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10 Steps that made me a better mummy – The 10 day mum challenge

Are you ready to bring fun, laughter and joy back? Let’s be honest, we tend to get lost sometimes in a sea of “no” and “don’t do that” and we forget to just let go!!!

This has made a world of difference for Pup and I. No tantrums to date since Day 1. Each day includes an activity that you need to do but keep the momentum of the day before by incorporating elements of that day too.

Day 1

No raised voices. If your surroundings are loud, lower your voice so that your little one has to look at you to understand. No screaming across the room or across the house either (we all do it!). Make sure you are looking at your little one when talking 

Day 2

Start a spontaneous tickle fight and end with a long hug. Add kisses and maybe a pillow or two for more fun!

Day 3

Say these 3 things a few times today. Make sure there is eye contact each time 

  • You are so kind and thoughtful
  • You make me smile
  • Mummy is so proud of you

Day 4

Eliminate the word no. You cannot say no at all. Find alternatives.

Day 5

Cover up in blankets and watch the stars for a few minutes before bedtime. Cuddles and/or conversation about aliens or the planets are welcome. Make a wish upon a star!

Day 6

Watch a movie together with tons of snacks. Pause it when someone needs to use the bathroom or when there is an interruption….this shows you are invested in this activity. No cellphones allowed!!!

Day 7

Prep some flour and water and let them mix it up and play either outside or in your bath tub. No, you may not say “Don’t make a mess”. You may say “let’s see how we can keep this inside the bath/container/basin”

Day 8

Have a silly face competition in front of a mirror

Day 9

Switch your cellphone off from the time your child comes home from school to bedtime or from the time you get home to your child’s bedtime. If you are home executive, switch your phone on vibrate when baby is awake and only answer urgent calls. No social media.

Day 10

Reward you and your little one by making a list of the changes you have seen over the past 10 days in you and the kids. 

Now repeat!

Let me know how it goes!

6

Why I think I broke my first born!

Dear Pup,
It took me a while to write this because I honestly couldn’t stand seeing it in black and white but it needs to be said. I hope that one day you will look back and say you handled things better than I did.

What a year 2016 was for you! Mummy changed into a bit of a mom-ster while Baby Bump was growing inside her and you, well you had to grow up pretty quick. Daddy’s hours mean that it’s usually just you, Baby Bump and I at home and that’s not always easy on you.

I look at you now and struggle to believe that you have grown so much. You are taller, leaner and not sure why but you seem honestly a bit subdued too. Your joy seems more restrained now as you quietly go about your business making sure not to wake baby or hesitate before you talk to me when you notice I’m nursing him.

You are strong willed and it shows now more than before. Sometimes I can’t deal with the smart comments, slamming doors and stomping feet. I expected that at 16, I guess, not 5 and so forgive me for being completely unprepared. I watch you as you chat to people when we visit or they visit and how you bask in their attention, and I suddenly realise what it must feel like to not be in the limelight on your own anymore. I suddenly feel how confusing it must be for you to go from yes all the time to sudden “in just a moment” and “I’ll do it just now”.  I suddenly see how it must be to be the other child and not the only child.

As I sit here in tears all I can think of saying is “I’m sorry”. Not for having your little brother or for being pregnant but I’m sorry that I could not have been more of a mummy to you in my time of need. I feel like I broke you a little – or maybe alot, I’m not too sure. 

I tell you I love you and tuck you in at night but I notice your lingering look as Daddy Dearest plops you into the shower when I’m busy feeding baby and I know you’re thinking that I used to share that time with you. I notice how you don’t run to me with open arms like you used to and you don’t laugh that big laugh you used to either, almost asking for attention instead of vivaciously taking it like you used to. I ask you if you’re ok and you turned to me with those big eyes and said, “I’m ok mummy, don’t worry about me”. For some reason that broke my heart. I never want you to feel that I shouldn’t worry about you. You’ll always be my baby.

You were the centre of my world for 5 whole years, you were the only one. You held all our attention and were the only one we focused all our love on. Now, well now,  we try this balancing game that I think we’re failing at. 

So, I’m going to fix it. I’m going to try harder to do better and be the “old mummy”. I’m going to hold you more, lie with you at bedtime for those stolen squeezes and maybe, just maybe we’ll get back the “us” time as the days roll by. I’m going to stop calling you a “big girl” and understand that you are still only 5 and can’t possibly know what I expect you to know. I’m going to stop treating you like an older child just because there is someone younger. 

