#POSTPARTUM LET’S TALK PLACENTAS

#POSTPARTUM LET’S TALK PLACENTAS

This blog post is inspired by a question I got asked on Monday. It might freak some people out so if reading about placentas and the consumption thereof makes your stomach turn, maybe skip to the next blog post. If you are curious about placenta encapsulation, why I did it and if I would recommend it- read on…

NOTE: This probably goes without saying, but my decision to encapsulate my placenta was a personal one and may not be right for you. Please do your own research and speak with your doctor/doula/midwife before making any decisions regarding your health and healthcare.

Ok, so here we go. When I was pregnant with Zoe, I was super scared that I would develop post partum depression as I did with Khloe 3 years prior. It was one hell of an ugly road and I was not prepared to go down there again. I also had health complications during my pregnancy and it made me feel even more anxious. I was really worried on how I am going to cope with two kids and my own company. So I took the decision from a mental and physical stand point.

Why did I decide to do it?

There have been no real studies to this day that can prove that consuming your placenta after birth is going to save you from PND. Placenta encapsulation has gained a lot of traction in the past years but it is not a new practice. It has even part of traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. Placenta encapsulation is said to assist in the alleviation of anxiety and fatigue as well as replace lost iron and nutrients in post parts women. So the “evidence” is largely based on personal experience and historical. Reading this during my research left me feeling a little concerned but as I continued to look into the pros and cons of placenta encapsulation, it became quite clear to me that the possible benefits greatly outweighed the risks, which seemed to center around the fact that encapsulating the placenta seems gross, can be expensive and freaks a lot of people out if you decide to share your decision with others.

But I decided to give it a try,

The benefits of placenta encapsulation appear to be numerous and include:

•Restoration of iron levels in the blood

•Increase in milk production

•Increased energy

•Increased release of the hormone oxytocin, which helps the uterus return to normal size and encourages bonding with the infant

•Increase in CRH, a stress-reducing hormone

•Decreased levels of depression and anxiety

Cons:

  • Limited Research Studies – Unfortunately, there is not a lot of research on placentophagy, and it is difficult to conduct as a research study. In order for a study to be accurate, there needs to be a test group that receives a placenta, and a control group which does not (may receive nothing, or may be told they are receiving a placenta treatment when they are not). Further, participants who choose to consume their own placenta may already be aware of the potential benefits of eating their placenta and may expect them – essentially a self fulfilling prophecy (IE the placebo effect).
  • May Consume Toxins – The placenta acts as a sort of ‘barrier’ between mom and baby, helping the fight of foreign entities that may cause infection. This includes the things that mom knowingly and unknowinglycome into a contact with. One analysis of human placenta showed it to contain mercury, lead and other bacteria.

Still the cons did not stop me.

How did I do it?

I had my placenta encapsulated by a professional who had years of experience as well references.

During my stay at the hospital, my doctor and nurses were aware that I wanted to keep my placenta to have it encapsulated and after delivery, my placenta it was stored for me at the hospital and was given to my doula to encapsulate. I received my capsules with detailed instructions the following day from her at the hospital.

A quick note: At many hospitals, your doctor must sign a medical release form to allow you to bring your placenta home while some hospitals consider the placenta bio hazardous waste and will not allow the placenta to be released to the patient, so definitely discuss this with your doctor ahead of time so you don’t get a surprise!

The process:

The doula dehydrated the placenta, ground the placenta down to a fine powder and placed it into capsules. The placenta often yields between 100 and 200 capsules and the number of pills consumed daily will vary.

Ok, how much did it cost?

Prices for Placenta encapsulation varies. I paid for mine in advance when she was running a special. It can cost from R1500 to R3500 for the process.

Did it work and would I do it again?

It most definitely worked for me. I was a lot calmer and less anxious. I had no problems in regards to my milk coming in and that was really important to me as I wanted to breastfeed. I was also less tired than with Khloe and I was honestly surprised how good I felt despite having a prem infant nursing every two hours. I still had some highs and lows (that is normal) but nothing compared to what I went through the first time. But I felt good physically and emotionally.

Do I think this had to do with consuming my placenta? I have no idea… But I will absolutely do it again if it can have even the slightest positive effect on me physically and mentally after giving birth.

#MOMLIFE WHAT NOT TO SAY TO A MOM

#MOMLIFE WHAT NOT TO SAY TO A MOM

1. ‘You look tired!’

So would you if you hadn’t slept for a couple of months (in my case YEARS!). Also, don’t talk about your own interrupted afternoon nap if you like being alive.

2. ‘Wait until they’re a toddler/pre-teen/teenager!’

Pensioners don’t walk up to you saying “wait until you pee your pants/ can’t walk or get dementia.” So, why do people think it is okay to tell me that things are going to get worse as they get older? Go to hell- I will be the judge of that.

