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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Today, parenting is hard…

Every day I watch the boys grow before my eyes.

Will is on his imaginary mobile phone having an imaginary conversation with the imaginary man that is selling him imaginary fuel for his imaginary tractor. Xavier toddles along like he wants to master this walking thing before the month is out. And I just try and give them the best environment for them to flourish and grow in.

Today is hard. But even when I find myself despairing at their ungrateful temper tantrums, they still grow.

There’s only limited time in life. I can’t afford to dwell on their button pushing. They’re so big already.

Growing up

Growing up


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Bringing the fabulous back – Unlocking my style with Styling You

Recently I took on the Styling You ‘Style Holiday Camp’ to work at making my own rules when it came to fashion.

Today I’m guest posting over at Styling You and you can check out my journey over there…

A peek into Style Holiday Camp

A peek into Style Holiday Camp

 

Click here to visit Styling You

Grab Nikki’s e-book and get started on
your own Style Journey!


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Looking in the mirror, and what do I see?

A doubtful woman staring back at me.

Driven & determined, but always with the doubt.

Driven & determined, but always with the doubt.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been highly driven. It’s been my nature since I was a girl. I was always doing something and because I was doing it, I had to do it right; be the best; win the race. But with that drive came crippling doubt. If I didn’t excel at something  I fell flat. I found myself in a pit of my own doubtful despair until the next opportunity came along and I could leave that uncertainty by the way-side; strive onwards with my new direction.

And I’m only just now beginning to understand that life can’t work that way. How juvenile I have been.

We must actually FACE the lack-lustre, walk beside it, feel it’s blemished surface. We often must continue along the same path, waving shiny new ones adieu as we pass their glimmering intersection. I need to accept the fact that I doubt myself and that’s ok. I can still function with doubt beside me. I can still parent my children well. I can still write. I can still have opinions.

I need to work at freeing myself from the fear of doubt’s grip.

Just because it gets hard, doesn’t mean I’m doing it wrong or that I should quit. It just means it’s hard.


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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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Babywearing with Hug-a-Bub

Last week saw the art of babywearing celebrated across the world with International Babywearing Week. One of my very favourite baby products threw me into a great little challenge for the week but before I talk about that, I want to tell you about how Hug-a-Bub became my ultimate baby accessory.

Welcoming our new little guy into the world was so exciting, but I totally underestimated how hard it would be to get stuff done when I had another mini human to worry about. I found Xavier needed to be held all the time, but I also needed my hands free. So I dug around in the wardrobes and pulled out our old Baby Bjorn Synergy that I purchased when we Will was little-r.

Baby Bjorn Synergy

Baby Bjorn Synergy (now called ‘Active’)
Image Credit: Baby Bjorn

As I pulled on the stiff contraption over my sore, breastfeeding chest and my twingey Caesar incision – I winced. ‘I remember why we hardly used this thing. What a waste of money‘ I said to myself. Alas, I picked up screamy Xav and placed him in the carrier. Major Fail. The poor boy hated it. Where Will had thought it was the bees knees (even though his Mum did not),  Xavier’s reflux and temperament had rendered the thing useless. He fought it every minute, never relaxed and just screamed more. I took my cuddly boy out of his Swedish nightmare and tried soothing him the old fashioned way – in my arms. Everything else would have to wait.

Two hours later, I’d finally calmed the storm and Xavier was asleep. I however, was not.

My mind reeled. How could I possibly cope with having to hold a newborn constantly and entertain a demanding toddler/clean the house/do the grocery shopping!?

Vowing never to use my Baby Bjorn Synergy again, I put out the call on the Twitters as to the best babywearing products for a cuddly newborn. The gorgeous Zoey from Good Googs came at me with:

What the Twitters said...

What the Twitters said…

So off I went to research on the Hug-a-bub website. Within seconds I was in love with their organic wrap carriers. They looked divine and so very snuggly. Best part about the whole thing was that Hug-a-bub had a great deal happening at the time for their Facebook fans – it was a sign! Out came the credit card. An order was placed. By the Post Office I waited!

One very quick postage journey later, I had my divinely soft Organic Cotton Hug-a-bub wrap in my arms. Straight on it went as the little fella began to make his drama known to the whole street.

Five minutes later – screamy baby turned into dreamy baby:

Dreamy Baby... Thanks Hugabub!

Dreamy Baby… Thanks Hugabub!

The more I used the Hug-a-bub, the better I got at tying it correctly. I always underestimated the tension I needed but after a few test runs I had it figured out. After weeks of baby-wearing I now have it down-pat and could probably do it with my eyes closed; and lucky, because the Hug-a-bub is pretty much Xav’s favourite place to be. He sleeps soundly and twice as long than if he was in his bassinet.

For a practice that can be seen on ancient murals in the Pyramids of Eygpt, babywearing has had a long time to prove itself. It has been found to increase maternal (and even paternal) bonding, lower rates of post natal depression and it encourages a calmer infant as their needs are often instantly met. And don’t even get me started on all the things I can now DO!!!!

Babywearing in ancient times...

Babywearing in ancient times…
Image Credit: Marie Parsons

That brings us to last week – International Babywearing Week. The challenge was set on Hug-a-Bub’s Facebook page to take a photo each day inspired by different words – very similar to the Photo A Day Challenge by a favourite blogger of mine: Fat Mum Slim. I had my trusty phone at the ready and Instagrammed the shiz-nit out of last week. You can see the results below:

Hugabub Week

Our photos for Hugabub Week…

So the last few weeks with our new son has been amazing – made all the more so by this brilliant, simple piece of baby equipment. Xavier is most of the time happy and content – and when he isn’t he goes in the Hug-a-Bub and GETS  himself happy and content. I am definitely recommending the Hug-a-Bub to all of my friends (that includes you guys!) – The Perfect Baby Shower Present – Amazing.

*Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post and I have not received any incentive for writing it – I have just been so impressed by the Hug-a-Bub that I wanted to share it with you all.