This year

My arms are full of babies as I write this. We are feeling sick, have been for a few weeks now, so we are all in our big bed together – the boys are dozing in and out of foggy pamol-supported sleep. It’s ground-hog day really – we have been here many times this year.

But my heart is also full. And it’s hard to  put into words the enormous gratitude I feel. Not just for these sweet babies. Of course, I thank all of the lucky stars in the sky for my precious boys. It’s incredible how in those first few weeks and months you can’t fathom loving them more but really every week that goes by you do…That sudden realisation that these perfect little beings are really here and they’re yours, and you feel woozy with all of the heartburstingoutofyourchest love and yet when they’re three and you tuck them into bed and they say “I love you more than the world” it’s even MORE. Or when they’re sick and there are big fat tears and shuddering gasps and hoarse crying and they’re red and hot and your heart just breaks for them and it’s even MORE. And I don’t know how that’s possible. But it is.

But they’re not all I feel thankful for.

imageIt’s you. I want to thank you for this year.

I want to thank every person reading and every person who has been kind to me during this long year of learning and love.

Your comments and emails and the things you’ve said when sharing my posts, your tweets and your messages on Facebook, you have helped me so much. I can’t even tell you. But I’ll try:

A while back someone said on the Herald or somewhere “What makes you think you’re an expert on parenting?” and I thought – where on Earth did this person get the idea that I’m an expert on anything?!? Have they ever read anything I’ve ever written?!?

I’ve never claimed to be an expert and I would think anyone reading my posts would know I’m not. I’m just a mum. Writing. Trying to make sense of my world which at times feels very lonely. I’m just reaching out and saying – this is how I feel, I don’t know if it’s right or wrong, maybe it’s neither.

Often I feel like I’m very wrong. That I’m one missed step away from fucking everything up. Every time I hit publish I wonder if what I’ve said is going to help anyone. Though I stumbled into this blogging thing, I realised quickly that I hoped it would help others in the way it has helped me.

What I’ve found over this year is that there are a lot of us out there who are trying really hard to be good parents and who aren’t sure if we are, but really, really want to be. I’ve found I’m not alone in my insecurities as a mother. And that in itself is a gift.

Even more so is how much you’ve reached out – You commented, and emailed, and sent me messages, and tweets – and you were so kind. You told me stories about your beautiful children. Gave me tips that held no judgement. Shared the agony of sleep deprivation. Made me feel normal. You told me I was a good mother on days when I felt like I was doing everything wrong. You supported my idealistic and ill-thought out ventures and made them successes. That wasn’t me doing Ballet is for Everyone – it was all of you, donating money and volunteering time and sharing updates and encouraging others to give. And thank you especially to my co-founder Sarah and all of the dance teachers who put in so very much work, which made so many kids happy this year (and will continue to do next year).

imageYou encouraged me to sleep. To eat. To do. You helped me deal with developmental changes that drove me up the wall – WHY WHY WHY. You made me laugh so much. So many times my husband hissed “turn off your phone!” as I snort laughed under the blankets cracking up at our shared hatred of Peppa Pig and fantasies about what you’d do to your mum if she said one more thing about self-soothing.

You were so, so generous. It blows my mind how generous you’ve been. Because of your support through Patreon and donations through this site I’ve been able to be home with my boys a lot longer than I ever would have been able to be.

And it didn’t end there – You got Eddie the gift of Elsa! To this day he still talks about how she came to his birthday. His little face lights up when he holds his Elsa doll. “Elsa is my best friend she came to my birthday” is one of the first things he says when he meets new people.image

You donated to the Children’s Hospital in his name. You donated over $2,500 to Ballet is for Everyone. You gave me grocery vouchers when the Ham was hospitalised and you knew my husband would need to be home with Eddie.

You stayed up late and talked to me on Twitter while I cried and watched my baby unable to breathe on his own. You understood my fears, never minimised them, but helped me keep perspective.

You voted in your droves for me to win an award. You supported me when the Herald approached me to write for them. You supported me when I had my first sponsored post – and hopefully you’ll continue to support me now that I have a sponsor for this site (Thanks Flick!)

You stood up for me when people were mean about me online. You told your friends about my blog. You told me to write a book (and I’m starting to write one!) You told me to back myself and for the first time in my life I’m starting to do that.

You made me feel less alone. You created a community where we get to laugh and talk about being parents without nastiness. You showed this Mommy Wars thing is mostly bullshit – because if you’re kind to each other the online home you make replicates that. “A love boomerang” – as Giselle said.

imageThis has been a wild, strange, awesome, inspiring year for me – from the very first post when my sister said “I just read something and it sounds like you” and I thought – how on earth did that post get to Sydney? And then when I went on Twitter and couldn’t get into my mentions. And then when Huff Post and MamaMia and others started calling… And SO MANY COMMENTS that I had to get two friends to help me moderate.

Ham was a few weeks old. Next month he will be one. And then this blog will be one.

And it’s all because of you. So thank you. Thank you for sharing with me the joy and wonder and horror and awesomeness and exhaustion and excitement of parenting.

And just as I was finishing writing this, at my door an envelope addressed to “Emily Writes” landed.

