These past weeks have been a rollercoaster of emotions; I genuinely forgot just how FULL ON having a newborn is....
This Journal post features excerpts throughout from my recent interview for Ubabub (full blog post here), published just days before I gave birth, where I discussed all things juggling, nesting (it's real) and nursery design.
Having things in order-ish at home has been a lifesaver, especially since we're currently in a mid-winter total lockdown here in Melbourne. *Never thought a clothes dryer would get me *so* hot under the collar....*
Heidi Sage Monahan
I've genuinely been using Happy Society essential oil blend 'Lune' around the clock with a diffuser to help create a nurturing atmosphere.
I have a few diffusers, but my 'In Essence' diffuser is my personal favourite, mainly bcos' it burns for 6+ hours and, like you, I got better things to do than top up a diffuser more than I need to.
This salt lamp provides *just* the right amount of glow to not fully wake me up, yet still be able to make out Heidi's head from her bottom during those wee hours of the early morning.
*Ok, slight exaggeration, and maybe this isn't *actually* me in the picture, but you get the 'washing grind' drift I'm putting down?
Before you start thinking I'm spruiking for Gerry Harvey, I gotta' admit, having the right appliances at home has helped immensely.
I bought a Thermomix (because at least dinner can be cooking while I’m bathing Jude and the baby!), finally got myself a decent washing machine and tumble dryer (I couldn’t believe how much time I spent in the laundry after Jude arrived), and got myself a separate standalone freezer (our current freezer is packed so there’s no way it’ll squeeze in pouches of breast milk or pre-prepared meals for when we come home).
Wow, I just realised how many appliances that is!
I’m all about ease now and rather than spending time and money on the cutest baby clothes - it’s been all about how to run the house as conveniently as possible and take away those niggly annoyances like no freezer space and a 20 yr old washing machine that doesn’t remove stains.
Space is of the essence here at home, as we have my sister (and SxC Textile + Graphic Designer, Jem) and her little family living with us.
That said, it's actually been wonderful having Heidi, who loves a midnight feast (or 20), next to us in this Pod cot from Ubabub . At the very least it's made those middle-of-the-night snack sessions convenient (if only the fridge was as close for my own midnight snacking).
*Bumbi sheet, Cashmere blanket - gifted*
I was given the most beautiful cashmere baby blanket by my sister and her husband when Jude was born. It’s handmade and so soft. It’s also been passed on to my niece when she was born and it’s now back with us to use with Heidi. Definitely one of those heirloom pieces that we’ll have forever.
Non-plastic + a sanity saver = winner-winner-might-get-to-eat-my-dinner . This one's from Hevea.
Rather than a standalone change table, for Jude, we bought a change mat (the one from Leander is the bee's knees) to sit on top of a chest of drawers. The top drawer held all the nappies and wipes, while the other drawers stored all of Jude’s clothes, towels and bed linen.
We've done similar for Heidi, except used the chest of draws we have in our room.
Now, if only it would change the g-damn nappies for us......
*This vintage crochet blanket was a recent thrifting score. SxC *may* be producing a similar blanket soon....watch this space
I also love mixing old with new! It gives the room a sense of soul and individuality, while also being practical and functional.
I recently found a colourful vintage crochet blanket, a mid-century mirror and a 70’s rattan basket (perfect for washing) that gives the space that extra character and eclecticism, making it feel more homely and less like a nursery showroom.
Bedding + Decor
No surprises here when I mention I'm using two of my all-time favourite products for Heidi from our latest Tigre Kids + Baby collection: our Bumbi sheets + Casanita baby blanket.
I'm a big fan of a wall hanging's ability to easily transform a wall and give a room a sense of warmth. I recently hung our Luella wall hanging above our Ubabub cot, giving the wall a good dose of texture + some serious 70's vibes.
*Image from my recent interview for the Ubabub blog
Blatant plug for our products here — but seriously — they've been just what I've needed during both pregnancy + postpartum. I've been living in our leggings, easy-to-access robes, PJ's and extra-special mention to my ever-loyal UGG boots!
This book, The First Forty Days, as well as many others, have been helping me approach my pregnancy + postpartum in a way my mind + body are thanking me for. Pity my eyelids won't cooperate much these days for a good reading sesh....
Sleep may be a *little* (slight understatement much?) more elusive than usual at the moment, but when I can get it, I want to ensure I'm getting 'dem quality zzzz's.
That's where Moon Milk's plant-based sleep-inducing recipes come in. I've been indulging in Lavender Chamomile, Tumeric Milk, and of course the ol' faithful, Chai.
See-ya in Snooze Town, population: me.
*Me with teeny-tiny newborn, Jude
When Jude was a baby, I really never considered what it meant to look after myself to ensure I stayed healthy and well.
You’re told all the things you need to do to care for your baby (change their nappy, feed them every 3 hours, bath them etc) so that’s what I did, without any regard for also sustaining myself.
I came out of the hospital, went to a Christmas party with Jude when he was 6 days old, and resumed work pretty much right away. Auto-pilot was my go-to.
