5 ways to de-stress as a busy mum

Life in our household is always very busy. I’m always juggling something. With working part time, managing two young children (one whom is teething and not sleeping all that well at the moment) a house that never seems to be tidy, a wash basket that refills itself faster than I can blink (I’m pretty sure there’s someone else living in our house that I haven’t met yet!!) and a to-do list that gets longer everyday it’s hard not to feel overwhelmed with it all. When you’re run down and tired it’s difficult to not take it out on the ones you love. I find myself snapping at the children more often than I should or being short with my husband. When you just want to roll over and stay in bed in the morning but you know you can’t because life still carries on regardless. When life gets like that (which it does for us all at some time or another) it’s important to take a break and make time for yourself in order to de-stress and keep our sanity.

Here are my top 5 ways to de-stress as a busy mum.

Take some time out

Taking time out away from everything. Even if it’s only for half an hour helps me feel like I can breathe again. Go for a walk, have a coffee at a coffee shop, go for a nosy round the shops or go and see a friend for a chat. Whatever it is, make sure it’s away from the house. Just 30 minutes can recharge your batteries enough to make you feel like you can pick yourself up and carry on again.

Pamper night

I don’t get to do this very often, mainly because I’m too knackered in the evening to care but taking an hour once the kiddies are in bed to paint your nails, put on a face mask and pluck your eyebrows does wonders for the soul! There’s nothing more refreshing than feeling groomed the day after when you are tackling your mum duties knowing that your nails look nice! If you really want to push the boat out try going the whole hog and booking a spa day!

Night out with the girls

Leave the children with the hubby for the night (or helping grandparents!) put on a sparkly dress and your highest of heels and get out there with your girlfriends for a night of drinking, dancing and giggles. It’s one of my favourite ways to blow off some steam. Try not to over do it though, a hangover the day after when your trying to parent two children is NOT FUN!

Find a hobby

Think about what it is you like to do, whether it be dancing, blogging, knitting, drawing, going to the gym, the possibilities are endless and just do it! Just once a week if that’s all you can manage but it gives you something to look forward to.

Let go of the guilt

So the uniforms aren’t ironed, you’ve had something beige for tea two nights in a row when you vowed you were going to cook properly, you’ve forgot to feed the cat and the house is over run with toys…Seriously, who cares!? As mums we stride ourselves on doing the absolute best we can to provide for our family. We want to make sure we are organised, the house is tidy, the husbands shirts are ironed, there’s a wholesome meal waiting for him on his return from work, the kids are played with sometimes we drop the ball and it’s funny how the only person who really notices that this ball has been dropped is you! Let go of the guilt and realise that we can’t always be perfect and have our shit together at every possible moment. Take a look around at the mess, stick two fingers up to it and pour yourself a large glass of wine….THAT is the best de-stress moment!

What do you do to de-stress? Do you manage to take some time out for yourself? I’d love to hear from you!

XOXOXO

 

 

 

Returning to work after maternity leave

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We all know that feeling. That blissful feeling at 8.5months pregnant when you wave your colleagues off and skip (waddle) off in to the horizon to start your new life as a mummy. You have an absolute lifetime off! In fact, a full year (or 9 months, however long your blessed to have off) feels like your never actually returning.

Except it sounds like a long time, but in actual fact, that year passes by quicker than you can blink and you find yourself on a Monday morning kissing your little ones goodbye and trudging up the path to work!

Whether you come off maternity leave back in to full time work or part time work the transition is really difficult. A lot has happened in the time you’ve been away and it’s important to make sure you are properly prepared in order to make life easier for yourself, your family and your work colleagues.

So here are my top tips to help you make that return to work easier after maternity leave.

  1. Attend “KIT” days. A lot of work places today offer “Keep in touch” days where you can attend work for a morning/afternoon or full day, fully paid in order to catch up with what’s happening at work, attend important meetings and generally remind yourself about how to do the job! You can have up to 10 KIT days in most work environments but check with your HR team to find out what your employer offers.
  2.  Sort your childcare out in plenty of time and make sure you are comfortable with it and that they are flexible. Arrange a meeting with your employer around 8 weeks before you are due back to work and see if they can offer you anything that makes your childcare situation easier such as set working days, shorter working hours, flexi time etc.
  3. If you are still breastfeeding when you return to work, make sure that your employer knows about it. They should ensure that you have regular short refreshment breaks and that you have a suitable private place to express breastmilk and store it if necessary. Again, speak to your HR team if you are unsure of your employee rights.
  4. Prepare. The first day will be chaos as you try to figure out your new routine. Make your lunch and layout your clothes the night before and make sure your bag is all packed and ready to go. It’s also helpful to have your children’s belongings/clothes all ready the night before too so your not rushing around in the morning and you don’t turn up at work shattered before you’ve even started!
  5. Get rid of the guilt. Easier said than done and I definitely need to practice what I preach but getting rid of the mummy guilt about going to work will make life a lot easier. Whether you have to go back to work for financial reasons or whether you want to go back to work because you want to do something for you make sure you don’t feel guilty about it. Your children will be fine, they wont have abandonment issues nor will they feel less loved. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and you will enjoy your time with them a lot more on your days off.

I hope this was helpful. Enjoy your return to work!

