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
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.
‘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).
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″
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!
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.
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.
This is a question many parents wonder about. There is no ‘right’ time to move them into a bed, and your decision may be based on a variety of things….
- You may have a new baby arriving and know that they will only sleep in a bassinet for the first few months;
- You may be concerned that your toddler is attempting to climb out of their cot;
- The toddler may be indicating that they want a big bed like their sister/ brother/ cousin, or
- You may be renovating and want to include the child’s bedroom in that.
There are many reasons ‘why’ you might want to move them. From a safety point of view, they can stay in the cot until they are getting too big for it, or until they start to climb out – as then they may be at risk of falling or injury.
Whatever your reason for moving them, here are a few suggestions to make the transition easier:
This article is supplied by guest writer, Rodney Tattam, who writes a weekly blog, called One Page Wonder.
“The best thing parents can do for their children is allow them to be who they were born to be.” ― Nancy Arroyo Ruffin
Week after week I endeavour to post something that has a positive Twenty one years ago we became parents for the very first time and our lives changed forever, and so much for the better. Two years later we were blessed with our second son and life became incredible. At this period there are so many changes happening in your life and so much to learn and comprehend. Most of it, you learn or make up as you go.
I recently had a trip overseas to see my family in Denmark. While I was there, I was away from the busy-ness of my daily life and so had more time to relax and think.
Flying gives me great pleasure – I get excited just like a child – the thrill of taxiing down the runway, and the glee when the plane lifts and soars above the ground – I sit there, almost grinning like the Cheshire Cat in ‘Alice in Wonderful’.
The next day I’m lying on the grass in my sister, Anita’s backyard, in the sunshine with my niece, gazing through the dappled light of the giant tree at the moving clouds. I felt grateful and blessed to be there, for Cecilie’s company (I only see her every 4-5 years), for the sun when it was mid-winter back home in Tasmania, for being able to laze about instead of working, for the fact I had enough money to take such a trip, and for the joy of being with family again – so many things to be grateful for! Read more
You know how Superman wears a disguise, as the ordinary Clark Kent?
Yesterday I saw Superman in another disguise – as a 3 year old boy!
I was in a department store, in a very long queue of people, waiting to make our purchases. Ahead of me was a Mum, with her 3 year old son (aka Superman). She had a large purchase, with a few smaller items sitting on top and was pushing it along in the line. Superman was looking at all the items which shops insist on putting just at children’s eye level – lollies, chocolates, drinks and small items. He picked various ones up and carefully replaced them.
Then, waiting in a long line became less appealing for him, and he started playing a game with the soft drink bottles – pushing them over, one at a time. Mum noticed and asked him to stop. He promptly decided to ignore her, and pushed another couple over. At this point Mum said: “If you don’t stop that, you can’t have this toy” (the one about to be purchased). He continued pushing them over, and she said: “Okay, no toy.” At this point Superman had a mini-tantrum, which stopped quickly when no-one took any notice. Great work Mum!
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