Monthly Archives: August 2013

Happiness is in the details

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Hello There,

While striving to achieve those ‘big tick’ items in life to create your happiness such as a partner, house and kids- don’t forget that happiness is also found in the small details that most people miss.

Having a heartfelt chat with your partner, snuggles with your child, noticing how their face lights up when they see you.

If you start to notice the great number of those happy little details in your life- I know you’ll find it very hard to be unhappy!

Have a happy day,

Nicole

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How to make a Happy Mum The Recipe: Love and Relationships.

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Social catch ups are a must have

Part 2.

Your Friends.

 

Before having a baby you probably had a good, healthy array of friends that you considered were an important part of your life- and you there’s. However, when you have a baby it’s common to find that you see a lot less or completely lose contact with a certain proportion of your friends. This can be for many reasons; they were your drinking/bar going buddies and so you don’t have much in common with them anymore, you’ve moved to the suburbs so it’s harder to organise a catch up or the more obvious one- your main focus now is your kids and that keeps you fully occupied most days!

If any or all of these examples apply to you, then there’s a number of ways you can look at this situation and address it or merely observe it for what it is- depending on how you feel about that friendship.

The first point to make is that real friends will not drop off the radar for any reason, in my experience the demands of life may mean you see less of them for a time- but you’ll both continue to make catch ups happen, even if they’re not as frequent or in the form that they used to be.

Your friendships- especially the close ones, can continue to be the rewarding and important sources of support and care for you that they have always been- it’s just going to take a little more effort to maintain them.

The thing that worked really well for me was to have a reminder in my phone calendar to catch up with friends at different times every month or two. If I was having a particularly crazy time of it when the reminder went off, I’d just give them a call for a quick catch up or at the very least send through an SMS letting them know I was thinking about them and asking how they were going. But whenever I could, I would try and organise a face-to-face catch up.

Particularly, if your friend/s have kids of their own, Play Dates can become a great way to catch up with them that is beneficial for you both and your children. But even if they don’t have kids, you’ll probably find they are very eager to see your little one’s anyway!

As with the relationship you have with your partner, it is fantastic if you can organise a catch up with friends when it’s just adults every now and then- this may be as little as twice a year. For similar reasons as the need for a date night- having this kind of catch up with your friends will give you the space to really reinvest in your friendship with a good catch up.

It may be as simple as delegating your partner to babysitting duties so you can have a girls’ night out. Of course, this should work both ways- with your partner being given the opportunity to do the same thing every once in a while.

While we’re on the topic and I’ve now convinced you of how important it is to maintain your friendships, why not strike while the iron’s hot and enter in a couple of reminders into your phone to contact your friends in the near future?

Extended Family.

The most likely scenario here is that you’ll end up seeing a whole lot more of your family, because they naturally will want to support you and are so excited about the new addition to your family.

Personally speaking, I didn’t appreciate my parents or siblings as much as I did after having my son. The support, dedication and tireless love they have given to me and my family has been invaluable. Particularly because I was quite unwell for a few months after our son was born – I honestly can’t think how my husband and I would have kept up with it all without our family’s love and support.

So don’t be afraid to ask for help when and if you do feel overwhelmed. After all, we weren’t meant to do it on our own- we should naturally be offered and seek support from our family.

How have the dimensions of your relationship with friends and family changed since having kids? Do you feel like you’re still getting the support and social network that you want and need? Feel free to post me a comment- I’d love to hear from you!

Have a happy day!

Nicole

 

 

Calling all Mummy Followers- How are you going?

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Hello Mums,

How are your happiness levels travelling this week?

My week has been crazy busy…

I’m still on Maternity Leave, but honestly can’t understand how I had time for a full time job before having my son! I mean really, between looking after him (of course that comes first!), Mother’s Group, Baby Swimming Lessons, Play Dates, family and friend catch ups, housework, the online course I’m trying to complete- aaahhh…

This is going to sound nuts but I love it! Yes, it’s hectic- but it’s all great fun- okay, maybe not the housework… I could honestly be the poster girl for mummy recruitment drives if there was such a thing. I may not feel quite so chipper when I have to go back to work next year but for now- it’s fabulous and I’m loving life!

