The Burn Out

Mum life, work life, wife life, and well all my life has got me feeling busy of late, and if I am honest at times quite drained. That is exactly what has prompted today’s blog post.

If you have been following along for a while, you’ll know that I am quite a deep thinker, and lately I have been thinking about all of the pressures that the modern-day mother feels. Mothers are under for more pressure than I ever realised… until I was one.

I used to dream of the day when I would have children and be able to go for lunch dates with my friends, read books for hours, cruise into the gym whenever I pleased, cuddle on the couch, and Disney movies in the middle of the day. The reality is that even when I am seemingly doing these things they look and feel far from what I had imagined. What I am actually doing is scoffing down my food, folding washing while the movie is on, and grabbing any chance that my children are occupied to get on top of work or chores. It feels like currently Mothers are expected, and expect of themselves, to be more than they ever have been before. A cook, a cleaner, a taxi driver, up hold a full-time job, keep on top of all the bills, walk the dog, and the list goes on and on. It is as though we have evolved to a point where we can be and do it all, but we are still figuring out exactly how we can achieve it. How do we be all that we want to be whilst still maintaining our balance and our sanity? 

Don’t get me wrong, in the beginning I was all about the gooos and the gahhs. The first sits, steps and swims. But then the children changed and so did I! They were less about the mamas and dadas and more about the nos. I couldn’t just pop the sleepy newborn in the pram and go get my shopping done. I found that I was losing my patience, getting cranky and feeling tired. Always rushing them because I had too much on my plate. Not taking the time to explain things, to teach them to tie shoe laces or chew their food properly. I was tired of taking them from place to place, and it all just seemed too hard. The household chores were drowning me, and I felt more and more resentful every time I did them. I felt like a hamster on a wheel with my life just spinning around and around, without actually getting anywhere! What was the point of it all?

This is what I like to call ‘The Mum Burn Out.’ You know, that feeling where you are tired, you feel nothing, and you put simple you are just over it. Its ok, I can almost guarantee that it has happened or will happen to just about every Mother at some point in her parenting journey. Like I said before the expectation is simply too high. Being accountable for other people 24 hours a day 7 days a week is exhausting and overwhelming.

SO what can we do to avoid ‘The Mum Burnout’ or ease when it strikes?

1. Get enough sleep.
2. Eat a healthy and balanced diet.
3. Exercise.
4. Phone a friend or catch up with your girlfriends.
5. Stop over committing yourself.
6. Get help in whatever way you need.
7. Get out of the house.
8. Spend some time alone.
9. Do something you enjoy just because you want to.
10. Implement a daily routine.
11. Reset your morning and evening routines if they aren’t working for you. 

12. Get dressed up. So, most of all today I wanted to remind you to stop, that you don’t have to do everything, and you don’t have to be everyone. Break it down and get back to basics. Simplify your life. All of us have elements of our lives that have grown to be far more complicated then they need to be. Stop living the rat race. Being busy can be extremely addictive but it’s not worth it. Remember the beauty in simplicity and being present with your loved ones. Give them your time. Laugh, smile, watch those movies if you want to. Just enjoy your now and set aside those expectations.

Lots of love!

Gratitude is more than just a #

What does the word gratitude mean to you? How does gratitude feel? Is it more than just an Instagram caption with a hashtag at the end? Is it more than a few lines in a journal once a month when you can remember? Is it just saying that you’re grateful and not really feeling it? Or are you someone who had mastered the important art of being a grateful person?

In my opinion gratitude is the most important thing you can practise and is the core of a happy life. It is a marathon, not a race, and needs to be worked on everyday. A life of gratitude, is a life of self fulfilment and personal happiness. Gratitude helps to create a balance between your body and your spirit in a way that they work together in harmony. If the mind is ungrateful the body is punished. Without gratitude we worry and we have doubts, and it is worry and stress that lead to sickness and illness. If we live a negative life of stress this can manifest into our bodies.

To live a life of true gratitude is one of my life goals. It is not hard to find things to be grateful for and is as simple as being grateful for the fact that you are alive today. Or for the fact that the sun was in the sky when you woke up this morning, or that it set at night. That you have good clean water to drink and food to eat. It sounds cliche but you can simple be grateful for today.

