A wintery family walk

Friday night was a particularly rough night with Little Miss so on Saturday morning both Daddy and I were feeling shattered. But the thing is that when you also have a toddler to look after, life must go on. We still had to be up at a normal time and find ways to entertain Monkey.

Tired Daddy

Tired Daddy

So after a bit of back and forth about what we should do, we decided to wrap up and go for a little walk to deliver some thank you cards locally to some of the people who had generously given gifts on the birth of Little Miss.

Little Miss wasn’t keen on the idea of being in her buggy so after a false start Daddy popped her in the carrier and we headed out. It was seriously cold and wet and misty but we had a lovely walk and it did us the power of good. That’s the thing about getting out of the house sometimes, just a change of scene and some fresh air can really improve your mood. Especially when you have a toddler who is thrilled to be out for a walk and who takes pleasure in the simplest of things.
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Looking forward to being me again

So with the date now booked for baby’s birth, the countdown to the end of pregnancy is on! This pregnancy has been much better than my first. I am not on crutches and am much more mobile than I thought I would be. I am nowhere near the zombie I was when I was pregnant with Monkey, so I am doing well…. but I am still looking forward to not being pregnant anymore. I know how lucky I am and am grateful every day for this baby, I am glad she is safe and well in my tummy and I hope she continues to be so for the next 3 weeks, but….

I just don’t enjoy being pregnant.

There, I said it. I know some women get a pregnancy glow and feel wonderful when pregnant. I know some women love the additional curves they get when pregnant. I just don’t feel that way. I feel better than I thought I would. Because I am much more mobile than I was in my first pregnancy I haven’t put as much weight on this time round (plus I was a bit slimmer to start with, which has helped). But I still don’t feel like me.
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31 weeks and lacking sleep!

Don't I look happy? ;)

Don’t I look happy? ;)

I am 31 weeks pregnant and I’m afraid to say I am not enjoying pregnancy at the moment. Apologies for a slightly moany post, I know how lucky I am to be pregnant and this pregnancy has definitely been easier than my first, but right now, I am not enjoying it.

My pelvis and back have been really painful since the wedding a week and a half ago. Up until then I have been managing the SPD quite well with a combination of weekly aquanatal yoga and fortnightly physio. It has troubled me at times but I have been managing  it, which is about the best you can hope for with SPD. Lately though I have not been managing it so well. I am in pain a lot of time and night-times are by far the worst. Sitting in the car for 6 hours over 2 days to get to the wedding and back definitely did not do me any favours!

Come 9pm every day I am pretty exhausted and head upstairs and do my leg and back stretches before bed. What is unfortunately a nightly occurance at the moment though is that as soon as I am drifting off to sleep my legs start twitching (which I know is due to compression of nerves around my pelvis and spine). Then our little wriggly baba decides to have a party in my uterus and starts kicking and pumelling my pelvis and bladder. She is still very much breech and though I can feel she is trying to turn, I am about 85% certain there isn’t enough room in my Bicornuate Uterus for her to make it all the way round, and therefore we are heading for another C-Section. Hey ho, I am not worrying or getting down about it and we will find out for certain when we see the consultant at 35 wks.

Because of the gymnastics going on in my tummy I usually have to haul myself out of bed and off to the loo at least 3 times before I have even got to sleep. Which just hurts. As with everything in life with SPD you need to keep your legs together at all times. The best way to get in and out of bed with SPD is to sit on the side of the bed with your legs together, and sort of lift your legs (keeping them together)  as you lie down on your side and roll into bed and then position yourself with pillows between your legs etc. (I have a dream-genii pregnancy pillow). Trying to get out of bed the normal way, one leg at a time, is just agony.

I lie back down and then the leg twitching and baby kicking generally resumes. I have thought about getting up and doing something but mentally I am shattered and desperate for sleep. Hubby gave me a massage the other night, bless him, and though this sounds lovely it was actually just agony, the slightest touch of my muscles at the moment is really painful :( . Using tiger balm does help sometimes as it numbs my back enough to stop the leg twitching long enough for me to doze off. It’s difficult to know how safe this is during pregnancy though and there’s so much contrasting info online… I hope it’s ok but I have no idea so do try and manage without it as much as I can. Not sure if I am making it harder for myself though? Maybe I should just slap it on?

