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SUMMARY- Pinky continues her story through her parenting journey, becoming a grandmother, and the many different ways sleep has looked in her house. Pinky touches on social media, rolling with your children's needs, how much things have changed and yet stayed the same, and cultural influences on parenting practice.

Full Episode Transcript:

Carly Grubb (00:02):

The Beyond Sleep Training Podcast- a podcast dedicated to sharing real tales of how people have managed sleep in their family outside of sleep training culture because sleep looks different with a baby in the house and because every family is different there is no one-size-fits-all approach to take. 

I’d like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which this podcast is being recorded, the Kalkadoon people, I pay my respects to the elders of this nation and the many other nations our guests reside in from the past, present and emerging. We honour Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the unique cultural and spiritual relationships to the land, water and seas as well as their rich contributions to society including the birthing and nurturing of children. 

Carly Grubb (00:59):

And welcome back to the beyond sleep training podcast. I'm your host Carly Grubb, and I have my wonderful guest Pinky McKay with me again.

For this episode, Pinky started out in our previous episode talking about life with her first three babies, and this episode's going to take us further into her journey beyond sleep training. If you haven't already listened to the previous episode, I'd highly recommend you listen to that one first, so that this episode makes more sense for you. Now to where we finished up in our last episode, we were just talking about with your third baby, you moved to Australia and after having had a brilliant experience with La Leche League in New Zealand, it wasn't quite the same experience in Australia with the Nursing Mother’s Association at the time. And so you and a friend had launched your own La Leche League down in Melbourne. And you sound like you'd attracted quite a little community. Did that fill the gap that you were looking for with your third baby?

Pinky McKay (01:54):

Look, it certainly helped to have, you know, those beautiful women around who, and, and it was a real affirmation that these women had come from, you know, yes, there were local women, but there were also women who come from other countries who were nurturing this way, which was a real affirmation and lovely. Yeah, I just love it. And it's been beautiful watching their kids grow up. You know, our children now have children and it's been beautiful to watch them nurture in a similar way. It's just, you know, because I feel so much has been imprinting from how we were nurtured that informs our own parenting. And of course, parents have different, there will be differences, but it, and I think the thing was too that we were all much more accepting of each other. Now, if we had friends who were formula feeding, we didn't say, well, what the hell is going on or anything like that? There was no real judgment…I don't think, I mean, maybe there was, but it wasn't that I feel that there's an awful lot of judgment, an awful lot of advice that's given out, perhaps on social media, it's such a double edged sword, isn't it? That you can find your people, but you can also be criticised. I was just looking yesterday at Laura, the comedian, who had put up a beautiful photo of her tandem nursing her toddler. I don't know whether a child's three or four or whatever, and her newborn.

Carly Grubb (03:27):

No, he's not even two. He's not even two. This is Laura Clery for the audience listening along.

Carly Grubb (03:32):

She's just doing brilliantly. She's just he's just, I think maybe he's just turned two, but he's only a two year old.

Pinky McKay (03:40):

He’s a little baby, a little guy, and people were carrying on about this child and the… the rubbish that they were throwing at this mother, because she’s had a brand new baby, brand new baby, and in a really vulnerable state, and she's gutsy enough to put herself out there and then all these ridiculous comments and, you know, people seem to feel like, can be, you know, the keyboard warriors have got much more permission to say things to people, but yes, I had people saying strange things to me that I was breastfeeding toddlers and my third daughter and my fourth daughter tandem nursed. So I didn't find that easy. I've got to say, in the beginning, probably the first two to three months was pretty hard because my three year old would want to, she actually got quite sick when I was in hospital having my baby because she drank some dairy and she puffed up her eyes and got wheezy, the whole works of it.

Pinky McKay (04:41):

So you know, that she would want to breastfeed when the baby breastfeed and then she'd want one by herself after the baby had finished ‘all by myself’. So, you know, and she was a very articulate child. And I think people were absolutely shocked that I was breastfeeding, both children. It was just the same sort of rubbish, but it was only coming from, you know, people around, the odd person. I mean, you're generally breastfeeding both children at home. You're not generally breastfeeding them out, but I do remember having taken my three year old to roller skating, my little kids roller skated very early. And I had the baby and my toddler was really tired by the time she'd finished. And we were in a, you know, one of the neighbours was taking her child too, who was, she was a four year old, but mine was three.