Lately I have found myself feeling like I am not grateful. It wasn’t that I was actually acting ungrateful or necessarily being an ungrateful person. It was just the fact that I was not being grateful for the things that I did have, and paying gratitude for them. I was thinking of the things that I didn’t have and focusing on the fact that I didn’t have them yet. I have so many things to be grateful for, and as soon as I stopped to think for even five seconds I realised that.

So the fact of finding things to be grateful for isn’t the difficulty, but the hard part is actually practising being grateful on a day to day basis.

In particular recently I had been focusing on my desire to have a third child, and the fact that this might take more time then what I would like in my ideal world. I had been so focused on that third child who doesn’t even exist, that I had forgotten to be grateful for the two healthy and happy children that I do have. To thank the universe, god or whoever for the things that I am grateful for. Isn’t that already a better place to live in, where I am grateful instead of full of worry and sadness.

So I had a realisation that this is something that I need to work on. I know so many people in my everyday life who need this same reminder. I see them acting negatively, and focusing on the difficult or challenging parts of their lives then all of the amazing bits in front of them. Perhaps you do this too? I’m not going to tell you how to be grateful and I’m not going to tell you the things that you can do to practice gratitude. I simply want to remind you to be grateful today, just as I have needed this reminder lately.

So… what are you grateful for today? Think about the, then think about them again tomorrow. I PROMISE you and your life will be happier for it.

Enjoy!

Note – my outfit in the photo above is from the gorgeous Bonnie and Harlo

The night time routine that changed it all!

Whilst we were away on holiday, without the children, we had time to do a lot of things, including of course… talk about our children!  We spoke about how much we love them and how much we miss them.  What we also spoke about was how disappointed we were in our current night-time routine and the changes we could implement for the better.  From the day Ari and Chloe were born I had always prided in a stellar routine.  Yes, I was a routine mum, and I honoured that routine like my life depended on it.  As a result, I had babies and toddlers who slept well, fed well, and I generally knew what we were going to do at each moment of each day.  You guess it, spontaneity is not my strong point!  Though in recent months I had let our routine slip… And now I was paying the price. Poor is at the dinner table, late nights and battling with getting children to bed.  All because I had been too busy to stay on top of the routine that we had previously put in place.  Having time away from the children made me realise how much I appreciated my routine of the past, and the way that it had fit seamlessly into our lives.  So, it was time to make a change… Since getting back from holiday and implementing our routine we have had such success with getting the children to sleep on time, and reclaiming moments as a couple and as a singular people in those night time hours. So, I wanted to share our bedtime routine with you in the hopes that it might help someone in the same situation that we were in.

Daytime – First of all a good night time routine begins with the day time.  Our children wake at about 6.30 to 7 am which means that Chloe’s naptime must happen from 12 until two, or at worst from one until three.  She still needs two hours sleep a day or she gets cranky in the afternoon.  So, for her nap she must be awake by 3 pm in order to go to bed nicely in the evening.  I organise to have lunch ready and her eating by 11 o’clock so she’s got time to enjoy the meal and digest her food before going to bed.

TV Time – We had found that our children had started to watch too much TV, they were asking for it all of the time especially in the evening and this was dragging out at bedtime.  We decided that we would no longer have the TV on during our mornings or days, and it could only be watched at night time for 20 minutes.  For us this is more than enough TV and has created a happy balance where the children look forward to watching a TV show of an evening.  This is except for Ari watching a Disney movie once a week when Chloe is asleep and he’s home.

Night time – 5.30pm – At this time we all sit down to have dinner together. Prior to implementing the routine, we were having the children eat their meals in front of their TV on their own table, whilst I walked around the house doing chores.  As much as I valued this time for getting things done it just wasn’t working.  They were spilling food, things were going all over the floor, they were very distracted and not eating properly, and I often look over and they would be jumping on the couch!  It wasn’t until I started implementing eating dinner at the table as a family that I realise how important it is. Now we have conversations, we talk about our day, the good and the bad parts of it.  They eat their food, they use their manners. They must ask to leave the table when they’re finished and then go straight to wash their hands.  We also get them to be involved in setting the table for dinner.

