The Christmas Mental load

There’s something magical about Christmas is the movies. The picture perfect decorations, tables laden with food, Pintrest wrapped presents and everyone smiling. However, we rarely speak of how who carries the pressure of Christmas upon their shoulders. The true Christmas heroes who work tirelessly year long to ensure that magical experience of Christmas is felt by the entire family. The Mum’s.

Photo by Elina Fairytale on Pexels.com

Us Mum’s know all too well where that load falls. I for one have had Christmas at the back of my mind most of the year. Starting in January I buy Christmas decorations on clearance and stuff them in my spare cupboards. During the year I hoard away stocking stuffers, and as of September I’m in full blown Christmas shopping mode. Somehow I’ve convinced myself that my constant preparation for Christmas will somehow reduce the stress I feel as the day draws closer. There is just so many jobs that need to be done ahead of Christmas Day itself; soaking the Christmas Fruit, ordering the food, buying the wrapping/ribbon/tape, wrapping the presents, decorating the house, baking….Not to mention all the other Christmas associated events that you need to be ready for. You need the advent calendars ready to go Dec 1. If you’re crazy enough to commit to Elf on the Shelf they’ve also go to be ready Dec 1 with new shenanigans everyday of the month. You need to have booked you Christmas photos and organised everyones outfits, and now there’s the new trend of matching Christmas PJ’s (make sure you’ve bought those too). The school and workplace functions. These often need food prepared, Secret Santa presents, thank-you gifts for teachers/bosses, concerts that need costumes, dinners that need outfits.There’s also all those gifts that have to ready ahead of time for family that you see before Christmas, Friends, colleges, neighbours.

Photo by Elina Fairytale on Pexels.com

If you make through all of this there’s Christmas Eve- Attend Christmas Eve event, feed everyone, dress everyone in their Christmas PJ”s and make sure you leave out the carrots, milk and cookies. Once the kids are in bed eat said cookie, nibble carrots and drink milk. Next quietly dig out all the presents you’ve been hoarding all year. Build the toys that need assembly and silently wrap them and place under the tree. Start prepping food for the next day. Remember to go to bed before midnight so that you can have at least 5 hours sleep before the kids are up.

Christmas morning itself is magical. It’s the real pay off for all the stresses to see everyone filled with joy sharing presents, playing Christmas music and having fun together. As per usual the dad’s are sitting there pretending they know what’s in the box. If mum’s lucky they’ve picked up on you’re not so subtle hints about what you’d like for Christmas, and if not you’ve got another candle. But mum’s just don’t stop. You hand out the presents, you’re racing behind cleaning up all the paper, you’re taking photos and organising breakfast as well as starting on the Christmas lunch/dinner. Then you’re posting the pics you took to socials whilst stirring a pot of sauce and putting the roast on. Before you know it you welcoming guests, or rounding up everyone into the car for the next event.

The whole day can feel like a race for mum’s who like me probably swear they’re never going to do it again. We’re exhausted from the mental load of pulling off yet another Christmas. Surviving barely on the oxytocin from seeing the pure joy on our children’s faces on Christmas morning.

To all the Mumma’s out there you are the Christmas champions, the ninja’s, the greatest elves of all. We are all so lucky to have you spreading magic and your hard work is not unnoticed. I appreciate how hard it is, we just couldn’t do it without all of you.

Mumma Z xxx

Part-Time Teaching

I’m a Part-time teacher

For many reading that statement it has little impact. But for those of us who work in the Secondary private school system I’m a unicorn. A rarity, a curiosity and everyone has a question about it.

What’s your FTE?

How did you negotiate that?

How many days do you work?

Do you have to attend meetings?

DO you get DOTT time?

I’m happy to share, but the truth of it is that my situation is not ideal.

