{Raising Little People} Bringing confidence back mama…

Effective Ways to Improve Self-Confidence for Mums

When people say that having a baby is a life-changing experience, they are most certainly telling the truth. It’s a miraculous thing that turns your whole world upside down – and for the most part, in a good way.

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However, women are rarely candid when it comes to the downsides of motherhood, mostly for the fear of sounding like a ‘bad mum’. It’s not all peaches; there are amazing moments, but there are also gruelling, exhausting and frustrating ones, and it is time the stigma is broken and we tell it like it is. While I love being a mum, and there isn’t a job in the world I would rather do, I have to admit that, after the pregnancy my self-confidence, especially the part connected with body image, took a bullet. The hormonal changes, the extra pounds, lack of sleep, lack of quality time for yourself and your partner take a huge toll on you. The wake-up call came, and I answered; I realised, that, if I want to be a good mum I need to be a happy one, and that entailed taking back my sense of womanhood and femininity. I decided to become all mum action instead of all mum talk and self-pity.

I truly hope that my journey of self-rediscovery will be at least of some help to all the mums out there dealing with the same issues, and I will be happy knowing I was of help to at least one of these amazing super-women.

It takes a village…

…or at least a great partner and a little help from friends and family. New mums tend to take on a lot all by themselves. This is a huge mistake. Asking for help does not make you a bad or inadequate mum; you are only human after all. Learn to delegate and not micro-manage. Let your spouse or partner take their share of chores and responsibility. When you take care of your baby together, it doesn’t only serve to take the part of the burden off of you, but it’s also a bonding experience for you and your hubby. Don’t shy away from asking your family to pitch in. One of my life-savers was enrolling my baby girl in a great early childhood service Little Learning School; not only did I know my precious little one was in good hands, playing and learning along the way, but it also gave me the extra time to pamper and regain my sense of self, both as a woman and a wife.

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Get your body back on track

I’m going to be completely frank – I was not the least bit happy with my post-pregnancy appearance, and it didn’t matter how much my hubby told me I was beautiful, I just didn’t feel that way, and I think a lot of new mums can relate to this. I decided it was high time to stop wallowing and avoiding mirrors, and reclaim my body. With a pinch of good time-management and aforementioned help, I started by changing my dietary habits.

After some careful research, I found just the right foods that would allow me to eat healthy but that are also good for my baby as I was still breastfeeding. I turned to oats, yogurt, as well as salmon, plenty of greens, blueberries, and the wonderful matcha tea, to help me detox and give my metabolism a boost. In my determination to get my body back to at least close to what it used to be, aside from changing my diet I hit the gym, and I hit it hard. It felt amazing, and once I got my stride back, I couldn’t wait to go back. Not only did working out help with my weight, it also greatly helped me to regain my body-confidence and even my sex-drive. What a lot of people won’t tell you is that once the baby comes, the sex goes out the window, and you need to make a conscious effort to connect with your partner physically. Once I felt sexy, I was able to believe my husband when he told me I was. Of course, some new makeup and a great new hairdo didn’t hurt, and neither did a change of wardrobe. You might not be able to fit into your skinny jeans just yet, but there are so many mum-chic styles out there that will make you feel super sexy and stylish.

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You are more than parents

Once you have a baby you and your partner become parents, and at the beginning, parenting gets in the way of romance, which is completely natural. However, you should never let romance fizzle out of your life. Make the time to have a meaningful conversation with your partner. Leave the baby in good hands of family or professionals, and take your partner on a romantic date. Romance doesn’t just happen; you have to work on keeping the spark alive. Establish ground rules – no talking about nappies, bottles or any baby stuff – this is the time for you two to reconnect. Take it a step further, romance doesn’t have to entail only candlelight dinners. Remember the things the two of you used to love to do together. See a movie, go to a concert, take the day and spend it at the beach, ride bicycles, whatever you loved to do pre-baby, and go back to it. Couples who do things together – stay together.

Take the time to fall in love with your partner all over again, and remind them why they fell in love with you. It will not make only you happier – it will reflect on your child as well, as kids are very aware of their surroundings and can sense whether they are in a home that is filled with love.

About author:

tracey clayton

{The Nest Writes} What I wish I knew before her

Before having children I thought I was complete. I liked myself, my husband and the little life we were building together. We were two people that together faced the world and lived a life of adventure, travel and snuggly movie nights on the lounge.

Our life was lovely, but we decided not long after being married that it was time we extended our family to include a new little human.

Putting aside the fact that creating a human life is absolutely tremendous and amazing, it is a pretty damn extraordinary that a whole person (or three!) would not exist if my husband and I had never met.

