As most mums can probably attest pulling together an outfit is low on the priority list when you’ve got a busy day ahead of you. The aim is just to get out the door fast! I know for myself that when I’m in mum mode with Sophia and Grace I need to be comfortable first and foremost and my outfit needs to be able to withstand whatever the girls may throw my way. This is why I’ve managed to refine my mum style staples down to a few key pieces so I can just go into auto pilot mode on any given day. Here’s what I can’t live without…
A roomy tote
For me a big bag is essential and I always like to carry a tote as it gives me plenty of room to carry my essentials and the girls’ too. I have lots of different types – from super casual to slightly more dressy – depending on where I’m going.
I love workout gear when I’m with the girls. If I’m going to a class with one of the girls or doing the school run then I can’t go past my Nike sneakers and Lululemon leggings. I live in both! It’s really easy to pull together and you can’t beat it for comfort level.
I always carry a pair of sunglasses with me but I make sure that I leave any delicate, flimsy pairs at home. My sunnies are guaranteed to be thrown around in my bag or the girls will want to play with them so I prefer to wear the style that’s made of a thicker acetate so they’re not easily breakable.
If I’m running around then I’ll always opt for sportswear otherwise you’ll usually find me in lots of t-shirts and singlets paired with a good pair of jeans. They’re both definite mum style staples. I highly recommend splurging on a pair of jeans that can withstand lots of wear and tear because if you’re like me you’ll wear them to death. I also have lots of great knits throughout winter and will wear a big anorak/parka style jacket which I can easily throw on and can be popped into the boot of my car without too much fuss.
Heels are strictly reserved for nights out or for work events. I wear flats whenever I’m with the girls. I’ll usually wear white sneakers, which have become a core part of my mum shoe wardrobe or if I need to be a little more dressed up then I’ll wear my slides or loafers which are comfy yet still look polished.
As we keep hearing these are unprecedented times and I’m sure most parents can attest that parenting in self-isolation and being with your children 24/7 during a pandemic is not something any of us were prepared to do. While there are definitely some beautiful upsides to being able to spend quality time with our kids, much more than we ever though we’d be able to do, it is undoubtedly a tough, exhausting and draining road ahead. I reached out to a friend of mine, who is a registered psychologist and co-founder of The Bumpy Road, a practice that specifically works with mothers on issues such as motherhood, relationships, parenting and career for some tips on how to navigate this time. I’m sharing what she told me below.
How can parents maintain balance when at home with their kids for what seems to be for the next few weeks/months?
We need to pace ourselves and importantly lower our expectations. We have been thrown the world’s biggest curve ball and need to recognise that this is a big adjustment ‘so we may need some time to find our groove. At this stage most of us are still trying to figure out what ‘balance’ looks like with some days working out better than others. It is likely impossible to merge all responsibilities of our pre-COVID and post-COVID worlds so I would start with:
1. Prioritising what is important right now—that may be work, getting the kids established in routine educationally or trying to palm off as many responsibilities as possible to help soothe the angst within the household as we all know that it is difficult to do anything from a distressed state of mind.
2. Work out how those priorities can be met—acknowledge and build acceptance of what has to be let go of and timetable your day and allocate your resources to top line priorities
3. Work on the foundation of home, household and family that are going to get you there. For example non-negotiable exercise in the morning, food shop and prepared meal purchases/planning, (virtual) connection with those outside the house.
How can parents ease the pressure to be productive and fill their kids’ days with endless activities?
Ah, this is a work in progress in my house. We need to recognise that this is a HUGE shift for the kids too and they have not been in a situation with so much unstructured time with no book ends. We need to gradually condition them to having less parental availability and engagement (perhaps compared to the pre-COVID world).
For preschool and older kids, establishing a routine and involving them in what that routine looks like for the day, what (directed AND self directed) activities they would like to do. Choose things that they are familiar with and can accomplish on their own e.g. lego/play-doh/colouring in may be appropriate to the younger ages and then also agree to time where you will actively participate with them. Unfortunately you are likely going to have to relax your standards on screen time if the demands of kid and works keep colliding and you need to steal those longer stretches to give to your work or home tasks that are non-negotiable. It’s a constant of ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’ at the moment.
