Nikki C is wearing the 'Casual Tank' in grey and the 'Classic Maternity Leggings - Full Length' in bondi blue.
Close to 2, 000 amazing Cadenshae clad mothers took a very valuable 10 minutes out of their busy schedules to provide us with a tonne of valuable insights into motherhood. We were blown away by all the responses and feel extremely privileged to share a collection of these motherhood moments and tips with you!
Here’s what you’ll discover in this blog:
- The joys of motherhood.
- Challenges of motherhood.
- Motherhood mottos to live by.
- Mother’s secret super power.
- Motherhood and work/life balance.
- Motherhood advice they have received.
- How motherhood changes you.
- How to prepare for motherhood.
- Fictional characters that represent motherhood.
- Best motherhood advice they would give.
- Your motherhood soundtrack!
What is your favourite thing about motherhood?
1. Seeing the world through their eyes! As adults we're always in a rush, but kids stop to see the tiniest bugs, to the cloud formations. They really make me slow down to appreciate things I take for granted. It’s so special seeing them experience the world for the first time and seeing them appreciate the simplest of things.
2. The moment when your child does something kind, completely unprompted. It reminds me that everything I am trying my hardest to teach them every day is actually slowly going in. It gives me hope for the future! So beautiful!
3. It’s all the things I didn’t expect, like the joy of seeing my babies learn new skills or the way I now want to be the best version of myself so I’m a great example for them. And also the incredible friendships with other mothers that I wouldn’t otherwise have.
4. My children look up to me as their safety net, admire and learn from me. They rely on me and I'm so lucky that whenever they are sad, they look to me for comfort. That's special, and it's so beautiful that these little human beings need us. Nothing else can compare.
5. Connection in my parenting journey, and especially in my relationship, because we have someone that we made together that we both love so much. The connection with this little person who shows up every day with their heart on their sleeve is the most profound love.
6. Having a whole new perspective on life. The little things don't seem to matter so much any more. I am responsible for another human being and that is more important than any issues at work or car troubles!
7. Watching your children develop and grow. Being a parent is the hardest job in the world, but it’s certainly the most rewarding. The love you have for your children is the most intense love you’ll ever feel.
8. I never quite realised how fulfilling becoming a mum would be. I always knew I wanted children, but I didn't realise how much it would change my life. I don't even remember what life was like before my daughter. She makes me smile every day watching her grow and learn. I love that I've created this little person who has such a beautiful nature, and I hope that I can help her to be an even more beautiful woman.
9. Having the privilege to nourish, nurture, teach and watch your child grow. It's a surreal, rewarding, challenging experience...that I love. It has given me a deeper appreciation for my own mum and given me new confidence and purpose.
10. The unexpected. I love surprise cuddles, the presentation of flowers picked on a walk and given with wide eyes and a beaming smile. When he masters a new skill and the pride and excitement of that. When you suddenly realise that you have become something of a cross between a superhero, warrior and a full of love woman! You cannot possibly imagine any other experience transforming you in the way that being a mum does.
What is your biggest challenge as a mother and how do you overcome it?
11. Sleep deprivation. I realised I was becoming not just a grumpy mum and wife, but an angry one. I would feel frustrated at my baby if he made the slightest noise overnight as I anticipated I'd be up for hours. Sleep deprivation made me feel sick, tired and lethargic. I had no appetite and no energy for my child during the day. He also suffered as he was so tired he wouldn't play much.
We overcame this by hiring a sleep consultant whose approach matched our preferences. She gave us simple, gentle and kind ways to approach helping our son sleep and stay asleep. After a month we were a changed family. It cost about $350 and because of the cost, I had debated for months and months whether to do it or not. The crazy thing is, people easily spend that amount every month on entertainment, alcohol, takeaways, or dining out so why is investing in sleep for the physical and mental health of a whole family hard to justify? Once I realised how important it truly was, it seemed extremely affordable and justifiable!
12. Spreading myself out evenly between everyone without running myself into the ground.
Sometimes that means the washing has to wait so I can sit and spend time with my eldest, while the two younger ones are napping. Sometimes I get up early to go for a walk alone before they wake up, or to sit and enjoy a cup of tea while watching the sunrise. When I find myself getting flustered or things are getting out of control, I take five or 10 minutes to just sit and regroup - it really helps!