6pm – At this time they chose a TV show to watch together while I tidy up the table. 

6.30pm – We start bath or shower time, which is quick as we don’t want to waste water and they would drag it out if they could.

6.35pm – We dress them, and they get to choose a book each to read for the evening.  We have a huge library of books to pick from, and I try to mix it up, but there are favourites.

6.45pm – At this time we get them to go to the toilet and we brush their teeth and comb their hair.  Then we start to wind down with either a massage or a back tickle.  We make sure that we aren’t in the room when either of them falls asleep as we want to have them independently falling asleep completely by themselves.  Otherwise we find this creates a bad habit, and they continue to want us into their room as they drift off.  My favourite part of the night time routine is when I jump into Chloe’s cot to give her kisses and cuddles and we talk about our day.

7pm – By this time both children should be asleep.  Of course, sometimes this does drag out, but I find it as long as we stay on top of it then we don’t have any issues.  Now we get to enjoy our evening together, perhaps do a little bit of work or do something for ourselves.

I find the most important thing with a night timer routine is to stay consistent.  Do the same thing every night and don’t stray from it.  Especially with Chloe, if you give her an inch, she will take a mile, so to speak.  So, we have them sleep with the same teddies every night, sing the same songs etc.  Of course, we do all sorts of new things in the day, but at night we keep it simple. 

I hope that this blog post has helped you in some way if you are struggling with your own routine. If you have any questions, please reach out to me on Instagram.

Enjoy!

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Everything you need to know about the Bubs IMPROVED Australian Goat Milk Formulation

Bubs Australia has a NEW and IMPROVED Goat Milk Formulation and couldn’t wait to tell you all about it.  We’ve been apart of the Bubs Australia ‘family’ for over two years now, and I have always been extremely honest in my reviews for this incredible Australian company.  In fact you may have seen my recent blog post Everything we love about Bubs Australia Toddler Goat Milk.

Bubs sell three stages of milk product.  Stage One is suitable from birth to six months, stage two is perfect for up to 12 months of age, and stage three from 12 months up to 36 months.  All of the stages of milk products are fantastic at naturally supporting gentle digestion, particularly for littles one with sensitive tummies.   Bubs Premium Australian Goat Milk formulation contains DHA (so important!) and ARA from plants for improved tastes.

So what’s makes the new formulation of Bubs even better? 

Bubs are known to continually strive to improve their products by always staying up to date with the latest industry best practices.  All three of their Goat Milk Stages now include MORE Omega 3 (DHA), Omega 6 (ARA), and Prebiotics (GOS).

They have also adopted a single step process, whereby the farm-fresh goat milk and other enriching ingredients are combined in an efficient and time-saving way.  This provides a better taste and enables the Formula to be delivered to their customers faster.

On top of these new improvements there are so many other reasons why I choose to give Chloe Bubs Australia Toddler Goat Milk.

  • Bubs is the only Goat Formula that’s made in Australia using Australian goat milk!
  • It is made with fresh goat’s milk.
  • They use only the best ingredients.
  • It is naturally easy for the body to break down.
  • It’s certified organic.

Bubs Australia don’t just provide exceptional quality Goat milk products, they have a whole range of organic products available, from baby formula to cereals, food pouches and rusks.  Ari and Chloe have tried them all and as a Mum I highly recommend them.

You can read more about my ‘love affair’ with Bubs Australia here…
BUBS AUSTRALIA SNACK RANGE
EVERYTHING WE LOVE ABOUT BUBS AUSTRALIA TODDLER GOAT MILK
TRAVELLING WITH KIDS FEATURING BUBS AUSTRALIA
THE FINAL FEED FEATURING BUBS AUSTRALIA

Bubs Australia products can be purchased from Coles, Chemist Warehouse, Woolworths and online here.  For more information on the Bubs Australia range visit their website or Instagram.

