Sign up and get my FREE Modern Mum's Capsule Wardrobe Guide & Checklist. As well as exclusive promos, codes and post updates  

You are viewing The Mum Life

Parenthood is so life changing that you almost don’t know what hit you. Raising a little one, whether they are babies, toddlers, pre-teens or teenagers is the most important and difficult job you will ever do. The MUM Life  consumes and becomes you.

I remember when I was a kid I would look at my parents and I thought they knew everything. I thought that had everything together. I had no idea the pressure and fear they must have felt every time I entered a new phase of life.  Now as a parent, I realise that no one knows what they are doing. Parenting is basically just winging it and hoping you raise happy, respectful kids. AND the scary part is that my son probably looks at me the same way and thinks I have all the answers.

This section of the blog is dedicated to all my fellow mothers. I don’t know what I am doing. I am learning as I go along. However here I will document what I have learnt along the way to hopefully help you. To give you hope and let you know that we are all in this together.

The Busy Parents Guide To Valentine’s Day

Like most things, the Romance of Valentine’s Day changes after having kids. If you are anything like me, then chances are you 1.Didn’t even notice even though you have walked past the massive hearts display about a million times at Sainsbury’s 2. Have a million things to do and the idea of finding a babysitter for an overpriced crowded meal at a restaurant makes your toes curl. With our heavy schedules it is easy to fob off this romantic holiday, however as gimmicky as it is there is no reason why you cannot dip into the fun of Valentine’s Day. As parents we often neglect ourselves and this is a good excuses to get back to basics with your partner. So here is my Busy Parents Guide To Valentine’s Day.

Romantic Meal for Two ( in Your Dining Room)

Going out to a restaurant is probably not going to happen unless you are lucky to find a babysitter. So you need to be creative. If you are up to cooking a nice meal for you and your partner then there some some great recipes on Jamie Olivers Website or at thekitchn.com  to inspire you. However if you are like me and the best present anyone can give you is a night off cooking, then order a Take Away. Who says Take Aways can’t be romantic? Add some candles and a bottle (or 2) of wine and presto! Best Valentine’s Date Ever!

Date Night On The Couch

You don’t need to go to the cinema to have a Cinema Night! And after the whirlwind of the bath, bottle, sleep routine who even wants to lift there butts of the couch. Choose a romantic film, pop some popcorn in the microwave. Then cosy up on the couch with your partner and a nice cosy blanket. Cinema Night in the comfort of your living room! Plus if you fall asleep there is no embarrassment.

Quality Gifts….

Don’t buy me expensive gifts, just let me have a shower in peace. Nothing is more valuable to a busy mum or dad than having some ALONE time. Why not gift each other with some quiet time without the kids (and you) during the day. Maybe start reading the first chapter of that new book while your other half does bath time. Alone time is worth more than gold in the world of parenting! Find you and your partner argue over stupid things? Check out my post on the most stupid arguments we have had in the name of sleep deprivation

Shake The Dust Off Those Sexy PJ’s

Lets face it, being sexy at the end of the day is not a busy mums priority. Especially when you have been running around with a toddler all day long. However if there was ever a time to sexy it up, it would be now. At least you have got it over and done with right??. So why not slip into something a little more appealing compared to the usual yoga pants and hoodie combo to get the sparks going.

SHOP LINGERIE IDEAS

Make it a family tradition.

Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be about the love shared between life partners. It can also be about the love shared with your family. Start a new tradition with your kids and have a Valentine’s Family Meal or Movie Night. Valentine’s Day is about love, and celebrating it with your family is a nice modern spin to this little holiday.

I hope these easy ideas inspire you to have a hassle free Valentine’s Day. I think we will have a Family Valentine’s Meal to celebrate with our little munchkin this year.

What about you?

