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Skincare during pregnancy

pregnancy skin care

I first became “aware” or concerned about the chemicals I was exposing myself to via ‘skin care’ when I was pregnant with my first baby.  I didn’t act broadly I just changed some things. But it did set me in a direction that I am constantly expanding and have been for almost 4 years.  I’m still not perfect but I am better and it’s a constant state of change as I make new discoveries.

So I am pregnant again and again it has prompted another clean out of the ‘skin care’ cupboard.  I thought I would share what I am using in my every day. Some stuff is new; some I have already written about. 

 Firstly, the thing I noticed more than anything was that the less I used, the less I needed and the better everything became. Simple was so much better for me.  Granted, I am lucky that I don’t have any major conditions.  But the things, like dandruff and face breakouts, that I did suffer from, are no longer an issue and I am spending less on both hair and face than I used to.  If you do have conditions or have any rashes or breakouts that don’t look right, always see your doctor.

I buy everything from Nourished Life.  My wonderful partner and baby bought me a voucher for Mother’s Day so I am getting ready to do a big shop!!!

So from top to bottom, here it is. 

Hair

Acure Brazilian Keratin Straightening Shampoo – not sure it’s doing much straightening but it has been a great shampoo – no dandruff which is the first time in like 20years. I was using the shampoo and conditioner but I switched the conditioner to 100% Pure Healthy Scalp Conditioner and I will probably try 100% Pure shampoo next. I find my hair is especially softer now after switching to the 100% Pure conditioner.

hair care during pregnancy

   

 

Acure Moroccon Argan Oil – so I was using this on my hair and face which was great.  I managed to break the bottle when I was half way through and haven’t done a re-order yet – but I will. Apparently it can be used as a facial serum, body massage oil, hair serum, cuticle repair oil and treatment for dry elbows and heels. 

Hair brush – I got sick of all the plastic so I changed my hair brush to the 100% Pure Wooden Gentle Bristle Brush.

I have not dyed my hair since I have been pregnant, so as you can imagine I am looking fabulous with my long grey roots! But I want to try the HairPrint Grey Hair Remover for Women as soon as I have had the baby. With my level of grey I will probably need 2 packets of this for the first time use. Mixed review but worth a shot.  The description says – “This is a toxic free option to covering greys, but rather than dyeing your hair a different colour, it restores it to its natural shade..”

hair dye during pregnancy

 

Face

I don’t use cleanser, I just wash my face with hot water and cloth.  I don’t wear a lot of makeup and I no longer have the blackhead and break out issues I used to have when I did the cleanse, tone routine, so for now, I am happy.

I use very sporadically (i.e. once per month, if that) the Sukin Face Scrub that I have had for ages – bought on holidays last year.  But I want to get the 100% Pure Brightening Scrub & Mask.  Not sure if you are sensing a pattern here – 100% Pure is quickly becoming my go to for everything.  They have great products and I have been really happy with the stuff I have bought.

Makeup  - I have been using MAC – I love the Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation. But I want to try Andalou Age-Defying Beauty Balm Natural Tint with SPF 30 which is apparently amazing.

face care during pregnancy

 

Toothpaste

One of my new changes – I swapped from traditional supermarket toothpaste to Comvita Whitening Toothpaste.  I wanted to see if it made a difference.  The only change that I can see is that my gums have stopped bleeding.  I don’t know why, or how. It just has.

I was doing the oil pulling for a while with the Coconut Revolution Organic Coconut Oil, that I love, but I have been very slack this year with it.  I should go back to it.  Coconut Oil has so many uses – it is amazing. I have written about it before and will mention it again when I talk about body care.

teeth during pregnancy

 

Body

Deodorant - I swapped to the Lavera Invisible 24 Hour Roll On Deodorant when my other natural deodorant stopped working for me. And it has been brilliant so far.  I know people swear by the Black Chicken Remedies Axilla Deodorant Paste as well – lots of great reviews, but the paste doesn’t appeal to me and I am very happy with the Lavera.

body care during pregnancy

 

I’ve been using a combo of oils since for ages, and not a lot of difference since I’ve been pregnant. The only thing I added was the LaClinica Organic For Mum Stretch Mark Belly Rub Oil which I have loved.  The smell (jasmine, I think) is amazing!!!

