{Guest Post} 10 Things to do when you’re stuck under a sleeping baby…

Anastasiya shares with us what to do when you’re immobile with a sleeping baby.

I was blessed with two little boys who, at a younger age, refused to sleep anywhere but on top of me.

While all the snuggles and cuddles were greatly enjoyed and loved, this helped with no chores being done or even having breathing space because once they were awake, they wanted to be fed and given all my undivided attention. This was a lot trickier the second time around as I had to work while on maternity leave and multitasking with a sleeping baby on your chest proved to be harder than I had expected it to be. I survived though, because I found ways to keep myself busy and be productive in other things while my kiddos were happily snoozing away. Sure, the dishes stood piling up and the laundry stayed in the baskets but waking my babies up was a lot lower on my agenda than worrying about a couple of chores.

So if you have a baby that refuses to sleep anywhere but on top of you, here are some ideas to keep yourself busy.

  1. Read.

If, like me, you love reading but never actually get a chance to getting around to it, now is that chance. I caught up on so many forgotten books that I had been planning to read for months, and I finally had the chance!

2. Write.

I wrote a lot of my poetry pieces while on maternity leave, because while the boys were sleeping, I had peace and quiet. I was able to keep my thoughts forming one after another and I became pretty productive. Also, I kept journals about my experiences with mamahood and all the thoughts that passed through my mind to reflect on later. Of course, I caught up on drafting blog posts and scheduling them for appropriate times so I knew that that was one thing I didn’t need to worry about later on.

3. Pinterest.

I have been a huge fan of Pinterest for many years now but couldn’t always find the time to actually enjoy it. While my babies snoozed, I pinned away like a mad woman. Of course, I also pinned loads of ideas for things I really wanted to do or try, and still haven’t gotten around to doing them.

4. Make a list of all the things you should be doing.

Why not? You’re going to be getting around to doing them eventually. The dishes won’t wash themselves, the dirty clothes won’t switch the washing on, and the clean laundry won’t pack itself away. You might not get to all the things you should be doing right away (or maybe in a day or two), but it’s a nice feeling knowing that you’re semi prepared for them to be done. Ah, wishful thinking at its best.

5. Wishing you had followed the advice of preparing ready-made meals.

I wished I had listened to the advice I was given about preparing ready-made meals so I didn’t need to worry about not eating when I didn’t actually have the time to cook. So I found myself thinking about all the delicious food I could’ve been eating while my babies were happily sleeping away. And no, I didn’t think of following the advice the second time around, it only came to me later, when I didn’t need it anymore.

6. Research ways of creating a clone.

Joking, of course. But it would be nice to have a double to take your place for a few minutes so you could use the loo in peace or take a much needed shower. And it would be nice if that double took over all the chores that required your attention.

7. Watch movies/series.

Have you been planning on having a movie marathon or catching up on series? You won’t have the same opportunity when your baby is awake and needs your full attention again. So while they snooze, mark those series and movies off your list and enjoy the moments of uninterrupted screen time.

8. Learn something new.

Have you been planning on learning a new language or trying some self-improvement techniques? Pinterest here might be your new friend as you scroll through thousands of ideas to help you reach those goals. Also, need to get some parenting advice or do some mamahood research? You can do all that, so it’s kind of a win-win situation; baby sleeps and you’re growing your knowledge bank at the same time.

9. Stare at your baby.

Those tiny newborn features won’t be around forever. Embrace every detail, admire every curve and even though, having a sleeping baby pinned to your chest might feel like a little too much, enjoy these moments. Soon they will grow out of this stage and you will end up missing these times, when your kids actually enjoyed cuddling, and staying still in one spot for longer than a minute.

10. If all else fails, take a nap.

You’re probably pretty sleep deprived at this stage and that’s completely normal when a little one enters your life. I’ve never been the type to take naps during the day, because I struggled to switch my brain off, thanks to all the reminders of the things I should be doing. Though I quickly got over this ‘problem’ when fatigue kicked in and I just gave in to taking naps when my babies took them, and with though warm little bodies against you, it’s very hard to resist the urge to snuggle and enjoy a snooze yourself.