What are some ways to ease the guilt for parents who are trying to juggle working and caring for their kids at home and feeling like they’re not doing both very well?
It’s important to realise that the way we think about a situation i.e. the mindset, plays a significant role in defining our perception of a situation. So whilst COVID is providing us all with significant hurdles, guilt is a feeling which is often magnified by unhelpful thinking. For example if we fail to adjust our expectations of what can/should be achieved at work, we are likely going to experience anguish about work output or our parenting capacity.
It is very important to acknowledge this change in circumstance and be conscious about our expectations at both work and home. The fact that we are turning up to both in a 50 per cent capacity is not an inditement of you. These are significant responsibilities, or if we can call them ‘jobs’ and all of a sudden for circumstances beyond us, we are required to do them in tandem. The difficulty is not because you are failing – make sure you do not fall into the pitfall of interpreting this mammoth challenge as a personal failure. Simply pick up the phone and call a friend and you will see that we are all in this together, in this world and the best we can do is the best we can.
What are some coping strategies when parents may be feeling overwhelmed and just a little over it?
Wherever possible connect with you support group and prioritise self care. You are an important cornerstone and it is important to put your needs first so that you can meet the demands around you.
This may look like a quick FaceTime from the car or an online exercise program for 15 minutes in the morning. The micro top ups is where you are going to find the resources which help re-energise and give you the boost to get your momentum for your next challenge.
What are some of your tips to help getting through each day of isolation with kids a little easier?
Make sure you are prioritising connection with your kids. The more connected you are the safer the kids will feel and the more cohesion you are likely to feel. This is an investment that pays dividends in so many ways and will help improve your navigation through each day.
Involve your kids in setting a plan for the day – the more involved they feel the more engaged they will be and the less arguments you are likely to face
Be realistic about what is achievable – whether that’s balancing work and kids, play and household or kid vs adult time. It’s a balancing act
Make sure you are active – this may be alone or combined with the kids. This is a non-negotiable
Make sure your kids are connecting with others too via the phone, video conference, letter writing or even emoji sending. This way they may feel less reliant on you to fill their cup.
What should parents do when faced with endless questions or complaints from their kids as to why they can’t do the things they usually do?
It’s important to keep finding age appropriate ways to communicate the circumstances of COVID. Make sure you continue to ask them if they have any questions. Point out differences that they may be able to observe e.g. less traffic, shops closed, playgrounds closed etc. It is important not to stoke anxiety but ensure that they build an understanding of this first in a lifetime and abstract event.
How can parents help their children through such a big upheaval in their routine?
With compassion and patience. Given the COVID virus is not visible, it takes quite a lot of cognitive gymnastics for children to really embed an understanding of what is happening in the world. Whilst our ‘normal’ routines have been changed abruptly, it is important to create new routines for example rituals at the dining table, a board game before bedtime, having a dance together at morning tea time – whatever is age appropriate. This will help give them some new anchors and is an opportunity to use this time as time to connect with your kids even though you may be more time poor than ever.
What should every parent aim to have in their emotional/mental survival kit to help getting through this time easier?
Given we are so physically restrained, many of these tools relate to the way in which we look at our circumstance. Here are some examples of important ways to optimise your wellbeing through the way you think.
A motto of ‘good enough is good enough’… more then ever we need to embrace this now
Find ways to catch and reframe negative thinking e.g. This is a disaster – changed to – This is my opportunity to show that I can work flexibly- share these with your friends as it will help both you and them!
Exercise every day even if it’s just for 10 minutes
Take one day at a time and recognise the small wins within each day.
For mums in particular who may find themselves left with the lion’s share of the domestic/child-rearing responsibilities during this time, how can they avoid feeling overwhelmed?
It is an important time to renegotiate these domestic responsibilities. Now more than ever, the significant load of parenting and household responsibilities will visible. I would recommend scheduling time to negotiate the priorities and division of these responsibilities. Be careful not to fall into the trap of doing more of what you were doing because of prior circumstance. The goal posts have moved and this is your opportunity to move with them.
You can find more information about Belinda and The Bumpy Road here. Follow her on Instagram at @the_bumpy_road.
