Career · mentalhealth · Mom Life · stayathomemom · Tips and Tricks

Minding Mom, when your cup is empty

 

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Honest and real post coming up…………. So as you can tell I havn’t blogged in forever, there have been many reasons. To be honest first of all  life threw many changes my way over the last few months, some for the better and some not so much. It really took me a long time to adjust which was very unlike me.

Its started off with making the decision to finish up work  due to the hours just not working out, after working for the last  eleven years and five years with the company I was with, It was a MASSIVE change.  This change also led to us having to get rid of  our second car and that was one of the biggest changes for me. Being independent for the last few years, being able to get up and go or even pop in to visit my family really helped my mental health and also gave me some down time with Eva.  The adjustment  for me took months!  Discovering life as a stay at home mom,not having a routine, putting too much pressure on myself as a parent and  not being independent anymore took its toll on my mental health.  I stopped looking after myself, I became quite upset at little things  and just felt drained daily, it was a downward spiral. I forgot about self care which was drilled into me in college as well as work.  During this time, we found out we were expecting baby number two! This came as quite a surprise but I’m not going to lie it really helped me to kick myself out of  the funk I was in. It slowly dawned on me If I didn’t start to fill my cup up on a daily/weekly basis with one child how will I manage with two?? So after five months being at home, I finally found our groove and started to pull myself together, even though pregnancy tiredness kicked my butt daily.

 

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13 weeks Baby Malan no.2

Some of the  things that really helped me gain control of my mental health again ;

  • I made sure to make plans on days that I had the car for a while .
  • As being a stay at home mom I started to live by the mantra ‘ everything else could wait till tomorrow’.
  • Get out once a day! Even it was just for a quick walk or a run around the green, the fresh air really helped clear my head and I know Eva loved it too.
  • I’m going to sound like the biggest granny now but knitting was my go to hobby, to me it was so relaxing so find something for yourself  , whether its reading a book or just listening to a podcast.
  • Letting go of expectations I put on myself! This was a hard one as I felt I was at home all day, the house should be spotless, we should be eating home cooked meals  and planning a million activities with Eva as I felt she wasn’t getting enough sensory stimulation. I’m sure in a perfect world that would be the case but nope not in our house, it just became overwhelming. Its all about balance and figuring out what works for you.
  • Working out! This is something I started doing daily just before I found out I was pregnant and really set me up for the day. Lately my workouts are chasing a curious toddler around a supermarket but I’m ok with that.
  • Last but not least was waking up before Eva does.  Again this hasn’t been happening lately due to our little lady having three ear infections in the last three months and she also likes to party all night.

 

Basically the reason I wanted to write this blog was  to encourage other moms out there , that they are not alone and  to make sure they look after themselves. I find as a mom , you put others first and leave very little left in your own cup for yourself.   I found once I start to look after myself whether it’s taking time out for a bath, quick face mask or what I started doing recently was going to the cinema in the morning by myself( dates are hard to come by in our house and the time alone to switch off is so nice),  doing little things for my self and getting myself into a routine  really gave my mental health a boost.  It really brought new meaning to the term ‘Happy Mom, Happy Baby’. My relationship with Eva began to thrive after this and so did my relationship with my husband.

How are ways you fill up your cup daily or even weekly?

Shauna xx

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4th Trimester · Mom Life · Tips and Tricks

Surviving the 4th Trimester

 

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Im sure we have all heard of the 1st, 2nd and third trimester but have you heard of the 4th?   That’s right, its not over at birth. After having my little girl it was a crash course into motherhood especially the first few weeks. I joined some parenting groups on Facebook and the same thing kept coming up, the 4th trimester.  Little did I  know about the 4th trimester but apparently it is a ‘thing’ and its a big one at that.

 

To read more head over to Mummypages for the rest of the article.

https://www.mummypages.co.uk/all-the-things-no-one-will-tell-you-about-the-fourth-trimester

What tips would you give someone going through the 4th trimester?

 

Shauna x

Career · Mom Life · Returning to work · Tips and Tricks

Returning to Work and Me – tips to survive the transition

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Dear new moms returning to work, I have been where you are. It can  can be a choice for moms or sometimes necessary.  For others returning to work  couldn’t come quick enough and for some maternity leave  went in the blink of an eye. It was the latter for me and it was something I struggled with hugely.   No mother should feel judged either way but both will have to go through that transition. The transition from new motherhood to returning back to work is a shock to the system but these for tips should help.

 

Prepare, Prepare, Prepare

When I was pregnant I spent all my time preparing for our girl to arrive making sure I had all my ducks in a row.  It was no different with returning to work. There are so many  ‘ducks’ to get in a row from childcare, household duties, who is doing what etc. It can be  quite overwhelming .

