Tag: parenthood

Fellow mamas, don’t ignore your mental health…

I just realised that it’s world mental health day today. Which feels timely for me because I’ve been thinking a lot about my mental health lately. See, being pregnant has not come easy to me this time around (you may have read all about the emotional roller coaster I experienced with secondary infertility and IVF which was thankfully successful). And pregnancy itself is sadly not all unicorns and rainbows for me either. I experience a severe and at times distressing rash known as PUPPP and last time I was pregnant, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes – something I am trying to mentally prepare myself for this time around. I also can become more anxious than usual, because that’s what hormones do to me.

Being pregnant for a second time around has really made me reflect on how things went last time (all the way back in 2011), compared to how I hope things will go this time.

A couple of times throughout pregnancy, most Aussie women will do a short quiz to help with the detection of depression/anxiety symptoms. Last time I was pregnant, I made a big mistake. I lied.

I was feeling stress in my relationship, I was suffering awfully from living with my rash and the gestational diabetes diagnosis just felt like the icing on the cake. I was depressed. I was feeling a horrible horrible guilt for some of the dark thoughts I had. One of those thoughts was wishing everything would just go away – pregnancy included. Of course I did not mean that one bit. I loved the Little Mister before we even conceived him and I knew I loved him while he was inside me – not every single moment was awful. I knew I would love him when he arrived earth side. I just felt so distressed and down that my mind said mean things to me sometimes.

I was desperate and crying a lot.

But when I walked into my appointment with the midwife, I lied. Because I didn’t want to deal with it. I felt overwhelmed at the idea of having to talk to someone about what I was feeling. I already felt like I was busy enough growing a human and trying to survive the day by day. I knew what they were looking for in that quiz so I manipulated my answers just enough that I wouldn’t be confronted with offers of further support.

When the midwife told me that I was showing some signs of depression, I lied and told her that it was just the rash getting me down – everything else was fine. She had to take my word for it. I was an idiot.

If I had accessed support groups or counselling or even medication, I might have fared a bit better for the rest of my pregnancy and what was to follow.

While being a new mum, having a slightly traumatic birth, feeling a bit like you have no idea what you’re doing, you’re so tired and the hormones are wreaking havoc is part and package of being thrust into new parenthood, I now know that the almost crippling anxiety I suffered from after the Little Mister was born, was beyond ‘normal’ or ‘healthy’ – for me. I felt that my husband didn’t know how to support me emotionally either (in fact even he will admit he was terribly unhelpful in that area), which made it worse.

So this time I will be honest. I have already had some pretty tough moments. It’s really hard work staying chipper and positive all the time. I’m constantly having to talk my anxious side down. It’s a hard fight and it can be exhausting trying to keep yourself strong. When I take that quiz again, I will be brutally honest with myself and with my caregivers. That is my promise to myself. I will also reach out if I am struggling after the Little Miss is born. I will do what it takes to be a healthy mum to my kids –  it’s what they deserve. I won’t pretend I’m fine if I’m not. I will not make excuses about why my mental health needs to come last. I will not let my fears of what other people may think influence my choices as a parent. Even if that means having to make myself vulnerable and put my hand up and say, “LITTLE HELP OVER HERE, PLEASE.”

I want to enjoy these special moments and while I was lucky to share such a strong bond with the Little Mister from the beginning, which helped enormously in getting me through, I know I did cheat myself out of having the peace of mind that comes with looking after your mental health for almost the whole first year of his life. I agonised over so many little decisions as if they were all life or death (they weren’t) and I isolated myself more than I’d like to admit. You can imagine how exhausting that was day in and day out.

So my message to all my pregnant or ‘new mum’ friends out there is to be honest. Speak out. Don’t try to be perfect, like Mrs Snootybitch over there on Instagram. Don’t be afraid to let someone know when it’s all too much. I know there’s a lot of judgement and stigma out there, but we can only beat it if we keep trying. Keep looking for your tribe – I promise we’re out there. Use resources such as beyond blue. Speak to your community nurse at your baby’s check ups. Your midwife. Your doctor. Tell your partner when they’re being really fucking unhelpful (you might not want to use those exact words ha ha but you need support so ask for it – a baby is the quickest way to highlight issues you may have already had in your relationship so maybe you both need some help together).

Please don’t make the mistake I made my first time around. Look after yourself. You’re the heart of your family. It is so important that you do what you need to do to get better. Make time. Speak out. If you’re surrounded by arseholes, then find people who make you feel good about yourself and don’t expect you to be perfect. Don’t put yourself last – mum guilt is not an excuse. What Carol Whatsherface on Facebook said once about selfish parents or parents who give up on breastfeeding or mums who struggle a bit harder with becoming parents for the first time, is not a good enough reason to not ask for help. Carol Whatsherface is a fucking moll.

I am sending so much love to everyone out there who has struggled with their mental health at some time or other. Take care of yourself – you’re not alone.

Back to School anxiety: mine, not his.

It’s January. That time when it sinks in that the school holidays are not as long as you thought they were and you feel that downward slide back to reality. Another school year, filled with trying to remember stuff and being on time for drop offs and pick ups and SO MANY LUNCHES to be made.