One of the most common questions I receive is how to build up a great mum wardrobe. I’m sure a lot of mums out there will agree that dressing when you’re looking after a tiny human is all about comfort and wearability. I can’t be wearing anything too fussy when I’m with the girls as I am often running after them, playing in the park or just generally on the go so I’ve got to be comfortable. Over the years I feel I’ve managed to really nail the key pieces that make my outfits cohesive and allow me to get dressed with minimal fuss. Here are some of my musts…
Have go-to pair of sneakers
I spend my life in sneakers whether it’s paired back with a dress or jeans and a tee. A pair of classic white sneakers is a must and is a worthwhile investment as it can work back with so many outfits. They’re ideal for those days when you’ve got a packed schedule with the kids and need to be comfortable.
Invest in great outerwear
During winter I often rely on my jackets to change up the look and feel of what I’m wearing. If I’m purely relaxing with Sophia and Grace then I have a puffer jacket I pop on as it’s casual and warm. However if I need to look smarter I often put on a nice coat or a blazer to help dress things up a little. The thing with outerwear is I can be wearing the same thing underneath— so jeans and a tee for example and changing up the jackets can instantly change the vibe of my ensemble.
A great pair of jeans is a must
Take the dress shortcut
Dresses have got to be the easiest thing a mum can have in her wardrobe. I just pop on a dress, pair them with sneakers and then I’m pretty much ready to walk out the door. They’re great for when I need to get dressed in seconds and don’t have much time to fuss around (which is pretty much every day.)
Look for pocket details
I love clothes with pockets. Since the girls are getting older I don’t need to bring a baby bag with a million things which is why I tend to gravitate towards coats and jeans with pockets. If we’re not going out for long I don’t need to pack a massive bag, and I just pop my key essentials in one of my pockets and I’m set.
Go for hands-free bags
Backpacks and crossbody bags are a huge trend and they’re a godsend for mums. I often opt for either style when I’m out with the girls as it leaves my hands free (this is ideal as most mums can attest you never know when you’ll need to stop someone from running off or need to wipe someone’s hands). I’ve invested in a quality leather backpack and crossbody bags as it can withstand the daily wear and tear that running around after two kids can bring. A simple neutral colour such as black, grey and navy is perfect as you can match it with virtually everything in your wardrobe.
Take the easy way out when it comes to fabrics
I love the feel of luxe fabrics like cashmere and silk but when I’m on mum duty they stay at home. I will always wear easy wash and wear items made of cotton or wool as I’ll invariably end up with something on me so need to be able to clean it off quite easily.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with prints and colours
Build up a staple collection of pants
I’ve found that by building up my collection of comfortable pants— so think things like jeans, leather leggings and casual lounge pants— it has made getting dressed every day easier. I can pair them back with my trusty t-shirts or jumpers and I’m set.
Ensure you have a healthy supply of tees and sweaters
I’ve found that anything I can easily throw on (that doesn’t need ironing) makes getting dressed so much more straightforward. I’ve got a good range of t-shirts and sweaters in practical neutral colours that I can rotate every day. I’ve made sure that my tees and sweaters can work back with everything in my pants collection and vice versa so I don’t have the added layer of complexity of trying to figure out what to match with which.
Play with prints and colours
I’ve found one of the easiest ways to liven up a an outfit is with a touch of colour or a great print. I tend to incorporate a few bold pieces amongst my neutral pieces and find that it can give my look a little extra personality.
What are some of your favourite wardrobe essentials as a mum?
If there’s one thing that can throw a curve ball into your wardrobe it’s pregnancy and becoming a mum. All of a sudden your usual fashion repertoire doesn’t always work. Rediscovering your post-pregnancy style can be a matter of trial and error (trust me, I’ve been there) until one day you find just the right mix that works with your brand new life. It’s also required having to rethink certain aspects of my wardrobe and redistribute my energy to finding pieces that will suit my new lifestyle (bye bye stilettos, hello flats).
Here are some things I’ve learnt along the way…
You’ll be in between wardrobes for awhile
When I was in that not fully back into work but having to attend the occasional meeting or event here and there that I’d try and fit in between the girls’ schedules, I’d be in leisure wear most of the time interspersed with my work wardrobe. I think that’s the hardest that thing that I had to adapt to – that I’d have to be able to go between the two quite easily. As a result my wardrobe has had to adjust accordingly by being able to be dressed up or down with a few strategic tweaks.