Pinky McKay (05:31):

And my three year old was sitting in the backseat of the car and she wanted a breastfeed. And I tried to say to her, can you wait? We're nearly home. And she wasn't having it. And this neighbour was utterly shocked and disgusted, you know? And I thought, how the hell can I go with her to roller skate? You know, it was just awful what she was saying to me. And I thought, you know, this is… people don't have a right to behave like that. So there was judgment. But generally, if you found your people, they were, you know, you're lucky to have those people

Carly Grubb (06:05):

Kind of cocoon yourself away from all of the other rubbish…

Pinky McKay (06:07):

To some extent. Yes. Whereas I don't think you can on the internet. So you have to be gutsy if you're going to put something out there, like, because you can get support, but you can also get rubbish. And I think as women, we are conditioned to, you know, when you think about the cave women, if they were kicked out of the tribe, because they were ostracised by the other women, they and their children may not survive. So it was life or death. Whereas I think somehow that's still in our DNA that it really hurts us when people criticise us.

Carly Grubb (06:42):

I think it too, it just goes straight to your core of feeling misunderstood because we all do things with, you know, we, we've got our full story behind us that explains how things are, why we're doing things the way we do them. And to have someone coming with such criticism on top, it can be crushing, especially if you're in a vulnerable state. So I agree with that

Pinky McKay (07:02):

Yeah. Especially about your parenting, about your nurturing because being a mother is such a big part of your identity.

Carly Grubb (07:09):

Yep. It goes straight to the core. That's the thing, isn't it. Even if you have quite a strength about you, even if it's only momentary doubt, I don't think there's many of us out there who haven't had a chink in our armour when someone's had something to say about how we're nurturing our children. Because it, it is important and that's why it hurts is because you care, you certainly get end up with a better filter hopefully as your confidence grows. But yeah, I think a lot of the time when you see those, those kind of pile on effects, it has an impact. And it certainly… I feel for Laura because as much as I know, she's a very strong woman and she's very courageous publicly sharing what she shares on such a big platform, with her, her audience, because she's a comedian, her audience is so diverse. She really, everything she posts people have strong opinions about, but I just picture her as, you know, postpartum mom, brand new baby, ooof, even the strongest person is just…

Pinky McKay (08:12):

And also when you’re tandem nursing, thing you’re more, I don't know, everything is just more, I felt more open, more vulnerable, more

Carly Grubb (08:22):

That’s it, she’s out there, literally out there. Her chest is out there. This is what happened. She's so open and vulnerable and yeah, I really felt for her. So I was really pleased to see that there's been quite a big rally of support for her because there should be! But oof, I don't think we should underestimate the impact that the negative comments would have also still had on her even as a very strong person. So I think that's a good note to check yourself because it's that kind of, you know, it's not that, you know, if you don't have anything nice to say, say anything at all, like you could say that, but it's also just that, how would you feel if it was you in her shoes, copping that kind of onslaught and people checking themselves in that, that way I think would be helpful online. Full stop.

Pinky McKay (09:08):

Yeah. Because you know I have thought that, ‘maybe that wasn't for me’ or whatever, I don't know. But then when they really become brutal, to women, that's just not fair. It's like, even though she's out there and sh’s a comedian, and she's put herself out there, nobody deserves, she's still a human being. She's still a mother. She's still a mother of a newborn. So her hormones, you know, those protective hormones for her babies are really strong at this stage.

Carly Grubb (09:43):

Yep. Bullying and abuse, whether a person's famous or not, isn't acceptable. So I think that's kind of where it gets to it's like, just because you have a public space doesn't mean that you people have free reign over whatever they want to say about you. So I know that you know, that as well, working in the public sphere, it's very much once you've put yourself out there, people do feel like you should be ready to take it all. And I, I think to an extent you do, you brace yourself for it. Like you say, put your big girl panties on. But it also,

Pinky McKay (10:15):

If I were a new mother. It would, you know, a lot of the things would really hurt. Whereas, you know, I'm an older woman I've been around. I know people don't necessarily agree with me and I really don’t mind. They can go somewhere else. You know, if they don't want to follow me, go away and find your place,

Carly Grubb (10:31):

Get that support that you want somewhere else. Yeah. And you go through waves of, I know for me having had the three babies while I've been, well, I wasn't talking publicly until after the second baby, but I know I've definitely had waves where I've had to bow out of speaking publicly about certain things, because I wasn't okay to handle the backlash that I knew would come my way. So I go quiet for a while and it's self-protection, but yeah, for Laura, hopefully she really is getting the support she needs in person to be able to handle the kind of onslaught she's copping online…

Pinky McKay (11:09):

Well she’s in the UK, isn’t she? She’s been in lock down. You know, she may not have that person to person contact, which again, for the last year, we've had a whole year of women not having in-person support, which is just devastating. My own daughter, my fourth daughter, she had her first baby in Dubai and he's nearly one, he’s going to be one in a couple of weeks and they're still in Dubai. And you know, they haven't been able to get back, but again, they've sort of stepped back because her husband, he's a pilot, and he's still got a job. So they have stayed, you know, they've stepped back because there are other people who need to come home sooner. We have our quotas here of who's allowed in the country and who's not, but you know, again, it's a very vulnerable time when you've had a new born and they were in lockdown, $50,000 fines if they went out of their house.

