Category: Wellness

A career break: can this be positive?

When a pregnancy test result displays as positive, one burning question on the mum-to-be’s mind is “how will this impact my career?”.  Whether you are planning to have 6 weeks,…

When a pregnancy test result displays as positive, one burning question on the mum-to-be’s mind is “how will this impact my career?”.  Whether you are planning to have 6 weeks, 6 months or 6 years off, time out of work can appear daunting.

positive career break

Although the financial strain of  a family is a huge factor in starting a family. Many women feel that having time off from their job may destroy all what they worked hard for. For me, I felt that my career was finally taking off after years of studying. To take the break initially felt like a positive decision for my family but, a poor decision for my personal growth. I couldn’t explain how I felt to anyone. I didn’t want to be seen as ungrateful for being  lucky to have time off from work to raise my family and that I didn’t bring in the most money anyway, so my job was not that important.

Focusing on the positives now, here are a few things to why taking a career break is positive:

Recharging your batteries

positive career break

Taking time off allows you to rest. Being out of the office or where ever you worked will give you that mental space needed to focus on other things in your life and have a mental break from your job. As a teacher, I remember before I would go to sleep, I’d start planning starter activities in my head or begin thinking about all the books I needed to mark. It has been lovely to truly have a break from these thoughts and reset myself. Now, when I think about work, I become excited as I feel so refreshed and ready to dive back into it.

The unexpected results

When you go from working full time to suddenly not working at all, even as a new mum you will find yourself with a lot of unusual time on your hands. Many women take this opportunity to study something new or start up a business venture they have always dreamed of. I started this blog as a hobby in my spare time, simply documenting my experience as a mum, I never expected that I would end up earning from this. If I was working full time I doubt I would have taken the plunge to start a blog.

“It’s not necessary to think of being away as a way to start a business or go to a new career,”. “The point is: What would you do if, for a while, you don’t have to think about making money?”

New Skills

positive career break

Work is the place where it has been drilled into your head: “this is where you develop skills and grow as a person”. As a new mum, taking time off, you actually gain an abundance of skills. For example, I have way more patience now than I have ever had in my life. Looking after a toddler, I have gained the skills of being extremely organised, resilient, level headed, punctual and my problem solving skills from figuring what she wants during  tantrum have progressed too!

Time for a change?

Having a long period off work gives you the space to think if that was the career for you. Now that you are having time away, you will be able to see clearly if that job was making you happy and you could see great potential in progressing in that job.

Even if you decide that you love your job after having time off, it will be nice to go back with a fresh mind set that you are in the right place without second thoughts.

More appealing candidate

positive career break

You may think that taking time off from will hurt your career. But, have you thought of this? Taking a well needed break, gaining life experience and being 100% committed to you again, will make you look like a more appealing candidate, in comparison to someone who may not know what they really want out of life yet.

 

 

 

Taking the time off can show that you want to further your skill set and try new experiences.

 

So when you feel that you may be hurting your career or you receive the comments “oh you don’t work?” or “you just stay at home all day.” look at the bigger picture. Remember that you have got this incredible time off raising your family whilst resetting yourself ready for your next step. If you decide never to return to work, remember that you are still gaining life experiences and developing skill sets as you would in the work place.

 

 

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Should you tell your daughter she is pretty?

When the question “should you tell your daughter she is pretty?” first reached my ears, I was really confused. I started to question myself if I was doing the right…

When the question “should you tell your daughter she is pretty?” first reached my ears, I was really confused. I started to question myself if I was doing the right thing as a parent and began learning to understand the reason why so many parents of daughters today are avoiding calling their daughter pretty.should I call my daughter pretty

Mole is incredibly cheeky, she loves to dance and waves her arms to the music. Her favourite thing to do is to shout out different animal names or the noises they make when she sees them on TV or in her books. In my mind, Mole is the most beautiful person I have ever seen. My heart is incredibly full for her. But, I have decided that I am going to make a conscious effort to stop telling her she is pretty.

