SAHM Tips For A Productive Morning Routine

Hello ladies!

We all know that being a stay at home mum is far from easy, and at times can be quite chaotic and incredibly stressful, so I was inspired to make this post after falling down the “My morning routine” Youtube black-hole this afternoon (…is anyone else obsessed with those?). I envied their productiveness and despite only one or two actually having children, they all had one thing in common. All of them seemed to have a consistent “routine”. So, I reflected on my own routine for a while, and ta-da, here we are. I’ve compiled a few tips that I’ve recently implemented and have benefited from when it comes to being a more productive (and in turn happier) mum.

Wake up an hour (or two) earlier;
Okay, so this one’s not for everyone. Hear me out though! If you aren’t already waking up at the ass-crack of dawn (excuse the Aussie colloquialism there but I felt there wasn’t quite enough emphasis if I simply said “waking up early“), waking up earlier than your children gives you the chance to get a few things done that might take (infinitely) longer than it would if they were around to “help” you. For me, I’ll start a load of washing, spray and wipe counter-tops, clean the bathroom mirrors and do a bit of tidying in my daughters room. Following that, provided my daughters still snoozing, I’ll sit down with a coffee and read (or write) a blog post or two, then get myself ready for the day. Realistically, this is about when she wakes, as she’s sensed that the coffee is fresh and warm and in my hands, so I usually don’t have the time to actually shower until nap time – but I’ll brush my hair and teeth. Small victories.

Positivity;
The next big one is a positive mindset. I like to start my day with some exercise – actually, that’s a lie. I don’t like to start it with exercise, some days I’d go as far as to say I loathe starting my day with exercise. But nonetheless, I start my day with a 20-30 minute jog or speed-walk on my cheap cheap slightly questionable eBay treadmill. Why? It leaves me feeling energised, awake and fresh (after the shower that follows, of course), which has me in a clear positive mindset for the rest of the day. I find I’m a lot more productive and get my tasks at home done much more efficiently if I’ve taken some time to work out, and at the end of the day I seem to sleep much more soundly as well. Win-win.
If a morning jog isn’t for you though, I’d try making the bed. It gives me the same (though slightly watered down) mood boost, weird, right?

Prioritising
Now that we’re feeling fresh and positive, it’s a good time to start all of the tasks that take the longest or that you want to do the least and get those suckers out of the way first. Otherwise, I find that if I put off a task that I really should do, but am not thrilled to be doing (ahem, bleaching the shower) I put it off until I’ve found an excuse not to do it at all. If that’s that’s the task I envisioned the Becky-Home-Ecy version of myself doing first, I’ll occasionally even run out of time to do the jobs or errands I had intended to do later. I don’t mean to, it’s just that every afternoon after a long day of trying to interpret baby babble and picking up banana puffs from the floor I hit a wall. A wall of exhaustion and “I can’t be bothered now” attitude. I know I’ll get there, it happens on the daily. Yet there I was at procrastination station, ready to board a train to nah-she’ll-be-right-I’ll-do-it-tomorrowville (I’m now editing this post, and see that this is a bad joke, it stays, nonetheless).

Prepare the night before
This one almost seems like a bit of a no-brainer, but I’ve only just recently started doing this one myself – and that is to lay everything out the night before. For me, this is choosing an outfit for baby and I, packing her lunch, setting aside my travel mug with a spoonful (more than I should be having) of instant coffee inside, filling up the kettle so I’m not wondering where the horrendous hissing sound is coming from when I stumble out of bed and flick the thing on, and ensuring that the nappy bag is fully stocked – you get the idea. Doing this has saved me so much time. I would always underestimate just how long it actually takes for me to get us both ready, and everything always seems to take so much longer when you have somewhere to be. It might even give you enough time for a real sit down breakfast. But if you have children, I make no promises.

Make a to-do list
Finally, I’m a list person. I’m very fond of a good list. Why? Because they’re a great motivator! Seeing those little check marks next to the tasks nearing there due date is such a mood booster, and it motivates me to “see how many more I can get checked off”. Plus, if you, like me, have an awful memory, it keeps you day from being plagued with “I’m totally forgetting something important” thoughts. Less stress for you, and less confusion when your phone has been shut off because you’ve not paid your bill. (One time this has happened. One. Why? Because now I write lists.)
Seriously though – try this one. It’s very satisfying.