Pinky McKay (12:00):

So she had a C-section, she was having breastfeeding struggles, yeah, and Skype was illegal there at the time she had him, they brought in Zoom, eventually so we could do, so it was really difficult for her, but you know, she's enjoying her baby. She's beautiful Mum. She's very chilled. And I love seeing the fact that, you know, he's, he's putting his face in his food bowl or he's playing with the hose outside, you know, all the normal things that my kids would have done, you know, like she's relaxed into that mothering thing. And she said to me, I don't know why people would do controlled crying, it's so.. it would be so hard, you know, like she, it's not in her experience, so she wouldn't even consider it. But yeah. And I don't even think she's been pressured to, because she's probably to some extent isolated, but she's got a beautiful neighbour.

Pinky McKay (12:50):

That's got kids and the neighbour has a Filipino nanny who slept with all her babies and breastfeed them, she was telling me, oh, you would love her, Lisa, because she breastfed all her kids to, you know, three or four. So I told her, you did too. And I went, oh, that's, you know, just to have an occasional voice that says you can do something or you can take your kids into bed or whatever. It's just lovely to have those people with those voices to say those sorts of things. So yes, I tandem nursed those two, and then eight years later I had my bonus baby. And one of my daughters was there for the birth, my 11 year old, where she'd say to me “Mummy, he’s got brown hair!” because she was standing down at the midwives shoulder, when I had this baby. So yeah. And for her to have this beautiful water birth, and then my other daughter having a C-section because of the position of her baby, you know, he was transverse you know, very different experiences. And it's really about appreciating that every woman may have different experiences and they may affect her in different ways, too.

Carly Grubb (14:01):

Absolutely. The experience, the support around you and the way things, the ability to process what's happened. It all has a huge impact on the outcome really for, for the parent, like which whichever way it goes, whether it was planned or unplanned, whether it becomes, something that was traumatic…

Pinky McKay (14:19):

Yeah, because with my third pregnancy, I bled right up to seven months, with my third baby. But you know, it was in New Zealand. I had these beautiful friends who would pop around and, you know, might bring me kids, but one friend even, you know, came and cleaned my house was, I was, you know, resting because I was bleeding again. And I actually had a low line placenta and she cleaned my whole house, including my toilet, you know? And that's like, that'll someone will bring you a meal. You know? Whereas with my fourth baby, I didn't actually have any support. And I started bleeding at five months with her, and again, this lovely friend who started the La Leche League group with me, asked her church ladies, and she brought round meals and filled my freezer, which I just thought… these gestures, you never forget.

Pinky McKay (15:08):

I think, you know, if you can help another mother just with a meal or taking her toddler out. So she's got time with the baby, anything that you can manage, small, you know, or if someone helps you don't feel beholden when you ask for help, because you can pay it back down the track, or you might not pay back to that mother but you might pay it forward to another mother. So I think that's really important. Yeah. So when I had baby number 5, I had these teenagers, it was a completely different experience. And I had to pretend that I was still, I'd say, ‘oh no, he hasn’t finished yet’ when I was feeding him because the kids would take him, take my baby, and it was interesting watching them bond with, you know, because babies are supposed to bond with the primary caregiver, but he would, he just bonded with all of these kids in different ways.

Pinky McKay (16:03):

They were part of his village. So again, it's, it's a different, you know, you have that concept that they're going to bond with mum and everybody else is secondary, but no. And then when he got a bit bigger, you know, like closer to a year old, if they went out the door, he would cry, like he was going to miss his, he had separation anxiety for his older siblings where I'd be chopped liver ‘cause I was just the lady at home with the boobs.

Carly Grubb

I was going to say you're the boob lady. Of course.

Pinky McKay

I was just the food,

Carly Grubb (16:34):

A true allo-parenting kind of experience, but actually with siblings because of the age range. Yeah. That's, that's very special when you hear of allo-parenting experiences like that, where you can see how that could work to everyone's favour. It's obviously not how it works out for everybody, but yeah, there's certainly a very strong benefits to all involved. Really, if you have that kind of arrangement going on.

