I have been nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award!
I have been nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award – This is a peer recognition award, where bloggers are recognised by other bloggers and are nominated for spreading joy and love in the blogging community.
I am honoured to have been nominated by the lovely Mummy Overload and I thank her for recognising me!
Rules For The Sunshine Blogger Award
- Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link back to their blogging site.
- List the sunshine blogger award rules and display their logo on your site
- Answer the sunshine blogger award questions given by the other person who nominated you.
- Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 new questions
- Notify the nominees about there nominations
Here are the 11 questions I have been asked:
- Why did you start your blog?
- What’s your biggest dream?
- What was your favourite book as a child?
- Have you ever travelled? If so where?
- Best TV programme you have ever watched? Why do you like it?
- The last programme you binged watched? Was it good?
- Do you subscribe to any beauty boxes? If you what one and why?
- What’s your favourite colour?
- If you could do any job you wanted what would it be and why?
- What’s your favourite blog post and why?
- What’s the best part of the year for you and why?
So lovelies, here are my answers!
Why Did You Start Your Blog?
I started blogging as a way of expressing myself. I have always loved writing and needed an outlet. I decided it was a good way to have my voice heard and I am hooked! I absolutely love blogging and the blogging community.
What Is Your Biggest Dream?
I already have my dream career, so for now my biggest dream would be to have a well established blog and to be a published author. One day, let’s hope!
What Was Your Favourite Book As A Child?
I absolutely loved the Chronicles Of Narnia and Black Beauty. As well as the Goosebumps series.
Have You Ever Travelled? If So, Where?
I have travelled to England and Ireland many years ago. I have also travelled to Bali and most recently Fiji. My favourite places by far were Ireland (where my family are from) and Fiji.
Best TV Programme You Have Watched And Why Did You Like It?
Hmm, this is tricky, I have been hooked on a few! I absolutely loved “Offspring” – an Australian TV series, it was so quirky and the lead male was, let’s just say, very easy on the eye!! Recently I was hooked on a Netflix series called “The Fall” but I also love doco’s like “Making A Murderer.”
Last TV Programme You Binged Watched? Was It Good?
Bates Motel – I loved it!
Do You Subscribe To Any Beauty Boxes, If So What One And Why?
Short answer, no not beauty boxes. I have some favourite beauty products I have tried and tested, read my article here —-> “Beauty Products You Can’t Live Without“
What Is Your Favourite Colour?
Purple for me.
If You Could Do Any Job You Wanted What Would It Be And Why?
I already have my dream job, so I don’t think there is any other job I’d want.
What Is Your Favourite Blog Post And Why?
Probably my most personal one – “PMDD – The Silent Life Destroyer” as it is a very raw subject for me and hard to write. There is a lot of freedom though in telling the world “this is me.”
What Is The Best Part Of The Year For You And Why?
Summer! Summer, summer, summer. I love the sunshine, the beach, holidaying etc. I am not a winter person or a cold person at all!!
So, My Turn To Nominate! Here Are My Nominees:
- Maya Nirvana
- Beauty Bliss & Chaos
- Wacky Vanilla
- The Nurturing Parent
- Mimi Prentice
- Casestreetx Blogger
- Chocoviv’s Lifestyle Blog
- Boss Babe Chronicles
- Forever My Little Moon
- Functional Randi
- Another Bipolar Blogger
Please go to their blogs and show them some love!!
Here Are My 11 Questions For These Lovely Bloggers:
- What year did you start blogging and why?
- Describe your blogging journey in 3 words
- What was the most defining moment in your life and why?
- Who do you admire the most in the world and why?
- What is something your readers don’t know about you?
- What is your favourite animal? Why?
- Which blogger influenced you the most when you first started?
- Favourite country you have travelled to?
- What is your greatest achievement in life?
- What is something you wished you had more time for?
- What are your goals for the next two years?
Thanks so much! I look forward to reading your answers soon xx
How To Raise Your Children Without Family Support
My vision of having children when I was a lot younger was one filled with family moments, big Christmas dinners and trips to the grandparent’s house where the kids would be utterly spoilt. Fast forward to my mid-thirties and two children and these visions couldn’t be further from the truth. My reality, along with many others, is no grandparents and little to no family help at all.
They say it takes a village to raise a child. But what if you don’t have a village to help you? Here are some tips to help you raise children when you don’t have an extended family network to help support you.
My mother suddenly passed away when I was only 28 years old, leaving me devastated that she would never get to meet her future grandchildren. When I unexpectedly fell pregnant around 6 months later, the reality of her not being there to meet my son hit home pretty hard. What I never could have anticipated was just how difficult it can be to sustain a loving, healthy marriage when you never get time alone without the kids.
My husband and I both work very hard. We are both career driven people who want to balance good family life by providing a good life for our two children.
What makes it exceptionally difficult is having little to no family help around to assist with childcare or after school pick up or drops offs on days when our work rosters clash, which unfortunately happens a lot. Lucky for both of us our work rosters can be somewhat flexible, but sometimes this isn’t always the case and ultimately one of us will have to let our workplace down.
On top of this, trying to get someone on one time with hubby without the kids is almost non-existent. This, without us even realising, almost broke us.
Advice On What To Do Without Extended Family Support
My Facebook news feed is constantly littered with friends going out with their significant other childfree, spending weekends away or sprouting about how the kids are with the grandparents for the weekend or even the week…I wish. This sounds like heaven to me, but when all of your parents are either calling heaven home or not around, well a fantasy it has to remain.
It can be incredibly difficult in these times to maintain a happy marriage. When you never spend time together, alone, reconnecting, it can cause rifts and can lead to distance and even separation.
However, there are little things you can do each day in order to keep your connection with your significant other and to get some precious alone time.
Little gestures show your partner you still care about them – Get up a little earlier than them and make them breakfast in bed. Even making a coffee and bringing it to them can show you still care about them. Little gestures go a long way.
Do something to ease the burden on your partner – My husband can recognise now when I’m at breaking point. He will get up before me, close the bedroom door and amuse the kids, letting me have an extra hour of sleep. To parents of little ones, that extra hour can be more precious than gold!
Be unapologetically tough with your kids at times – My husband and I have realised that in order to keep our bond, we need to at times push our kids away. Tough love, in the long run, will benefit your children. While our kids want to jump all over us on a Sunday morning, sticking to us like the best football taggers in history, we need to at times tell them to go and amuse themselves. This allows my husband and I to spend time together actually talking without interruption and allows us to focus on
Make time for each other doing something you love together – While my hubby and I may not be able to get out to do date night that often, in fact probably once every 12 months or so is the norm, we make time for each other in any way we can. This could be as simple as putting the kids to bed half an hour early one night and settling in on the couch to watch our favourite movie together. Having our own special time makes the daily grind less daunting.
Lean on friends when you can – Okay, I will admit, I am terrible at this. I tend to try and do everything myself and I hate asking for help. It has been to my own detriment but I am getting better at it as time goes by. My son, the eternal extrovert (as discussed my post “Raising Extroverted Children As An Introvert”) loves being around people.
So, I encourage play dates with his mates. One weekend I will have the boys over and naturally, another weekend he will go to his mates house. This gives you precious alone time to allow you to spend time on you and get some sanity back! The playdates at your house might be tiring but know the favour will be repaid!
Break the traditional views on “Grandparents” – Recently, we spent some time away at a lovely secluded holiday house. We have family from my hubby’s side who we don’t see that often – cousins and their parents/step parents – parents who are not at all biologically related to my children. But still, very loving and acting very much like grandparents to my kids and my two adored it, lapped up all the attention and even started calling them ‘Nani’ and ‘Pa’. How adorable.
Find ways to stay in touch with family – The grandparent bond is something truly magical. They spoil children beyond belief and adore them no matter what. My grandparents, being my children’s great grandparents, who are 92 and 88 live nearly 900kms from us. While they act like my children’s actual grandparents, filling that void in my children’s life, we only see them 2 or 3 times a year. So, I taught my 88 year old grandfather how to use Skype. We set the kids up on the weekend and they get to chat to their Nana and Grand-dad via Skype. This not only strengthens their bond but brings massive amounts of joy to my Grandparents lives, so a win for everyone!
I use childcare even when I have the day off – Yep, I can feel some judgement here and yep, I’ve judged myself on this one too. Feeling pangs of guilt dropping my kids at daycare knowing I’m just going home to relax or do housework. But as I’ve realised over time, I have no other choice. While those with extended families drop their kids off at the grandparents house to get some peace and quiet, I don’t have that option. So, what really is the difference, aside from having to pay for childcare?