 

Anastasiya Meintjes is a full-time working mom, to two little boys. She is a part-time night blogger while working as a copy and content writer by day. She enjoys writing about her two boys on Anniemation Floe while trying to squeeze in info about the rest of her life.
You can find her on Facebook

Teen Motherhood is still Motherhood

This is a sponsored post written by Angela Starr from addictions.com.

I was 17 when I found out I was pregnant. It was not news I was happy to hear. In all honestly, I didn’t know how to process it. I had known teen mothers at my high school, but I didn’t feel like them. None of my friends were even having sex that I knew of and I had never told anyone I was because I didn’t really want to be. I was scared about the pregnancy, but I was also upset that it gave everyone an entrance into my sex life. That was what worried me, to begin with.

I had left high school before I got pregnant because I wasn’t being taught as much as I wanted to learn. I knew I was going to community college and that I would go on to a four-year school, so what was the point in having a diploma? This meant I was a teen mother and a high school drop-out. I am extremely privileged that both of my parents supported me in having a baby. They weren’t thrilled initially, but it felt like the best decision that could be made.

With the help of my mother, I made it to all my pre-natal appointments. I took birthing classes. I bought a crib. I worked at the beginning of my pregnancy and attended college toward the end of it. My boyfriend had left me a letter stating that he would be back when the baby was a year old and he left. I was doing all of the things I knew how to do as a teenager to be a good mom. I read all the parenting books I could get, and I listened to and followed my parent’s advice.

I gave birth to my son on October 31, 1995. My labor was induced and it was an easy delivery in comparison to the horror stories I would later hear. But, they took my son away and they didn’t bring him back. As I drifted to sleep on a wave of post-delivery painkillers, a doctor woke me up demanding to know if I had done any drugs while pregnant. I hadn’t. I didn’t smoke, drink, or use drugs. They suspected my baby had hepatitis, and they would be keeping him in the nursery and giving him treatment for it as they waited for test results to come in.

I was so committed to breastfeeding that my mother got the hospital to rent us an empty room near the nursery where I slept after I was discharged. The nurses taking care of my son would call me when he needed to eat and I would drag myself over to his little bassinet and nurse him. He was in the hospital for days and I showed up every time he was hungry. It didn’t feel like there was any alternative. I had to be there for him.

My son is an adult now and I am so proud of him, but I am also proud of me. I single handedly raised my child and I earned my BA and my MA. I may have been young when I got pregnant, but I did better than a lot of women much older than I was. I wouldn’t let anything stop me.

 

 Angela Starr graduated from Washington State University with an MA in English and went on to teach college writing and to work in college writing centers. Now, she puts what she used to teach into action as a writer. She shares an apartment with her son and 3 adorable, yet annoying, cats. Basically her writing focuses on addictions, abusive behavior and other trending topics in the community.

 

{Guest Post} When Along Comes Baby Number Two

healthy-living-9Today we meet South African mommy blogger Faziela, who shares a range of all her emotions about the impending birth of Baby Number Two.

Every parenting journey has that turning point, that moment where you are managing to hit every parenting mark out there. Our turning point came shortly after Cupcake turned a year and a half, I was hitting my stride at work, managing to cook AND prepare lunches every day, Cupcake was sleeping through the night, getting things done the night before so that ready to grab and go, not forgetting even managing to put lunch in for myself *gasp*who is this woman!?

Then as life would have it, I found out I was expecting baby number 2! Eek!

It has taken me a good while to adjust to the concept of having a second baby, whom we have named Dumpling, especially since we are now in such a routine with Cupcake. That being said, this pregnancy has already been completely different to my first. Where my first was easy sailing, this pregnancy brought with it early bleeding (I was on Utrogestan for 2 months which gave me the most severe migraines), my leg muscles are constantly aching, my skin is going through puberty all over again and I am just always out of energy.

Not that I am complaining; I am more than certain that things could be a lot worse, however, I feel like I am short changing Cupcake because we aren’t able to be as on the go as before. Trips to the park are shortened because I can’t keep up when we are alone and I can’t hold him for as long because he just weighs too much.

