Bad Mum - Ashleigh vallis

Who better to interview first then myself? Narcissistic perhaps but the truth is it’s a rainy day and I have nothing else to do. By nothing I really mean there is an eternal pile of clothes to wash, the dishes from breakfast to wash, there is a mountain of crumbs on the floor from the baby throwing her food from one end of the room to the other, 3 bags of rubbish to take to the bin, mould on the shower floor, a toddler dissembling the couch to make a fort and another pile of  clean (or dirty?) clothes to fold and put away.  So just another day really.
 
My name is Ashleigh, I’m 27 and have two little girls aged 2 1/2 and 10 months. We live with my partner and occasionally his two older sons in an apartment inside a pub in a little town called Yamba on the far north coast of NSW.
My reasoning for this blog is because I all too often find myself reading articles and interviews about the same people on social media which leaves me with a bitter taste. Usually I’m left thinking why isn’t my life that good? Am I the only one struggling with adjusting to this ‘mum life’? Surely not.
So here it is, a series of interviews on all different sorts of families and mothers- maybe even some fathers (?) that aren’t afraid to tell us the TRUTH.
 
Please enjoy me trying to awkwardly interview myself .
 
What was your first thought when you fell pregnant the first time? 
 
Oh F*** - do I keep it? My partner and I had only been together 4 months (6 by the time we found out). The truth is the thought of not having her scared me more than I thought. Here we are nearly 3 years later and it couldn't be more obvious to me that the shining star that is Tippi was absolutely meant to me in this world. I wouldn't change a thing
 
And the second time?
Oh F*** I’m not ready to do it again. I'm definitely not going to bounce back again (and I was right- I haven't). I still look 4 months pregnant most days- that why I love wearing the body suit so much, it just sucks everything back where it used to be.
 
What were your birthing experienceS like ?
Tippi was absolute hell on earth torture. In  a nutshell I was induced and screamed Bloody Mary for the best part of 12 hours. It ended with no epidural , a plethora of foul words, a midwife being kicked in the chest and tippi bursting into this world with one hand in a fist above her head superman style. What I couldn’t wrap my head around was the pain that didn’t seem to ever end even after I’d pushed her out. Why wouldn’t it go away, WHY WASN'T I TOLD ABOUT THIS? I couldn’t walk, or move - why does breastfeeding hurt so much- why wasn’t all of this as easy as everyone made it seem? I bled for what felt like an eternity and hours after her birth I was still experiencing what I now know as ‘after pains’...which is basically a continuation of contractions as your uterus tries to shrink itself back to its proper size.
 
For Lukas birth I was well prepared for the war zone I was about to enter. I was induced again but chose just at the right time to get into the bath. The second my whale sized body hit the water it felt like the weight of the entire world had been lifted off my body. For anyone considering a water birth I can 100% recommend it. I pushed a few times and she was out. It was like a walk in the park in comparison to Tippi.
Luka Wears the Dusty Playset 
 
Tell us something you think expecting mothers should know about birth?
 
Adult diapers are a thing and you should totally not be afraid to wear them after birth. Also try not to think about it too much. Chances are that it will not happen the way you expect it to and if you are able to just go with the flow it will make it that tiny bit easier.
 
What was your breastfeeding experience like?
Absolutely awful. I feel like this topic can be such a controversial one when it really doesn’t need to be. Just feed your baby and mind you’re own business. If someone wants to breastfeed in public great, and if someone has to ( or just simply wants to) bottle feed their newborn who really cares? The baby is being fed at the end of the day and it’s no ones business but their own. I’ve found there is such a strong movement for mothers needing to feel comfortable breastfeeding in public and the term ‘breast is best’ is smeared everywhere which in turn has created a bad stigma for mothers that bottle feed. I cant count the amount of times I have felt glares burning at my skin and the questions “why cant you breastfeed?” Or “if you just try a little harder it will get easier” and the best one which usually comes from older generations “you know breast is best don’t you?”.
The pressure to feed comes from so many angles - midwives, doctors, mothers, society and ourselves which places an insane amount of stress on new mothers it can be so overwhelming. I think the best thing we can do for each other is to just be honest. Not everyone can breast feed and that should be OK too.
 
What is it like having 2 children under 2?
It feels like an insane tornado/ roller coaster ride that should potentially be shut down. Sometimes it feels like I am lost in a Bermuda Triangle of food scraps, scattered toys, poo, uneaten meals, dirty clothes and snotty noses. There is an insane amount of mess and love. I feel like I could potentially have a mental breakdown at any minute but I just keep going because there is no choice. It’s harder then I thought but its also worth every second.
 
What is an average day in your house?
The girls wake me up anywhere from 5.30am to 6.30am. I let them watch tv (Omg yes - tv) while I have a coffee and try to open my eyes.
If Tippi doesn’t have daycare we will usually go and do something outside. If its sunny the beach although sometimes by the time I figure out how to erect the damn beach umbrella Tippi has usually started throwing a tantrum and i just give up and leave swearing I’ll never bother again. Then my favourite time of day- lunch and nap time. I usually just end up sitting on the couch and not moving for an hour while the house work piles up around me. After a nap we might go to the park where i swear to god every single time Tippi wonders off behind a tree and does a poo (PLEASE tell me I’m not the only one this happens too?). When we get back home its time to cook dinner and do the dreaded bath and bed time routine. I have to lay down with Tippi for 45 minutes until she is asleep and then we wake up in the morning and do it all again.
I have completely given up at this point.
 
How do you find time to manage Tippi and Zep and also family life?
To be honest I don’t. My time management is awful and I am lazy at the best of times. I don’t know what I’m doing most of the time- I’m just winging it. I love creating designs and watching them come to life and it’s very rewarding seeing other people dressing their kids in my label. Children are so hard to work with! Most of the time you’ll find me bribing a child so I can get a good shot of them in the clothing- I’m that lady at the beach screaming I”LL GIVE YOU A LOLLIPOP IF YOU JUST STAND STILL FOR ONE SECOND.
Evidence of me being lazy (Tippi wears the Cedar Romper in Sand and I wear the Sally Bodysuit)
 
What are some of things you said you would never do before having a baby vs what you actually do now?
 
“ I will NEVER let my kid watch an iPad”- lol that one went out the window pretty fast.
 
“ I don’t understand why new mums always cut their hair off after a baby”- i totally get it now, what’s with that baby frizz that grows off the side of your head and never seems to go away? A fringe will fix it.
 
“ i will never dress my child in horrendous cartoon clothing”- the smile on Tippis face when she wears her Peppa pig pyjamas is worth every inch of that horrible material.
Tippi is absolutely not asleep.
 
I guess what I would really like to say that raising children can sometimes feel like hell on earth but the amazing thing we have these days is the ability to be able to connect to each other. Social media is an amazing tool- we can build a community without even being anywhere near each other. Had a shitty day? - someone else probably did too and you can reach out so easily and know that you aren’t the only one.
 

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3 comments

  • thanks for sharing – you can always make me laugh :)

    • Katie
  • Love how you type the words im feeling. When I’m in my 3rd hour of trying to get my kids to sleep I’ll remind myself there are other mums out there doing the same thing right now !
    Definitely hardest job in the world but omg the most rewarding!

    • Sez
  • Love this Ash!! Just what I needed to read after 1.5hrs of helping my bub fall asleep tonight 😂

    • Belinda