positivity / noun
1. The practice of being or tendency to be positive or optimistic in attitude.
Ok, ok don’t roll your eyes just yet. I get it, here is another ‘how to be positive blah-blah’ write up, you know those easier-said-than-done ones? Trust me, I get it – but I’m not writing this to suddenly get everyone frolicking through fields of daffodils in some epic-happy-positive-bubble, this simply serves to challenge your way of thinking, particularly when it comes to negative thoughts and negative mind games. One, which we all play.
Personally, for me I know that adopting positive thinking has helped me the most in terms of becoming the person I strive to be personally, particularly as a role-model to my son, professionally as an Emergency Nurse serving in our Defence Force and as a Personal Trainer. Likewise, even through difficult situations I have learnt time and time again that being positive and striving to make the best of whatever situation I have been presented with, really does make even the most challenging situations easier to bare. Being positive builds more of your backbone – that beautiful thing called RESILIENCE, the ability to cope with and move on from failures, disappointments or difficult times in our lives. It also allows us to appreciate the things going wonderfully right, evaluate our current circumstances and take pride in the achievements we’ve made along the way.
Rest assured, don’t think that positive people are always that way, they experience negative thoughts too, more often than you probably think – the difference is they acknowledge them and have learnt to challenge them and rise above them when needed. YES, I have negative moments, and indeed I have negative days, days where I say to myself ‘Nadine, pull your head in - you are not practicing what you preach!’ But as I continue to grow and evolve along my life journey, more often than not, I find myself uplifted by a more positive attitude and have found that I’ve been able to apply this to all facets in my life. Hand on my heart; I believe that this is because I’ve simply trained myself to be this way. It doesn’t always come naturally for everyone, sometimes it is a lot of hard work, some more than others, but absolutely anyone can work towards a more positive life.
Firstly ‘LET IT GO’ - If it’s one thing I have properly learnt to do this year it is finally letting negative people and negative situations go! Just saying that feels good!! We all have a habit of holding on to such things albeit experiences, guilt, regret and even people. If you want to live a positive happy life, you cannot be surrounded by negative people who don’t encourage it. Positive people attract positive people just like negative attract negative. I get it, it isn’t easy just wiping your hands clean of relationships like that but whilst it can hurt to distance yourself from those who drag you down, know that you can love people from afar without it being at detriment to you and your health. It’s time to make a pact with you and let situations and people go… It may seem cut throat but trust me, without this added weight on your shoulders you can move forward to a happier more positive you.
Secondly think ‘CHOICE’ - Remember the most important lesson of all: A positive outlook is a choice that you can always make. Let’s be honest: WE all like to point the finger and blame negativity on outside forces (e.g. relationships, experiences, fate to name a few), when really we should stop and think - I have a choice in this situation. It truly is up to us to find the good despite the circumstances. To see the silver lining in the sometimes-crappy situations we are presented with. Try to put a halt to the external blame, the most important thing to remember is that you have complete control over the way you feel, the way you respond to any situation and the things you think about at any given moment.
Thirdly, ‘CHALLENGE IT’ - Let’s take a look at how exactly one can challenge negativity. I’ve learnt that first it is about acknowledgement. Being aware and acknowledging that you are steering towards negativity allows the brakes to be put on nice and early before it spirals out of control. It is here that you counter negativity by actively challenging it. Acknowledge it, feel it, go through the emotions, but just don’t stay there. Refocus on what is going wonderfully right, hone in on all the positivity that surrounds you and focus your TIME and ENERGY on where you want to be heading instead. Go to a place that reminds you of where you are at and allows you to refocus on the good if you have to. Here, I like to remember that our thoughts are like a steering wheel, positive vibes direct to positive energy!
Next, think ‘ATTITUDE’. They say that one positive thought will in turn actually birth two more. How cool is that!? Knowing this, when your negative thoughts strike again, be conscious of turning your inner-critic voice around and order it to tell you something positive. Sounds silly right? But it works! I know we can’t get it right all the time, I know we can’t be positive 100% of the time BUT we can exercise positive energy and make it (along with happiness) a habit if we have the right attitude to match. Be grateful for what you have right now, and recognise that EVERYONE has struggles in some shape way or form. Living positively and contently may not come easy for you - I know for me it has taken of lot of work and awareness on my part. Take stock of the good things and the kind loving positive people in your life and always remember that life can be wonderful if you have the right attitude!