3. Anything about how they should feed their child

Some women breastfeed. Some women don’t. Some kids eat veggies (like Khloe) and some kids you have to liquidise it to a pulp (so Zoe can’t spot it). What I feed my child is none of your business. So if my child takes the same lunch for the past 3 years to school and she decides to be super healthy- let her be.

4. ‘When are you going to have another one?’

When I got out of hospital and could barely walk, some people thought of asking me that. NO- No more kids. I never wanted a boy so NO, I am not trying for another one. I am not going to end up with a netball team just because society thinks I should have a boy.

5. ‘Oh, I’m so sorry.’

Some babies are born with conditions that might limit what they can do in later life, but that doesn’t mean their arrival isn’t a joyous event or that their parents shouldn’t be congratulated. Save your sympathy. Same goes for premature babies- yes, it is tough on us moms but please keep the sympathy.

6. ‘She’s probably hungry/overtired/dirty…’

This one is a favourite of women in supermarkets when they see somebody’s baby kicking off. The only reason they don’t end up face first in the freezer is because I don’t have the energy to shove them in. No, she is just being naughty. Please leave me alone. NOW!

7. ‘Was it planned?’

Don’t. Just… don’t. You suck if you say things like that.

8. ‘Remember to sleep when the baby does.’

Oh, really? Sleep when the baby does! What a fantastic idea! And maybe I would if it wasn’t for all the washing and cleaning and people popping round when the baby’s asleep to tell me how important it is to sleep when the baby’s asleep.

9. Anything about losing the baby weight

It takes time for a post-natal tummy to return to its original dimensions (if ever!). It’s not something  I want to think about or talk about.

10. ‘When our kids were little we didn’t bother with any of that stuff.’

So what? I don’t care. I could not have survived without a Medela maxi breast pump/ Woven wraps/ Avent Variable Flow bottles.

11.  Anything about the baby’s appearance

He or she may have a giant head, crossed eyes and Donald Trump’s hair. It doesn’t matter. The only acceptable words to use about new babies are words such as ‘beautiful’ and ‘gorgeous. You don’t EVER comment on skin tone- my personal favourite was “she is so white for a mixed race baby” Yeah- swear that happened!

12. ‘Make sure you enjoy every moment!’

What, the moment when you open a nappy that appears to contain the Devil’s droppings? The moment in the middle of a sleepless night when baby starts screaming yet again? The moment when you want to kick a well-meaning pal where the sun doesn’t shine for saying something monumentally stupid about a really tough period of your life?

But other than this, be kind, be nice and THINK before you speak.

Peace out!

#MOMLIFE PARENTING ADVICE

#MOMLIFE PARENTING ADVICE

I became a parent in 2012. It was the scariest but also most amazing moment of my life.

But it’s also gotten…well, complicated.

It’s just not easy to be a parent nowadays. We have to figure out what rules, guidelines, and boundaries work for our family. There seems to be this invisible standard that we must reach — an invisible line of tape that we must run through at the end of every day, a long list of boxes to check to make sure that we’ve achieved “good parent” status.

Where does this come from? Well, it is mostly in our minds (and Pinterest) I believe. But there’s also the people who love to interject their sometimes solicited and sometimes unsolicited opinions and advice.There is the pressure from the media. (Please don’t follow yoga instructors on Instagram whilest post partum with a c-section)

There are people who just have a million questions for you, which of course totally make you second guess if you are “doing it right.” What is “right” anyways?

“You are using cloth diapers only, right?” No, not yet, she was born way to early and I can’t get the crap to fit. (Someone should have warned me about OSFM!)

“You know, making your own baby food is much better for the baby than any of that chemical containing, store bought crap in a jar.” True, but currently while on maternity leave I work 12 hours a day. Writing. And that takes up a lot of my time.

“Oh, I’m so glad to hear that you plan to EBF.” (Exclusively breastfeed — see, I’m starting to get the lingo down!) Me too. I have a baby glued to my boob in a wrap in the dead of winter trying to reach my laptop keys

“You should only let your child have X amount of screen time. You do know that, right?” Yes, are you volunteering to watch my 3 year old while I try and breastfeed or bath?

“Oh, you are only going to take that much time off for maternity leave?” Yes, 8 weeks is enough for me. Thanks.

“You really should put her in a creche. This study has shown it to be better for your baby to be around other kids in a daycare setting.” Why the hell would I do that?! My mother in law (AWESOME lady that she is) will be looking after Zoe.

Vaccinations. Enough said.

Honestly, I could go on forever.

So this is my truth that I’ve come to: We don’t always get it right, but it’s our experience to live and learn, and then adapt, making any changes we as parents feel are necessary. Being a parent is hard. And sometimes it is super hard.