I have learnt over time to ignore the guilt. My children have a ball at childcare, they play, they learn and I need time to regain some sanity!
Until you are in this situation, you cannot comprehend just how incredibly hard it is. How incredibly taxing it is on your mind, body and soul to never get a proper break from your kids. As I’ve said many many times before, I adore my kids. I cherish my time with them and know I am so blessed to have them however I also unapologetically crave alone time away from them.
Most of all, make time for your partner and for yourself. This is something my husband and I learnt the hard way, dedicating so much time to work and to our kids, we neglected ourselves as a couple. We drifted apart and it almost broke us. We clawed our relationship back and have managed to find somewhat of a balance between spending time with the kids and spending time together without kids.
Give Yourself A Break
The key is to recognise how hard you have it. Give yourself a break and realise that these are the hardest years of your life. They will come to an end, it isn’t forever. Take time for yourself whenever you can. Learn to be apart from your significant other and do things by yourself. Spilt the parenting, as in you take the kids for 2 hours today and I’ll take them for 2 hours tomorrow.
It isn’t always ideal but we make it work. It isn’t forever and eventually, the kids will leave the nest and it will just be us alone again. But at least we can hold our heads high knowing we did it all on our own and we survived, if only by the skin of our teeth.
There probably isn’t a parent out there with a son aged between aged 5 upwards who hasn’t heard of the online game Fortnite. To me, I have to say it’s the most boring game in history. Like, you run around wearing strange costumes with a hamburger for a head…right. But, my son like all his mates at school is obsessed with it. And when I say obsessed, I mean like uber obsessed. It’s all he talks about, thinks about and all he wants to do. So, his dad and I limit play time. We thought that was the best way to head off the obsession. I’m not a huge fan of online games anyway, for one I think they’re mind numbing. Secondly, they are dangerous. The idea that my 6 year old can chat to absolute strangers of all ages from all around the world through his headpiece is down right terrifying, am I right? So when the game first came out and Master L begged to play it, I followed a couple of simple steps in order to keep him safe:
- I logged on and played the game myself first. Seems bizarre I know, but it allows me to understand the game, how it works and all its features.
- I changed the privacy settings. Master L plays on Playstation, so his dad was better at this than me as I’m a Playstation/gaming tragic. I literally have no idea how to even drive the things. The last time I played a video game was Super Mario Bros back on Super Nintendo…yikes. However, we changed the settings so that when he was playing with “randoms” the voice function was muted, so he could not hear them nor talk to them. So if some creepy man from the other side of the world wanted to talk to him, he couldn’t hear them.
- Educate your child. Right, so we all know stranger danger right? Well in this modern era, stranger danger doesn’t just take the form of people children meet face to face. More likely, stranger danger will come in the form of online danger. So, teach your child. Educate them that there are no so nice people out there who should be avoided. This worked well in our house. My son has always been super trusting of people, he loves people. While this is a great trait in certain ways, it is also very bad in others. I weighed it up, should I allow him to keep seeing the world as a beautiful rosey place where nothing bad ever happens? Or should I teach him that hey, there is evil in the world that should be avoided at all costs? Well, the answer is rather simple. I sat him down and explained to him that there are nasty people out there who try to talk to young children on the internet. I didn’t need to go into great detail about why they do it, what their motive or end game is because this is just too much for him to digest. I explained instead that some people are rude to little kids or teach them bad words and that was enough for him to understand why I wanted him to steer clear of them.
- Monitor your child’s friends list. Do you know who these people are? Obviously each child has a “username” which makes it impossible to identify them. So I spoke to the mothers of the friends my son said he wanted to play with and I got all of their usernames, that way I could identify each child and approve the friend requests that were coming through.
- Check the profiles of unknown users who are trying to befriend your child. I’ll admit a few came through that my son just accepted without telling me so I viewed their profiles. Turns out because my son was logged into his dads account using his username, some of his dads friends added him. I confirmed that we knew each person there and if we didn’t, that person was immediately blocked. In my opinion any adult who wants to befriend a child they don’t know online has sinister motives. This might be a doom and gloom way of looking at the world but hey, if it keeps my child safe them so be it.
- As mentioned, Master L plays on the Playstation. That Playstation is in the main lounge room of the house. It will remain that way so that I can sit next to him and watch what he is doing. The idea of him sitting on his iPad in his bedroom without any form of monitoring is just plain silly. Be involved in what your child is doing. If they know you are monitoring their every move, they are more likely to play by your rules.
- Set clear rules. No adding random strangers without my permission. Play with mates in “parties” only. Tell me if someone you don’t know tries to talk to you. Have consequences should these rules be broken. Banning the game is like telling my son I’m going to take him right arm away, so that being said he will play by the rules or suffer the consequences.
- Limit the time they are allowed to play. With our busy lives, it is easy to just let them play their Playstation or iPad that little bit longer just to get some work done or a moments peace, you have to think what are the consequences in the long run? We are all guilty of it, I will be the first to admit I have done it. However, I absolutely notice a change in my son’s behaviour when he plays the game too much as opposed to times when I refuse to allow him to play it. Studies have shown that screen time does alter the chemistry in a child’s brain, so try at all costs to limit game time.
Despite all this, to say it has been a smooth run would be a lie. Currently, Fortnite is banned in our house. Why? Because Master L’s behaviour was gradually getting worse and worse. He was falling asleep in class and having random unexplained meltdowns. When we discovered he was waking up at midnight, sneaking into the lounge room to play Fornite for 5 hours before being told to go back to bed, the game was immediately banned. Despite daily protests, it remains that way. Gaming addiction is absolutely real, like any addiction it rules my son’s mind. It is something that we as parents need to be acutely aware of and to manage as best we can as we all know these games aren’t going away in a hurry.
Sometimes I use this time quite productively. Cleaning the house, washing, taking the dogs for a walk. Other times, so exhausted from my busy life, I nap. Yes, I drop the kids off at school and Kinder, I come back home and I climb back into bed for an hour or two. Crazy huh?
To think I used to be ‘bored.’ When now, peeing alone seems like a distant memory. I usually use the powder room toilet because it has a lock on it. But it seems almost instant before the kids are attempting to smash through the door, little fingers are appearing under gap and dogs are sniffing and snorting on the other side. I open the door to two kids, two dogs and sometimes a husband all staring at me like I’ve been lost at sea for years. Oh to be bored once more.
When raising children, you give up so much of yourself. Your life is no longer yours. Your life now belongs to these little beings, tiny little humans who depend on you for absolutely everything. Going to the gym, doing your makeup, getting your hair and nails done, having a coffee or a brunch with a friend takes so much planning its like you’re planning a 6 month tour around Europe.
I have had to book in coffee dates with friends a month or more in advance, save the date in my calendar and set a reminder for myself the day before so I wouldn’t forget. Gone are the days when a quick text to catch up could mean coffee, lunch, dinner and drinks until 3 am without a second thought about school pick up, after-school activities or looking after screaming kids with the worlds worst hangover. Even drinks after work require careful planning, checking hubby’s roster, making sure he does pick up, organising dinner and packing lunches all come into the fray. Life is no longer simple.
FINDING WAYS TO DE-STRESS
Okay, so this sentence seems rather simple but in all honesty, it took me years to realise I needed to take time to myself to cope and to retain my sanity. It took nearly falling apart in order to realise that sometimes I just needed to put myself first.
So, do something for YOU. You give up so much time doing things for others, you totally neglect yourself. Here are some simple tips to de-stress:
Exercise: Whatever form it takes, do it. For me, I love the gym and have taken up running. I have always loved physical exercise and found that it is great for my mental health. After having children and the busy lifestyle that comes with it, I lost this passion. It was too hard, I was too tired or I just didn’t have the time. However, after a scare with my health, I was advised to do cardio exercise at least 3 times a week. I was forced to find time to do it and low and behold, I felt less stressed, felt accomplished and felt like I was doing something for ME.
Being forced to find the time made me realise that I deserved this time and most of all my kids would survive the hour I needed to exercise. For you, it might be taking the dogs for a walk, swimming, walks along the beach, yoga. Whatever form it takes – do it.
New mom? Join a Facebook group and find local walking groups or mothers exercise groups where you can bring bubs along. You’ll be surprised at how many places accommodate new moms.
Park run is also a great initiative and it is located all around Australia. Don’t be fooled by the name, you can also walk it and bring the kiddies along too.