Lastly, ‘NEVER STOP LEARNING’ - As I mentioned at the beginning, it is also about training yourself to be more positive and viewing this as a lifelong journey to be exercised often. You wont always be positive so don’t think it will just stick and stay that way. Realize that this way of life needs to be reinforced. Just like anything in life, with any type of training the more you learn; the more you practice; the more you put it to use, the better you get! Not only do you need to be positive within yourself and your daily proceedings but also you need to share your positivity to those around you - you have to share your wealth of positivity with the world because it is contagious! People appreciate positivity, and the more you share it with others, the more you put it to practice in your own life. As you continue to grow and develop positive thinking, you begin to respect challenges, welcome obstacles and setbacks as opportunities to grow and move forward. I know this is something that I’ve personally experienced first hand and there is nothing more satisfying knowing that you can grab life’s challenges by the bullhorns and make it work for you!
So remember you cant necessarily control what happens to you, you can however control how you react to what happens to you. The next time you are faced with negative energy, either yours or somebody else’s. I urge you to stop and challenge your thinking, remember your next moves are crucial. Just like you can drive towards negativity; you can drive yourself to positivity too! Tune into your negative, irrational or unhelpful thought patterns and learn to CHALLENGE them and rise above them. When you realise that your attitudes and thoughts can control pretty much everything you do, you’re more likely to mindfully steer clear of negativity.
Practicing a positive and enthusiastic outlook on life will make all the difference – the power is in your hands!!!
Thanks for taking the time to read!
Spread the good word!
Facebook: Nadine Muller - Health & Fitness
June 22nd 2010 was a typical Tuesday - get up, go to work & then to my mum & dads for our family dinner. Yet this Tuesday would be one that will be with me forever
We'd had family dinners every Tuesday for about 20 years! My mum, dad, brother Sean, Grampy, Uncle Neil & his wife Lee. As we were spread over Adelaide we took it in turns on whose house it was at. This Tuesday, it was Mum & Dads.
Sean lived with Mum & Dad after returning from the mines & working for another company here in Adelaide. His life had its fair share of struggles but he soldiered on & had an amazing network of friends & family. We were blessed with the most amazing family network anyone could dream of. Some say we were spoilt, I feel we just created a family of love & strength for one another no matter what & that's what made it amazing.
Since aged 7, Sean had Epilepsy. The cause was never determined but mum is convinced it was from a head injury he sustained when he fell from a wooden push cart when he was younger.
He'd only had a handful of seizures his whole life. I remember him sitting at the table eating an icecream when he was younger. He began crying as it dripped down his hands before having a grand mal seizure. It was frightening to watch.
Epilepsy never really affected Sean much, you couldn't see that he had it, you couldn't tell that he had it, it was just a condition that was medicated through tegretol & he lived a normal life.
That was until June 22nd 2010. It was a Tuesday evening, I was at mum & dads when I went to see him up in his room. I knocked on the door but there was no answer. I left it & returned back downstairs.
Mum wasn't home yet but as she arrived home & mentioned Sean hadn't put the vacuum away I thought it was odd as his car was out the front. I returned upstairs & knocked again. With no answer i slid open the door & turned on the light to a sight that I will never forget. Sean, all of 6ft something laying in bed, still, cold & lifeless. But peaceful, one hand on his heart & eyes closed.
I can still hear my own screams for mum & dad, I can still see the panic & hurt on their faces as they came running into his room. I remember me begging the paramedics to please help him. They couldn't he had been gone for about 12 hours.
It wasn't until months later when we received the coroners report which confirmed Sean had died from Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP).
The days up until his funeral were filled with shock, hurt & anger, planning for something that we wish we weren't. But it was full of surprises; people we didn't know who were friends of Sean's, visiting with tattoos they'd had done in his memory, his closest mates had written a eulogy for his funeral & made us a photo album of their memories of Sean.