This process sometimes lasts a couple of hours before I manage to drift off, and I am often keeping hubby awake too with all my tossing and turning, trying to get comfy, and all the palava of getting in and out of bed to go to the loo.

So I am generally a bit tired, sore and mardy at the mo, and spending a lot of time sitting and lying on heat packs. I have physio this afternoon which on the best of days is a seriously painful 30 mins of her digging her elbows into my back and bum muscles to stop the spasms. I am not exactly looking forward to the pain today but it is a case of no pain no gain and I am just really hoping that it helps take the daily discomfort down a notch or two!

I am struggling with clothes at the moment too as my summer maternity clothes are getting small and uncomfortable. There was a lovely week or so when the weather was cooler and I could wear some of the bigger maternity clothes, but now the sun has come back out again! I am probably about the only person in the country longing for cooler weather, but I am not buying bigger summer wear at this point, and am sweltering in my warmer clothes!

Apologies again for all the moaning, I just needed a bit of a vent. Looking on all the bright sides, hopefully physio this afternoon, and my aquanatal yoga tonight will mean I get a better night’s sleep tonight and feel a bit more cheerful tomorrow. Monkey is being a darling and coping so well with my slow and limited movements, he is just growing up so fast at the moment! Plus if I am right and she is breech, although I won’t get the VBaC I was hoping for, at least we will get a date for the C-Section, and can start counting down the days. It could mean she is here in about 7-8 weeks time. That is exciting and what I am holding on to. I know all of this is worth it to have her here and healthy.

I caught a headline recently about a celeb’s wife who had a stillbirth at 32 weeks’ pregnant and that must just be so devastating. I was then chatting to my lovely midwife yesterday who told me about her stillbirth at 26 weeks (in March this year, bless her, how she copes as a midwife, seeing all us preggos is incredible) and it just doesn’t bear thinking about. Through all my discomfort and moaning I have to remember how lucky I am, and hope beyond hope that nothing goes wrong for the baby as that is the most important thing. In the grand scheme of things it doesn’t matter how uncomfortable I am, as long as she gets here safely and healthily. I do feel guilty that Monkey doesn’t have a very active energetic mummy at the moment but it’s only for a short time in the grand scheme of things!

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Time Management as a SAHM

I hate being late, I always have done. As a kid my Dad always took ages getting ready and so we were late to pretty much everything. Whenever we saw friends or went to events it was like a running joke “Oh it’s the Pardoes, late again!” As a kid, knowing that it was outside of my control I hated the mocking, whereas it never bothered my Dad. My Mum, brothers and I would often be sat in the car ready and waiting to go while he was pottering around getting himself organised!

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Whether I would be so averse to lateness as an adult if it weren’t for this, who knows, but if anything now jokes are the other way round. It is extremely rare that I am late and often arrive at things early, and even if I try to be late (when it doesn’t matter) I rarely manage to be later than on time. It’s a bit ridiculous really but I actually find being late really stressful and I hate the thought of keeping people waiting. Thankfully hubby has similar feelings about lateness as I do though I can be a bit OTT if he is faffing slightly before we go somewhere – he is nothing like my Dad but I can over-react a little on occasion!

I have heard parents talk before about how they are never able to get anywhere ontime now that they have children, and I am not criticising, we are all different (and our kids are all different) but I haven’t found that to be true yet for me. Who knows, when I have two kids my anti-lateness feelings may crash and burn! If anything though I find it even harder to be late since we have had Monkey, because we are up so blimmin early in the morning!

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12 Things all Pregnant Women should know

There’s no denying pregnancy is pretty magical, it’s really quite incredible when you think about the fact that you are growing a tiny human being inside your body. Nature is pretty marvellous. But, well, despite what the media likes to portray of pregnancy, being pregnant doesn’t always feel that magical. Most media images of pregnant women show glowing skin, radiant complexions and a lot of the less fun aspects of pregnancy are very much glossed over.

12 Things all Pregnant Women should know

This post will highlight some of those less enjoyable aspects – not because I want to scare anyone or put you off being pregnant. It is magical feeling those kicks and the symptoms really are different for everyone. But I just want to get this post out there for any mummies to be who are feeling less than yummy. Know that you are not alone, and what you are going through is perfectly normal.