Although my pay cheque pays me for two days work per week there is an expectation that I answer emails on the other five days of the week. I have very little DOTT time, still have to do duties, and do extra work at home during the week. I’m not alone in my woes. I have colleagues who are told that their required hours on campus on particular days are from 8:15-12:00pm, then they have three hours off which they are not paid for then they are expected to return for an afterschool meeting. I have other colleges who have an FTE of 0.5 (that’s the equivalent of 2.5 days) but those hours are stretched over five days. So, they must come into work every single day. Others have commented how being part-time they are made to feel like lesser employees as through part-time is a ‘dirty’ word. Many have gone to their principals and asked for part-time work to be flat out told that there’s nothing on offer. Even in the situation where they have come up with their own solution to job share with another teacher at the school who is also looking for part-time hours.

You would be stretched to find another private industry that makes it so difficult for its employees to find flexible employments that supports their families, health, and work-life balance.

So why is it such a pretentious issue in Private schools?

Here are just some of the arguments I have heard from Principals:

Shared classes (that is a class taught by one teacher a few lessons a week and another teacher on the remaining days) is detrimental to students learning.

The missing part of the argument though is that shared classes are very common in Secondary schools even with full time teachers. The reason for this is basic mathematics when you construct a timetable sometimes it’s impossible to schedule everyone in perfectly. But shared classes can be amazing, it allows the teachers to play to their strengths and gives students that advantage of having two experts to deliver the learning material. On the flip side they could be detrimental if the two teachers sharing don’t, communicate well, or one of them doesn’t pull their weight.

Teachers take advantage of part-time work and are less committed to their workplaces.

As for teachers taking advantage of being part-time, I don’t really know what that even means. I can only speak for myself when I say I’m more committed and onto of my role because I must be so efficient with my time. I enjoy the flexibility of being able to leave to pick up my children from school and my mental health is better for it.

Part-time teachers cause confusion to administration, parents and students.

Part-timers only cause confusion if there are problems with communication. The more normal we make these working arrangements that better we become at it. Plus, communications issues can happen no matter what role of FTE you have, it’s a separate skill.

Secondary Private school staffing that is predominantly full time is an advantage over the government school system.

In what way? There is very little research to suggest that having more full-time teaching staff than part-time staff gives you an advantage. If the argument is about shared classes, refer to what I said above about that issue. More people, more skills, talents, and wisdom.  More staff getting the work-life balance they seek= better staff wellbeing.

This last year has forced so many industries to rethink the flexibility they offer their staff. It’s time that secondary private school systems did the same. If you want to attract the best teachers and keep them, you need to offer them the best working conditions.

Mumma Z xx

Reimagining Lockdown

Today with very little notice Perth W.A was sent into a 5 day lockdown. I watched as my Facebook feed filled with negative reactions, cursing and memes. School was due to start back tomorrow and parents who were looking forward to seeing their little darlings back into the care of the teachers found themselves with them full time for another 5 days. There were questions about child care’s being open, masks and essential workers. The headlines quickly reported mass mania at the supermarkets and in a flash it was dejavu to 2020.

One of my more spiritual friends put the whole thing down to a “Mercury Retrograde”. Apparently a few times a year the planet Mercury appears to move backwards in the sky. Astrologers claim this causes humans to experience confusion, delay, coincidences and frustration…..5 day lockdown???

But I’ve chosen a slightly different fate. I’ve been gifted five beautiful days to rethink my plans and slowdown. No I won’t be carting the kids around to swimming, gym, optometrist appointments, coffee catchups and play dates. There will be no beach going, playgrounds, or food shopping. I will be stuck at my parents house (if you’ve bene following my blog we sold our house without having found a new one yet) with my two kids under 3.

The funny thing is I was only thinking a few hours ago about how busy the week was. How many incidental things I have had to buy and how I wanted to save more money. How sometimes I just wish I could have a day where I don’t need to go anywhere.

Then bang…a 5 day lockdown.

Did you know 5 days is 120 hours. How many times in our lives are we gifted time?

We recently lost someone in my family, as we all know its in these moments that we don’t wish for money, holidays, or career progress we just with for time with our loved ones.