I am looking forward to the Little Mister attending pre-primary full time. I imagine the first few weeks will be full of exhausted after school meltdowns, but I am excited to be able to spread my work hours out over the week more evenly and feel a lot more productive.

The thing is, I get anxious. Anxious that he will fit in and do OK compared to the other kids. Anxious that he’ll be anxious. Anxious that I will forget a whole lot of stuff or be totally awkward in the lead up to the first day back – book lists and the dreaded uniform shop visits (I swear I can never remember what hours or days they’re open).

I know it won’t be as bad as last year. Last year I was a wreck. The Little Mister was starting kindy at the same place I went to high school. I was having all kinds of flashbacks to my time there (nothing horrendous or obviously we wouldn’t send him there – just freak outs because I felt like I was still the student trying to be on my best behaviour and not get in trouble haha). I had never sent a kid to school before. I felt like I was still a kid. How was this happening?! Sure, we’d done day care a couple of days a week in 2015, but this was a big deal!

I had missed an orientation day because I screwed up the dates (and then my husband had unexpected surgery on his toe which would have meant we couldn’t make it anyway). I’d had a couple of false starts trying to get to the uniform shop (see – I messed up their opening hours then too haha). I hadn’t submitted my online booklist order on time, so had to send Mr Unprepared out to scramble for each individual item (which made me nervous because obviously if we got the wrong stuff we’d be outcasts forever haha). I was also feeling like a hot mess for a variety of reasons that had nothing to do with the the Little Mister’s schooling. I was not on top of things. I really was not. Even reading this paragraph back tells me that I was not in the running for “Mum of the Year”.

This year, I feel a little more settled. I know the school. I know the Little Mister has come a long way since the beginning of 2016. I’ve met a bunch of really nice school mums and I know I will meet a whole bunch more. I’ve got my shit sorted on a nice calendar now, which I keep updated. I have planned the final weeks of the school holidays so that I have everything done in time.

But still, I feel nervous. Of course I don’t show the Little Mister this and I really hope he can’t tell. He gets nervous enough on his own, truth be told.

I feel bummed that it’s not all holiday fun and games right now in my head anymore (even though that kid is driving me up the wall and ultimately I will be grateful to have dropped him off that first day haha).

I feel silly for being nervous and I feel like I’m wasting these precious last weeks worrying about school stuff when there’s still fun to be had. I’ve really got to get over myself! Just tick something off the list and then go have a blast, Kez. Seriously, woman!

Just like last year, we will survive this one too. I was struggling to get my head around a whole lot of stuff in 2016 (finally beginning treatment for infertility for one and in all honesty grief – grief that my little boy was starting school already and had no siblings that I’d always hoped to give him by the time he started kindy) and I think I should be kind to myself. It was a rough and scary year from beginning to end.

2017 may or may not be any better, but at least I will kind of know what to expect (probably jinxing myself right there).

Awesomely a little less unprepared, maybe?

Maybe one day, my heart won’t leap up into my throat when my child starts a new school year. Please tell me this gets easier! Lie to me if you have to!

Does anyone else get nervous like me? Am I …normal? Or a silly freak? 

 

#MumLife: Labels or Love?

Being a mum/primary caregiver of children can be fucking hard. And I am not even talking about the day in, day out shenanigans that come with just the child care and juggling of everything. I’m talking about the fact that there are big personalities and the publicising of our lives and social media blah blah. I am pretty pissed off that we keep finding new ways to keep up with the ‘mummy wars’. I am pissed off that it’s still even a thing! I mean, COME ON.

Everyone is so quick to label themselves and each other. Talking shit about how they’re not judging, but…BUT WHAT? Come on. We all judge. Let’s not pretend it isn’t human nature. But what we do with that judgement is what matters. Is it not just enough to agree to disagree? Unfollow? Stop watching? Or do we have to hate read everything and set our followers onto someone else’s followers, with torches and pitchforks every time we’re offended?

Do we have to call ourselves a *insert any trendy name here for a collective of people* and feel like we’re in the clique and exclude others because it makes us feel more important and exclusive?

I am calling bullshit. I am calling bullshit on all the labels. I am sick of the fucking labels. Are you a slack mum? A helicopter mum? A free range mum? A fit mum? A sweary mum? A classy mum? A snobby mum? An Alpha mum? A tiger mum? A don’t give a fuck mum? An anxious mum? A make everything from scratch mum? A pre-packaged everything mum? A Kmart mum? An Etsy mum? A working mum? A stay at home mum? An attachment mum? A…queen? Sigh.

Do you get to be proud of your label or should you be ashamed? It’s just exhausting. Bloody exhausting.

I can be every mum at any given moment on any given day. And I am deciding  right now that I will reject all these ridiculous labels. Because at some point in time, I have been just about all of them. It’s called being a REAL mum. And that’s not a label because I’m not going to tell you how to be one or what it means to be one. I am just telling you to live your life, keep it real – your version of what’s real, not what some Facebook Idol has told you is real – honour yourself and keep on trucking. Or take a break. I don’t care. You know what you need, right? You’ll find your tribe and hopefully your kids won’t be scarred for life. Isn’t that all we can hope for?

