One of the best things about blogging is the way you attract a tribe of like-minded people. Of course, there’s always a few people who seem to read each post just to disagree with every thought I have (internet trolls, I’m talking to you!) but on the whole most people are really similar to me.
If our lives were a book we’d all be reading the same one, we’re just all on different chapters. Some people are a little ahead and some people are a few chapters behind.
Most of the bloggers I follow are a few chapters ahead of me. I follow Hannah Mags because she had her son, Grayson, about 6 months before I had George so I loved seeing what I had to come. I follow Jayne Gorman from Girl Tweets World for her awesome travel content but also because she went freelance about a year before me and she was a massive inspiration. It’s nice to see what you have to come, especially when you don’t have ‘real life friends’ who are reading the same book!
I’m on the chapter in the book where I’ve had my kids and things are starting to get a bit easier. I’m finding ‘the work/life balance’ and enjoying getting back into my career.
A lot of people who read this blog are about 3 chapters behind me. It’s the one where the main characters are realising that kids are actually quite cute and they might like them at some point in the future. But they’re wondering if the rumours are true; those rumours that suggest kids are really difficult and they ruin your life and your body and they stop you doing all the fun stuff you currently love doing.
So today’s post is for those people who are 3 chapters behind me, where they’re starting to get that inkling that they might want kids one day. These are the questions people email me or send in an Instagram DM about motherhood so let’s just dive in. If you have any other questions feel free to leave them in the comments below or email me!
How did you know it was the right time to have kids?
I don’t think there’s ever a ‘right time’ to have kids. There’s always going to be something going on in your life that makes you wait a bit longer. I think the hardest part is deciding if you want children. If it’s a clear ‘yes’ and you’re in a happy relationship then I don’t really think it matters when. You’ll always want more money, more job stability, a bigger house, a bigger car etc so I don’t think there’s any point waiting for material things.
For Sam and I it really came down to my career. I always said I wanted to be 32 before we had children but that was really because I imagined at 32 I’d have a stable job with a decent amount of disposable income. I realised I’d got to this point when I was 26 and, yeah, 9 months later George was born!
(In case you’re wondering, I earn a living through this blog and it’s now our family’s main source of income. If you’re interested in making a living through a blog, check out my e-course, The Blogger Course)
What was giving birth like?
I had caesareans with both the boys. George (my eldest) was breech which means he was upside down and it’s dangerous to naturally deliver a baby feet-first rather than head-first, so I was advised to have an elective c-section. And when you’ve had a c-section for one baby, you’re given the option about whether you want one with your second baby.
An elective c-section is awesome because you know the exact time and date you’ll be having the baby, so you can relax and mentally prepare. You’re not walking on egg shells thinking you might go into labour at any minute and you don’t go overdue either.
I was also really nervous about giving birth naturally so it was a huge relief when I found out I was having a section. I hadn’t really let myself think about how scared I was about a naturally delivery until I knew I wasn’t having one and I released all this stress and anxiety and felt so much more relaxed!
C-sections have a bad rep because most people want a natural birth or end up having one after a long labour that wasn’t progressing, so women are exhausted by the time they have it and take a long time to recover. Mine wasn’t like this because I wasn’t tired when I went into theatre so I recovered quickly and only spent one night in hospital. I was walking within about 10 hours and more than ready to go home the next day. Yes, I was sore and couldn’t drive for 2 weeks but Sam was on leave during this time so it was fine.
How did you not put on lots of weight during pregnancy?
This one made me laugh and I probably wouldn’t have included it but I’ve been asked it a few times!
I actually didn’t put on any weight during pregnancy and that’s because my diet was so much healthier. Cutting out alcohol and junk food reduced my calorie intake by A LOT so even though I was eating more and exercising less, I was probably still consuming fewer calories.
I breastfed both the boys and this burns a lot of calories so I was also fine for the first few months. I actually lost quite a lot of weight after having Joseph because he was such a hungry little baby I was feeding him all the time! But it was when I stopped breastfeeding that it really hit me! I don’t exercise nearly as much as I used to and I am starting to feel it. I also got used to being able to eat LOADS during that breastfeeding phase so I’m seriously missing those late-night snacks and second helpings ‘because the baby needs it!’