I had written my own eulogy. Standing up there in front of hundreds of people who had turned out to remember Sean was one of the hardest things I'll ever have to do. I remember the viewing the day before, petrified to go in but when I was in there, I didn't want to leave. He was cold to touch, he looked too big for the coffin & mum & I took turns in holding his hand while Dad stood with us.
Whilst fighting my own emotions, my fear of going to sleep & never waking up, the thought & paranoia of losing my mum & dad, I also hurt so much for them. I couldn't begin to imagine the pain they'd be feeling losing their son & to this day, I would give the world to take their pain away. I was fortunate to have the support from my partner, now fiancé Luke, but the heartache definitely put a strain on our relationship for a while. I was paranoid, I was anxious, I cried.. a lot. I would look for dead people in our local lakes which I'd later find out was due to post traumatic stress, diagnosed by a psychologist who helped me through.
Then there were Feathers. Little white feathers. This is what would keep us in good spirits & hold onto his memory & his presence around us. Jane, a friend from work, told me that white feathers were little signs sent to us from loved ones in heaven, saying they were nearby. If it weren't for Jane, the healing process would've been so much harder. Mum & I believe strongly in the feathers. We've had some really wonderful experiences such as when I took my gramps who was 92 at the time, to see Sean & my Nanna at the cemetery & as we got into the car a tiny white feather floated in front of us and onto my bonnet, to being inundated with feathers only to pull up behind a truck full of chickens - not exactly heaven sent, those ones.
Sadly Jane who told me about the feathers lost her life suddenly & unexpectedly just this last September. I will be forever grateful for her sharing the feathers story with me. Early last week Nate was rushed to hospital with suspected meningococcal after being febrile, having an elevated heart rate and a tiny non blanching purple spot on his foot. While we were in emergency a tiny white feather floated between Nates hospital bed and Mum & I. The tests for meningococcal returned as negative.
Having children is life changing. It brings joy & happiness, fear & anxiety. I suffered terrible anxiety with my eldest son Hudson & his sleep. Petrified he could go to sleep & never wake up, I'd place numerous dummy's on his tummy so I could constantly watch the rise & fall of his breathing. I would sit with the video monitor next to me the entire time he slept. Then when I had Nate, we experienced what we would later find out to be silent reflux episodes which thanks to Dr Google, I had convinced myself was infant seizures. Thanks to a supportive private Paediatrician, after Nates second 'episode' he admitted the both of us to a Neonatal Unit for a week of observation to ensure it wasn't seizures.
I've always made sure my boys know their uncle Sean. We talk about him often & I have his photo up in our house. I remember Hudson taking my keys once & seeing his photo & unprompted said 'Sean, Sean' over & over.
My Son & Uncle Sean ( ABOVE )
We never really knew the risks of epilepsy or the likelihood that it could claim Sean's life at just 24. Because of this I needed to do something! I needed to help raise awareness of an illness that isn't often talked about.
I started an Everyday Hero Page which turned into a family & friends get together to thank them for their support. Now, 6 years on, coming into our 7th, we have held 5 Purple Day Events raising just over $30,000 for Epilepsy Action Australia through a Silent Auction with the support of The Sussex Hotel in Walkerville & hundreds of donating businesses & individuals.
I would have never imagined that we could raise such a large amount of money through our immediate family & friends & the generosity of the local and wider communities in their donations.
I intend to continue to raise awareness for families out there with children suffering from this illness to ensure they are aware of aids that can assist in alerting when one has a seizure while sleeping. Becoming a mum myself I cannot fathom the thought of losing either one of my boys & I believe that with the right education, we can help families & individuals seek support through organisations such as Epilepsy Action Australia.
If you or someone you know has been affected by epilepsy and wants to get involved, Purple Day is a worldwide event raising awareness for the illness.
If you are in SA and would like to attend our event it is Saturday 26th March 2017 12pm onwards (silent auction concludes at 3pm) The Sussex Hotel Walkerville Tce, Walkerville Tickets are $25 each incl an afternoon of finger food & a donation to EAA.
