Raising Will


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21 things a stay-at-home parent might like to know…

A friend of mine recently made the decision to take on SAHM duties full time and asked me for advice. ME! *laughing* I was flattered, but seriously – does any stay-at-home parent have any real clue about what the hell they’re doing?

But seeing as I’m apparently “a master at meal plans and budgets” *more laughing* and thought of by at least one other person as someone that could give advice on being a SAHM *more laughing*, I’ve put together a list of 21 things a stay-at-home parent of young children might like to know. Here goes…

1. You will have more housework to do just from the fact that you and your kids are home all day. More tidying. More dishes. More washing. You may not do it, but it will be there. Unless you have a housekeeper, in which case – send them to my house.

2. No matter how awesome you are, ‘painting’ will always be a pain in the butt to set up for the three minutes that your toddler wants to paint for. So just do it anyway. Their joy is worth it.

3. Online shopping is your friend. As is chocolate, wine and COFFFFEEEE.

4. Buy. All. The. Snacks.

5. Making muffins with your two year old is an experience no parent should miss.

6. One sink of dishes will take ALL DAY to finish, by which time you’ll have another sink of dishes to do. If you can, buy a dishwasher.

SAHM Adventures I

Finally napping | Masking-tape train tracks | There’s a screamy baby on the other side of that door

7. Stickers are the best invention for that one/two/three/four hours of terror that is dinner time. Give your toddler a piece of paper and let them go nuts. Also good is a handful of pipe cleaners and a colander. Simple things.

8. Prepare as much of dinner as you can early on in the day. Slow cookers are fantastic.

9. Buy more snacks.

10. Attempt to set up a safe area outside, so when your kids are going mental you can just show them the door. Add chalk and winner winner chicken dinner.

11. Sleeping when the baby sleeps is an urban legend. Add any number of other children to your equation and you will laugh in the FACES of the people that make this suggestion.

Sleep when the baby sleeps.

Sleep when the baby sleeps…. NOT!

12. Have a stash of little toys hidden to take on outings with you. The ‘new factor’ may just buy you the three minutes you need to ask the shop assistant about that beautiful sequinned dress in the window where are all the freakin’ twin-seater trolleys!? Snacks also work in this fashion. Related: Buy more snacks.

13. Meal Plan. It will save you time and money. I use this one from Kikki.K. Also, write shopping lists – whether you shop online or in-store, with children gallivanting around you will ALWAYS forget something, especially without a list.

14. Secure all your bookshelves to the wall. Nothing will prepare you for the horror of your two year old on its top shelf.

SAHM Adventures II

Washing. Never. Ends. | Painting FTW | Beware the Nap Of Doom!!

15. Get your hands on children’s movies.

16. A steam mop makes me feel so much better about my floors. Do yourself a favour and get one if you have tiles. THE BEST at dissolving all manner of sticky.

17. Try to make your own muesli bars, give up and then buy more snacks.

18. Try and leave the house/kitchen in a state of tidy before you go to bed. You will feel much better about things when you wake up in the morning and can get to the wine coffee without having to move last night’s toast-for-dinner-mess out of the way.

19. Get in the habit of always putting a load of washing on before you go to bed at night, and hanging it out/putting in the dryer when you wake up.

20. Try your damnedest to get to bed at/before 10pm each night. Everything will seem better after a good nights rest.

21. Cuddle your children often. It will keep you from selling them to gypsies.

Get Mum's Attention...

The Truth.

Now I KNOW this list won’t apply to everyone. And just in case you are one of THOSE people that feel like high-horsing it to the comment section, in the words of Adam Hills, ‘Don’t be a dick’. Us SAHPs need a laugh – and if we can’t laugh we have to drink/eat/run. And seeing as I don’t run, well, that just spells danger for my health. So, refrain from soap-boxing in this instance, puh-lease.

On the other-hand, if you’re after some other great bloggy advice for being at home with your cherubs, I confidently point you in the direction of Picklebums, The Organised Housewife, Mummy Musings and Mayhem, A Little Delightful and Patchwork Cactus. Some awesome resources for play (or if you just like to dream of buying all manner of crafty/toy/fun goodness) can be found at Educational Experience. For recipes to get the nutritious stuff into your babes, check out Annabel Karmel and Vegie Smugglers.

And if all else fails, you can sometimes get wine delivered with your groceries. Just sayin…..