13. For me, breastfeeding has been by far the biggest challenge.
Not only was it painful but I was incredibly anxious about feeding in public which is not something I thought would ever affect me. After talking to all my girlfriends (Amen for girlfriends) they assured me it was totally normal to feel like that. We scheduled some trips out to a quiet local cafe to practice and take 'baby steps.' One of my amazing friends suggested I buy some proper feeding tops to help as she could see I was struggling. Of course being sleep and time deprived I totally forgot about this until a package arrived on my doorstep with two Cadenshae feeding jumpers. Turns out my husband was listening and took it upon himself to order them for me to try and help. My baby is now 12 weeks and I'm only just starting to enjoy breastfeeding, it took my entire support network to get me through it, but I got there!
14. Patience in my ability to do things as a first time mum.
I thought I would know instinctively what to do, how to feed her and get her to sleep. I soon realised that I’m learning everything and it’s okay to not be able to do everything for the first time.
15. Being the mum I want to be and not becoming the mum I dread.
I have always longed to bring up a polite, well-mannered, strong and most of all, respectful child. We all have an ideal in our mind about how we want to parent but sometimes it doesn’t go that way. Every day I remind myself how I want to parent and every day it becomes more natural. I am a positive reinforcer. I do my best to not say ‘no,’ but use it where needed. I remember hearing a person with their fumbly toddler, who was wandering - trying to explore and was constantly being told ‘no,’ ‘not in there,’ ‘no don’t touch that,’ and ‘no stop that.’ It was then I knew I would dread being that parent. I treat my little boy with the respect and manners to which I expect him to treat me, and others. Of course daily he tests my limits, but I’m always looking for a new way to suppress the “no” mum that sometimes feels she could take over at any moment.
16. My biggest challenge apart from sleep deprivation, is learning to trust myself.
I may not always get it right but there is power in accepting that and allowing my children to see that I am human too. We can teach them values by being vulnerable in our humanity. Kids just need love and time with you. The rest will come.
17. You absolutely lose yourself and you give your everything to your child.
Sometimes when I got so overwhelmed and I wanted to cry, I would pick up my crying baby, sit down and tell myself this moment won’t last forever. Tomorrow my child will be bigger and different, enjoy this moment. I would just stroke my baby and gaze into their eyes and I would instantly feel so much love. It got me through so many bad moments. The washing, dishes or school drop-offs for other kids would just have to wait. Ten minutes late, or a morning off school sometimes isn’t a crime if it makes your life easier and your children happier.
18. The strain on the relationship with my husband.
Getting him involved in any way possible from changing diapers to help her get rid of gas. These things help him feel needed by our baby girl rather than waiting on us 24/7, and it helps him connect with her.
19. I think isolation is a big one, especially in the early days.
Being self-aware and intentionally seeking people out helps. I would plan out visits for the week, the weekend before, so regardless of how I felt on that day - I would be forced to have contact with other people.
20. The resentment you feel towards your partner when you are up in the night feeding, and he is asleep.
When my husband wakes up for work in the morning, he will take bub, change her nappy and give me a little extra time to sleep. I feel this has helped me overcome the resentment.
What is your life motto as a mother?
Alysia is wearing the 'Casual Hoodie' in fresh and 'Classic Maternity Leggings - Full Length,' in black.
21. I may not be perfect, but I am the best mum for my children and that's all they need. They don't expect me to be perfect.
22. Invite them into your calm, don’t join them in their chaos.
23. Do what is right for YOUR baby. Every baby is different and every mum is different, not everyone is going to agree with what you’re doing, but as long as you and your baby are happy, other people's opinions don’t matter.
24. Don't force baby into a routine society says you have to have. Find what works best for you and bubs.
25. Just love. Even when everything is getting too hard and overwhelming, even when the toddler is struggling with emotions and the baby needs you at the same time, just remember to be loving and mindful. Live in the moment, and don’t worry about the future too much!
26. Strategy! Always have a strategy. Keep it simple, achievable and be prepared to rebrand an experience. For example, shopping is now a treasure hunt or at dinner, if they don’t eat it at first, rearrange their food on the plate (to a smiley face!) and it is instantly rebranded and magically eaten! Strategy is key in our household.