I also use the Coconut Revolution Organic Coconut Oil.

I have a lot of natural soaps that I have amassed at various markets and have been using one for washing in the shower.  But I recently tried a sample of the Weleda Creamy Body Wash and want to use that. It’s amazing.  I can’t decide between the Weleda Wild Rose Creamy Body Wash or Sea Buckthorn.

I don’t know if sanity comes under body but let’s just say it does.  I have been using the Badger Sleep Balm as I have had some trouble with sleep. I love it – I think it’s amazing.

Hands & nails

This was a recent change that I made – and am I happy that I did. What a difference.  I swapped my supermarket nail polish remover & nail polish.  I am now using Fresh Therapies Nail Polish Remover & the 100% Pure 10-Free Nail Polish. They both are amazing – I no longer need a gas mask to take nail polish off and the 100% Pure nail polish stays on for almost 2 weeks like the old one.

nail care during pregnancy

 Next on my list

On my radar for the big shop which will replace hand cream, foot cream and lip gloss, plus a little something something for the thighs… Egyptian Magic All Purpose Cream; Hurraw Organic Lip Balm; Weleda Birch Cellulite Oil;  100% Pure Coffee Bean Eye Cream.  All apparently amazing and top class, so I am excited about getting my hands on them.

skin care during pregnancy

  

Home made skin care and general use products

What I have discovered is that for almost everything you need in the home there is a home made and natural option. Almost everything that I have fallen in love with revolves around coconut oil and essential oils.

Here are some oldies and new ones to try.

Organic Coconut Oil
  1. Great uses for coconut oil – it’s an amazing product great for mum, dad and baby.
  2. If you want something more than just coconut oil than this might be worth trying: body lotion 
  3. Homemade vaporub
  4. Something for me – an essential oil shower bomb
  5. Aurora Spa – shower uplifter: Put 3-5 drops of the Aurora Spa Replenish Oil in a shower, turn on the warm water and then step in.  Take in the beautiful smell.
  6. Liquid Hand Soap



Tips For New Mums

There are so many emotions after your baby finally makes his or her entrance into the world.  Most of the time they are positive and overwhelmingly pleasurable.  And sometimes they are just overwhelming. And confusing.  Within reason these are all fine emotions to have.  You are readjusting to a new life - for most of us quite different from the one BB (before baby).  Below are some tips to help navigate these new unchartered waters.  Some of these helped me, others I wish I had thought of when I was a new mum. I always say that you have to do what you feel is right for you – every family and person is different. Just remember that.

Tips for new mums
  1. Looking after yourself is as important as looking after your baby.  Eat well – feed your body with the nutrients it needs to feed your baby and keep you active.
  2. Find 5 minutes to mediate at least once per day – it is so easy.  Download the smiling mind app and use their guided 2-5 minute meditations to just take time out.
  3. Accept the unexpected and relinquish some of the old control.  Trying to retro fit your old life into this new one won’t work – just try and work out a new routine for the new life.
  4. Go for a walk at least once per day – 30 minutes or more.
  5. Sleep when the baby sleeps – seriously – stuff the housework.  Just sleep.  The more you sleep the better you will feel.
  6. Find little moments of pleasure - get yourself some gorgeous body care products and when you put them on feel like a million dollars e.g. the Aurora body oil is exquisite.  Amazing after a shower. Put time in the diary to go out and have a mani/pedi and your hair done. Hint to friends and family that a Spa voucher might be a great baby shower present!
  7. There is nothing wrong in finding help where you can and making life run a bit smoother.  Convenience is not a dirty word. And do not be shy about asking for help. Talk to the family and friends who offer about how they can help – e.g. if they offer to make you dinner – say yes please;  if they offer to sit one night while you go out for a quick dinner, say yes please; if they offer to mow the lawn, say yes please.  And if they ask what they can do, tell them.
  8. If you are reading a “parenting” book and it is making you feel uncomfortable or bad in some way – I implore you to put it down and find a different one.  It’s not you, it’s just that your principles don’t line up with the authors and that’s ok.  Give yourself permission to do things your way. 
  9. Have a routine.  It’s not just about sleep, it’s about having some structure to help you as well.  Having a routine around play, sleep and bathing gives you both the structure that we are all quite used to.  It means that you have free hands when you need them, together time which you both need and you both know what’s coming up.  There is good reason why schools, work and life in general works on a schedule - most of the time, we need it.
  10. Make time every day to spend together - just playing.  And make time for baby to play independently.  Both are equally important.
  11. Keep a little journal or baby moment’s journal – I like the Kikki K sentence a day journals as you don’t feel like you have to write reams of words – who has time???  Or try an online version with images and then in a year you can create a keepsake.