Find something you like doing: For me, I have always loved writing. I started when I was 14 years old and always used it as a form of expression, to find the words when I didn’t know how to verbalise it or simply just to vent on paper. Again, after having children it’s a hobby I stopped. I just didn’t have the time and my brain was so scrambled I just couldn’t.
ecently I’ve started it up again and have re-discovered just how much I love to write. You might enjoy gardening, renovating, reading, arts and crafts. Whatever your passion, find time to do it. Give the kids a hobby or a chore and set aside an hour for yourself. You’ll be surprised just how good it feels to do something you love.
Be more like your husband: You know how they have boys days, pub trips, footy trips, nights away with mates without a glimmer of guilt or worry? Be more like that and do the same. Go for after work drinks with the girls, organise a dinner date childfree, go on a shopping trip or beach day with just your friends. Forget the kids. Hubby might
Do a girls weekend away: Whether you go to the city and stay in a fancy hotel and eat take away, chocolate and drink wine, have a big night on the town drinking and dancing like you’re 20 again or spend the day getting massages and facials at a day spa, enjoy it.
Take this time for yourself, guilt free and do not think about the chaos you’ll walk back into at home when you return. Try not and stress when you get the text message from hubby saying the kids skipped their bath tonight and are eating McDonald’s for dinner, they will survive.
The best gift you can give your kids is a revitalised, relaxed momma whose batteries are fully recharged, so dump the guilt and just do it.
Find time to just be: This is probably one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. Walking away from the housework, the bickering and fighting and the chaos and taking a cuppa tea outside to sit in the sunshine is easier said than done. But I do it. I need it and I own it. Take a book, catch up on your Facebook news feed or just sit and bask in the sunshine.
Whatever it is just relax and breathe. Yes, I have locked the door on my kids and told them to go away and give mommy some time when they come scratching down the door (which they will I promise!). Does this make me a bad mother? Hell no, it makes me a mother aware that I need some me time sometimes and that is okay.
Staying sane whilst raising children is hard. I work in a high-pressure job yet after having children I can safely say that my job is a breeze compared to being at home raising my kids. But one “I love you mommy” or squishy cuddle (as we call them) from my munchkins makes it all worthwhile. After all, we need to make sure we have someone around to look after us when we’re old and wrinkly, god knows we probably won’t be able to do it on our own.
While a lot of the older generation, such as my grandparents scoff at the idea that a child can suffer with anxiety, it is sadly something I have a lot of experience in given my oldest son started showing signs around the age of four.
I myself suffer from anxiety. It is inevitable then that Master L would end up with it also. It still doesn’t stop you feeling saddened and somewhat guilty when your child starts displaying the symptoms of it. It is a condition that is hard to understand, but far more common than you may realise. According to YouthBeyondBlue.com 1 in 14 children aged 4 – 17 experienced anxiety disorder in 2015.
WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE
For Master L, it manifests itself as tantrums, fits of crying and hissy fits when he doesn’t get his own way, negative thoughts and fear of trying something new in case he fails. It has taken me a long time to learn how to deal with it, I googled the shit out childhood anxiety to find out causes (aside from genetics), treatments, supplements…anything that might help alleviate his suffering. Having suffered from anxiety my whole life and only getting a handle on it over the last 5 or so years, I know all too well the fear, confusion and crippling negative thoughts that come with the condition. A constant internal dialogue and uncontrollable bodily reactions such as a raised heartbeat, feeling ill in the stomach and sweating to name a few of the wonderful symptoms that are a daily norm for someone with anxiety.
At one stage Master L’s anxiety was so bad, he cried and told me that he wanted to die. I was heart-broken and at a loss, I never in a million years thought that I would be dealing with this so young. So, I did what I always do and researched, researched and researched. Through my research I discovered that responding to these negative comments “I’m not good enough” “I’m so dumb” “I can’t do anything right” “I’m such a bad kid” and the like actually makes it worse, feeding into the child’s attempts to get attention. The best way to tackle it is to ignore it completely. Easier said than done when your
FINDING SOMETHING TO HELP
So, more research on the google machine and I found a supplement, L-Theanine. Even better, I found it in a relatively inexpensive and nicely flavoured tablet dinosaur tablet making it easy for kids to think it was nothing more than a lolly. Although, I explained it to Master L that it wasn’t a lolly, but a multi-vitamin to help his brain. No need to make the kid feel like something was wrong with him, he has teenage and adult years ahead of him for that.
My ever sceptical hubby said I was insane, that something so cheap and inexpensive wouldn’t work. I doubted it too but had to try. I was in tears at work, losing sleep at night feeling like a was a failure and constantly feeling the overwhelming burden of guilt that I had caused my son to be like this purely through genetics and/or my behaviour.
However, I felt like after a month or so Master L improved. It could’ve been a coincidence, yes. But after running out of the product and waiting for the next shipment to arrive, I noticed Master L regress somewhat. I pointed it out to my hubby who agreed they must be having some effect. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t a miracle cure but it’s definitely tamed the tiger to a degree. So, I ordered buckets of it. I would’ve cleared the shelf of their product to ensure we didn’t run out. And things seemed better. The negative thoughts almost disappeared. His anxiety was ever present but at bay and he seemed happier within himself, happier at school and a more well-balanced kid. Yay. A win to mom.
Fast forward six or so months and life being life, I began to slip. Being incredibly busy at work, having a friend stay with us who was going through relationship troubles and the general business that come with being a working mom with two kids, I became very slack at giving Master L these tablets. And it started to show. He started to act out and become aggressive. He was easily annoyed and clearly unable to handle his emotions. I didn’t twig, instead thinking it was just his age or a phase.
Then one weekend, one of Master L’s best mates wanted a play-date. We owed them one, it was our turn. With hubby
Back home and everything seemed to be travelling along nicely, barring the usual bickering about not sharing and not playing the way the other wanted to. So they head outside to the trampoline (thank christ I think, peace at last!) But soon after the boys end up in a bit of a scuffle and Master L punches his mate in the arm. I witnessed the whole thing and therefore dished out appropriate punishment, put Master L in the shower and sent his mate home.
About ten minutes later, Master L comes out of the shower and tells me he’s a “bad kid and doesn’t want to be alive anymore.” As shocking as this sounds coming from the mouth of a six-year-old, I’ve heard these words before. In my research, I learned that this can be an attention seeking mechanism. It can also be overwhelming anxiety, so much that Master L’s young brain cannot comprehend how he is feeling and doesn’t know how to express it.
At that point, I chose to ignore it, but once he had calmed down I sat down and had a heart to heart with him. I asked him what it meant to die to him. His response was “you become a person who floats in the sky and does nothing” I explained in terms of my mother’s death what it actually meant. I knew, at 6 years old, he could not possibly understand the finality of death nor the impact it has on those left behind.
As I explained to him how much I loved him and how much it broke my heart hearing him say he no longer wanted to be alive, I burst into tears. His little face twisted in shock as he asked me if I was crying because of him. His deeper level of thinking and understanding was so evident, it is no surprise the little bugger suffers from anxiety.
WAYS TO MANAGE IT
- Ignore the negative talk, you are only feeding into it if you give it any attention. As hard as it may seem, the more you acknowledge it the more your child will do it and the negative talk cycle will continue.
- Let the moment pass then sit down and talk to your child, ask them why they are so upset. This shows them you care and allows them to vent. We, as adults do it all the time right? So why can’t our kids? The issues might seem trivial to you, but they could be a massive deal for your child.
- Try supplements, they worked for me so they may work for you too! It’s worth a shot. There are plenty of natural remedies out there to try, as for my child a simple L-Theanine tablet for my son helped settle his out of control emotions. It may or may not work for your child but there are plenty of other options available.
- Research. Read. Understand the condition, especially if you have never experienced it yourself, trust me it’s terrifying at times and I’m an adult. It would be 100 times scarier for a child to try to comprehend.
Researchhelped me to understand behavioursin my son which were frightening and confronting, it gave me a lot of comfortto understand that it was all part of the condition.
- Talk to your doctor, tell them your concerns. They may think that seeing a child psychologist would be beneficial. We are in that process now, to address it further before habits become ingrained.
- DON’T bury your head in the sand. Do not think if you ignore it, it will just go away. It won’t. If you leave it until your child is a teenager to address, it may be too late. Patterns and
behaviourscan already be ingrained by this age, so the earlier you address it the better.
Most of all know you are not alone. Be there for your child and be the best mother you can be, having a mother who is their rock is the best therapy a child could ask for.