27. Follow your intuition. The most valuable thing you can give your children is your love and time. Show them love and respect and they will grow to do the same for others.
28. Be the person you needed as a kid. I want to be my little girls’ number one fan, and always listen and support her. I always loved having aunts and sisters that would encourage and help direct me through life's struggles and special moments.
29. At the age of 18, your child will know how to roll, crawl, feed themselves, speak, walk, sleep in their own beds etc. So don't stress if they're not doing these things at the same time as everyone else. They'll get there in their own time.
30. You can do the same thing as before you had kids, you just have to do the same things differently.
What is your secret super power as a mother?
31. Aside from breastfeeding (which I think is definitely a super power), just being ME seems to be all my kids need/want and it makes me feel like a superhero.
32. Honest communication. I tell my sons when I’ve made a mistake or “bad choice,” e.g. when I get cross. I also tell them when I’m proud of something they have done. Plus, I communicate with my husband on how things are going, and when I’m struggling.
33. Being creative! Thinking outside the box has got me out of so many pickles. Creativity along with just listening to my own gut has helped me troubleshoot many issues. When I have a 'feeling' something might be a solution but I don’t know if it will work, I just try it and it usually does work. My gut is always right and my random creative ideas usually win!
34. Bringing children into this world is a super power. That is pretty amazing.
35. Boobs? They solve everything. Am I right? I don’t really have a super power as such. I guess I never get sick of nursery rhymes and I love to sing. Surely that has to count for something. I’m generally quite a calm person and don’t get over anxious. I’m proud to say I didn’t inherit my own mother’s anxious parenting style.
36. Presence. Just being there for the tears, talking about feelings, letting them feel and express what they’re experiencing. What a big world to learn and navigate!
37. Strong legs. I can bounce a grumpy baby for hours!
38. Learning to communicate with my daughter through her tantrums. I can work out what's wrong instead of getting frustrated with her attitude. I've found when I talk to her quietly and calmly like an adult, she responds better than if I get upset.
39. Leaving the housework behind. It can and will wait, your little person won’t. Enjoy spending time with them.
40. Perseverance. I guess it’s managing to get through the day and laugh along the way - getting s**t done, somehow and someway!
How do you balance work and motherhood?
41. Know when to say no. You can have everything, but not all at once. For the next few years while I have little children I need to remind myself that I can’t do everything I once did at work (travel, long hours and all the exciting projects). Again, this will change and it won’t be long before I can say, ‘yes’ to more at work as I'm needed less at home. Also having a great partner who knows that my career is important to me and will give me extra support at home when I do want to give a bit more at work.
42. Work part-time. Working is ‘me’ time and understanding that it’s okay to have days to work, and other days to purely focus on the kids. It also helps with the bills so dad can have quality time too.
43. Balance is a myth. Sometimes I’m great at work, but have to sacrifice being the best mother of all time and vice versa. I try to ask for help - no one can be the best at everything at the same time, all the time - it’s a game of give and take.
44. It’s always a work in progress. I went back to work after a year off with my first child, and went straight into four days a week. I ended up having a meltdown because I wasn’t ready emotionally. My hormones were still going crazy! I think finding a balance that works for your family unit (and support network) will always work best.
45. Be easier on yourself. Know that some days you can’t do it all. I’m a stay at home mum but I consider it my job to keep my kids and hubby happy, healthy and keep up with the house. Honestly, I’m still trying to find the right balance, but being easy on myself and knowing that some days I cannot do it all is okay. Some days the kids are happy and we went somewhere fun, but we have frozen pizza for dinner..and some days the kids watch three movies in a row so that I can catch up on laundry and prepare a healthy dinner.
46. There isn't a balance, in my opinion. Sometimes motherhood will take over more than business, and business will take over more than motherhood. It’s different periods where one will be more prominent than the other, but not more important. You have to have a strong support system for both, and know you are being a good mother either way.
47. I lean heavily on my village...my parents and in-laws who love my daughter as much as I do. My partner who is the most dedicated and doting father. My mum-friends who offer advice without judgement and always ask how I am going with it all, and my non-mum-friends who help me remember who I am aside from being ‘Mum.’