I always say, listen to everyone as everyone has a slightly different experience, but ultimately do what you feel is the right thing for you and your family.  The fact that everyone has conflicting information should give you the confidence to go your own way, not make you feel more uncertain. Trust your instincts.

A week of mindfulness and positivity

Last week I decided to add some energy into my week.  Along the way I wanted to be mindful everyday so I made sure that at the end of each day I focused on positive outcomes.

Just in case you missed it, here it is... 

Advice for new mothers

I found these two article which are great for new mothers.  Sometimes it's good to know that you are not alone.

 

 What Nobody Tells You About the First 3 Months of Motherhood

What Nobody Tells You About the First 3 Months of Motherhood

 When will I feel like myself again after having a baby?

When will I feel like myself again after having a baby?


A few articles to share - parenting

 Motherhood

Motherhood

I came across these articles which I thought were very wise. And some put a smile on my face. I realise time and time again that I am not the only one with doubts and worries about the reality of raising a child.  And I somehow find comfort thinking that if we are worried then maybe that makes us more self aware and hopefully most things we are getting right.  

I am constantly second guessing myself.  Doubting myself.  And desperately wanting to get this motherhood thing under control and working brilliantly.  Then I fall asleep and wake up, life takes over and I feel I fall short again.  At the moment, there are things going on in my life that are frankly out of my control and I am relying heavily on the people around to help with Caitlin even more - particularly my partner. So more guilt.

 Do we need to be stoic for our children?

Do we need to be stoic for our children?

 A baby book of disasters

A baby book of disasters


Top Choices For Maternity Wear

Top Choices For Maternity Wear

I had a few rules when I was pregnant. 

Firstly I didn't want to spend a lot on maternity clothes, secondly, find pieces that could work pregnant and not.  I invested in a few bottoms, a few tops for work, a few tops for leisure, bra’s, undies and a couple of hospital necessities.

What I learnt – very little goes from pregnant to not; with so few things to wear in your wardrobe they get worn out pretty quickly and your cost per wear (yep, I went there) works out pretty low anyway. I should caveat this by saying that I always loved wearing flowy things anyway, (pear shaped body), and so I did have something in my wardrobe that for most of my pregnancy I could wear.

Make sure the clothes you get are comfortable, that your bra does not have an under-wire and is the best you've ever bought; and be prepared for a permanent fishing expedition for shoes.  Your feet will swell as sure as the sun and the moon appear!

  1. Queen Bee – this is where I got most of my maternity wear.  Loves their collections, basic, hard wearing clothes.  
  2. Hatch – love their collection. Ships from the US.
  3. ASOS Maternity – great for basics – including dresses, tops and t shirts.  
  4. Gilt – quite regularly have maternity wear sales.  I like the fact that most of it is from shops we normally don’t know about and don’t get to shop at and you can find some unique pieces.  But you need to be on the mailing list. (PS the same goes for their kids collections.) 
  5. Egg – Hit and miss for me. But they have an outlet on their website with their sale items, so always worth a quick look.
  6. Ripe - Not one of my favourites but worth a look
  7. SOON Maternity – good range 
  8. Mama Bella – worth a look;  they stock some of the Tiffany Rose special occasion wear although a limited range  
  9. Tiffany Rose - specialise in special occasion wear including wedding dresses.
  10. Sussan introduced a very limited maternity range - mainly jeans, leggings and tops. Very limited.  

