Tips for moving with kids

Motherhood

Moving houses can be a very stressful time in someone’s life… so can having kids. Put the two together and it can be a very overwhelming situation. In the same instance, moving houses can be a confusing time for children, especially if it’s the first as it may take away the security the child feels. This does not have to be the way, here are some tips for moving with kids:

Talk talk talk

Mentioning the move to your child from very early on will help them understand the concept of what is going to occur. Speaking about the move in a positive way can shape their attitude and get them to understand that this is a good thing that is happening. Talk to them about their new bedroom, the backyard they can play in, the fun park down the road and anything that may be different from your last home. 

Visit the neighbourhood multiple times before moving

By visiting the area you’re moving to, it will familarise your child so it isn’t as daunting once officially moving. Show them the house you are moving to, wonder the streets, and let them play in the local park, so they can get use to the new environment. It also may be a good idea to sign up for the local sports teams so they can make new friends in the area. 

Let the professionals take over

Moving houses can be a stressful time especially when you have kids, but it doesn’t have to be. Getting help from a removalist can make the process a breeze. Hire a Mover have the professionalism and expertise to take charge of your move. They have competitive rates with no hidden fees, they are fully insured incase any issues arise, and they are available 7 days a week. By hiring professionals this means you do not have to juggle your family and their needs while stressing about potential breakages or forgetting something. The staff at Hire A Mover do this everyday and can take that stress away while you enjoy this exciting new time with your family!

Make setting up your child’s room main priority

By setting your child’s room up as soon as possible, it will make them more familiar with their surroundings. Unpack their favourite toys, blankets, books, and anything that will make them feel more comfortable. Make it fun, join in and unpack together emphasising the excitement of their new space.

ENJOY

Yes, it is a great idea to settle into the house and unpack ASAP. However, it is also important to acclimatize yourself and your children to the new area. Go out and treat yourself to lunch or dinner or even an ice cream and explore the neighbourhood. You deserve it!

This post is in collaboration with Professional Removalist Company Hire A Mover & Influencer Management Service – #AsSeenOn.

5 Tips for Photographing Children

Home, Motherhood

Photographing children is hard. My parents did not take many photos of us when we were little but I really wish there were more photos in the family album, as a lot of these memories captured are ones which I was too young to recall. I love hearing the stories about our childhood photos, seeing the surrounds of the places we explored, seeing the things we had got up to and slowly turning the pages of our family albums. Today we have the convenience of our digital cameras and mobiles, but I can only imagine how much more difficult it would have been for my parents to capture us with film! I also never knew how challenging toddlers were to photograph until I had one of my own! I have been lucky enough to have been able to take lots of portraiture of my son and have truly cherished looking back on the photos (my favourites so far are at the end of this blog). So, here are my five tips on photographing children.

1. Lighting

Photographing in natural light like near a window or outdoors will provide clearer images for moving subjects. We always try to take our photos outdoors as it gives us the opportunity to get out of the house, get some fresh air, lets children explore and burn off that excess energy. Ideally you want to shoot away from the sun and not into it. A little tip that I have for finding where the sun is shining is holding up your palm in front of you, if your palm has the sun on it, then keep moving in a circle until you see no sun on your hand and that is the optimal place to take your photo. Choosing the time of the day to photograph is really important as well. You will hardly see us take photos at midday when the harsh light is shining but if you need to take photos when the sun is blasting, find shady areas like under trees. Playing around with light also makes for really interesting photographs so don’t be afraid to experiment.

2. Blast Mode

Children are not dolls – constantly on the move and unpredictable! In the digital age, most cameras and phones have a ‘blast mode’ where multiple frames will be taken within seconds. Use the fastest mode available. This will maximise your chances to get a good photo. It is better to have lots of photos options to delete than missing the chance for a photo.

3. Don’t force it

Make the photo shoot fun! I have seen parents telling their kids sternly and sometimes even angrily  “sit down, smile and I’ll give you a chocolate after” and although many mums do this and laugh, when you see a stranger in the flesh do it, its cringeworthy. I feel like there is nothing worse than forcing someone to do something that they just don’t want to. Instead, take the kids to their favourite place like the park, beach, baby chino cafe or even their grandparents. Have fun and be silly. Don’t force fake smiles – not all photos have to be of the children smiling and I often find the most beautiful photos, are the ones where children are shot as they are naturally as we remember them at that time. Even take the kids out for a special treat after the shoot like having an ice-cream.

4. Eye Level photography

We want to tell a story in the perspective of the subject. Squat down to the eye level for you child to take the photo. This is such a simple way to improve your photos!

