Thursday, January 27, 2011

10 tips for avoiding Mother Guilt


I have been a mother for 12 years now. 
Mother guilt is something that I have personally struggled with for years. 
I no longer face this mother guilt battle and here are a few lessons I have learned:

1. Give yourself TIME - When a newborn baby is placed in your arms or you have motherhood thrust upon you from a different situation, you are not expected to be an expert immediately. There is no motherhood handbook that holds all the answers for what is best for you and your family. It takes time to learn mothering skills, to develop love, to know and understand a child who is in your care and to gain experience of what works and what doesn't. This is done over many days and many sleepless nights. It is a journey that you are learning together. Slow down and enjoy it!

2. Trust your own HEART - When it comes to your children and your family, YOU are the one who knows what choices are good, better and best. You know deep down in your heart what path to take, what your own personal and family desires are and what great hopes and dreams you have for your children. No-one else will love them the way you do and you are blessed with the gift of instincts to lead you each day as you prepare and raise your children the best way you can.

3. Have a REALISTIC PERSPECTIVE - No mother is perfect. Many mothers may look perfect and act like they are perfect, but no mother really IS perfect. In this challenging journey of motherhood having a realistic vision of what you can achieve individually and as a family will give you peace of mind and help you reach a standard of living that will bring happiness and contentment. Having a good perspective of motherhood is healthy and will ease your mind of unnecessary worry.

4. Know you will make MISTAKES - Being a mother is a roller coaster ride. There are low's and high's. The mother guilt lows can be very depressing and the highs can be totally uplifting. Knowing that you will make mistakes on this lifetime ride, and so will your children, will allow you to forgive yourself, let go and move forward towards being a better, more educated and experienced mother. It is not easy raising children and knowing that all mothers make mistakes is comforting and brings relief!

5. Give yourself PRAISE - As a mother we are doing a great work within the walls of our homes. We are helping to raise wonderful cherubs who we love dearly and often do this under stressful circumstances and with very little sleep. Often we forget to praise ourselves for our efforts and to give ourselves a break. We forget to tell ourselves how wonderful we are, what an awesome woman we are and that we are doing a sensational job raising our children. When our children say 'I love you mummy', do we stop to think about just how wonderful the woman is that they are loving?

6. Have a sense of HUMOUR - Often when I am feeling like I have not done the best I could or it has all fallen apart around our home - I have found it is the perfect moment for having a good laugh. Many days the choice comes down to crying my eyes out or laughing my head off. The times when I have chosen to laugh have been some of my best memories. The children have joined in and we have turned a somewhat difficult situation into a fun filled joyful moment. Laughter truly is the best medicine and seeing the brighter side of life always feels so much better.

7. Know you are NOT ALONE - Motherhood can feel like a lonely journey some days. It can feel like all the children are against you and that you are the only one who is trying to teach, train and hold the family together. It can also feel like you are the only one dealing with your own personal struggles and trials and that no-one understand what you are going through. In my conversations with other mothers I have been surprised just how many other mothers feel exactly the same way I do with problems I face, worries I have for my children and with not knowing what to do next. Knowing that I am not alone in trying to be a great mother has brought me comfort, sweet assurance and peace. I have felt my burdens lifted as I opened up to share worries with other women and loved the advice, support and laughter we have shared.

8. Know your LIMITS - One of the ways to be a great mother is to know yourself. To respect yourself and be mindful of what you are capable of. Trying to keep up with other mothers and what they are doing often leads to unhappiness and exhaustion. We know what we can do, what is realistic for us to achieve and when we have reached our limit with emotions and physical stamina. When we take on too much, push ourselves too far and try to be someone we are not we can very quickly find ourselves in tears and wondering what went wrong. There is nothing wrong with saying no and protecting ourselves so that we can be happy and motivated to dedicate our energies to raising our families. Do what you know you can do and your family will love you for it.

