“I felt like, and still feel like, I made a mistake. I don’t want to be a parent.”
Open marriage has its challenges, but personal time outside of being a parent is a great reward.
For many families, mornings are something we approach through gritted teeth and held breath. Getting an entire family up and out the door – fed, dressed and friendly – is a feat worth celebrating, yet seldom achieved. I have only one child, soon to be a teen, and yet still we struggle to match morning routines and walk out the door on speaking terms (yelling terms though, this is where we excel).
But over the years, I have spent time exploring how other families handle their mornings, and to my relief, I discovered the madness was not something unique to my little family of two. And to my greater relief, I found some guidelines, some answers, some Hail Mary’s that help me every day in moulding the behaviour of my family to help get us out the door in a friendly manner.
1. SLEEP: Is everyone getting enough?
It seems obvious, but before you can tackle the morning madness and start building a workable routine, you need to look at the night prior and make sure everyone is getting enough sleep – children and parents. A well-rested family will wake happier and have more strength in reserve to cope with the day.
2. PREPARATION: The night before.
A very wise friend once told me, 10 minutes of night organisation can save 10 minutes of morning madness. It’s a rule I now live by. Every night, I take the time to prepare for the next day. It might be as simple as getting out breakfast bowls and cereal, or in my case I encourage my daughter to pack her school lunch and lay out her uniform. Not only is this a tip for the kids, but also the parents – pack your bag, make sure you have everything you need ready to go (including your keys). A calm morning never starts by screaming: “Where are my keys!?”
3. WAKE UP EARLY: Before your kids.
As the leader of the pack, waking up 15-30 minutes before your kids gives you time to quietly prepare for the day. Being showered and dressed before the first sleepy eye cracks open will have you much better equipped to handle whatever is thrown at you.
4. CHARTS: Spell out the routine.
Clearly and concisely spell out a morning routine that suits your individual family needs. Pictures can be used instead of words for families with young children, including all things that need to get done:
• Get dressed
• Brush hair
• Eat breakfast
• Brush teeth
• Put on shoes
• Grab your bag and go!
Once a routine has been agreed on, it’s important to talk about the routine with each member of the family so everyone knows what they need to do.
5. STAY CALM: Be connected.
Kids are more aware of their surroundings than we often give credit for and they know when the house is edging toward morning madness – in the face of chaos they will slow down. So when you feel yourself becoming frantic, stay calm, and reconnect with your child. Get down on the floor, on their level, and talk to your child, ask them for their help.
6. HELP THEM: Understand that you are the adult, they are children.
With all of the above in place, the greatest sanity-preserving tip I was given, is to understand that most of us need some time to shift gear from sleep to activity. If as an adult, we need 15-30 minutes in the morning to wake and prepare for the day, so do the little family members. In understanding that, I can better appreciate that my daughter needs my help in the morning and so I build a little extra time into the morning routine to allow for a one on one chat or breakfast together. If you have younger children, the extra time could be used for a morning cuddle or a fun reward when everyone is ready, early.
Image via Pixabay
Having a healthy baby is surely up there on the scale of life’s most momentous, amazing and precious experiences; it’s a gift unlike no other. And so you would think that a child’s sex is irrelevant – who cares, right? At least, that was the case for my husband and I both times we were blessed with a bouncing, healthy baby – two gorgeous, much-wanted daughters, as in our case.
Both times, I was certain I was having a boy, but secretly chuffed, actually, to be having girls. I’d always wanted a sister growing up and I love that our girls will (hopefully) always have that special sisterly, best-friend bond; they’ll never be alone, no matter what happens to us.
And yet, both times, before I’d even left the maternity hospital, some no-doubt well-meaning family member, friend or midwife had asked either myself or my husband if we would try for a third baby given we hadn’t yet achieved the miracle of a boy child.
Quelle horreur!? We couldn’t actually – gasp – just be happy with our two girls and be done with it?! No, I/we had failed in the breeding stakes and now we must surely get on to the all-important task of making a boy ASAP!
