Deeper Into My Life


Good morning everyone!

Today I am opening up about the real reason why I joined Instagram and my experiences so far. It will probably be a long read but I would also love to open up the discussion so you can express your feelings in a non judgemental environment if desired.

Here is a bit of background info so everything makes sense. Hubby and I live a fifo (fly in fly out) lifestyle in Perth. Shaun has been working fifo for most of our relationship. We have been together for almost 8 years, we got married in 2013 and 2 weeks later Chet was conceived. Prior to maternity leave I was working as an interior design consultant. The company I was employed with specialises in designing, furnishing, installing and styling display homes, so my job was very creative.

I have always had a personal account (which lies dormant now) but I created @oh.eight.oh.nine shortly after Chet was born. Initially I created it because of a comment made to my husband about baby spamming. However deep down I knew that it was not the whole reason why.


When Chet was born on (oh eight oh nine – 08.09.2014) it was the most amazing day of my life. My heart was exploding with love. So. Much. Love! For both Shaun and the perfect little human we had created. Our tiny little darling had a full head of black hair, sucked his bottom lip, had a permanent frown crease on the bridge of his nose and looked of Asian decent. I was on cloud nine. How can life get any better? He was (and still is) the light of my life.

Then the dreaded baby blues set in. It was a scary time, tears stroll down my face right now thinking/ reliving it while writing this. I wanted to give this baby boy the best of everything but how could I do that when I had no idea, no experience and no confidence? I remember breaking down every time someone asked me these three words, “how are you?” I would reply, “good,” with tired eyes full of tears and then get told, “aww, it gets easier.” I thought at the time, it’s not going to get easier… My husband leaves for work in 2 weeks and I will be alone… I crumbled every time I thought about being on my own. I had plenty of friends and family to help but inside I felt like I would struggle doing it “by myself.”

So the week before Shaun left for work I told him that I needed to try and do everything by myself (as if he was at work already.) This helped me build a lot of confidence while still having emotional support from Hubby. A week came too quickly and I said a teary goodbye to my man. I drove off, with more tears (so many tears and hormones in the first few weeks) but I felt somewhat confident to mother our baby solo for the next two weeks.

The nights were hard and I could sense that if I didn’t make some drastic changes to our day-to-day life I was going to slip into a dark place, and fast because I was already feeling flat since giving birth.


I had to put some positive vibes back into my day and also take some ‘me time’ to revitalize when Chet was napping. I brainstormed some things that make me happy…. you heard right… me!!! I figured if I am not feeling great, Chet could sense it and then we’re both at a loss.

Some things on my list were friends and family, interiors, photography, fashion, reality tv, renovation shows, creating, designing, styling and of course my husband (but he was at work.) I had my friends over regularly and I started watching trashy television series instead of those boring infomercials and sex ads on at midnight. My go to series were the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and Vanderpump Rules. I know it sounds really lame but these got me through the tough nights (as well as the sight of our beautiful boy attached to my breast, feeding.)

Now to the day I joined Instagram as @oh.eight.oh.nine . I remember watching a renovation show during the day, with Julia Green from Greenhouse Interiors on television and she recommended some stores on instagram. I signed up this new account and started following the stores she recommended. I purchased some bits and bobs for Chet’s room and I remember how excited I was about discovering this virtual world I’d never known about. I also entered competitions and participated in loop giveaways to discover new brands and try my luck at winning a prize.

I could feel my mind becoming less gloomy and more glittery. I wasn’t focusing on the lack of sleep I had, instead when Chet napped, I would style and photograph a vignette of one of my new purchases.. Don’t get me wrong I thoroughly enjoyed when Chet was awake and being his every need but I also looked forward to the tiny bit of ‘me time’ once a day. I noticed a huge difference in Chet’s behavior and he started sleeping through the night from 3.5 weeks old. Coincidence? Maybe. Maybe not- who knows.


So that was how it all began…

Now to my journey of being an instagrammer over the past 20months. It has been a blessing in countless ways. I have started a business, created an income so that I can stay home with Chet, made many amazing friendships, met one of my now best friends (Emelie, that’s you girlfriend,) been featured in a few magazines and articles, scored front cover of Adore Magazine, styled for some incredible small businesses as well as some national retailers, and the list goes on. But, yes there is a big but… I can now see that it has put some pressure on my marriage and I have also had conversations with other women who are experiencing the same thing.