You’ll build up new areas of your wardrobe
It’s so important that whatever I’m wearing each day is comfortable as I have the girls with me and end up doing a lot of running around. I’ve learnt to invest in new pieces that I will wear a lot. I used to gravitate towards beautiful heels all the time but now I’ve learnt to build up my flats collection as I’m in them virtually all the time. Nowadays I’m more likely to invest in a pair of slides or a loafer or summer flat as opposed to statement stilettos. I think you need to re-direct your fashion budget towards the pieces you will wear a lot.
Invest in key pieces
I wouldn’t really wear lots of leisure wear before but that’s definitely all changed with my new lifestyle. I did a big shop at bassike to stock up on pieces such as t-shirts and slouchy pants so I can be comfortable but still feel stylish at the same time. But I highly recommend hitting up your fave store for basics to stock up on staples. I’ve also ensured that my lounge wear options work back with existing pieces in my wardrobe so I can just mix and match. I’ve found myself living in jeans so I have found a pair that works with my current shape and a plain black skirt is also a piece I wear a lot. It just makes it easier to get dressed in the morning if I know I’ve got the right building blocks sitting in my cupboard.
Wash and wear is best
I’ve got zero time to spend on handwashing or ironing clothes these days so if I can just pop it in the washing machine or throw it in the dryer and pop it on, then I’m sold. Be sure to read the care instructions on any garments you’re considering buying because despite the fact it might look great, if it requires too much effort to launder it you’ll likely only wear it once and forget about it.
Jackets help dress up an outfit
A denim jacket, a blazer and a leather jacket are all pieces that I’ve found have been post-pregnancy wardrobe friendly. It’s still “me” in that they are pieces I wore before I became a mum but they’re really comfortable and easy to pop on which works with my new lifestyle.
Case in point: at the moment I am into lots of casual, loose cotton dresses due to the comfort factor but I can easily make it look more tailored and polished with a great jacket.
Invest in a great carryall
I have a really beautiful tote that I can throw the girls’ stuff in and fit my computer and everything in it. I’ve found that being a mum, I’m pretty much carrying around half the house with me at all times so I made it a mission to find a great bag that fits everything I use the most.
In the past, psychologist and co-founder of The Bumpy Road, Belinda Williams has shared her tips for new mums and mums-to-be. This time, she’s got more practical and useful advice for those who are currently navigating their way through motherhood for the first time. Most especially when it comes to dealing with the overwhelming feeling that comes with being a mama and dealing with the reality of what it’s really like to care for a baby day in and day out (spoiler alert: it’s not all sunshine and rainbows like a nappy commercial!). If you’re a new mum read on for your survival guide for the first few months…
What should new mums do if they’re feeling overwhelmed?
It is so important to recognise that you are not alone. Not only do all new mums feel this way, there is most often people in your support network that are very willing to help out. Here are some ways to help manage these challenging feelings:
Set realistic expectations. Things seem to take exponentially longer to complete. Don’t pressure yourself to do everything, instead prioritise what is most important and target your energies here. Make time for yourself/self care. It’s hard to do but oh-so important! It may be a small activity like an extended bath, body scrub or washing your hair, a coffee up the shops solo or a walk around the block with your partner. Micro moments can be magically restorative. Avoid isolation. Try to connect with other mums and talk to them about their experience. It can help to see that others are having challenges too and often gives you better perspective on your own experience. Ask for help. Try to open up to the people close to you and let them know you need help. It is not a time to be a hero and the only person you let down when you push through the pain is yourself.
Often the fantasy of becoming a mum is different to the day to day reality of motherhood and some women may feel a little disillusioned by the experience. What are some ways to deal with this?
Women are often shocked by how consuming and relentless being a parent can be. Each women has a different remedy. This may include:
Look at what it is that you are missing from life before your baby—is it the mental stimulation of work, the relevance beyond the home, the lack of freedom in being able to just walk out the door—maybe all of these? Look for ways that you can reestablish this within your routine as a mother. It may not be in the same form but there is often different opportunities that we have not had to consider before. Be patient—this adjustment in self concept can take time and is not always pleasant. Try not to make the mistake that challenging feelings mean that things are not going well or that motherhood is not for you. These feelings are common as it is a very stressful and demanding time. If you are worried about how difficult you are finding the transition into motherhood, speak with a professional to navigate these thoughts and feelings. Make plans—it may be for a holiday, your return to work, a night out with friends. Motherhood is not all or nothing. Eventually you will find a way to weave back in aspects of your life that you enjoyed. Making plans for this can be empowering. Be selective about what information you are consuming. If you are evaluating your experience of motherhood against Instagram tiles, look elsewhere. This is only a narrow reflection on moments of motherhood and not the gold standard. If it is impacting you negatively then maybe switch off for a while.