I don’t think you necessarily do put weight on when you have a baby, it’s just that you have a lot less time to look after yourself after you’ve had a baby. I guess it’s about putting yourself first from time to time and making time to look after yourself.
For me, it’s only now that Joseph is 18 months and George is 3 that I feel like I’m starting to get my life back. I’m starting to spend more time cooking and I’m even thinking about joining the gym again (big step!) I don’t feel like I’ve put a lot of weight on, I just feel a bit soft. Any muscle definition I once had is long gone!
One thing that has really surprised me about my post-baby body is that I don’t care about putting a bit of weight on and I really don’t care about my c-section scar. I’d like to feel healthier but, overall, I just feel proud to have grown two humans!
Will you have another baby?
OK, this question mostly comes from my mum who asks me approximately once a month.
I’m 95% sure we won’t have any more children.
Sam is 100% sure!
After Joseph was born I thought I did want another baby. It’s not so much for now, it’s more for when Sam and I are old – I’d love to be surrounded by a big family when I’m old!
But the older our boys get, the less I want another baby. Now George and Joseph are getting older, things are getting easier and I’m starting to remember what life was like before they were born. And wow, life was easy! It’s not that I want to go back to that life, but I can’t imagine going through that really difficult new born phase all over again. The worry during pregnancy, the sleepless nights, the juggling act between babies and toddlers and never getting a second to yourself! It’s tough!
We’re really starting to enjoy doing things as a family and I’m sure our family holidays and microadventures will only get more fun as the boys get older so I’m not sure if I’d want to pause all of that again with another baby.
How do you manage to travel so much with your kids?
If I wasn’t a travel blogger I don’t think I would have travelled so much with the kids but as my job depends on me travelling, I didn’t really have a whole lot of choice about it!
Sam and I were absolutely terrified during our first few trips and we were so nervous about everything – but you soon realise that being abroad really isn’t that different to being at home. The flights can be tough but you just have to keep reminding yourself that you will land soon and it will all be a distant memory.
Now that we’re over the fear of travelling with them, we absolutely love it and I’m so pleased my blog gave me the push we needed to travel with children.
Of course, something that makes it much easier for us to travel with the kids is the fact that a lot of the trips we take are press trips, meaning we usually don’t pay for everything. I don’t want to gloss over this because this is a big reason we travel so much. I wouldn’t be able to afford to go abroad every month and this is definitely the main perk of my job as a travel blogger.
Is it expensive to have children?
Having babies doesn’t need to be expensive. You really don’t need all those gadgets and gismos they try to sell you. You need some clothes, nappies, a cot, a pushchair and car seat and that’s pretty much it. You’re really talking about £1,000. But it starts getting expensive when you’re using childcare which is such a shame because it means so many women don’t end up going back to work because it’s not financially worth it. Or other people put off having children because they don’t want to quit work and this is part of the reason why it’s so hard to actually start a family.
The average day nursery charges about £50-£60 a day (including all their food for the day) but private nannies or private childcare can be considerably more or considerably less.
For us, it means it costs us £100 to put the boys into nursery for a day and this definitely impacts the work I do. If someone offers me a day of work in London, it costs me £100 to put the kids in nursery and £80 to get to London so I would have spent £180 before I’ve even got there. So yes, it can be expensive.
Having a career that allows me to be flexible with my working hours definitely helps!
Why didn’t you blog much about pregnancy and the early baby days?
There are two reasons why I didn’t blog much about my pregnancies. To begin with it was mostly because I easy, smooth pregnancies and I didn’t really have a lot to say. At first I wanted to write a weekly blog about pregnancy but it would have gone a lot like this:
Week 10 – Feel a bit tired but generally just normal
Week 11 – Feel a bit tired but just got on with it
Week 12 – Just feel normal – almost forgot I was pregnant this week
It’s not exactly riveting blog material!
I also felt a bit guilty about having easy pregnancies and didn’t want to go shouting about how fine I felt when I had friends around me who were puking and swelling and generally having a miserable time.