I love my husband so damn much; I always have and always will. Anyone who knows me can second how much I adore him but the pressures of running a business with a baby/toddler, responding to emails, invoicing, maintaining my instagram account, replying to questions and comments in general have slowly taken a toll. It is so time consuming and to make everything harder I do not style or photograph anything when Chet is awake (unless he wants to sit down by himself and watch the wiggles.) This often means that I am up until midnight most nights packing orders and replying to emails. I try to ‘do less’ when Shaun is home but I can see that he feels neglected… and that thought alone breaks my heart.


Balance is such a hard thing to master and I certainly have a lot of work to do in that department. I would love to know how you managed to get a good balance between mum/wife/life/work. Is it even possible? Because to me it seems like I’ve been trying to find one for the past 2 years with no success. I guess life is an experience, a journey and I feel blessed to have Shaun and Chet in my life to call my family- my team!

We have to remember that instagram is a social media platform where images are carefully curated to display the most beautiful moments in our homes and lives.

Behind the facade and in plenty of homes behind closed doors there are soggy clothes in the washer from 3 days ago, unmopped floors, people suffering mentally, relationship breakdowns and everything else in between. I think it’s important to remember that your actions have implications on others and in my case I need to show my husband more often how much I really do love and appreciate him.

I’ll say goodbye with a few more tears and a heartfelt thank you for all your support in helping make my instagram journey (mostly) enjoyable. Feel free to openly discuss your experiences below- positive or negative – we’re all imperfect humans striving for love and happiness.

Much Love

T x



Published by

Tarina Lyell

Just an ordinary, creative girl who is interior obsessed and crazy about her little family.

15 thoughts on “Deeper Into My Life

  1. Beautiful words babe! I feel so much the same as you (minus the Chet part – I’m so busy I don’t feel I could do that too I’m too scared) I started my account when I was deeply depressed, unemployed and lost my eyesight – and look at us now! You are so right to open up about this – we all put too much pressure on ourselves and something always have to give xx


  2. Love your transparency. Thank you for that. Balance is something that’s a daily battle for most of us. I’m on my 4th baby so I know how hard this is. I try to do styling in the daytime, but mostly it doesn’t happen. For me, Instagram is a fun outlet. And yes, whoever believes that life is as beautiful as the Instagram pictures they see, are sorely mistaken. All we can ask of ourselves is that we do our very best as moms and not put too much pressure on ourselves to be perfect. Because we aren’t. ☺️….what I’ve realized the most is that as your kids grow up, what they’ll remember the most was, “were my parents there? Were they present? Did they want to be with me?” The toys, the material things, the messes…all of that won’t matter in the long run. You are an awesome mumma.


  3. My two are playing in the garden so I took a moment to read this and cried because it’s so true to me. Both mine were prem and tiny and very demanding I went back to FT work too early seeking normality but all I found was guilt and exhaustion. I started my IG aselizaslept so I could share some creativity of our new build developing into a home posting only whilst Eliza napped and it wasn’t long until or home was on the cover of Your Home and Garden in NZ and I began styling and brand repping. It’s still very small I still work FT and my children have grown in that time but without that outlet I would have lost myself. So I get this and feel empowered reading your journey so thank you xxxxxxxxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Tarina, thank you for being so candid. I am a first time mother and like you, suffered from post partum depression after giving birth to my sweet baby, Everleigh. I felt so much guilt for feeling panic stricken if I was left alone with her or feeling regret at having a baby because it changed my routine. I couldn’t stop crying for no reason and felt scared when I had to leave her to go food shopping and felt great anxiety knowing I had to go back to work. There were so many ups and downs emotionally. I was happy that I finally had the baby I wanted for so long but there were times I was scared that this little baby depended on me 100%. I felt trapped. After 6 months I started feeling better but still experience anxiety from time to time. Thank you again for sharing and being so open on IG. I love seeing your beautiful IG posts and pics of your Chet! Xoxo!