Here is why:

Every single morning, when Mole was dressed, the first thing I would do is give her a big hug and tell her how pretty or beautiful she looked. Once I realised I was doing this without thought, I caught myself saying it through out the day too. The more we talk about a topic to our children, they begin to understand that this topic is important. It could be anything from manners to sharing. Basically, I don’t want the topic of physical appearance to be something that Mole understands as important or more important that any of her other qualities she has.should I call my daughter pretty

Living up to expectations

Always making a point to someone that they are pretty or clever will give them the mentality on what they have to live up to. They can get stuck in a comfort zone and waste time and energy worrying about this. When instead, they could be spending their time and energy into being more knowledgable and opening themselves up to a full range of experiences.

What I do to boost my daughters self esteem:

  • I focus on praising her process rather than the outcome. I will praise her for her hard work and time and effort she has spent on something. This may even be when she is older and has spent time on her hair. Commenting on that rather than just saying “You look pretty.”
  • I Tell her how much she matters to me. Showing and telling her how important she is to me and how much she is on my mind will make her feel amazing and loved.
  • I will look at her other qualities. Make them stand out whilst also using words like “pretty” and “beautiful” so she can gain a wider understanding of how beautiful and pretty doesn’t just have to be based of physical appearance. E.G. “Mole you are beautiful for being such a good friend and sharing your toy.”
  • Asking her lot’s of questions. Not only does asking your little one lot’s of questions help to boost their memory and language skills. but, asking questions really shows that you have an interest in their life. I love to ask Mole questions on where her favourite toy is or which animal am I pointing at.

 

So focus on your values and how you can get them across to your children. Becoming aware of your words will help you to stop focusing on how looks are more important than how your child behaves or thinks. Even when it is unintentional.

 

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Building your confidence for baby classes/social events

I recently attended a “Mums meet up” hosted by Mama Society. I had an amazing time and when I posted about it, I couldn’t believe how many private messages I…


tips on boosting confidence for a baby classI recently attended a “Mums meet up” hosted by Mama Society. I had an amazing time and when I posted about it, I couldn’t believe how many private messages I had from other mums saying how much they would love to attend a social event, however, they felt too anxious and nervous. It saddened me because, I had such a great time. I would love other mums to feel confident enough to attend a baby class or a mums meet up event.

At the same time, I truly understand the challenges you can face with feeling nervous and anxious, to throw yourself into the deep end and go in a room full of people you have never even met before.

Just because you have anxiety- does not mean anxiety is all you are

A little background on myself. After suffering from social anxiety for years now I feel that I have started to turn a corner with myself and realise that just because I have attended therapy sessions and have had medication for anxiety, the label “anxiety” is not who I am and not my personality.

Confidence boosting tips for attending a baby class/social event

I thought I would share with you some of my favourite ways to help combat the feeling of being nervous or anxious before a baby class or a social event and hopefully I will at least help someone reading this.tips on boosting confidence for a baby class

  1. Plan. Plan everything either the night before or two days before. Even down to your outfit and your child’s outfit, what they will have for their breakfast, dinner or snacks and anything they might need there. Having a full plan will help you to feel like you have control over what you can control, resulting in confidence. If you wake up late, everything will all be planned for you to focus on straight away and get going. Or if you wake up feeling anxious, you have a plan to stick to, which will help your mind not wander off thinking the worst of everything which may result in you talking yourself out of going.
  2.  Arrive early. I love trying (I say trying because we all know how hard this is with a child) to arrive early for a class or event I am attending for the first time because, for me personally, journeys to new places are extremely stressful. It is like I get myself that worked up, parking my car in a space takes me 100 manoeuvres. Giving yourself time to chill out before you head in and beat the rush of all the other mums parking and fighting for a space will help you to feel more relaxed.
  3. Another reason to arrive early. If you are early or on time, you are more likely to be one of the first mums there. You will have more options on where you want to sit, get your child sorted incase they need a quick change before the starting time. But, most importantly, you are not going to be walking into a room full of people, with all eyes on you, feeling the judgement. (Even though no mum will actually be judging. Your anxiety will somehow convince yourself that they are). I personally find it easier to greet a mum walking in, than having to walk up to what looks like an established conversation between two people and have to stand their awkwardly smiling until you think of something interesting to say.tips on boosting confidence for a baby class
  4. Avoid Caffeine. Dare I say it, coffee is not your friend (in this case). Why? Caffeine is a stimulant. That is not going to help someone with anxiety. Caffeine’s effects on your body are similar to those of a frightening event. Caffeine stimulates your “fight or flight” response, and studies show that this can make anxiety worse and can even trigger an anxiety attack.
  5. Questions. Have an idea on what questions to ask the other mums. Take the opportunity to get to know them. Find out what their interests are and you will probably see how similar they are to you. Remember that not all mums want to attend a social event and talk about their babies and some mums all they want to do is talk about their babies. So if you feel that the conversation is awkward, just change the subject and don’t take the bad response personally.
  6. Try again. Once I attended a class at a local church, where I did not feel comfortable. AT ALL. It was one of the first classes I attended as a new mum, living in a new area. I left half way through as my anxiety got the better of me. I sat in my car and burst into tears – even took a selfie, to look back on as one of my lows and know that one day I would laugh and not take the experience personally.tips on boosting confidence for a baby classThe feeling of being anxious and having my expectations crushed on baby classes combined with the guilt of not being a good mum to Mole crushed me. I was super firm on myself to try a different class elsewhere, I did and LOVED it.  Fast forward a few months, I attended that class I originally felt so crappy at to give it a second chance. I hated it. The same thing happened again. I left half way and cried in my car. The point I am trying to make is, some classes/events will be for you and some won’t. It does not make you a bad mum if you need to leave and give yourself time. Remember, if you have made the big enough step to even make it out of the house, praise yourself.
  7. Wear your confident hat. A trick I learnt from drama classes. Pretend you are wearing an invisible confident hat. Sounds very silly doesn’t it? Believing you are confident, standing tall, smiling, making eye contact and asking open ended questions will make you look very approachable, friendly and most important make you feel like you actually are a confident person; even though you may have lived however many years of your life labelling yourself as shy.