So there we have it, my five biggest tips to boost the productivity of your day! Let me know if you have any more that I’ve missed or any tips you have for me!

Tiff xx

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The Baby Blues, Got You Too?

A “darker” topic today ladies. Depression post (and in my case, during) pregnancy is an overwhelming and all consuming state of mind that no one prepares you for. No one discusses. Let’s discuss the taboo.

During (and even before) pregnancy, we frequently hear stories of mothers love being so instant, so strong and so beautiful. A bond that is truly unbreakable. A love and connection that you have never felt before. I’m sure you all know what I’m talking about. We are told that from the moment you see your child, all of the pain you are feeling just fades away, to become nothing more than a distant memory because the surge of love is so overpowering that it washes away any and all other emotions .

So, what happens when the baby is placed on your chest and your head is filled with thoughts of “can someone get it off me now?” What happens when there’s no sudden rush of love, or even a slight sense of attachment? What happens when instead of joy, you feel overwhelmed, regret, sadness?

Recently, a few of my friends spoke out about their experiences with postpartum depression and anxiety and I was truly shocked. These were people I’d grown up with – known for just shy of two decades – and I hadn’t suspected a thing. As an outsider looking in, their families seemed perfect. Outwardly, they were the happy, bubbly people I had always known, but on the inside they were struggling with their own mind. A dark internal battle with the uncomfortable – even painful – thoughts that they couldn’t control. They had lost themselves, and had put on a facade for the rest of us. Why? Because they were too embarrassed to speak out. They’ve inspired me to bring my story to you today, because I feel it is important to share these experiences with other women so that they know that they are not alone in feeling this way. So that they know this is so very common. So that they know they are not bad mothers, failures or undeserving of their child. One in seven women go on to develop PPD and it can develop immediately after childbirth, or up to twelve weeks postpartum. So why are we encouraged to hide these feelings? Be ashamed of them?

Personally, depression hit me at the end of the first and all the way through the second trimester. This was a planned “miracle” baby that I had been so excited about initially, so why was I desperately emailing the abortion clinics in my area to find out their latest termination date? Why every time I went grocery shopping did I imagine myself crossing the median line and driving into the path of the oncoming truck? Or off of the nearest bridge? Why did I spend every night crying on the bathroom floor about how trapped I was? I had never felt this intense feeling of doom before, and I wanted it to stop. The voice in my head told me that this was temporary, a hormonal shift caused by pregnancy that would pass. So why was I too ashamed to speak to anyone about it?

I received a referral to a psychiatrist at my 15 week appointment after a brief psych quiz that was standard for all newly pregnant women to take. Do you struggle to fall asleep and stay asleep? Yes. Do you ever feel like harming yourself? No. (Lie). Do you ever feel anxious in public situations? No. (Lie). I answered the remaining 12 questions how I thought they were supposed to be answered. But, despite doing my best to seem “normal”, my results indicated that I was “at high risk”. I threw that white note of shame straight into the trash. “See a psychiatrist? No way. I’m not crazy” I thought to myself. I wish I hadn’t contributed to the stigma behind PPD, as there shouldn’t any shame in seeking help. It’s there for a reason -that reason being – I’m normal. If I were the only one to have ever felt this way, the service wouldn’t be there waiting for me. But of course, I didn’t want to be “one of the weak ones”. I could do this on my own. So my stubborn nature told me.

So back home I went, to lay in bed and cry, for the umteenth day in a row.

The nurse working beneath the psychiatrist called after a week of not hearing from me. It was a blocked number calling, and being that the only call I usually receive from a blocked number is my neurologist, I answered. “ah crap” I thought as she introduced herself. I considered hanging up on her – phone troubles and what not. But instead, I thought well, I’m already trapped with nothing better to do, so why not. We spoke for an hour, and during that time I felt a weight lifted of of my shoulders. As silly as it sounds, she was a bright light in a dark time. To talk to someone who was actively listening and suggesting coping techniques tailored to myself was fantastic. She knew what to say and was in no hurry to get off of the phone with me. Usually, when speaking with doctors, I feel almost like a pay check, my concerns met with a “mmm” and a nod, and typically, a script. Not this time. She made it clear that medication was available if I felt I needed more than what I was capable of providing myself, or, if I wanted to come down just to talk again I was welcome to do so.