Like most young couples we were excited and nervous to start trying, thankfully we didn’t have to wait long before those little blue lines confirmed that our lives would be changing forever.

I don’t think you can ever prepare yourself for the introduction of a child into your life, I know for sure that no matter how many books you read or how many classes you attend that you never will really know the power of a child on your life until you hold your own babe in your arms.

Having been around children my whole life (I was the oldest of five, with my brother being 12 years younger than me!) I thought I was all over it. I knew how to change a dirty nappy, how to prepare a bottle. I knew how to read nursery rhymes and how to wash singlets. They are all the things I knew how to do, but parenthood is so very much more than that. It’s so much more than the things to do, it’s the feels that are the strongest.family

So, I wrote this letter to pre-baby me…

Dear Me,

So, you’re going to be a mum. Congratulations!

I need you to know though, you are about to change in more ways than you will ever really know. Parenthood is overwhelming and suffocating. It is the longest marathon of your life, blended seamlessly with numerous amounts of sprints that are over before you know it. It is empowering and satisfying. Devastating and uplifting.

I think the part you are likely to struggle with the most, is the eternally paramount urge to worry. You will worry about everything. Has your baby eaten enough, does she weigh enough, is that rash normal, is she smiling early enough. That’s the strangest part, the worry begins long before you even held her in your arms. You will worry about the foods you eat during pregnancy, worry about how many kicks you feel, worry about giving your new little person a name and how that name will grow with her over the years.

The worrying during parenthood is completely overwhelming, it never truly ends. To be honest you have always had a moderate level of anxiety that you have managed quite well during your life, but be prepared for the fact that suddenly those anxiety levels are going to be heightened exponentially.

Elizabeth Stone once said that “Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” I really believe that no truer words have ever been spoken. Once you have a child you are no longer one. There is a part of you that exists outside of yourself.

That is the really difficult thing to get used to, the fact that you are responsible for another entire human life. A few days after her birth, your husband will return to work. The visitors will stop coming. It will just be you and your little pink bundle left alone together. The responsibility you feel will be encompassing, but my darling, so too is your instinct. That’s the thing no one really tells you about. Deep inside, somehow, you just know what to do.

Don’t get me wrong, it is not easy! but, somehow you survive. You learn, you develop, you grow.

After a couple of days you will know her tired cry and her hungry squeal. You will learn that she likes to be patted on the back when going to sleep and does not like her feet being touched. You will learn that she likes cuddles but won’t fall asleep in your arms. Like anything it will get easier the more time that goes by.

Darling, the challenges are strong; the lack of sleep is a killer. Everything is worse when you are tired, everything is harder, everything is tougher. I promise though, it doesn’t last forever. One day, when you don’t even realise, it is you who wakes during the night and not your baby. Then the next night the same thing happens until one morning you wake up and realise you both slept throughout the whole night.

I just say, take the time to breathe in those sleepy moments, while it may not feel like it when you are buried in the trenches of sleeplessness, those little moments of you and your baby in the cool hours of the morning will be gone before you realise. The dark mornings are quiet and a wonderfully brilliant time to bond. There is no distraction, just you and your little one.

As they grow the worrying just gets worse, on their first day of school you are likely to cry, not because you are necessarily sad but because you are proud, you are realising your little baby is growing into a unique little person of her own. You will not be able to fight their battles for them, nor make sure everyone is nice. You little person needs to find their own place in the world. Just know though, you have done everything you can to prepare her.

You heart will bound when she takes her first steps, starts to run and learns to jump. Just as you start to think she no longer need you, a little voice will cry out for you in the night and you will be reminded that the little part of you on the outside is still only young and vulnerable and in desperate need of her mummy.

Your heart will break the first time she comes home crying because someone was mean to her. You will want to fight the battle for her and march into the school, but instead you have to teach her to be brave. Teach her to stay strong and teach her to take a stand.

Above all, the most devastating moment of your life will be when she gets hurt. It will literally feel like you are breaking into a million pieces. The pain associated with a sick child is nearly unbearable and you will feel desperately hopeless. on the flip-side there is no moment greater in life than seeing your child healthy and, even more importantly happy.

It is so easy to become engulfed in your new little person but remember those other people around you. Make time to be with your husband. A baby is an extension of your relationship, not the only glue that joins you together. You had a wonderful life together before so work hard to keep that spark alive. It will be hard, but he is worth it. You are worth it.

You will realise how easy it is to make sacrifices for another person. The last piece of cake, the rest of your pay check, the chance to go exploring the world yourself. Funny enough though, the price you pay in sacrifice is nothing compared to what you get in return.