The Joys & Struggles Of Raising Children More Social Than You
I have always been considered myself as an introvert and have always been fairly comfortable with it, but when I chose to marry and extrovert that’s when things got interesting.
As one would expect, children take after their parents. In my case, both of my children take after their dad with their social skills. While this is something I always hoped for, it has lead to a raft of issues and daily struggles for me as an introvert.
I like my own company, I am a homebody and I generally keep to myself and was extremely shy growing up. My husband is the total opposite to me. He is outgoing, extroverted, loves being the centre of attention, has enormous groups of friends, loves people and in fact needs to be around people, is a great public speaker and is the clown of the group. My total opposite but we compliment each other well.
In my wedding
Our union has blessed us with two gorgeous children, one boy and one girl. I hoped beyond hope they would not be shy like me. I wanted them to not suffer this debilitating condition like I had.
What I never could have anticipated is how exhausting being an introverted parent with extroverted children is. My son in particular is is extremely outgoing, needs people, is considered a class clown and he is friends with literally everybody.
Due to his insatiable need for human contact, he exhausts me. He always wants friends over or wants to go out or have play-dates or meet up with friends to play footy or basketball at the park. He always wanted to socialise after kinder,
Where I would rather spend weekends relaxing at home, he wants to be out doing something, anything with friends. He lives for human contact.
When we go to the park or the play centre, I would rather sit by myself, reading on my phone or scrolling through social media. But true to himself, he makes friends everywhere. Almost instantly he has strange kids following him everywhere. From this, I know eventually the parents will spy me and want to talk – something I would rather not do!
When my daughter was younger, I thought she was more like me. She kept to herself and played by herself well. She really didn’t seem too fussed about making friends. While my son always exhausts me with his outgoing nature, I was worried when I saw how my daughter was.
Funnily enough, I actually wanted her to be more like my son. Anyone who suffers chronic shyness would know that it can be hugely debilitating. It isn’t something I wanted my children to suffer from.
However, my daughter – now 4 and a half years old, has become the same as my son. She makes friends wherever she goes and is outgoing, confident and personable.
While it is a struggle for me raising children opposite to me, I am eternally grateful for their personalities. I know that it will hold them in good stead. I know that they won’t struggle in school like I did and I encourage them to be more and more outgoing every day.
Here Are Some Simple Tips To Help Keep You Sane!
Break out of your comfort zone. I literally have to force myself to be social and sometimes find it so exhausting I don’t bother. However, having extroverted children means I have to force myself more often than I’m comfortable to.
Allow your children the social time they crave, but also look after yourself. Sometimes saying no and having a quiet day at home is exactly what YOU need, so do it and don’t feel guilty.
Know that you can share the love – while you might be muttering under your breath having the neighbours children over to play, know that next time they can go to the neighbours’ house, giving you a break! This is truly how I survive those extraordinarily loud, scream-filled play dates!
Organise outings with people you like, this way your children get the play date with friends they want and you can hang out with an adult (or adults) that you can relate to. There is nothing worse than having play dates with people who you just cannot relate to. I’ve been there and done that and it discourages me from wanting to organise any further outings!
Most of all, be thankful you have extroverted children. Socially they are well adapt to handling life and won’t have to struggle as you may have. As exhausting as it is for me, I am eternally grateful that my children won’t have to suffer debilitating shyness as I did growing up.
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Whether it’s earning some splash cash in your spare time, getting cash back for shopping online or having an auto-round up app that invests your cash while you sleep, I have compiled a list of the best ways to earn or save cash from home.
Below are apps that I have personally tried and tested that pay you from home.
This article contains affiliate links, meaning if you choose to purchase any of the products mentioned, I will receive a small commission of that sale at no cost to you.
This is an app that you sign up to, fill in profile details, hobbies and interests and wait for jobs to be sent to your account. The jobs are quite simple, the latest round of jobs I participated in was using my iPhone to take photographs of certain scenes and “live” shots. Once I completed the job, I uploaded it and that was it.
While the payouts are not huge, who wouldn’t want to earn a little bit of cash by doing simple tasks at home? The payments are in Euro and are deposited into your Paypal account within 30 days of the task being approved for payout. Easy.
Have spare time? Are you a good typist and fluent in English?
Read their requirements before signing up, then take a short test to see if you qualify. It can take between 30 – 60 days to find out if you’ve been approved, so you’ll need to be patient. Once approved, start earning, it’s as simple as that!
Interested in ‘Go Transcript’? Sign up here ——> GoTranscript Signup
This is an automatic round-up app, that rounds up purchases made and deposits the money into an account. It then automatically invests this money into shares to help increase your money.
All you do is sign up for an account, link and bank account or two and set which investment portfolio you want. I have chosen a moderate investment portfolio, but you can choose a number of different portfolios depending on how much risk you want to take.
Another feature of Raiz is called Raiz Rewards. This is where you can shop through merchants online, who then deposit a percentage of your purchase price back into your Raiz account.
Interested in signing up for Raiz? Get it here —-> Raiz Signup
This is an app that you download and leave running in the background. When you walk or run outside with your phone it calculates your steps and
While it’s likely to take a while to accrue enough coins to cash in and buy an iPhone X, unless you are a marathon runner that is, I don’t see any harm in downloading the app and simply leaving it there to accrue coins. You’re walking anyway so why not? And if you get a reward at the end of it, even better!
Interested in trying Sweatcoin? Get it here —-> Sweatcoin Signup
This is an app that you sign up to
In completing tasks, you accumulate “Swagbucks” which you can convert to Paypal cash and gift cards. The app interface is very user-friendly and allows you to see a number of surveys,
Interested in trying Swagbucks? Sign up here ——> Swagbucks Signup
The way in which Ebates works is quite simple, you shop online through the Ebates site and you get paid a percentage of your purchase back, sometimes up to 40%! Sounds too good to be true? Well, it’s not! Shop a variety of stores, such as Wallmart, Target, Amazon, Macy’s, eBay and many many more.
Interested in earning cash back for shopping? Sign up here —–> Ebates Signup
For those of us who reside down under, G’day all! We now have an Australian version of Ebates, called
Interested in earning cash while shopping? Sign up here —–> Shopback Signup
Tips & Advice In Helping Them Cope
While having pets when you have children holds many benefits and provides children with the joy that comes with the unconditional love of a pet, there can be a very upsetting side – when the pet passes away. So how do you help them cope?
I have grown up with animals and have always been a firm believer in having a household full of pets. Watching your children scream with delight when their dog, cat, bunny or bird does something funny or shows them affection would melt even the coldest of hearts.
I have also had to experience the loss of a pet on more than one occasion. It can be difficult to know how much you tell your child and how much you shield them from. This boils down to a number of different factors
Your Child’s Age
Never underestimate a child’s ability to comprehend and process grief. It is a natural part of life and one they will need to adjust to. Being honest with your child helps prepare them for the inevitable in life, which is that at times we need to process grief after losing the ones we love. How much detail I tell my children is dependant on age. I will tell my curious 7-year-old more than my 4-year-old as he better understands the circle of life.
The amount of detail you tell your child is totally up to you. I always focus on telling them what they need to know and nothing further. I’ll deflect the “how did they die” questions and focus on telling them that their pet is no longer suffering and is at peace. This is especially the case if the death of the pet wasn’t as simple as passing away in their sleep.
Allow Your Child To Grieve
My son recently lost a pet and wanted to make a cross with”RIP” on it to place in the garden, in memory of him. Allow your child to do something for their pet to honour their memory. Let them grieve for as long as they need to. When I lost my first dog as a child, I cried every night for weeks. Allowing me that time and space to grieve how I needed to helped me to get over the loss of my best friend.
It’s Okay To Let Your Child See You’re Upset
Empathy is a great quality in a person. Allowing your child to see how the death of your pet has upset you is okay. It shows them how much the pet meant to you too and how loved they were within the family. It also shows your child that it is okay to grieve and show your grief to the world.
Involve Your Child In The Burial Process
Do this only if your child feels up to it, it’s okay if they don’t. But if they choose to be involved, this can help give your child closure knowing where their beloved pet is and gives them a place to go back to if they want to.
Having a pet is a beautiful part of a child’s life. It teaches them responsibilty and gives them unconditional love from a living, breathing creature who doesn’t judge or discriminate.
Losing a pet is hard on every one but I certainly think the benefits far outweigh the downfalls. Just ensure your prepare yourself and you child for what is the inevitable circle of life.