Give it a go

Hopefully these tips come in use for you and you feel that you can attend a class/event. Attending will be worth your while. I have met some amazing people I can call my friends and I have been able to see my daughter enjoy herself too.

 

Images by https://www.truelightphotography.net/

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5 Maternity Rights You Need To Know

Do you know the 5 things your Employer is forbidden from doing while you are on Maternity leave? Knowing your own rights whilst planning and going on maternity leave is…

Do you know the 5 things your Employer is forbidden from doing while you are on Maternity leave?

maternity work leave rights

Knowing your own rights whilst planning and going on maternity leave is critical. I’m not saying that employers try to catch you out on purpose for their own benefit. Sometimes they can make a simple, honest mistakes. But, not knowing your legal rights on maternity leave could cost you.

To put that to a close, whether your employer deliberately or unintentionally makes one of these mistakes whilst you are on maternity leave, they are breaking the law.

1. You have to tell your employer as soon as you know you are pregnant or else you will not get full maternity pay.

Wrong. You are only required to inform your employer at least 15 weeks before your due date.

Your employer is allowed to ask for your maternity leave in writing which I believe is acceptable and a good reference for you later down the line. Please do not feel you have to inform work as soon as your pregnancy is confirmed by the doctor.

 

2. Redundancymaternity work leave rights

Making you redundant in attempt to avoid maternity pay is wrong. You are entitled to statutory maternity pay if:

You have worked for the same employer for at least 26 weeks by the completion of the 15th week your before your baby is due.

You were employed for part or all of the qualifying week (15th week before the baby is due)

You earn at least an average of £116 in the two months prior to the end of the qualifying week.

 

3. Give you less than 52 weeks of maternity leave

You are entitled to 52 weeks of maternity leave.

Considering that you are not classed as self-employed or a worker. The length of time you have worked for your employer should not be considered.

The 52 weeks of maternity leave is made up of the 26 weeks of ordinary maternity leave (OML), and 26 weeks of additional maternity leave (AML).

 

4. Deny you changing your return to work date.

You have to give your employer at least 8 weeks notice. You are allowed to change your return to work date. In some cases this cannot be helped as you may be refused nursery placements or other child care plans could fail leaving you no choice. So it is important to remember to have everything in place 8 weeks before returning.

 

5.Refuse to provide you with flexible working arrangementsmaternity work leave rights

If you opt to return to work at the end of your maternity leave your employer must make effort to accommodate you after you return to work. E.G. You may want to go back on part time hours, or have one day a week where you can work from home.

If returning to work is a struggle, having a chat with your employer may help as they may find hours to accommodate you.

 

Being Smart

Employers nowadays are aware of the laws and they do comply with them. A lot of employers want you to talk to them about your maternity leave concerns so you can both be in a position of understanding where you both are at.