An important note is from that point forward, my physician was supposed to have me retake this quiz once a month to reassess my state of mind, but I was never asked to take it again. “Is baby ok?”, “How’s baby doing?”, “Feeling baby move a lot?” but no “how are you doing?”. Women seem to slip through the cracks to a degree, and at the time, that was fine with me. We need to look out for one another, and that’s something I’ll be making more of an effort to do from now on.

Around 25 weeks pregnant, I woke up one morning and I was…fine. The feelings had passed and I was back to my “normal” self. Normal aside from the occasional pregnancy induced mood swing, which was brief and nothing in comparison to what I had been feeling. I’m still amazed (and scared) at how swiftly I was engulfed in this dark despair, and how quickly it left me. Though it took me a few months to bond with my daughter (and believe me, I’m there now), I was thankful I didn’t experience these emotions again postpartum, but I had anticipated them, and was prepared to seek help immediately this time.

If you know someone struggling or are struggling yourself, please reach out. Check in with your loved ones and remind them that it’s okay to not be okay.

https://www.lifeline.org.au/

https://www.panda.org.au/

Tiff xx

The First Trip Out With A New(ish) Baby

Good Lord was I nervous.  I was shaking in my $7 Kmart slip on sandals at the thought of taking a baby out in public. She was 6 months old. It’s been Winter. Much too cold outside of the cold (and sound) insulating walls of our home. Waiting this long definitely had nothing to do with the pure terror and anxiety I felt at the sheer thought of taking her to an event with thousands of witnesses to a potential melt down hours from home and at least a twenty minute walk from the car. Could you imagine? I could.

Taking her to a carnival was brave, but was it too brave? There would be a lot of noise, a lot of screaming. I didn’t know where the parent rooms were, and how long would we be gone. How many meals should I pack? Will she be able to nap, or will my sweet baby girl transform into an raging pint-sized T-rex right before my eyes? It was like mankind’s first journey to the moon, but a slightly bigger deal.

So I packed the diaper bag the night before, giving me time to (over)think about what I’d forgotten. I spent an extra hour trying to fall asleep, forget counting sheep tonight, we’re checking off baby supplies. Baby sunscreen (including second mental rant about why a tiny tube was $12 and furthermore, that I was willing to pay that)? Check. Binkie? Check. Six flavours of pre-prepared baby food in case she hates the first five? Check. Rainbow squeaky dinosaur of distraction? Check. I was ready.

How did this pan out, you eagerly wonder.
Well, kind stranger, let me tell you.
It was fine. I would even dare go as far as to say great. Bold of me, I know. She slept all day, save for the petting zoo (she was very keen on harassing the sheep and the goats…the chickens, not so much), she drank her room temperature bottle in front of the milk-a-plastic-cow tent and we left with the Very Hungry Caterpillar showbag that I was adamant we needed to get her. Seriously, I had this thing circled in the event magazine for days and I had to arrive first thing in the morning in case it sold out – sorry Jason, I know I told you we left so early to avoid traffic, minor detail.

I do suppose it’s totally normal to feel nervous taking your baby out in public for the first time but thankfully, the panic and anxiousness was all for nothing! I scolded myself for not having faith in my daughter behaving well, but with how I was as a child, you really have to be on the guard for the right-back-at-you-naughty-baby-karma. That being said though, she did loudly declare that it was time to go home at the very beginning of the event we’d just hung around for 3 hours to see, the only event I was overly keen on watching, but all things considered, she was her version of an angel, so I guess I could watch the replay at home on Youtube. Ah the days of the internet.

My advice to a new parent? Find a map. Locate, highlight and memorise every parent room or potential change table within walking (running) distance of the complex…Maybe that’s a bit extreme, but definitely have an idea of where they’re located within the vicinity. If possible, and if baby is predictable enough, leave after baby has taken a poop. Conveniently for me, it’s the good morning from Aubree that she graces me with as I drink my coffee every morning. If that’s not your luck, make sure baby has a clean bum before you leave the safety of home, even if it looks like a tiny toileting. One thing I’ve learned the hard way – always bring one more bottle than you think you’ll need. Traffic has caught me off guard twice before – you’d think I’d have learned after the first time but that’s not my style – and, finally, take a deep breath, it’ll be fine.

Happy exploring,
Tiff xx