I’m Blowing Bubbles!

Do you ever have those days? The ones where everything seems to go wrong, or it feels like a major challenge? The days that could start well and then an incident happens, or perhaps it’s a bad day from the moment you step out of bed?

Well, the solution could be in a little bottle. And, no, it doesn’t involve alcohol! …….

Years ago, I realised just how many parents I saw were stressed with the pressures of parenting – the on-going mountains of dirty clothes to wash, the constant messy lounge room, the asking children 5 times to hang up their wet bath towels or the reminders to feed the dog, or the feeling so tired because the baby woke 3 times last night, or the worries of a sick child. Add to that the compounded work load of shopping with a baby and a cranky toddler, bringing the groceries into the house from the car in the rain, and then attempting to cook dinner whilst bathing the children and helping the older one with her homework. It’s no wonder we sometimes feel like we are going loopy, or that we’d like to run away from home! Read more

Effective Time Management for Home and Work

Last week I wrote about how we cater for the needs of our families in terms of how much time we spend with our children, our partner and with ourselves. It can sometimes be a challenge, yet they are all important people to spend time with.

This week I’ll focus on how to spend our time well when we have work outside the house, as well as our work at home.

One important factor to think about is, that every single person on the earth has the same amount of time – we all have 24 hours in a day. It’s how we choose to spend them which makes the difference.

You probably know some people who seem to breeze through the day, managing both to work outside the home, and within the home – children, housework and cooking. And then we see other people who just look tired, stressed and always seem to be in a ‘rush’. You may recognise yourself in one of these scenarios! Read more

Mother holding her child wearing defence force outfit

Moments of Defence Kids

I am a mum to three kids and I am a Defence force wife. These two things can make for a very busy and chaotic life but it can be an amazing time. Don’t get me wrong I have mounds of washing waiting for me and dishes in the sink and moments when I want to lock myself in my room and not come out, but making special memories when one parent is away for extended periods of time can happen, it’s about balance. The time away and coping with kids is a whole topic in itself, but creating special family moments doesn’t take much, involving the kids is key. For example the homecoming after an extended period away – and in this case I mean months – is something to be cherished. Yes my kids have made those big, somewhat tacky, signs with pens and paint and streamers and balloons – this exercise in itself was a great time to interact with the kids and most importantly sounds out what they were looking forward too, when their Dad gets home. Read more

Movement at All Ages and Stages

I remember the first time I visited an indoor play centre with my toddler. Although I did not like the idea of an indoor play centre after the third day of rain I was willing to give anything a try. House bound boys have a lot of energy, so off to the indoor play centre we went.

The first thing that struck me was how loud it was in there. Kids were laughing and talking and excited to be there. Indoor play centres are bright and cheery places where kids can run, crawl, scoot, jump, leap, slither and slide and get buried in balls. So can mums. For the mother it is a wonderful well rounded, whole body functional workout (see what I did there – I used all the words the latest and greatest exercise routines use). I recall feeling absolutely bone weary after 2 hours of following my child!

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How to Find Inner Peace, and Eat it Too.

We’re all busy, I hear it every day and see it as people rush to and fro, mobile phones in hands so as to not miss anything. We hold dear our need to immediately respond to the constant flow of social media commentary, text messages, appointments and deadlines – I’m as guilty as most there!

And don’t get me wrong, it is important to do your part, reply to messages, schedule the car service, grocery shop; we each have our individual roles and responsibilities, but being constantly engaged and ready to pounce is having a major impact on our health & wellbeing – we’re becoming more stressed with an alarming and costly 3 days on average, a year lost to stress and mental health concerns.

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You Do What You Gotta Do

You’re a booonk head iPad! You’re not my best friend ANY more’.

Possible response: ‘That’s not very nice calling me that, and I like being your friend’.

Actual response: ‘Good’.

The response generally depends on the time of day, day of the week time of the month, number of coffees consumed, the weather, time of wake up that morning and especially what it is in reference to. Example: I’m a ‘booonk head iPad’ because I have carelessly put the grapes into a blue bowl instead of a green one, and they are purple grapes not green ones. You can hazard a guess at the response (with a possible expletive muttered under the breath).

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Backyard Garden at Home

Going Home

I hadn’t been interstate to visit my Step-Dad for a while, and I finally made it last weekend. It was so good to catch up with him, and to be back in the family home, sleeping in my old bedroom.

It’s funny how when you go home after a long time that you both notice the changes and the familiar. By changes I mean things like furniture that’s been moved, new china or freshly painted walls – they stand out, and make the place feel somewhat different, a little less familiar.