Unfortunately there are also bad employers that don’t’ follow the laws.

Use the information above to protect your rights.

If you need more information on your maternity leave rights, there is personalised guidance published by the GOV.UK website. You can find it here.

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My Feelings After Birth | Baby Blues

I was super chilled through out my pregnancy. I never freaked out or stressed out, I took every single day as it came and I couldn’t have been happier. But…

I was super chilled through out my pregnancy. I never freaked out or stressed out, I took every single day as it came and I couldn’t have been happier. But all that changed right after I gave birth.

My pregnancy involved me moving to a new town to live with my boyfriend as I currently lived with my parents and at the time, even though I was a few hours away from everything I knew, it didn’t seem to bother me.

My first words holding her were “oh my word what do I do??!!”

The moment Mole was placed on my chest I got scared. My first words holding her were “oh my word what do I do???” screaming out to the midwife. I had no experience with babies and I don’t even think I had held a baby before. It hit me, the huge amount of responsibility I had caring for her and I wanted to be perfect.

Struggling to breastfeed

After a few hours in hospital, the midwife came in and questioned me “have you not fed her yet?” in a stern tone. It was the “yet” in her question that stuck with me. I felt sick, I looked at Mole sleeping away in the little crib they have and thought, “why have I not fed you yet 🙁 ?” and then I thought “how do I even feed her?” I really did not have a clue what I was doing. It took me 10 minutes to struggle changing a nappy and one of the most important responsibilities as a mother is feeding your baby and I had no clue how to even do it! The feelings of excitement and happiness started fading away.

The feelings of excitement and happiness started fading away

Struggling to breastfeed at the start gave me so much anxiety. From not knowing when and how often she should be feeding to not knowing if I was doing it properly and Mole was having enough.

This feeling still lasted when I took Mole home from the hospital. As soon as I walked through the doors with her she cried and cried and cried. I was trying to feed her every 40 minutes but she was constantly hungry. I was up all night for about a week. I saw every hour of the clock. It wasn’t till I spoke to my mum on the phone at how much I was struggling caring for her when she asked “are you winding her?” I didn’t even know what this meant! Again I felt like I was doing everything wrong and as a mother I should know all of this stuff.

Flashbacks

I’m not sure if anyone else has gone through this, I kept on getting flashbacks of the birth. But the painful bit. It was like I had PTSD from birth trauma! My birth story went really well actually, I don’t even know what I’m complaining about as so many women have it bad, yet, it was the most traumatic event that had ever happened to me. I had never had that pain before for hours on end. Every movement I did afterwards that hurt triggered a memory of screaming to push Mole out. I could even feel the pain again in my mind.

The Nappy Train

Sadly, I could’t get to grips with how often I had to change Mole’s nappy. She would get so upset if she even just did a little wee in her nappy. For some reason I got this awful feeling of reflection. Spending most of my life in education to finally hold down a good job and now being off work to change countless nappies everyday. I don’t know why but it made me feel like a failure in my job.  It was hard to convince people around me as well that just because i’m off work doesn’t mean that I do nothing but watch TV all day, I am constantly changing nappies and feeding. I am raising a life. It was very hard to accept that being a mum is a full time job. Its the hardest full time job. And I am so grateful now that I can see it is the most rewarding full time job.

Mourning my old life

Writing this now, remembering the thoughts I had about missing my old life has got me in disbelief. I’ve had Mole for 5 months now and I wouldn’t want my life any other way. I am so grateful to have her and the happiness she gives me every single day. Nothing in the world can make me as happy as she can.

But, during the first few weeks I found myself mourning my previous life. My selfish life. Being able to shower when I wanted, sleep all night, go to the gym for two hours and not feel guilty. I would constantly question myself “What the hell have I done?” I’d gone from having it very cushy living with my parents and seeing my friends every weekend to being in a whole new town, not having anyone to help to caring for a newborn baby.

I would constantly question myself “What the hell have I done?”

Tears

I can’t tell you how many tears I shed during the first few weeks. Anything could set me off. The worst was when the midwife at my check up appointments would ask how my mood was and I’d get a horrible lump in my throat and then i’d spend the rest of the session not listening to her properly because I’d be trying my hardest not to cry, then as soon as the session was over I’d just burst into tears. I didn’t want people to think I wasn’t coping because so many people have babies and they all seem to handle it pretty well. I wanted to be like them. A strong mum.