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Trying To Be The Best Parent When You Just Want Alone Time
All parents can relate, you just want a lazy Sunday but with kids, there is no such thing. Kids demand your attention and it matters not if you are sick, exhausted, wanting alone time or have other things to do.
I’m writing this while sitting in a park, attempting to entertain the kids and wear them out at the same time. I don’t really want to be here, I want to be at home, relaxing. But with kids, lazy Sunday’s are no more.
I attempted today to get the kids to entertain themselves. Of course, it failed miserably hence why I’m now sitting in a park.
Guilt plays the biggest factor in my decision to push aside my exhaustion and battle on. My kids can sometimes be too reliant on screen time for entertainment. I sometimes just say “stuff it” and give in, other days, wracked with guilt, I refuse. I honestly find my stress levels increase exponentially when I refuse to give them screen time because my son, in particular, is incapable of entertaining himself. Whether giving him screen time has caused this, or it would be this way anyway is something I haven’t quite figured out.
While all the experts say “1 hour of screen time a day max” I often wonder if these people even have children.
These are my rules:
I get up fairly early, but not as early as my son. He has always been a crack of dawn riser. So, I give them screen time so I can have a small sleep in. I do however have all devices password protected and I hide the PlayStation remotes. This is a lesson I learnt the hard way when I discovered my son up at midnight playing games. If everything is hidden or password protected, I can monitor the time he starts using them as he has to ask me to unlock them.
I leave cereal in containers with lids, milk in cups in the fridge and spoons on the bench. That way the kids can help themselves to breakfast and I can at least sleep in for another hour or so. If it’s cold I set up blankets and pillows so the kids make themselves comfy
I tell my kids straight “mommy works really hard and I just need a sleep in, let mommy rest and I’ll take you somewhere nice today” My husband and I both work highly stressful jobs. I work 4 days a week and he works full time. I leave the house in the mornings around 5 am, sometimes as early as 3:30 am and I’m rarely home before 5:30 pm. So I allow myself the time to relax and try and ignore the ever-present mom guilt.
Simple Ways To Relieve Mom Guilt
Set aside a few hours for the kids. Take them out, spend quality time with them. Pick an activity, schedule a play date, even take them for a bike ride or take them to do something they enjoy. For my son, it’s fishing. My theory is the housework can wait. Give them your time, however I will not give them ALL of my time. When we are home, I tell them now is time for them to amuse themselves.
As a child, I had to entertain myself for hours on end. I expect the same of my children. During this time, I get the housework done. I blog, I write, I do something for me. Having dedicated a few hours to them earlier in the day, allows me to do something I want to do myself without feeling guilty.
Once my energy levels are completely drained, I give them screen time. First, I ensure they have done some learning, like “Reading Eggs” or “Prodigy” for my son, who is school aged. I make them complete up to half an hour then it’s free play time.
Most of all, give yourself a break. Don’t try and be the perfect mom. We all get sucked in by social media at times, believing all the perfect parenting moments people choose to share on Facebook or Instagram. I highlight this in my article “Insta-Fakeness.” What they don’t share are the times they lose their minds at their kids, lock the toilet door just to get some peace or cry in the pantry in the dark.
We are all just getting by. Parenting is hard, give yourself a break momma, you’re doing great! xx
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Blog Like A Pro With These Simple Tips
You’ve decided to start a blog, how exciting! But, it’s a minefield out there! Where do you start? What tools do you need? Which domain hosting site should you use? Well, fear not. I have compiled a list of the best resources for new bloggers – Here are some simple tips to blogging like the pros!
This article contains affiliate links, meaning if you choose to purchase any of the products mentioned, I will receive a small commission of that sale at no cost to you.
WHERE DO I START?
When I first started, I read a lot on this topic. It’s something I knew nothing about so I figured knowledge is power. I read a bunch of articles, but the best ones I found were written by Elna Cain of “Twinsmommy” fame. I took a lot of her advice and it hasn’t lead me astray.
She recommended creating a website on WordPress, so I decided to sign up. I set up my blog and practised posting blog posts, placed pictures and experimented with design. The interface is fairly easy to use for beginners also.
This is a great tool for you to get your grounding in websites and blogging. If you don’t ever really intend on massive website traffic or monetising your blog, then you can stay using WordPress for free.
The real downside is that it is quite slow to load, so if you ever intend on really marketing your site and want a lot of traffic to come along, then you’ll need to upgrade.
My recommendation if you want to upgrade is below.
Siteground is a domain hosting server, which you’ll need if you ever choose to monetise your blog or want large volumes of traffic reading your content. You simply just can’t do it if you remain on a free server like WordPress, due to the limitations as well as the slow load speed. This is a sure fire way to lose readers if the website takes too long to load.
I personally have visited some blogs where the page takes over a minute to load and honestly, I’ve lost interest before it finishes loading and I
So, the package I chose was the “GrowBig” package – it cost just $7.45 per month. For the year but it is 100% worth it. You can also choose from the cheaper package of $4.95 per month or the premium “GoGeek” package for $14.95 per month, dependent on your needs.
The load speeds are super quick, the interface is user-friendly and “uptime” for the site is 99.9% – wow. You simply cannot beat those stats. But, best of all the support team are second to none. They are extremely helpful, friendly and knowledgeable.
Starting my blog on “Wordpress”, I had to migrate it over. Siteground accommodates this by having a WordPress migrator. It was seamless and so simple to use, even for a novice like me. They also have migrators for Joomla! Wix and more so you can move your site over with ease.
Admittedly I wasn’t very savvy at building a website and had some teething problems. I changed my theme also and had a few issues with this. Each time though I requested help through their support page, they were super efficient and thorough in their response, including with follow up enquiries. I never had to wait long for help and they always solved my issue. As such, I couldn’t recommend them enough!
Want to sign up to Siteground now and start building your brand? Click here to sign up ——-> Siteground Signup
Choosing Your Theme
To me, choosing the right theme is vital to the overall feel of your blog. It is an entirely personal choice depending on your niche and your preference.
There are plenty of free themes available on WordPress. I tried and tested a fair few different ones, but nothing really took
I wanted a soft, feminine feel and came across one I loved on another blog site. So I scrolled the bottom and had a look at the details which brought me to “Code & Coconut.” They have stunning themes, the one I chose for my site is called “Adelle.”
I think it works perfectly for my niche and is exactly what I was looking for. It was only $35 and I think it was money very well spent.
Secondly, when I had some issues with my theme settings not working correctly I contacted their support and honestly, they couldn’t have been more helpful.
Would you like a gorgeous Code & Coconut theme like mine? Get it here —-> Code & Coconut Signup
After a lot of research, I realised pretty quickly that if I wanted to get my content out there that Pinterest was a must have. I had dabbled in Pinterest myself when planning my wedding but aside from that had never really used it. Once I understood what Pinterest really was, I realised that I simply had to use it.
Think of Pinterest like this – it is a search engine, much like Google, but uses images or “Pins” to display content. It is also a hybrid in the sense that it is a social media website, allowing users to connect and share content to widen their reach. Once you grasp the concept that Pinterest is a search engine, with 250 million users per month, you will also understand why it is a
Follow these simple steps to use Pinterest to your advantage:
Sign up for a business account – You can also covert your personal account over to a business account if you have good boards or already have a tonne of followers. Getting a business account is essential as it allows you access Pinterest Analytics, which shows your audience reach, engagements etc so you know where you can improve or what is working.
Join group boards – There are boards out there which display a heap of pins, with one contributor to that board. Then there are group boards, ones that allow multiple contributors. Essentially, you find the board you want to join and either email or DM the board creator to join. Generally, they will also request you follow them on Pinterest or another platform in order to be accepted. Once you have been accepted, you can start pinning your content to these boards, allowing them to be seen by all the followers of that board.
Tribes – This is something that took me a while to master. Once you do master it though, you definitely start seeing the benefits. Tribes work by having a ‘tribe’ of users join the one tribe focusing on their niche of choice. You then pin your content and re-share the content of the other tribe members, allowing a far greater reach of your pins. Remember though, you must follow the rules of the tribe or you will be kicked out. Don’t be selfish here, bloggers need to help other bloggers. Re-share the content as specified and you will be considered a good tribe member.
Pinterest works by consistency, this is the key. You should be pinning content daily. The trick is though, not to just pin a bunch of content all at once. Pinterest likes it to be spread out over the day. Unless you are a night owl who likes staying up at all hours pinning content, this simply isn’t achievable without a bit of help, which leads me into the next must-have tool.