Time feels like it is flying past but it also feels so slow; my body that I was just getting comfortable in was back to its full pregnancy glory, big butt and all. Maternity clothing that I had given away had to be replaced, and leggings are my new best friend.

On the flip side of things, Cupcake has developed a much better bond with Superman, the 2 of them are often spending time out in the garden or watching movies (or rugby, sigh) but this has been so amazing to see how independent my little guy was getting.

The change in him has been ever subtle. We keep telling him about the new baby and his imminent arrival. At first I thought it was all for nought until he started coming to my tummy and saying “Baba?” and then he would give my belly a hug and a kiss. Even in his littleness, he already has the traits of being an amazing big little brother.

In all honesty, the very thought of handling two children under the age of 2 has me terrified; Cupcake already keeps us so much on our toes, how am I going to be able to cope with 2 of him!?!

Then right on cue swoops in Superman, my calm in the storm, who has been reassuring me all along that we will get through it one baby step at a time. That whatever situation we get put through, we will get through. Even as I write this post, Dumpling is practising his martial arts skills.

On the other end of the spectrum, I feel as if though I just want to have my body back to myself, for sure I won’t be getting much sleep when Dumpling arrives but at least I will be able to lay on my stomach pretty soon, yeay! And the I’ll be able to run after Cupcake, catch him in my arms and be all silly with him and Superman….and with Dumpling 🙂

So, yeah, I can’t tell you that I am going to nail parenthood once Dumpling is born. I’m going to fall over my feet at times and even cry a little bit when things get too much, but with every little kick, every littledragonmommy flutter in my ever expanding belly, I already know that I love Dumpling so much and I cannot wait for him to meet his brother.

 

This post was written by Faziela, who blogs at Official Dragon Mommy. You can also find her on Facebook and Instagram.

 

 

{Guest Post}: What to Do When Physical Exercise Feels Just Too Much after Having a Baby

postpartum-exhaustionCarrying a baby for 9 months can cause physical significant strain on the body. However, often, this is replaced by other stressful problems for new mothers whether they have other children or this is their first. Trying to settle baby into a routine and try and find some semblance of a new normality can be challenging to say the least. Sleep patterns can be greatly disrupted both for parents and babies due to a variety of issues including failure to feed properly, reflux, or other problems. Some mothers may also have had to have elective or unplanned Caesarean sections which can cause much longer recovery times.

Regulating Your Sleep Patterns

Dealing with all the drama which comes alongside the wondrous pitter patter of tiny feet can be exhausting and can leave little time to fit any form of exercise into your day. However, there are lots of things that you can do to incorporate exercise into your day without even having to change your routine. It’s important when considering exercise to take small gradual steps regularly to add exercise into your routine. One of the ways you can do this is simply by getting yourself and your new baby out for regular walks. Not only will this improve your own mental state, but it will also give both of you much needed fresh air, and Vitamin D which will also help to regulate your serotonin levels and improve your sleep patterns so that your circadian rhythms are more in tune with everyone else’s thus giving you more energy.

Baby Steps

It’s important to listen to your body after you have had a baby. It takes time for your body to recover and you’ll need to ensure that your diet is healthy to give yourself the energy needed to not only care for your baby, yourself but to also improve your energy levels. So, eating a varied diet rich in nutrients is important particularly when you are still bleeding and taking gentle exercise until your body starts to recover is most important to avoid any setbacks. Having the confidence to exercise your body is going to come when you have recovered sufficiently. One of the first things which can help with body confidence is improving your pelvic floor muscles with Kegel routine. Embarking on plates or other ab work could inhibit healing and lead to a prolapse.

Joint care

The process of carrying and having a baby involves lots of hormones and relaxing which is responsible for changing the structure of the pelvis and ligaments to enable it to become more flexible. Such hormones can have an effect lasting up to around 6 months after the birth, therefore this is another reason why it’s important to take things slowly and avoid high impact exercises which may result in injury. It also depends very much on the level of exercise you did prior to becoming pregnant as to how quickly you will be able to resume and the level of exercise which will be appropriate for you.

Water babies

A great form of exercise for new mums is swimming and there are lots of mother and baby classes where you can introduce your baby to the water whilst getting some much-needed exercise and social therapy yourself.