You are my first born, and all my firsts as a mummy live with you. You made me a mummy. You said mum mum first, and all those memories I cherish, my baby. I am grateful and thankful to you for those privileges . I watch as Bump and you create firsts of your own, how you play gently with him, how you race to him when you get home and how he searches the room for you when you leave. Despite the changes, you have never blame him – your soul is wise and your love is pure. You are, as Daddy Dearest says, our Pure Joy.

At 3 months Baby Bump has already fallen in love with you as I did before you were even born.I look forward to you two building on this foundation for years to come.

So, my Pup, whether it’s you growing up or me breaking what was – I hope it all gets better as we learn how to deal with 3 becoming 4.

Love you my sunshine,

Manic mummy

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What we have planned for the last weekend before your baby brother makes his arrival- Letters to my daughter

Dear Pup,

You woke up earlier than usual this morning and we had some extended cuddles and lots of kisses. We pushed Daddy Dearest to the very corner of the bed and we laughed and played until we had to get up. You asked me what the surprise was (it is surprise Friday after all) as your reward chart is full of smily faces for this week.

I smiled and told you you would see later….you have no idea what is in store for you. See, it’s your last weekend of being the only child and mummy at first wanted it to be just you and mummy and Daddy dearest until I realised this weekend should  be all about fun things you love to do.

Friday:

Mama arrives!!!!! (Indian word for uncle) – mummy’s brother. What an awesome surprise and he’s bringing Splendid Sammy with too!!! You have no idea that the house is about to be filled to the brim with people who love you insanely and are here just to pamper YOU! They have taken time off during exams, pleaded with their new jobs and the like to make sure they are here for you, my love. 

Saturday:

A day full of make-over fun, from nails to hair! Then to the park and as much ice cream as you can eat! Pyjama party to follow and more cuddles!!! Baby brother got you a little surprise for the pyjama party ….it’s a mermaid tail blanket….!!!

Sunday:

More people you love are coming over. Aunty Bestie and family will be here too! It will be loud and busy and amazing….just the way you like it. 

Mummy will not have to say “I can’t do that baby” because someone else will be there to bend over and help you with that or carry you when your legs are tired.  You will have an amazing weekend not because Baby Bump is coming but because you are just amazing!

Hope you enjoy the love and attention.

Love you!!!

Mummy

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Letter to an Absent Mum: How our daughter’s are shaped by how we mother them

Dear Pup,

Being a mummy is not learnt, although it does help to have a glowing point of reference! This one is for those mummy’s who are awesome mum’s nevertheless! Whether your mum was not there at all – or absent but present, this one’s for you.

Mistakes are normal and ultimately our aim is to create children who are whole – not broken.

Dear Mum,

I am not upset or angry, mum

I just feel it’s time you knew, 

What effect your unconscious actions had

On a little girl without a clue.

Ever the optimist, eager and young,

I waited anxiously to see

If I’d ever truly be good enough

If you’d  ever love me for me.

I used to watch you wow the crowds,

Giving strangers and your work their due,

And all I wanted honestly, mum

Was a little piece of you.

You say you’ve never had a mother either, 

The pain’s evident in your eyes.

But you carried your pain into my life

And I’m not sure if you really realise.

I was 13 when you read my diary

And labelled me fast and loose,

You made a big deal and told dad as well

Between my truth and yours, you made him choose.

When I was 16 you stole more promises,

And aired them out to dry,

You sold each teenage wish I had

You watched silently while my self confidence died.

At 18 I left and to Uni I ran away

To start new and fresh 

And still you didn’t believe I could

You often doubted my success.

I’ve tried in vain to win your love

To be your golden little girl,

The child I thought you wanted me to be

I tried to project to the world.

I stand before you now,  mum,

After huge leaps in love and life.

A successful woman finally proud of herself

A doting mother and wife.

You’ll  be proud to know I’ve  broken the curse,

I hold my daughter close and tight.

I’ve  never uttered an awful word

I’ll  protect her all my life.

I make sure I tell her everyday

The words I longed to hear,

I tell her I’m  her biggest fan

I’ll brush away her fear.

I’ll  teach her to love her little brother

Who’s actually 26 weeks on his way,

Not to compete for our love or affection

Our devotion is here to stay.

I’ll  teach them to honour relationships

To see good in strangers and in friends,

To not be angry and lash out at the world

When things come to an end.

I’ll  admit I’m  wrong when I am,

And never blame my kids for where I am in life

They will never be asked to explain or solve

My anger and my strife.