I have wobbly bits, but I exercise and try to better my diet. Other times I know life is too short to not eat the cake or to cry over my flab. I have given my kid toast for dinner. I have spent hours slaving over a delicious, healthy something or other I found on Pinterest. I have had anxiety. I have melted down. But I have also had my shit together so rock solid that no-one better cross me. I’ve been that forgetful mum at school – whoops, did we leave the library book at home? Forget that permission slip for that thing? I’ve also been that organised mum who breezes in with it all sorted. I’ve slept well. I’ve slept badly. I’ve worked and I’ve stayed at home. I’ve even worked from home. I’ve breastfed, bottle fed, fed everything from a package because I was overwhelmed, I’ve made everything from scratch because I had the time and energy. I’ve pushed my kid to do better and I’ve let him roam free and get his creativity on. I’ve let him watch screens and I’ve told him he’s had enough. I’ve worn lovely put together outfits to the school gate, and I’ve slumped in wearing active wear when everyone knows I’m not going to do anything active because who am I kidding, I just wanted to wear the comfy clothes. I’ve been sweary, but I’ve also been restrained when appropriate. I’ve been a fierce mama bear and I’ve also let him fight his own battles. I’ve sent my kid to school with a fancy bento lunch box…filled with whatever was left in the fridge because as if I’m going to the bloody supermarket AGAIN this week. I’ve been hungover, parenting from the couch on the occasional Sunday when I could actually be bothered going out. I’ve been ridiculously responsible. I’ve been obsessed with inspirational quotes, I’ve laughed at the terrible ones. I’ve dressed like a tragic grungy teen and I’ve dressed like a dork. I can laugh at myself, but you better not be bullying anyone else. I’ve felt mum guilt and I’ve felt mum guilt about not feeling any damn mum guilt. I’ve said yes to things I wish I hadn’t said yes to, and no when I wished I’d said yes. I’ve been that annoying bitch with the highlight reel on Instagram. I’ve confided in my followers, warts and all when it got too much.

At the end of the day, I don’t fit into anyone’s stupid boxes. I take what I like from my favourite social media entities and I quietly leave them alone when I don’t agree. I am mine.

I am real. I am me. I am made up of so many different influences I’ve stumbled across along the way. I am made up of what I brought to the table too. Because that’s just as good.

I wrote this post because I want every other mum out there who doesn’t fit into a label or a gang or a box or a social media movement to know that I don’t either and that’s OK.

I believe in critical thinking – being able to recognise what’s good and what might not be serving me. I have always maintained that my social media and my blog will always be a safe place. I’m not going to tell you who to be, although I will be assertive when I think something is just objectively, morally fucked up.

If you’re trying your damnedest (is that even a word – who cares) to teach your kids to be considerate, kind and inclusive, resilient and emotionally intelligent (something the internet could do with more of), then I am so down with that and I don’t care how you get there. Because we wouldn’t be ‘mummies’ without our kids (who we love to death). But we are also so much more than that and that’s pretty rad.

Mummy wars can fuck off.

Inside the brain of a parent who wants to run away to the circus.

Seriously. Right now I am feeling the fatigue of being the parent to a 4 year old who is testing boundaries and going through big life changes which bring about new anxieties. This can often mean some acting out or regressive behaviours. I am a pretty compassionate being, a fairly patient parent and of course I love the little ratbag to pieces, but I’d be lying if I said that right now I am not considering googling the nearest touring circuses to see if they’d like a new clown (I can do the ‘bumbling idiot’ routine quite well when I’m tired – I’d be an asset). I figure a circus would be less crazy, right?

It’s not very often that I feel so utterly over it. It takes a lot for me to crack and feel utterly helpless and burnt out while my child goes through a challenging new phase. But when I do, there are some very recognisable thoughts that appear in my scattered head!

I have realised that there are stages I go through whenever something tough, of the parenting variety, pops up and punches me in the throat.

Denial

Denial that it’s happening. No. It’s just a one off bad night (or insert other challenges here). Oh, two? Just two. Oh, maybe it’s just a rough week…there are many plausible explanations that this could be a fairly isolated incident…right?

Anger/frustration

OH FFS. Are we STILL dealing with this? Aargh. Will this never end? I AM SO DAMN TIRED. Get your act together, kid! I don’t even feel like I know you right now! I love you lots and lots and lots, but right now I am not sure I’m liking you and that is killing me!

(of course I don’t say it to him – I just scream it inside my head when he’s not looking)

Bargaining

I know I can make this better. I just know I can. Here’s every reward chart ever. Here’s me googling solutions at 2am. Here’s me begging and hoping and fighting the reality that it’s just a phase and that the only way is through. THROUGH? AS IF. I can totally get around this. I can fix this. Just give me a damn moment to fix this! WHERE IS MY SANITY?!

Acceptance

OK. So now I’ve had my little melt down during the bargaining stage, I have had some time to review. I have decided that I can in fact CTFD (Calm The Fuck Down) and perhaps accept that it is what it is, and fighting it is just going to turn me into a crazy lady. I can only do my best and it turns out that ‘through’ may really be the only choice I have.

It’s amazing how life never lets you think you’ve actually nailed the whole parenting thing.