Just when you think you know your kids and what makes them tick, they grow and their interests change. Suddenly, what they liked last week they dislike this week.

So we try our best. We get knocked down (sometimes it feels like more often than others) but we pull ourselves back up, asking, “What can I learn from this situation? How can our family function at the highest level possible?” We cut out the negative chatter in our own minds as well as those who love to “suggestively parent.”

We take up a confidence within ourselves as parents, knowing that whatever decisions we make, we make with our family and children’s best interest at heart. We take experiences that we have personally learned from in our childhood and adjust our parenting to make our children’s more enjoyable and healthier than ours was. This is the goal of every good parent, right?

Too often, we seek outside validation of our personal growth and lean on others’ opinions of us to nurture our self-esteem. They are many naysayers out there, and unfortunately, some of them may be your best friends or even blood-related family. In this journey, the one thing we have learned absolutely is that none of that matters. I believe that there is only one opinion that truly matters anyway, and not one human being can give that.

At the end of every day, we have to face ourselves in the mirror knowing that we have tried our best — for that day, because it’s always one day at a time. If our answer is no, that’s okay too because if we are lucky enough, we will have another “today” when we wake up in the morning. Remember that every parent has bad days, and it most definitely does not mean that you are a bad parent.

So be easy on yourself. Smile at the miracle that your body is creating or has created. Rub that ginormous miracle of a belly that is causing you to lose sleep and pee every 13 minutes as well as losing any sense of balance. Listen to your body, and especially to that little voice deep inside. I promise there are no guidebooks that will lead you into this journey of parenting feeling fully equipped, but if you listen to that voice you will always be led in the right direction for you.

This morning I woke up with this quote in my head (I’ll get to it in just a minute). I think I read it on Pinterest sometime in the past couple of years while typing in “how to be a good parent.” This journey of self-discovery, especially in the past 22 months, has taught me to never do that again, but I did come across something pretty awesome.

This journey is yours. It is about putting on the earmuffs to block out anything that does not serve you (sometimes including your own thoughts). It’s about being guided by that internal voice that will always tell you which direction to turn if you are still and listen.

About 200,000 years of modern human evolution has been preparing you just for this moment. You are well-equipped to do this, taking whatever advice rings true to your soul and disregarding the rest.

“The days are long, but the years are short.” So enjoy it and stop stressing about how you will reach that invisible ceiling of “perfect parent” status — starting now.

 

#MOMLIFE MY BIRTH STORY WITH Z

#MOMLIFE MY BIRTH STORY WITH Z

Right from the start I knew I wanted my birth to be as natural as possible. I educated myself. Worked at it. Saw a midwife. Already met up with a doula. I planned to own it. I read numerous articles and books on natural child birth. Did pre-natal Yoga. I promised myself this was going to be different.

But as usual life had other plans.

The news came at 35 weeks that I need to have an emergency c-section. After a week of fetal monitoring, not sleeping and trying to get to 10 kicks a day. I cried. I was scared. This is not how it was suppose to happen. I was angry and unprepared, but I had no choice but to have surgery if I wanted her to live. And that is not a hard choice to make.

She was born screaming. Alive. Teeny tiny preemie baby that did not even fit in newborn Huggies. Fast forward- I recovered quickly after the surgery. I thought I was okay with having a c-section until about six months post partum when I started to feel the emotional strain. My birth felt chaotic, out of control and downright scary. And it was hard to remember the small details of what happened.

I felt like I failed at giving birth because I had a c-section- especially because I wanted to have a VBAC so badly. In a way I think it was for selfish reasons because I wanted a do-over. I wanted to try again. Every time I looked at my scar I would feel upset.I did not want to touch it. I know little Zoe came out of there and I should be thankful, but I was not. I always had this feeling at the pit of my stomach that I had failed.

Have you ever heard of birth trauma? Many people do not know that it exist, but moms can be traumatized by bad birth experiences. And I believe it is important for us moms to open up and talk about this.

I believe that we should be allowed to feel every feeling in the book- from the happy ones to the ones you wish you could forget. Sometimes our bodies don’t always do what we want the to do. Zoe is 2 now and I still think about it sometimes. It is natural to have feelings of sorrow following an emergency c-section. It will get easier, so I am told.

And do not ever compare your birth experience to those of others- comparison is the thief of joy. And sometimes you will struggle to love your body. But then just have a look at the beautiful person you created. And then you can’t help to feel thankful for what is left over from that experience, your c-section scar, your stretch marks and all of that. Your body was the temple that housed a tiny person until it was ready for this world. It held them until you could hold them in your arms.

By doing that you will realize that your scars are a reminder of everything your body has done for your children.

And that makes it all a little bit easier.

Love and Light

xoxo

#MOMLIFE: LETTER TO THE DEPRESSED MOM

#MOMLIFE: LETTER TO THE DEPRESSED MOM

It’s okay.