I’ll  be their mum with all that I am

I’ll  be their strength and their soft place to land,

And I will never make them feel

That I do not care or don’t  need to understand. 

I will never betray their trust

Or lay their secrets out to dry,

I’ll  never prioritise their woes above mine

Or purposefully make them cry.

We’ll show them what a family is actually  meant to be

We’ll  create those family bonds and make them strong

We’ll make them care about how they feel, and not care about what strangers see.

The Silent treatment is a weapon mum,

Which I choose not to use or repeat.

Writing this was emotional mum, it was not an easy feat.

Take the words as they are meant to be

Not a weapon or meant to hurt,

But my way to heal those open wounds

And to tell you what I’ve  learnt.

See, you really did teach me mum,

And now to share with you

Its not that tough to be a mum

It’s not in what you buy, it’s  in what you do.

No learning needed, no tests to pass

No multiple choice to ace.

Just joyous smiles and sticky kisses

Motherhood’s  a journey, not a race.

K

0

The Bunny, the Egg and the Cross – Easter Ettiquette!

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I received a call this morning from a friend who asked me how she was supposed to greet Christians on this significant day, Good Friday. After a very brief explaination that this is the anniversary of Christ’s crucification and resurrection, she became even more distraught as she had been sending out messages with the words, “Have a fun day”.

I assured her that many people would use the same terminology this way and that as per my previous post, Demystifying Easter, many people define and acknowledge Easter in different ways.  For example, my family does not mandate wearing black clothes or see the day as a day of mourning. We choose rather to recognise the significance of the sacrifice and the responsibility that we now have to pay that forward.

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Question 2: Suggestions for family time to convey the meaning of Good Friday

We are really non traditional with regard to this. Morming fun involves family games in our PJs! We prefer to pray at home and our focus is community related in the form of “pay it forward” inititaives – we give out Easter Eggs, sandwiches and a cup of coffee to homeless people on the streets close to home. No photos or “evidence”. Rach takes memory pics but shutting both eyes at the same time. Very cute!

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What do you tell your kids if they ask you the meaning of Easter?

As I do this with Rach I would suggest discussions with little ones about the meaning of sacrifice and selflessness. Bring family values and beliefs into the converation focusing on daily dos and don’ts. I do not focus on religious scripture but try to make this a positive discussion. I choose not to mention death in gory detail to Rach (she just turned 4). It’s a concept I have touched on, but not dwelt on. We tell.her its about a dad who loved this son unconditionally, and a son who adored all of us so much that he sacrificed himself for our bad behaviour. It’s the untimately the greatest love and friendship story ever. It teaches us to appreciate the people around us, our current situations and to live with grace.

Greetings:

Your friends and family know you and understand your intentions so any greeting will be appreciated. If you are afraid of being perceived negatively by strangers, choose generic terms like:
“Blessings to you and your family on this day”
“May the Lord be present with you and yours on this day”
“On this day a sacrifice was made that shows us the value of love and selflessness, wishing blessings upon your family”
“May happy memories be created on this holy day for you and yours”

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What is the the significance of 12pm – 3pm?

This is sometimes observed as the time that Christ was on the cross and therefore is perfect for reflection. We usually have lunch and discuss what we are most grateful for. It’s a thanksgiving atmosphere. Again, no hard and fast rules, just do what is.best for you and yours! I do not do the graphic colour sheets showing Christ on the Cross or crucified hands, but Rachy does get to listen to Kidified Bible Stories that focus on morals, and her favourite book is: Jesus and You (baby animals learning new values through daily life).

So far those are all the questions answered. These are just my opinion so share yours in the comments! Would love to hear how you and yours spend the day!

K

0

Greeting Ettiquette Good Friday – and other Good Friday questions I have been asked

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I received a call this morning from a friend who asked me how she was supposed to greet Christians on this significant day, Good Friday. After a very brief explaination that this is the anniversary of Christ’s crucification she became even more distraught as she had been sending out messages with the words, “Have a fun day”.

I assured her that many people would greet this way and that as per my previous post, many people define Easter in different ways.  For example, my family does not mandate wearing black clothes or see the day as a day of mourning. We choose rather to recognise the significance of the sacrifice and the responsibility that we now have to pay that forward.

image

Question 2: Suggestions for family time to convey the meaning of Good Friday

We are really non traditional with regard to this. Morming fun involves family games in our PJs! We prefer to pray at home and our focus is community related in the form of “pay it forward” inititaives – we give out Easter Eggs, sandwiches and a cup of coffee to homeless people on the streets close to home. No photos or “evidence”. Rach takes memory pics but shutting both eyes at the same time. Very cute!

image

What do you tell your kids if they ask you the meaning of Easter?

