Monday, October 17, 2011

Happy parents equals happy children.

Happy parents equals happy children; equals happy parents.

I have heard a lot lately on the effect that a parents attitude, mood and behaviour can have and does have on children. Children read us. They are far more intuitive than we give them credit for.

After reading the quote "Happy children equals happy parents equals happy children" and having a particularly testing week with Stellas attitude, I decided that I would make a conscious effort to change my reactions to certain situations around our home. Instead of showing stress and frustration on my face and in front of Stella, I would put out an aura of cool, calm and collected. Whether I felt that way or not, that is the way my face looked, the way my attitude seemed. It's like the contagious smile theory, smile on the outside and you will feel a little happier on the inside. Pretending to be cool, calm and collected actually made me a little more C, C and C.

Sure enough, being the intuitive little bean she is, Stella picked up on my new found mood and reflected it for herself. I saw an ever so subtle, yet unmistakable change in her temperament. She seemed easier to manage during a tantrum and during 'arsenic hour'. Either that or I was managing with my own temperament a little easier. It is incredible the effect that such a small and easy change has made to our days. As simple as erasing a frown and adding a smile or replacing a sigh with a whistle. 

If you do one thing today as a parent to make your days a little more pleasant and the hard times a little easier, let it be smile. Pretend you are calm, pretend you are carefree and relaxed...Your attitude, behaviour and your childs attitude and behaviour should follow suit.

Lesson of the week; If you think you are, then you are.  Repeat after me... "I am cool, calm and collected". 

Threads and Trends

Stella wears; Coat, tights and shoes by Pumpkin Patch, Dress by Cotton On.


Friday, October 7, 2011

Post Natal Depression; Increasing awareness.

Post-Natal Depression has over the years become more acceptable to talk about. We all see the advertisements on the television and hear our midwives questioning our feelings, but how often do you hear a 'real' mums story? Someone who is your age? Someone who lives in your neighbourhood. I think that these stories reach into our hearts and touch us far more significantly that the odd rehearsed acting staring at us from the TV.

This is Zoes story, a young woman who is local to me and is the same age. I hope her story may help you understand Post-Natal Depression a little better or perhaps even help you recognise signs of PND in yourself or your loved ones. Thank you so much to Zoe for being so brave and sharing.

"Post-Natal Depression. When most people hear this, they think of a mother that has lost control, who can't handle the cries of their baby, and is at risk of seriously hurting their baby or themselves. This is not totally true. Yes, there is a risk of the mother hurting themselves or their child and the crying is always hard to handle, but they usually seem fairly normal and in control.

My name is Zoe, and I suffer from Post-Natal Depression.

Not long after my first born came along, I suffered the 'baby blues' - the baby blues are different to post natal depression - and I got over that pretty quickly. I felt on top of the world. My relationship was fine, my daughter was beautiful and we had just moved into our own little place just for the 3 of us. Life was fantastic. Then when my daughter was around 8 weeks old, something hit me. Almost like a tonne of bricks. I was feeling tired, sad, confused, but mostly angry. I would get so mad I would cry. I couldn't understand why I would feel that way when my whole life was coming together perfectly.

I tried to deal with it on my own and bottle up how I was feeling. I found it hard to connect with the gorgeous little girl I had around me all the time. I felt like I was baby sitting, and not actually being a mother. Finally I went to an appointment for my daughter at a Child Heath Clinic just for a general check in. While I was there they asked me to fill in the Post-Natal Depression Quiz. So I did. One of the Questions was "Do you feel like you may harm yourself or your baby?" 3 options to choose from - Sometimes, always and never. When I got to this questions I stopped and hesitated. Right then and there, I knew something wasn't right with how I felt and I had to be serious and truthful. I answered "sometimes". Not to hurting my daughter, I would never in a million years hurt my children. But it was for me. I wasn't well, and after accepting that I sought help.

I went to the doctor and got medicated. I was on the road to recovery. I was only 18 at the time, and thought I could handle things without the medication. I stopped too early, but with a supportive family I made it through and was on top of the world again.

September last year I was blessed enough to give birth to another beautiful girl. This time I was with another man. An amazing, supportive, generous man. Things were yet again great. I barely got the baby blues and thought this time I was going to skip the depression. But, I knew the warning signs and sought help straight away. I was breastfeeding at the time, so took a small dose of my medication. But something I did different this time, was I spoke to a professional. I went to a social worker. I think this decision was the best one I could make for a full recovery. I stopped my medication again for a while and stopped seeing a social worker due to car problems. I wasn't ready to stop and went down fast.

Yesterday I went back to the doctor, I told him exactly how I felt. And he was understanding - it is not uncommon to have PND. I am going back to my social worker starting next week and I am actually looking forward to it.

I thought I'd share with you some of the practical and 'real life' things I am currently doing in order to tackle my Post-Natal Depression. I hope that this information is far more helpful for you than the hard to connect with stories seen on television or in magazines. These things aren't life changing or dramatic, they aren't hard or unreachable. They are simple and achievable steps you can take right this very minute to start making yourself better.