Here are some of the things I’ve been learning about THOSE times:

  •  It’s not always the parent who is to blame. It’s important to be kind to yourself. Sometimes it’s just a developmental phase. Sometimes it’s just something you and your smallish child need to be educated on – it’s all new and unknown for both of you! There’s no other way but to learn on the job! It’s OK to feel like you have no bloody idea what you’re doing, because um…NO HANDBOOK. Seriously. Where’s my freakin’ handbook?
  • It’s also not always the child who is fully to blame. When they’re not themselves or their behaviours are driving you bonkers, it is important to remember that they’re usually going through something too. While it might not excuse certain things they do (depending on their age), it’s important to remember that this one phase does not define them as a human being. Or at least it doesn’t have to. I try really hard (it can take a LOT of effort when we’re at the end of our tether) to separate the child from the behaviour (gotta love a popular parenting cliché). I have been trying to find ways to bond with the Little Mister, rediscover all the best parts of him (there are many) and to help build his confidence.
  • Reaching out to supportive mummy/daddy people in your life is priceless. If there’s someone in your life who has kids the same age as your kids, or has vivid memories/nightmares of having kids the same age as yours, they are an amazingly reassuring resource to tap into. For me, it’s often my mum, close friends and my mothers’ group. I can think that the craziest WTF moments with the Little Mister are isolated to just him, but as soon as I reach out, I often realise that there are like 5 other mums going through the exact same thing at the exact same time (or who remember all too well) and if I’d never shared my parenting woes (or been privy to theirs), I would never have known! Nothing takes a weight off your shoulders like knowing you’re all in the trenches together.
  • Recruit an awesome team who all have your kid’s best interests at heart. Assault that bastard phase together. Show that you’re a tight, caring unit. Get your spouse, your child’s carers/teachers, the grandies, the family doctor (if applicable) all on board. A united front – a do no harm, show lots of love, but take no shit type thing – can do wonders.
  • This phase will not last forever. A reality check is good. I ask myself questions like, “Will this two weeks of crap right now really matter in 10 years?” Hell, I’m sure I’ll have bigger problems then, but that’s not the point of the exercise haha. You know what I mean. It’s like when you’re toilet training and you think your kid will never nail it but then you realise that it would be highly unlikely that your kid will be attending high school in nappies and you feel a teensy bit better.

I feel hopeful that we’re kicking the fucking fours in the goolies (for now anyway). It’s been a rough couple of weeks for everyone. It’s been good to regroup and strategise. Honestly, I’ll never know if it’s my superb parenting (BAHAHA) or whether the phase was coming to a more peaceful place on its own anyway, but I’ll be glad to see the back of it.

You know…until the next time it rears its ugly head!

So, tell me. Anything you’re going through at the moment? Want to get through this together? x

Everyone’s a critic: If my home received a TripAdvisor* review.

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image source

So I was recently researching some overnight accommodation for my Misters (the Little Mister and Mr Unprepared) and I, as we briefly considered spending a night in the city. It would have been partly for convenience (Mr Unprepared has a big early morning bike ride coming up) and also for a bit of family fun. A chance to get out of our usual little home life bubble. Why not, hey? Kind of a staycation. Sadly, this never eventuated (too complicated)…

But…the thing is, TripAdvisor does my head in. I wonder what the hell we did before we had this review system? We just *gasp* winged it?! Now, every hotel decision feels like life or death. WHAT? THEIR INTERNET ACCESS IS PATCHY? ONE PERSON FOUND DUST ON THE SIDE TABLE? That’s it. We can’t go there. I must look at five other places, crosscheck the features each room has, compare prices and analyse each review IN DEPTH. All perspective has been lost.

I have reviewed the reviews and while some people seem to have made well balanced comments, there are some pernickety people who I would NOT like for a houseguest. I wonder what their houses are like?

Which made me wonder what kind of honest reviews my house would get? *gulp*

Here’s what I think it might look like (and I’m being generous haha)…

Location 3.5 stars

Located within walking distance of both a beautiful estuary and the ocean. Quite a distance from restaurants and other fancy things. You’ll need a car to get around (the bus service is not exactly an all hours type deal), but there is a new little neighbourhood supermarket that the locals can’t stop raving about on account of having been deprived for so long of such a thing. The view from the front of the accommodation is pretty boring – facing onto other residential houses. You won’t get a good photo of the sunset ever, without feeling like you’re invading the neighbours’ privacy, but it is pretty to look at. Your instagram opportunities will be limited and this may bring frustration, because DAMN it REALLY IS A GOOD SUNSET. It’s really close to the highway, but it’s not too noisy.

Sleep Quality 2 stars

You’ll be sharing the accommodation with a cycling addict who rises early for both work and recreation, so you will feel very sleep deprived. You’ll also find that the child resident will on occasion make a noise early in the morning, often singing just one line from that viral ‘hit’ song What Does The Fox Say over and over (consider it your wake up call). Because you’re expected to assist in looking after said child during the day, you will find yourself lying awake in the middle of the night for no apparent reason other than to worry about things you didn’t have time to worry about during the day or simply to get in some ‘thinking alone’ time. Don’t stay here if relaxation is what you’re after! Terrible!!

Also, rooms are very noisy during the day. I heard constant moans of, “I’m hungry! I need to do wees! WATCH THIS!”

