Friday, January 9, 2015

10 Helpful Things I have Learnt to do as a SAHM

As a Stay at Home Mother of two young kids, I have realised very soon after my second child was born that I needed to do a few things differently around the house. What used to be a "luxury" of just having one child, is no longer a luxury. When I only had Micah, I could have time to myself a few hours during the day whenever he naps. Now with two, I have to make sure their sleeping schedules sync so I still get that down time. If not, I spend the whole day just being consumed by my kids. It is consuming.. time consuming, energy consuming and mentally consuming.

After a while, I think I have developed (quite naturally) a few tips to help me get through my days and still stay sane. Some of these are common sense, others are tips from other people, and some are what I found works best for me. Every mother is different, is no point judging me as I will never judge anyone else. You just have to do what works best for you :)

  1. Organise play dates with other mums at least 2-3 times a week. This not only tires out the kids but also avoids them going crazy, hyper and restless being at home with the same toys and the same company every single day. It is also good for mothers to meet up and have some adult conversation, and enjoy each others' company.
  2. Go out and do something every single day. For your sanity and theirs. Get out for some fresh air. Even if it is just a quick trip to the shops, a walk at the park or the local playground. For more adventurous days, a trip to the zoo, animal farm, beach, or swimming pool, amusement park, etc. Kids will have a ball and so will you!
  3. Establish a good routine. Breakfast, play, morning tea, play, lunch, nap, afternoon tea, play, dinner, bath time, story time and bed time at a reasonable hour so parents can have some down time to themselves in the evenings.
  4. Use TV when necessary. Don't feel guilty about using TV. Especially when you are tired and just need to rest on the couch for 30 minutes.
  5. Do not leave mess to accumulate. Put away something every single day when you see something that don't belong somewhere. It is easier to put away 5-10 items per day than to leave them all to accumulate and you find an absolute bombsite to tidy up at the end of the week...
  6. Vacuum 2-3 times per week.
  7. Do the dishes every single night, without fail. No matter how tired you are after you put the kids to bed, at least do the dishes. You will thank yourself tomorrow!
  8. Start prepping for dinner during kids' afternoon naps. That will tremendously cut down your cooking time closer to dinner time, when kids are awake and likely to distract you.
  9. Coffee.
  10. Hire a fortnightly cleaner if you feel you are not coping. Justify the cost. Cannot afford to? What can you sacrifice in order to afford the fortnightly cost of hiring a cleaner. You will be surprised... it may only require the sacrifice of purchasing new toys or new clothes or sacrificing takeaway and planning your meals better to avoid food wastage and overspending at the supermarket. Or sell a few items around the house each week online, make a few dollars here and there and that's your budget for a cleaner!
Nobody is perfect and sometimes, or most of the time, my house ends up looking like a bombsite anyway... and sometimes we end up eating instant pasta and only instant pasta for dinner. Or toast. Sometimes none of the washing got done and we have close to none clean clothes that fit to wear. Sometimes the kids end up watching TV for hours and hours during the day.

Forgive yourself, rest, rejuvenate, do something for yourself, get back into that positive mindset, reset and start again.

Monday, January 5, 2015

I used to be a Mummy Blogger! What happened??

Where do I even begin...

I used to be a mummy blogger. A fairly good one too, I must add. I used to document Micah's development week after week. I can look back at Micah's first year and tell you exactly when he started crawling, eating, walking, clapping, talking, throwing tantrums, etc.

(Just as I was typing that, Micah screamed "I WANT MY WATER BOTTLE!!!" I then went up to him and said "That is not how you ask for things, ask again, nicely, and say please." Which he did. I then gave him his water bottle and walked back to my desk)

So let's start again.

I used to be a mummy blogger. I not only write on this blog about baby stuff, I also had a food blog. I had a lot of passion for my food blog. I experimented with new recipes. I went out and wrote a lot of restaurant reviews. I hung out with the cool kids... fellow foodie bloggers who are 100x more awesome than I am and get invited to 100x more events than I do... but on that rare occasion when I got invited too, I always have lots of fun catching up with them. Tucking into amazing food. Taking photos of beautifully presented food. Blogging about our experiences. Sometimes, we even get PAID to do what we love. We get paid to go out and dine at restaurants for free. We get paid to review a product we get to keep. We get freebies, samples, prizes to giveaway to our readers.... they still do all that stuff. I don't remember the last time I did it. 