Excuse me, but f*** that. I’m so done. In fact, we’re both done. A vasectomy is our next pressing task – not more breeding. And we’ve both been a tad shocked and then saddened each time my husband or I have been, quite rudely, asked: “Do you feel like you’re missing out, not having a son?”
Our family is complete and we’re very happy with our lot in life, thank you very much. Besides, what is not to love about having girls? It’s hard to believe that in 2015 there’s still a pervading sense of familial and societal disappointment when a woman/couple doesn’t produce a son. You’d think society had progressed since the time of infamous Henry VIII of England in the Tudor dynasty, who allegedly killed off several of his six wives for not producing a son and heir, but apparently not.
Unfortunately for Hazza’s poor, blameless victims, this was well before science discovered it was actually a man’s genes which determine a baby’s sex. Our bright, curious, loving, affectionate, endlessly fun and wilful daughters aged one and three are wonderful and – long may it last – absolutely adore each other.
I love dressing them up; taking them out shopping/for babyccinos and reading endless books to them, at their request. They’re boisterous, friendly wrestling is a sight to behold and both can kick a soccer ball in manner of young Ronaldos.
Long live the sisterhood and girl power: I can’t wait to teach them everything I know – feminism included.
Every child is a precious gift – girls included. So, don’t feel sorry for us, thanks very much. Daughters rock!
What do you think? Did you feel pressure to try for a son?
Images via www.pixabay.com
We asked you to choose which celebrity Mums you looked up to and boy did we get some surprises. Check out the list below:
Gwen Stefani because she often has her hubby and children with her all looking happy and fantastic!
Goldie Hawn has done such a wonderful job raising a great family in the limelight and I respect her so much for keeping them grounded.
I think Brooke Shields is an excellent celebrity mum. Like a lot of “normal” mums, she basically gave up her career to raise her kids.
Jenny McCarthy because she’s constantly raising Autism awareness and look after her autistic son! I have Autistic teenagers and appreciate what she’s doing!
Angelina Jolie. She is using her wealth to take care of children who would otherwise go without (and doesn’t make a big deal of it like Madonna!)
Jessica Rowe because she was open and honest regarding her feelings during her post natal depression. She made it real.
Julia Roberts is someone who could have continued to work and earn enormous amounts of money, but who has chosen her children over her ego.
Cate Blanchett because she’s elegant and refined but real. She has a conscience and can see she genuinely loves motherhood!
Funnily enough, Nicole Ritchie looks really down to earth and has embraced motherhood and cleaned up her act. I respect her for that.
I look up to Michelle Williams. Going through everything that she’s had to in the public eye whilst raising her daughter is a job well done.
Reese Witherspoon. She is so in love with her children and the fact that the most she will ever be away from her kids is two nights is really admirable.
I think Terri Irwin is doing a fantastic job as a single Mother raising two young children and managing Australia Zoo. What an exceptional and inspirational Australian!
Heidi Klum because of her incredible bungee stomach. After every child it just snaps back!
Does Rebecca Gibney’s character on ‘Packed to the Rafters’ count? Only a super mum would let all those kids back in the house!
Sarah Murdoch is a mum and a business woman and she remains grounded and gorgeous!
Kris Kardashian. The way she handles all those daughters of hers (and Rob) definitely creates good entertainment! She deserves a big pat on the back!
Michelle Obama. She’s always so stylish and is such an amazing role model for the world. I love how she is so grounded and family orientated.
I look up to Johanna Griggs. She demonstrates strength and humour in a down to earth, easy to like package.
Olivia Newton-John. She had so much to overcome with cancer and her daughter suffering from an eating disorder, but she still keeps smiling.
Sharon Osborne because she’s survived her famous faulty family AND survived cancer as well, that deserves recognition.
So do you agree? Let us know what you think now.
For the most part, expectant mums absolutely love being pregnant. Health becomes a habit, senses are heightened and you gain that healthy glow about you as your skin and hair become stronger. That’s not to say you have your down moments where you feel unsure and worried about your appearance. Whilst pregnancy can be a unique confidence booster with body image improving, the changes your body experiences can be so rapid it can be easy for women to slip into an unconfident state.