  •   Make sure to get reliable childcare, the last thing you need is  to be worried whether you will make it to creche on time.  Depending on your job and your support systems, find what childcare  suits your family best.
  •  Trying to stay on top  of the house in the first few weeks was a nightmare by the time I got home and got Eva to sleep I felt like I had my days work  long done.  I finally started to do blitz cleans  on a Saturday or Sunday and a quick tidy around daily.
  • Batch cooking!! All I can say is this is a must! For the days I would get home late or the mornings I was running out the door , it was so nice to stick my hand in the freezer and pull out a meal. That went for both Eva and myself.(I will be posting some of my go to recipes soon )
  • Practice run.  Two weeks before my return I did a few practice runs of how my work days would go. I set my alarm and did a run through for the day to see the time I needed in the mornings.  This also helped Eva to adjust to her new routine from being at home with me to being with my hubby then shuttled to my parents for a few hours

 

Make it Gradual

Link with work at least 4 weeks before your return to sort out the nitty gritty of your return but I would say make it  easier on yourself. Whether you  work full-time or part-time don’t throw yourself in at the deep end. Try taking a short week if you can or even half days. This really helped both Eva and I with the return. It eased us into our new routine.

 

Don’t be hard on yourself

Settling back in to work and playing the new juggle game is going to take a while to get used to . Though you may be in your work place physically it will be a while  before you are emotionally and mentally present (mommy brain is a thing just like pregnancy brain). Your workplace and colleagues will understand that this adjustment will take awhile, you need to realise this too. Give yourself time .

 

Quality Time

Time may seem hard to find during the constant juggling but don’t neglect quality time .   It was always the nights I was working that it seemed to take hours for Eva to finally settle to sleep. I used to get frustrated  at times as I held her in my arms nursing  that I just wanted to go downstairs and eat.  Till  it hit me like a ton of bricks that she missed me and just wanted to have a cuddle  and chat (lots of babbling) with Mommy. She craved that quality time with me where there was no distractions of phones, food to be cooked or the house to be cleaned.

 

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Finally remember not everything will go as planned, in the first few weeks after returning its just trying to survive and settle into the new routine. Most of all, though a challenging step in motherhood, enjoy the new journey.

 

 

Would love to hear about your experiences returning to work and what helped you?

Shauna xxx

 

 

 

breastfeeding · Mom Life

Breastfeeding tips for Moms to be and New Moms

So as it is World Breastfeeding Week from 1st-7th August I couldn’t help but use this as an opportunity to talk about breastfeeding! This is a topic that is close to my heart and something that I am very passionate about. It was always something I was very curious about and since I had Eva and we have been on our breastfeeding journey  it has heightened. Currently we are 13 months in to our journey and boy  has it had its ups and downs. That is a blog for a different day….

Disclaimer: I am not  a trained breastfeeding professional/lactation consultant  but these are my top tips  for moms who are about to begin or who have just began their nursing journey, whether its baby no. 1 or 6.

1: Preparation and Support, Support, Support…..

This is one thing I thought I did well but I was wrong! I booked myself in for the breast feeding class at the hospital that I attended and felt that it only covered positioning etc but didn’t tell you about the first two nights, well more especially night two!  I would recommend even while you are pregnant to go to support groups .  Here you can meet other  like minded Moms  and breast feeding counselors who can support you on your journey .

Here is a list of some of the organisations that have groups in many areas across Ireland;

La Leche Leagues Groups – https://www.lalecheleagueireland.com/groups/ 

Cuidui – http://www.cuidiu-ict.ie/branches_map

Friends of Breastfeeding- http://www.friendsofbreastfeeding.ie/wp/support-2/.

 

Back to night 2, oh my was it tough. I feel like this is  a must to talk about as  I remember lying in bed asking my Hubby  what’s wrong, why won’t she settle  without a boob in her mouth.  I kept taking her off and on trying to settle her in her co-sleeper but to no avail. Looking back I was trying not to ‘spoil her’ but the truth is you can’t. Whenever we have our next nursling  I would just feed ,feed, feed, lots and lots of skin to skin  and co-sleep more.  At this stage baby  is trying to  bring the milk in and wants to be comforted.  All normal in the 4th trimester and  to a newbie nursing baby.

To help with preparation a must read is  the ‘Womanly Art of Breastfeeding’, this was recommended by a friend and is really informative and  an almost ‘fix it’ book. It doesn’t replace a Lactation Consultant  but can be so helpful as it gives you breastfeeding solutions for breastfeeding problems.