So the next 5 days I am going to embrace the gifts of 120 hours by doing things I love to do at home with my greatest loves.

Music: Each day I’m going to pick an artist and just listen to them for the day. I just love the thought of my boys listening to the musical voices I love whilst creating beautiful memories at home. I’m thinking really classic voices- Billy Joel, Elton Joh, Freddie Mercury, Frank Valli

Spiritual Recharge: I’m going to recharge my spirit by taking some time to myself playing the piano, reading a book or taking a bubble bath.

Cooking/Baking: I’m going to bake and cook dinners with my mum and sons. Recreating some of the things she used to make me when I was little and take lots of pictures of the mess and laughter as we do it.

Technology Disconnect: I’m going to have a day free from internet, phone, laptop and TV. I’m going to fill it with playing in the garden, painting, piano and books. I don’t want the distraction of other peoples I just want to spend a day with my little family enjoying the days I’ll never get back.

Slow Down: I’m going to practise slowing down. If that means breakfast is 15 minutes late and nap time is delayed so be it. I spend all my days racing around like a headless chook. I’m on maternity leave, I don’t need to be racing. Without the appointments and lessons there is no where we need to be, so I’m going to breath and give myself permission to slow the pace down.

I’m hoping on the other side I’ll see a healthier bank account, healthy stress level and hundred of happy snaps from a well spent week. Take care all of you out there, see you on the other side

Mumma Z xxx

Risk Taking

Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Pexels.com

This year we took a risk. We sold our house without having bought a new one. We packed up all our belongings and stored them at families and friends and moved in with my parents with our 2.5 year old and 6 months old. All the while living with the unknown, how long would we be without a home of our own?

It got me thinking about risks though…

How and when do we take them?

Do all people that take risks really fail?

Do I pick the safe option over the risky option in my life?

Do we take less risks once we become parents?

Property

When we considered moving we looked at the risks vs the benefits. I wanted somewhere that would reduce my commute and make us closer to my family. The risk is that we would lose money on our property and be without a house for a while. The benefit would be living in our dream area in which our property would increase in value far beyond where we were. We took the leap and actually made a small amount of money on our house after realestate fees. But we are without our own house and that’s scary. We don’t know if we’ll be living with my parents for a month or a year. But when the right property comes up we’ll be ready to buy and our offer will be strong.

Superannuation

We recently reviewed our superannuation and insurances. The biggest questions is whether to keep the money in the superannuation company we always have or move to a lesser known one that invests more in big Australian shares and reviews our investments yearly to personalise them. How will we ever know which one would do better. We don’t have a mirror ball that allows us to see into the future. Instead we weigh up there risks and benefits. I guess if the new superannuation company has good reviews and is run by legitimate investment managers then the effort of trying to secure a larger retirement amount is a positive and worth the risk? Who knows..

Career

I work as a teacher. It’s what some may call a safe profession. But its a stressful one, in which you can only be promoted so high. The money isn’t great but the holidays are- if you aren’t working them making and prepping. I could train as something else but its very hard to match what I’m earning now straight away, it could be year before I make that kind of money again and no other career is going to offer me 12 weeks holiday and weekend off. However I might make a lot more money and one day be my own boss in which I could pick my hours. It’s a very difficult decision to make. A benefit could be reduced stress and the possibility of work independence. But in the short term the risk is high. One would suppose if the new career venture did go belly up I could fall back on teaching. Could I live with the regret of never giving something new a go? As I’m writing this I’ve almost convinced myself to try the new venture….

What are the risks you’re thinking of taking?

Are they relationship risks? financial risks?

How did you decide whether to take the risk or not?

Have you taken a risk and failed? tell me about it!

Mumma Z xxx

Things I find hard with a baby & a toddler

Being a mum with a baby and a toddler is a wonderful gift but it’s not without its challenges. Lately I’ve been finding some routine things difficult and have often chosen to not do some things because the effort out weighs the benefit.