Rooms & Cleanliness 1.5 stars

There are only two liveable bedrooms available (which you have to share with other residents). One is shoved full of stuff for storage (enter at own risk) and one has been turned into a makeshift study/ironing room (in terrible condition). The owner has apparently made plans to overhaul these rooms, but nothing substantial has been done about it. There is dust on some of the furniture, there are piles of clothes on the floor. When asking the domestically challenged lady owner about this, the reply was, “What? That’s just my floordrobe. Don’t touch it. It’s a very highly organised system.”

Housekeeping seems to happen often, but the accommodation still looks very much like nothing was done almost immediately afterwards. I noticed a lot of crumbs underneath the couch. And on the couch. Also, under the dining table. What. The. Eff. On several occasions I was amazed to see the owners used their DOG to clean up the floor. WITH ITS MOUTH.

Self contained. Pantry well stocked with complimentary baking ingredients a lot of the time. The master bedroom has an ensuite, but when an early riser uses the shower, it wakes whoever was trying to sleep because there is no door separating the rooms.

There are TVs with access to a DVR stacked full of shows up to a year old because the owner never has time to watch anything. The internet is OK, but on occasion becomes so slow you can’t even *gasp* watch Netflix!

Family friendly set up. Backyard. Play area. No-one is judging if your kids are cray cray.

Very ‘homely’ ‘lived in’ feel. We all know what that’s code for.

Service (either 5 stars for children or 1 star for adults)

If you are 3 years old, the service is fantastic all around the clock. If you are any older, you have to do everything yourself. You may be able to coerce one of the owners to do you a favour here or there, but you have to be really nice and it depends what mood they’re in (see above for sleep quality).

I don’t recommend the so called day spa. It consists of the owner just slapping some moisturiser on your face, painting your nails badly (only on sporadic weekend evenings) and then shoving you out because there’s no time for anything else. Well, I never!

The ‘gym’ is a treadmill shoved up into a corner of the master bedroom. The only upside of this is that if you fall off, you will land in bed.

The food menu is “Have what we make you or get it yourself” and depends on how close to pay day the owner is.

Value (hard to ascertain)

Children stay for free. Adults must contribute to mortgage, housekeeping and admin. It’s totes worth it if you have nowhere else to go. Basically, it’s like a working holiday.

The place has a lot of potential and once the owners find two seconds, it will be undergoing several improvements – woohoo!

 

Guess I’ll be staying here then! You know, because I live here.

Would you stay at my hotel house? What would a review of your place look like? Do you obsess over reviews when planning to stay somewhere? 

*I probably don’t need to say it, but this post is in no way associated with TripAdvisor.

How I cope with winter illness stir-craziness.

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I am not a winter person. I have learnt how to embrace it and try to enjoy it anyway, but it is a time fraught with danger. Germs flying about everywhere. No place is safe. No person is safe!

It’s just par for the course, really. Winter = cold and flu season.

As an adult, I’ve been getting a flu shot annually and while it doesn’t work for everyone, I feel thankful that it has seemed to work quite well for me. Mr Unprepared seems to have mixed results, but nothing too full on has hit him since he started having them, so that’s probably a positive sign.

But the Little Mister? Germ machine.

Since he started day care this year, he’s had a cold almost every second week. Some strains seem really mild and give him nothing more than a snotty nose for a couple of days, others seem to linger forever, along with an annoying cough. I am so lucky I work casually and can be flexible when he needs to stay home, but it’s starting to get a bit inconvenient! If I don’t work, I don’t get paid damn it!

BUT…

I am very passionate about not knowingly spreading germs around. I hate when I hear about work places that pressure their employees to turn up sick. I hate when someone turns up at the playground or social gathering, casually saying, “Oh man! I/my kids am/are so sick right now!” while their child is practically slobbering all over you/your child or you’ve just agreed to split a plate of finger food with them. A little warning might have been nice!

WHAT THE HELL? GO HOME. Is your FOMO really that bad that you’re willing to infect ALL the people??

I mean, sometimes it’s not a super big deal. Germs are everywhere, anyway. It’s just nice to know ahead of time so you can make an educated choice on how you choose to protect yourself or your child (we personally had to warn my family this past weekend about the Little Mister’s cold and blessings were given for him to turn up with a few extra precautions taken)! But generally? If you’re all germy, then don’t turn up! These things are unavoidable. People will get over it.

I even keep my errands to an absolute minimum. You’ll only ever see the Little Mister having a little cough at the shops if I have absolutely no other choice, but I promise he’ll be coughing into his sleeve, keeping his hands to himself and that pocket sized bottle of sanitiser I keep in my handbag will be making an appearance!!

But I get it when people say they’re stir crazy. It starts to feel like you’ll never leave home again. You can feel very isolated and it’s not great for anyone’s mental health. Not to mention, when your child is bored and unstimulated and it feels like the days are moving at snail’s pace. I was talking to a friend about this and she was saying they hadn’t been out in weeks, due to her son having a lingering cold. I myself had only just emerged from a loooooong week in myself. I remember the days when it would go on for months if you had a bad run of it!! I never feel comfortable asking for babysitting so I can get out either, because I don’t want the Little Mister to infect anyone else! So, everyone at home it is.

It messes with your head. Especially if you get a sick partner too (they always seem to go down first right?).

So I’ve decided to share some ways that I try to minimise the stir crazy factor…

Get some fresh air…somewhere we can be alone together.