Share this article

Must Have Organic Baby Products for Baby’s Sensitive Skin

When I first found out I was pregnant I remember walking into boots and stopping by the baby aisle for the first time in my life. Excitement filled my body. All of the cute little accessories and products available for babies sent my head spinning. There were so many products to choose from. How do you know what what to buy? Which ones are best for my baby? So here are my top Organic Baby products that I use on Gabriel

I have always been  “anti chemical ” since a very young age. If you follow this blog, you would know that I use carefully researched Organic and Nasty free Skin & Hair Care. So it was only natural for me to research the products I would be using on my baby. And I am glad i did.

Most people assume that the labels “natural” and “gentle” on product packaging means they are harmless. Especially when it comes to baby products. However as seen in the news recently, this is not the case! Johnson and Johnson were recently scrutinised after using carcinogenic ingredients in their baby shampoo, with medial professionals calling for their products to be boycotted. There has also been some evidence that the use of talc can be a risk for ovarian cancer. Read here Ovarian cancer victim wins $417m payout from Johnson & Johnso

So what products do I use? I always check the labelling and make sure that there is no SLS, parabens or phthalates . I prefer products with ingredients derived from natural sources and the more organic the better.

Check out my top Organic Baby Products I use on Gabriel

Organic Baby Products

BATH TIME :

Kokoso Coconut Oil Balm & Baby Wash

Kokoso is my favourite at the moment. A product designed by a mum for mums. All of their products are made from Organic Coconut Oil and are free from any other nasties. Their Coconut Oil for baby skin is amazing. You can use it as a natural moisturiser after baby’s bath, to sooth baby’s bum and for flaky skin that is often seen in newborns. It is super gentle and leaves Gabriel skin feeling soft and nourished, it also smells amazing!

Organic Baby Products

BURT’S BEES Bubble Bath

For a fun bubble bath, we use Burt’s Bees! I didn’t want to deprive Gabriel from the fun that comes with a Bubble Bath. Unfortunately the majority of bubble bath solutions are made with SLS, so when I found this, I was so happy. He absolutely loves the bubbles and I am assured that it will not dry out or harm his delicate skin.

Organic Baby ProductsOrganic Baby Products

WATERWIPES

These are our number one product. I honestly don’t know what we would do without them. Another product designed by a mum for mums, these are the best baby wipes on the market. Though they are not organic, they are as pure as can be. Most baby wipes contain a huge amount of ingredients including alcohol which can irritate and dry out babies skin. There is a reason why parents are advised to only clean your baby with cotton buds and water for the first 3 months. However with these wipes, you have no worries. There is nothing in them but water and a dash of grapefruit seed extract. Waterwipes may be a bit more expensive than other brands however the benefits are truly worth it.

There you have it! A peek into Gabriel’s toiletry bag!

Check out my post on my Organic Hair Care here.

Share this article

How Taking The Time For Yourself Makes You A Better Mum

This last week was a hard one. I felt like I was failing at this whole mothering thing. In February my son turns two and I am dreading to think that he has not yet reached the infamous terrible twos. His tantrums and constant whining have already started to become epic and the idea that it may get worse from here terrifies me. It terrifies me because parenting a toddler is a lot harder than I had imagined.

Like all mums I love my little boy to bits. I want him to feel loved and secure. I want him to grow up being mentally and emotionally content. However i also want him to be respectful and compassionate. I want to raise a son that is both kind and strong. A person who can think of others as well as himself. Despite my good intentions this road is not an easy one and I have often felt burnt out from the sheer stress.

How Taking The Time For Yourself Makes You A Better Mum

When I was pregnant everyone warned me about how hard it was to have a baby. The sleepless nights, the breastfeeding, the big change it makes in your life. I had always assumed things got easier as the baby got older. Or at least once the baby slept. I was wrong.

Having a new baby is daunting, I totally agree with that. Yes it is an adjustment and sleep deprivation can be a bitch, but I was never as highly strung as I am now. I never questioned myself and my ability to be a good mum like I do now. The thought is constantly in the back of my head. Am I a good mum?