So what happened???

Well, ladies and gentlemen... no surprises here. I had children.

Two beautiful, amazing little children I must add.

Yes, they consume most of my time I have not much time to do anything else.

When I DO get some extra time... I quickly catch up on the hundreds of chores which are neverending in this house.

The laundry basket is ALWAYS full. I am never on top of my washing.

The kitchen always needs a tidy. If not, it piles up to be a huge mess I don't wish to deal with.

The floor needs to be vacuumed at least once every 2-3 days so it doesn't get disgusting.

I sweep up food on the floor 3 times a day, after each meal.

The tables and benches also gets a wipe down 3 times a day, actually make it 6 times a day. Before and after cooking, and again after each meal. Is that 6 times a day? Or 9 times a day? Who cares... wipe down, wipe down.. baby wipes are my best friend. Disposable cloths for wipe downs are good too. The ones you get to use for a week before they get absolutely disgusting and then you just chuck it and tear off a new piece of a giant roll from CostCo.

The toys... oh the toys. Those little toys you don't always see and always end up stepping on. Ouch! I have learnt to be safe, wear slippers around the house. Or I might end up stepping on a little dinosaur. Poor little dinosaur. No, poor my foot! Even though Micah is pretty good at following instructions when we tell him to put away certain toys and things like shoes, etc... there is still a lot of other things we need to put away ourselves at the end of each day. Silver my little 10 month old, doesn't know how to put things away yet. Thankfully her mess is contained in a play penned area... so it is not too bad. Collect them all, chuck them into a toy box. But some days when we decide to have a bit of fun and get out a new activity... the fun usually lasts 15 minutes or so and then it is time to put them away again. Or not. It may get put away later that night after they go to sleep.

Where was I going with all this... oh, yes, free time. My kids still nap during the day. When they do, like now, Silver is being an angel and having a good morning nap... I rush off to have a quick shower and a quick tidy up of our bedroom. Emphasis on the word "quick" as most tidy ups need to be a quickie and it needs to be done every single day, before it gets out of control.

The study is out of control... I will get to that room someday. I have a plan. I am already eyeing this cabinet with shelves thing someone is getting rid of for $5. That should go well in the space where my desk used to sit on... that currently has a pile of junk and papers and STUFF on the floor... time to get rid of the junk, and organise the stuff properly on a cabinet/shelf unit. I will do it. I can do it.

Sorry I rambled on again...

My mind just goes on and on and on... all the time. The only time I stop is after the kids go to bed, the dishes are done, the toys are put away, little things have been restored and put away in its place, and I make a cup of tea and a snack, and sit down to watch TV with my husband. This usually happens around 9pm at night, so really we only have 1-2 hours to relax every day. Very common if you ask most parents. So I choose to sit and watch TV with that time. I have my TV shows, and sometimes we watch a movie. We need that winding down time. When we don't get that time for any reason at all, eg one of us goes out or I have to quickly go do grocery shopping at night so that it is easier and quicker without kids, or we have other evening commitments eg church music practice or Bible Study, it is like the whole day was just CONSUMED by things. 

Do we really not have enough hours in the day??

Not really. We prioritise.

I choose to spend my day looking after the kids and getting chores done. That way, I don't stress because the house does not get out of control. It brings me satisfaction.

So that doesn't leave much time at all to blog, or go out to foodie events, or take beautiful pictures of things to go on my blog to make my blog look pretty.....

Too bad.

It makes me sad sometimes.

But I know I will find time to do all that again someday.

(Micah: Mummy! Mum! Mummy! Mum! Dragon master go in the water!)

Micah is trying to get my attention now.

Silver is awake.

My kids are my priority.

I choose to stay home and look after them, I could quite easily send them off to child care and go back to work or even get some time to myself and go back to blogging more professionally.

I could.

But they can all wait.

My babies don't stay babies for long, and I want to enjoy these babies.

Someday, and very soon, because as we all know, time flies... I will get some time to myself again and immerse myself back into what I love to do other than my kids.

I look forward to that day, and at the same time I try to enjoy every minute of now.

It is not always easy. Some days are so tough and really tests my patience....

But we all do what we have to do.

So I used to be a mummy blogger.....

In my mind I still am.

But my kids need me more right now.

So give me another year or so.

I will be back... bigger and better than ever!! Ok, that's an exaggeration.

I will BRB :)