If it’s a sunny day, I like to grab the Little Mister, rug him up in his coziest clothes and take him down to our local beach. It’s a great spot that is never highly populated (much less in winter) and we can go for a walk or build a sandcastle together. Obviously we have to avoid anyone getting wet and cold, but it’s totally doable. No-one else gets infected, we get a bit of Vitamin D and the Little Mister feels like he had a fun outing just for him. In turn, I feel like the best mum ever again.

Phone calls/internet time.

This can be a double edged sword. Sometimes these things can make you feel worse, with FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) rearing its ugly head, but sometimes being able to chat online with your mates and feel connected can be a lifesaver. You can commiserate with your friends who are also stuck at home and keep each other company, virtually!

I also catch up on my favourite blogs and immerse myself in tales of the outside world when I get a bit of down time. Usually, when the Little Mister is snuggled up watching a movie. Gotta love movie time on sick days, right?

This week I joined Periscope (user name @KezUnprepared) just for the hell of it. Yet another new thing to eat up my down time and get me feeling creative. I feel like this should be its own little point too – try something new (read a new book or learn a new skill you can practice at home or research some stuff or plan a new project you could try during or after the current illness jag).

I like to have a good chinwag on the phone with my mum too. It’s nice to connect. Speak to an adult.

Clean EVERYTHING. 

Usually, I am no domestic goddess. But when everyone’s been cooped up for a while and the germs are so irritating, you swear you can see them having a party on every single surface of your home (living or otherwise), it’s cathartic to just start washing and cleaning and tidying ALL THE THINGS.

After the last outbreak of gastro, I went nuts washing bedding, towels and anything my husband had ever touched. Afterwards, the house looked and smelt nice and fresh. Psychologically, this really gave me a boost. I stopped seeing my house as a tiny, claustrophobic germ incubator and more as a sanctuary again.

I will be doing another vigorous cleaning session this week, after dealing with the Little Mister’s latest snotty, coughy situation. It’s gonna be great!

Obviously, it’s a good way to minimise the chances of reinfecting everyone over and over.

Have a secret stash of ‘sick day’ activity materials.

I have a craft box full of cheap stickers, pipe cleaners, cotton wool, kids’ craft glue, coloured card, felt animals hidden away for when the Little Mister gets really really bored and I start to feel like a crappy mum because we haven’t done anything but sit around for days. I also have colouring books and other activity books sitting around that he’s not really aware of. I pull something out when things are getting dire (I’m talking all out desperation) and it can keep him amused for ages! None of those things cost a lot and I just throw a little something in my shopping trolley when supplies are a bit low or I see something on sale.

Snuggle. 

Just give in. The Little Mister snuggles more when he’s not well. He gets so docile and cuddly. I just try to forget everything else and sit and snuggle with him when he needs it. It’s nice. I swear it is easier when I stop fighting it (‘it’ being my busy mum brain).

 

Kids are such troopers, aren’t they?

Look, my go-to strategies might seem a little obvious and might make you feel pretty stabby if you’re feeling at the end of your tether. Trust me, I get it. Sometimes I try all of these things and I will still feel like absolute shit. Hang in there! It won’t be forever. Summer will come again!

You got this! x

How do you survive lengthy winter sickness jags? Any advice you can add for other stir crazy parents?

Kez Gets Physical: Some weeks are better than others.

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I’m just gonna come straight out and admit that in the past week I have SUCKED at exercising. It started because the Little Mister was sick and I couldn’t get many moments to myself to do some great work outs. Then (of course), I started to fight off his cold too, which made me feel more drained and icky than usual. This did not do wonders for my motivational levels. Add a couple of later-than-usual dinner times (although it is not ideal I try to work out after an early dinner – the only time I can get to exercise daily) and a few bad work outs (endorphins – where the f*ck were you when I needed you?!?) and conditions have been a bit less than satisfactory.

And I never thought I’d say this, but sometimes the cold weather makes me not want to work out. Even though I work out indoors on my treadmill or to a video on YouTube. Lame Excuse Queen right here! I can’t help it! Cold weather makes me want to snuggle down. Not get my kit on and get sweaty. Which goes against logic. Because exercise warms you up.

I am also aware that at this stage of the game, it’s a make or break. This is the point where I make a choice. Give up because it’s hard to sustain new habits or push through. So I’m going to push through. A bad week does not justify me giving up.

I’m feeling a little frustrated because time to myself is at a premium lately. Moreso than usual, that is.

I’ve tried working out with the Little Mister in the room, but it is definitely more challenging!

I have just tried to eat better to compensate (my name is Kez and I haven’t bought any much junk food for like over a week) and I am going to come back stronger and more motivated than ever!

Until then, I will laugh about it because what can you do? It’s real mum life!

So I shall leave you with this video which made me giggle. This woman has nailed it. Behold the Real Mom Ab Workout.

Can you relate to the video? How do you motivate yourself when time is tight and children are everywhere?

Children are gross: A journey through time with NapiSan.

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BC (Before Child), I couldn’t have cared less about the existence of fabric stain removers. Seriously. Could. Not. Give. A. Crap. Sure, I had a token tub of Vanish NapiSan sitting neglected in the laundry, for extreme situations, but I just didn’t understand the fuss.