This week things got on top of me. I felt like I was constantly on edge. My husband has been away offshore and my son has been testing my boundaries and limits. Things that should have been pretty straightforward turned into a challenge, and the stress took over me. I yelled more times than I would like to admit this week. I also cried more times than I want to admit. My son was challenging me in ways I didn’t think possible and I was overcome with frustration and mum guilt.

How Taking The Time For Yourself Makes You A Better Mum

I had planned on going out with the girls and I was feeling guilty for wanting it so badly. I was also feeling guilty for leaving someone else to handle his behaviour for the night. Even though the guilt was rising I went anyway. I couldn’t cancel. It was planned months in advance and i wouldn’t get the opportunity again any time soon. So I dropped Gabriel off at his grandparents and came home to get ready. I cranked the music and let the stress out. I took some time to be me. To dress up, have a drink and laugh with some girlfriends. To be a myself again. Not mum, not a wife and not the house keeper.

The next morning I collected my son with a clear head. The previous days stresses had faded and we  could both feel a difference. I handled his tantrums in a calmer manner and his moods were less manic. We played and danced together. Laughed and cuddled. All the things I love doing with my son. Taking some time for myself helped me to be a better mum. Check out my post on how to stop being a frumpy mummy.

No tags

Share this article

How We Got Our Baby To Love Bedtime

It was a lovely evening and we were having a few drinks with friends at our house. Gabriel was his usual show off self, dancing and singing for our guests. As I get up to check on the meal I was preparing. Gabriel comes over and says nigh nigh and then proceeds to wave goodbye to everyone before heading to the stairs. “He wants to go to bed”, I turn and say to my husband. “Ok let’s go”. And with that Lee tucks him in bed and we carry on with our evening peacefully. Gabriel was only 15 months old. This is how we got our baby to love bedtime.

This is a normal night for us, but judging by the reactions from our friends and family. Is isn’t so normal. “I can’t believe he asks you to go to bed” a lot of them were saying. “Whats your secret?”.

It is an age-old question that all parents seem to be desperate to find the answer to. How do I get my baby to sleep at night? I have lost count on how many times this same subject has crept into our many  conversations with other parents. Everybody wants a good nights sleep. We have had our fair share of sleepless nights however we have rarely had trouble putting him to bed. As soon as he knows that it is bedtime he complies and a lot of the time he is the one telling us when he wants to go.

HOW WE GOT OUR BABY TO LOVE BEDTIME

So as requested, here are the techniques we used which made our son to love bedtime

1. Bedtime Routine

In every parenting book the first thing they always say is to have a routine and I tend to agree with them. Having a rough routine in place helps your child understand and predict what is going to happen next. If they already know, then they are less likely to fight it. We started Gabriel on a bedtime routine from 2 months old. Every night at 6:30 he would have a bath, followed by milk and then he was put down to sleep at 7pm. To this day, this is still his routine.

2. Sleep train, Sleep train, Sleep Train

I cannot emphasise this enough. You need to put the work in to reap the rewards. I spent hours teaching Gabriel to fall asleep on his own in his cot using gentle sleep training methods. It was tedious, and time-consuming but I knew that it was necessary. The aim is to teach them to fall asleep on their own without your assistance. The work paid off and from 3 months we could put Gabriel down in his cot and he would put himself to sleep. Pick a method and stick to it. Be consistent and patient and you will start to see it working.

3. Never use the bed or bedroom as a punishment

When Gabriel started to throw some of his epic tantrums my first reaction was to put him in his cot as punishment. I did it twice before I quickly became aware that it was affecting his sleep. What was usually a happy and peaceful place had for a brief moment become a place of despair for Gabriel. I realised that by punishing him in his room I was giving him mixed signals. When he was put to bed he wouldn’t understand if it was bedtime or if he was being punished for something. So my husband and I vowed to never use his room as punishment again. I proceeded to try to make his room a place of fun and peace again. And now it is his happy place again. Make their bedroom a happy place so that they feel that going to bed is a good thing and not a punishment.