It is okay if you are sitting at work right now staring blankly at your screen. It is ok if you are at home curled up in a ball- looking but not seeing. Trying not to feel. Empty. Tired. Overwhelmed.

It is okay if the only thing you did today was trying to figure out where you fit into the universe. You think that almost everyone around you has figured out theirs, and you’re just there, trying to survive… They all seem to have it together.

I know you’re just scared. You’re scared because you think you’re never good enough. You’re scared because you see other moms already doing well and you’re not even halfway good. You feel like you are not coping. You’re scared because you think about what others will say about you. You’re scared to end up failing. You’re scared that once they see how much of a failure you are, people will start to leave you, even those who once believed in you. You’re scared, and I understand.

But let me tell you this: You’ll make it. I swear, you will.

So if you feel like crying right now, it’s okay, go ahead and cry. I know you feel like a mess at this moment, but hey, everyone messes up sometimes. We all have our off days (and sometimes months and years on end).  It’s okay to feel lost. Because I know you’ll eventually find your way out. It’s okay if right now you feel like you’re not the person you’re supposed to be, because I know that you’ll figure it out one day. It just takes time, please be kind and patient with yourself.

It’s okay if you feel like you’ve failed yourself and your children a lot of times already. One day, after all the tries and failures and cries, you’ll finally make it. And you’ll see that the people who love you never lost their faith in you.

I am asking you to not give up—never. Your heart may feel heavy and bruised right now and your mind may have thousands of thoughts inside running endlessly, but you have to keep going. You have to, no matter how scary and much of a struggle it may be.

I am proud that you found the strength to read this because that means that you’re trying to tell yourself that you can do this through all of these words. So if there are times that you feel like you’re about to just turn around and give it all up, remember this: You are not a failure. You are on your way. You’ll be proud of yourself someday.

You are nothing less than the stars.

With all my love,

H

#MOMLIFE: STOP FEELING OVERWHELMED

#MOMLIFE: STOP FEELING OVERWHELMED

Despite what most people seem to think (am I the only one whose friends/ husband think running a business/ being a doula means I sit in my pajamas all day eating cookies and play on Facebook and waiting for my call out…), being a business owner often means super long hours, crazy stress, and never-ending to-do lists.

Because I also happen to have a family, it means I’m constantly being pulled in different directions, while attempting to juggle being the best mom ever (hehe, we all know how that is going!), with making my husband feel important (husbands seem to like that), and managing the gazillion moving parts of my business. I won’t get into being a good friend, or a daughter, or a woman that enjoys gardening, or a responsible dog owner. (Come visit my house and see my out of control Doberman!)

Sometimes the enormity of all the things I need to do in a day, and all the things other people think I should do in a day (hello dad!) is enough to make me want to give in to the overwhelm and hide in my office all day, ignoring my responsibilities completely. I want to switch off my phone.

Inner chaos creates outer chaos, so when I’m feeling overwhelmed it can be impossible to get anything done. I become totally useless actually.

A while back I decided that I simply couldn’t live in a constant state of overwhelm anymore, so I made some changes and I can happily say my days usually feel less frazzled. (except for this week- it has been exceptionally challenging)

Are you dying to stop the constant struggle and begin attacking your business or life like a boss? It starts with giving that overwhelm feeling the boot.

Ok… This is what I did.

1.Think about your priorities

Evaluating how you spend your time can be an eye opening exercise in holy crap, I had no idea that took up so much of my time, allowing you to essentially add more hours to your day. Start by making a list of what I like to call your non-negotiables. The things that, no matter what, are your top priories, and be specific! Don’t just say things like family, work, friends, because those are such blanket statements! Be clear on the why behind each priority.

Now that you have your non-negotiables figured out, begin making choices based on if things will help you improve or enrich those priorities.

Keep in mind, just because something could be viewed as a potential time suck, doesn’t mean it has to be cut out, for example- my 84 year old ouma means the world to me, and I spend about an hour with her on a Thursday. An hour! Seems like a total waste, right? But for me family is a top priority. Yes, in that hour I could have phoned clients, write and article, done research… but seeing her is not something I will compromise on. Because our relationship is really important to me.

2.When you say “yes”, be all in

Often overwhelm comes from feeling like we’re being pulled in 50 directions. You’re trying to work on your website/ blog/ answer emails, but your partner wants you to watch the kids, your friends are texting you, and a client just tried to phone you.

For me, overwhelm also creeps in when I know I’m neglecting a priority. When I’m playing Duplo with my daughters, but keep checking emails, and telling them to hold on, I feel really bad. Life isn’t enjoyable when you’re always giving half of yourself to everything you’re doing.