Now? Three and a half years into this parenting game? Literally cannot go a week without it. There’s always something. I honestly have no idea what people used before NapiSan existed. Elbow grease and something complicated you’d find on Pinterest that you had to make yourself with items no-one has ever heard of? Um…no. Could. Not. Deal.

When the Little Mister was a newborn, I knew there’d be a lot of horrible nappies to change but I had NO idea what number threes (also known as the poonami) were. You know the kind. The kind of liquid madness that obliterates entire jumpsuits and car seats. The kind that you swear only happens when you’re about to leave the house or while you’re driving.

*shudders*

Sometimes the cheaper jumpsuits were hastily put in a bag and thrown out – ain’t nobody got time for that!! But a lot of the time, we needed to salvage what we had. And into a bucket of NapiSan it went to soak before being chucked into the washing machine for a quick cycle. It was always such a relief to see the pristine, sweet smelling item at the end. Yay! I can touch it! It’s like that terrible terrible TERRIBLE thing never happened!

Then solid foods came along. Purée flying all over the joint in all colours of the rainbow. Bibs meant nothing. They were just arbitrary pieces of fabric or plastic. If I could have put the Little Mister in a full length water proof jumpsuit for meal times I would have. In the summer we settled for nearly naked. I must have soaked about a million bibs and tiny outfits daily. OK, so maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but it felt like it! Oh, that bucket and that little tub of Napisan were my best friends. FYI, did you guys know that mashed banana dries on really really hard and turns black? GROSS.

After all that came *dun dun dun* toilet training! I won’t go into too much detail (either you’ve lived it and are traumatised enough already or you are blissfully not living with it and you might be eating or something right now), but you can imagine what happens to little pairs of jocks when your kid is learning to get to the toilet on time. Or when your kid is in denial about needing to do number 2s without nappies or pull ups to fall back on (literally – ew).

Then your toddler becomes a pre-schooler. Paint stains. Dirt. Mud. All those things that mean your kid is learning and getting busy doing the best kid stuff. Totally fine with me as long as I have my NapiSan! I’m so stoked to have just discovered the Vanish Preen Oxi Action trigger spray. It’s very satisfying to use – not to mention easy.

It’s been quite the journey with my good friend NapiSan. One of those every day things you take for granted. I’m sorry, NapiSan. I love you. I appreciate you.

Without you, clothes stains would be a nightmare and ‘stain removal’ would mean throwing everything with a stain in the bin (i.e. removing it from my house – get it? Stain removal?). Which is not exactly economical. What do you think I am? A gazillionaire?

I trust you, NapiSan. You have been there when things have gotten really really really ugly. I know you’ve got my back. You haven’t judged me as I’ve made ugly dry retching faces over the bucket or the machine. You have pretended not to notice some of the stuff I’ve put my hands in (don’t worry I always wash and sanitise afterwards). You’ve never wrecked my family’s clothes.

You’re awesome and I’m glad you’re in my laundry.

So tell me, lovely readers, what every day household products are you grateful for?

Loud.

This post has been inspired by Fat Mum Slim’s September Photo a Day challenge x

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Life is certainly not as quiet as it used to be. It’s amazing how much sound can be generated by just one tiny human. It literally starts right after they’re born and it never stops! Trying to have an adult conversation or survive a phone call is quite the experience, while silence becomes something we’re suspicious of (unless we’re lucky enough to have a break and we know our child is happily making noise elsewhere)! There are loud car ride conversations, constant toddler questions…

“Where has your hat gone? Where are my (sun)glasses? What is that? What is this? Who is that? Where are your shoes? Where is your bag? Where is Daddy? Daddy at work? Where are my pants? Where are my puzzle pieces? Open the gate for me please? Close the door for me please? What is that sound? What is this mess? Where is the dog?”

I’m just glad he hasn’t learnt ‘why’ yet.

Then there are the never-ending toddler demands and commentary on our every movement!

“I neeeeeeed a snack! I neeeed a hug. Want to go outside! Car coming! Careful! Playground! Playground! Sit on the couch! Play room! Play room! Look! Look! Water please! Milk please! Put it here! Pants please! Potty please! Reach my puzzles! Want to do painting! Lie down please! SESAME STREET! Get up please! NO! YES! Help! Swing FASTER! Daddy’s blue car! Go to another shop! Another shop! Bike! Want to go on bike! One more story! MUMMY! MUMMY! MUMMY! DAAAAADDDDDY!”

You get the idea.

There’s also the singing, which I really do not mind. It’s a bit adorable. The made up words. The dance moves. Even cuter when he thinks I’m not watching. I could spy on him forever. OK, forever might get creepy, but you know what I mean.

There are also the sounds of children’s television, annoying noisy toys which go off at any given moment because the batteries are dodgy, and the sound of my own voice as I repeat instructions over and over or try to teach him something.

Sometimes, even if I am annoyed that I can’t sleep, I will lie in bed with my eyes closed, thankful for the quiet. At times I crave the ability to complete a household task from beginning to end, without being interrupted. The ability to have a conversation with Mr Unprepared without us being told, “Stop talking, please.”

A minute – just a minute – to chew our food silently at dinner time without being told, “Talk! Talk!”

