Nicole a few years back when we were both helping out at a holiday children’s program that our churches were involved in. She had 3 children by this stage (her adorable baby daughter arrived a couple of years after!) and I was newly married. I instantly gravitated to Nicole as she shared amazing insight and wisdom into married and family life, and she immediately gave me lots of encouragement. I loved our daily chats during the program and was sad that it only lasted for a week. She is very motherly and always puts others before herself. I couldn’t go past asking Nicole about her motherhood journey, not only to encourage me, but to encourage other mums out there who are starting out on this roller coaster! I hope you enjoy her story.
Hi Nicole! Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your family? What do you all like to do with your time?
I am a Mum to 4 children, 3 biological and 1 Foster child. My husband is a Paramedic and I work part time as a Doctors’ receptionist. Life in general keeps us busy – school, afterschool activities and work. I love spending time with our kids making memories, whether it is playing a game, having fun in the pool, kicking a ball or going out for the day.
Can you describe your motherhood journey so far?
My motherhood journey has been quiet challenging. It is tricky anyway but having a challenging, but loveable foster child in the mix keeps me on my toes. I think each stage presents its own challenges and it’s about putting one foot in front of the other and dealing as best we can with what comes up. Having amazing family and friends that you can be real with makes the world of difference.
You’ve mentioned being a foster mum. Can you tell us a bit about that experience? In what ways is it similar, as well as different, to raising your biological children?
It is a hard question to answer as everyone and every child is different. For us, it is very different to parenting our biological children as he has quiet a few issues and different needs. We started out seeing him as no different to our own but as time has gone on his needs have been different therefore we have to parent him a little differently. It has been challenging and hard at times but our aim is to make a difference in a child’s life and hopefully we can do that.
How did you find adjusting from your first to second child (and third, and fourth)? I think a lot of new mums might be a bit worried about how they’d cope with more than one child.
Adjusting from 1 to 2 was quiet tricky. My husband had only started as a Paramedic a few months before we had our second child so he didn’t have paternity leave. I was having to juggle the two straight away. I think you just do what you have to do and make a way for it all to work. It’s like people saying ‘I am not sure I could love another the way I love my first’. But the minute you see your second your heart swells and you couldn’t imagine life without them. I used to do things like make no 1’s morning tea and lunch first thing in the morning to make life a little easier. It’s amazing how much you are able to do if or when you need to.
We had a question from a mum of a 15-month old – when you’re busy or trying to manage the running of the house, how do you try to keep your cool (or save face) when you’re feeling overtired and overwhelmed?
Deep breaths always help. Also remember we don’t have to be perfect. I think we can be hard on ourselves and expect that we can or should be able to do everything. Sometimes you just have to let things go. Raising a little person is hard and tiring work. Be kind to yourself! I have had to appologise to my kids a number of times for my impatient comments or being short with them – and thats ok.
What advice or encouragement would you give to new mums?
Look after yourself, keep trying the best you can – I don’t know anyone that gets it right all the time, Don’t be your own worst enemy – cut yourself some slack, Be careful of other Mums comments sometimes they talk up how they or there children are going (I had a mother tell me that her children were sleeping through the night, quiet proudly, only to find out later on they were up from 10 – 12pm then went back to sleep) Its not a competition. If you have friends to be real with, help each other out and support each other when the rough times come. You’re doing a great job!
Thanks for the wonderful interview Nicole!