As always please remember that I am not a midwife, lactation consult, nutritionist, doctor or any other medical expert.  I am just a Mother expressing her journey and opinions.  Thank you to Bubs Australia for sponsoring this blog post so that I can share one of my very favourite products with you.  My opinion is of course and always is my own.  #BUBSPARTNER

How To Not Be A Dickhead Parent by Kate Forster

I recently came across this article written by Kate Forster and I thought it was brilliant. She talks frankly about the dos and don’ts of parenting that she has learnt over the past 16 years. She uses a different language to what I personally do, lol, but I’d have to say I agree with 99% of her list.  Let’s raise kind, we’ll balanced, confident humans.  You can find the article here.  Words are by Kate, images are of Ari and I, when he was 4 months old, taken by the beautiful Nicola Holland Photography.

I have been thinking about parenting. My children are now adults. Well,  as close to as possible, with the youngest only 6 months away from being 18.

They’re both exceptional. Funny, smart, they work hard, they’re kind, they are strong and they have a strong sense of social justice. I am proud of my part in their upbringing and prouder of them managing to get over the shittiest parts of my parenting.

As I get older, I see what made a difference and what didn’t,  where I wasted energy and where I was right to remind them to push a little harder in their own life. This is also based on watching other kids and their families and the ones who have taken refuge in our house away from their dickhead parents. I have had several children here, so I get it.

I’ve had to try and reason with mothers who don’t understand why their child is suicidal because of their appalling parenting. I’ve had to go to court for another as their advocate. I’ve fostered one because the parent refused to stop drinking and kick the abusive boyfriend out. I’ve had 2am calls from a desperate kids who have made bad choices and need an adult to help. I have done pickups from parks at 4am for drunk teenage girls, I’ve pulled kids from fights. Told parents off for pushing so hard their kid was on the edge, ready to jump. I’ve sat with a kid and told him it wasn’t his fault his mum killed herself after he found her body. I have taught kids how to set boundaries with their fuck-wit parents. I have listened when my own kids tell me how I can do better.

So, here is my list for do’s and don’t in raising kids:

  1. Don’t be a Tiger Parent. Don’t demand they practise until they hate the thing they’re learning. Just because you didn’t get to learn the violin doesn’t mean they want to. They will hate it and you in equal parts in the future and hold it against you. Start saving for therapy now if you continue this.
  2. Don’t push them at school. Get them to pass and teach work ethic. My kid just passed her final year but focussed on her passions. She is now going to graduate with a double degree and is starting her Masters in what she loved since she was small.
  3. Don’t go away on holidays and leave them behind. They remember. This will come up in therapy. It’s called abandonment and it’s gonna bite you in the bum one day, hard. Real hard. Keep adding to the therapy fund if you keep doing this too often.
  4. Don’t lecture your kids about not drinking when you drink every night in front of them.
  5. Don’t tell your kids to not try drugs. They will. You can’t stop them. Educate them about safe choices instead.
  6. Tell them to have sex when they’re ready when they feel really okay with it, and not before. Give them the power, and they will make the best decision for them, based on their feelings and self-knowledge.
  7. Teach them to laugh at themselves more than they laugh at others.
  8. Teach them self-awareness. Really. Stop with the selfies so much kiddo.
  9. Don’t worry about the Grade 2 teacher. Ten years later and you won’t remember their name.
  10. Help your kid find out what they’re good at and build their interests and co-curricular activity around that.
  11. Ask them to try a food 10 times before they decide they hate it.
  12. Ask them to wait six months before they give up the instrument they are learning. If they still loathe it, then it’s gone. My son said he wanted to give up guitar. We waited the 6 months and now he’s studying it for his final year because he loves it so much.
  13. Being a kind person will get them further socially, than being smart.
  14. Tell them you enjoy parenting them, often and always. Don’t make them feel like shit for being born. That was your decision, not theirs.
  15. Don’t pay for them to go to a private school and then make them feel guilty about the fees. Again, that was your decision.
  16. Don’t tell them you need “grown up time.” That’s a shitty thing to say. Find grown up time. You’re a grown up.
  17. Answer every question as honestly as you can. Children remember the lies.
  18. Don’t live through them. Let them shine on their own terms.
  19. Work. Especially if you’re a woman. Show your children you are capable and able to earn your own money and that women contribute to the world also. If you aren’t working, then tell them you used to work, and will work again and explain your time at home with them is your job, so they get that women do things and do them well.
  20. Spending quantity time with them is more important than quality time. No such thing. They don’t remember the ‘special’ time. They just remember the time. The gaps of you not being there create anxiety and they turn on each other. Be present.
  21. Tell them you love them, even when you don’t like them.
  22. Saying no is good when it is going to protect them from themselves.
  23. Don’t fuck around with mental health. Remind them that there isn’t a problem in the world that can’t be solved and that everything passes. Today’s gossip will be replaced by something else at school tomorrow. Lie in bed with them all night if you’re worried. Stroke their hair, tell them stories about when they were little and how loved they are, tell them about when you were pregnant with them. Remind them they are wanted and loved and that they can and will survive what is happening.
  24. Ask them about pop culture and things you don’t get. Find out about their lives and what is in it. Don’t dismiss it because you don’t get it.  Learn their language, enter their world, and they will enjoy teaching you about it all.
  25. Laugh at yourself and often.
  26. Say sorry for when you are a shit parent. It matters to them. It also teaches them how to apologise to others.
  27. Don’t tell your kids they owe you because you feed and clothe them. You’re supposed to do that, you absolute idiot. You don’t get respect for doing the bare minimum!
  28. If your kid hates you, you caused that. Sorry, but you did. Sort it out, now!
  29. Don’t invalidate their feelings. To not have your feelings heard and recognised is a form of child abuse. If they are upset, acknowledge it first, then respond.