Get strolling

attack_of_the_stroller_moms_4665101120Taking the baby stroller out and finding a few hills to climb is one of the best cardiovascular activities you can get. You’ll enjoy the relaxed mother and baby time and you’ll also find the road rhythm will help little one drift off whilst still getting some great fresh air and sunshine. It is no accident that Victorian nannies had strict routines about getting babies outside, it’s also great for new mums to too help ward off depression and improve sleeping. You can also use your stroller as an exercise aid to improve your gluts and ham string muscles by using it as a bench press and performing stretching exercises.

Ditch the car for short journeys

If you’re lucky enough to live near local shops, take advantage of the opportunity to pick up a daily pint of milk or a loaf of bread by deliberately forgetting some minor groceries which you can then take your pram with you to fetch. It’s a great way to meet other people and you’ll be fitting in exercise purposefully into your day in an enjoyable way.

Play away

Mother and baby bonding time is precious and often limited when mothers return to work. Playing with your baby is a great form of exercise, particularly if you lift and carry your baby during play. It can create wonderful opportunities for bonding and development. You can also use baby play as an opportunity for some yoga while you’re keeping an eye on your little one. Lie flat on your tummy, and raise your chest on your forearms whilst raising your legs towards your bottom. Do this in intervals of five and you’ll soon notice a difference in a toned tush!

Above all, when you’re looking for ways to exercise with a new baby, make it fun and it’s more likely that you’ll stick to a routine which will boost your self-esteem and spur you along!

This post was written by Louise Cairns from the blog Hard Boiled Body.

 

Meet the Blogger: Meet Chastin: Crazy Momma of Three

healthy-living-7This week meet South African mom blogger Chastin, who blogs at Crazy Momma of Three.

  1. What do you normally get up to on an average day? (Give us a brief description about yourself)

My average day involves getting up at 5:30, getting everyone up and ready and making breakfast before running out the door at 7, I then go and work my 8-5 and then it is of course a mad rush to fetch the monkeys from their respective aftercares and crèches, most days homework is covered but some days I have to sit down with them, generally I get in the door start supper, unpack and repack bags and lunches, my hubby comes through the door around 7 and he will then help with getting them upstairs for baths etc, we then do dinner and tucker down for the evening with a story or movie; my older 2 are in bed between 7:30 and 8 on weekdays, if my hubby works late I will get the kids ready for bed as well. I then get my youngest monkey to sleep and will end up doing some housework; dishes, washing (which never ends) etc, I am generally done by 9 and will then settle down for the evening with my hubby and a book, movie or knitting.

2) How do you feel about motherhood – what are your struggles and joys?

I have always wanted to be a mum, from dressing up as a mum at the age of 8 for school I have always known that it was a path I wanted and was meant to travel, it hasn’t been easy I was a teen mom and there have been times when I have wanted to run screaming and times when I have doubted my abilities as a parent but my kids and motherhood has been my greatest lesson and teaching tool, through them I have learnt so many things about myself and them and people/the world in general.

My eldest is considered to be special needs and that has been an incredible journey and sometimes a struggle because the journey has been so long and difficult and you receive so much judgment along the way but I have learned to grow through this and Loghan teaches me every day that when faced with struggles you can overcome them. It will never cease to amaze me how amazing kids can be when faced with judgment and adversity. My greatest joy is watching my children learn and grow and overcome the difficulties they are faced with. I love holding them and knowing they are mine and that we help create such amazing spirits; they are my greatest gift.

3) Tell us about your kid(s)

chastin-kidsI have 3 amazing wonderful monkey boys, my eldest Loghan is 9, then I have Gabriel who is 6 and Jesse who is almost 3, Loghan is my serious child he has so far been diagnosed with ADHD but we are in the process of further assessments and diagnosis which we will confirm soon, he can be silly, he is a great big brother to my youngest so incredibly clever and loves to learn but also incredibly stubborn like both his dad and I.