So, focus on being all in whenever you say yes to something. If you’re going to take your kids for ice cream, leave your phone in the boot of the car. When you and your partner go out to dinner, be in the moment and don’t talk work. If you’ve carved out an hour to work on a new blog post/ article, close all your other tabs, turn off the TV, and do not allow anything to disturb you until that hour is up. Set alarms on your phone if you need to.

By living in the moment and giving things your undivided attention, not only will you get more done, faster, but you’ll feel GOOD. And that is the whole point of this.

Whatever you’re doing, aim to give it 100% and do it with purpose, creativity, love, and laser-like focus!

3.Say “no” to things that aren’t a good fit

Hard part alert… That two letter word needs to become your BFF. If someone asks you to do something that you know doesn’t align with your top priorities, and you know your schedule would feel overwhelming if you said yes, don’t do it!

You can just say “That sounds great, but I just can’t do that right now” and be done! People don’t need explanations. You’re not a horrible person if you can’t go to your cousin’s kids birthday party, or drinks with a friend, or because you don’t have the time to go feed your neighbors bearded dragon twice a day for a week while they are on holiday.

If you’re not sure on the spot, say let me think about that and get back to you. This has made a giant difference in my life, because now I glance at my schedule and can really decide if adding something to my plate would be the best idea. Gone are the days of trying to hit three birthday parties, and a potjie, and a doop all in one weekend. Those are the worst!  That makes me hate life! You plan all these fun things, but when they’re all crammed together they all feel more like chores. Now I pick one place to go, I park it there, enjoy the company, and don’t feel like we’re spending the whole time staring at the clock to ensure we get to our next destination on time.

This is especially helpful for work related opportunities! If someone asks me to do something, but their business has nothing to do with mine (industrial marketing) and their ideal clients are so not the same as my own, and I’m already swamped as is, I say no. Even though saying yes feels like the right thing to do. Despite the fact that I want people to like me and think I’m so nice and helpful. If I did the job, I’d be spending an average of 3 hours preparing, and and then doing the job, and going back over it million times to see if it is 100%. And all of this instead of getting my own work up to date.….Saying yes to things that aren’t aligned with your priorities means you’re inadvertently saying no to something that is.

It would be nice if we could just spend our days doing what we love, and ditch the rest, but truth is every day there will be things on your to do list that, even though they DO fit with your priorities, they’re not enjoyable. Like for me walking the deviant Doberman.

Here are a few of my favorite ways to work smarter, not harder

1.Create a Schedule

When you have a clear schedule to stick to, things can get done much more effectively!

2.Automation and Outsourcing

Example- instead of sitting down every Monday to write a new email to your list, write several and load them into an automated email system like MailChimp, so they can be sending out behind the scenes every Monday morning, even when you’re at yoga, or are in a meeting, or are stuck in traffic. Make a list of things you can outsource (in my case: some work stuff, research, dog training, website updates, copy writing, cleaning, etc.) and begin focusing more intentionally on the things you love.

3.Prioritize Your Lists

I’m a to do list freak, and it used to make me feel horrible when things didn’t get done. Now, I label each thing in order of importance so I can be sure to get the important things done first. There Evernote can help a lot.

4.Create Office Hours, and Tell Everyone About Them

When you run a business, the line between work and home life can blend. By creating office hours and sticking to them, not only will you free up your time so that you’re not always frantic and feeling at the mercy of your business, but the people you deal with for your business (blog readers, clients, customers, whoever!) will respect your time and have reasonable expectations. I have office hours listed on my Facebook page and website, and set an out of office response every evening and on the weekends so that people know not to expect to hear from me during my off hours.

5.Be the Boss, and the Worker Bee

When you’re wearing your boss hat, and are setting deadlines and making goals, be fierce. Don’t get lax with your deadlines, because there’s not anyone holding you accountable. When you’re your own boss it can be easy to push things aside, and getting sidetracked is a constant struggle. Don’t fall into the trap! Understand when it’s time to be the boss, and when it’s time to be the worker, and get things done.

There’s no magic spell for getting it all together, or giving overwhelm “I am swamped” feeling the goodbye, but by focusing on your priorities and the why behind each of them, it will make designing your business (and your life!) around those things so much easier!

If you have any tips to share, please do 🙂

#MOMLIFE THE MOM HOSPITAL

#MOMLIFE THE MOM HOSPITAL

As a doula and the owner of a digital advertising agency, I never really unplug- ever. And in all honesty I prefer it like that. When I am on my once a year vacation in December, I cart my laptop with so I don’t get to far behind on my emails. It is not weird over weekends for me to have a quick phone strategy with a client Unplugging is simply not an option. Sigh.

I’m not the only nut job working mom. We are everywhere. Today I met up with two friends at an expo and realized that. We are all stressed out. Stressed out with no way to turn it off. We think about our kids all the time when we at work and when we home we stress about work.