Tailwind is a scheduling tool which automatically pins your content in selected time slots, during the day and while you sleep. This allows you to walk away from the computer knowing your content is still getting out there.
Admittedly, I wasn’t sure at first if I would like this tool or if it was even worth it, so I signed up for a free trial to test it out. The free trial is quite generous and definitely allows you to get a good feel for whether it is worth it for you or not. After my free trial, I signed up because this tool is fantastic. I spend an hour or two scheduling all my pins for the week so when life gets busy, I know my content is still getting out there.
Pinterest also prefers that you pin over a period of time, instead of all at once so Tailwind can assist in doing this as well as saving you time having to manually pin all the time.
Tailwind also works with Instagram, so you can be scheduling your content and growing your followers while you sleep! Perfect right?
Want Tailwind? Sign up here ——> Tailwind Signup
Another neat little tool I use is one called “Grammarly” this skims across all your posts and corrects any grammatical errors or spelling errors it finds. While I have never been horrible with grammar, inevitably everyone makes mistakes but this tool ensures I can press publish with confidence. Best of all it is a free download, installs onto your web browser and skims across your work as you type.
Interested in Grammarly? Sign up here —-> Grammarly Signup
Images To Illustrate Your Site
Blog posts and websites always look better and do better if they have images on them. But where do you get these images from?
Unless you are an extremely talented photographer, chances are you won’t have beautiful images to place on your site. So, what do you do? Well, there are plenty of free stock images available out there where you can get thousands of gorgeous images to use on your site.
One I found that I absolutely love is Dreamstime.com. They have literally thousands of images for all different subjects, niches and topics to help illustrate your site.
On top of this, I was looking for a place where I could create a blog header, something unique and recognisable and I found Dreamstime is where I could get them from. I downloaded this gorgeous background and placed my header over the top and bingo! A beautiful looking blog header!
Want to sign up to Dreamtime? Do so here —–> Dreamstime Signup
So go ahead and make that beautiful blog and get your content out there!
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My Struggles With Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder –
Signs, Symptoms & Treatments of this little known condition
While everyone has heard of Prementrual Syndrome (PMS) and either experienced it or witnessed it first hand, many do not know of a more severe form of PMS known as PMDD. I am one of the unlucky 3 % – 8% of women who suffer from this silent life destroyer.
For many years, I was told I suffered bad PMS. Statistics say 75% of women have experienced the symptoms of PMS at some point in their life; the cramps, the mood swings, the tender breasts and so forth. This is unfortunate, but a normal part of a woman’s life during her child-bearing years.
I knew, however, that something was different about me and soon came to be diagnosed with “severe PMS” or PMDD. PMDD means that for at least 2 weeks out of every month, I suffer agonising cramps, acne breakouts, horrible and uncontrollable mood swings, severe anxiety, extremely tender breasts, bloating, weight gain, irritability, sleep disturbances, headaches and/or migraines, chronic IBS, depression, increased anxiety and the list goes on and on.
In recent years, my PMDD has become so bad that I am now permanently on anti-anxiety medication, simply to control my mood swings for the second half of my cycle. If I am not on this medication, I am literally out of control.
For women who have never experienced PMDD, it is simply put like this: once the second half of my cycle hits, anything and everything is like waving a red flag to a bull. The slightest thing can send me into an uncontrollable rage. One minute I can be laughing and joking, the next I am crying or yelling, for no good reason at all and it is usually the ones we love the most that cop the brunt of these unpredictable mood swings.
I know now the day the switch is flicked and my hormones start to drop, that is the day I struggle to keep it together during the day, I am extremely irritable and impatient and usually either in the car on the way home from work, or just as I walk in the door, I break down and cry uncontrollably. Every day after this day is a slippery slope, where I feel worse and worse with more and more symptoms piling on daily.
I suffer debilitating cramps, extreme fatigue, insomnia and iron deficiency due to heavy menstruation. I am forgetful and find it extremely difficult to concentrate, making simple tasks very frustrating. The side effects are so severe that they interfere with my day to day life, making being a good wife and mother very difficult.
This is perhaps the hardest side of the condition. My tolerance level for my children is at an all-time low during these times, I have no energy to play with them, I cringe when they come running up for a hug knowing my stomach and breasts are so tender that any form of contact from them is going to hurt. I am so easily irritated that I generally avoid activities with them as I know I’ll lose my temper.
Lately, the break in symptoms that I get after my period ends and I am completely symptom-free has dwindled from 2 weeks down to just 2 – 3 days. My ever-suffering husband has to tolerate my moods now for most of the month and while I try my best to control them, there are often times that they get the better of me.
And herein lies one of the biggest hurdles with PMDD. Being overly hormonal and moody means the sufferer needs to have a heightened sense of self-awareness. At times, it is hard to determine if you really are irritated at events that are occurring or are just currently being overly sensitive. Doubt begins to creep in when people say “seriously you are over-reacting.” Your mind truly does deceive you and you find that those around you will use the hormonal/overly emotional line often, making it very difficult to ever justify being truly upset again.
There are times when I do realise that I am being overly-sensitive. At these times, the only way to describe it is like an out of body experience. I know that I am over-reacting. I know I need to calm down. I have an internal dialogue reminding me that I am in my PMDD sphere and I should just keep quiet: but I can’t. The compulsion to keep going is uncontrollable.
But perhaps the most frustrating thing about PMDD is that doctors do not know how to fix it. There are band-aid fixes, such as anti-anxiety medication however these, to me, are just temporary solutions. There is no real fix, everything is an experiment to see if it works and unfortunately for me, not much has.
IS IT PMS OR DO I HAVE PMDD?
If you are feeling like your symptoms are perhaps more severe than regular PMS, it might be worth heading to the doctor.
The following symptoms are characteristic of PMDD:
- Lasting irritability or anger that may affect other people
- Feelings of sadness or despair, or even thoughts of suicide
- Feelings of tension or anxiety
- Panic attacks
- Mood swings or crying often
- Lack of interest in daily activities and relationships
- Trouble thinking or focusing
- Tiredness, low energy or severe fatigue
- Food cravings or binge eating
- Trouble sleeping
- Feeling out of control
- Decreased libido
- Painful menses
- Dizziness and/or fainting
- Paranoia and issues with self-image
- Hot flashes
- Physical symptoms, such as cramps, bloating, breast tenderness, headaches, and joint or muscle pain
I can safely say that I have experienced every symptom from the above list, most I suffer with now for the best part of the month – whether it be one or two symptoms in a day or a large combination, making my day fairly miserable at times.
TREATMENT FOR PMDD
The first choice of doctors in treating this condition is the birth control pill. Yaz is said to be one of the most effective in helping relieve symptoms by stopping mestration. Unfortunately for me, Yaz only made my symptoms worse along with every other pill I tried.
While doctors will go straight to the pill as a means of controlling the symptoms of PMDD, the feelings behind whether this actually works are very mixed. As it is a case of trial and error to see what helps, the pill is worth trying but shouldn’t be continued if it is exacerbating your symptoms as it did in my case.
Another treatment used is anti-depressant/anti-anxiety medication. This medication has helped me in managing my irritability and anger but doesn’t work to help anything else, leaving a large number of symptoms untreated.
While I am yet to find the best solution, I am hopeful that one day something will work and I can finally be symptom free.
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My Story On Wanting A Hysterectomy
While I would never label myself a feminist, I would say I am very much for women’s rights. So, it is only natural that I felt when being faced with health issues relating to my body that it was my choice to make if I wanted a hysterectomy. This is where I am apparently dead wrong.
I have suffered from endometriosis since I was 14 years old. I was told at 17 years old I would never fall pregnant naturally. I have endured 7 keyhole surgeries, endless hormone treatments and had an ovary removed along with a cyst the size of an orange. I now have nerve damage which causes almost daily pain and I am still suffering horribly with pre
So, after having two beautiful children (naturally I might add, guess those doctors were wrong…) I decided the use for my uterus and ovaries had come to an end.
So, at 36 years old, after much thought and research on the procedure, the side effects and the recovery time, I decided that I wanted a hysterectomy. I feel I cannot endure any more pain and it’s high time my pesky woman parts got the flick. This was until I came to learn that this decision, to free myself from pain, is not my decision to make at all.
I have had male doctors, of all people, tell me that no one will touch me until I’m 45. I’m told I’m “too young” to have it all out. So this begs the questions, whose decision is it anyway? And should a doctor have the right to dictate to a patient what should occur with her body?