But…if I was given a choice today of an always quiet home or a loud one? I’d pick loud. Call me crazy, but I am grateful to have so much life and activity in my house. It keeps me moving. Keeps me motivated (most of the time anyhow). Makes me laugh. I don’t think I ever laughed this much before the Little Mister came along.

Still, if I could just have a mute button or even a pause button for when I make phone calls or when I’m trying to remember something really important under pressure, that would be pretty cool.

How do you like to spend your quiet time? What’s your favourite loud noise?

Repetition.

This post is inspired by Fat Mum Slim’s September Photo a Day challenge x
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Life with babies and toddlers can often feel quite repetitive. They are learning and practicing so many skills. Often with great diligence. Not to mention you have to keep feeding them and bathing them and cleaning up after them over and over – sheesh (who would have thought)! Somehow each day still seems to be different, though. Rarely a day goes by when I don’t notice something new about the Little Mister’s development. So weird how that works.

Here’s some stuff that’s been happening over and over lately:

Hugs. Lots and lots of hugs. The Little Mister has become really affectionate lately. Not that he wasn’t before, but it’s like he’s gone super nuts for it now! Sure, sometimes when he’s asking for a hug it’s because he wants to reach something or see something, but he just seems mad for a close face to face moment with his mum. This is so lovely, most of the time, but I kind of can’t get much done!! He’s learnt ‘eskimo kisses’ (I don’t know if that’s PC or not – my apologies to the Inuit people) and it is rather cute as he grabs both sides of my face and rubs his nose against mine. I think the hugs are partly the reason why this blog post is a day late. I can’t get any typing done ever haha.

The Little Mister also likes to be lifted off the ground for hugs. He weighs 18kg. I can’t lift that kind of weight without him assisting a little. When he stands there like a dead weight, I am starting to realise my limitations!! Still, I try each day. That’s when I’m not being actively climbed upon, whether I like it or not!

Pushes on the swing. There’s something about that childhood joy of whooshing through the air on a swing. Mr Unprepared and I have been known to indulge on visits to the playground with the Little Mister now and then! The Little Mister was really lucky to receive a swing set for Christmas last year from his grandparents and yesterday, Mr Unprepared was able to finish securing it so that it’s nice and sturdy on our lawn. The Little Mister loves it. He can spend hours just swinging back and forth out there. He loves to go fast and high (hence the need for extra secure footings). I spent yesterday afternoon being barked at to go, “Faster! Faster! Push! Push!”

I couldn’t go anywhere or do anything else!

I am starting to understand why there are dads out there who sit a few metres away in a chair enjoying a beer while they pull on a rope they’ve attached to the swing!! I won’t judge you anymore, dudes haha.

Potty training. Oh, man. Will it ever end? The Little Mister doesn’t like the cold, so he doesn’t like taking his pants off on his own very often. He’s also not super coordinated at it yet (so doing it in a rush when he’s feeling the urge can be a challenge), so i think that does hold things back a little and I get that he can’t help it sometimes. I try to keep him in comfy, easy to pull off pants at home when I can, but he’s not quite there yet. This means that every few hours I do the same old, “It’s time to use the potty!” chant (just to prevent excessive accidents), while having to stop absolutely everything so I can help. I am really hoping that this summer the warmer weather will assist. He was doing so well last summer. A bit of extra age and experience under his belt, along with warmer temperatures may be just what we need. I’ve heard that some boys take longer, so that’s OK. I’m sure he’ll be fine when he realises he’s ready. He’s the kind of kid who can take a while learning something, but then when it clicks, it really clicks quickly.

Vacuuming. I thought I was fussy about the floor when the Little Mister was a crawling bub. I was so worried about every piece of lint and fluff and crumb. I thought it was all hazardous and I obsessed over it. How embarrassing haha. Any second child will not be getting such great treatment!! Now having a toddler around, I can’t move without stepping on something crunchy. It’s quite gross. I have to vacuum about fifty million times more than I used to (which admittedly wasn’t that often). The crumb situation is just out of control! I dream of one day owning one of those fancy cordless Dyson cleaners. Imagine what a lifesaver that would be for all the spot cleaning! I get vacuum cleaner cord rage. I also get ‘trying to drag the vacuum cleaner around corners’ rage. I think I just hate vacuuming in general, really. It’s like one step below how I feel about ironing.

Bedtime stories. I love that the Little Mister is so into books. He loves being read to. He loves sitting by himself and having a browse. He gets excited when we have library books to devour (although getting in and out of the library with him on one hand and a massive pile of books in the other is so not easy). He just loves getting to know his favourite stories. Over and over and over. Even when I’ve read him a book from start to finish, he’ll ask me to begin again.

“One more! One more!” While I’m no dummy and I know it’s partly a delay tactic, so he doesn’t have to go to sleep yet, I also know that he genuinely enjoys going over and over a story. He wants to know it. He’s learning so much and trying to soak it all in. Occasionally, if a book is really short, I’ll humour him, but I honestly think the only reason I take him to the library is so that I’ll have something new to read each night! I think he’d be satisfied with the same couple of books each night FOREVER.

While it can get a little tedious, all this repetition, there’s still joy to be found. I’m well aware that I’ll miss some of these things as he gets older (except for the potty training – won’t miss that AT ALL)! 

What things do you do a trillion times a day?