Mommy Martyrs

You know when you meet someone and it is immediately, blindingly obvious how much they LOVE their job? To a point where you are envious. A point where their passion is just plain ol’ contagious?

Well that’s just like meeting Sex Doula, Vera Levitt Casey, a woman on a mission to make us believe that ‘pleasure is our birth right!’ Something we can control and own.

Vera recently hosted ‘Girls Talk’ at Babies in Bloom to get moms talking about sex after babies. She dared to say out loud all the questions and embarrassing thoughts that many moms have locked away in their sleep-deprived minds.  This opened the flood gates for some honest, real mom talk about low libido and lack of intimacy after childbirth. Because let’s be honest, a new life to worry about, night feeds and an altered alien body that’s leaking fluids 24/7, can take its toll on a sex life.

There were so many ‘Oh my goodness, YES!’ and ‘You too?’ moments in the talk. It was such a relief for the moms attending to feel heard. Validated. Know that they weren’t alone. And most importantly, that there is always a way back.

Without intimacy, it becomes all too easy to feel broken. Guilty. Distant from your partner.  But someone like Vera can help you see that it is possible to re-awaken your senses. It IS possible for pleasure and parenting to co-exist.

While we wish we could share everything that Vera discussed here – from understanding your own ‘desire style,’ to ‘solo sex’ and communicating to your partner exactly what you want (cue a room full of blushes) – there was one part of the talk that really stood out,  the part about Mommy Martyrs.

By Mommy Martyr, Vera means a women who puts the needs of all others in her family above her own. The women who makes dentist and doctor appointments for everyone in her family but herself.  The woman who fed her kids a wholesome meal but forgot to eat dinner.  The woman who hasn’t had her hair cut in over six months and whose chipped pedicure is as old as her youngest child. The woman who has no time for hobbies because her children’s extra-curricular classes, or party schedules, take up all her ‘free’ time.

Sound familiar?

Always putting others before yourself, for days at a time, weeks, months, even years, can become overwhelming. You can lose a sense of self – and even worse, a sense of worth. This can lead to partner resentment. Why can’t my husband see it’s too much? Why isn’t he helping me more? I’m drowning.

Is it any wonder then you aren’t often in the mood?

The fix for this isn’t anything revolutionary, nor anything we haven’t heard a million times before. It’s ME-TIME. It’s the old ‘fix-your-own-oxygen-mask-before-fixing-your-kids’-on-a-plane’ talk.

So you might have heard it a million times, but did you actually take the advice onboard? Or did you find a million other reasons not to put yourself first again? Thought so.

Why are so many moms programed to feel guilty about taking some me-time? It’s a recharge, not a rejection of our life! It’s remembering who you are as a person. You are not just a mom. It’s still ok to love the things you loved before kids.

Not only will a recharge benefit your own psyche, and hopefully eradicate some built up resentment, it also sets a good example to your little guys. When you take ‘me-time,’ you are teaching them about the importance of taking care of yourself. You are teaching them about the joy of having your own hobbies and dreams – and how to chase them!

So, if you can’t find the time for you, will you at least try having some ‘me-time’ for them?

To help you find a little more motivation and support, Vera has set up a wonderful online community www.MomCampCommunity.com.  Here you will find like-minded mamas and regular reminders to look after yourself – simple things like ‘Me-Time Monday’ as well as live chats and problem shares.

This community is also the place where you can find out more information on Mom Camp retreats. Imagine a whole weekend away from home. No cooking. No laundry. No referee-ing siblings. A weekend where you can make friends, share stories and get support. Because when mamas come together, there’s no stopping them! Tribe power!

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How Clean is Your Sleep?

While we were all talking about clean eating in 2016, clean SLEEPING is the hot topic for 2017. It’s one of the biggest health trends this year – and at first glance, one of the most appealing to sleep-challenged parents.

It was Gwyneth Paltrow and her Goop team who kick started it off claiming that a clean night’s sleep is not only good for you mentally, but the key to ageing gracefully, staying slim and having good hair. What’s not to love?

In a nutshell, it consists of at LEAST seven or eight hours of good, interrupted, high quality sleep each night.

This is the point where all new moms spit out their cold cups of coffee laughing hysterically….. interrupted sleep? You’re kidding right? Paaaaah ha ha! Good one.

Yeah, we know. This is maybe possible with toddlers (I said maybe!) and older, but this just isn’t possible in the early days of regular night feeds. For a new mom, it can be really, really hard to get the sleep you need.

But the truth is, we all know how important sleep is for our overall health and wellbeing. And while we can’t all be like Gwyneth and have 7-8 hours every night, perhaps we can and should still treat ourselves to a clean sleep every now and then. It’s not admitting defeat or cheating – it’s RECHARGING! It’s essential.

So, if you have the full support of a partner or family member, here’s how you can live like Gwyneth for a day and plan for the odd clean night’s sleep.

  • If breastfeeding, build up a supply of breast milk in the fridge and ask your partner take all the night feeds
  • Plan to sleep in a separate room away from your baby to minimize the familiar sounds of their wake up calls
  • Get outside and exercise during the day – take baby for a stroll and enjoy the fresh air
  • Stop drinking caffeine around 4pm
  • Avoid alcohol before bed
  • Set yourself a bed time – and STICK TO IT! There will always be a household job to do. Just this one time, let it wait until tomorrow
  • In fact, set your bed time one hour earlier than you plan to fall asleep, and use that hour before bed as quiet, relaxing time, free of duties AND Facebook is tempting, but it too can wait!
  • Keep your phone on silent. And away from your bed
  • And SLEEP!