Gabriel is my child of rainbow and ponies he has an incredible imagination which I envy he is always in his own world and so full of love and cuddles, loves art and music, of all my children I think he is the most like me.

chastin-kidJesse is my happy child always has a smile on his face, and too clever for his own boots sometimes, it really is amazing how much faster younger siblings grow when the have older siblings to follow and learn from. He is super mischievous but always gets away with it at school because he is so sweet, he loves cuddles and he loves to wake you up with a love and I love you so much.

4) How did you start blogging?

I had been mulling around with the idea for a while, I have always enjoyed writing and I loved the idea of working through my motherhood journey by writing, I was also at a very difficult place and I felt that writing would be very therapeutic for me and it has been, I had to teach myself everything from scratch, design, coding etc and it has been a great learning experience and confidence boost, I have also met so many helpful and amazing bloggers along the way who have helped give me the confidence to push forward and stick with it.

chastin-fam-pic5) Share with us a valuable blogging tip you’ve learnt. (or more)

Always write what you feel never let someone dictate to you what you should write or write about, don’t write to please others do it for yourself, people want honesty in a world where things have become so complicated and you will be amazed how many people you can reach by just being raw and yourself.

6) If you make money from your blog, give us a breakdown on how you do it. Give us some of your methods on how to get started on this, or any tips or advice.

I have made a small bit here and there but that was not my aim when I started blogging, I would love to make more from doing something I love but that comes second to getting my thoughts out there, I make use of adsense, I’m am not great with social media I’m not going to lie but it is a great way to get your name out there and get brands to notice and approach you.

Blog Link

http://crazymommaofthree.blogspot.co.za/

Instagram Link

https://www.instagram.com/crazymommaofthree/?hl=en

Twitter Link

https://twitter.com/Mum2threeboys

Facebook Page Link

https://www.facebook.com/Crazymommaofthree-1157520624281298/

If you found this post interesting please share it with your friends and remember to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram and join our awesome group called Mommy’s Me Time.

 

{Guest Post} An Average Day in My Life of Motherhood

day in the life of a momOh gosh where does one begin!

I guess it would be by saying that as a mother, there is no such thing as a beginning or an end to anything, especially not within a 24-hour day right?

Now as a mother to 3 kids or should I rather say to 4 (if we’re still counting our husbands), you can only imagine the amount of me time I could possibly factor into the daily equation: mother = (three kids) + (husband X 10) ÷ SUM (housework; mealtimes; babysitting; coaching; homework; Uber taxi; nursing; my own small at home business) + being a wife, (yes I know it’s very long but realistic). It’s just impossible to see anything but the fact that there are not enough hours in one day. Yet somehow, as do all Moms out there, we figure it out or we really just have super human powers!

So having borne (with immense pain and struggle), the 3 kids, of which my eldest daughter is sixteen and loves accounting, my middle daughter is four and has Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) and my baby boy is going on 1 and already walking, thus resulting in my average day unfolding like this. My alarm goes off at 04H50 and while I gently roll over to my right side where my baby sleeps next to me due to effective nursing for my sanity, I use my left leg to slowly but firmly kick my STILL ever snoring, sleeping husband into alert mode. While my husband jumps out of bed like a jet rocket sling shot due to fear of my morning tone, lol, I nurse my one-year-old for the sixth time since I climbed into bed the night before. Then with my slippers barely on my feet and my hair in frazzled knots, I make my way with baby in one arm to get the other two kids out of bed and ready for school which by no means is any picnic! In between that, I’m running between making three sets of lunches, five portions of whatever I can muster up for breakfast that morning while I have a load in the washer, another one on my way to hang up outside, schoolbags and homework in order and packed and oh but wait, I forgot that before all that, I’ve even managed to lay out everyone’s clothing for the day, including that of my husbands. By 06h50 I’ve successfully kicked (joke) the two kids and husband out the door and their way to school, courtesy of my husband. As I shut the front door to that segment of the morning, I turn to prepare for the next, which is a day filled with;

  • fran babytaking care of the needs and deeds of my baby boy
  • as well as the pile of happy bubbly dishes in the sink
  • the day’s ironing
  • making of beds
  • cleaning up house (probably for the 3rd time already so far)
  • and shoving what looks like could be an edible supper into the oven.