9. Think POSITIVE THOUGHTS - Our internal thoughts often reflect how we truly feel about ourselves. When we speak kindly to ourselves we feel less stressed, less guilty and less pressured to perform at unrealistic levels in our mothering. Removing words such as 'I should' and 'I have to' helps us to find some freedom in the daily choices we need to make in raising our children. Reminding ourselves each day that we are making a difference, that we are a great mother and that there is no greater work we can do will help us be cheerful as a mother and allow us to find nobility in motherhood.

10. Give yourself PERMISSION - Every mother needs time alone. To breathe, to refresh and rejuvenate. The sooner you give yourself permission to have this time, the happier you will be. We often spend all of our time placing the needs of our family above our own and feel very guilty whenever we take a small amount of time for ourselves. Taking time out does not mean you do not care about your family. Taking time out shows your children that you care about yourself and your needs too. This precious time out is greatly needed and essential for emotional stability and a fresh outlook on motherhood.

I hope that these tips help you in some small way on your motherhood journey and I really appreciate you taking the time to read them. 

If you are interested in more of my tips check out my parenting tab HERE.

What would you add to the list?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Evacuation Kit and 72 Hour Kit

My heart goes out to those families that are suffering with the floods in Queensland.
The images on the television are heart breaking and devastating.

Sitting here in my home I feel useless and worried for those who have lost much.
In thinking of what I could do beside donating goods and cash, I have decided to share what would be the most helpful for me in such a time of need. 
To share what I know is a blessing.

Being prepared and having an Evacuation Kit and 72 hour Kit.
The Queensland government has a great Get Ready Guide that can be found at www.disaster.qld.gov.au

Evacuation Kit
If you live in a low-lying coastal area or an area prone to flooding, preparing an evacuation kit now can save you time and stress in the event of cyclone, storm tide or flood.

Recommended items include:
-    Multiple changes of clothes for everyone {stored in watertight plastic bags}
-    Pillows, sleeping bags and blankets
-    Valuables, photos (prints, compact disks, USB) and mementos in waterproof plastic bags
-    Photocopies of important documents
-    Extra essential medications and repeat prescriptions
-    Extra toiletry and sanitary supplies
-    Books and games for children
-    Extra baby food, formula and nappies (if required)
-    Extra money as cash (ATM’s may be inoperable if power supplies are impacted)
-    Mobile phone, spare battery and charger

Emergency Kit
Your Emergency Kit includes provisions for your essential needs in the event of an emergency. Include items that you require for several days disruption to essential services, power and water supplies. Keep your kit in a waterproof storage container and store in an easy to access location. Check your kit every three months to stock up and rotate supplies to ensure provisions are fresh and safe to use.

Food and water for at least three days:
- 10 litres of water per person as 3 days supply
- Non-perishable food
- Can opener, cutlery and cooking equipment
Medical and sanitation supplies:
- First Aid Kit and manual
- Essential medications, prescriptions and dosage
- Toilet paper and personal hygiene
- Toiletries – toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo etc
Light:
- Battery or wind-up torch and lantern (extra batteries)
Communications:
- Battery powered or wind-up radio (extra batteries)
- Traditional wired landline telephone (to use without power)
- Fully charged mobile phone and charger
- Prepaid phone cards and coins for phone booth calls 
Clothing and Footwear:
- Change of warm protective clothes and shoes for everyone
- Garden and rubber gloves
Tools and supplies:
- Plastic garbage bags, ties
- Utility knife and duct/masking tape
- Basic toolkit and supplies
Miscellaneous items:
- Specific items for infants, elderly or people with special needs
- Spare house and car keys
- Pet food, water and medications
- Cash to use in case of disruption to ATM power supply
Important Documents:
- Insurance papers for house, contents and vehicle
- Inventory of household goods
- Wills, life insurance, house deeds and banking documents
- Passports, Birth and marriage certificates
- Medicare, pension cards and immunisation records
- Household Emergency Plan with emergency contact phone numbers

There are different ways to store these items.
In backpacks, in rolling suitcases and waterproof containers.
It is worth the effort taking the time to put something together for a quick grab 
that will bring some peace during difficult times.