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Think Again Mama: A Letter to Myself

Dear me,

I see November 2013 is rolling around and you are getting that itch. That hankering for the ovary-tingling smell. That uncontrollable urge to hold ALL the babies. That sly glance at assorted newborn-sized cuteness. That desire for an uncomplicated little bundle who’s needs are so simple. That thought of proferring your uterus to a wriggly tenant on a nine month lease…..

STOP!

Stop right there Missy!

I give you Exhibit A:

Screamy Baby

Screamy Baby

And Exhibit B:

Tantrumming Toddler

Tantrumming Toddler

And through your newborn-coloured glasses you may not remember the following:

1. At least four weeks of house-bound pain and invalid-ness;

2. Two hours of sleep a night if you’re lucky;

3. Boobs the size and weight of the bag full of nappies you have to lug out to the bin every three hours;

4. Being tethered to a little person who demands you frequently otherwise SCREAMY happens;

5. Always being 30mins late…. ALWAYS;

6. Waving to the wine bottle as it passes;

7. Fashion dictated by whether or not you can get your boobs out quick enough;

8. Unless you want it stretched, broken or eaten – no fancy-schmancy jewellery;

9. Only taking a purse, phone and glasses for yourself in a 45kg bag of crap for everyone else;

10. Getting. Nothing. Done;

11. Stubbing your toe on various tractor-related sharp and pointy things;

12. Never going to the toilet alone….. EVER;

13. Having absolutely no idea whats wrong with the writhing screaming bundle in your arms;

14. Tantrums because the top fell off a sandwich or the juice is in the wrong cup;

15. Being drooled, spewed, weed and pooed on all within 3 minutes;

16. Wearing the drool-spew-wee-poo clothes for four days because the washing machine is running overtime washing kidlet clothes;

17.  Killer back-ache from leaning over the bath/cot/couch/floor/car and under the bath/cot/couch/floor/car – yes! Under the bath!

18. More Peppa Pig, Wiggles, Play School and Pingu than any sane, normal person should have to handle;

19. Always… ALWAYS being required to share half your meal;

20. And NINE MONTHS of feeling like a hungry whale that somebody perched atop two tree stumps and sent off in a V8 Supercar to drive up and down from Bright to Falls Creek at 80km/hr.

Yep! ALLLLLL that!

No –  I don’t want to see……

I said don’t show me!………..

Nooooooooooooo!

Can't handle the cute...

Can’t handle the cute…

Ah crap….. As you were.


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Getting happy after Baby

I had a hard time with the end of Xavier’s pregnancy and his birth. After ten weeks of crippling pelvic pain followed by nineteen hours of excruciating posterior labour followed by what felt like the world’s most traumatic c-section, let’s just say when I held my baby boy for the first time (three hours later thanks to his trip to Special Care) I was in a funny place.

And not funny ha-ha.

While I pottered around in my hospital room for the next ten hours in my clouded, funny state – a familiar feeling crept into my right shoulder. Not only was I dazed and confused, I was now in breath-taking pain thanks to a surgery complication the midwives refer to as ‘shoulder-tip’ pain (I’d also suffered this when I had Will – I knew no fun was coming my way any time soon). Caused by air pockets under the diaphragm referring pain into the shoulder blade – I was literally stopped in my tracks; couldn’t sleep; couldn’t move. As forty-eight hours of this came and went with about two winks of sleep and big fat dose of Pethidine, I somehow emerged with a  little champion breast-feeder. I still don’t know how I survived those first days to be honest. I’ve never felt so unlike myself…. ever.

There's a storm inside...

There’s a storm inside…

Unlike myself? That’s totally how it was. I was full of anxiety about my boys and how I was going to handle them. I was full of disappointment for not achieving the VBAC I had so desperately hoped for. I was full of vicious sarcasm for any midwife that rubbed me the wrong way. I was full of anger for the hospital and doctors that brought Xavier into the world while I screamed in terror at the feeling of all my insides being pulled out. I was full of fear about the thought of another pregnancy (yeah I know – why the HECK was I thinking about that!). If I’d been full of a colour it would’ve been dark, dark grey. I felt cheated, powerless, weak and scared. Not. Me. At. All.

And at the time, I knew this wasn’t me. It was a little surreal, like I was watching it happen to someone else and I was giving them advice about breastfeeding, breathing exercises, feeling grateful and thinking positive. It was as if I was floating above my body shouting ‘this will pass’. But alas, my body was determined to stay in the storm.

Then we came home from hospital. And I cried. A lot.

At Xavier’s four week check, the Maternal Child Health Nurse asked that stupid* question – ‘Are you OK?’…

I wasn’t OK…

I was not OK.