Because, for some of us, pregnancy isn’t exactly a bed of roses.

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Word of the Week – Testing

That’s right this week has been

testing

It didn’t get off to the best of starts with the terrifying ordeal that was Saturday Night, and unfortunately the stress and worry and lack of sleep has leached over and affected the rest of the week.

Despite minimal sleep on Saturday after our ambulance trip to the hospital we still had work to do on Sunday. Monkey was out of danger and we had hired some heavy duty (and costly) equipment for the garden renovation and we knew that work had to go on despite our tiredness so that we didn’t waste the money. It was positive and a lot has been achieved – more on that next week, but the exhaustion has permeated our week.

And let’s face it, when you’re tired, everything feels more difficult.

Monkey has really been testing me this week. He is becoming defiant and obstropulous at times. Normally I know I would cope with it better but when I am tired and not feeling myself, I find it harder to deal with. We have been lucky with him so far and other than firm “Nos” and explaining why he can’t do something, we haven’t had to venture into the realm of discipline. But I think we may be approaching something along the lines of the naughty step, because he just doesn’t listen and needs to understand that there are consequences if he disobeys or refuses to listen to mummy or daddy. no fun and we will see how we go, not making rash decisions, but we knew this day would come.

I’m also feeling, pretty selfishly, that I need a break. With all the work on the garden over the last month, all of Monkey’s care has fallen onto me as Hubby has had a lot to do in the garden. I understand and it’s been fine but I feel like I need a break. I know I’m lucky with how much hubby helps out with him normally, and not sure what it says about me as a mother that I am struggling, but I am struggling and I need a bit more help. Thankfully though we have a quiet weekend planned and hubby is very much looking forward to spending a bit more time with Monkey, phew!

We’ve also been a bit tested by other matters this week. The tenants are moving out of the flat I used to live in before I met hubby, and we’ve just found out that they have led it get damp and mouldy which is a real pain. I lived there for years with no damp, but in the two years they have lived there this is the second time. I don’t understand to be honest but I guess it’s a good thing they are moving out.

We were thinking that we would like to sell the flat rather than rent it out again, as I hate it hanging over our heads, but now we are not sure that is going to happen yet. It is leasehold and we’ve found the deeds and realised that there is only 61 years left on the lease, which basically means it’s hard for anyone to get a mortgage on it. To extend the lease is a process that takes 6 months – a year and costs in our case, wait for it, about £15,000. Yup £15,000. Which we don’t exactly have, just lying around. But it needs to be done as the costs will only increase as the remaining lease decreases. So we need to get tenants in there again after all while we get the process started.

We are hoping that we can add the costs onto the existing mortgage of the flat as otherwise we don’t know how we are going to finance it, and hopefully we can then recoup some of the costs when we do sell it, whenever that may be.

We just don’t need the hassle, to be honest. it’s just a pain but then life is like that, it’s not easy and there’s never a good time for something like this to crop up. It is a bit of a testing time and puts a strain on things. I got really cross with hubby yesterday, like fuming mad for no real reason other than over-tiredness, stress and frustration.

I like to think I am a positive person but I am struggling to find the positives this week. Here’s hoping next week is better. What word sums up your week? Hope it’s happier than mine!!

The Reading Residence

Reflection #ThePrompt

The Prompt from the lovely Sara at MumTurnedMom this week is “Reflection.”

As always, I wasn’t sure which angle to take. I had some provoking ideas – “Is your child a reflection of you and your parenting?” or “Is blogging a reflection of real life?” But honestly it’s been a busy old week and I really haven’t had the energy to tackle a deep or potentially controversial topic.

So as Monkey and I are sat on the sofa, at the start of a day where I have nothing planned, and we are both happy and calm, I am reflecting on how much things have changed. How much he has grown and how much I have grown as his mummy.

I make no secret of the fact that I found the first year of his life a struggle. Coming to terms with this new role of ‘mother.’ Coming to terms with no longer working, of trying to adapt to fit this new life as  a SAHM. It’s why I started this blog.