You also notice the things which are the same – your teenage bedcovers, the board games in the cupboard and the ticking clock… they all remind you that this is ‘home’.

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Post Natal Depression – a personal story

In October we had Mental Health Day. Some mothers experience Postnatal Depression with many consequences for them, their babies and attachment, and for their families. Many chose not speak up because they think they ‘should be able to cope’. Here’s a story from a friend of mine, who did speak up and sought help. Thank you Shanelle for sharing something so personal, in such an open way…

“Today is World Mental Health Day.

I wanted to share this picture of my daughter and I from 6 years ago, when my post natal depression was at its peak.

You cannot tell someone’s mental health state just by looking at them. You cannot know how someone is feeling by the way they present themselves to the world. You can never know the stories that someone is telling themselves over and over in their head.

I was great at wearing the mask of “perfect mother” when I was out in public. If you saw me out and about, you would probably think that I had adjusted to my new role of motherhood rather well. If there was video footage of what was happening in the 4 walls of my home, you would be shocked to know I was the same person.

There was constant anxiety over doing things the “right” way, if I was following the rules (of course my baby had a rulebook!). There was so much guilt associated with feeling totally out of my depth with the challenges of being a new mum. I constantly beat myself up over a traumatic birth experience and a daughter born with a dislocated hip.

I was so sad, so emotional, so teary. I was exhausted. I wasn’t sleeping well in fear that something might happen. I felt so alone and isolated, like I was the only one going through this experience. I was ashamed that this wasn’t a natural experience for me. Why hadn’t I got the fairy-tale the media makes motherhood out to be?

I would put my daughter down for her nap and then lock myself in the walk-in robe to cry. Locked in the darkness the tears would stream endlessly.

I kept myself busy cooking, cleaning, washing and whatever else I could to keep my mind off how I was really feeling. It got to a point where I couldn’t handle it anymore.

Finally I made the call to see my GP. A call that was probably one of the bravest and scariest things that I have ever done. A call that ultimately put me onto the path of receiving the help I so desperately needed and to getting my mental health under control.

6 years on, I now have 2 beautiful children. Most days are great, however there are times when depression starts to creep back in. Nowadays I am aware of the signs to look out for and can put the steps into place to get me back on track before I am

Statistics say that 1 in 2 of us will develop a mental illness during our lifetime. Mental Illness doesn’t have to define you. It can be managed.

It’s time the guilt and shame were removed from mental illness. People don’t choose to get diabetes, nor do we choose to have a mental illness. We need to be able to have open and honest conversations about how we are genuinely feeling and know that these conversations will be taken seriously and are free from judgement.

Peach Tree Perinatal Wellness (www.peachtree.org.au) is an organisation that I found during my second pregnancy who focuses on peer support for mental health challenges during the perinatal period. There are several Peachy Parent groups who meet each week throughout Queensland providing support to parents from a lived-experience perspective. Having the support and understanding of other parents who have had similar experiences is so important on the road to recovery.

Please, if you need to reach out – contact your GP, call Lifeline 13 1114 or PANDA 1300 726 306 or Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467″

Shanelle

Happy Parenting this week, by taking good care of yourself Mums… it’s important for you, and for your family – You are Special and Very Important!

Mother and child walking through a japanese garden.

Going For a Walk

Today I went for a walk through a quaint little town, exploring it and the surroundings. As I walked, I noticed a beautiful feather on the ground and picked it up. Immediately it reminded me of walking with my young children some years ago.

We regularly went walking whether it was around our property (we lived in a rural area), around town, at the beach or in the bush. As we walked, I always seemed to have a ‘Collector’ with me….. at least one of my children would be in a collecting mode, and I learnt to always carry a small basket or bag for their collections. Sometimes it was leaves, other times it was shells, and sometimes it was stones – from pebbles to rocks! The child would decide if the speciman was ‘worth’ collecting….. maybe based on the colour, the size, the shape, some patterns on it, or just because they liked it! As they collected, they would be describing to me, what was special about it.

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Two young kids splashing in a play pool

The Things Some Parents Say…

In my work as a Parenting Consultant I work with parents who approach me for different reasons. I have parents who want reassurance that their child is developing as they ‘should’ ie that they are meeting the milestones for development in the areas of Language, Intellectual skills, Motor skills – both gross and fine motor, and Social-Emotional skills. Some parents contact me when they think there may be a possible delay in one of these areas – that their child isn’t talking as much as his peers, or not moving as well. Other parents contact me when Mum is returning to work and they want to check on how to best ensure that the child will cope with this new change of routine and people in childcare. And other parents contact me when there is an issue with their child eg around bedtime routines, or when they are approaching toilet-learning, or when they are behavioural issues.

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