BUT in no time its 12hoo WHAAAAT, and I’ve only now managed to find my way into the bathroom for an all-in-one or so it seems, shower and change in “sixty seconds” with my one-year-old lagging on my one leg with his trailing toys, for fear of being left to his own devices. The rest of the day pretty much takes on a zombie-like-mode of juggling play time with nap time, nap time with my business time, and blended into the mix, with a touch of hiccups and snot and trana along the way, begins;

  • fran car seatsThe picking up kids from schools
  • dropping them of at relevant sports fixtures
  • supervising homework
  • tearing the two younger kids off of each other
  • while trying to pry my teenager off her cell phone and iPad long enough to finish all her homework.

In the left corner of the ring, I’m dishing out afternoon snacks and tea to all three kids and gulping down a cuppa myself whilst in a flat panic because my four-year-old has coaxed her brother up over the couches onto the curtain rails once again.

The crazy thing is that whilst all this is going on throughout the day, I’m mentally making notes of;

  • what needs to get onto the shopping list
  • what chores need to be achieved this week
  • mentally filing things already done
  • alongside with what extra mural activities the kids have going on in the week
  • what doctor’s sessions and appointments are coming up
  • topped with what crazy ridiculous projects I have to help my teen with into all hours of the night!

By the time 17h00 comes, it feels like feeding time at the zoo has begun and I’m not sure how, but a new bout of energy emerges and it’s like “Speedy Gonzales” to get through the entire process in order to get everyone’s tummy filled and fuelled so I can snap up my favourite programme for a quick forty minutes of relax mode (trying very hard not to dose off) before starting with the BIG FIVE comprising of;

  • Supper and dishes
  • getting kids into baths and ready for bed
  • last minute attempts at business work
  • HUSBAND TIME (yes let’s not forget to work that in somewhere)
  • and lastly taking myself off to soak or sink in the tub.

Once all that is behind me then the “WALK OF SHAME” commences, being that of “SHAME POOR DEAR YOU REALLY MUST GET SOME SLEEP “out of the mouth of my darling husband who knows only too well what lies ahead for me for the rest of this day’s night.

And, like Deja vu, everything begins at clockwork except for the fact that as us moms know, there really isn’t a set average day now is there!

 

 

fran with kidIf You would like to find out more about my hectic but thankful life, you can catch up with me on the following links;

Blog           @ http://www.mothershiplanding.com/

Twitter      Facebook     Instagram 

 

 

{Guest Post} Secrets to Living an Awesome Single Mom Life

single momSo here you are. Starting off your life as a single Mom. You never planned to be here. Hell – who of us did? You have been through some massive changes already yet some of the biggest adjustments and challenges still lie ahead.

Here are some of my tips on creating an awesome single Mom life for yourself. Tried and tested by yours truly. Not once, but twice.

Accept and Move on

“It is what it is” – my favourite line. But the hardest when it came to coming to terms with the situation. Especially the second time around. No amount of questioning will change what has just happened – it will only hold you back from living your life. If you need to talk to someone to help you then do that. But whatever you do, make peace with it so that you can let go and move on.

Stop worrying about what everyone else thinks

Another tough one for me. Being labelled “divorced twice” was not exactly my goal in life. I worried about other people’s opinions and how they would judge me. But you have to keep reminding yourself that the people who really matter won’t judge you or see you in a different light. They know the road you have walked and your real, loyal friends and family – they have your back. Don’t pay attention to those who ignorantly stand back and pass judgement. I cannot begin to tell you the sense of liberation you feel when you finally stop giving a shit about what everyone else thinks.

Find Yourself

Get back to YOU. Pick up old hobbies and interests that you may have neglected through the years, for various reasons. Remember that every second weekend the children are going to be with their Dad and you are going to have to keep yourself amused. Which brings me to my next point.

Nurture your Friendships

Spend time with your friends. Arrange picnics or a day at the beach when you have your kids with you – a play date for the kids and for the Moms. Organise lunches and girly nights out when the kids are not home. Join a book club, or even start one yourself. Friends are so important – they lift you up when you are down or wallowing in self-doubt and pity, and they remind you that you are not crazy.