*This pic was taken when Jude was about 6 months old. I posted it on our Instagram page asking for advice/reassurance from other Mums on how they felt at this point; my tank - and immunity - was well and truly dry as a bone at this point....
People used to say ’sleep when baby sleeps’ and my motto was basically ‘work when baby sleeps’, even if that was at 1 o'clock: In.The.Morning.
It worked well for a while, and I felt like Superwoman, but around the 6-7 month mark, I literally fell in a heap… I was so physically depleted and health issues started to come to the surface.
This time around, I’ve spent the last couple of months reading books like ’The First Forty Days’, ’The Fourth Trimester’ and ‘Golden Month’, in an effort to understand and practice a different approach to motherhood, particularly those first couple of months.
I’m looking forward to slowing down more, bonding more with my baby, taking care of myself and not being afraid to ask for what I need - whether that be a cuppa with a friend at home, a pot of bone broth from my Dad, or a load of washing put on by my husband.
It takes a village and I’ll be calling on them far more this time!
Y'know that analogy of putting your own oxygen mask on first? A rejuvenating, yet half-drunk cuppa, or finding time to put on my fav face oil is sometimes all I need to replenish my own 'I got this' cup.
DIY Postpartum bath soak
I use a mix of Calendula, Chamomile, Lavender Flower, Rosemary, Shepherds Purse, Yarrow, Comfrey, Rose Petals. I buy the herbs in bulk from Austral Herbs .
Reusing one of our SxC muslin bags, I place the herbs inside and then put this in the bath. Not only is this therapeutic, but it's also a lovely way to capture some me-time (a lock on the bathroom door comes in handy too...)
Living Libations Seabuckthorn Best Skin Ever - SxC are soon-to-be-stockists of this ah-mazing brand
I love this 100% natural skincare brand so much that we've actually decided to (soon) stock it here at SxC. This Seabuckthorn oil is the one go-to skincare, multi-purpose product that I've been using multiple times a day.
A new Mum ain't got time for a complicated beauty regime, but all the time in the world for a good-glow-up!
But don't just take my word for it, check out the 600+ reviews on their website for further endorsement of this bedewing, magical product.
Been happily sipping on lotsa' Happy Society Teas.
Whilst endless cups of tea are definitely not a struggle in the middle of a Melbourne winter, the books I mentioned above also condone consuming plenty of warming drinks to nourish you from the inside out.
This is one habit I'm definitely keeping beyond the postpartum period!
Excerpt from my recent interview with Ubabub
aka: the company with damn-fine, design-led baby + kids furniture collections
How do you juggle Sage x Clare and being a parent?
With a lot of help!! It is a juggle but it would be wrong of me to take all the credit…
I am fortunate to have a wonderfully supportive team at Sage x Clare, as well as a very hands-on husband and family close by that regularly step in.
My hips have become particularly debilitating in the last 2 years, making it difficult for me to look after Jude at times (even dressing/bathing/lifting him creates havoc for me), so it’s meant I’ve had to cultivate a community or village to both assist in raising my family AND growing Sage x Clare.
There have been some lovely lessons to learn throughout this time and, while the juggle will always be there, I’ve also realised it’s ok not to be everything to everyone - both at home and at work.
Sage x Clare is always so fresh and evolving. Where do find your design inspiration?
I find inspiration in so many places! Travel has always been the most obvious source of inspiration… exploring new and interesting places, even if it’s a night away locally, usually sparks some small idea that turns into a range of cushions or a print or even an entire range.
I’m such a visual person generally and find beauty and inspiration in fashion, a good coffee table book, Instagram or art.
You have a beautiful mid-century inspired home, does that play into the Sage x Clare collections?
Without intending to, my obsession with mid-century design (even retro design, generally) feeds into our collections consistently. There is a sense of nostalgia in a lot of our designs and I love it when our customers say, “oh that reminds of a sheet my Nanna used to have”.
Our collections often evoke special memories and I think it’s largely influenced by our love for vintage interiors, textiles, fashion and decor.
Any top tips for fellow Mums dreaming about a start up?
Um, do it! Really… You’ll be met with plenty of opposition from well-meaning friends and family on all the reasons why it won’t work, but I’m genuinely in awe of so many Mums who’ve gone ahead and done it.
There is something quite magical about a Mum who is raising a family but also empowered and motivated in her own goals and passions, whatever that may be. Start-ups are much like motherhood really in that you’ll find a way… you will always find a way.
What advice do you have for other parents on managing the business and family balancing act?
In case you haven’t picked up what I’m putting down throughout these questions, it’s OK TO ASK FOR HELP!
It’s ok to admit that you cannot do it all. It’s ok to say ‘I’m really not coping today’ or ‘I’m too tired to cook, frozen meal anyone?’. At various times I’ve had to have these conversations with my team at work and I’ve had to have them with my family at home and I’ve always been surprised at how well it’s been received.
I used to think I was letting everybody down, but now I see the strength that can come from those moments of vulnerability, and, on a very practical level, how the ‘juggle’ can go from near impossible to doable.
You can read the full interview on the Ubabub blog here.
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