The problem I had wasn’t with my baby. The problem I had was with me and I realised I needed to deal with the dark grey that was clouding my brain.

At the very moment that I understood how serious my situation was becoming, I felt my floating self come down and walk next to me. It’s voice became stronger. Every time I caught myself being negative, my floaty self would sit on that negativity with sunshine blazing out its bum saying “You are ok; this was just something that happened; you are not a failure; forgive yourself”… There was a real internal struggle going on inside me and I’m sure when people weren’t looking, my two selves were literally wrestling each other.

Postnatal Depression Awareness Week

Postnatal Depression Awareness Week | Nov 18-24 | #bePNDaware

Next week is Postnatal Depression Awareness Week.  15% of women and 5% of men will be diagnosed with this condition in Australia this year, so it’s important that people are aware of the signs and have the confidence to seek the assistance they need. Whilst I wasn’t diagnosed with PND, had the MCH Nurse not confronted me about my feelings that day, this may’ve been a completely different post.

One of my favourite bloggers, Naomi at Seven Cherubs faced a true battle with Postnatal Depression. When I was in the dark, I watched Naomi’s vlog post here and identified with so much of what she had to say. Sometimes its the sharing of stories that can be the best therapy – knowing you’re not alone in your battle.

Looking back now from my place in the sun, I know which self won my battle. I’m so glad that the grey is all gone and I have accepted what happened to my body. I can get on with life. I can dream about another pregnancy  I can breathe. And when someone asks me “Are you OK?”, I can say “Why yes, thank you.”

* This is NEVER a stupid question!

Click Here to check out PANDA’s Fact sheet on Postnatal Depression

If you or someone you know needs help you can all the PANDA national helpline on 1300 726 306 or visit www.panda.org.au

**Part of the Postnatal Depression Awareness Week Blog Hop. Click on the link below to see all the amazing posts**



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Where’s the Milk MUM!: Part 2

For all you yummy mummies out there after the recipe I promised… first things first: Check out Raising Will’s Lactation Cookies! They’re like Anzac Biscuits for your boobs!

Secondly, wanted to update you all on last night’s effort to get Will sleeping again and not feeding non-stop. He had a good day yesterday, finally feeding semi-properly, so I was hoping last night would go off without a hitch.

Will’s Dad was under instruction to feed Will a bottle of water if he woke between 12am-3am, becasue if Will saw Mum, he was going to scream for boobies. At 2.30am, turned out, he screamed anyway. For an hour! Apparently the bottle is Voldemort’s evil twin and Will is Harry Potter… Arch Nemisises! So after deciding a sippy-cup of water would work better (which it did), Will finally got back to bed, whimpered to himself for 20 minutes and went to sleep – UNTIL 7.30AM!!!! Woot Woot **do a little happy dance** Normally I would expect him to wake at 5.00am in the case above.

So I hit today running faster than normal, spending it with my Mum, discovering a very elegant dress for my sister-in-law’s wedding, and topping it off with a fantastic Tupperware party at a friend’s place. Nothing like a bit of control to feel like you’ve got your life back!

Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding - Back on Track!


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Where’s the milk MUM!

I’ve been having a bit of trouble with young Will since we got back from Tassie. Not only did he get sick, he’s decided that he would rather feed through the night than during the day. When the sun was up there was tears and screaming and pulling and biting. Booooo I hear you all say! That’s right folks, three hourly feeds overnight do not a happy mummy make! Went to see our Maternal Child Health Nurse this morning and when I walked in her first comment was “Well Michelle, What’s up with you…? You look EXHAUSTED!”…. thank you Captain Obvious! I was exhausted. The night feeds were really taking it out of me.

We came up with the theory that Will had decided night-time was the best time to feed because he had my undivided attention; no distractions. So our plan is to feed in a ‘night-time-like’ scenario i.e. dark room, no noise, no distractions. So far, since this morning’s visit, it’s worked a treat. Will’s had three semi-fantastic feeds. We also decided this morning that my milk supply was running low; probably from a combination lack of sleep, stress from Will’s virus, and Will’s hap-hazard feeding. So I was sent on a mission to get some Weleda Tea. Now, I love Black Tea, but don’t like most herbal tea, so I wasn’t 100% keen on the idea. I had however read online somewhere about Lactation Cookies, so I vowed I’d make some of them and see how we go…

I found a recipe and went to my local Health Food shop and picked up some Linseed Meal, Brewer’s Yeast & Fenugreek Seed. And after Will went to bed, I started whipping them up!