Make Time for You

While it’s a good idea to pick up hobbies and to spend time with friends, be sure to make time for yourself. Remember that when the children are with you it’s going to be more demanding on your time and patience. You are now the only parent in the house for them to turn to with all their needs and although any mother will attend to their children lovingly and happily, it can be tiring. It’s important to be in your own space a little – with no-one else to have to consider or please. Where the only person you have to worry about in that moment is yourself.

Watch the Finances

Believe me, there is no better way to lose sleep than to be in a bad place financially. It’s not all going to come together into one neat budget right away (and even when it does you are going to have tough months with unforeseen expenses), but if you can work on putting together a realistic budget and stick to it as best possible you are on the right track. I plan to post more articles on this and get some expert advice for us Moms, so look out for that.

Work Hard & Communicate Well with your Bosses

Find a job you enjoy (if you don’t already have one) and own it. It’s a space where you can achieve and be recognised, and also have that interaction outside of being Mom. It’s stimulating and empowering.

Work hard and consistently. Show your commitment but also communicate with your bosses – sometimes you need a little flexibility when there are sick kids or emergencies. And if you have bosses who recognise that and show empathy, and who know you well enough to know you don’t take advantage of that, hold onto that job!

Besides, you need the income more than ever now.

Plan Family Holidays

Quality time with your children is so important, so be sure to plan a holiday at least once a year. Whether it’s a stay with friends or family, or just a holiday alone with you and your kids, some time out of the usual routine is fabulous for getting back to basics and reconnecting with your little people. Make the most of these limited times and forget about everything else but the moments with your children. Its food for the soul.

Exercise

We all know that exercise releases endorphins (happy hormones). So get active. If you don’t already have a gym membership, sign up and get in the gym a few times a week. Not only will you feel great, you will also look great.

Be Happy

Not every day is going to be sunshine and rainbows, especially when you are winging it alone. You will have days where you feel emotionally heavy and tired. But remember to keep smiling – think happy and positive thoughts and stay focused on the good in your life. Also remember that your children are looking to you and if you stay strong and positive you will be teaching them by the example you are setting.

The world is not ending – in fact a new chapter in your life is beginning. Embrace it – enjoy the great moments, and learn from the bad ones. Don’t hold yourself back by clinging onto any “should have” or “could have” or “would have”. You’ll be surprised at how amazing and rewarding life as a single mom can be – you just have to allow yourself to see it.

 caraThis post was written by Cara Fernandes who blogs at One Pair of Hands and can also be found on Facebook here.
 
 

Two Tools to Help with Inbox Overwhelm

inbox overwhelm toolsAn overflowing inbox is no good for your productivity or your sanity. Sometimes you just have to ignore it in order to get things done. However there comes a time when you have to face the beast and deal with it. I’ve come across two tools to help when I am overwhelmed with my inbox.

  1. Unroll Me.

I found out about this one in the South African bloggers Facebook group from Vaughan McShane.

The truth is I never have time to go through all my emails and check the unsubscribes. This app makes things easy. It allows you to sort all your emails into three groups:

unsubscribes,

keep in inbox and

roll up.

Roll up means you will get an email once a day with the emails you don’t mind getting all in one bunch. Also in this email you will get a list of new mails they have found that you can unsubscribe to. (That’s my favourite part of that mail – the rest just generally gets ignored).

This is a great tool to cut down on emails and do your unsubscribes all at once.

inbox overwhelm and tools to help2. MixMax

I found out about this one from Amy Lyn Andrews’ Useletter. (She also has some useful Gmail tips)

Mixmax is a Chrome extension, so it will only work when your email is in the Chrome browser. There is a lot this extension can do, like scheduling emails, but I haven’t really been using that so much.

What I have been using is:

-seeing when people have opened emails

-snoozing emails: When you get an email that you know requires a lot of attention and you don’t have the time for it now, you can “snooze” it. This means you can set it to reappear in your inbox later – that same day or on a different date. This is really good in that you won’t forget to do it.

 

 

Do you have any tips for taming the inbox?