It’s not unusual to need a little extra help in feeling beautiful as you start to feel these changes. Whether you need some pick-me-ups throughout your pregnancy or some help getting through the last few weeks, we check out some hot tips to get you loving your pregnant body.
1. Be daring with your wardrobe
Have a little fun with your new body and dare to be adventurous. Buy something fun and sparkly that may not be the most practical, but makes you feel a million bucks anyway. The great thing about having a pregnant bump is that you can get away with a lot so throw caution to the wind when it comes to picking new items for your wardrobe. Remember, your new body is firm not flabby so experiment with body-clingy tops, new styles and colours you’d normally avoid. You deserve the right to look great so look for clothes that flatter the sexy new figure and ooze confidence.
2. Indulge in a massage
Massage is the perfect way for mums-to-be to ease discomfort associated with the changes in your body during pregnancy and recoup. The most common types of massage for expectant mums include relaxation massage, eastern and western massage (this explains the difference between eastern and western massage well), tension relief massage, couples massage or customised pregnancy massage. Providing it is after the first trimester of pregnancy (after 3 months), massage provides physical and emotional benefits for pregnant women safely. It helps to increase your “feel good” hormones, improve sleep, aches and pains and lowers stress and anxiety that can be common for pregnant women.
3. Have a date night
Enjoying some one-on-one time with your partner is the perfect way to feel beautiful throughout your pregnancy. It also gives you some much needed space to appreciate the alone time with each other before the baby comes along! For many women, pregnant or not, nothing makes you feel more special and beautiful than having your partner’s undivided attention and escaping the day-to-day duties for a few hours. If you really need some pampering, use date night as the perfect excuse to get your hair done before or a manicure to make you feel extra special.
4. Eat and sleep well
A healthy diet and adequate time to rest is essential for the wellbeing of both you and your baby. Taking time out for yourself is important, so don’t feel guilty about it. If you’re feeling exhausted cut down on chores and ask for help – your body is working overtime to nourish your growing baby so you need all the rest you can get. Eating food rich with omega-3 fatty acids, minerals and vitamins will help to lift your mood and provide you and your baby with the essentials. If you’re craving snacks, stick to nuts and seeds which are filled with tryptophan – this raises the levels of melatonin and serotonin in your brain to boost your well-being and get you sleeping well.
5. Get a short workout in
Exercise is a great mood booster and is quite safe to do during pregnancy – as long as the activities aren’t too vigorous. If you’re feeling up to it a short, light workout at the gym can those endorphins kicking in leaving you to feel motivated and healthy. Ideally, swimming and yoga are the best forms of exercise whilst you’re pregnant as they help keep you toned without being too hard on your joints. The breathing and relaxation techniques through yoga are perfect for helping control anxiety and stress too. Finding time to exercise can be the perfect excuse to have some time out, or join up with your partner for motivation and stay fit and healthy together.
6. Talk about it
We all need a little reassurance at times and being pregnant through the whirlwind of emotions can definitely leave you feeling unattractive and deflated. No doubt you will have a list of worries of what to expect during the different stages of your pregnancy, and even more with parenting if it’s your first time. Discussing your concerns and having good support around you can be a real mood-booster so take advantage of this. Whether it is your partner, a group of friends or family, communicating your feelings can put things back into perspective for you. Joining a mums-to-be group can also be a great way to mix with people that are bound to have the same feelings as you whilst getting out and being social.
7. Wear your bump with pride
Especially when your bump first starts appearing, it can be difficult to embrace the changes your body is making. Some women are left feeling a little scared, self-conscious or unsure about their new appearance. Pregnancy though is a beautiful thing and being proud of your bump is fun, exciting and goes hand-in-hand with feeling amazing! Resist the urge to disguise it by draping clothes over it. You’re only going to pregnant for nine months so make the most of the moment.