  5. My situation is similar without the success of a business (congrats on that though! What an accomplishment ❤️). My hubby is FIFO and I developed PND after he went back to work and I struggled to adjust as a primary caregiver to a new baby with reflux. Every day was harder than the last and I couldn’t see any light at the end of the tunnel. I hesitantly starting taking anti depressants after one morning of pure torture where my daughter who was 4 months old at the time had been crying for over an hour non stop and no matter how much I rocked and shushed her she wouldn’t stop. I was sitting in front of her and there was a pillow beside her and my head flashed to places I will never speak about but I’m sure you can imagine. At that moment I got up off the floor and took my first tablet and booked an appointment with a physiologist. I then started writing a journal and would read over it when ever I needed reminding of how far I’d come. One of my biggest mummy blogger idols I found on inst (and was a friend of a friend) actually encouraged me to start a blog, something I never thought I could do, so I did. I haven’t got a huge following but that was never the intention. It has helped me more than I could ever explain, it helped me release my thoughts and share my experiences instead of letting it all stack up in my head. It has bought me out of such a dark place and I’m inspired each and every day reading other bloggers and Insta bloggers stories and sharings. Instagram is an incredible platform and is filled with so many beautiful, amazing, supportive and likeminded people. What did we do before it?!?


  6. Just a practical suggestion, you could always put your son into daycare of some sort one day a week? Then you either have a full day to work or a full day to spend with your hubby when he’s home. My partners fifo, and I work part-time so when we feel disconnected I take a day off while our son is at daycare and it’s lovely. Xo


  7. Thanks for sharing Tarina and for being so honest. Like sooo many new mum’s I joined Insta when my daughter was about 3 weeks old and it helped hugely to avoid that awful lonely feeling when feeding in silence in the dark at 3am. I almost looked forward to night feeds because of the excitement of discovering new pages to follow – yours was one of the first when you had about 3k followers… Along with all the beautiful visuals on Insta I found it so relieving to read posts, such as this one, of mothers sometimes struggling to cope but sharing ways to get through it – it was almost like therapy and made realise that those days of saying to myself ‘I can’t do this!!’ were actually totally normal!!! Thanks again and congrats on all your success to date. Roisin (Ireland)


  8. Gorgeous post love. I love all the gorgeous visuals and the inspiration insta gives me. I never joined insta to meet friends – I did that via blogs when I was struggling with IVF but social media in any form provides an amazing avenue to reach out and meet like minded people. It’s true you need to find balance but it seems you’ve found your niche / calling and it’s a way of maintaining that without losing all the rest!!


  9. Oh man. Same same over here. Even to the point of trying to do it all by myself the week before my husband went back to work when Lennox was two weeks old. (Not FIFO, but big hours). By the end of the third week, after I punched myself in the head thanks to sleep deprivation, a reflux baby, constant crying and an inability to get him to sleep, I had the *big* breakdown I needed to shake myself into reality. My life before Lennox was in the Creative Arts so I’ve always been into Instagram and happened to come across your profile when designing the nursery, pre-baby. A while ago, back when my days were a little dark too, I read on one of your posts the reason why you started oh.eight.oh.nine and the moments you took for yourself to create vignettes. You inspired me to use those creative juices lying dormant but bubbling a away in the back of my mind just waiting to be unleashed while Lennox was sleeping to create my own kind of beautiful on Instagram. It’s crazy to think that while we have never met, you’ve played a part in my own motherly-happiness.


  10. Hello there! Your posts are beautiful and I enjoyed this blog. I can relate very closely to your thoughts and feelings.
    I’m in a similar situation but with three treasures in my life! 11,4 & 2. They are my world and my husbands too. It’s all about a balance and doing what works for you in my opinion. It might not be the ‘right’ way… But hey… We are our worst critics!
    I find Insta so inspiring most days but then on my upside down days I feel the opposite.
    Whatever works for you…
    You’re doing a great job in all the roles you play… I’m sure!
    Thanks for sharing.
    Kirstie (Brisbane)


  11. Thank-you for sharing Tarina, and being so honest, I think that in itself is so brave. This is all too familiar for me, as I too started a handmade business needing ‘me’ time due to caring for my son with autism. With the business, it grew so quickly and before I knew it I was working all hours into the night to keep up, then the was the maintenance of social media & emails, a website, custom orders etc. There was an excitement about it that filled a void, and empty feeling inside, but eventually all that brought me happiness, caused a breakdown in other areas, mostly my marriage & the home being neglected, something had to give. After 5 years I decided I could no longer continue & that I needed time off & a chance to rebuild all that was affected. This time away was great & I felt like life was normal again, I actually enjoyed being quiet & having free time. After a break, I decided to follow my life long dream & study Interior Design & although I am using Instagram as my platform, I’m not allowing it to take over my time, all is good if kept to a minimum. I am much feeling much better these days & that helps me keep that balance too. I’m sure you will follow your heart and do what you need for yourself & your family, most importantly is that you don’t have anyone making you feel guilty for your choices. We all need time for ourselves & this makes us better people, it’s just a matter of keeping it real.
    Take care lovely and thanks for all the beautiful photo’s you share with us, you are such an inspiration.