3 things I am currently doing to help myself are; 
* Eat better
* Get out of the house
* Seeking the help I need

If you don't feel comfortable seeing a social worker, choose a close friend or family member. Talking really helps. So many emotions go around when PND arises and talking helps ease the burden.

The steps I found easiest to take were:

* Talking to my local Child Health Nurse - they can give you pamphlets and make necessary      appointments for you

* Talk to  a family member, be it your partner/mother/friend - someone you trust

* Actually go to your appointments. Most doctors will tailor a medication around your needs. Small dose, large dose, if your are breastfeeding, not breastfeeding. Its well worth it.

Seeing a doctor may be a little daunting and confronting, but not going could bring a whole new set of problems. It is normal to have the 'baby blues' a week or so after the baby is born, but remember it is not normal to continue feeling that way. Confide in someone, they won't judge you. Ever. It is your job as a parent to make sure you look after yourself as well as your baby."


The most adorable thing in the world; a sleeping baby. The most enjoyable thing in the world; watching your sleeping baby. The most comforting thing in the world; sleeping with your baby.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Cousin love.

A few days back, Stella and her older cousin Ruby spent a day in the park together. It was beautiful to watch them laugh, run and play together.

One of my earliest and happiest memories as a child is playing with my best friends. My best friends being my younger Sister and my older Cousin. My cousin and I rarely fought and experienced many a family birthday party, BBQ and Christmas together. The days before school yard politics were bliss. Friendships were simple and almost always pleasant.

The close relationship between cousins is irreplaceable. It is the first bloom of friendship, and one to be cherished. I can't wait to see these two little girls grow up together and play the same games I too played with my cousin.

Threads and Trends

Mama wears: Tights by Cotton On, dress by Filo from Mi' Lili Boutique, Nailpolish by Rimmel, pendant by That Vintage

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Three P's by Mr P.

I have introduced you to Mr Perfect here before. He's still here, and still as perfect as ever. Even more perfect when he asked me to guest post on my blog. Yep, he asked me. He had already written a draft and was nervous about sending it to me. I must admit, when I read it I smiled like a child at Christmas, and smiled and smiled for hours later.

Without further ado, here is his first post. My heart is swelling just reading it again!

Three (P)eas in a pod

I always struggle with first liners, however so many precede mine that I’ve found it easy to go with the flow. For those who are up to date with this blog, I need not give myself an introduction. For those who are not, I suggest you do some reading as I assure you, you’ll be better off for doing so.

It’s not too often a person finds themselves in the situation I have, falling in love at a 1st birthday I wish to share the story and insight from my perspective in dating a single mama.

Not only does the title of this post refer to obviously Natalie, Stella and refers to three defining “P” words that are important in sharing my experience..

The first is required in everyday life, irrespective of the context or situation you find yourself in. However, PATIENCE is required to be mastered when dating a single mother. Prior to Nat and I being “official” as a couple, I found it important to demonstrate this to myself and to Nat. I understood the situation and knew that my patience was required. I knew that in doing so, I would be welcomed into her own, and Stella lives. Baby steps.

When the time came to bring Stella into the equation, not just verbally...but physically I found myself learning new skills and patience for which I did not know I had. For example, it takes a lot longer to get ready, or to pack a car when heading out. I found myself required to venture into an aisle in the supermarket I never had to prior, or the need to constantly say “excuse me” to strangers whilst pushing a pram. Speaking from a new experience, I assure any reader that the enjoyment that is brought is definitely worth the wait..

And so, my second point; A “rule” that is required in dating a single mother...PRIORITIES & PLANNING... Let it be known I like to be somewhat romantic, and like nothing more than wining & dining or cuddling on the couch while watching a movie. As a male in my instance, dating a single mother however has its restrictions. You need to be someone completely unselfish and open to the fact that you are not going to be put first in a lot of situations. Before committing to this kind of relationship, it needs to be known that another’s child is always going to come first, therefore I found it extremely important to always plan ahead. As I understood the situation early, I asked Nat to go to dinner with me three weeks before the intended date. Time spent catching up on sleep or with other friends, planning someone to mind Stella, work commitments etc were only some of the possible restrictions to cross my mind. (For the record, the date was everything I had dreamed and as far as I am concerned, from that night on Nat was now no longer a “single” mother)

I know that my last point remains the most crucial, and important to everyone involved...a PASSION for PARENTING...I consider myself to have always been a family man and hold this as the most important aspect (after my own health) in my life. Parenting is for some people, and for others it is not...I for example, have always completely loved children. However being directly involved in all the “nitty gritty” in caring for child was no exception, I was sucked in.. I fell in love with the connection I witnessed between Mother and Daughter, and with the one that was created between the three of us for ourselves. I fell in love with two girls and knew my heart was sold on not only the idea of continuing it into the future, but the excitement of becoming a father for myself one day.