Buying petrol

This is something I have ranted about before but seriously in Australia we need more pay at bowser petrol stations. What should be a quick convenient service turns into a nightmare when you need to take two kids out of their car seats into the shop to pay and then load them back in the car. Now I know some people leave them in there but I just can’t do it. On a super hot day the idea of them sitting out there even for a few minutes send my anxiety into overdrive!

Buying Milk

Running out of milk is a nightmare. Again getting two kids in the car to the shops, setting up the pram, buying the milk, loading them back in the car, driving home, unloading them from the car all for the sake of 2L of Milk is such a mammoth effort. For the sake of mums could someone please invest in me opening a drive thru deli store???

Car Service

Keeping your family safe not the road should not be hard! I booked my car in recently and asked for a courtesy car. Apparently courtesy cars were books out for the next 3 months. There was not shuttle service available either. So what do you do with two kids. Sitting at the service centre for 6 hours isn’t an option. Long story short I had to ask my mum to help me. She met me at the mechanics at 8:30am , where I uninstalled two car seats and installed them in her car. We all then got in her car and went back to my house. There we sat and waited for hours upon hours. The mechanic rang me to say I needed new tyres to which I approved and he said the car would be ready at 12. At 2 I rang to see what was happening and he apologised that he’d put it on the later pile and it wouldn’t be ready until 4. At 4 I rang and was told I could get the car at 4:30pm. We headed off to pick the car up, after paying I took the car seats out of mums car and reinstalled them in mine. By the time I got home it was dinner time, everyone was grumpy because we’d been stuck inside all day. Dinner wasn’t cooked, and I just can’t help but think that there has to be a more family friendly way to get this done.

Medical Appointments

Having your two kids tag along to your medical appointments is a nightmare. My 2.5 year old cries if anyone touches me, apparently the chiropractic table is going to kill me, and don’t even try checking my ears. These appointments need to happen, they’re a fact of life, and part of taking care of ourselves. But going on your own with kids is tricky there’s no easy way about it.

House Hunting

Why are these always scheduled in the middle of the day during nap time! The kids fall asleep in the car, your loading and unloading them between houses, or you have to enlist a babysitter to watch them just so you can spend 10-15 minutes wandering around houses..so frustrating

Mumma Z xxx

“I am raising a son that your daughter will be safe with. I PROMISE!

Last month we celebrated International Day for the Elimination of Violence and I noticed on Social Media there were dozens of women posting the following quote:

“I am raising a son that your daughter will be safe with. I PROMISE!

Now I’m the first to agree that we as parents hold a huge responsibility when it comes to changing the pattern of violence against women, children, family, friends, and human beings alike. But for some reason this quote really got me thinking. Upon reading it I felt pressure and honestly I’m still reflecting on why I feel this way.

One idea I have pondered is that I feel so passionately about raising my sons to be gentle, kind, supportive, loving partners. That won’t respond with violence in any situation let alone towards their families and friends. But what I realised is that I’m not sure exactly what I should be doing to prevent this. It’s all well and good to say that us as parents are responsible for raising our children to respond appropriately in every situation they face as teenagers and adults but how are we educating our parents to do this. I don’t have any experience of violence at home, I’m one of the lucky ones and I still am baffled as to how I’m going to raise my boys to be men that your daughters/sons are safe with. My boys are beautiful, intelligent people who are gentle natured and extremely empathetic and caring. It makes me feel so sad for them that they’re growing up in a world where men are to be feared and distrusted and I feel a immense pressure to raise them right and turn that notion around because I can’t imagine that they would be violent towards anyone. We don’t have violence at home so we’re not modelling violent behaviour, they’re not hit ever, and we teach them how to breath and calm down when they’re angry. When they do play too rough or hit each other they’re told off and we say ‘we don’t hit people’ and ‘that’s not the way we act’ but is it enough? are there other things I could be doing?