While I understand that doctors have a duty of care to do the best for their patients, to simply put an age limit on a woman’s ability to get a hysterectomy is frankly narrow-minded. While woman obviously can and have had surgery prior to this age, it is when the risk outweighs the benefits regarding the woman’s health.
But, for a woman like me, who suffers pain, crippling emotional issues and hormonal side effects, it apparently isn’t enough. Despite my quality of life having been severely impacted, the need for these doctors to maintain their blanket ban on anyone under the age of 45 remains.
These discussions, with a female doctor friend, brought up her own issue. After giving birth to her second healthy child, she decided that was enough children. She is a GP and her husband a specialist doctor. She asked her Gynaecologist to tie her tubes as she was finished having children. Despite being a doctor herself and understanding the risks, he refused – citing that she was “too young and healthy” to have the procedure.
So, when is it the patients right to choose what happens with their bodies? What God-like powers do these doctors think they have? Should she fall pregnant again now, does that doctor bare some responsibility given his refusal to enact her wishes?
I am now in a battle with the Gynaecologists. I am seeking out a female doctor in the hopes she may understand my predicament a little better. If she refuses to help, I will simply move on to one who will.
We live in an age where everyone is terrified of being sued. We are all too scared to do anything, say anything that may cause a lawsuit. Is this what prevents women such as myself from choosing what happens with my body? Or are doctors simply bound to an “ethical” code whereby they won’t entertain a hysterectomy on a woman younger than 45 unless it is life threatening?
In the meantime, I continue to suffer. Unsure as to my fate. Unsure as to whether I’ll have to endure another 7 – 8 years of crippling pain whilst I wait to hit that magic number.
Do you have an experience similar to mine? I’d love to hear from you!
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This Evil Takes More Forms Than Many Realise – How You Can Recognise The Signs
We have all heard of domestic violence, but do we really understand how many different forms it can take?
Speaking the words “domestic violence” for most elicits images of battered and bruised women, subjected to unspeakable physical violence by their abusive partners. While this is certainly domestic violence, it also takes many other forms that go unrecognised. Here are some of the many forms it takes.
When talking about domestic violence, this is the main one that comes to mind. While it is clearly the most deadly form of abuse, many would argue that emotional abuse is equally as destructive.
Any man who is willing to put his hands on a woman in order to gain control or assert authority over them is a weak and gutless individual.
Similarly, any woman who abuses her male partner is equally as despicable. It is not acceptable for anyone, regardless of sex to use physical violence towards their partner.
Using violence of any kind against someone close to you is not love, it is to control pure and simple and it is wrong.
This form of domestic violence may not be as easily recognised as physical violence but it can be extremely damaging.
A perpetrator will subject the victim to emotional abuse in the form of “put down’s” — name-calling, pointing out a victim’s flaws, humiliating the victim. These are all acts the perpetrator will use on an abuse victim. The aim of this is to make the victim feel worthless, with the intention of keeping the victim beaten down so that the perpetrator can maintain power and control in the relationship.
In essence, it is the perpetrator who is the one with the insecurity. They are so fearful of losing their partner that they feel they need to destroy their partner’s self
According to Whiteribbon.org, examples of emotional abuse include:
- Blaming the victim for all the problems in the relationship
- Constantly comparing the victim to others in order to undermine their self-esteem or self-worth
- Yelling, insulting or swearing at the victim
- Intentionally embarrassing the victim in public
- Making the victim fee guilty if they refuse sex
- Threatening suicide
We all have fought in relationships and things can be said in the heat of the moment that we may regret later. However, if your partner is consistently putting you down, making you feel unloved and worthless then it is time to face the music.
Depriving a partner of money, withholding access to bank accounts or threatening to cease making payments on the mortgage are all examples of financial abuse.
Another such example is preventing a partner from joining or re-joining the workforce in order to prevent any type of financial security. This is sadly something I know all too well. My mother, I loved dearly. She was an angel on earth. She was, however, financially (as well as emotionally & socially) abused by her husband. She may not have recognised it, I certainly didn’t at a young age, but it was debilitating for her. Even in death, my step-father attempted to control my mother’s money.
Do not be fooled by this type of behaviour. These traits are considered domestic violence and should be taken seriously. People who possess these traits are not simply mean or frugal with money. They are abusers plain and simple.
This is another form of domestic violence that is not as easily recognised as physical abuse. Social abuse is when a perpetrator isolates their victim, keeping them from their friends and family, preventing them from making or maintaining friendships and preventing the victim from speaking with neighbours or others within their community.
Taking away a person’s family and friend network can make it extremely difficult for a victim to then leave their abusive relationship. Making a person wholly dependent on the perpetrator is a way to manipulate that victim into staying when ordinarily they wouldn’t.
Some examples of social abuse include:
- Monitoring someone’s phone calls, texts or emails
- Deciding which family members or friends the victim can spend time with
- Continuously criticising the victim’s friends and family
- Moving the victim far away so they cannot reach their friends or family
- Verbally and/or physically abusing the victim in public or in front of other people
It is not the trait of a decent individual to elicit control over someone they love. Monitoring their every move, controlling where they go, who they associate with, what time they get home. Checking social media accounts, messages, phone records and the like is not them being protective nor is it this person
These are the traits of a perpetrator and should not be ignored nor tolerated and should be addressed.
Blaming The Victim
“It is your fault I did this, you make me so angry, you made me act that way.” These are the manipulative words that a perpetrator will use to absolve themselves of blame. Making the victim feel as though they caused the perpetrators actions
Similarly, blaming certain factors like a woman’s hormones, emotional state or telling them they are psycho, crazy, that no one else would love them as they are all fall under two categories. One, blaming the victim – to absolve themselves of any blame and two, controlling behaviour. Making the victim feel worthless is a way to keep the victim under their control.
Any form of domestic violence is never the victim’s fault. Their actions did not cause any of the perpetrator’s behaviour, that is entirely their own responsibility. It is a responsibility that is rarely taken however because then perpetrator would have to admit they are the problem, something they are rarely able to do.
Shame is one of the biggest reasons why victims continue to endure domestic violence. Feelings of embarrassment and of being a failure mean women and men stay in relationships when they ought to leave.
If you are in a situation where you are suffering from domestic violence, a code of silence is not helpful. While seeking out help is hard, staying is more detrimental in the long run. Admitting you are a victim is
Many women choose to stay believing that the perpetrator will change. Believing the lies that they can somehow, overnight, change who they are is quite simply put, naive. A tiger never changes its stripes. This is also true for someone who has it within them to hurt the one they allegedly love.
Making The Decision To Leave
Children play an enormous role in a mother’s or indeed a father’s reasons for staying in an abusive relationship. Not wanting to uproot your child’s life and believing that keeping the family unit together is best for your children are considerations you will obviously make.
On the flip side, raising children in a home where, for instance, a father abuses their mother either physically, emotionally, mentally or financially or a combination of all of the above is far more detrimental to their wellbeing than their parents separating.
Your children will survive. They will forgive you. They will come to learn the truth, should you make the choice to tell them. If they are old enough to know what has been happening before you separate, they will respect you more if you choose to leave.
There Is Help Available
Speak to your GP should you wish to seek counselling in relation to the abuse, the separation or both. Crisis accommodation is available to get women away from domestic violence if they have nowhere else to go.
Confide in someone, be it family members or a close friend. Don’t go it alone. Find and join support groups for women who have been through the same situation. Find strength in others.
Most of all, forgive yourself. It isn’t your fault. You did not cause this behaviour. Men who commit domestic violence are inadequate in some part of their lives. They are the ones with issues, they are the ones who are wrong. Be kind to yourself. Regain your self-esteem and your self-worth and know that despite all that you have been through, you have survived.
Do you or someone you know need help regarding domestic violence? Visit www.whiteribbon.org for more information.
Tips, tricks & tools to help you get fit faster!
Are you wanting to get fit but struggling with motivation? Unsure where to start or what the best exercise regime is?
We’ve all been there, trust me. I know I have. However, after years of trials, struggles and fails, I am finally
RUNNING & CARDIO
Do you want to start running but are unsure how to go about it? I’ll be the first to admit that I am not a natural
I also have a bucket list and one of the things on my list is to run a half marathon, so this year I ramped up my running. So, here are some simple tips to get you running and keep you running!
- Start slowly. Don’t think you’re going to start running a half marathon or at a super-fast pace when you first start. Truth is, it will hurt at first and will take time to build up fitness. Aim for distance over
paceat first, but set small goals – such as 1 km today, 2 km by the end of the week etc.