  12. Hi! I’ve been following you since my first loop (did I even know what a loop was? No!) But I kept liking and following until it brought me back to the beginning! In amognst those accounts, was yours. The first thing I noticed was how stunning you were and how cute Chet was and, your home…ugh! Man this chick must really have it together, Ima stay following her! Whenever I had a bad day with the children and it was impossible to squeeze in any “creative” me time I would sit at night looking through yours and a few others accounts for inspiration and gather the motivation to do some more styling and take photos for the next day. I’m a stay at home mother of 2 running a small business from home and have a hard time being apart from my children so, they are at home with me. Ridiculously, I work from 8pm nearly every night and make a point of slinking into bed by middnight. Does it take its toll? Yes! My boys have already linked me trying to answer emails to me getting frustrated with them for disruppting my thoughts. Its not a good cycle. How to juggle it all and keep the peace at home and everyone happy is the question on every Mothers lips! Some tips from my experience are – dedicate “no work” nights/days. That’s hard when messages are coming through from customers and you can hear the phone beep beeping for your undivided attention! I don’t work during the day. It can wait. Accept help from others (and this is a hard one for me!) My friend always offers to take my 2 year old out on shopping trips to give me a couple of hours to myself. The day I finally accepted I GOT SO MUCH DONE! Now hubby advise! Not every relationship is the same, but if I fully engage with him as soon as he walks in the door. Really ask about his day and get enthusiastic with him about his wins for the day, really hug him tight and give him my full attention with a massive smile on my face, basically give him the greeting I would hope for if I was gone all day/week, he’s pretty content and we both feel good about me getting stuck into the work for the night. Its not easy. The housework is rarely up to date and it’s now normal for everyone to dig through piles of unfolded laundry on the couch for their clothes. Something has to give and my decision was housework over the kids and hubby. 😘😘😘


  13. Just popping by the blog for the first time but a regular to your IG account via social media accounts that I manage for others.
    Love your honest post….and believe me as a mum to 5 with the eldest being 18 and the youngest being 7 I can tell you that time really does go fast.
    Being that I work as a virtual assistant my suggestion was that perhaps that there are things you could outsource to help cut down your workload….whether it be household things like the cleaning or business related things like invoicing or social media posts or blog post scheduling etc…
    Wishing you luck in finding the balance for you xx


  14. This feels great to read because I just had a mini breakdown a couple of days ago when I was staring at my son sleep on my belly! I just started working and studying (again) and I’ve been having less time with my family and it’s breaking my heart. By the time I get home from work or class, my son is already tired from his whole day of fun and activities from daycare and I would be tired from work or class and then I still have to do some studying/assignments. My partner has been great and has been helping around the house more but I feel like I’m neglecting him (He also flies in and out every now and again). He’s been extremely understanding and supportive but I know I need to manage my time even better.

    Sundays are my only day off so I make sure I spend it with them, no distractions, no work and no studying until they both fall asleep (like now). I’ve been spending less time on social media ever since too because I find it the biggest time waster in my life.

    I hope you find the balance you seek xox.
    I wish you and your family well.


  15. So much truth. As my small interiors company turns one today I am reflecting on how I got here and setting new goals. Like you I needed “me time” and an outlet for my creativity having had to stop working as a stylist to raise my son — who I have waited for way to long to have in my life.

    I adored and reveled in being mom I was fortunate to not go through any postpartum depression, but I knew I needed to keep the creative juices going because someday this teeny weeny, 5lb bundle of joy would be off to school and leave me on my own. That’s part of why and how I started YouthfulNest.

    As you say it’s hard enough to raise a child with out a spouse feeling neglected, throw in a new business on top of that and boy do things get hairy. My husband has been my biggest supporter by far, but we both have had those moments, days, weeks when we can feel our lives out of balance. We talk and start anew. There is not much else to do except try our bests and continue to listen to ours and each other’s needs.

    Continued success to you!


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