It wasn’t that simple for the whole 40 weeks though. During both pregnancies my baby bump was tiny, you couldn’t really even tell I was pregnant until I was about 25 weeks. When I was 39 weeks pregnant with Joseph, a midwife measured me and said I was measuring like I was 22 weeks pregnant. But it didn’t worry me – I didn’t let it worry me. I could feel this little baby wriggling around inside me and I could just feel that he was healthy and I just kept focusing on that.
I also had high blood pressure towards the end of both pregnancies so had to go to the hospital every other day to be monitored. Again, I totally played this down at the time and pretended (even to myself) that it was nothing and just a silly precaution. I didn’t even let myself think it could be anything serious.
So that’s the reason I didn’t blog about pregnancy. To begin with, I had nothing interesting to say and towards the end I didn’t want to blog about anything that could potentially be quite serious and personal and I didn’t really want to sit down and think about these things – I just got on with it and pretended everything was ok!
The reason I didn’t blog about the early days of having a baby is now something I really regret. I wrote a few blogs about having a baby and had a couple of emails from regular readers telling me they hated seeing my baby content and were really disappointed I’d gone from being a travel blogger to a mummy blogger. Someone joked that I’d be writing my birth story next and a male follower told me I’d lose all my male following if I wasn’t careful. Looking back, I should have just deleted these emails and carried on blogging about all the stuff I love and whatever makes me happy. I really, really wish I’d done this. But I didn’t. I worried about it. I overthought it and I let it get me down.
I felt like people thought I’d changed as a person because I’d had a baby and I worried I’d lose all my blog readers. So I carried on blogging like I had pre-baby and I kept plodding along with the same thoughts. But it didn’t really work because I had changed and I wasn’t being completely true to myself or true to my readers as I blogged about ‘adventure travel’ but didn’t mention the fact that half way through that hike up Snowdon I had to stop and express a load of breastmilk because my boobs felt like they were about to explode! I know it doesn’t alter the story by including this but I just felt like I wasn’t sharing the whole story.
I now have a bit more of a balance between travel blogs, personal blogs and blogs about having children and I’m much happier with the way things are looking.
How have you managed working for yourself and having children?
Being a blogger and having children is THE BEST. A lot of my income is passive income through display adverts and affiliate income so I didn’t actually take any official maternity leave. I didn’t get any kind of maternity pay because my passive income is much higher than I would have got from the government.
(If you’re interested in blogging and turning your blog into your career then check out my course, The Blogger Course!)
I took about 2 weeks off completely and then I started getting back into social media and replying to emails. I didn’t take on any new client work for 6 months because I knew I wouldn’t want to be sticking to deadlines, arranging phone calls or replying to urgent emails.
I actually found I had a surprising amount of time to work in the early days because newborn babies sleep so much so I made the most of that and worked when and where I could.
I do have a massive advantage that I really really love my work and it doesn’t feel like a chore to sit down with my laptop for an hour and do some work. I actually find writing blog posts really therapeutic so doing work can almost be a way to relax.
It also helps that Sam and my mum are both really supportive of my work and will help as much as they can. Sam does a lot of the household chores and my mum will happily take care of the boys for an hour or two if I have some work I need to get done.
Recently, Sam has started working part time to allow us to have more time as a family and also to give me more flexibility to work so this now helps me get more work done.
Has your relationship changed since having children?
Yes and no.
Sam and I are much closer since having the boys because we have a different type of bond that’s formed over a shared love of these two gorgeous little people. This makes us feel so much stronger as a couple.
But when we go out without the kids (which doesn’t happen nearly enough!) I almost forget the past four years have happened and I feel just like we did before we had kids. It’s honestly like nothing has changed.
We do need to try a bit harder to spend proper time together and actually have proper conversations. But we always have dinner together and we always eat at the kitchen table so I think this helps.
Those are the main questions I’m asked about having kids but if you have any other questions do feel free to get in touch and ask away!
Tuesday 5th of June 2018
You are definitely family travel goals Monica. A very useful Q & A to those of feeling (nearly) ready!
Humaira (Money Savvy Muslim)
Tuesday 5th of June 2018
Thanks for sharing Monica! I'm the 3 chapters behind person you're writing for and this helped ease a lot of anxiety for me!