The likelihood is that you will probably wake up on auto pilot the first couple of times you try and switch off – after all, you are so in tune with your little one’s needs and sounds! But perhaps after a few attempts, once you realize your partner has it all under control, or once you have established more of a sleep schedule with your little one, you can get a clean night of 7-8 hours and wake up feeling like a new mama! Because you really do deserve it ladies! And often.

Happy snoozing.

 

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Time Saving Tricks Every Parent Should Know

There are never enough hours in the day are there?  For every job you tick off your to-do list, another three take its place. And I bet, not one of those jobs is something for you.

Finding time for yourself in the whirlwind that is parenting is always a challenge. You can usually find it late at night once the children are finally sleeping, the house is tidied, the school lunches are made, and perhaps when you’ve finished up some work that you’ve brought home. Then you find yourself staying up in to the early hours of the morning trying to squeeze every last second out of the night – because it’s your longed for free time!

But it’s always a double edged sword, as a late night is no friend to an early morning with children.

While caffeine always helps, there are also plenty of ways to save some time – and sanity – during the day. Here are a few of our favorite time saving hacks that every parent should try out if they haven’t already:

1) Pressure Cooking: The Instant Pot in particular is getting a bit of a cult following from parents across social media. And it really lives up to the hype. It saves time, money, energy – even vitamin loss from food. Imagine getting home at 6pm, realizing you have forgotten to take the chicken out of the freezer for tonight’s dinner, but then still sitting down for that same dinner by 7pm. With a pressure cooker, you can make fall off the bone tender meat from frozen in super speed. There are heaps of fast ‘one pot’ recipes flying around too – which saves all that washing up time as well.

2) Clothes Prep: Every Sunday night, lay out five sets of ready-to-go clothes for both the little ones AND you. Mornings are always manic, so this little tip eliminates some of the cranky breakfast-time drama. Even if you are a SAHM and don’t plan to go out, leave the clothes out for yourself. While pajamas are tempting, you always feel better, and more on top of your game, when you get fully washed and dressed in the mornings.

3) Share the load: Kids as young as two can be helpful around the house, so don’t forget to give them things to do. Not only will it teach them about responsibilities, it will cut down your cleaning time. Make it fun and put special ‘clean up’ music on. Little ones can pick up toys from the floor, put things in the trash and wipe the table clean, while older kids can help you sweep, dust and even fold the laundry.

4) Freeze berries: We all know that a hungry child needs food NOW! A three – five minute wait for it to cool down is not negotiable! If you freeze some berries or applesauce in ice cube trays, they can help you quickly cool down hot foods like oatmeal. Even regular ice cubes will work for soups and steamy stews.

5) Let Lucy Do It:  There’s nothing worse than being on hold when you have other things to do. This clever app called Lucy Phone allows you to connect to your bank, cell phone provider, airline etc and, if you get put on hold, they will wait in your spot for you. When it’s your turn, you will get a call back. In the meantime, you can crack on with another job on the list.

We could go on all day – from dry shampoo to microwave instant cleaning tricks. It’s well worth a google. Just remember to be realistic. While you might free up a little more time using a hack here and there, don’t put pressure on yourself to complete that to-do list every day. You are not a magician – there really aren’t enough hours in the day to do it all. But there are certainly enough tricks out there to make your day run a little smoother.

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Parenthood: A New Era Of Valentine’s Days

Valentine’s Day. A day of romance, indulgence, spontaneity, and if you’re lucky, a night of very little sleep (wink, wink!)

But now you’re parents. Granted, you are still getting very little sleep, but that’s all thanks to the adorable little sleep thief that you both made.

For new parents, the first Valentine’s Day can be overwhelming. After all, it’s the first time where you will have more than just one love of your life in front of you. Processing and balancing that amount of love is darn hard.

Life with a new baby is exhausting any time of the year (yes it’s amazing, but you’re tired, time-short, grumpy, worried, perhaps not feeling your most attractive – the perfect cocktail for arguments).  But at this time of year in particular, beyond the diapers and feeds, you also have added pressure from Cupid telling you to up your romance game too. It’s enough to shake even the most competent multi-tasker! And the truth is, it’s all too easy to become so engrossed in being parents that you forget to be a couple as well.

As parents who have been through this and come out the other side, we’re here to tell you not to fall for it. Don’t fall for the hard ‘perfect Valentine’s’ media sell. Don’t believe that you have to live up to the extravagance of your pre-baby life. Don’t believe that you have to spend lots. And don’t believe that you won’t be able to enjoy it with a little one in tow.

Here’s a few simple low-stress ways to treat yourselves on your first family Valentine’s:

Snooze – Nothing says I love you like letting your sleep deprived partner sleep in! Plan ahead (pump extra milk etc), pick a day and take turns to let each other recharge. There is NO better gift.

Stay in – Don’t feel pressurized to go out for Valentine’s Day. If you are not ready to leave your baby at home, then don’t force yourself to go out as you won’t enjoy your night. Couch cuddles, candles, dinner, wine, movie, pajamas – it’s a cliché, but a good one.

Early Birds – If you are up for getting out of the house (and good for you!) but like most new parents, you need matchsticks to stay awake past 9pm, then why not switch Valentine’s dinner for a lunch date? The restaurants will be less busy during the daytime too, so it’s win-win. If baby will be with you, plan it around nap time and go for a walk – a sling will let you be all cute and hold hands.

Change the day – Go a step further to changing the time and change the whole day. If Valentine’s Day falls on a weekday and your partner is working, then change it. Pick convenience over calendar and make it more enjoyable and stress-free for everyone.

Remember, it’s not about perfection, it’s about connection. Your main goal is to step away from the chaos of parenthood, recharge a little and be together, even if it’s only for an hour. And even if it’s at home.

Valentine’s Day with a baby will be like nothing you have ever known before – but like most family ‘firsts,’ it can be so memorable. You can and you will still enjoy it – just in a new kind of way!

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

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