If you’d asked me a year ago what my top tip would be to surviving, it would have been to get out of the house every day. For a large chunk of Monkey’s life – particularly since he became more alert and needed entertaining – I have had our weeks planned out. An average week would look like this:

Every morning, a work with my neighbour from 9-10ish. Then

Monday: See my parents
Tuesday: Tumbletots
Wednesday: Music class/Play date
Thursday: Storytime at the library/Play date
Friday: See Hubby’s parents.

Every morning and early afternoon was filled and if we did have a day with nothing, I would have to plan an activity – more for myself I know, because I struggled to spontaneously think about what to do to entertain him. I had to have a plan to keep myself sane. Days without a plan, or when plans got cancelled, were invariably the bad days. The days where I struggled, where I guess I panicked at the thought of having to entertain Monkey by myself all day. Where I started the day on the wrong foot and instead of being optimistic, I expected the day to be difficult, so of course, in a self fulfilling prophecy, it was difficult.

Things have changed now. Monkey has grown up. In may ways he is easier to entertain now. He has a longer attention span so isn’t distracted every 2 minutes (now it’s about 10 minutes ;)). He is getting more independent, and will find what he wants to play with sometimes. He can think for himself and though he obviously still wants a lot of my attention and interaction, and I am happy to give it, there are times when he doesn’t want or need me so much. I love watching these changes in him. It’s a bit scary to see my little man growing up and moving ever so slightly away from me… but for the most part I am just so proud watching him grow up.

I’m proud of myself too. The thought of a day with no plans doesn’t fill me with the same trepidation it once did. I don’t start the day miserable at the prospect. I know that he will be fairly happy pottering about in the house for part of the day. I know that a bit of telly won’t do him any harm (though he gets bored of the TV easily so it’s never on for long). If the weather is fine we will go for a run down a hill, or just on a walk around the local area, picking up sticks or knocking on trees.

If the weather is less good I will get out the paints, or cloud dough, or we could do some baking, and the time will pass. If we do go a bit stir crazy we can pop to a local shopping centre for a wander, or pull on the waterproofs and wellies and got for a splash about in the rain.

I used to obsess over weather forecasts to see what it meant for our day. Now I look out the window very so often.

I am a planner by nature so for the most parts our weeks are stilled planned, though there are definitely more gaps now. On a day with no plan, I try and form a vague plan in the morning, but it changes as the day goes by depending on how we feel and Monkey’s mood. I don’t cling to my plans like a liferaft.

Before Christmas I mentioned that we are thinking about baby number 2, and it is very much on our minds at the moment. The thought of going back to baby days does scare me slightly, because I struggled last time. I know it will be different this time, as I have done it once, and I have Monkey. But I know it won’t be easy so I am sure I will be needing my plans again if we are lucky enough to get pregnant again!

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I’m also linking up with Mother Wife Me, Mama -and more and City Girl at Heart for All About You.

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Yellow Belly Mummy

When  I saw the theme for The Theme Game this week, I was a bit stumped at first. Yellow? I thought of Daffodils, but other than just a picture of a daffodil I wasn’t sure what else I would say. Then I’ve had the words to yellow by Coldplay going around in my head all week (thanks Jocelyn and Iona) but the phrase my brain kept coming back to was “yellow belly” said in a pirate’s voice for some reason, as in “argh you yellow bellied landlubber.” No idea if that’s an actual quote from somewhere or if I have made it up but that’s been in my head all week (with Coldplay in the background). But how to relate it to me and my blog?

Yellow Belly means Coward.

I can be quite a coward (and therefore a yellow belly). Especially when it comes to meeting new people, and, the dreaded messy play!

I’m rubbish at going to new places on my own and talking to new people. I much prefer to keep to myself and people I know – but as a mummy I’ve had to push myself to do what feels unnatural to me. To talk to other mummies and fake confidence, for Monkey’s sake so he gets to interact with other kiddies. We go to groups where I try and chat with other mums (sometimes I don’t succeed) while he plays with the other children. Thankfully I have some good friends who are mummies so we do a lot of play-dates where I can relax and I don’t have to fake confidence when I am with them!