If you want to view the whole Get Ready Guide click HERE
I know it is too late for many people but it is never too late for the rest of us to get prepared.
Feel free to print and share.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Social media verses quality of life


Since becoming a mummy blogger my time has become precious to me.

I love to blog. I love to write about my family and thoughts but I also love to have a lot of quiet, quality time with my husband and children.

I know that being involved in twitter, facebook, StumbleUpon and many other social media community areas will help promote my blog and makes a huge effect on how many readers, followers and friends I can make online.

It is the way of the future and is the way blogging currently is promoted.

I am all for this wonderful technology and love to spend some of my time using it.

However, I also know that it takes time away from my family.

Quality time away from my family.

For me, my head space is constantly full of planning, caring, loving and organising wonderful activities and special moments for me and my family and when I spend time engaging in social media options I find it distracts me from my real focus of being the best mother I can be.

I do not want blogging to be a full time work for me.

I already have a full time career - being a mother.

I have felt at times over the past year that I have lost my balance and that my blog almost became a full time work and my family became part time work.

When I first started blogging I felt I needed to engage in these social media options because I had to.

It has been wonderful to help promote my blog and I have met some totally awesome women.

Now that I have been blogging for nearly a year I realise that it I can be more confident in my abilities and smarter in my use of time to connect with others.

I now spend less time reading other blogs.

I find it changes my thinking, it makes me want to write with a different voice and I let it influence and stop me from being true to myself.

My goal is to feel that I am writing good enough content so that people will share it whether I am on facebook, twitter or not.

It is about being confident enough to let go and know that my blog will be promoted regardless of how much social media time I put into it.

I started a twitter account and then deleted it.

I found it was too much effort keeping up with what was going on and my focus needed to be with what was going on inside my own home and what was going on in the lives of my children more.

I am not trying to discourage others from using these options.

I am trying to encourge others to be wise and focus on family.

For me, I have learnt that to have a better quality of life - I need to cut back.

To discipline myself, to have a plan and to choose what will bring not just me but our family happiness as I use technology to bless our lives.

I have been guilty of reading comments, making comments and seeking comments on blogs instead of listening, sharing and planning time with my family.

In these moments my heart has been in the wrong place and I know I have lost some of the closeness, connecting and caring that my children and husband needed.

This year I plan on being WISE and EFFECTIVE in how I use social media.

It is going to be a challenge!

I so love to be uplifted by other mothers and to know what they are doing to help me.

I am going to try to be more confident in my own plan, my own direction and my relationships.

I am going to be seeking a better quality of life.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

motherhood: the careful approach



When I look at what gets us off track as a family, it is usually when we are focused on having too much, doing too much and wanting material things. Sure, material things help us out in many ways and being busy helps others but they also distract us from spending time together as a family.

When this happens I need to stop and take a careful look at our lives.

I ask myself:
Are we too busy?
Are we trying to do too much?
Is our house becoming cluttered with things we don't really need?

I then stop and look at what is going to make a real difference in the lives of our children.

I ponder:
Am I spending enough time with them?
Am I listening to what they really need?
Is my home a climate where love can grow?

With motherhood there is a casual approach and a careful approach. 
Sometimes all that is needed to make a difference is to change ONE little thing.

I find that the careful approach takes planning and lots of it.
It takes real thought and careful consideration.

So I start with myself.
I make time to plan, pray and prepare.

I answer:
What is ONE thing I can do to help my children this month?
What will help bring us closer together?
What type of mother do my children need me to be?

I answer these questions personally and individually for each of my seven cherubs.
The needs of my children are different and so are the answers.

It is amazing how spending a little time to plan can have such a difference.
Having a careful approach verses a casual approach can improve relationships significantly.

Do you spend time planning how to be a better mother?
What is ONE thing you think you could change?