Keeping kids busy and learning

A while ago I wrote a post about my daughter and my concerns about the volume of toys and gifts she receives constantly.  Since I wrote that post - or since I became acutely aware of my own behaviour - I have stopped buying.  I also held back a lot of presents from her birthday and Christmas, and once in a while ie every couple of months, I will swap out her old toys that are not used for one from the garage.  

Her volume of available toys has decreased considerably and she doesn't care. I have also made a point of finding new ways to use old toys. Frankly, she prefers rummaging through the drawers, banging pot lids together and chasing the dog.  Oh, and the other things is the treasure box - which is some of my old "jewellery" that she puts from one container to the other or wears.  Bangles and hair ties are her favourite.  Hours of fun.  (if you think I'm kidding, I'm not.  Hours.)  And, those ELC toys that I keep raving on about, that she has had since she was a baby baby - still loves them.  They play music. Simple.

baby play

She also found a little fairy in the garden.  It's one of those things you stick on pots for decoration.  God knows what possessed me to buy a fairy, but whatever it was, she now goes out there every morning and evening to say hello and bye bye to the fairy.

I'be taken 3 paragraphs to say - keeping it simple has made so much more sense. These simple new things she seems to be enjoying more, taking so much pleasure from and really looking forward to.  The peripherals keep her interested for 10/15 minutes. But that's ok too.

I came across an article - 11 Tips for Instilling True Gratitude in Your Kids - which I thought was great and worth a read.  Some of the tips stood out for me, and we have found work really well in our home, and I hope that you find it interesting too.  

  • Have the kids pitch in when they want something.
  • Set a good example by saying "thank you" sincerely and often
  • Resist the urge to shower them with too much "stuff."
  • Encourage them to give back.

If you have any you'r like to share, please do...

Updates from our favourite people... Tara talks baby and mumma natural care

When a beautiful baby arrives into our world, they are pure. As mothers, we all try to keep it that way, not wanting anything to taint our little one’s perfection. These things might range from harmful attitudes, emotions or physical harm. It can also include the chemicals that are rife in our environment. Baby showers are often filled with gifts of wipes and care products that we aren’t sure are good to put onto virgin skin. While we don’t want to wrap our babies in cotton wool or become worried over what is good and bad, it helps to be informed of the best products out there to reduce any future harm.

The below are my favourites that I have used on my baby since birth and will continue to travel down this path of 100% natural and chemical-free products. These are all great gifts for Baby shower presents also.

SKIN

cocnut oil.jpg

Starting with the skin, for both myself and my baby we only use 100% organic virgin cold-pressed coconut oil. There are many brands of coconut oil in the market now, which is a positive for the consumer. Not all are organic or virgin and even less are cold pressed. Our favourite is Nui ‘Wild Harvest’ Virgin Coconut Oil. It’s produced from Vanuatu coconuts which are cold pressed to keep all of the goodness. It’s great on your skin and smells lovely, as well as using for cooking and its tastes good too. It’s also great to place a couple of drops into a warm bath.

Almond Kernel Oil is also another great natural oil that I would suggest placing on babies skin or in their bath if their skin is very dry or is showing signs of skin irritation such as psoriasis or eczema.

Sunscreen for both yourself and your baby: WotNot 30+spf sunscreen is my recommendation. 100% natural sunscreen, which is gentle enough for babies. It’s broad spectrum protection, UV-A and UV-B and is enriched with certified organic aloe vera. A positive is that it’s also free from titanium dioxide which is unfortunately in most sunscreens. Also free from chemical UV absorbers, sulphates, petrochemicals, parabens, glycols and artificial fragrances and preservatives.

Another option in sunscreen when children start to spend lengthy times in the water and sun is Soleo Organics Sunscreen. As a surfer myself, all other natural sunscreens rub off when in the water for too long. Soleo stays on your face and doesn’t wash off. It’s organic and safe, and protects from both UV-A and UV-B solar radiation. It’s also free of UV-absorbers, titanium dioxide, PABA, SLS, benzoats, parabens, artificial colours and fragrances and synthetic preservatives.