I feel more relaxed with interacting via blogs and social media, probably because you have time to stop and think about what you want to say. You can edit yourself if it sounds stupid. You can delete if you decide you don’t want to join in after all. I can be braver hidden behind my computer screen

When it comes to messy play, I love it in theory, but the thought of actually doing it makes me shudder a bit. I am a yellow belly messy play avoider. I don’t like the thought of trying to contain the mess or cleaning it up afterwards. I create excuses why not to do it. I come up with other, non messy play related things to keep us busy.

But, I am trying to change, which is why I have come up with the Creative Challenge linky. A way for me to challenge myself to be braver with messy and creative play, and then share it with other mummies. The scope of the linky is a bit broader than that in that I want to know about anyone challenging themselves creatively – whether it be being more creative with their kids, or creative with something else, baking, decorating, improving their photography. Anything really.

Sorry I digressed a little there! The point is, I am trying to be less of  yellow-belly and face my fears. I try to be braver than I am. But really, I am a yellow-bellied mummy :)

(I just found this book about a yellow-belly, maybe I should buy it :))

The Reading Residence

There’s no such thing as Perfect…BASAHM Surival Kit

Next up in my Becoming a Stay at Home Mum Survival Kit I’m talking about perfection… or rather the lack of it.

I don’t believe in perfect. I really don’t. I mean I guess that in science there may be some things that are perfect – a perfect circle etc. But in people? Nope. I don’t believe perfect exists. Perfect partner, perfect marriage, perfect parent? It’s just not possible, no matter how hard you try. Because we are human beings and we make mistakes. We aren’t superhuman and able to juggle everything that life throws at us without a slip up now and then.

So aim to be the best you can be, by all means, but don’t put pressure on yourself to be perfect.

God that sounds simple doesn’t it? If only it was that easy to do! To just know you’re doing the best you can and be happy and proud of that. I am trying really hard to be more like that. To not put so much pressure on myself to be ‘perfect.’ But I am coming to realise that I am a perfectionist even though I don’t believe in perfect. How ridiculous is that?

I like to succeed and I want to do well. I love baking and I want everything I make to turn out like it does in the books or on the website. But it hardly ever does! I am enjoying learning to crochet and thankfully it is a very forgiving craft but even then some things end up wonky or not how I imagine them. I love to write and am enjoying my blog. I used to be a proofreader as part of my previous job but I very often have spelling mistakes and typos in the blog posts I publish – no matter how many times I check and re-read them. So frustrating!

I try to be a perfect mum. As a SAHM this is my job now and I want to do well at it. I want to keep the house spotless, to have a well behaved and happy child at all times. I want to never shout at him, to never swear in front of him and always give him 100% of my attention while somehow also managing to do all of the other things I want to do. Cook, bake, crochet, clean, blog, read. All while being being well presented and happy myself. Do you see how ridiculous this sounds when you see it typed out? Pfff no wonder I don’t succeed. No wonder I sometimes feel like a failure. I have unrealistic expectations!

So you know what, occasionally, when I’m tired or have PMT, I shout at Monkey. I hate it and feel guilty afterwards but I am not perfect and I shout sometimes.

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Sometimes, things go wrong. Something I am baking doesn’t quite work out and I have to throw it away, or eat it anyway and try to make it better next time.

Sometimes I don’t follow the crochet pattern properly, or something doesn’t work out the way I want so I have to unpick it or start again.

Sometimes, when  I hurt myself or something goes wrong, or someone annoys me in the car, I swear in front of him. I hate it (it’s so weird my whole attitude to swearing had changed since he was born and I hate hearing it now – anyway post for another day!) but I do it.

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My pile of shame..

 

Sometimes the house is a mess. I haven’t figured out the best routines for keeping on top of it. There’s quite often a pile of laundry to be sorted (I don’t iron). I hate dust. Why does it even exist? It winds me up.

 

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Grumpy monkey

 

Sometimes Monkey is grumpy. Sometimes he tests his boundaries and throws a tantrum in a shop (cue dirty looks from passers by) but you know what? He’s not perfect either. If I can have off days, so can he. It does’t mean I’m a terrible parent or that I’m doing something wrong if he throws a tantrum.

 

Some days (okay, most days) my hair is a mess and I can’t be bothered to put make-up on. I have play-doh smushed into my jeans and dribble all over my shoulder.

