Permission to take a break.

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permission-to-have-time-offAs a stay at home mother, I rarely find myself having a full day off. As much as I love constantly being home with the kids, I can’t just call in sick or skip a day. It’s constantly full on and busy and there isn’t much time to just chill and relax. After about three years of sleep deprivation I found myself getting burnt out, exhausted and unmotivated.

(big shout out to all the single working mums! I don’t know how you do it! Amazing! I feel so stupid having any right to complain!)

Anyway, sleep deprivation can really mess with you and after such a long amount of time, I decided to give myself permission to occasionally take break. Sounds ridiculous but I can tell you it has one hundred percent made me a better mother. If I have a break, I feel recharged, motivated, positive, grateful and happy!

Here are a few things I do to give myself a break.

  • Daycare – every Wednesday the kids go to daycare, Alllll day! I drop them first thing in the morning and pick them up late in the afternoon. At first I felt major guilt. I thought it was cruel leaving the kids in daycare for eight hours but they absolutely love it! They learn so much and they have created some amazing bonds with their teachers and friends.

So on daycare days, I don’t do a thing in the mum department. I decided to take the whole day off. I do things that make me happy. Shopping, art classes, lunch with friends etc and the one promise I make myself, is to not do any housework or boring things. My cleaner comes once a fortnight on a Wednesday so the house is always spotless on that day! I don’t even cook dinner. I give the kids something basic like “breakfast for dinner” and then I don’t even have to do the dishes! It’s awesome. I’m so grateful I have a husband who doesn’t give me a hard time if I have a lazy day. He doesn’t even notice if the beds aren’t made, or if there are toys everywhere. I always catch up the following day but it’s just so good to not have to worry about the little things.

  • Time away – as a helicopter parent this was a really hard one for me. I sometimes take a night away with my mum. We have a nice dinner together, stay in Brisbane in a nice apartment, watch a show and just have some quality time. I also get a full eight hours of sleep so I always feel really recharged afterwards. I also miss the kids and Mike so it makes me appreciate them more.
  • Netball – when I was younger, netball was a huge passion of mine. I played for most of my life but when I started adulting, I just stopped! I was fearful of returning after having so much time off in case I hurt myself, but going back was the best thing for me. I now have something to look forward to one night a week and I get to socialise, exercise and recharge.

 

Even if you can’t manage big nights away or full days without the kids, I really recommend trying to find some ‘me’ time so you can recharge the batteries. Start a sport or hobbie, run a bath and read a positive book, have lunch with a girlfriend or walk around the shops by yourself. There are so many things you could do but most importantly…give yourself permission to take some time for yourself. We are so hard on ourselves sometimes and don’t like to ask for help, but putting ourselves first occasionally, makes us a better mum in the long run.

If you enjoyed reading this post and can relate, I’d love for you to share in the comments, some ways that you take time out for yourselves.

 

Until next time,

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Five things I have learnt since becoming a parent

dscf8160I was one of those people that never felt ready to become a parent. I always knew I wanted kids but never really backed myself. I had no idea what to expect or if I could handle parenthood. In the last few years, I have learnt so much about myself. I think I’ve grown and developed into a much stronger, calmer, compassionate person since becoming a mum and I thought I’d share a few key things I’ve learnt along the way.

  1. To be confident and brave.

I was always such a scared, anxious kind of person. I don’t think I will ever loose that part of me, however since becoming a mum I have really worked on becoming a more confident person. I know my two kids are always watching me and if I am scared, they will be too. If I show them that I am brave and out going, they will be more inspired to follow suit. I am well aware that Jack and Jaz are always learning from me. I realised that I needed to be a positive role model and set a really good example for them to follow. I don’t want them being too scared to try new things, or being afraid to put themselves out there in life. I’m always working on myself and I really hope the kids grow up with great self esteem and a real go getter, can do attitude!

     2. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

I would definitely call myself a perfectionist so I struggled when I first became a mum. I wanted the house to be spotless, my baby to sleep through the night, my washing to be up to date and the list went on and on! I have had to learn that not everything has to be perfect. I would much rather cuddle my baby when they need it and forget about the silly stuff. I always tell myself the kids are only small for a little while. So just try to remember to not worry so much about the little things that aren’t getting done. You’re keeping a tiny little human happy and alive and for that you’re doing a great job.

     3. Go with your gut.

Gut instinct is massive for me. I have had so many parenting wins by following my gut feeling including the birth of my little man Jack. If I didn’t follow my instinct with his birth, he would have ended up in a really bad way. (That’s a whole new story for a different post though). Most people have heard the saying ‘a mothers intuition’ and I truly believe it is one of the most powerful tools we can have as long as we pay attention and listen to it. I have ignored my instincts many times and it always ends up that I should have followed it. We need to back ourselves and trust that we know what’s right for our kids.