So tell me with all of your babies. Would you, did you have anywhere you would say you had actual sleep struggles? So obviously you were co-sleeping breastfeeding from the start. Was there anything…?

Pinky McKay (17:12):

Oh, hell yes.

Carly Grubb:

Tell us about it. Tell us about it.

Pinky McKay

My earliest, my second baby, my first baby was still waking up when I had the second one. So I had said to my husband, look, when he, you know, he was a two year old and, and I said to my husband, look, if I'm feeding the baby, can you, you know, you look after the other child, well, my husband slipped like big fat log. And I remember kicking him, kicking him in the back, you know and  I'm feeding the baby. And he said and he's going ‘urgh’. So I bought both kids into bed with us at that point. Just thought, look, just, you both have to be in my bed because I can't manage any other way. And yeah. So which baby? I think it was one of the babies, you know, my husband a while, because in the beginning it was very much, you know, ‘this is our marital bed and we shouldn't have children in the bed’, blah, blah, blah. I said, well, okay, if you don't want a kid in the bed for the, sleep in the spare room, because I can't manage or otherwise you get up at night, which he didn't. So, you know, it all worked out, he got educated and he didn't really care. And then it got to one of the babies I was in labour and they brought in a cot into the delivery room and he said to the midwife, she's not going to let you put the baby in there.

Carly Grubb (18:33):

He knew who you were by then.

Pinky McKay (18:35):

Yeah. So with my second baby at eight weeks, that big fat baby, who would cluster feed believe it or not, he actually started sleeping an eight hour block. And I just, because I had felt so with that first baby, I had gone to my local GP, I went to play group with his wife, and I said to him, it was one of my antenatal check-ups, and I said to him, look, this kid is still waking up all night. Can you give me something to help him sleep? Because mothers were dosing their kids with Phenergen back then, and he just looked at me and said, “look, if it's any consolation, none of our kids slept before that, you know, slept through the night, you know, a decent chunk until they were over two”, and I was like, bugger you, you can't even help me! And I walked out of there because I was tired. I still had this toddler breastfeeding and I was pregnant, you know, and I, and he was quite a wakeful child. And I walked out of there thinking, why doesn't he, you know, where's the help? And then I went, it was like, I had this revelation that, but he's a doctor! He's God! And he can't make his kids sleep! so it's not all my fault. So, you know, it just sometimes it's, it doesn't matter, you don't have to give that person a solution. You actually need to normalise what's going on for them.

Carly Grubb (19:54):

If only that happened more often for more people. That's not usually what happens. So it's… once again, how lucky are you? It seems to me like a lot of these crucial points, you seem to just hit the right person.

Pinky McKay (20:04):

Yeah. I hit the right person. Yeah. It was really lucky. So, you know, and his GP clinic, there were toys everywhere all over the floor. It was hilarious, you know, you'd walk in and step over the toys. And yeah, so it was quite

Carly Grubb

A true family clinic.

Pinky McKay

A true family clinic. Yes. And so with sleep issues? Yes. So the second child was great until about six months old. I thought, yay. You know, it's not my fault. I've got a child who sleeps eight hours at eight weeks. Well at six months old that child slept eight hours in any 24! really changed. He went to bed at like six o'clock at night. He was up from midnight ready for the day. And I was just a bloody zombie because I already had this other child who was, you know, two and a half and full on. And yeah, but he was still having daytime naps, my two and a half year old where the other child, there was no naps about it. Full on every moment he was awake. And yeah. So, no I've had my fair share. I don't think any of them were really what you'd call great slippers. But I think the earliest to sleep a decent chunk was eight weeks and the longest was about four and a bit years before.

Carly Grubb (21:20):

And that was pretty much the same kid. He did both

Pinky McKay

It was the same kid, yeah!

Carly Grubb

Fascinating. And so, so just because I'm just looking at time, we're getting close to the end of this one, but I realised we haven't really talked about day sleep. How did you handle day sleeps in your house?

Pinky McKay (21:37):

Well, actually for quite a while, with the older ones, I would have an afternoon quiet time. Like I say, my second one didn't have any day sleeps. Yeah. And I would tuck myself into, into bed with the, you know, his brother I would sit with him, read him a story and he'd have a nap. So I could, you know, I always stayed with them as they were falling asleep and I would tuck into bed. I would black out the curtains. I would put him on the boob and he would snuggle down and have that boob and then pop his little head up. And I thought I was going to breastfeed him to sleep. And he just didn’t. So, you know, and they all breastfed to sleep until my, my third child wouldn't breastfeed to sleep like she did initially, you know, but by about 10 to 12 weeks, this child didn't sleep. Well, even younger, I would put her in a carrier and rock her asleep, but she didn't breastfeed to sleep.