After a lot of reading one of the main suggestion was to teach young boys about their emotions. Teaching them to express themselves in healthy ways and not to bottle up their emotions. Encourage them to talk and avoid telling them that ‘boys don’t cry’. Ensuring that we don’t teach them in any way that they are smarter or more powerful than girls. This starts with the chores we set them around the house not being stereotypically male and giving them a range of non gender specific toys.

As they get older we need to ensure that we teach appropriate ways to communicate with all people, and model healthy relationships at home. Make sure the programs they are watching are appropriate and watch tv with them so that if a character is behaving inappropriately you can use it as a teaching moment. Focus on keeping your relationship with your son strong, talk regularly, a good relationship will ensure you know what’s happening in their life and you can give them advice when difficult situations in their lives arise.

Ensure they have good male remodels in their lives, this can include family members, coaches, teachers, family friends the more they see adult males responding with gentleness, kindness, calmness the more likely they are to behave that way as adults.

Teach them what inappropriate behaviours look like from a young age. This is very important for keeping them safe as well as others. Tell them who they should tell if they see any inappropriate behaviours. Teach them about consent, this include consenting to hugs and kisses even from family members. Teach them conflict resolution and give them phrases to use when they’re upset of angry “stop I don’t like it when you…” “when you did_______ it made me feel _________”

Call out people if they make sexist comments or jokes. In fact this might be one of the most important things you do especially if its someone your son sees a lot. If a grandparent or uncle is talking about females in a derogatory way even if it is a ‘joke’ use it as at teachable moment for your son and the adults involved.

Avoid comments like ‘you run like a girl’ or ‘that outfit looks too girly’

Not every man that’s been violent towards his family learnt to be that way from a violent upbringing. So we can’t be complacent that just because our households aren’t violent are children won’t be.

There can’t be a perfect equation for how to ensure you raise your kids to be non-violent empathetic adults but every skill you equip them with will make us closer to that goal. It will raise awareness, it will change attitudes and it just may save a life.

Mumma Z xxx

Respect for Teachers- Media it starts with YOU!

This year has certainly challenged opinions when it comes to education and teachers. It is my hope that it has helped re-establish a much deserved respect for teachers. It would seem that for a while now education has been something that everybody wants a say in, politicians, parents, trades you name it, seem to think they know better than the teachers themselves.

For too long teachers have had to cope constant criticism, excessive hours, highly stressful workplaces and overcrowding in their rooms with little thanks for all their hard work.

I don’t know how many times I’ve even at social events where I’ve had to grit my teeth through cringe worth comments about how teachers get 12 weeks holidays a year, that it’s a easy job, that we’re over paid, and that basically anything to do with our students is our fault.

But all of this has had me thinking about when it was that teachers lost societies respect. When did they become lesser professionals than doctors, engineers, and politician’s. Teachings is one of the oldest professions in the world and should carry with it a high esteem. Most teachers have two degrees, one in their specialised subject and one in education. More so many have gone on to get Masters degrees and Doctorates. They work long hours charged with the education of 30+ children at a time teaching content that it scaffold, adapted, and methodically explained in various learning styles so suit all their students. We can thank them for a society that can read, write, collaborate, socialise, play nice, and say type on computers. They have taught us about sports, music, technology, history, science. They’ve inspired the careers we go into and helped learn how to make friends and work with those we don’t like. They’ve celebrated our achievements and guided us when we’re not doing so well.

So how is it that one of the biggest influences in society- the media- can get away with such poor representation of teachers as a whole?

There are programs dedicated to doctors e.g. Grey’s Anatomy, The Good Doctor. There are shows dedicated to Police: NCIS, Fire Men: Chicago Fire, Lawyers: The Good Fight, Politicians: West Wing, Home renovators-The Block but when was the last time you saw one dedicated to teachers. More so if you did was the teacher portrayed as the hero, the unsung hero, with impeccable skills. Were they portrayed as Meredith Grey with exceptional knowledge and professionalism and maybe a few personality flaws or were they incompetent, unable to control the class or having an affair with a student.