48. One offers a reprieve from the other. I love my job as a mother and as the manager of a gym, but they both can be exhausting. When I’m at work, it gives me a break from 'mumming' and helps refresh me for when it's time to go home. And when I’m with my kids, it gives me a break from managing and helps refresh me for my next shift.
49. Don’t overstretch yourself at work. I do the required hours for work and I ‘own it.’ I don’t over stretch myself for work to try and prove myself. I think people respect me for that. When I am at work I give 100%. I don’t allow myself to feel guilty for taking my child to daycare. If things don’t get done at home I remind myself that ‘it’s okay’ - mess is temporary. I drew a line in the sand and refused to cross it in terms of how much I could give my job. Incredibly hard, don’t regret it, and I dearly miss my old role...but it has opened new doors and my health is significantly better.
50. Working like a well-oiled machine with my husband makes a huge difference. Letting people know when I need help. It takes a village to raise a family (and to keep a mother sane) as well as having a supportive work environment.
What is the best piece of motherhood advice you’ve been given?
51. It’s crazy. It’s beautiful. And everyone is going to give you their two cents worth.
52. See yourself through your children’s eyes and don’t be so hard on yourself. You are their world and they love and adore you. You’re doing a great job!
53. Shower every day even if you don't feel up to it. Not sure how, but some days it feels like it has healing powers. It's amazing how something so simple can impact your wellbeing.
54. If you’re actively co-parenting with your kids’ father, whether you’re still in a relationship or not, put each other first before the kids, because in doing so, by default the kids come first because you’re all looking after each other.
55. Care more about their heart than their outward actions, and prioritise your marriage.
56. If it works for you then it’s not a bad habit. When it’s not working, change it. Find what works for your family and stick with that!
57. Make an effort to connect with other mums with the same age kids, that way you have a network of other mums going through the same things as you, who can encourage you and let you know your challenges are also shared by them.
58. Don’t wake a sleeping baby! Honestly, wish I’d listened the first time around and not stressed about feeding times. If they are healthy and hungry they will wake - leave them be and just enjoy them.
59. Listen earnestly to anything your children want to tell you, no matter what. If you don't listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are small, they won't tell you the big stuff when they are big, because to them all of it has always been big stuff.
60. Lean into your support system. You can't do everything, so don't try. If someone offers to help with housework, cooking, errands - TAKE IT! You are not a failure for asking for help. Self-care is important. You can’t be the best mum you can be if your own gas tank is empty. Accept help and make sure you take care of yourself too!
How has motherhood changed you?
61. I love the saying, “having children is like taking your heart out and watching it walk around outside of your body." It changes you forever as you can’t be selfish when you have kids. Their needs and wants will forever be ahead of yours and that’s okay. You will forever love these humans more than yourself.
62. It's opened my eyes to how little time we really have on Earth. It has both shortened and lengthened my patience. It has profoundly changed my relationship with my own mother, as now I see exactly how much she loves me. Being a mum is the best thing I ever did. It put my whole world into perspective. My heart exploded, I became more empathetic, loving, anxious, grateful, selfless, chaotic, fearless, tired, honest and above all, fulfilled!
63. I have more confidence in myself. I never knew what my body was capable of - from carrying my son, to giving birth, breastfeeding to seeing my body heal postpartum. My patience has been tested, my heart has expanded to provide more love and compassion than ever before. I now have more confidence in myself.
64. It’s given me purpose and makes me want to be the best version of myself for my daughter. I’ve had to change my internal self-talk because I was finding negativity coming out of my mouth at times. I don’t want to teach my baby girl to hate her appearance, so I’m learning to love mine.
65. Learning that not everything is in my control. Don’t sweat the small stuff, and pick your battles. It’s much easier to let your kid wear their Nemo winter onesie to daycare in 35 degree heat than to deal with a toddler tantrum. You’ll achieve the same result with a happier child, letting them learn the lesson themselves.
66. I have a greater appreciation for the power of being a woman. The depths of a mother's heart are unfathomable. I would do anything for my child, and I CAN fulfil his needs, for nourishment, for love, for sleep (at least getting him there). I am enough for my baby.