So…

What are the things that are making you are Happy Mum at the moment?

Are there many things that are causing you frustration and unhappiness?

Please feel free to tell me- I’d love to hear from you!

P.S.- And don’t forget that tomorrow I will be sending out the next installment of my ‘How to Make a Happy Mum’ blog series!

Are you a Happy Mum Quiz.

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This is a brief quiz that can help you to determine what your happiness levels are with life at the moment. It should only take a couple of minutes to complete- feel free to let me know how you score and if you feel your result is an accurate reflection of how you are travelling.

  1. Are you satisfied with the way you life is going at the moment?

a. □ Really satisfied

b. □ Satisfied, but it could be better

c. □ Not Satisfied with some aspects of my life

d. □ Not Satisfied with most aspects of my life

  1. Do you feel like you have a good balance between being a mum, pursuing your own interests, rest, fun and friends/family?

a. □ Mostly

b. □ Sometimes

c. □ Rarely

d. □ Never

  1. Do you feel like you’re doing a good job as a Mum?

a. □ Very happy

b. □ Happy

c. □ Unsure

d. □ Not happy

  1. Do you feel adequately supported by your partner, friends and/or family?

a. □ Very supported

b. □ Supported

c. □ Occasionally supported

d. □ Not supported at all

  1. How would you generally describe your moods?

a. □ Very positive

b. □ Positive

c. □ Not positive

d. □ Sad

Score.

Now review your answer and total your score based on the below numbering system. You should get somewhere between 5 and 20.

A= 4 B= 3 C= 2 D= 1

Happiness Results.

5 –10 Your quiz result indicates that you are currently very unhappy and dissatisfied with your current life balance. Therefore, you may benefit from following my weekly “How to make a Happy Mum: The Recipe” blogs.

11-15 Your quiz result indicates that you are not very happy with your life at the moment. Therefore, you may benefit from following my weekly “How to make a Happy Mum: The Recipe” blogs.

16-20 Your quiz result indicates that you are not necessarily unhappy with your life, but things could definitely be better. Therefore, you may benefit from following my weekly “How to make a Happy Mum: The Recipe” blogs.

21-25 Your quiz result indicates that you are generally very happy with your life and your answers indicate that you have this being a Mum gig pretty well worked out! Although things are going great in your life at the moment, you may still want to visit my blog once a week to follow the “How to make a Happy Mum: The Recipe” blogs.

Today I fed my son.

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I read a post today from http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/08/21/parenting-top-tips/ that made me feel as guilt as hell- but it was just what I needed!

It was a blog for parent bloggers, http://twinfamy.com/ said that we need to get our priorities straight and make sure blogging about being a parent doesn’t get in the way of parenting. So true!

This was a real eye opener for me, as I realized (with an enormous feeling of guilt) that lately I have become very guilty of sharing my time with my son with my constant need to check my blog- be it to post a blog, check my blog stats or find new blogs to follow. I won’t even mention my Twitter and Facebook addictions…

So this morning I took the brave and scary step of turning off all my alert notifications for my blog, Twitter and Facebook accounts- I even put my phone on silent (I know- ground breaking stuff!). And then I fed my son…

No checking my phone constantly for updates or messages, or even turning the t.v. on- instead 100% of my attention was focused on every mouthful of porridge, and I can say that we both had a blast! As per usual, Tom had fun spreading porridge all over his face, hands and top- this is something that would usually frustrate me, but today I laughed along with him as he had the joy of trying to take over the spoon and discover what the sticky stuff was on his fingers. I can honestly say that I think he was surprised and delighted to have my full attention for a change- which kinda made me feel worse…

So I’m making the commitment now, with you as my witness to be fully present when I am with my son from now on. And in case you’re wondering how I’m writing this blog considering my new resolution- don’t worry- Tom’s having his morning nap at the moment! Promise… 🙂

 

 

How to Make a Happy Mum: Love and Relationships.

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datenight

Part 1.

At the risk of sounding too corny, just like everyone else on the planet (okay maybe not everyone– I just got a visual of Hitler!)- as a Mum you need to feel loved.