     4. Only run your own race.

Mothers are soooo competitive and at the start of my parenting journey I would find myself comparing Jack to the other babies around us. I would worry if he wasn’t reaching the same milestones, or doing the same things. How ridiculous is that? I think initially we doubt ourselves and we are so unsure of what we are doing that we are desperate to keep up. I am so different these days. It took Jack ages to be toilet trained but he got there. Jaz still doesn’t sleep through the night, but she will get there. Don’t worry about what others are doing. As long as you are happy and confident with your parenting and as long as there are no serious concerns, just know that your little one will get there at their own pace.

    5. Only take on the advice that’s best for you.

Becoming a parent is the most overwhelming experience and as you will find, many people will give you all sorts of advise. What you just have to try and remember is that people are coming from a kind place and to try not to take their opinions the wrong way. I have had many people give me parenting advise that I haven’t agreed with so I just brush it off and keep doing what I am happy with. No one knows your child like you do, so be confident you are doing the right thing. I parent a little bit left of centre, so I am constantly being given advise on what I should be doing. I am so happy with how my kids are turning out that I don’t really take much notice to the know it alls. In saying that, I am always open to learning new things and open to hearing new tips and tricks and I only take on board what is best for our family.

I hope these tips will help you in some way and if you know anyone about to become a parent, maybe you could share this with them. Feel free to comment with the one thing you have learnt since you became a parent. I would love to see what wins you’ve had along the way.

Until next time,

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Why my views on daycare have changed

img_3676When I became a full time stay at home mum I was so excited that I wouldn’t have to put my kids into daycare. I knew I wouldn’t have to work a regular job and I was excited that I could raise my kids without relying on others. I said I’d never put them into daycare. It’s funny how things change and how we develop as parents.

When Jack was about two, I started thinking about the pros and cons of daycare. I ended up putting him in one day a week to the loveliest early learning centre and the self growth he has achieved in the last couple of years has been amazing. Jack is a very anxious, shy boy and the thought of my first born being without me for eight hours was really hard to swallow at first. I am a self proclaimed ‘helicopter mum’, so all the fears and worries came in to my head. What would go wrong? What if he hurt himself? What if he was bullied? Bla bla bla!

I think the transition for us both was just as hard. Jack would cry and cling to me at drop off and I would leave him there thinking I was the worst mother in the world. It took me a long time to realise he was playing me…I had friends text me as soon as I walked out the door saying he stopped crying as soon as I left and was happily playing. Little bugger! He was always so happy when I picked him up, so that’s why I persisted. I knew he loved it.

During the first year I noticed Jack had developed in so many ways. He would learn so many new things at daycare and I loved the fact he was socialising and making friends.

The thought of sending such an anxious child into school for five days at a time without any daycare would be detrimental to his development so I am really glad we continued with it. Gradually increasing Jacks days at daycare will make it a much easier and less stressful time when school comes around.

Jasmine started attending daycare as soon as she turned two. I was quietly so excited because that meant I could have one full day a week for ‘me time’. Jaz is a totally different child. She practically runs off as soon as we get in the door and I find myself chasing her for a kiss goodbye. She loves it and loves making friends. I think it’s great too that kids learn to be disciplined and directed by other adults and learn to respect them as well as their peers.

Having one day off a week for myself has really helped me as a parent too. I look forward to Wednesdays each week because I get to catch up with friends, go shopping, attend a pottery class and it really recharges the mummy batteries for the rest of the week. I can’t recommend daycare enough for both children and parents. 

If you loved this post, feel free to share it with your friends.

Until next time,

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Is four too young to start school?

img_5118It feels like the last four years have gone so quickly. I have gone from rocking my four year old Jack to sleep as a newborn, to having to make some big decisions about his schooling and future. Where has the time gone??

So my first born is what you would call a sensitive child. He has always been some what cautious and a little anxious at times. He’s also charming and funny and a little cheeky so I find it to be a pretty good balance. He has struggled with separation anxiety and daycare drop offs haven’t always been fun…who am I kidding? They have NEVER been fun! He also struggles with change and takes a long time to adapt to something new. These reasons alone made me question if sending him to school next year would be a great idea or not.

I started asking around and many of my friends and family had regretted sending their kids early, also some said their kids were fine. I think it depends on each individual child.

Another factor is that Jack is a May baby so he would be one of the youngest in the year. If he had a different personality, this probably wouldn’t be an issue, but I feel that being the shy, anxious little man he is, it probably wouldn’t be the best idea starting him at four.

I think holding him back now while he hasn’t developed any real friendships or connections would also be much more beneficial than him having to repeat his first year of school. I could imagine spending five full days with the same kids would build some pretty tight friendships, so it would be tough watching them all move to another area and classroom.

I want Jack to be more self assured, more confident. I want him to be able to concentrate in class and to be able to follow instructions properly. I think in the extra year we have, Jack will also be able to develop his emotional maturity and also his anxiety wont be as challenging.