4. Code word

Since I was a kid my mother used the term nigh nigh for going to sleep. I used it, my brother used it and so it was only natural that Gabriel used it. From the day he was born I referred to going to sleep as nigh nigh. This innocent little word is now his reference for sleep time and has proven very powerful in getting him to bed. He knows the moment we say ‘Its nigh nigh time’, that he needs to wind down. It was one of the first words he learnt to say and helped us to communicate when he was starting to get tired. Instead of him reaching the overtired stage or us having to guess why he is in a bad mood, he now immediately tells us by saying nigh nigh. Using a consistent and easy word for bedtime can help facilitate communication when you child is still too young to properly talk.

5. Reassurance

For us this is one of the most essential parts of parenting Gabriel. When I started to sleep train, I had decided very early on that I didn’t want to cry it out. At least not until he was a lot older. My view was that I wanted my baby to know that his parents were there and for him to feel safe. I felt that if he felt reassured that mum and dad were there if he needed us, it would give him the confidence to sleep on his own. This went hand in hand with the sleep training I did with him. Though I encouraged him to fall asleep on his own, I always made sure that he knew I wasn’t far away. We continue to use this tactic even now.

You will hit obstacles with sleep regressions, growth spurts and separation anxiety as they get older. However what has always worked for us is consistency and reassurance. I hope this helps

Happy Sleeping

Got an impatient toddler? Check out what worked for us

Disclaimer : This post contains affiliate links

Share this article

How To Deal With An Impatient Toddler

When you first have a child it is human nature to put their needs above all else. I remember feeling like there was nothing more important than my baby. He needed feeding, I would feed on demand. He needed cuddling and comforting, I would drop everything and make sure he knew I was there. However now that he is older his needs are more complex. They are not so much needs per se, but more wants. I have quickly discovered that though the drop everything approach was essential to building my infant sons confidence and trust in his parents, it is not doing him any favours now as a toddler.

There are times in my household where I seriously have to ask myself who is the boss here.  It can feel like we have raised a mini dictator who will have no mercy on us unless we do what he wants.

 

The Rise of Our Mini Dictater

It came to my attention one night after Gabriel’s bath. His routine has always been the same, dinner, bath, bottle then bed. However this time Gabriel had decided that he couldn’t wait the few seconds it took to warm up his bottle. He needed it 5 minutes ago! Little did I know that me giving in to him this one time opened the door to something far worse. My son from then on became hell bent on dominating everything!

It wasn’t just his milk this time, which may I add I have never been able to warm up again since that day. It became him dictating to me when we left the house, when we had dinner, what TV show we had to watch and when we refused?  All hell broke loose. Tantrums because the bath was not filling up fast enough, because he wanted to go downstairs at 5am. Or because he wanted his dinner now even though I told him it is still hot ( I am a horrible mum for not letting him eat his food while it is burning hot!). This child had no patience and we were exhausted.

Time to Nip it in the Bud

How is this happening? My sweet little boy was developing a character, and a fierce one too (Where did he get that from? *cough *cough), and if we didn’t start making boundaries he was going to walk all over us. So we decided it was time to teach him how to be patient. Teach him that he is not the centre of the universe. He is not the boss of this family. He is a member of it. But how were we going to do that?

As ironic as it sounds, it required that Lee and I be patient with him in order to teach him patience. We both set out to explain to Gabriel when he needed to wait and why, and we vowed to not give in no matter what. When he become angry because he wanted his toast now. I would explain that the bread needed to be put in the toaster and we needed to wait for the pop. He now patiently waits for the pop and asks to put the bread in the toaster.We encourage him to play independently at times while explaining why mummy and daddy are busy. To our surprise it he quickly got the memo.

What to do when your toddler is impatient?