And that’s Katie Parenting Class 101.

All of this comes from my learnings, the children who have passed through my doors looking for help for their life issues, and their home life. These are the things that stick. Thank you for reading.

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*Disclaimer: At times this website contains posts where items and experiences have been sponsored, gifted or blog posts have been paid for in return for advertisement/promotion.  Where this applies it will be clearly stated at the bottom of the blog post. Natalie Sullivan and www.thissweetlofeofmine.blog only endorses brands/items that her family uses, loves and highly recommends. To read the full disclaimer see here

10 Important Lessons We Need To Teach Our Girls

COMMANDMENTS FOR RAISING STRONG DAUGHTERS

• by Sareswari, Founder of Next Generation Magazine • Chairperson A.L.L Indonesia • Writer • TEDx Speaker • Social Entrepreneur • Computer Scientist • http://www.nextgenmag.org

We are living in world where we want to have equality for ourselves and our daughters. Your daughters and their daughters or sisters will also need the role models they can look up to, sadly we don’t have enough. This is your chance to give the world the wonder women its desperately needed.

1. Critical Thinking

When your boys are playing with their car toys and something happened or they broke it down — wouldn’t their be unlikely try to fix it by just assembling the parts together? What if it was our girls? We have been teaching our girls to always get someone’s help — unknowingly limiting their ability to think to their way out of a critical situation. When your daughters are faced with difficulties, the best way you can start teaching them about critical thinking is involving them and teaching what to do if something like that happens again. If they broke their toy, get them to help fixing the broken part. This small act will help them later on in their future life when they are faced with critical situations in their relationship, workplace or business.

2. Stand for yourself, always

Nowadays, your news feed must have been filled with the news of various types of abuses women around the world are going through. Some are brave enough to voice it out while many others are still holding themselves from speaking up the truth for many reasons — mostly because they don’t how to stand up for themselves when their rights have been violated. Can you imagine the mental and emotional torture these women have had to face every single day? When we teach our girls to stand up for herself, for her beliefs and for truth — we are giving them freedom to speak not only for themselves but for many other. Our society is turning to cruel place and it all takes one voice to make the difference ; and it can theirs.

3. Understanding

Our world has the misconception that women have to feminine. Women is also associated with their caring, understanding and ability to love everything and everyone. They are not wrong, we always have that ‘motherly nature’ inside of you. What they don’t understand is that we can gentle and strong, we can be humble yet firm at the same time. Understanding is important because it will teach other girls to see it from other’s point of view or other’s shoes. Understanding will help our girls to make some major decisions in their life not without knowing the consequences of it later on.