Vanessa Megan ‘Bug Off My Baby’ natural mosquito and insect repellent is a fantastic roll on to have on hand at all times, especially in the Australian summer. Also good to take travelling.

It’s Australian made products that are free from mineral oils, parabens, PEGS, artificial preservatives, colours or fragrances. All Vanessa Megan products are lovely and I recommend them.

NAPPY RASH

There are many good natural nappy rash options on the market now, which is great to see for our babies pure little bottoms. Using a chemical-free cream is the best option to place on such a sensitive area for babies. I recommend Natures Child ‘bottom balm’ which is made from all natural and certified organic ingredients.

BATHING

Often, we assume that since we may use a body cleanse or soap ourselves, we must use one for our babies. I believe that babies don’t need any or little bathing products. The more natural and the less the better, just warm water and a touch of organic virgin coconut oil is the best option. If your baby is unsettled you can also place a couple of drops of pure lavender oil into the bath to calm them down. If you really want to use a product then I would suggest Gaia baby products, as I do use this brand for other reasons. It’s a great brand which all products are free from parabens, soaps, artificial fragrance, petrochemicals and sulphates. I also feel the same with hair shampoo, less is more, babies don’t need shampoo just water and lots of love and fun at bathtime J

gaia_skin_naturals_brands_cluster_a.gif

WIPES

Babies bums are constantly in need of a wipe J When you think about how many nappies you will change in a child’s life that is also a lot of wipes needed. I was lucky to be introduced by a friend, who is a naturopath, to a homemade wipe option. It’s as simple as making up a natural concentrate shown below and placing in a glass jar with a spoon to mix. Then using either a cloth wipe or face-washer or a paper towel/sheet to soak up the water concentrate and use it as a wipe. I find that Viva Towels are the best, as they soak up the water perfectly.

Ingredients:

~ 1 tbsp 100% pure virgin Calendula Oil

~ 1 tbsp natural shampoo (I prefer Gaii)

~ 2-3 drops either Lavender or Tea Tree Oil

~ 1.5-2 cups of water

Place all in a glass jug or jar with a lid with a spoon to mix it up. The best thing is that its 100% natural and cost effective.

Of course I don’t carry a jar around with me at all times, especially when I’m out or travelling. On these occasions I would highly suggest WotNot baby wipes. You can buy them in three different pack sizes.

WotNot Wipes are:

~ Natural

~ Organic

~ 100% biodegradable and compostable

~ enriched with Australian Certified Organic Aloe Vera

~ free from parabens, sulphates, petrochemicals, caustics, glycols and artificial fragrance

~ not tested on animals

~Austalian Company

WotNot is definitely my favourite. The Facial wipes are also great for us mama’s too, made from Australian certified organic aloe vera, rosehip and sweet almond oil.  The second option if you can’t get hold of WotNot wipes would be Bambeco wipes.

TEETH

My 8 month old still doesn’t have any teeth as yet but when his teeth decide to join us I will most definitely be using

jacknjill.jpg

Jack N Jill Toothpaste and Toothbrush. Its 100% safe for young children and is all natural, hypoallergenic toothpaste made with organic ingredients. All packaging is recyclable and BPA free, plus its super cute and inviting to young kids learning to brush their teeth.

As for the fun times of teething, Wedela produce a fantastic homeopathic baby ‘teething powder’ that works beautifully to help those teeth through the gums with less pain for our bubs.

Actually, Wedela have a fantastic range of baby products including nappy rash creams, nursing tea, nipple cream plus a lovely pregnancy oil that I used and loved. All Wedela mother and baby care products are natural and use Calendula as the main ingredient and have been developed in conjunction with doctors and midwives. Highly recommend checking this whole brand out.

If you are ever unsure of a product, firstly check out the ingredients on the back or the leaflet and if still unsure its always best to leave it out. Less is best . . . just use love and kisses instead.

x


wellness tree blog.jpg

 

Tara is mama of 8 month old Mason and a Health and Wellness coach specialising in natural and non-toxic living.  You can contact Tara at tara@wellnesstree.com.au

 

Families

I read these two articles and it reminded how different all of our family journeys are.  So unique.  