Until now. That’s right, my latest gazillion rand idea is going to solve this problem. For each and every mom. It will help us disconnect so we can finally recharge our batteries.

This idea was born out of a conversation I had today. I heard of a client going to hospital for 3 weeks. And after the initial sadness of shame, hope she is going to be okay, I was thinking- hell! Wish I could go there for 3 weeks. (Ok- minus the hip replacement surgery)

So my idea will be called the mom hospital. Yes, you read it right. You will be sent there to recharge your batteries, watch Netflix and series, and perhaps if you want to gain tools to help you simplify your life.

The place will be in a forest where you can meditate and there will be compulsory spa treatments.

Only one thing- all phones, laptops and tablets will be confiscated. No social media managing for clients, no website updates at night, no articles to write and no Google AdWords to set up or maintained.

Moms will probably have to spend 24-72 hours detoxing from not being able to know at all times what and how their families are doing without them. Once patients have demonstrated that they have all the mom anxiety cleansed from their system they’d be given their own lovely room and then the real work would begin. Moms would start each day with a yoga and meditation session to energize and center themselves. Following yoga would be an insanely delicious healthy breakfast that did not require a single mother to plan, make or clean up.

Afterwards they’d move into some group sessions during the day where they’d talk through topics such as: working-life balance is it a myth, stay-at-home moms are not the enemy, your children will fail and why you should let them, your value is not directly tied to the cleanliness of your home, moving past the guilt of working late, how to reconnect with your significant other over more than your children, and letting your children eat MacDonalds doesn’t make you a bad mom.

In the afternoon moms would have a choice of taking advantage of a spa service. Hair salon treatments, Facials, Mani’s and Pedi’s and Massages- sounds like heaven, right?

There will be a happy hour where you can sit and sip on a cocktail or a cup of hot tea and the appetizers will be delicious and nearly calorie free…

Prior to bedtime women can do such selfish things as take a bath, read a book, or watch their favorite TV shows uninterrupted.

A girl can dream, right?

But right now I need to finish a campaign schedule before the BIG MOVE tomorrow!

#MOMLIFE CLOTH DIAPERING 101

#MOMLIFE CLOTH DIAPERING 101

Cloth diapering. Isn’t that something that hippies who don’t shave their armpits do?

I use to think that with my first born. But it is not… Promise. I shave my armpits and my legs…

Soon in my journey of natural parenting I saw that not everyone is too keen or thrilled at the idea of cloth diapering.  At my baby shower, I could tell that most people thought that I finally lost it. Many of the older ladies there thought that I was going to be folding flats and using those plastic covers, (I did in the beginning as Zoe was super tiny) and be washing poop diapers from morning until sunset.

But many people missed the evolution of cloth diapers. So hello modern cloth diapers! The diapers I use is super easy to clean, come in cute prints and have a waterproof layer in them. Smart? For sure! And add the amount of money we are saving on diapers and it’s a win-win for our family.

So why cloth diaper?

For me, simply put, I like cloth diapering for a lot of reasons:

– It saves loads of money  and is better for the environment
– It keeps chemical-laden products off of my baby’s sensitive areas
– It’s not much more work than disposable diapers
– I personally love the way they look. Hello pretty prints!

But it is not for everyone.

I get the sense there is a little pride among cloth diapering moms. I’m not like that. As with any parenting choice a mom makes, we should strive to not be legalistic. Just because it works great for one mom doesn’t mean it is the best choice for every mom. In fact, I didn’t even start using our cloth diapers until Zoe was a month old. Why? Because OSFM (one size fits most) does not fit prem babies!

Brands and how many?

I am a AIO girl as I am as lazy as hell… Lol! But most of my stash now is AIO’s and pocket nappies as I can stuff the pockets with hemp inserts to accommodate my heavy wetter.  And the occasional  WAHM nappy too.

As far as how many to get…well, it’s really up to you and how often you want to do laundry.  You could get by with 20 starting off doing laundry every other day when you have a newborn, but I didn’t want to do laundry that often. I have around 24 now and that is MORE than enough. We’d probably do fine with 15 or 16. I do a load every other night after she goes to bed. But Zoe is a toddler now and uses less diapers

Another point worth mentioning is that we don’t use cloth diapers 100% of the time. When I travel, we use disposables. When she visits my mom for a weekend, we give them the option of using disposables or the cloth stash. When I have an insane week at work I use disposables on her.  Make it work with your family, life, and schedule. No judgment!

Ok cool, how do you wash these things?

This is probably the most common concern when it comes to cloth diapers. I know it was mine, especially pre-baby when you aren’t used to getting your hands a little dirty. Here’s the deal: Every cloth diapering mom has their method and opinions on this subject. Different methods work better for different moms and babies. It takes some trial and error before you get in your own groove with it all.