As I do this with Rach I would suggest discussions with little ones about the meaning of sacrifice and selflessness. Bring family values and beliefs into the converation focusing on daily dos and don’ts. I do not focus on religious scripture but try to make this a positive discussion. I choose not to mention death in gory detail to Rach (she just turned 4). It’s a concept I have touched on, but not dwelt on. We tell.her its about a dad who loved this son unconditionally, and a son who adored all of us so much that he sacrificed himself for our bad behaviour. It’s the untimately the greatest love and friendship story ever. It teaches us to appreciate the people around us, our current situations and to live with grace.

Greetings:

Your friends and family know you and understand your intentions so any greeting will be appreciated. If you are afraid of being perceived negatively by strangers, choose generic terms like:
“Blessings to you and your family on this day”
“May the Lord be present with you and yours on this day”
“On this day a sacrifice was made that shows us the value of love and selflessness, wishing blessings upon your family”
“May happy memories be created on this holy day for you and yours”

image

What is the the significance of 12pm – 3pm?

This is sometimes observed as the time that Christ was on the cross and therefore is perfect for reflection. We usually have lunch and discuss what we are most grateful for. It’s a thanksgiving atmosphere. Again, no hard and fast rules, just do what is.best for you and yours! I do not do the graphic colour sheets showing Christ on the Cross or crucified hands, but Rachy does get to listen to Kidified Bible Stories that focus on morals, and her favourite book is: Jesus and You (baby animals learning new values through daily life).

So far those are all the questions answered. These are just my opinion so share yours in the comments! Would love to hear how you and yours spend the day!

K

2

Limiting screen time, child addiction to technology : Confessions of a rambling mummy

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My rude awakening occurred about a month ago. I noticed that Rachy (who just turned 4 a week ago) would get very restless when the television was not on. She constantly needed the background illuminated by the sounds of Disney Junior or the like. Her bedtime ritual suddenly also required a session for her Leap Pad and no trip to the mall was complete without her reaching for my phone to keep her busy. I kept telling myself it was ok just “this once”, that I was tired and deserved a break so I gave in – until it became a habit.

A week later, out of curiosity and in an attempt to make myself feel better, I counted up the time she spent in front of a screen, it added up to a staggering 4 hours (clearly that plan backfired)! Granted this was not purely sitting and staring at the screen, as she always is doing something else too, but that’s 3 hours too much for my personal liking!

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Suddenly it dawned on me that my little girl was becoming reliant – on technology! I had failed her (as if I needed more guilt!)

Now I am not one of those mum’s who does not let their children watch any television at all (not that there is anything wrong with it), but I have always been an advocate for limiting screen time. As someone well versed i  early childhood development and immersed in Learning and Development daily, I fully understand the effect of the flashing images on a young brain. I was in total control until the accident – when Hunky Hubby was recovering from his near fatal motorbike accident I honestly resorted to allowing her a “little” more time watching or playing games so that she would not be privy to the conversations about x-rays and physiotherapy. Then it dawned on me – I realised I was making excuses and I decided to implement change – immediately!

Honestly, 3 weeks later, its been a relatively easy journey from her side. I expected more of a battle honestly. I’m happy to announce that all that has changed now. Her birthday party consisted of a few telling moments, but I did not give her my phone and we survived!

The method to weaning her off meant I had to resolve to do a few things differently.

My phone gets put away from the moment I pick her up until she goes to bed. Too much of a distraction and she is more prone to demand Peppa Pig if she sees it.

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Her after school routine is longer and includes a snack, an arts and craft activity  or game, dinner, bike ride or trampoline fun, a shower and bedtime story followed by my method to end “bedtime tantrums” that has her sleeping in less than 30 minutes.

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I have stopped saying “I’m tired” and accepted the fact that I’ll rest when she’s 18!

She sleeps better, wakes better, he tantrums seem better even (I’ll let you know by the weekend if this lasts).

All in all, I feel better about doing better! And I’ve got those 3 hours back and converted them into memory making moments. She still gets her 15min during brekkie and her 30min during dinner so there’s a balance, but my television is no longer a babysitter!

Good luck everyone, life sometimes just happens!

K