Pinky McKay (22:32):

And I think by the time I got to the third child and I'd had two big fat boys, I think my milk supply and capacity was more than she needed. She wasn't, I actually had a health nurse write on her book, ‘poor weight gain’. And she looked at me and told me, “you know, her brain won't grow”.

Carly Grubb:


Pinky McKay:

And I felt, lucky that was my third child, you know, because I just went, “okay, what would I do if I was on a desert island with no clocks and no scales?”, I would just go desert island theory and feed her when she wanted to be fed. But she would come off the breast, put her thumb in her mouth, and I remember a friend thought that she was, you know, self-mothering. Cause I was so busy with my third child. So this child was,

Carly Grubb:

Didn’t quite get how it works…

Pinky McKay

Yeah, she was self-mothering by putting her thumb in her mouth.

Pinky McKay (23:20):

But, I mean, she was in my arms. She would come off the breast and put her thumb in her mouth and suck for comfort. But by the time she started crawling, she stopped sucking her thumb anyway, because both hands were busy. It didn't matter. But no, and one day I was rocking her because with two big boys running around, you know, I've got similar family ages as you have with your first three. Haven't I? and yeah, you've got two big brothers revving around. There's a lot of noise around the place and you're trying to get this baby settled so she can have a nap. Cause you know, she's tired and she's getting grizzly, and so I was rocking her and cuddling her and carrying her. And she was just restless. She didn't want a boob. I was offering her the boob, all those things that would have put, my other children to sleep and I needed to go to the toilet.

Pinky McKay (24:09):

So I popped her down in the bassinet, which she only ever slept in in the daytime, and went to the toilet and came back and she was lying there, looking at her hands. But as soon as I put her in that bassinet, it was like a whole tense little body relaxed. Like ‘thank goodness that woman in her breasts have got out of my face’.

Carly Grubb:

I'm good here.

Pinky McKay:

Yeah. She's leaving me alone. And when I came back, she was watching her hands and I thought ‘just see what she does’. And she just talked to her hands and fell asleep. So I had one self-settler out of five.

Carly Grubb (24:42):

And it just takes a bit of experimenting. Isn't that thing though, Hey, like it's okay to try stuff. Like, you know, sometimes people feel like they shouldn't do certain things. It's like, no, no, no. It's okay. Like if they’re restless pop them down and you know, they'll quickly let you know if this is not working for them, you can trust that. They'll communicate that to you. And you might just find that this is what your little person does. Certainly not my ones, but I've, I've seen babies who do that too. So yeah, I would definitely

Pinky McKay (25:13):

Yeah, around 4 months, you know, often babies will, you know, three to four months, once they've bought through that first trimester often just giving them the opportunity and they will go to sleep. It's just, you know, it's quite gobsmacking for Mums who've always nursed them to sleep, always cuddled them to sleep, you know, rocked or cuddled or fed or worn these babies down, and then when they give them the opportunity and there's been no training, no forcing, no pressure. And these kids will lie there and go to sleep. And maybe not every time, but sometimes they will.

Carly Grubb (25:46):

That's right. And it's sort of, I guess, it's that thing, isn't it, it's that trust and confidence that you can adjust what you're doing at any time to suit you and your baby, really. So it's not an it baby, really, once again, like I know with my three, they've all been very quick to let me know when something's not working for them and you can always scoop them straight back up and put them on the boob if that is actually what they ended up needing. But yeah. Yeah. There you go. So that was third baby. And then fourth baby, how did you handle naps with her?

Pinky McKay (26:15):

Well, I had two of them. So I often used to just sit up on the double bed and read a story to the three-year-old while I breastfeed the baby and we’d all lie down and have a nap together. Three-year-old didn't necessarily have a nap, but she could, you know, at least I was resting. I wasn't really having a nap because I had older children too, you know, and they'd come home from school or whatever they were doing, but, you know, and I was actually home-schooling through some of that period too. So I home-schooled for about 10 years. So then there were lots of kids around. Yeah, so I just would lie on the big bed and breastfeed someone to sleep and we'd all have a nap together. And that was what I did or they would have, the baby would have a nap while I read stories to the other one or sometimes we'd draw pictures and like the big drawing pads from the $2 shop and some crayons, crayons don't stain like textas and might draw some pictures with the older child.