I recently watch an episode of Bluey in which the characters were playing with their Year 6 Buddies. Although the teacher is seen to come over and talk to the students for a short time, for a good chunk of the episode the teacher (Calypso) is seen in the background knitting….Our kindergarten teacher deserve better than to be represented as people that sit around knitting. Early childhood teachers are incredible members of society and certainly don’t have time to veg out when they are charged with their students.

A repeat for teachers and the profession starts with how we talk about them at home. Parents need to support the teachers and not speak badly of them to their kids. But secondly and most importantly the media needs to take responsibility for the characters they write and ensure they do justice to the thousands of teachers that do impeccable work each and every day. Maybe then will they be recognised properly for the hours they work and the skills they have. Maybe then will politicians butt out of their programs and content and allow them the profession courtesy that other professions have. Maybe then parents and society will stop and listen to the professionals. And finally maybe then when discussion education matters on TV Sunrise & the Today show will have actual teachers on their discussion panels to discuss teaching instead of radio hosts and other minor celebs who DO NO KNOW WHAT THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT!

Much love,

Mumma Z xxx

How to Start a Mummy Blog- Part 1- the first month

WordPress

I spent a lot of time planning my blog before I launched it. It wrote articles, threw around names, and researched the designs of other blogs. I considered the type of content I would be interested in, and checked out other blogs that offered similar topics. I wrote enough enough content to post everyday for a week so that once I launched I could always stay a week ahead of myself. Once I was ready I signed up for WordPress premium with my chosen name. I spent a good week designing it and uploaded 4-5 articles to start with. I previewed my blog on my laptop, phone, iPad and my husbands phone. I spent hours troubleshooting how to fix different design elements and reading about how to launch a blog. I made a conscious decision to not tell family and friends about the blog. I really wanted to have complete artistic freedom to write and try this without them knowing. However this meant that I had to get followers from scratch! My articles needed to have headings that made people want to click and read. I needed images, excerpts and subheadings. My early articles are not my greatest but with each article I wrote I got better. It also helped to read other peoples articles and focus on how they formatted them. I’ve chosen not to go back and edit my past articles instead I offer them there for you to see how I’ve grown and learnt along the way.

In the first week of launching I was glued to seeing my views and visitors. To be honest I was pretty stoked with 6 views on the first day considering no-one but me and my husband knew about it. Day 4 was awesome and Day 11 was a low. I quickly understood what people were talking about when they said not to read these stats on a daily basis. Let the blog be, let it live and grow on its own. Come back monthly instead and see which articles got the most hits. Analyse why people liked them, was it the heading? the imagery? was the writing style different? content? that way you can make informed changes to the direction of your blog in the future.

ViewsVisitors
Day 162
Day 2316
Day 32016
Day 47827
Day 5333
Day 64111
Day 73813
Day 83011
Day 93514
Day 103517
Day 11129
Day 122315
Day 132417
Day 145725
Day 154022
Day 162714
Day 174021
Day 183213
Day 193913
Day 202115
Day 21138
Day 221310
Day 233210
Day 24298
Day 252910
Day 263012
Day 27288
Day 284911

This is a breakdown of the first 3 weeks of my blog, as you can see it fluctuated greatly. I found a huge correlation between my Pinterest ads and views specifically 2-3 days after the ad was launched. I also found that people would like my articles without viewing them because of the tags I used so make sure you utilise this feature.

My goal for the next month is to get over 50 views a day.