And it is true that every moment is very precious and should be savoured.  Not every baby has the 'average' journey into our world but whatever the journey is, these two families show how much joy, positivity and love can come out of any situation.

Every day we have with our babies - inside our tummies and out - is precious and a gift.  

Great natural products for mama

So, as you know I am always flagging products that I think are great for baby. There is a special place in my heart for products that are chemical free - natural.  

But what about mama???  I have posted before about quitting all my creams and potions while I was pregnant. This was when I discovered Rose Hip Oil which is now my one and only everything (plus a wash cloth and water!)

And I have mentioned that I moved the whole family to WOTNOT sun protection which is just amazing. 

Well, recently, my amazing osteo recommended I check out a great site - an online store run out of Sydney called :

http://www.nourishedlife.com.au

They pretty much carry all the skincare and make up you could possible want.  They put it through a rigorous screening to make sure that it meets their natural standard.  You can buy vegan, non toxic, natural, gluten free - check out their buying policy, it's a great read. 

In the words of my osteo: "Her standard is super high with having to be toxic free and natural which I love because I know I can trust anything she puts on there 100%." 

 

And - no they are not super expensive and unaffordable.  I think you will be really surprised!

And... yes they do stock for baby as well.

 

Keep an eye out for...ways to lift your spirits

Great article by Dawn Gluskin about how to deal with bad days or bad moods or both!

There are a few points in particular that struck a cord with me - 

  1. Honour your feelings - don't try to shut it out - stop and think about how and why you feel like you do
  2. Vent - take 3 minutes to get it out.  
  3. Be grateful - think about what is great in your life and how lucky your are 
  4. And then there are a few points that for me ladder up to - get a change of scenery, even if it means putting on some lipstick or going for a walk.   

Solid advice, doesn't cost anything and is easy to do!

Read it in full here.

Updates from our favourite people... Marie talks about returning to work

torn

past principle of tear. 

  1. to be in a state of uncertainty between two conflicting options 
  2. divided or undecided, as in preference she was torn 
  3. the position in which a first time mother finds herself in when returning to work 

I’d spent the last 13 years dedicated to a clear goal in my life, my career. I’d worked long and hard at it. I’d given everything of myself to this career, more than I should have in a lot of cases. But I loved it.  I was addicted to it in a lot of ways; the deadlines; the long hours; presenting ideas and solutions; building relationships. I was addicted to the all-engulfing rush of it, the thrill of tight turnaround times and the intense challenge of working in Advertising. Where, crazy busy is the norm, in an average day.  

So, at the age of 32, even the discussion about starting a family with my husband would send me to tears. I questioned the timing; surely I had more of it? More time to continue working on my career; my busy social life; Saturday facials and Sunday lattes? Surely? 

But it was time. 

After everything I’d invested in the industry over the past 13 years, surely it was time for it to give back to me? However, sitting at work at 10.30pm one night, 8 months pregnant, no dinner and generally exhausted, I had a ‘moment’. A moment where I knew that it wasn’t going to happen. And every time I heard the sentence, “We just need you to get this completed before you go on maternity leave,” the truth hit home a little more.  I left to go on maternity leave, not really knowing what was install for the next 12 months, or when I returned to work.  

working mum

But I quickly found out. Maternity leave was unbelievable! It bought me the perspective that I desperately needed, time I didn’t even know existed, and a love I didn’t know I could feel. This little girl was exactly what I didn’t even know my life was missing! 12 months of glorious sunny days full of giggles in the park, the good chemicals filling my body after every feed and 12 hour nights of rest and sleep. That’s not to say there weren’t a lot of tough nights too, believe me there were. But I remember being up one night sitting with my baby at midnight thinking, “I’d most likely just be getting home from work”. That was a big reality check for me.  

So how did I feel when I was about to return to work? 

Torn….  