Pinky McKay (27:09):

But once your baby got to distracting age, yeah, sometimes you did that. And then when I minded my grandchildren, I couldn't get them to have an afternoon nap I had two toddlers. And they were both supposed to have afternoon naps, well they did for their mothers. Yeah. And one day hopping into bed with them in the middle and you know, one's on one side and she's holding her bottle and the other one's there and you know, reading the stories or something, then all of a sudden one will pop up to the other and go, boo!, And I thought ‘this isn’t working!’ So I took them to a local nursery where they, I had to buy them a pot, put a pot plant on the trolley for them because they were picking heads off it. And then when we got back in the car, I said, oh, well they've had a little outing, they'll probably fall asleep in the car. So there's two car seats in the back of my car and I'm thinking, and I looked in the mirror and someone would be almost dozing off in the other one would go “ho! Rosie”

Pinky McKay (28:08):

No, they talk to each other and you just go, this isn't going to work. And I felt really guilty that I’d got these kids for the day, I was minding them every day because my daughter was tutoring at Uni and my daughter-in-law was studying. And you know, it worked that they were both at my daughter's place that we had both these kids and they just didn't have an afternoon nap. And I said to the girls “I'm really sorry, they haven't had a nap” You know, the one that was going home in the car and said, you know, she's probably gonna fall asleep in the car at four o'clock. They said, don't worry about it, Mum. You know, it's okay, it’s only one day. I was thinking, what if I've messed it up for them? But I couldn’t get these two little tykers to go to sleep.

Pinky McKay (28:47):

Whereas when they were younger, you know, Rosie was about eight months and I'd pop her in a cot, and she put her arms up to me and I'd just rock her and sing to her and Rufie would sit on the floor and wait, cause he was, you know, a two year old and then I'd just put her down and she'd sleep. So yeah, and with my own, I would either cuddle them to sleep, rock them to sleep, feed them to sleep, whatever, ‘till they were ripe old ages. And then they just gradually, you know, they cut from two sleeps down to one, so it would only be one sleep. And as long as they had a cuddle and a little story they were okay and they were calm and I guess they hadn't been left cry. So it wasn't a, you know, it wasn't an issue for them…


Carly Grubb:

Not a fearful experience.

Pinky McKay (29:30):

No. And I remember thinking when it was, it was about four. She was in her own bed and in her own room and I was in bed reading and she she'd been asleep for a few hours and she got up and padded out to the toilet, the house was dark except for my little bedside lamp, and I'd just been reading something about children being scared of the dark. And I said, “she's not scared of the dark”. She hadn't had a reason to be scared of the dark. Not saying that other children aren't scared. Children still goes through that stage. Even when they've been nurtured, you can still have children that get scared of the dark, but she just wasn't. And I thought, well, she hasn't had any fear during, it's not the dark. Yeah.

Carly Grubb (30:12):

It’s never been triggered that way for her. That's fan… It's so nice to hear too, especially I think because you've got the grand babies as well. So you kind of hear, like the full circle story of like the nurturing right through, and then how it looks when they become nurturers themselves as well. Which I think is, for people who are deep in the trenches, and even reminding people that, you know, things like naps, it's actually like a short period in your child's life where that's even a thing that they need naps. So all the work you put in to getting your child those day naps and whatnot, that's not the work you're going to be doing forever with them because it does. It just, it decreases down to nothing. They don't always, need that from you

Pinky McKay (30:54):

They just gradually don’t need a nap, I mean, some days they'll have a catch-up nap and they might have one for a few days, but if they're really tired and you can see that and you just have a cuddle and a story, they generally fall asleep. It doesn't have to be a big, a big worry about it. And if they, if they get to dropping those naps that are often up later at night and that's fine. And I never had children who went to bed at seven o'clock at night, it just didn't happen.

Carly Grubb (31:16):

This is another thing that isn't it? bedtimes and whatnot. It's a culturally driven thing. The idea that they need to be in bed by a certain time. Whereas it really varies very much from kid to kid and family to family, depending on what your routines in life look like, what your mornings look like and that kind of thing. So, but knowing that there's no hard and fast any of this stuff.