I remember placing Mole on her play mat in front of the shower so I could multi-task watching her and getting to wash my hair. I’d step into the shower and cry. Looking at her whilst crying made me cry even harder because I felt guilty for crying when I was so lucky to have her. I’d get out of the shower and paint a smile on my face so know one could tell tears were streaming down my cheeks 5 minutes ago.

Symptoms of Baby Blues

I started to wonder if I had Post Natal Depression. But I didn’t have all of the main symptoms and some days were good days for me. I came across Baby Blues whilst researching my own symptoms and I fitted into this perfectly.

  • Crying for no reason
  • Irratbility
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Poor concentration
  • Sadness
  • Restlessness
  • Impatience
  • Mood changes

It was strange really because after 2/3 weeks I felt normal. Like all of my previous feelings and struggles were just a dream. I started getting out of the house to baby classes and making new mum friends pouring my heart out to them, going on walks breathing in fresh air and began the process of loving my new life.

I wake up every single day now so content and in love. Even through the bad nights of no sleep I look at Mole and smile. I almost hate myself for ever feeling the way I did the first few weeks of her life but sometimes you can’t control what is going to happen. Hormones have a huge role to play too and i’ve accepted that I can’t blame everything on myself.

I LOVE being a mummy.

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What you didn’t know about your baby’s feet that can relax a crying or fussy baby

  According to reflexology experts, massaging your baby’s feet in specific areas can settle an upset or fussy baby. Reflexology is a natural pain relief that is done by massaging…

 

According to reflexology experts, massaging your baby’s feet in specific areas can settle an upset or fussy baby.

Reflexology is a natural pain relief that is done by massaging pressure points throughout the body to relieve pain.

Sounds crazy right? Like how can a massage on the feet calm my baby down? Won’t it just agitate my baby more?

I came across this idea when I was researching different ways to help Molly’s reflux and noticed that when she was having a fussy day or she was crying more than usual and nothing I normally do to try and soothe her worked, this method had an immediate impact.

For it to work, I bathed Molly first. This is one of her usual ways she likes to calm down. The warm water encourages blood flow to her feet which makes the massage more effective.

Different points in the foot work for different areas of your baby’s body. If your baby has trouble with a specific area, then you can focus your massage on that area. It may take a few tries to get use to it but keep at it! Trust me.

Pelvis

Babies grow at an unbelievable rate! You know yourself, you look at them one day and the next they have doubled in size. Growing at a fast rate can cause pain in their hips as some areas of their body grows quicker than other areas.

To solve this problem: Rub your baby’s heel.

Rubbing the heel area can help babies if they suffer from upset stomachs or constipation too.

Upper and Lower Abdomen Pain

Massaging the space in the middle of your baby’s foot and the pads of their feet can help problems with heartburn, indigestion and constipation.

Massaging the middle of the foot and heel will help problems with bloating and painful gas.

Stomach Pain

Massaging the center of the foot just below the pads of the feet where the arch begins will help to solve the problem of upset tummies, tightness and spasms.

How can massaging the middle of a foot help with stomach pain I asked myself?

Well, the center of the foot is a direct link to a collection of nerves between the lungs and stomach called the Solar Plexus.

Chest

Massaging the pad area below your baby’s toes and above the arch can help with congestion in the chest and coughing problems.

Apply a gentle pressure and massage in a circular motion for this to work.

Sinus Pain

We all know how horrible Sinus pain is, well that is if you have suffered from it before. Imagine how a baby feels when suffering from Sinus pain when they are new to the world and have never experienced anything like it before. 🙁

To help, apply a gentle pressure and massage the center underside of your baby’s toes. Instant relief 🙂

Tooth Ache

Saving the best till last. Massaging the very tips of your baby’s toes can help to ease the pain of tooth ache. When your baby is teething you feel helpless in being able to cure their pain. You give them Calpol but sometimes it is nice to have a natural pain relief remedy for teething babies.

Massaging the tips of their toes can help to distract your baby from the pain too and the massage can even be done when your baby is asleep.

Always remember, serious issues with your baby need to be consulted by your doctor. Reflexology is a great way to help with everyday issues and bond with your baby. Give them a go and see how they feel 🙂

Happy massaging!

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