Before we introduced solids, my daughter was on 95% breastmilk. We rinsed the poops off of the diapers, unstuffed the diaper (pull the insert out) and dumped it into the dirty diaper bag for washing later.

When solids entered the picture, that all changed. Here are two options:

1) Use a diaper sprayer

When there is a solid in the diaper, simple take it to the toilet, fling it in there and rinse with a diaper sprayer. It takes a little practice to get the technique down to where you don’t spray any water OUT of the toilet but once you get the hang of it, it really isn’t that hard. (You can get yours at Fluffbums!)

2) Use flushable liners.

I have been using these for nearly 2 years now. Just make a 100% sure they are flushable. Otherwise you WILL end up with blocked drains! You can buy these in rolls of 100 or more. They are like a dryer sheet that allows moisture to pass through but serves as a filter for solids. So when your baby does poop, you can just peel off the liner and dump it all in the toilet. I also like that you flush the poo so you don’t have any stink in your room. Occasionally, the liner won’t catch all of the goodies so it’s nice to have a diaper sprayer as an alternative option.

As far as washing goes, we currently do a load of diapers every other night. This works pretty well for us.

Here’s my recommended process:

1) Run a rinse cycle with cold water, no detergent. This gets all the yuck dissolved and out of the way before the real wash.

2) Run a wash cycle with warm water (longest cycle) and cold rinse with detergent.  I use 2 Ariel capsules in a full load.

3) Rinse again with cold water to make sure all the soap is out.

3) Tumble dry on LOW or air dry. Sun drying the diapers actually helps prevent stink AND helps prevent any staining.

So these are my little tricks of the trade. What is yours?

#MOMDIARIES THE MOMMY BURNOUT

#MOMDIARIES THE MOMMY BURNOUT

We all have one or two (or in my case, more) bad habits that we constantly find ourselves doing when we could be doing more productive, enjoyable things. I’m talking here about things that really don’t need to be done as much as we do them. But, we feel obligated and required to do them. It is like we are on autopilot.

Of course, we’ve created this internal expectation of ourselves. Thanks to Pinterest mom syndrome, busy mom syndrome and trying to be everything to everyone. And it is tiring.

And all of this creates busyness. And since we’re trying to #BanBusy from our family lives, it’s time to kick some bad habits and I’m totally at fault for some of these myself at times, particularly when I’m tired — especially when I’m tired.

Feeling exhausted just seems to breed more tired behaviors and bad habits.

And so instead of sleeping, I fight sleep and I have these weird habits that only make me feel more tired and more overwhelmed. Rather than rested and ready to rock the world. And all of this leads to more and more mom burnout for me, not less.

Bad habits are formed almost without effort. And yet those same bad habits are eating up our hours, leaving us wondering where all of our time went today. Like sitting staring at your laptop and realizing it is 11pm and you did pretty much nothing since the kids went to bed.

The trick, of course, is learning new habits to replace the bad ones. So here are some of my favorite bad ones in particular:

  1. Checking your email every time it pops into your inbox. I formed this really super bad habit a while ago- as soon as I get home from work I switch on my laptop on the kitchen counter while I am cooking. So I decided from the 1st of August I am not doing that anymore. So far, so good.
  2. Cleaning everything all day. (That is me on weekends- it is like I am obsessed!)
  3. Worrying about things you cannot control.
  4. Reading your Facebook feed when bored or tired.
  5. Not getting enough sleep. I can function on 3 hours sleep- that much I know as I like to get up at 2am to work- it is nice and quiet and I can work in peace. Good idea? No. I am pretty sure that eventually it will take a toll on your health.
  6. Waking up too late and pressing the snooze button. Rather go to bed a bit earlier and stop with the snooze button!
  7. Filling your calendar with too much to-dos. I am super busy and at least 50% of the nonsense can be cut out if I say no.
  8. Expecting too much from a single day. You are a mom. Not a super being.
  9. Juggling multiple things at once. By multi tasking you become less effective. It is a proven fact. Set out do-able goals of the day, achieve them and feel empowered.
  10. Forgetting to do the important things first. Yup- me too!
  11. Waking up and checking email/ Facebook/ Twitter first.
  12. Going to bed with your phone or other device.
  13. Sitting all day at the computer not getting a little bit of Vitamin D.
  14. Looking at a device more than those you love. Have a no phone time. Mine is from 4pm until 7pm. In that time I switch it on silent and enjoy real life.
  15. Putting off little things for so long they add up to become big things.
  16. Forget to schedule time for relaxing and fun.
  17. Rushing through every single moment. I am always in a hurry because my days are too full. I know I need to slow down.
  18. Not really listening to those around you. Look your child in the eye when they talk to you. Really pay attention to them.
  19. Saying yes to everyone but yourself.
  20. Not knowing how to say no. That is the hardest one for me personally as I love to help people and want to see everyone happy. But by being more invested in their happiness and success it leaves me feeling empty. And I need to find a way to be a little less invested and start focussing more on my happiness. Easy? Hell no. But worth a try,

I really hope this helps someone out there. Do you also feel super tired and overwhelmed? Try this list and let me know how it went.