I wanted so badly to get back to my career, the ‘blankie’ of what I knew. To use my professional skills, reignite my working brain, a life outside of daytime naps and pureed fruits; and for 8 hours a day I could forget that I was a Mum and get back to my career. 

When I returned, everything and nothing had changed. What I’d discovered was that nothing at work had changed, but I’d changed and I was never going to be the person that had left.  

However, what I did discover being a Mum returning to work, were some invaluable lessons. Lessons that would have been worthwhile implementing  pre-baby.  

  1. Set boundaries. I could no longer say yes to every task that was asked of me out of fear of feeling like I was ‘not doing my job’.  Guess what? People are ok with it.  

  2. Control the workflow. “O.K, so you want me to take on X project? I’m also working on A, B and C. Which task would you like me to stop working on to start on Project X?” 

  3. Delegate tasks to the juniors in your team. In a management position, its my responsibility to get the job done, but it's not my role to do it all myself.  

  4. Be strictly efficient. Don’t take meetings just to be nice if there isn’t a purposeAlso, focus on a specific task as much as possible until you get it completed.  

  5. Walk out of the door at 5.30pm. It’s ok. The place will not fall apart as soon as you leave.  

  6. Work and having a family can most definitely co-exist. If anything, I’ve found the balance in my life that I really needed. Having a baby is a safe bet that work won’t start to take over, without you realising it.  

So to write about how it feels returning back to work is something I actually had to think about. I have a tendency to think about how I felt during my 12 months off on maternity leave first. That is what stays with me. To spend a whole year with this new person, getting to know them and watching them grow. Its amazing. I went back to work knowing that I’d given everything of myself to her, and that this was one investment that is over the years, going to give back to me.   

 

The c word – why do mums feel they have to apologise for it?

CONVENIENCE IS NOT A DIRTY WORD

convenience

I was watching an old episode of Recipes to Riches on Channel 10 the other day.  They were showing a mum who came up with a new baby food recipe which I loved.  Anyway she had to interview a number of mums to see if they liked the food and would they feed it to their baby’s.  One of the mums piped up and said for her, convenience was important – and then apologised for it. And I wish that she was the first mum I have seen apologise for wanting convenience when it comes to looking after their baby.

I saw a stat that said the average mum works for at least 100 hours per week.  Work rightly includes looking after the kids, the house and family.  Oh and of course there are mums that do all of that and also go to a third party employer or start their own business that pushes over 100 hours of work.  This is the reality for most families.

I think we need to start making a very big distinction between finding convenient products and services – things that may help us in our everyday – and being negligent or dismissive of our children. I am tired of people sitting around with too much time on their hands, making judgements about what is right or wrong about other people's families.

Looking after your family includes looking after you.  And that means psychologically, emotionally and physically. 

No one can tell you your business. And not all advice will be right for your family.  So here's my five cents - listen to everyone’s different advice and “words of wisdom” but do what is right for your family.  And when you need to take a short-cut, or many short-cuts, just make it the best that you can.  There is nothing wrong in finding help where you can and making life run a bit smoother.  Convenience is not a dirty word.  

A lesson in life from my 1 year old daughter

My 13 month old is starting to walk independently.  She has been scooting around for a while now, still hanging on to things and has let go and taken a few steps over the last month but on Friday she started to make a concerted effort to walk independently.  On Saturday & Sunday she was trying more and more.  As you do. As my partner and I were getting her to walk from one to the other it occurred to me that she was teaching me more than I was teaching her in that moment.

The process of learning to walk involves:

  • falling flat on your bum and getting back up
  • falling flat on your bum and seeing the funny side
  • propelling yourself into the arms of one or two people who love you
  • having absolute faith that even though those two people keep helping you up and nudging you forward without support - they are still there and not going anywhere; and are doing it to help you learn and develop
  • it's hard learning something new but a bit of patience, a good sense of humour (and a firm butt) is all you need to become a master

The other thing that I remembered, as I watched her today, was how she generally approaches learning about things.  I have noticed that when she is trying to get the hang of something, she will hold an item in her hands, give it a bit of a bang, turn it around and pass it between her hands;  and sometimes just sit and stare at it.  She may put it down and move to something else, but she will always go back to her current Mt Everest. She will try and try again until she finally works out how to make that something do what she wants.  