Fiverr

I wanted my blog to look really unique. I’d seen a few mum blogs and all of their pictures on Instagram and Pinterest looked really similar. Plus I’m just not great at photography so illustrations was a great solution. I decided I would use illustrations all in the same style on my blog. The day before I launched my blog I hired an illustrator on Fiverr.com. I initially sent the concepts of the illustrations I wanted to three illustrators on fiver for quotes. One illustrator seemed to grasp what I wanted more so I paid for one illustration $5 as a trial. Luckily I loved it and had him design two more for me. About a week after launching after I was really happy with my decision to start a blog so I hired the same illustrator to design a logo for me. I sent him images of logos I liked and we discussed colours. He was fantastic and happy to make alterations. Once I had the logo I uploaded it to my Blog, Instagram and Pinterest profiles and posts. Its really important for getting your name out there. A week later I ordered 4 more illustrations. I wanted to make sure I had them ready for my Christmas articles and to maintain the style of my blog. All up I spent just under $100. I really saw this as an investment in my blog. It’s a long game and I intend to try it for an entire year, posting everyday on my Blog, Instagram and Pinterest.

Canva

I love Canva templates. I recommend scanning their homepage to see the latest trending designs and picking from their in the beginning. I use Canva to create Pinterest Pins linked to my articles and Instagram Posts of quotes and article links. I like to design a few in the same style just changing up the colour and save them so they’re ready to go in advance. If I can I include my logo on them too to raise awareness of my brand. Canva uses the same free imagery as WordPress Premium so it’s really simple to use the same pictures on you Blog Posts and Social posts. You can also do a 30 day free trial of Canva-Premium which gives you access to extra templates and images. This is awesome if you’re working in advance because you can design them and download them before your free trial ends.

Pinterest

My first Pinterest add ran for 3 days costing me $1.45. I started the add on Day 2 of my blog and you can really see how it increased my daily views by Day 4. In the early days I would put a maximum daily spend of 0.50c and just slowly built up my followers on Pinterest which in turn increased my views on the blog. Although Pinterest seems to be giving my blog hits I haven’t quite cracked how to get more Pinterest followers.

Instagram

After a week of having a blog I set up a Instagram account. I used Canva to create custom quotes, and previews of my blog articles. Here’s how to set one up without your private account followers knowing:

1 | Open the Instagram app

2 | Select your profile.

3 | Tap the 3 horizontal lines in the top right corner

4 | Select Settings

5 | Scroll to the bottom of the menu. Tap Add Account.

6 | DO NOT LOGIN! Select SIGN-UP

7 | It will give you the option sign-up with Facebook. Don’t use this option if you use Facebook privately! Instead choose Sign Up With Phone or Email.

8 | Enter an Email NOT used by your private account.

9 | Instagram will email you to confirm the email address, open you email and confirm it

11 | Next get to customise your blogs Instagram. Add your Profile Pic, Name, Bio and Password.

12 | Then create a unique username (this should be your blogs name)

13 | Start Posting your content- make sure the link to you blog is in the bio so people know where to read your posts!

14 | Gain followers by joining local ‘loops’ these are essentially groups of Instagramer’s who want to gain followers and do so by hosting events in which you share a loop image, like a bunch of people they’re following and tag people in the loop. I found the tagging part hard because I didn’t actually have any follower I knew, but I just randomly started tagging some of my followers and never got any complaints. By using loops I managed to get 800 followers in just one month. The next goal is to hit 100k!

I’d love to hear how you’re going setting up your blog, and any real life experience you have of making it work!

Mumma Z xxx

Loving my Postpartum Body- The Beginning

Before kids I was self conscious about my body. As a 5ft1 B cup female with PCOS any fluctuation in weight was so obvious on my body, especially since I store all my body weight on my belly. No matter how much I ate healthily, drank water and exercised everyday the belly pouch existed. So naturally when I was in the early stages of pregnancy it was so obvious, no amount of baggy clothing and layers could hide it. So many people commented that my body suited pregnancy- lol that’s because it has always been 8-12 weeks pregnant in shape its entire life.

For many reasons including planning to fall pregnant, I tried to eat low carb and sugar free. My weight was always up and down but it averaged somewhere between 54-57kg.

When I did get pregnant for the first time I lived on carbs, I craved them, dreamt of them and ate them as many times a day as possible. They also stopped me from feeling sick which was awesome. I put on 13kg overall and gave birth to a healthy 4kg baby boy.

