A simple home

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I have found that a simple home makes motherhood easier.

There is a vast range of decluttering advice as well as recommendations on books and authors to read on topics from minimalism to meditation.

Five benefits of a simple home for mothers:

  • The less you own, the less you have to organise, clean or maintain.
  • A less cluttered home is easier for children to play in, less mess for you to tidy and safer for all.
  • Comparing your home or lifestyle to friends or family, or even Instagram users you follow, leads to dissatisfaction, but it also stops you from focusing on what you want in life.
  • Children can be challenging, and motherhood has many ups and downs, don’t let your home overwhelm you too.
  • A simple home extends to the meals you cook and the housework you do. 

Embrace simplicity, live more simply, and allow yourself space and time to rest, relax, and enjoy your family.

Staying calm when you feel like screaming

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Today was the first day of the new year here in Australia. And it started off in a really bad way for me. Last night as the fireworks were going off down the street my son was screaming in pain from his reflux and gut issues. So my husband and I were giving him Mylanta, an adult medication that soothes heartburn. It’s very difficult in moments like that to stay upbeat or to stay positive. When I woke up this morning after what must have been at least 6 or 7 awakenings during the night time hours, my mood was so low and it took a lot of effort to get out of it. I wanted to share today what worked and some of the steps I took to bring myself out of the low mood and try to regain some positivity of which I’ve fought so hard for throughout 2016.

1. I allowed myself a moment to feel low and to sit with those feelings. I’ve learnt in the past year that sitting with discomfort is a really really important part of managing your anxiety.

2. I called Parent Line, a state based parenting and counselling helpline that you can call from 8 am till midnight 7 days a week. It’s fantastic to have someone you can just chat with and who can be empathetic as well as provide some feedback about your thinking patterns. You could call a close friend or someone else that you trust. Sometimes I find it really helpful to have someone impartial to speak to.

3. I went for a 20 minute walk to get my endorphins going.

4. I spent about 10 minutes writing down my feelings in my journal. I feel it’s important to note that sometimes it’s better to do the exercise part first before the journal. In my case trying to write down my feelings while I’m at the height of my anxiety or in this case the depth of my low, is it very very difficult and the perspective of the walk gives me the ability to delve a little bit deeper into my feelings.

5. I then spent some time writing down a plan to improve Ripley’s health.

After all of that I felt so much better. It’s important to note that I also practice minimalism and mindfulness. I believe strongly in gentle parenting and that presence is what children need, not presents.

Let 2017 be the year you let go.

On being outside

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My son loves to be outdoors. Two days ago we went to a small town called Forrest in the Otway Ranges in Victoria, Australia. It’s a short 1 hour drive from our home and the perfect nap time for our son.

He’s only 20 months but he plays like he’s at least three. He climbs and runs, slides and crawls his way around any play equipment determined to be just like any other kid.

He’s perfect.

For me, the definition of a happy kid has to include one that loves to be outdoors. I think it’s primal, I think kids really just naturally enjoy it. I worry about the future of our world when so many people especially kids are not connected to it.

At the end of the day when we got ready to get back into the car, I was covered in mud, I was wet and so was he, but he was so happy, and tired, and ready for a nap.

I try to encourage other mums I know to just let their kids get dirty, let them run around outside (with supervision of course).

They learn so much from the outdoors and our future depends on them loving it.

Why a child with GORD makes Christmas difficult

I thought I’d share some things that make Christmas difficult for parents of a child that has some medical issues.
  • Can’t go anywhere at nighttime due to the screaming and difficulty getting child to sleep anywhere but in my arms
  • So tired from very little sleep so going anywhere is hard anyway due to the exhaustion and fear of falling asleep while driving
  • Have to manage medicines while travelling
  • Other people hype up our child when he needs to sleep
  • Food that is safe for our child isn’t readily available so you have to bring it
  • Being outside can sometimes affect our child’s respiratory issues due to hay-fever
  • Staying overnight at a relatives house or even in a hotel can be distressing. The change of environment unsettles our child and he sleeps more poorly (if possible!). It is also hard for the parents as we may be up for hours with the child and not have access to our regular things to occupy the time such as Netflix, special foods, tea, the reclining armchair. Might sound trivial but night after night of sitting up for hours takes its toll.
  • Being far away from hospitals can be scary.

Choose time or money, but not both

I have anxiety and I’m OK with sharing it. 2016 has been really difficult for my family but I’ve learned a lot about myself and my anxiety. Now I know that anxiety and depression are actually far more common than we realise or care to admit. We are too scared of being vulnerable to share.

But anxiety is such a useful tool for a human if we could learn to harness it instead of trying to eradicate it.

Using anxiety as a tool can actually be advantageous.

However, the world now is obsessed with goals and achievements, with making something, with doing and accumulating things and being busy.

There is less focus now on just being. On being OK with just being.

Families could benefit greatly from learning to just be. Parents are so busy trying to make more money and provide more stuff for their children that they fail to see how important the time is that is passing us by.

My father always used to say that you can either have time or money.

In our family, we want more time.

Why minimalism for mothers

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Today women are pressured in so many ways to be better than they already are.

Why?

Advertising has portrayed an ideal version of a woman in order to encourage women to spend money on things that align with the ideal woman. Whether its beauty products, clothing or fitness programs, it’s all designed to make women fit into an advertisers vision.

I’m fed up with it, I’m tired of trying to keep up with the women around me who have entirely different views on how their lives should be. It’s OK to be different.

Even though I’m tired of it, and I have no doubt many women feel the same, there are a lot of women who still haven’t realised they have a choice.

Everyday I hear women complain about their weight, their appearance, how busy they are, how frazzled they feel, how they don’t have enough time, money or a good enough house. I know that there is a simple answer.

It’s OK to step back and take time to contemplate your life. Solitude is good, and important.

When you become a new mother, you are bombarded with messages from family, friends, the media and health professionals about what you should be doing. From feeding to bedtime routines, to cute outfits and exercise; it’s like there is a formula for parenting that we are all supposed to follow.

This is the key to the issue. There is not one way to live, there are many ways. For some, routines and cute outfits make them happy. But I believe that a lot of women are going into debt over those cute outfits, and are so unconscious in their purchasing that they don’t realise there is another path.

Cute outfits are just one part of the problem, and in particular the debt and environmental impact of clothing is huge. But so many mothers choose to sleep train, to stop breastfeeding, to feed purees for their own benefit. Infants and young children are attached to their mothers for a reason. Moving away from what is natural to the artificial means parents get space, a baby who fits into their schedule and less mess. However, in this process we lose our animal instincts that provide us the tools to be better parents.

I believe my purpose in life is to share this message and to empower women and especially mothers or mothers-to-be to feel confident to say, “No, I don’t want to do that.”

I want mothers to be able to design the life they want. To choose things, people and activities that add value to their life.

“Use things, love people. The opposite never works” the minimalists

If you are tired of trying to keep up with other women, stop. It’s OK.

How many kids should I have?

kidsAs a child I never dreamed of a white wedding or being surrounded by kids. I was consumed by the singular goal of becoming a professional horse rider. As a young adult, the realities of supporting that goal hit hard and I had to ‘let go’ in order to pursue adult life – getting a full time job, eventually a mortgage and paying for my own health insurance. Read more here