67. It has turned me into a very selfless person in the best way possible. It has given me the best kind of responsibility. It has given me a huge amount of perspective. It reminds me to not worry about the little issues in life. Motherhood makes you appreciate all these things that you never used to. Healthy, happy children and small things like admiring nature the way kids do, it’s a beautiful experience, although very difficult. Everyone talks about how amazing motherhood is but don’t often talk about the negative ways it can change you. Anxiety and depression definitely came for me after having my baby, but it’s one of those things you have to work through, take the good with the bad.
68. I am more comfortable with who I am and don’t worry so much about what others think. I don’t have the coolest clothes, my house is a mess and I always have my hair in a messy bun, but I have learned to let go of what I think others might be thinking of me (because they probably aren’t anyway) and it’s honestly not that important to me anymore. My kids are the most important thing and I have learned to embrace everything that #mumlife brings: library books, play dates, lots of coffee and all the rest. I love it now and I’m comfortable in my skin. It's been a big (nearly three year) journey to get here, so I’m super proud of myself!
69. Firstly it has changed my love or what I thought was love. Wow, how do you explain the love you feel when you see and hold your baby for the first time? So many emotions and feelings. It gives you a new meaning to life. You have a reason, a why, and it all changed when I saw my baby for the first time. It opened up my mind and my heart. All my prior anxiety and life struggles just dissipated the moment I gave birth. I no longer feel the need or want to put up walls, I just want to share our journey and listen to everyone else’s.
70. It has made my life so much more rich and purposeful. I have renewed energy and excitement to share all the wonderful, beautiful things in the world with my baby. It has made me better live my values, as having a baby forces you to slow down. It has given me a whole new incentive to live my values because I want to embody them for my bubs!
How would you prepare for motherhood if you went back in time?
71. I would spend more time learning about myself. Recognising who I am, my strengths and the things that challenge me so that I could be a healthier person for my kids. I would practice presence over perfection and go on more trips with my husband.
72. I think I would actually listen to my Great Aunt’s advice. Let my nipples have some sunshine and brush them with a nail brush to make them a little tougher before attempting to breastfeed for the first time. I would also have spent as much time alone with my partner as possible! It is a rare and precious thing now.
73. I truly don’t believe you can prepare for motherhood. The only piece of advice I’d give pre-mother me is to be ready for nothing to go how I plan. Coming up with a cure for sleep deprivation would be a good idea too.
74. I’ve thought about this a lot and I don’t think I would change anything. The good and the bad. My baby has taught me so much about myself. She brings out the best and worst parts of me and that has helped me to grow as a person. Sure, there are practical things like choice in prams, cots etc. but my mothering style would be the same.
75. Taking more time to spend with my partner and talk about becoming parents together. We didn't do enough of this which made it tough in the beginning as I'd had more experience being around babies and he hadn't.
76. Find more like-minded mums. Nothing can really prepare you! But I would probably try to find like-minded mums to turn to for advice and support (like ‘mum-tors’)! Getting advice from people whose parenting style aligns with yours definitely helps, and cuts down on the unhelpful or irrelevant advice you might get from others.
77. I would do less while I was pregnant. I definitely burnt the candle at both ends with work, study, and carrying a baby. Other than that, I never really prepared for motherhood. I had no idea what I was in for, no expectations and I have found it pretty good so far! I definitely think having no expectations has helped.
78. Ensure you have a good support base and know who you can go to for advice. When you first start out, you always second guess yourself, but you eventually learn to trust your instincts.
79. I don’t think I would have done anything differently except the physical preparedness of having more frozen meals in the freezer and knowing how to plan for a c-section recovery. But looking at the bigger picture I don’t think there’s much you can prepare for, parenting is a lot of trial by fire!
80. I would worry less about buying material things and invest more into my marriage. The first few months can be a strain on a relationship and I think it’s always good to invest in a marriage because it is THE most important relationship.
What fictional character do you relate to most and why?81. Elasta-girl. Trying to protect my children from the world, while also teaching them how to use their powers to protect themselves.
82. Sometimes Cinderella..because the cleaning doesn't stop.
83. Mary Poppins, only not quite as magical and put together! But I do try to stay positive and put as much fun into every situation as I can! And I do have a really big purse full of stuff! You never know what you’re going to need!