Some new mums may miss their old life and the freedom that they had. Is this a normal feeling to have? What are some ways to deal with it? And what should they do if they feel they’re not settling into their new life at all?
I think that this is pretty common. I remember being pretty bewildered when my first child arrived and asking my mum (probably with a few tears running down my face!), “how does anyone get anything done?!”. It is such a sudden and significant shift in pretty much every domain of your life so even if you are ready for it, you want it and it is where you want to be, it is normal to feel very shaken and destabilised by the seismic adjustment that takes place. Talk to others about how you are feeling.
Caring for a newborn is a steep learning curve and some women may start to feel self-doubt about their abilities as as mum at times. What can be done to address this?
I think that all new mothers suffer a crisis in confidence. Firstly everything is new and secondly there is so much conflicting information coming at you even within the hospitals. I think it can be helpful to identify a few trusted people and resources and use that as a starting point. But most commonly women experience the greatest distress when they feel disempowered to trust their own instinct. I am a big advocate of trusting your gut and nowhere seems more natural to do this than when caring for a newborn. If in doubt, then of course, seek advice and do this early. It is often just small adjustments that make the world of difference and help us recover and restore our confidence.
Becoming a new mum often means having to deal with a new identity in some ways as you try and blend the old you and the new you. What can women do if they feel a little lost during this process?
It is exactly that, a process and one that takes time. I think motherhood is a constant time of adjustment and readjustment as our children grow. Very rarely does the learning and changing plateau. This is an experience quite unique to the world of parenthood. There will be parts of your life before children that you no longer connect with and enjoy and there will be parts of life as a mother which you never imagined would bring you joy, but insanely they do. Whilst these changes can be confronting and challenging, it can help to approach it with curiosity rather than judgement. You always have choice even if the options on face value seem more limited to begin with. Try to start out prioritising the things that are most important to you and look at how you can maintain them (perhaps in a different format). Motherhood is a journey not a destination.
Finding ways to get kids to eat vegetables is a constant challenge for most parents. I know it’s something that we have to deal with in our household on a daily basis, and finding new and creative ways to make vegetables appealing can become an impossible task at times.
“Many children I see are repetitive vegetable eaters—meaning that they eat the same limited range each and every week. Whilst all vegetables are beneficial, the ultimate goal is to eat a diverse range of colours and groups to get the maximum benefit.We all eat with our eyes first, so it makes sense to engage your child visually when encouraging them to eat more variety.Encourage your little one to create their own rainbow plate, it’ll engage their imagination and will lead to a nibble or two!”
Include one new veggie a week—and lead by example
“There’s often a strong connection between children who eat the same vegetables each week and parents who do the same.Through parents expanding their own repertoire, children will have an opportunity to see and taste a variety—and watch their parents enjoying the broader range, too!Try salad veggies, cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower and brussels sprouts, and starchy vegetables like pumpkin or sweet potato.”
Don’t forget beans and legumes
“Beans and legumes are our most nutritious plant foods.Rich in proteins, B-vitamins, iron, potassium, fibre, minerals and phytochemicals. Hummus, lentil soup, bean stews and chickpea falafels are a fantastic way to introduce legumes to your child. Try kidney beans, navy beans, black beans, adzuki beans, chickpeas and lentils. For canned varieties, look for BPA-free cans wherever possible and rinse well beforehand to reduce sodium levels.”
Include sea vegetables
“Due to its high calcium content, seaweed strengthens bones and teeth.It’s also high in iron, has antimicrobial properties and is a good source of essential vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre which helps prevent constipation.
Nori, rich in vitamins A, B1, B2 and C as well as iodine also contains protein. Use it for sushi, shred it over salad or create veggie-filled seaweed wraps filled with julienned carrots, cucumber, shredded chicken (or protein of choice) and avocado.If your child likes the seaweed snack packs that are commonly found in supermarkets, seek out varieties that are free from additives such as MSG or added sugar.”