I have found the experience nothing but rewarding, and give the following advice to readers:

•   To people curious of the idea on dating a single parent – Do your research, learn and understand the situation. If you are prepared to wait, you will find yourself in a completely honest, loyal and extremely loving three (or more) way relationship
•   To any single parents – NEVER give up hope. If your heart so desires, I assure you that the right person is out there for you. Give him or her the time to understand your situation, and to work out for themselves what is required. Trust me, we’re out there!

As expected it can be difficult at times, but at the end of the day I know that we have the love and patience to get through anything. Together.

I love Stella, and I am in love with her Mother.. There is a future for us, I have never been more certain... and in good time I see myself asking the penultimate question...also beginning with “P” *wink wink*

Watch this space!

Coping with not coping.

Parenting is without a doubt, hard. And at times it is hard to cope. Some of us struggle quietly, some of us struggle loudly and publicly...the moral of the story being that at some point in time, some of us, a lot of us, perhaps most of us, struggle.

That's part of parenting! It's OK to struggle, it's OK to not be coping. But what is important is how to cope with not coping. I'm not talking about the more serious struggles of post natal depression; that is something that shouldn't be swept under the carpet. But, more so the day to day struggles and "Im not coping" moments a lot of us experience.

In complete honesty, The last fortnight has called for screams of  "I'm not coping" far too often. Blame it on hormones, blame it on the increasing tantrums or even blame it on the incident where apple puree was squirted up the entire length of a perfectly white wall. And then rubbed in for good measure.

I had a lightbulb moment right in the midst of an "I'm not coping" moment, I don't know where it came from or what induced it but a feeling of control came over me and I found myself saying, "You know what? I can cope with not coping". I am going to run with it, let it finish its course. I'm not coping overly well right now, but dammit, I am coping with not coping!

In my lightbulb moment, I thought I'd share with my readers my favourite ways of coping with not coping. Not everything works for everyone, parenting isn't a OSFA. But in moments of "Im not coping", I hope this may help a smidgen or even a smidgen plus some!

How to cope with not coping. 

1. Remember; This too shall pass. Whatever the woe, whatever the worry, It will soon change dynamics. Teething will be over and tantrums will begin, tantrums will be over and toilet training will begin. Parenting is forever changing, whatever your woe is now remember that all too soon it will pass and something else will begin. Perhaps you'll even wish back time to a previous woe!

2. Let it out. Call a friend and moan until you can moan no more, e-mail another mother for advice, vent your frustrations in a diary. In any way that you can, let it out to a third party. Being a single parent, I sometimes find myself venting within reason to my own daughter. "Mummy is sad, Stella is sad and we are both grumpy. We are just not getting along very well today are we baby?" However, if like me you are going to vent to your child who has no idea what you are talking so within reason. No swearing, use simple words, don't hurt their feelings. Common sense really.

3. Get out. This is the most valuable way of coping with not coping for me. I know i'll procrastinate about it, but I also know how good it will feel later on. Get out of there. Drop the mess, grab some shoes, grab your baby, take a deep breath and go. Go to the park, the supermarket, the city, a friends house, even to the backyard. Just go, get out.

4. Cry. Crying makes me feel refreshed, calmer and almost detoxed of my sadness. Have a good, therapeutic cry. Preferably not in front of your child. This week my cry was subjected to a Optus mobile telemarketer.

5. Junk food and a glass of wine. Sometimes, this is the only way that coping with not coping feels achievable. I'm not advocating poor eating habits or bad drinking behaviours. But, when the baby is finally asleep and the house is silent. A glass or three of wine and a piece (or block) or chocolate makes everything seem a little more 'ok'.

I know that very soon, in fact almost already, the not coping stage will pass and parenting will seem a little more manageable and a little brighter again. If it weren't for the lows of the roller coaster, the highs wouldn't feel so euphoric. And there are plenty of highs to feel euphoric about; the kisses and the cuddles, the sleepy little snores and sighs, a little voice saying "Mummy", the realisation that you are doing the most important job of your life, raising the next generation. And, the total, unconditional love you hold for your child...that, is euphoric.

Threads and Trends

Mama wears: Tights by Cotton On, skirt by Supre, blouse and bolero by Just Jeans, nailpolish 'sheer satin slip' by Maybelline, pendant by That Vintage,

Drum roll...

I am sorry for my lack of blogging and web presence of late, I have had some very frustrating Internet issues which forced me to have nearly two weeks of Internet hibernation. It was both lovely and horrible at the same time, I was enjoying the break but also craving to write!

But, never fear. I'm back! Somewhat slower, but still back! And without further delay I MUST announce the winner of the 100 followers giveaway! 

Using RANDOM.ORG, The $50 That Vintage Etsy store voucher goes to.....

*insert drum roll here*


Congratulations Pam, I will be in contact with you very soon to organise the finer details of your prize! Thank you to everyone who entered and hello to all the new readers and likers. Here's to hoping my hibernation is over and may the blogging begin!

plenty of love...