5. Be Prepared

This is absolutely my most important tip! There have been numerous occasions where it has taken me ages to get out of the house and then realising that I had forgotten something! Make sure your phone or camera is charged, you have the memory card, the tripod is packed and snacks are in the bag. If you are photographing products for a business, make sure you bring all the products that you need to photograph. One tip for photographing clothing is changing the child when you arrive at the destination as accidents can happen on the way and clothes get creased.

IMGL1126-2.jpgIMGL8016.jpgIMGL0217 copy.jpgIMGL6606.jpgIMGL0738.jpg

Mama Guilt and Returning to Work

Motherhood

 

IMGL8318

First day without mama.

IMGL8395

Some play and cuddles.

I always knew my mother’s stance on any formal childcare for Spencer but this week I broke the news to her that I was returning to work part time and that Spencer was going to childcare. This was a childcare which we had been waiting a good year to be accepted into.

After breaking the news to her, an influx of questions and comments came which made me feel incredibly guilty for not being a stay at home mum. Comments and questions such as:

  • Can’t the mortgage payment wait?
  • Surely you can afford to stay home
  • You can always go back to work later
  • He is too young for childcare
  • He won’t be able to fend for himself because he can’t even walk yet
  • You will miss out on his milestones
  • He is going to get really sick all the time

Whilst I know these comments came out of deep love and concern for Spencer, it made me really question my worth as a mother and the choices we had made. Honestly, these comments were the same thoughts I was deliberating myself.

Eric and I looked at several different centres, explored the option of a nanny, an au pair, spoke to a range of different people for advice and visited over ten family day cares. This was not an easy decision but one which we had discussed over several dinners. The decision to go back to work was made a little easier knowing that I was able to return part time.

Mum guilt is so common amongst mothers, especially first time mothers. I realised mum guilt started for me from the very beginning actually and that was with breastfeeding. When Spencer was born, I did not know he was tongue tied and this caused me enormous breastfeeding problems. Spencer was not latching properly, I was in severe pain from feeding him and was getting blocked ducts from insufficient drainage. Additional to this, Spencer was jaundice so kept falling asleep at the breast. Add in lack of sleep, having to pump, topping up with formula and a barrage of messages from friends wanting to visit – it was becoming overwhelming and a recipe for disaster. With these issues, Spencer was losing weight rapidly and I was feeling quite defeated.

Here I was, a first time mum seeing other mums around me feeding successfully, naturally, not in pain and looking like they had their life together. The midwives told me to keep feeding and that it would get better. It never did until Spencer’s tongue tie was resolved. We initially went to a male paediatrician who said that the tongue tie was not an issue and that if I continued to breastfeed that it would get better. It was not until we had to go back to the hospital to check on Spencer’s jaundice levels that I met a wonderful lady by the name of Cheryl who opened up and trained several nurses in my local Early Childhood Centres. Cheryl changed my feeding journey! She told me the tongue tie was not ok as Spencer was not getting enough milk out, that it was not ok that I was in pain feeding and that it was not ok to continue this way. We were referred to a family paediatrician who revised Spencer’s tongue tie literally in a minute and the first feed back on the breast was pain free! This was a huge relief! I felt so guilty having his tongue tie revised but I was so much happier as the feeds did not hurt anymore. I also went to our local Early Childhood Centre to receive some breastfeeding help and I breastfed Spencer successfully from that point onward! Spencer’s jaundice was flushed out, he was not sleepy on the breast anymore and he started to pack on the kilograms and remained in the 80 percentile for his weight!

Another mama guilt was giving Spencer formula because all the prenatal classes and all the midwives always said how easy and beneficial breastfeeding is. Yes, whilst all this is true, there is nothing wrong with formula either. Many babies like myself were raised on it, lots of mums cannot breastfeed, simply their babies wean off or whatever the reason, we should not be made to feel guilty for what choices we have made to feed our babies.

I remember so vividly buying my first tin of formula. I could not find the formula anywhere that the hospital recommended and after going to three stores, I finally was holding the tin in my hands. I recall myself trying to hide the tin, going to the self serve checkout in hopes no one would see and thought other mums would be judging me. In hindsight, this was all stupid but this is how I felt. After seeing Spencer thrive on both breast and formula, this guilt went away immediately. Eventually Spencer refused the bottle and only wanted breast.