Remember to use fresh herbs and spices
“Basil is packed with essential oils which are known to have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.Use in tomato-based pasta sauces, sprinkle on pizza and mix into rissoles.
Mint soothes upset tummies and improves digestion.Chill mint tea with a dash of raw honey or add fresh mint leaves and orange slices to water and serve in place of juice.
Oregano is often used to treat respiratory tract disorders, gastrointestinal disorders and urinary tract disorders.Add to chicken, lamb or beef dishes.
Parsley is rich in many vital vitamins and keeps the immune system strong, tones the bones and heals the nervous system.It also helps to flush excess fluid from the body and support kidney function.Add to smoothies, chicken soup and pasta sauces.
Spices – as well as adding flavour, spices such as turmeric, ginger and cinnamon are packed with nutrients too.Add turmeric and ginger to chicken soup, sprinkle turmeric on cauliflower and add cinnamon to pumpkin and butternut squash.”
Create a veggie patch
“Children love planting seeds, watching them grow, and eventually harvesting what they have planted. It’s the best way to help them make the association between earth to plate, and to engage their curiosity about different varieties of vegetables. If outdoor space is limited, start off with herbs such as basil or oregano, or better yet get involved with a community garden.”
Shop for and cook vegetables together
“Encourage your children to touch, smell and engage with their food.Let them help with grocery shopping and encourage them to pick up new vegetables from the shelves and place them in the trolley themselves – this begins the engagement with the new food.
Little ones tend to be more willing to eat what they’ve helped to prepare and it’s important for them to be exposed to vegetables in their raw state and to understand how the texture and look of a vegetable changes when it’s cooked.Get them involved by asking them to peel carrots and potatoes (using kid-friendly graters), cutting lettuce with a plastic knife or adding grated vegetables to muffin batter.
It’s important for parents to be patient and to recognise that change is often slow with children.Don’t be disappointed if they don’t eat the new vegetable or food the first time it’s offered – stay positive and freeze what’s not eaten and offer it again – persistent repetition is key here.”
What are some creative ways you’ve used to encourage your kids to eat more vegetables?
One of my favourite things about having daughters is the special dates we have together. Now that Sophia and Grace are a little older, it’s great to be able to take them on outings and spend some quality time together. We do so many different things whether it’s going to the park or watching a show. It’s so wonderful to be able to enjoy some one-on-one time, and I look forward to having many more of them to come. If you’re looking for ideas for your next date with your little girl, here are a few of my suggestions…
Watch a performance
We started out with The Wiggles (the girls are diehard Emma fans) and we have now progressed onto watching slightly older shows such as the ballet (we saw The Nutcracker before Christmas). The girls really enjoy it as we make an occasion out of it, where we get all dressed up and grab a meal together. It’s so much fun for all of us, and I hope it’s a tradition we can continue in the future.
Go on a picnic
Picnics are great as they’re generally really easy to organise and aren’t super expensive so you can schedule them a little more regularly. Pack a basket of treats with the help of your little one and head outdoors (you can stay as close as your backyard or as far as your favourite park) and enjoy the sunshine.
Enjoy high tea
The girls and I have been lucky enough to go to high tea together a few times and the three of us always have a fantastic time. The girls love all the dainty treats and I enjoy spending time with them. There are a few kid themed high teas around (everything from Alice in Wonderland to Claris the Mouse) so check your local area for one that suits.
Have a pamper session
Who doesn’t love a pamper session? You can either go out and get a mani together for a truly special treat or if you want to keep it low key just set up your own salon in the living room. Do each other’s nails, experiment with fun hairstyles, even throw in a face mask or two!
Go to the movies
There are generally always great kids’ movies at the cinemas so why not book yourself in for a film and popcorn session? It’s an exciting outing at any age and is easy to organise. This is also another one that you can do at home quite easily. Cosy up in your pjs, snuggle up on the couch with some snacks and let her pick the movie she wants to watch.
Make their favourite dish
The girls really enjoy baking so we have whipped up cupcakes a time or two which they both love. This is a great one to do together as you can chat as you cook. Have them choose what they’d like to make and take trip to the supermarket to get all the ingredients then come home and cook up a storm.