I need to stop trying to be perfect. Although I console myself that in striving for perfection at least I am doing the best I can. I just need to be more realistic and less hard on myself for not being able to achieve something that isn’t possible.

Do you believe in perfect?

 

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The importance of Mummy Me Time – BASAHM Survival Kit

The next instalment of my Becoming a SAHM Survival Kit is all about me-time, or you-time :) I’ve mentioned it in some of the other posts in the series already but it is so important that I think it deserves a post of it’s own.

WP_20140128_15_52_15_ProLife as a SAHM is busy! I’m not saying working mums are less busy (surely you must be more busy?) or need downtime any less then SAHM’s though I guess it does depend what your job is and how much you enjoy it. But what I am saying is that when every day of your life involves wiping bums, cooking, cleaning, playing, walking, trying to teach your little ones all while being clambered over, clung too, pulled around, screamed at, and cried on, etc. it can feel like a lot of hard work. You don’t really have any personal space, be it physically or emotionally.

Even when the grandparents look after Monkey for the odd hour during the week I spend the whole time cleaning, then Monkey’s nap times are spent cooking, doing a bit more cleaning and I squeeze in blogging and tweeting where I can. I do sometimes just sit in front of the TV during nap times too, I’m not ashamed to admit it, some days I am too knackered by the afternoon nap to do anything other than rest before the onslaught of the rest of the afternoon!

After a while of no  time to just be me, to do what I want, I get steadily grumpier, bicker more with my husband, and sex, well, it doesn’t happen because I just want some personal space. That’s not to say I don’t love being a SAHM, of course I do otherwise I wouldn’t be doing it. It is just wearing to put your needs last all the time.

Guilt

I am very lucky with my hubby, he’s happy to look after Monkey on his own sometimes, he is very understanding of how hard it can be as a SAHM and is very supportive of me needing a break occasionally. Even then though I often find weeks go by without me feeling like I have had any kind of break because I feel guilty. Weekends are family time so I feel we should make the most of Daddy being home so we can do things together. Likewise evenings are our grown up time so we spend it together rather than me going off to read a book or have a bath.  I feel guilty for wasting time that could be spent together. I forget that spending time on myself isn’t a waste – it’s a necessity!

Last weekend hubby gave me some time off (haha that sounds like he’s my boss, but he offered to look after Monkey on his own for the day so I could have a break), I had crazy bad PMT because I have come off the pill and I NEEDED some time alone. I didn’t do much, just had a long hot bath, wandered round some shops (which let’s face it you can’t really do with a toddler in tow), made a vegetable soup for the first time ever, and sat and read my book. It was lovely. Monkey and daddy had a lovely day together so we were smiles all round. That week, even though the PMT was still there a bit and I was on a short fuse, I was generally much happier than previously, and feeling much more romantic with my hubby.

WP_20140201_17_31_58_ProThis weekend was one of my best friends’ birthdays and she was planning some drinks in London. Hubby and Monkey were invited too and we did plan to all go, then I asked hubby if he minded me going alone. We could have managed to keep Monkey entertained for the afternoon but it would have taken a lot of effort and honestly, all I wanted was to sit and relax for the afternoon and drink and chat with my friends. Hubby had no problem with this and so off I went. It was such a lovely relaxed afternoon and I enjoyed myself so much more with not being climbed over, drooled on etc. No distractions and I felt like I could just be me for a few hours.

The result is that I come home happy and rejuvenated  and ready to face another week of being the primary caregiver and living a life centred around Monkey’s needs rather than my own.

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So, if you are like me and put your own needs last all the time – Stop. Just for an hour or so. Talk to your partner or a helpful relative and take some time for yourself. Read a book or a Magazine if you prefer. Don’t think about what jobs need doing or what your child is up to. Think about yourself for once, paint your nails, do your hair, go for a walk, take a bath. Just do something that you used to take for granted before you became a mum. You’ll be amazed how refreshed you can feel after just a short break.

If your partner needs some convincing about you taking some time off, remind that it helps them in the long run too ;) !

If you enjoyed this post, why not have a look at the other posts in the Survival Kit, Perspective, Resilience, Creativity and Confidence.

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