84. Some days I feel like superwoman killing it, other days like the Tazzy devil...a hot mess.
85. I most relate to Mrs Weasley from Harry Potter. Just like me, Mrs Weasley makes her kids roll their eyes plenty of times, but they’d still agree she's pretty fantastic. I love how she makes do with what the Weasley’s have, creates a warm and loving home, but is still one mean-mama if you mess with her brood.
86. Amy in Bad Moms (Mila Kunis’ character). She tried really hard at first to make it look like she had it all together and after all the stress of it, she just did her own thing and didn't care what anyone else thought.
87. Piglet. He’s so worried about things that might happen or go wrong all of the time, but he is also loving, loyal and always up for a good time.
88. Wile E Coyote because no matter how onto it you think you are, your kids always outsmart you.
89. Genie from Aladdin. Whatever my family wants, I make happen.
90. Wonder-woman because we mothers do wonders every day!
What would your advice be for new mothers?
Nikki C is wearing the 'Crew Neck Jumper' and the 'High Waisted Bike Shorts.'
91. Enjoy every moment. The highs, the lows because when you get the rewards of your child looking at you and lighting up, the smile, the run across the room to meet you, squeezing you for dear life, the uttermost love that they give you is…all worth it. Knowing that someone in the whole entire world loves you that much, it can only mean happiness. Treasure each moment as they grow up so quickly.
92. Rest as much as you can. Even if that means closing your eyes for five minutes on the couch, or sitting in the shower. It's the small respites that make a difference. Lean on each other for support because you are a team. Also, give yourselves grace, you're not perfect, do your best!
93. Whatever parent you thought you would be prior to becoming one, that's probably not exactly who you will be. You will do things you didn’t think you would do, or not do things you thought you would. Either way, give yourself grace and patience and know that you will have bad times, but you will also have amazing times and memories you won’t ever forget.
94. Even if you’re in a difficult phase or moment, it won’t last forever. Write on a piece of paper, “it gets better!” then write on the back side of that paper, “it gets EVEN better” and flip it over when needed. Also, be present! Put down the phone!
95. You have to take it one day at a time. Becoming a parent is intense. It’s overwhelming and stressful. It’s happy and confusing. When things are all new it can feel like certain things will last forever like sleep deprivation, or a colicky baby. But always remember there’s an end to the difficult seasons and time moves all too quickly. Just breathe and take it one day at a time. Tomorrow could be the day the baby sleeps through the night, or stops crying inconsolably. Always keep hoping and stay positive. Speak positive words to your baby because they will sense when Mum or Dad is stressed or calm.
96. Welcome to the best and worst of life. Your highs are so much higher than they have ever been and you’ve never felt lows like this before. But life is a whole lot richer because of it. Get ready for an amazing ride. Be open to lots of advice and thinking, but choose to take on board what actually sits right with you. Trust yourself. You’ve got this.
97. The first eight weeks will test you like you have never been tested, and push you beyond all limits. You will honestly believe it may kill you, it won’t, you will survive. It will be the hardest thing you’ve ever done but as you look at your sleeping child, tucked safely in their bed, surrounded by the love you have created for him or her, it will suddenly all be worth it.
98. Prepare yourself for change. You will change, your life will change. Adapt and accept. Get some automation - whether it be a weekly grocery online delivery, or a daily routine completed before the household wakes, sort some strategies to make your life easier. Don’t aim for perfection, just aim to master one skill at a time. You’ve got this! Just add loving kindness and be patient with yourself and your family. If all else fails, a shower will wash away not only any kiddy messes, but stresses too!
99. Do what feels right and natural for you and your baby. Everyone’s journey is different - get to know your baby and yourself as a new parent by taking things as they come and using your common sense. Allow yourself to become in tune with your baby; to know what is normal and what isn’t. Do this by drowning out what people say you should be doing.
100. Don't stress! Try and enjoy every moment. It's all about mindset. Don't focus on what you've lost, but instead what you have gained. And never focus on how much sleep you did or didn't get. Whatever you got is what you got. That was yesterday, today is a brand new day.
What is the soundtrack to your life as a mother?
Turn up loud next time you need a pick me up!
Written by Nikki Clarke.