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

return-to-work-program

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

Ways to soothe a teething baby

D has been teething terribly lately and I had to wrack my brains the other night on what I did with K when she was teething to help soothe her. Each baby is different and responds well to different treatments. Below is a list of what works for us when we have a teething baby on our hands.

  • Calpol

Calpol

The mother of all pain relief for children. We use the sugar free version. Between 5-10ml (dependent on age) every 4hrs usually works like a charm and if it doesn’t help take the pain away it usually helps take the temperature down which goes along side a teething baby. Plus I find it helps my two sleep the pain off.

  • Anbesol liquid

anbesol-liq

Now we have both the Anbesol teething gel and the liquid. Personally I prefer the liquid as I think it does more as an anaesthetic (I’ve tried both on a mouth ulcer I once had) I also find the liquid more fast acting than the gel but I have both of them in my bag just in case. If teething is really bad, I usually apply both!! (Not sure if that’s allowed but works well for us!)

  • Teetha powder

teetha

These worked really well when K was little but I haven’t used them yet with D as he won’t let me put anything like that in his mouth. Basically they are little white granules that come in individual packets that you just pore in to the childs mouth and it supposedly takes the pain away…it’s a herbal method. I honestly don’t know if they actually worked or whether they were more of a distraction method (they dissolve oddly in your mouth) but either way they used to settle K pretty well.

  • Teething rings/toys

sophie giraffe

Both of mine were and are big fans of Sophie La Giraffe. A rather expensive giraffe shaped teething toy which can be purchased at most toy/baby stores. The legs are shaped so that they can reach even the backs of the baby’s mouth in order to relieve pain. Sophie also squeeks so provides as a distraction tool. She looks quite cute too I guess. Not sure why she works, but she does so it’s always a winner. Usually priced around £13 so like I said, not your cheapest option but an option never the less (Note: Purchase a harness for Sophie *Ahem – Ebay – Ahem* if your baby is taking her out and strap her to the pram etc…last thing you want to do is loose her!) Alternately, if Sophie isn’t for you then you can purchase other teething rings/toys to help your baby. Nuby do a great one (£3.99 RRP) which you can place in the fridge so it’s nice and cold on your baby’s gums. D is a fan of this as it’s quite easy to hold.

nuby

  • Ice pops/lolly

This worked well with K when she was a bit older but not really suitable for D yet as he can’t really hold it. You can buy normal ice pops or make your own healthier ones using frozen fruit. Totally your choice.

icee-pop

  • Lots of love, kisses and cuddles

Most babies when teething just want to be held and cuddled (which is fine by me) so usually if I have a teething baby and they are particularly struggling one day I will make sure I clear my schedule and we will just stay in on the sofa and chill with kisses and cuddles.

 

That’s about it for my tips, is there anything in particular that has worked well for you? I’d love to hear from you.

XOXOXO

 

 

Potty training hints and tips

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I was going to write a post on “how to potty train” but realised that this wouldn’t be helpful to anyone given that everyone’s potty training experience is different. So rather than a “this is what we did” post I am going to write down hints and tips that I felt were useful to me and helped K to become dry during the day.

It’s taken K around two weeks to become dry during the day, granted we still have the odd accident but that is usually in the evening time when she’s starting to become a little tired from her day. So far (touch wood) we haven’t had an accident whilst out and about. But I am prepared for it if and when this happens.

Just as a note – K isn’t dry at nap time or during the night just yet so for these times she still wears a nappy and it comes straight off the minute I get her up.

My potty training hints and tips

  1. Make sure they are ready to potty train. This sounds so obvious but actually I find so many people say “Oh, s/he’s two years old now, I must potty train” – no. It really doesn’t work like that. Some children are going on 3yrs old when they are ready to train. They will let you know they are ready by telling you when they are having a wee (or a poo) and that’s usually a good indication that they are ready. Trying to train them any earlier will leave you both stressed out and it will make it an unsuccessful attempt. If you try and train when they seem ready but they just don’t crack it, don’t worry. Leave it a few weeks (or months) and try again. I tried training K a few weeks before Christmas and it just didn’t work so I stopped and left it until after Christmas and by this time she grasped it much easier.
  2. Try and clear your schedule and stay in for the week. Granted, this doesn’t work for everyone and was my idea of hell but it really did work for us. There were no distractions, no moments of “Goodness me she needs the toilet NOW and I don’t have one to hand”, no public puddles and no stressed out toddler.
  3. Ask them if they need a wee every 15/20 minutes. You end up sounding like a broken record, but asking them regularly makes them remember that they need to go.
  4. Put them on the potty every 30-40mins even if they say they don’t need to go. More often than not they did actually need to go they just didn’t know it and even if they didn’t need it, it gets them used to sitting on the potty.
  5. Bribes, bribes and more bribes. Am I a bribing mum? Yes. Am I ashamed of it? No. Does it work? Yes. Offering out rewards (or bribes – however you see it) works wonders. It gives the child something to aim for and makes them feel like they’ve achieved something. Tailor the reward (bribe) to your child whether that be a little chocolate, a sticker or a new book/toy. We had daily rewards of a little chocolate every time K successfully went on the potty and then at the end of the 1st week we went to the toy shop and she chose a small toy for being such a big girl. Those treats have completely trailed off now because using the potty or toilet is just the norm but it really did work for us in the beginning.
  6. Have a potty in every room. We bought K a potty with a high back support to make it more comfortable when she sits on it and this is her main potty in the house but I also went to a £1 shop and bought 4 or 5 cheap plastic ones and placed them in different rooms in our house because I found that when she needed to go, she needed to go NOW. Having a potty in the room she was in helped to reduce accidents. I also bought a child training seat that fits over the normal toilet so she can practice using the big toilet as well as the potty.
  7. If you go out – bring plenty of spare pants/trousers/tops/socks. You will have an accident at some point. Don’t be caught off hand when this happens.

So these are my hints and tips. I hope they were useful. I’d love to hear if you have any hints or tips that worked for you. Let me know in the comment box below.

 

XOXOXO