I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass — Maya  Angelou

4. Self-respect

Respect others, but not at the cost of yourself respect. Teaching your girls self — respect is giving the ability to say no or walk away from any situation that can threaten their honor and dignity. It’s also teaching them on how to love and value themselves. As much as it’s important for us to teach our girls to respect everyone, how can they respect others when they don’t know how to respect themselves? Teach your girls on how to respect their bodies by getting proper exercise or well-balanced diet and healthy food. Their self-respect is so important that it will affect the life choice they will be making.

5. Brave

Just like any other little girls, I, too, was obsessed with fairy tales, princess stories and pink aisle toys. What I didn’t understand then was my parents always taught me to be the perfect little girl — to sit pretty or dress pretty. There was nothing wrong with it, however I realized that growing up, I was afraid to do certain things which boys would not even a second thought in doing. Unfortunately, we don’t teach our girls the same way we teach our boys. We teach our girls to be perfect and our boys to be brave. While we always told them to hold on to our teachings, how will they be able to go in the world if we have never taught them to be brave.

Being brave simply means that it’s okay to be afraid. We teach them it’s okay to take risk and embrace failure. Teaching our girls to be brave can start from the simplest things in your house, give them a voice in your home. We give them a chance to talk. Not only it’s going to boost confidence in the future, its also sending a message that they should never be afraid to voice their opinion. You can start from the basic like asking and discussing the menu for dinner and involve them in the process.

6. Patience

With patience they can reach for the stars — it won’t be easy or quick but it’s possible. Patience turns talent into achievement. Hard work and patience always brings forth result. Patience can transform relationship, be it in their workplace or marriage. In life we are always quick to hasty decisions in the moment full or rush or anger and often regret it later on. While, there are much too much things that can be changed if we have the patience and think past the situation. All things will come past, be it good or bad. Time will heal everything.

7. Independent

Unfortunately we need to teach our girls that our world is not the Disney world and instead of a Cinderella waiting for her prince charming to come, we need to teach our girls to be a wonder woman ; who doesn’t need anyone to rescue but able to save and stand for herself. Being independent doesn’t always mean you have to do all the physical fighting. We need to teach our girls to be strong enough to walk away from any abusive relationship or situation. Being independent doesn’t mean to be alone all time — it means the ability to stand alone even at the hardest times.

A woman is like a tea bag — you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water.– Eleanor Roosevelt

8. Forgiveness

Teaching your girls forgiveness is the best gift you can give to your daughters. Forgiveness will free their mind from any past bondage. Forgiveness is not something we do for others but ourselves and forgiveness is not something we give when the other parties apology. Forgiveness is something we do for ourselves whether the other parties sorry for what they did or not. Mostly important teach them the importance to forgive themselves for any mistakes they did in the past. Forgiveness will also allow them to walk freely and with confident to their future

9. Equality

Equality doesn’t men and women are the same. We are not. Women can bring a new life to this world, which no man can. Equality means that our girls are no less than boys. Equality means not limiting themselves only to the princess dolls or toys that are only for girls. Equality means we are giving out girls the same opportunities to explore their talents and their hobbies just as our boys. If our girls is interested in engineering type of toys or something like car toys — we give it to them. We do not limit them just because “it’s not girls toys.”

10. Adaptable

When we respect the land we walk upon, all it’s habitats will respect us. It’s simply means wherever we are or wherever we go we need to teach our girls to be adapt. As your daughters grow up they won’t be able to stay with you, they will be going to school or college, going to work and eventually get and start her own family. Each phase will be different, she will introduced to different of types of people and places and in every situation she has to be able to have self-control and behave according to the situation and the custom of the place.

Sares is founder and writer at Next Generation Digital Magazine, a social action & education platform that wants to solve the world’s biggest challenges.On our platform you can learn about issues, take action on what matters most and join a community committed to social change. To learn about our work, subscribe now

— Published on July 27, 2017

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*Disclaimer: At times this website contains posts where items and experiences have been sponsored, gifted or blog posts have been paid for in return for advertisement/promotion.  Where this applies it will be clearly stated at the bottom of the blog post. Natalie Sullivan and www.thissweetlofeofmine.blog only endorses brands/items that her family uses, loves and highly recommends. To read the full disclaimer see here