So, my dear, you will never be the same, but you will be a better kind of different. You will learn patience and resilience. You will instinctively become protective of this small little human. You will forever be changed because a little part of you is now roaming around on the outside. Don’t give yourself too many heavy expectations, just aim to raise a little person who is happy and kind. She doesn’t need to be the best at everything, really at the base of it, she just need not be a jerk.

Embrace it the journey. AND remember, sleep is for the weak.

Love from,

Post-child you. 

Audrey&Mama

{Raising Little People} Surviving your tween daughter

I know a lot of nesters are walking the tightrope balacing between having children and teenagers and I think this article from Barbie Bieber and Beyond will really help give you some hints and tips on suriving your tween daughter. tween

You can find the link here -> How to Survive Your Tween Daughter

What do you think? Do you have any tips?

Happy reading nesters x

{The Nest Writes} Why it’s okay to have a favourite child

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Parental guilt is an absolute bitch. It doesn’t matter what you do, nobody gives a shit. You will be made to feel guilty from the moment you push that little sucker out your front bum or from the moment they cut you to pull them out. You will feel guilty if you adopt, you will feel guilty if you had a surrogate. Parental guilt is overwhelming and a real pain in the life.

So here’s a hot tip on one less thing to feel guilty about. I’m going to scream this loud and proud – It is COMPLETELY acceptable to have a favourite child.

I say this because I have three children and at various times they are all my favourite.

My oldest is my favourite. She is wonderful and kind. She is also the one I like taking shopping. She is patient and thoroughly enjoys  the shopping experience. She loves clothes and shoes. She is pleasant and friendly to shop assistants and loves to give her ‘expert’ opinion on whichever outfit I try on. She will happily sit in the car for three hours while we travel to Sydney just to get a bargain at the end of financial year sales. She is my favourite child for shopping with.

The middle born is my favourite. Whenever I go somewhere new I want her by my side. She is approachable and outgoing. She is the first to introduce herself and break the ice. Nothing is too hard and she will dive in head first. At a party she will remember to say thank you and move around the room sidling up to everyone from the baby to the grandpa just to say g’day.  During her first swimming lesson she didn’t hesitate and I didn’t have to negotiate with her to climb into the pool, she just jumped and I only just managed to peel her shoes off her feet before she bounded in. She is my favourite child in new situations.audrey2111162logo

The youngest is my favourite. She is the most charming of all my children and loves to help out. Whenever I cook she plonks herself on the bench (hello parental guilt alert because she will probably fall off) and enjoys passing ingredients and mixing our concoctions in the kitchen. She will spend hours helping me roll dough for school lunch scrolls, she will gently pour milk into the mixing bowl when we make custard or help peel carrots. She loves nothing more than helping me pack and unload the dishwasher and carrying laundry out to the line. She is my favourite helper.

My oldest is my favourite. She is caring. She will bound out of bed on a Sunday morning and look after the younger two by preparing their breakfast and turning on the television so mummy and daddy can have a sleep in.

My middle child is my favourite because she takes pleasure in feeding the dogs everyday and that means I don’t have to.

My youngest is my favourite because she doesn’t rip tissues anymore.

My oldest is my favourite because she loves going to cafes.anni2logo-copy

My middle child is my favourite because she eats just about everything and isn’t fussy.

My youngest is my favourite because she sings twinkle twinkle little star with more gusto than Pavarotti.

See, you don’t need to feel guilty about having a favourite child because they aren’t your favourite ALL of the time.

Think of it this way, you have a circle of friends and you enjoy doing certain things with specific friends. Like I have one friend who I love a coffee and a gossip with, another who I could call night or day for any reason, another for drunken nights  and another for parenting chats.

You shouldn’t feel guilty for realising that each one of your children are your favourite for different reasons. The moment you realise that, is the exact time that you will feel a little less parental guilt burden. Guaranteed.

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{Parenting} Post natal neglect

Could this be the case? Could it be true that post natal depression is neglect?

I certainly believe this is probably the case.

This article, Post partum depression by Claudia Gold MD is certainly worth reading.

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Maybe it is society who needs to be diagnosed?

What do you think?

{Raising Little People} How to Raise a Well Rounded Boy

Being a parent is without a doubt the most important job you will ever have, you are responsible for raising strong, respectful, independent little humans who will make the world a better place.

Here are some great tips from the team at BabyCenter on How To Raise A Well Rounded Boyboy

I particularly love the idea of encouraging his interests, even if they aren’t traditional ‘boy’ interests.

Happy reading Nesters x

{Raising Little People} To the Thirtysomething Mums

I love mamas that speak the truth, they say what I am thinking but sometimes can’t quite find the words for. This article by Littles Love and Sunshine articulates perfectly the moment I am in.

This article is wonderfully accurate. thirtysomething

To the Thirtysomething Mums

Happy reading nesters x