I can hear some of you saying, “Well that’s easy- Mum’s are loved by their kids, their partner, their friends…” But I didn’t say that Mum’s need to be loved, but they need to feel loved. And as a Mum you know straight away what I’m talking about, and the vast difference between the two.

Mums would have to be right up there in the ‘most important people in the world’ stakes, so why are we also one of the most undervalued groups on the planet? It’s simple, we’re Mum!

Mums do anything for their kids- it just comes with the territory. And if you’re a loving mother, odds are you’re a loving partner, sister, daughter and friend as well. This trait of self giving is inherent, wonderful, and essential in our roles as Mums.

It’s important though to realise that we are not super resilient, and so need to get a healthy return of love and care shown towards us in order to maintain our happiness and wellbeing.

Your Partner.

For most Mums, having a baby flips your once harmonious and loving relationship with your partner on its head- at least temporarily if not for longer! All of a sudden the person who was your best friend and lover now feels like your worst enemy.

Quiet nights on the couch for snuggles with a bottle of red have been replaced with the chaos of nappy changes, feed times and all things baby. Your relaxing sleep-in on the weekend is a thing of the past, and you find yourself barking at your partners every move as heaven forbid that he might wake the baby and so rob you of a tiny rest period!

Finally, and I left it until last on purpose because in the early days it’s the LAST thing on your mind- there’s the topic of intimacy… After what you’ve probably been through if not during the pregnancy then definitely during the birth- the only thing you probably would even consider spending energy on outside of looking after your bub is climbing into bed, feeding/watering yourself or maybe taking a shower!

Unlike the expectant Mum who has been diligently reading up and so mentally preparing for all these challenges since the moment she conceived- the partner quite often has not considered that there was a need for him to do any pre-reading and so he probably have a cute but rather unrealistic idea that nothing much would change in your lives except that there would be a little baby to love and cuddle. So the full picture is understandably a bit of a rude shock for him.

All of the above points combined make for a couple of pretty grumpy parents until things settle down a bit and you both get the hang of living with your little one. The key is to not let it go on so long that it becomes a permanent feeling of agitation between you and the bond of love that has always held you tightly together is now getting neglected.

The advice I’m going to give in this section is relevant whether you are a new Mum or have older kids. It’s advice that in my personal experience has proved invaluable to maintaining a healthy and happy relationship with your partner. When you have a baby, the ‘us’ of your relationship tends to blur a little (or a lot!).

I’m sure you’ve heard of at least one couple who separated after decades of being married once the kids left home? Well, at the risk of making a gross generalization- you’ve got to wonder if their relationship was forgotten over time and replaced with all things family, and so when the kids left- they had no ‘us’ left to stick around for in the end.

So how do you preserve and nourish the love in your relationship with your partner once you’ve had kids? – I hear you asking me! I’m so glad you asked because what I’m about to tell you will go a long way towards keeping the ‘us’ healthy. It’s called- ready for it? The Date Night…

I can hear you thinking, “date night?? Are you out of your mind? We don’t have the time or energy for that kind of thing!” But believe me; it is worth the investment of both time and energy. All of us have at least one person we can trust to mind our baby for a couple of hours- the odds are that you have a very long list of people who are lining up to babysit!

You’re probably wondering, what’s so life changing and relationship saving about a lousy date night. Well, it gives you and your partner a rare opportunity where the two of you can be the sole focus for a bit, it’s a chance to reinvest in your love and relationship, to discuss your hopes and dreams, share how life’s treating you at the moment and maintain (or restore!) a little romance. See what I mean? Date nights are vital.

My hubby and I went on our first date night when our son was about 9 weeks old. I quite distinctively remember looking across the table at him and thinking, “oh right, I remember you- we bought a house together, loved each other enough to get married and had this beautiful baby together! Hey, I miss you and ‘us’- so glad we’re doing this dinner!”

So go on, find a night in the not too distant future when you can organise someone to care for your little one/s and book a table at that restaurant you both love. At the risk of being pushy- go and do it now before you get distracted and forget all about it!

No really, take a look at your calendar and pick a day. Trust me- you’ll be glad you did!