- Stretch, stretch and stretch! I learnt this the hard way. I was always hopeless at stretching but when I was told my Achilles tendon was so tight it was about to snap, I started forcing myself to be better. Ensure you stretch before and after your workout to avoid injury.
- Don’t just run at the same pace. Change it up. Do a 30-second sprint, followed by a 1-minute jog, 1-minute sprint, 30-second jog and the like. This will improve your cardio fitness quicker than just plodding along at the same old
- Heard of the Beep Test? I’ll honest here and say I HATE the Beep Test. I once had a personal trainer who made me do it and I would tell him I hated him every time he made me do it. But, my cardio fitness was through the roof doing it. Short, sharp sprints that slowly increase in speed will get you fitter faster than just jogging, so give it a try!
- Don’t compare your progress with others. While it is great to be a little competitive and indeed, this can get you motivated, it is unhealthy and detrimental to your progress to compare yourself to others. Some people are much fitter than others, some people are natural runners. Go at your own pace and focus on your own goals, rather than feeling down if you aren’t running as fast or as far as your friends.
Want a beginner’s half marathon training guide? Get the one I have used here!
CHANGE IT UP
Don’t do the same exercise all the time. Ever heard of the saying “he skips leg day?” Some people do just focus on certain parts of their bodies, but this will not improve your overall fitness.
When I first starting really focusing on training, I learnt pretty quickly that despite just wanting to focus on my problem areas – my tummy and my legs and butt, I needed to change it up and work out areas I never even thought that I needed to gain overall fitness.
So, don’t skip exercises that focus on your back, shoulders, chest etc. You need to do all of these to get overall fitness. Plus, you cannot “spot” train – that is, you cannot get fit just by working out one or two parts of your body.
DO HIIT TRAINING
HIIT stands for “High-Intensity Interval Training.” Sounds hard right? Well, it is. But it is also the best way to gain fitness, especially if you are short on time.
The aim is to work out hard and fast, not allowing too much rest in between sets. It challenges your body, gets you fit faster and is great for those who are really short on spare time (let’s be honest, that is most of us these days!).
I am not going to lie, it’s going to hurt. A lot. Generally, I think to myself while in the middle of one of these workouts “What the hell am I doing?” But knowing it is only a 28-minute workout can help keep you going and get to the end. Whats 28 minutes out of your day anyway? And a bonus, at the end of it, you will feel absolutely great!
GET A WORKOUT PLAN
Join your local gym and ask for a workout plan. This will keep you on track and show you different exercises for different parts of the body.
If you can afford it and have the time, get a personal trainer. I did once and it was the fittest I have ever been in my life. Granted, this was pre-kids and I had a lot more spare time. But it is a great way of getting fit without having to think about your workout plan at all and they can be a great source of motivation for you also.
Alternatively, you can google a fitness plan and follow that. There are heaps of them online, focusing on gym workouts or at-home workouts to suit your needs.
Another great way of getting ideas on different types of exercises is to jump onto Instagram. There are literally thousands of workout videos on there and best of all they are free. If you are really serious about getting super fit, you can sign up to some of the apps they promote or you can just save their videos and use them as inspiration.
As mentioned in my other article “The Best At-Home Exercises For Busy Moms” – my two favourites are Krissy Cela —-> find her on Instagram here and Kayla
KNOW YOUR BODY
This is one tip I am still learning. As we get older, our body and our bodies needs change. I have learnt slowly that I need to listen to my body and adapt my workout depending on how I feel.
For women, where you are in your cycle is crucial to how you feel. I really struggle to get motivated and indeed workout during the last week or so of my cycle, so in this time I either do yoga or I give myself a break.
It isn’t ideal when you are training for something, such as a half marathon like I am, however I know if I try and force myself to train I will fail miserably and then be upset with myself, which sets me further back.
So, to combat this lack of motivation and fatigue, what can you do? Well, it’s simple. I workout hard (and a lot) in the first two weeks of my cycle (that being the first two weeks after my period) because this is when my energy levels are highest and I most motivated.
In the second two weeks of my cycle, I slow down. I focus less on running and more on weights because I find this easier than running during this time.
If I want to work out but I’m feeling really unmotivated for anything strenuous, I do yoga. This way, you are still working on muscle tone and are increasing flexibility also.
Trying to exercise while starving yourself won’t work, your body needs fuel for energy much the same as a car needs petrol to go.
Similarly, eating crappy junk food and trying to exercise won’t work either. This is because there is little to no nutritional value in these foods and your body will not have enough energy to output for your workout and you will wind up feeling really flat afterwards.
Eating fresh fruit, vegetables, protein, fish, lean red meats and carbs will all help give your body the fuel it needs for
If you struggle with what to eat, get a healthy eating food guide or subscribe to something like “You Foodz”, “Lite N Easy”, “Marley Spoon” or something similar to keep you on track.
ALLOW YOURSELF A BREAK
If you aren’t feeling up to exercising DON’T. If you are tired, unwell, run down etc, just don’t do it. It is counter-productive exercising when you feel like this. You simply will not be able to do it and you will feel miserable afterwards.
I remember seeing a post on Instagram that Krissy Cela put up. She drove to the gym and sat in the car crying because she didn’t have the motivation to go into the gym that day. Even super
This is, of course a lot different to the “I’m just being lazy” vibes. Then, you totally should get off the couch and get out there! You’ll know the difference, so don’t make excuses!
This is something I highly recommend but admittedly they aren’t for everyone. I use a Thermogenic supplement to give me the energy
I use one called “Body Effects” – it has more natural ingredients and I find it helps me a lot with my running. There are plenty on the market, so do your research and find one that is best for you.
What else do Thermogenics do? They suppress appetite, enhance mood, and help to burn fat. Read and research the ingredients before taking any of these supplements as they are all vary in ingredients.
Here are a few to choose from:
- Body Effects
- Shredz Protein Thermogenic Made For Women
- Thermal Switch
- NLA For Her – Her Amino Burner
Get yourself a fitness watch. They are the best at helping you keep track of how you are improving. They can also be a great motivator, with a setting that basically tells you to get up and start moving so you can reach your step goal for the day.
I personally use the “Fitbit Ionic” and I love it. It has an inbuilt GPS so it is super accurate and is very simple and easy to use.
Other options include the Apple Watch, Garmin and others.
Download Apps that will help you keep track of your runs, set goals and compete with friends. I use the Fitbit app to sync with my watch but I also have an
Another great app is called “MapMyRun” – This is a
Type in your address, create a route along your choosen streets and know exactly where you have to run to reach your desired distance.
SET A GOAL
This is a big one. What are you aiming for? Fitness, overall well-being, running a marathon?
Have a goal in mind, write it down if you have to. Mine is to run a half marathon, but yours might be as simple as “to lose my mommy pouch” or “be able to run 5 km.”
Whatever your goal is, know it and aim for it. If you have a target, you are more likely to stick to exercising than if you just do it for no reason.
DITCH THE SCALES
Oh wow, I cannot stress this enough. Ditch them, ignore them, put them in your cupboard.
After months and months and months of weighing myself whilst training and feeling like a failure with my weight going up and down, I decided enough was enough. I don’t even step on the scales now and I couldn’t tell you what I weigh today.
I did this for one reason – it is NOT a reliable indicator of how you are tracking on your fitness journey. During a woman’s cycle, her weight can fluctuate dramatically. I, for instance, can put on up to 1.5kgs with my period – and no, it isn’t from the chocolate I ate, it is all fluid. I know this because once my cycle ends, this “weight” disappears.
Second to this, the more I ran, the more my weight went up. I was baffled. I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong. But, truth is, is that muscle weighs more than fat. This is not a myth, it is the truth. The more I ran, the more I worked out on my legs, arms, back, shoulders, the heavier I became. So, I ditched the scales.
The best indicator for how your tracking is a measuring tape. Measure around your waist and keep track of that if you prefer.
What I prefer now is looking in the mirror. If I’m happy with what I see, then I am going well. If my clothes are fitting nicely, then I am also happy. I couldn’t care less what I weigh on the scales, this is just a number. It’s how I feel about myself that matters the most.
AFTER YOUR WORKOUT
As mentioned before, stretch. This is SUPER important.
But, what I have also found important is replacing electrolytes I have lost during my run. I sweat when I run, a fair bit. So replacing electrolytes is key to me feeling better after a big run.
Most of all enjoy yourself. Get out there and give it a try. You will be amazed at how good you feel and how much your overall health and mood improve once you start regularly exercising!!
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