Adding the Linseed Meal

Adding the Linseed Meal

Mixing it all up

Mixing it all up

Shaping the biscuit mixture

Shaping the biscuit mixture

The finished Cookies

The finished Cookies

Now it’s getting late so I’ll pop the recipe up tomorrow night for all you ladies out there looking to increase your liquid Gold! Also a fantastic gift to send into hospital for new mummies! I know I would’ve LOVED a box of these when I was in hospital. And just for the record, I’ve taste tested them and well, let’s just say I’ve taste tested them three times…. Yum yum yum…

**Check out the recipe for Raising Will’s Lactation Cookies right here!


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How to make a Piñata Cake!

My little brother asked me if I would host his 20th birthday this year. Anyone that knows me will KNOW that I won’t pass up an opportunity to entertain, so I picked up the birthday gauntlet and sprinted with it. One of Stu’s favourite foods was Mexican, so there was only one real choice for his party – A Mexican Fiesta!!!! A-reeeeeebah!

There was the typical Mexican fare – nachos, quesedillas, tacos, enchiladas, salsa, guacamole, and lots-a cheese! For dessert, I planned to replicate something I’d seen on Better Homes & Gardens years ago – A Piñata Cake. This cake consisted of a hard chocolate shell and a cake filled with lollies enclosed inside. I sought out a recipe and set to work two days before the party.

Make a Piñata Cake!

Make a Piñata Cake!

The first step was to make the chocolate shell. Finding a bowl big enough and the right shape was relatively easy (we have a gazillion mixing bowls – odd for someone who doesn’t do an incredible amount of mixing). I then melted a heap of chocolate and poured it into my greased bowl, swirling the bowl around so it coated the inside evenly. I then used a spatula to clean up the edges and then placed the bowl aside to allow it to set. I don’t know if it was my bowl, the weather or me being so unbelievably awesome – but as the chocolate set, it magically came away from the bowl, so I had a funky, not-so-little chocolate hat shell! (although a chocolate hat would’ve been extra cool; maybe I can make a chocolate hat for my Easter Party next week).

The next day (Party eve) I mixed up and made the actual cake component. We then carved a hole in the centre, frosted the cake and filled the (unfrosted) hole with lollies. Placing my chocolate shell over the top, disguising the goodies inside, it was then time to decorate. Using some melted chocolate, I covered the shell in a range of coloured chocolatey goods and stuck some candles to the top. Wha Lah! One Piñata cake all ready for Stuart’s fiesta. The rest of our dining area was decorated that night and I was free to cook all the next day (the day of the party), so I could make sure I was ‘present’ for all the fiesta goings-on rather than be tied to the kitchen.

The party went off without a hitch (unless you count chocolate pieces everywhere and Stuart dropping his cactus TWICE!) and the cake was a success. I would highly recommend trying one yourself – it’s the perfect way to bring a little fiesta to your party!

Would you like to make one? Check out the recipe right here!

Stuart's Piñata Cake!

Stuart's Piñata Cake!

Stuart enjoys his cake.... Nom nom nom...

Stuart enjoys his cake.... Nom nom nom...

Will & Mum


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Breastfeeding – not for the faint hearted… Part 3

Welcome to Part 3 of the saga that became my 4 month-long entry into breastfeeding. I left you yesterday at the point where a lump had appeared in my left breast.

Any breastfeeding mum will know that your breasts will feel funny and lumpy sometimes, but this was different. This lump was hard, like a golf ball and would not shrink once I had fed. I began to get really concerned and called my GP immediately to book an appointment.

With a quick examination, my doctor believed it to be a cyst as I had no pain or redness but he sent me for an ultrasound that afternoon just to be sure. At the ultrasound, my sonographer was pretty certain she was looking at an abscess, not a cyst. My lymph nodes were swollen hinting at an infection and sure enough, upon my visit to my GP again the next day he declared that an abscess was the culprit. It had most likely resulted from the touch of mastitis I had when I first came home from hospital. We both commented on how odd it was for me to have no tenderness or redness, but he put me on antibiotics and sent me home with instructions to come back in a week to see if the abscess has receded.

The day after my GP appointment (Saturday), my breast started to become uncomfortable to feed from. Then it became very uncomfortable. Then it went red. And by Sunday, I was in tears of agony and the only thing that made it less worse was to grit my teeth and have Will feed from the afflicted breast. My God, I had never been in so much pain. I called the GP immediately on Monday morning and went in to see him right away. The abscess infection had most likely spread to the rest of my breast and it would need to be drained. So, off to hospital I went.

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