Pinky McKay (31:38):

No. And I mean, we, we sleep when we're tired and we have, some of us are night people. I mean, I'm more of a night person and not really a morning person. And I would think that, you know, if I could have a child that actually slept at seven, I actually taught my toddlers, number eight on the clock, so that if I was in bed feeding a baby and snoozing and they would go it's number eight, because number eight was a very easy number. It was two circles. And I would have a box of books next to the bed, you know, kids books. So they could hop in and they could read their books and stuff in the morning, but you know, it was number eight. And then as they got bigger I would leave, you know, drinks and things for them that they would, they would know it's number eight, you know, mom's in bed with the baby getting up. Yeah. And just waking up and I guess, look, I was very, very lucky. I did nursing work at the weekends, but I was very lucky that I didn't have to, you know, get up in the morning and race off to work

Carly Grubb (32:33):

Makes a big difference. I'll say. Now, I’m just looking at the time we're going to have to finish up. But I was wondering, do you have a tip that you'd like to share for this episode for families? What do you wish you could tell them?

Pinky McKay (32:43):

That it's okay. You've got nothing to prove. You know, it's okay to do you. If, if, if you can't manage everything in a day, it's all going to be there waiting for you when you get back to it. You know, we, we really need to dump some of this pressure. And I guess that everybody needs to know that it is hard. I think sometimes we look at other people and think that they've got things very easy, or even our own mothers. I had a chat yesterday with a lady in her shop and we were talking about how she said, “do you think we made mothering look easy for our kids? So their expectations aren't real because we were lucky enough, you know, to generally be home with those children?” You know? Cause I mean, if you've got to go to work, you can't have a nap during the day.

Pinky McKay (33:29):

That's just not on. And if you've got older children, you can't nap during the day because they could burn the house down when you're doing it. But you know, just that it is hard. So give yourself some grace because you are going to slip up, you're going to feel ratty. You're going to feel tired, crabby, you know, lack of sleep does that to you, but you have nothing to prove. So if you just want to go and have a nap, when you have a nap, when your baby has a nap, it's okay. And if you lie down with them, as long as you've got a safe space, that's perfectly okay too.

Carly Grubb (33:58):

Because just because things are hard, it doesn't mean you're doing it wrong, and I think that's something people sometimes get that feeling.

Pinky McKay (34:01):

No, it is hard and it's harder at the moment without that community around. You know, cause if you can have real life community, it's so much easier, not that anyone's helping you, you know, you don't need that physical help. You just need to know that you're okay and be affirmed that yes, my kid wakes up too and yes, I'm tired. You don't need advice. You just need to know that. Yes. It's you know, I'm so sorry you feel tired or gee it’s really, it's really hard for you right now. Just a bit of empathy. You don't need to, you just need to be acknowledged. You don't necessarily need someone to come and do things for you or you don't need to put your kids somewhere minded by someone else or anything, which you can't do at the moment anyway.

Carly Grubb (34:50):

And don't, I don't know if you've got help that can be in on hand, accept it as well. That's the thing too. It's no sign of, we were never meant to do it alone in the first place. So finding that you thrive more parenting your children with support, that's, that happens for a reason. It's not because you weren't coping on your own. You're meant to have support. That's meant to be part and parcel so that you can also meet your own needs as well. So at the moment when lots of people can’t…

Pinky McKay (35:16):

Yeah, and there's such a big push to be coping and to be independently coping, and you know, a lot of people blame social media, but way back in the fifties, there were… I remember watching as a kid watching, what was it, Leave it to Beaver, and the mothers always had their high heels on and their beautiful dresses and their hair all done while they were, you know, being homemakers, and so that must have been, you know, there's always been this pressure of whoever the perfect mother is and I think “there's no perfect”.

Carly Grubb (35:47):

It's only you and you're doing the best you can and we're all just doing the best we can and there's… whatever you're seeing on the surface, guaranteed. There's a whole lot more detail, and mess beneath.

Pinky McKay (36:01):

There’s tears and teatowels everywhere somewhere.

Carly Grubb (36:02):

And there's beauty amongst it as well. It doesn't have to be pitch perfect to be precious time with your family, but you also don't need to enjoy every minute of it for that, to be the case either.

Pinky McKay (36:12):

And if you are up at night, one thing that used to help me if I was up at night, I would think that out there, there were other mothers all over the world with perhaps with their lights on too. Or maybe if I didn't turn the light on, but I used to just think, I remember thinking we were sisters in the night.

Carly Grubb (36:30):

I love the idea of that. And there's that beautiful meme from Common Wild, where there's all the little houses with their lights on all around when you're feeling so alone…

Pinky McKay (36:39):

Yes, I actually wrote an article on that once, I've got to find it somewhere because we didn't have computers, but I think it's in a scrapbook somewhere. I actually wrote an article called  “Sisters in the Night” when my kids were little.

Carly Grubb (36:47):

I love the idea that yes, please find it and make sure you share it with us when you do. Anyway, I'm going to say thank you very much Pinky, because we're going to wrap the episode up, but thank you so much for sharing your story. I think there's a whole lot of value in people hearing how people have come full cycle and that there's such fear sometimes in that you're living in a time warp, but really time passes. It doesn't wait for anyone. And one day you'll be okay.