#MOMDIARIES: I’M DONE BEING BUSY…

#MOMDIARIES: I’M DONE BEING BUSY…

Last night I was messing around on Pinterest because hey! I’m a boring 30-something mom and that’s what I do when I lie in bed. Which, by the way, is every night, meaning that I’ve developed a bit of a Pinterest habit, among other things (my  insomnia-beating arsenal includes such soothing activities as: watching documentaries on Netflix, writing down essential oil remedies, reading posts on Mamahood Gauteng and commenting things on there, and sending late night emails to my clients. Anyway, I was happily scrolling through pictures of pretty vegetable gardens, beautiful kid bedrooms and motivational quotes (example: a gorgeous mountain at sunset with DON’T GIVE UP, THE BEST IS YET TO COME scrawled across it in white letters) when I came across this:

“STOP THE GLORIFICATION OF BUSY!”

WTF?

I had one of those moments where I was like, “oh, what?!.” And then I was like, “This makes so much sense!.” And then I had this epiphany and mixed feelings that I’ve been trying to untangle ever since. (And that was at 9:30pm)

Busy is how I keep myself from having enough time to think the thoughts that might completely derail my day.

Busy is how I distract my mind from the refrain of you’re not good enough, you’re not trying hard enough, you better make it in life because juffrou Venter said you won’t, admit all the traumatic things that happened the past 10 years.  

Busy is word that I hold over my head like some French guillotine, as in: you’re not busy enough, you should be doing more!

Busy is the first thing I think of when I wake up – will I be busy today? Will I get enough done? Will I accomplish everything that I have to do?

Busy is the last thing I think about before I finally drift off – Am I satisfied with my day?

Busy is my anxiety-charged brain, either leapfrogging from one thought to the next, stringing together conclusions so quickly that I can hardly focus, or else fixating on one idea and spinning it over and over, like a cut on your finger you can’t stop touching.

The glorification of busy is the reason that I struggle so hard to relax – because I’ve never feel really, truly been busy enough during the day to deserve a rest. I sometimes ask myself what “busy enough” would look like, and I can never seem to come up with a solid answer. I tell myself that “busy enough” or “accomplished enough” is just something that I would intuitively feel once I’ve reached that goal post. But I never feel it, so I always have to assume that it’s just another day of not doing enough.

The glorification of busy is why I’m sitting here in my consultation room, writing a blog post because I feel like I just haven’t satisfied my daily requirement of  getting things done. Never mind that I’m supposed to be studying.  I tried that. It didn’t feel good; instead, it felt like I was wasting precious time during which I could have been doing something important, like maybe memorising the periodic table.- JOKE! (And we know that will never happen!)

We live in a culture that praises “busy” as the best thing a person can be – both in terms of employment and personal life. We’re encouraged to cram as many experiences and events and accomplishments into a 24 hour period as possible – and then we’re encouraged to share our interpretation of those experiences, via Instagram pictures and  Facebook updates, in as close to real-time as possible. Even when you’re relaxing or having fun, you’re still often tapping into that busy mindset. “Am I sufficiently relaxed? Should I be having more fun? What can I do to optimize this experience? If I’m not feeling good, is that because I’m just not trying hard enough?”

And while I would on the one hand argue that staying busy is sometimes what stops me from having a full on meltdown in the middle of the day, I would also say that living in a culture that promotes “busy” as the ideal has for sure shaped my ideas of how to handle the sick panic of repetitive thoughts or sharp flashes of fear that set fire to my nerves. If I didn’t live in a society that glorifies busy, would my response to anxiety be to immediately throw myself into some type or work or another? If I didn’t think that busy was the be-all-and-end-all would I maybe take a few deep breaths and try to slow my thoughts instead of crushing them with other, different, faster thoughts?

I’m done being busy.

Im done with the fact that I crave busy as a way to block out all the other things that’s going on in my head.

I’m done being on our community RA.

I’m done with politics.

I am tired of the impact that busy has had on my ability to zone out, to shift gears, to slow down and enjoy myself.

To hell with updating statuses about how much fun I’m having when all I can think about is what I’m doing next, and then next, and then next.

 

I am divorcing the sense of dread that I have when faced with a day full of empty, unplanned hours.

 

I just want to learn how to shut off the busy voice in my head for five minutes. I just want to know what quiet is like. I just want to close my eyes at the end of the day and sleep without having to Pinterest myself into an exhausted state.

Bye bye busy!

I am setting myself free.