 

 

{Guest Post} Lessons in Motherhood Learnt at the Gym Change Room

lessons in motherhoodThis year started on a calmer manner as far as motherhood is concerned, so much so that I’m not sure if that’s good or bad.

The past two years have turned me into a panic mechanic such that if there’s no hectic drama I find myself in I wonder, waiting for it to strike anytime; strange right?

Anyway the other Saturday I found myself at the gym catching up on some workout session I hadn’t had time to do during the week. After what seemed like forever I eventually decided to call it quits and head off to take a shower in the gym showers (which is something I loathe). As I walked out of the shower all wrapped in a towel about to put some lotion on, there was this boy who seemed to be around my son’s age (8/9) with the mother.

I didn’t know how to take that.

Do I ask the mother to ask the son to cover his eyes so I can, you know, put the lotion on?

Do I ask them to leave?

Do I pretend he’s not in the room and carry on with my business?

Do I go report them at reception?

Do I use the tiny toilet cubicle to put the lotion on?

I didn’t really know, so I sat in those uncomfortable benches waiting for them to finish up. I won’t tell lies a part of me felt a little infuriated, I mean, what mother in her right mind brings with a boy that age to the ladies changing rooms?

A tiny penny dropped. The society we live in has turned us into par aberrations. I know I would rather not shower at the gym than have my son go to the men’s by himself, but at the same time wouldn’t like to infringe on other ladies privacy by dragging my son along to the women’s changing room. Just as I was about to go full in on my judgementina ( that’s not a real word)  I realized I knew nothing about that mother and her circumstances, being a single mom myself I know just how hectic it can get . And so I did what I hope someone will do for me if found wanting in a similar situation.

 

You see, more than anyone I could relate better to that mother because I had been in a similar situation. Two years ago when our house caught fire while in fights between insurance, body corporate and neighbours, I was doing exactly the same. I didn’t want to trouble my friends who had enough troubles of their own. I would keep myself so busy during the day, spend the remainder of the day at the gym, shower there (hence I don’t like it no more) go home to half vestiges with a no power, no water connection house and straight to bed. Luckily for me I had the option of sending my son home to my parents for a week or two while trying to figure out how to sort that mess. It’s so easy to see someone all made up and assume all is well until you see smidgens you can identify with.

I don’t know how it is in other parts of the world , I only live in South Africa and I can tell you juggling motherhood, keeping up with ‘friends’, climbing the so called corporate ladder with no support is hard,  in a matter of fact hard is an understatement.

 

Next time you see a mother struggling with what seems to be an obviously an easy thing, instead of playing the judge, lend a helping hand. You will never know, you might just contribute to what will turn out to be your next President…Just saying.

andiswaThis post was written by Andiswa Machanyana. She blogs at Torn Jeans and Corporate Suits.  Follow her on Twitter.

 

 

 

Guest Post: Being A Mother

being-a-momjpgThe definition of a mother according to Merriam Webster dictionary is: “a female parent”.

For me it is my greatest achievement, but more than that a privilege.

When we receive our 3.85kg miracle, my life was changed in ways I didn’t think we’re possible.

The first way was to realize how much love you can have for one little person.

The second way my life changed was having all this new responsibility and not knowing if you are enough… doing enough, giving enough, being enough.

The third way is to see and experience life through little baby eyes. To see what they see, the little things they get excited about, to trust without hesitation, to live without limits.

The fourth way my life changed is to see the miracle of life unfolding day by day. I always thought the miracle stopped when the baby is born, but it continues daily with development and growth beyond my comprehension.

The final way life changed for me is to enjoy life every day. There is something in my baby I enjoy every day. Sometimes it is to hear him laugh, sometimes watching him sleep, sometimes he is making plans while figuring out a new toy or playing with the dog. Holding and hugging him fill me with that unexplainable amount of love.

Sometimes I am overwhelmed by the greatness of being a mother; the responsibility and stress, lack of sleep, not being in control. Loving someone so much scares me.

But it also includes a lot of laughter; and being the receiver of many hugs and kisses.

Becoming a mother is one of the greatest things that happened to me and I wouldn’t change it for anything.

This post was written by Rolene of Mom Making Memories.