Apologies for the rambling but I really wanted to  touch on this subject ,I really cant reiterate that point enough especially if it is your first nursing journey. Whether it is your partner bringing you food ( you will have a ravenous hunger  and cravings even worse than in pregnancy, I pretty much lived off the Lidl chocolate traybake the first few days)  or becoming your research partner. Your partner is going to be your biggest cheerleader, make sure you both  are on the same page when it comes to feeding . Having family members on board is also pivotal as  the last thing a nursing mother wants to hear is ‘baby would sleep better having a bottle’ or ‘when are you going to stop’ and having your partner to support you is such an amazing feeling, even if sometimes  they  just provide some comic relief.

My biggest support

 

2: Be kind to your Breasts

Yes ladies be kind to those breasts, they are feeding your little one!!  Breastfeeding can be uncomfortable at the start but ways that I found helped me through the sometimes unbearable pain ( Eva had a posterior tongue tie) was rubbing breast milk on my nipple and let it air dry,  plenty of nipple cream and finally my  must have is Multimam Compresses!!  Those compresses felt as good as taking your bra off after a long day! Speaking of bras when you begin your nursing journey  you will feel like you have become Jordan over night. Invest in good supportive bras for the first few weeks. Personally I found the Emma Jane ones the best as my cup size kept changing through the early weeks and these bras  the cup  adjusts from a B-F. The may not be attractive but are very practical  so you don’t have to keep buying new bras at the start.

http://www.boots.ie/emma-jane-next-generation-maternity-nursing-bra-white-10122284

In all seriousness though if breastfeeding is continuing to be painful please  seek out a qualified lactation consultant  and they will be able to guide you on your journey.

http://www.alcireland.ie/find-a-consultant/

 

3: Make  a Feeding Nook

This  doesn’t mean spending a bomb  on items but to create a space where you feel relaxed and where you can feed your baby. What I found handy  was having a basket close to  me downstairs and one upstairs by my bed. The items included; Snacks ( for the ravenous hunger) , water (its key to hydrate, hydrate,hydrate) , remote control/Ipad/book( for all the times baby falls asleep after a feed and you take all the newborn cuddles you can get) ,  breastfeeding pillow ( this was a must for the early days) ,breast pads and nipple cream( yes its needed!!).

 

 

 

4: Don’t be Ruled by Schedules

As a first time nursing mom I heard it all from’baby would be more settled on formula’ , ‘  she sure does feed a lot, she must not be getting enough’.    The first few weeks your baby is getting up its milk supply for the next 6 months. Let baby  nurse for as long and for as often as she wants. In the first 6 weeks this could mean you are nursing more than you are not but enjoy those sweet moments they don’t last for long especially when you baby turns into a toddler and  nursing becomes less quiet and relaxing but more like acrobatics!! Again skin to skin during these  times is a must.

 

 

 

Breastfeeding has been one of the most incredible journeys I have been on  and the bond it created for us is just amazing.

 

A gold nugget of a tip was shared with  me when I was pregnant and  it was ‘ never give up on a bad day’  

 

 

Thanks for reading, I would love it if you could let me know what you think.

Shauna xx

 

Mom Life

Mom Guilt and Me

This topic is one close to my heart as it is something that I have struggled with and still do 12 months on and to be honest it is something that I  think will continue  throughout the various stages of being a Mom to an ever growing child.

So Mom  guilt! Its a real thing, I know this as its something I deal with on a daily basis.

From;

Not Spending enough time with Eva

Not cleaning the house to spend all day with Eva

Wondering is the house ever going to get cleaned

The house is spotless and I don’t want to let her mess it up

Working to help support our family

Leaving her to go to work

Feeling like I could have done more in a day with her

Getting out all day to the playground and she falls

When I go do the groceries on  my own  and see other babies out with their parent and Eva is at home

Taking Eva to do the groceries with me and  she has an uber meltdown

Putting on her favourite show just to get some peace for a moment or two

Co-sleeping

Moving her to her own room

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The list is endless!  To be honest anything can turn into a reason to feel guilty. There is always something that will come up during the day that I felt like I could have done better, it’s apart of life.  So when I realised that there is no way  of getting away from it I stopped letting it get at me , instead I decided to embrace  mom guilt.

I started to look at it in a more positive light, I have mom guilt because I love her so much and want what is best for her. This realisation  alone really helped me  breathe a huge sigh of relief and in that it helped.

So my words of  wisdom  are don’t let  mom guilt fester and try embrace it instead. When those thoughts come in let them go and think of something you  did today. Whether it wasn’t losing your marbles at your 2 year old who spilled  the sugar all over the floor or  you actually managed to get out of the house today without forgetting something. Let’s celebrate the small victories

What are your ways of dealing with mom guilt?

Shauna x