My postpartum body was beautiful. Stretched, curvy and rounded off with a post baby bump. the baby weight

I’d put on slowly fell off – helped significantly by exclusively breastfeeding.

After the six week all clear I took it slowly, very slowly. Let’s be honest I was so bloody tired that eating healthy and exercising was furthest from my mind. I craved sweet foods, and survived on toasties and coffee from my local drive-thru cafe. it took me a while but I started to notice that the not eating health or exercising was affecting my mood. I mean I’d always know that but sometimes when you’re in the midst of newborn chaos its hard to remember. I started super slow walking on the treadmill every few days whilst watching my fav shows and on days I could not be bothered I do a quick 10 min Youtube blogilates workout. I reduced my sugar intake gradually and just gave myself time to adjust to postpartum life. By about 6 months postpartum I had lost the baby weight and strangely my tummy was flatter than ever! I felt healthy in mind and body and just felt so proud of my body.

Giving up breastfeeding made maintaining my weight really hard though. My PCOS crazy hormones went ballistic and the tummy pouch returned. It was a real kick to my mental health. I thought I’d got the balance right and now had to work harder. I cut back all carbs and sugar and really make sure I made time to exercise my body.

Then had another setback when I developed an umbilical hernia. The surgery and limited exercise combined made me look 12 weeks pregnant again. completely disheartened I enlisted professional help to get me feeling good again. Physio led reformers pilates was incredible- literally a God-send. I had so much fun exercising and it toned my body in a different way than I’d ever experienced before. It was a hourly gift to myself 1-2 times a week and I felt confident that the exercise was healing my tummy and making me stringer than ever before.

I’m now 6 weeks postpartum after my second pregnancy. I started heavier this time around, but still put on the same amount- 13kg and birthed a less chunky 3.6kg baby boy. 6 weeks later though I feel gross. I’ve just got the all clear from the doctor and I’m about to embark on my journey back. Please understand this is not about body shaming, this is about feeling like me again. My body is not bouncing back, I don’t want my probably body I just want to feel good. My body has done an incredible job growing and feeding my two boys I now need to show it some love back.

Every few month I’m going to update you on how I’m showing love to my postpartum body. Be kind to your bodies Mumma’s, trust the process, and take care of yourselves.

Mumma Z xxx

TWELVE years teaching how to have a career vs ZERO years to be a mum

In Australia our kids spend a minimum of 12 years in education. They get taught English, Mathematics, Science, Arts, Humanities and Health. We give them opportunities to perform, compete, design, cook and experiment. We reward them for high grades and focus on teaching home how to have successful careers.

Just think about it…TWELVE years teaching how to have a career vs ZERO to be a mum!

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Many parents are lucky if they even receive a 1 hour parenting class after the birth of their first child. We don’t adequately invest in preparing people for one of the most important roles they will ever play, the one in raising the next generation of citizens.

I’ve heard the argument that its not the schools job to do this, its the families. Although I agree with this statement, when parents work 8-6 and kids are at school 8:30-3pm there leaves very little time for teaching about family and values. You may say we have all weekend long, but again these days those weekends are filled with extracurricular activities.

It’s just a thought, but maybe if society rethought what we wanted schools to achieve we might not have such a huge discrepancy in societies value of stay at home mums and career success. Just maybe they’d be less of a pay gap between men and women. Maybe the value of family time would override the expectation to answer late night work calls and working weekends.

We could equip people with a few more parenting skills instead of dumping us in the deep end and saying good luck. I know there’s not instructions for children or perfect ways of raising them. However, I personally would have loved a little more education on sleeping, feeding and coping skills for mid 2 year old toddler tantrums.

Parenting shouldn’t be learnt alone. It’s a role that goes on longer than most careers and there is so much wisdom to be learnt in a community that could help so many. Let’s place more value on being mums and dads because this life is all about family!

Mumma Z xxx