XOXOXO

Coping with two children under the age of 3

Coping with two under 3

I always knew I wanted to be a mum, it was always in my “life plan”. I also knew that I wanted them to be close in age so that they could grow up together and maybe be best friends. I’ve mentioned before that I’ll never quite know if my family is complete and the prospect of a 3rd child will always be somewhat of a question mark but for now I’m happy with the two I’ve got. There’s 2 years and 3 months between the two of them and it’s quite tricky sometimes having two children under the age of 3. I know there are plenty of people out there who have smaller age gaps between their children and I have the upmost respect for them. It’s not easy no matter what the age gap but I’ve wrote down a few of my tips that help me cope looking after two small children.

Get out of the house – It genuinely doesn’t matter where you go, or what you really do so long as you spend a portion of your day (everyday) out of the house. Go to the park, baby groups, supermarket anything. My worst days with two children are the days where I’ve been couped up in the house.

Allow more time – This goes hand in hand with the above advice. It takes me twice as long (if not more) to get 3 of us ready and out than it ever did when I had just one child. Allow plenty of time so you don’t end up barking orders at your children.

Spend quality time with each of them – When D takes a nap in a morning I always make sure I stop whatever I’m doing and get on the floor and play with my daughter. It gives us quality time where she has my undivided attention without the distraction of a baby. Likewise, K still goes to her grandparents on Mondays and Fridays as these are the days I used to work so it gives me one to one time with D.

Keep on track with the housework Something I’m still trying to master! My house will never be a show home of any sort and will always be that little bit cluttered but it’s a typical loving family home. It’s hard work making sure that the children and hubby are taken care of and the house is running smoothly and as I’ve already stated, I’ve probably dropped the ball a few times when it comes to the housework but trying to keep on top of the endless washing piles and dirty dishes makes your home life run that little bit more smoothly meaning that ultimately you get more free time to spend with your children. 30 minutes per day should ensure that everything is ship shape.

Have “me” time – This is so important yet most of us don’t do it. I know I don’t do it half as much as I should for fear of feeling self indulgent but something as simple as a hot soak in the bath once the kids have gone to bed will help you relax and regroup. A happy mummy makes for a happy home!

XOXOXO

My goals for 2016

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So, I am a bit late with this post given that it is the 12th January. But better late than never, huh!?

I’m not one for new years resolutions or the whole “new year, new me” rubbish because if your anything like me those resolutions and “new me” vows last till around the 1st of February (or sooner, depending on how cold it is and how much Christmas chocolate is left in the house *ahem*).

But I had a long, hard think on January 1st about what I wanted to achieve this year and what I expected to happen come 31st December 2016. It’s a pretty average year for the FLAM household and by “average” I mean there is nothing MAJOR happening. Last year was such a big year for us as we moved house (eeek) and had our second baby (double eeek) within the space of 6mths. Yes, I was pregnant when we moved. Yes, it was super stressful. No, I absolutely wouldn’t do it again! (Its a good job we’ve moved in to our “forever” home, let me tell you!) So given that we have no life changing events about to happen for 2016, I decided to set out some goals which I would like to achieve by the end of the year to help me feel like I have been successful.

The GOALS

  1. Take more photographs – A pretty simple goal to start with but one that is probably the most important to me. I love taking photos of my family, friends and things I love so I want to make sure I continue to do this as often as possible. I also want to improve my photography skills so I feel taking more photos and practicing with my camera will help with this. I have also signed up to an online photography course (cheers Groupon!) which will help me understand my DSLR more. I am also going to try and link in with other bloggers who do photo specific linkies in order to push me into taking photographs. (Sometimes there’s always an excuse on why I didn’t take one).
  2. Become more organised – As a mummy of two little ones, a large house to run and general day to day tasks to complete my life is hectic! I am often running round like a headless chicken trying to complete tasks, run errands and entertain the kids. There has been numerous times of late which I can officially say I’ve “dropped the ball” on because I’m so busy. I feel my life would run a lot smoother if I was just that little bit more organised. Mornings are usually my most hectic times so having my bags packed the night before or clothes laid out for the next morning would help significantly.
  3. Become clutter free – this would probably also help with the above goal. I am going to try and get my home clutter free this year and hopefully have a place for everything to live. I’ve lost count (and hours) on how many times myself or my husband have been looking for something that has just “disappeared” mainly because it didn’t have a correct home in the first place.
  4. Get fit – *ahem* I think I say this every year but in my defense, two out of the last 3 years I have been pregnant so I think I can cut myself some slack. I’ve recently joined a gym (again) and plan to go at least twice a week in order to improve my general fitness. I’m not looking to lose a massive amount of weight, although I probably could stand to lose that stubborn baby weight. But hopefully, by getting fit, those stubborn pounds will melt away. I would also enjoy being able to walk up a flight of stairs without feeling like I’m going to have a heart attack!!
  5. Blog! by the end of the year I would like to look back over this blog and have documented some lovely memories. I am hoping I can build a good reader base although I am aware this takes time and patience. It would be good to have stuck with it for a year as I am usually a bit flakey and never quite see things through to the end. I love to write though and I want to look back over my posts and remember specific details about my family.
  6. Lastly, my final goal this year is to travel more. Now, this proves difficult with two young children. And I don’t mean travel to the other side of the world (although me and the hubby are going to NYC in November for my 30th Birthday. Whoop!) but just visit more places, and take more time out as a family (or solo) to go on weekends away. I aim to book in two “week long” holidays with my little family this year, just to different places within the UK. Also as just mentioned, me and my hubby are going to NYC this year and I aim to have a night away (or two) with my girlfriends. It’s good to have mummy time!

So that’s it for me. There is quite a few things to be going with. What are your new year goals?  Feel free to share them with me in the comments box!

XOXOXO