I have spent much of this week concerned about how I will pay for everything – we are no different to any other family. Actually, we are probably luckier than many families as my writing skills allow me to work from home and my husband is a very good gardener. Nonetheless, like most families I have been worried about Christmas. The children have been sick for two weeks and so have I which means no writing. And I’ve needed my husband’s help as we have been to after hours and back and to the GP again and eventually calling an ambulance after a fever spiked again. It has been stressful.

And then this.


“Emily, you do great work – this is from your community! Love xxxxx”

And inside a koha for us.

These letters of love and koha I get are almost always anonymous. If you are behind this one or any of the letters I’ve received this year – thank you. I love this community so much.

I am bewildered but overwhelmed by the way you all continue to support me and lift me up. And I love that you do this to all of the other parents who comment here. I do believe we have one of the nicest comments sections on the internet.

Again, thank you. Thank you for holding out a hand through the fog of sleep derivation. And for those who are through that stage, thank you for listening and supporting and for remembering what it’s like. Thank you for encouraging us all to raise our voices and speak out – to share our experiences of anxiety and depression and fear.

Thank you for not saying in my day or telling us to enjoy every second of every minute of every day. Thank you for celebrating with us when we cherish moments because they’re really special.

I hope this won’t be my last blog for the year. If it is I’ll say now – Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. May the first relative who gives you unsolicited advice choke on their brandy. May your nights be quiet, and may your days begin well after 5am. May your little ones go to sleep easily and stay asleep. May you have a hot cup of coffee and a cold something stronger. May all the noisy toys you’re gifted mysteriously break within hours.

If 2015 has been painful for you I hope you are surrounded by love and kindness to get you through these last days.

I hope your 2016 is as wonderful as you are.

It does take a village.

From the bottom of my heart, thanks for being the best fucking village ever.

Love Emily, Eddie & Ham




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15 Comments on “This year

  1. My little girls turns one today (ONE!!! How? When?) and I’m reading your post here in the UK with her cuddle snoozing on me after a rough night. Your wonderful, hilarious, heartfelt writing has kept me going through so many such nights in these past few months. I’m so glad I found your blog when I did. Please keep doing what you do. And I hope your gorgeous little ones feel better soon and you all enjoy a healthy, happy Christmas and 2016. With lots of good sleeps xxx

    • Thank you so much Shazia ❤️ The first birthday is so huge. I remember crying my eyes out but also feeling so at peace with being a parent and so happy! Can’t believe my second is one next month! Congrats on being a parent for a year and happy birthday to your wee one. Thank you so much for your lovely comment. Merry Christmas xox

  2. Thank you. This post made me sob my heart out, not sure why, but I obviously needed it. Reading your words always makes me feel like “I ain’t doin too bad of a job as a mumma” and “Pup may not end up too messed up after all”, ‘cos as you say, we are all just doing the best we can with all the best intentions and love in our hearts. Thanks x

    • You’re so right. I love that – best intentions and with love in our hearts. Beautiful. That’s exactly it. I’m honoured if my words have helped at all. Thank you and merry Christmas x

  3. Merry Christmas Emily. You have been an inspiration to me for years ❤️❤️❤️

  4. Thank you for all your stories, they are such great company on a long night of crying, cuddling and feeding. I love that i can sit and have a read, and feel like I’m sitting with a friend, sharing parenting war stories over coffee. You are wonderful! (And I can’t WAIT to read a book of yours). Merry Christmas 🙂
    Sarah xx

  5. Sure, make the pregnant lady cry first thing at work. I mean, I already do anyway, but still.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family. I’ve loved getting to know them through your posts, and even though my Mum is a bit of a self-soothing fan, you so remind me of her. This is a compliment of the highest order, she is an amazing mother and an inspiration to me still.

    Happy New Year to all. 🙂

  6. Another lovely and heart felt post Emily. Made me teary – in a good way. I am so happy that you are able to use your talent for writing to help give you and your time together. And reading about all the good caring and loving people out there supporting you and each other is just fantastic. I am also super pleased to see Flick are supporting your blog. Good work Flick.
    Enjoy your Christmas and New Year and I look forward to reading how you and Eddie and The Ham and your husband get on next year.

  7. What a lovely post. Thank YOU for cracking me up with your hilarious, honest writing and for letting us all know that we are not alone in this crazy world of parenting. Wishing you and yours a happy, healthy, wonderful new year!

  8. Wow! Just WOW! So loved reading this Emily.
    May your Christmas and 2016 be full of the best bits – love, joy, peace.

  9. So much love to you and yours. I just discovered your blog a week or so ago and it has already become a place I turn to when I need a break, need a laugh, need a cry, need to feel understood. I’ve linked to you many times this week! Thank you for being you. All the best, and happy 2016!

  10. I just wanted to say that I discovered you only a few months ago and have lurked ever since, but today I needed to comment. As a new-ish mommy of my son (6mo) I’d almost forgotten how hard motherhood was since I lost my daughter 12 years ago. Reading your words while going through breastfeeding and expressing hell at 3am has kept me sane. Reading your words again the next day when I was more coherent had me chuckling, tearful, filled with solidarity and confidence, despite all the mum-dumb that comes with a newborn.

    We’ve passed Christmas so I’ll wish the four of you a happy new year. May it bring sleep, paid bills, health and laughter, because that’s all we really need. xoxo

  11. Emily I don’t think I could have done parenting without you. It is such a privilege to be your friend, and to enjoy your writing, and to be part of this beautiful community you have created <3 5eva