Sign up for an art class
Whether it’s painting or pottery, there are so many different ways to get your art on with kids. It’s also nice to have a memento from the day to take home and display.
Visit a local museum
You’re never too young to enjoy a trip to the museum. Whether it’s art, history, animals and more, it’s always a great experience to visit a museum, plus it helps make learning just that little bit more interactive and fun.
Go on a day trip
If you want to spend the entire day out and about it’s always fun to jump in the car and explore a new town. The girls and I often drive to my parents’ home a few hours of out Sydney so they’re big fans of a road trip. You can have some great conversations in the car, and have a great time exploring.
Book in a beach day
The girls are water babies and love spending time at the beach so this is one of the ways we love hanging out together. It’s the perfect thing to do during the week when it’s quiet as the beaches aren’t so crowded so if you do find yourself at home on a weekday, definitely schedule this in. Make a day of it and enjoy a meal of fish and chips to cap off a great day.
Anyone who has ever gone through the newborn stage and had to deal with endless feeds throughout the day knows that finding clothes that are really easy to breastfeed in is crucial. You don’t want to be dealing with complicated snaps or multiple straps when you’ve got a crying baby in your arms. And no matter how long you choose to breastfeed for, it all adds up to a lot of times spent trying to get yourself in and out of clothing.
For me, I lived in Bonds when the girls were babies as I found their feeding singlets to be really comfortable. While comfort and simplicity is key, I also know that it’s nice to look and feel great in what you’re wearing, particularly as you start easing out of the pregnancy phase and begin finding your way back to the land of post-partum wear.
When it comes to feeding clothes anything that can be undone with buttons, pulled aside or has ties that can be unravelled easily are all perfect. Luckily there are now plenty of brands who are servicing the needs of breastfeeding mums everywhere by producing clothes that not look great but are practical too. So whether you’re expecting, in the throes of having a newborn or have been feeding for awhile but just want to invest in a few new pieces, here’s a great place to start.
One of the things I really enjoy about Christmas is shopping for Sophia and Grace. It’s always the highlight of Christmas to see them so excited and happy when they’re opening their presents and I think party of that joy is trying to track down just the right gifts for them. As any parent will know, kids interests’ and loves will change often, so it can make gift giving a little tricky as they could be into Barbies or The Wiggles one minute and not so much the next. So here are some of the strategies I often use to buy gifts for the girls, but also the other little people in my life.
Choose quality over quantity
It can be easy to just buy up a storm during Christmas time but I find that a few great presents that they really, really love is better than buying lots of little things they’re only so-so about. So when it comes to your present budget, I’m always of the frame of mind that you’re better off narrowing it down to their absolute wants, that way they get to appreciate what they’ve been given and really enjoy it.
Go for gifts that have longevity
Continuing on from the above, I think it’s good to opt for gifts that can grow with them. This is from a quality perspective in that it’s better to choose gifts that are designed to last as opposed to anything that might be flimsily made and might not last beyond that Christmas. And also gifts that are able to be used at any age. Think an art easel with paints that they can use over a few years or a collection of books that you can read together as they get older.
Give them an experience
Toys are great but one of the best gifts I think you can give to kids is an experience. It’s so much more memorable as they get to do something fun. Depending on what your kids are into, you could do something like a day at the zoo, tickets to a show or concert or promise them a day out doing their favourite things whether it’s going to the beach or an excursion to the movies (complete with yummy snacks!).
This week had its ups and downs. We farewelled my beloved grandfather who played such an important role in my life growing up, but also in my kids’ lives. We miss him greatly but we’re comforted by all the wonderful memories we have of him.
I had the opportunity to work with some really great brands this week. I hosted a breakfast for Vida Glow, and got behind the Shop Small campaign that aims to promote local small businesses. I popped into gorgeous Sydney florist Poho Flowers, a favourite haunt of mine as they always have the most insanely beautiful range of blooms.
The one thing I was looking forward to this entire week was heading off on holiday. We’re off to LA, with our first stop most definitely Disneyland. The girls have been counting down the days! I’m looking forward to the breatk and having a lot of fun as a family.
I hope the rest of your week is great — the countdown to Christmas is on!