I tried so hard to keep Spencer breastfed but he weaned off around nine months old. He started to latch on and off, being too curious with the world around him. I kept persevering by feeding in a completely quiet bedroom, dark room, not going out anymore so he had no distractions, kept trying to latch him on and trying different positions. I was told it was phase and that we could push through but nothing seemed to have worked and he weaned himself off, which led me to introduce formula again and the bottle. Here I was going through mama guilt again! I am so thankful for formula at the moment though as he has numerous food allergies and therefore we give him some formula mixed with cows milk for some additional nutritional support. I would have loved to have kept him breastfed but unfortunately Spencer chose another road for us.

This was not the only case of mum guilt and I am sure many mothers have related to one, some or all of these:

  • Don’t breastfeed in public
  • Cover up if you breastfeed in public
  • Don’t breastfeed for too long
  • Don’t introduce the bottle too early
  • Don’t introduce formula
  • Don’t start solids too early
  • Don’t feed to sleep
  • Don’t co-sleep
  • You should consider looking for a job since you have been a stay home mum for so long now
  • You are a working mum? You must are selfish and career orientated
  • Not spending enough time with your child
  • Having time to yourself
  • My child has food allergies because of me

Comments come from people who try to mean ‘good’, who may never have had children and are even parents themselves. We definitely need to support each other no matter what decisions someone else has made. We have never walked a day in someone else’s shoes, so who are we judge others.

There is no right way to parent and there is no perfect parent. All of us have made parenting mistakes. Trade offs are inevitable too. We just try to do the best for our families. This is your journey and your baby. Only you will know your baby and instincts the best. One thing we all have in common is our love for our babies and all we can do is soak in the time we have with them as they grow way too quickly. I never quite understood what every parent meant when they said your kids will grow up quickly but when you become a parent, time is precious and the words cannot resonate more true!

So what happened? I went back to work. The first day walking back into the office was hard. Heart wrenching hard. Lots of familiar faces, lots of new ones too. Hubby had prepared a ‘welcome back to work’ care package for me which included my favourite teas, chocolates, snacks and photo of Spencer to pop on desk to get me through the day. It doesn’t get any easier leaving him every morning but I do know that I come home to lots of hugs and smiles! I am enjoying adult conversations, not sharing my food and not having to change any nappies, oh and sipping on a steaming hot cup of tea! I came home to a very tired bub who gave me lots of smiles and hugs. I’m not sure if this will get easier but I have been told it does.

IMGL8450

Spencer waving goodbye.

IMGL8382

Home time!

 

12 months of Motherhood

Motherhood

img_3755.pngimg_6027

In exactly one week, Spencer will be one! Just like that? I do not even know where this time has gone and truthfully I am in denial that I had him almost a year ago.

I remember the night before he was born so clearly. I packed a suitcase, yes a very big suitcase completely stuffed! I am an anxious person who always likes to plan in advance for things that may or may not happen, so I packed quite a bit. I do not know how you could just bring a bag! I was induced and knew by the next day that I would be finally meeting my baby.

All we ever wished for, was for a healthy baby. We did not find out the sex of the baby and there were so many times where I was ready to give in! However, the surprise was well worth the wait.

Honestly, when I first saw Spencer’s face I felt such a mix of emotions. My thoughts were: ‘who does he look like?’, ‘I am so in love’, ‘why does he have all these milia’s on his nose?’, ‘I made him’ and ‘my life will never be the same’. I was now a mother and now that the baby was earth side – reality hit. This tiny little human is half of me and half of the person I love, so I felt an enormous responsibility come over me to take care of him. I also thrive on making others happy, so i just wanted to make him so happy.

I was amazed at how besotted my husband and I were towards Spencer, especially since all he did was sleep and eat. Even though we were told to sleep when the baby does, we often found ourselves just staring at him. It was the strongest love we have ever felt and till this day we are still amazed that we made him!

These past 12 months, we have had lots of ups and downs. My greatest struggle was with breastfeeding. I felt enormous pressure to be able to master it. Something so natural, simple and easy for other mums, did not come easily for me. I will save this story for another post though. There have been so many more positives than negatives in our journey. Like the first time Spencer recognised our faces, smiled, giggled, crawled, stood up, put his arms out for us to carry him, said our names and danced. There is so much more to look forward to as well such as when he will give us a kiss, ask for a hug, be able to put together words, speak and hold our hands.

I have never learnt as much in my life as the past 12 months.

Spencer, I thank you for choosing me to be your mother. I will never take you for granted and seeing you grow has been my greatest joy. It is my privilege being there for you, even in the early mornings when my eyes are pink. You are such a mini-daddy. Thank you my little boo.