Pinky McKay (37:13):

It passes but it transfers back and forwards because I have a grandson who my son and daughter-in-law put a, sorry to push you a bit further, but they had put an extension on their house. So they moved from their bedroom next to the kids, up to the other end of the house and my granddaughter boards from Monday to Friday at the school that she's at. And so of course, little Bob was on his own in his bedroom, well he crept up into John and my Jack's bedroom, tops and tails. He just jumps into bed up there. You know, this is, this is a 10 year old, just for a dag. And he saw a spider and Jackie’s laughing, saying “he saw a spider about three minutes ago”. I don't know how big that spider was, but they'd started to call him uncle Joe, you know, Grandpa Joe! from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Carly Grubb (38:03):

So plugging in the end of the bed. I love it. No, that's gorgeous, and  I think that's also like, I love the idea that when, my, my kids get to teens. If they have worries in the night that they still feel like they can come to Mum and Dad and not lay there on their own. So I feel like that's something that I hope they, that they know that we’ll be there for them

Pinky McKay (38:19):

Well something I found my kids as teens would do. If I walked past my bedroom and they were lying on our bed during the daytime, they'd just, it was like they went back to that place where they had had comfort as young children and instead of lying on their own beds, they'd be lying on our bed. And I knew that I needed to go and sit with them and see what was going on, yeah.

Carly Grubb (38:39):

Thank you so much, Pinkie. It's been an absolute pleasure talking to you. I hope everybody really enjoys listening to this episode. And if you've got any extra information you'd like to hear about I'll be dropping some links to Pinky's books in our show notes so that you can read more. If you'd like to read more, where else can we find you Pinky?

Pinky McKay (38:59):

I've got a Facebook page, an Instagram page. Yeah, we've actually started a YouTube channel. It's under Booby Foods because I also have you know, foods for breastfeeding moms. So yeah, there's, there's a YouTube channel with lots of little tips, but if you go onto my Instagram there's little videos or my Facebook page. Yeah. Just keep on sharing support really.

Carly Grubb:


Pinky McKay:

But yeah, I've got books and I've got recorded interviews, but I'd say the books are probably something you can dig in.

Carly Grubb (39:34):

Out of all of your books (Holds up “Sleeping like a Baby”, Pinky McKay), this is my favourite.. I wish I'd read this book first ahead of all other of the crap that I read around baby sleep. If I just pick that one up. But no, that one came to me much later, unfortunately. But I recommend it to everybody who's having babies and I have bought

Pinky McKay (39:55):

“Sleeping Like a Baby”

Download the free first chapter of 'Sleeping Like a Baby' Here

Carly Grubb (39:56):

Yes, Sleeping Like a Baby. I have, I have my sister-in-law's…yeah, I'm just realising it's a podcast, I'm holding up a picture of the book, it's Sleeping Like a Baby… And yeah, it's, it's like the book that I've given to many friends and family who were having their first babies as their baby shower gifts. Because I just, ah, if people are going to have books on their shelves, I know that might not read it in that lead up, but know if they're having a struggle just to know that that might be the book that they pick up and go, oh, actually, and they get the reassurance that they, they need and deserve.

Pinky McKay (40:32):

They’re on Audible as well, my books are also available on Audible, so that makes it much easier. You know, you can put your earplugs in and listen while you’re feeding baby or whatever..

Carly Grubb (40:43):

Great! A range of formats, but thank you very much. And thank you for being able to be the strong voice that so many of us needed when we were doubting ourselves. Thank you, Pinky.

Pinky McKay (40:52):

Thank you for having me.

Carly Grubb (40:54):

I really hope you enjoyed the podcast today the information we discussed was just that information only it is not specific advice if you take any action following something you've heard from our show today it is important to make sure you get professional advice about your unique situation before you proceed whether that advice is legal, financial, accounting, medical or any other advice. Please reach out to me if you do have any questions or if there's a topic you'd really like us to be covering and if you know somebody who'd really benefit from listening to our podcast please be sure to pass our name along also check out our free peer support group the beyond sleep training project and our wonderful website If you'd like even more from the show you can join us as a patron on Patreon and you can find a link for that in our show notes if listening is not really your jam we also make sure we put full episode transcripts on our little sparklers website for you to also enjoy and fully captioned YouTube videos as well on our Little Sparklers channel so thanks again for listening today we really enjoy bringing this podcast to you. 

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