There are so many things to consider and the more research I have done, the more certain I am with holding Jack back a year. Who knows what will happen with Jasmine. She’s totally opposite to Jack so she will probably be begging me to send her to school! Obviously this is my personal opinion and each to their own. All kids are different but I thought I would share my two cents on the matter anyway! Who knows if it is the right thing to do but I am confident it’s the right choice for Jack.

Feel free to comment with your thoughts on this topic .

Until next time,

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Why I choose to take Dreamtrips!

img_2882About eighteen months ago, Mike and I were introduced to a holiday concept called Dreamtrips. We had no idea what it meant, but we liked the title and thought we would look further into it. Many of my friends have often asked in passing what Dreamtrips are all about but I thought I’d share a few key reasons of why we love this award winning travel concept.

Our very first Dreamtrip was a $69 cruise out of California. For that price we expected nothing more! We were stoked to be taking a cruise for that amazing price, when our last cruise cost over two grand each. (disclaimer: the cruise ended up being $89 each because we chose to upgrade to an outside cabin).

From the minute we got out of our shuttle to get on the cruise, the Dreamtrip kicked into gear. Each Dreamtrip you take, comes with your very own hosts. These hosts make your trip so much better. They are there for every need, advice on where to eat, places to see and they even help out with the kids. So our hosts were Gill and Cindy and as soon as they introduced themselves to us, they noticed Jack had a sling on. They immediately ushered us past the massive boarding lines of people, through a VIP entrance and we were on the ship, having our first cocktail within fifteen minutes. The hosts also sent us complimentary cookies for when we arrived in our room and they threw a massive VIP party with free drinks and stacks of prizes. From this holiday onwards, we were hooked on taking Dreamtrips, instead of normal holidays.

Another reason we love Dreamtrips is because almost everything is included. You don’t have to worry about organising excursions, check ins, transfers etc. It’s all sorted by Dreamtrips. It makes traveling so much easier.

The inclusions on a Dreamtrip are out of this world! When we took our Dreamtrip to Disneyworld we received the following inclusions for no extra cost: Free villa upgrade, from a two bedroom to three, $160 resort credit, daily breakfast, entry to Disneyworld including fast passes to skip the lines on a few rides. A VIP dinner at Planet Hollywood, and the kids were free. I can’t even remember what else was included but all of these extras were included in the one, cost effective package! Amazing!

The Hamilton Island Dreamtrip included: Airport transfers, a kite for the kids, a bottle of Moet, two dinners, breakfast each day, $200 resort credit, a trip to Whitehaven Beach and a trip to the Great Barrier Reef and the kids were free. I think you get the point!

The total cost of a Dreamtrip is often less than you would normally pay for accommodation alone so it is definitely worth it.

If you’re a member of Dreamtrips, I would love to see your comments on what you love about our trips or why you joined this awesome club.

I could go on and on about how amazing Dreamtrips are. If you haven’t taken one, you should really check it out. www.TimeToTravel.com.au

Until next time,

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An Open Letter To My Highly Sensitive Child

dscf8095Jack… you are my kind hearted, caring, shy four year old first born. It has taken me a little while to learn how to understand you. It has sometimes been a challenge being your mum, but you have taught me so much as a parent and because of you I am becoming a more compassionate, patient person and I am so grateful.

I used to worry about how your life would be. I worried that you would be too anxious and scared to make friends. I worried that you would be the child that got picked on at school. I worried that you would be too scared to speak to people and would struggle your whole life in social situations. One day, I just stopped worrying and realised that it was up to your dad and I to raise you and help you develop into the best version of yourself you can be. Just because you are sensitive, doesn’t mean you will struggle at all. I started to realise that you can be whatever you want to be. I promise you, we will always boost you up. We will always allow you to follow your dreams. If you are scared, we will encourage you to face your fears and become stronger. Being sensitive is a great quality. You will always be the kid that is compassionate. If someone falls, you will be the first person to help them up. You will always have your little sisters back. She will always have a big brother to look up to. You will always treat women with respect and you will be kind and caring.

I will continue working on your confidence and self esteem. Even though at four, you have no idea that each day I incorporate little things into your life that will help you to always believe in yourself and love the person you are. Each night we do our affirmations, I always add in ones that will specifically help you thrive and belive in yourself. I always make sure you get your time to speak, even though your sister is so full of confidence. I promise I will never let her over shadow you. Even though you are both so different, you are both as amazing and equal as each other.

Lastly, I promise to be brave and fearless. I know you are a lot like me and I was a scared, anxious person. I am working on this daily, constantly pushing myself out of my comfort zone because I know you are watching me. If I show fear, you will be scared too. But if I show courage and confidence, I know you will see that and want to do the same.

Do not change for anyone Jack. People might tell you that you are too soft, or sooky, but they don’t know the real you. The Jack I know is kind, loving, funny, happy, loveable, cheeky and fun. I love you just the way you are and I am so proud to call you my son x