At first he resisted and there are still times when giving in feels like the easy option. Trust me, I know there are times when you just do not have the energy and you will do anything for a little peace and quiet. However we knew it would make things harder for us in the long run. We didn’t want him to grow up thinking that everyone everywhere needed to do what he wanted at all times. I am scared to raise a son who would grow up believing that the world revolved around him all because his parents gave in to him his whole life. Check out my post on Helicopter Parenting

 

Better to start earlier rather than later

One thing that has really helped in developing his waiting skills is his Gro Clock. A clock that is used for sleep training toddlers. The sun indicates when it is daytime and the star means it is bedtime. The idea is to teach the child to stay in bed until the sun appears. It has proved wonders with Gabriel. It didn’t take him long to understand the concept and he will now sit and wait for the sun to appear before he calls out to us.

I know that his behaviour is very normal for his age and it is still a work in progress. Parenting will always be a work in progress. However I believe it is necessary for us to start teaching him to be patient and learn to respect others around him sooner rather than later. They understand a lot more than we give them credit for and us nipping it in the bud early on has potentially saved us from a lot of problems in the future.

-SHOP THIS POST-

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Share this article

Helicopter Parenting : When You Should Speak Up And When You Should Shut It

As I browse around a lot of the parenting websites that I often frequent. The term ‘Helicopter Parenting’ has come up quite a lot. At first I thought the term was quite funny and more tongue in cheek about parents who can sometimes be a bit paranoid when it comes to their little darlings. However I quickly learnt that there was a lot more to it than that.

So what is helicopter parenting? The official meaning according to google is a parent who takes an overprotective or excessive interest in the life of their child or children. Said like this, I don’t see what the big issue is. In my view, how other parents wish to raise their kids has nothing to do with me or anyone else but the parents of that child. However Helicopter parenting has evolved somewhat, and is now seen as nosy parents intervening in the raising and/or discipline of other people’s children.

So when is it ok to helicopter parent? and is it ever ok?

I remember when I was in Paris, and I was walking down the street. Down one of the Parisian side streets was a man dragging a young boy down the road into a car while the little boy screamed to the high heavens. At first glance I assumed that the man was the child’s father and that the boy was just throwing a tantrum for some reason or another. I continued to walk until a heavy feeling appeared in my stomach. What if he wasn’t the father? What if I had just witnessed an abduction but had done nothing because I had assumed it was nothing. I felt conflicted.

What was the right thing to do in this situation ? If this was the child’s father and I came in to helicopter over the situation I was surely going to piss him off. And rightly so. I would probably be a bit annoyed if my son was throwing a mega tantrum and some random came over to question what I was doing. But what if there was something sinister happening? How would I live with myself if my fear of upsetting someone and being seen as a nosy bystander stopped me from helping a child in need.

On the other hand there is the extreme of helicopter parenting. I have heard of many a story from fellow mums about nosy do-gooders intervening in things they have no place to intervene. I have heard of a stranger calling the police on a mother that let her pre-teen 12-year-old daughter sit in the car while she ran into the store to buy milk. Or have seen others criticize other parents choice of wipes, toiletries and child snacks to the point of bullying.

So is it ok to helicopter parent?

Thanks to a handful of overzealous parents overstepping the mark there is now a stigma around speaking up when you truly feel you should. I can see both ends. I know as a mother, if someone took it upon themselves to helicopter my child and challenge my parenting choices I would see red. But on the other hand if my child was in trouble, I pray that someone would have the guts to helicopter the situation and help my son.

So should we helicopter parent? If the situation truly has you fearing for the child’s safety. Then HELLYes. It is worth possibly feeling embarrassed for 2 minutes than to realised you could have helped a child when they needed it and didn’t. But if you do not agree with another parents approach to parenting their child and there is no danger to the child. Then butt out! If a parent chooses to let their baby cry it out, go down the attachment parenting route or make their own parenting plan. It is NONE of your business!

There are too many stories of children getting hurt and nobody speaking up because they were scared to be seen as being a busy body. So lets stop helicopter parenting over trivial things, and encourage all of our fellow mummies and daddies to support each other no matter if you agree or disagree with their parenting method and speak up only when a child truly needs a voice!

Check out on my post on when my son burnt his hand under my supervision, despite being a vigilant parent.

 

 

SaveSave

SaveSave

Share this article