When she finally gets it, she'll laugh loudly and give herself a big clap.  

And it occurred to me that all of the stress that I have been carrying around, all of the impatience and the self doubt - it's not who I am or who I want to become.  It's the complete opposite.  I know I'm not alone in feeling doubt but I hope that you can take something away from this as well -

  don't forget to clap...

don't forget to clap...

  • I hope that we always have people who will let us bounce off them
  • I hope that we can have faith even when we're flat on our bum's
  • And I hope we learn to take the time (to give ourselves time) to learn and master that which makes us happy. 
  • I hope that we always take time to laugh and see the funny side of a bad day. (Because laughing is certainly one of my most favourite things.)
  • And always - ALWAYS - give yourself a big clap. (and others too)

Tips & bits... 7 habits of successful women

Work and productivity are two things very close to my heart.  As a working mum, and someone who values having my career, being able to maintain my responsibilities to my work and family lives is important to me.  I therefore take any help I can get! 

I hope you enjoy this article as much as I did.  http://huff.to/176RlQI

My favourite tips - focus on the 20% and articulate solutions.  

 

Confessions of a parent

There is a lot I do wrong.  Lots.  I can be very cynical - too focused on the negative or mistrustful.  I can get angry quickly, lose my temper (especially when I am driving); thoughtless; I don't give enough time to charity; we could be here for a while.  

But there is one thing that I am so desperate to do right and that I waited a very long time to do - parenting.  I spend and have spent a lot of time thinking about what it is that makes a great parent - is it the time that I spend with my daughter?  Is it the toys that I buy her?  Is it the books that I read to her? Is it the roof I put over her head? Is it the clothes that I buy her?  I don't know.  I don't know - and I am starting to wonder if I will ever know.  I guess every person is different and what matters to them and what makes people special to them will be different.  But I think there are universal truths about what makes a great parent versus one that is just there.

 But there is something that has started to float in my mind that I am not quite sure about but that I think is worth exploring. My next door neighbours mother died and he was talking so lovingly of this amazing woman that was his mother.  And just last week, I was reading an article that was in the same vain.  I wonder about what I would like people to remember about me when I die.  

I don't think it's morbid.  I think it's quite healthy to think of the person you would like to be. I mean if you don't know who that person is, then how will you ever get there? I have had a few people close to me die and so I myself have been left thinking about all the wonderful things these people brought to my life and I wonder if someone will think the same of me.

parenting

Now as a parent, the more pertinent and pressing question for me is what kind of parent do I want to be and how would I want my daughter to remember me?  What will she think of me as a person, as a parent?  And so I ponder, is that the answer to the question I have about being a great parent? Should those questions and answers be the standard to which I hold my parenting self?

I still don’t know.  But it’s as good a place to start as any.

I hope my daughter remembers laughing together.  It’s one of my favourite things to do in life, and especially with her. 

I hope she knows that I waited to have her so long, rightly or wrongly, because I wanted to be ready, focused and there with her and for her all the time.

I hope that she is proud of what I have done in my life, seen in my life, experienced in my life.  I hope she knows that I lived as much as I could so that I knew and could show her how much there is in the world for her to go out and discover.

I hope that she knows that every hug, every kiss, every dress, every book, every toy, every meal, every bath was given not out of duty but because hopefully it all added up to her wholeheartedly believing that there is someone in the world that loves her so much it’s impossible to explain.

I hope she knows that every time I kiss her my heart skips a beat.

  I hope she remembers how much I respected her and loved her individuality and sense of humour.

I hope she remembers our walks, our time reading together; our time dancing and singing together. 

I hope that she remembers how easy it was to talk to me. That she never felt judged.  That she never felt alone.

And I hope that she enjoyed her time with me so much that she can’t wait to have her own babies, so that she can have as much fun with them.

I hope that she knows that when I was tough , it was because the weight of my love was behind it.

I still don’t know.  But I’ll keep working on it….