Remember, life is short, we only get one chance & you need to make sure you give it all you've got.
If you want to follow the adventures of my boys who each carry some of Sean's gorgeous features & personality, head over to Insta where you can find us & more about Purple Day:
Alternatively if you would like to support my quest for continuing to raise awareness and could help by donating to our Silent auction, I can be contacted at email@example.com
And for Sean
Here I am with you,
I'm there til the end.
Memories are calling
So farewell my friend.
'Bullet for my Valentine'
Baby number 4 is coming!! So number 4... I expected it to be a breeze,walk in the park and a total easy pregnancy (am I stupid or what).
A sunny care free holiday with our three babies and lots of family and friends , a two week stay in northern Cyprus, we swam ,sunbathed, stayed up late and I even had a cocktail or two, that's a big thing as I'm not a drinker, so how bloody typical is that I decided to have a fe very strong and very yummy cocktails that holiday?
It was the last day and it was sooooooo hot, I'm meaning it was red hot, 40+ in temperature, anyway I'd been feeling a little off and I'd said to serks maybe I have a baby in there (I was hugely joking) we were not planning a baby as raulf was just one and his birth left us a bit shook and worried to have another.
So home time came, the flight was the biggest fail of parenthood EVER we lost mellies diddy (dummy) didn't have iPads and had a day time flight so raulf and mellie had full blown tantrums for the full six hours, I cried they cried, I looked at the emergency EXIT a number of times and nearly lost my shit!!
Theo and serks behaved very well for me tho haha ,Theo is old enough to entertain himself and to of course recognise my unstable crazed mumma look of death so he knows when to just sleep (angel haha).
So we landed back in the UK and i headed straight to the nearest boots pharmacy to get a pregnancy test, I didn't actually know why I was getting one as I really had no feelings that I was pregnant or that I'd missed a period, how I didn't know I'd missed my period I'll never know, clearly to much fun being had on our hols.
Back home and I peed on the test and left for a second and bang!!! Pregnant!! All I could do was laugh and go tell serks and actually all he did was laugh?
So that's how we found out, a shock but a happy one..isshh it always takes a while to gather your feelings and for you to actually get it "pregnant " again!
So as my pregnancy progressed, so did my anxiety and stress levels, and some days I'm like a crazed mother I worry about stupid things and stress about stuff that doesn't even matter.
I think because I had bad PND in my last pregnancy I have felt a lot of pressure put on me but only by myself no one else! I didn't enjoy or get excited about being pregnant until I was 4 months + how awful is that, it does make me feel bad as I was so excited with the other three from day one, but life experiences change you, right?
To this day I have still not purchased a thing for the baby myself (I have been sent some amazing bits by brands ) but I'm slowly feeling ready to nest and start making our home ready for the new arrival, and start spending money on our baby girl bump!
COPING WITH THREE
Let's face it, when a mother you become: master of bribery; sweets; toys; movies; just please shhhhh!!! Having three children, 9, 2 and 1 is super crazy at the best of times, I mean how do you keep three little people all interested in one thing or even get that , awwwww look at them playing so sweetly moments, everyday, it doesn't happen!! But being pregnant and still having to manage three is just stupid CRAZY. I'm sure there should be a. please let the government start fundings for nannys haha, obviously that's a joke (que debate) I can't catch a nap these days not like I did with my first or even second and you don't get time to sit and just look at your bump wriggle and jump, that's the little things I miss, it's hard going but nothing I'd change, well actually I'd 100% change the nap situation that's for sure! But when I do actually step back a look at my screaming moody children haha not really, my babies are all beautiful and so perfect I couldn't possibly describe them to the justice they deserve! My children really do complete me and make my life worth it!
I think as a mother we turn into non sleeping robot who sometimes has meltdowns and need to be reacharged haha.but that's okay, who wants to be the perfect wife, mother and all round human? How dull!
I do want to sit in a cupboard most days and hide from the children when their all at their most horrible ,hyper messy and noisy times (I really wouldn't fit tho so I hide in the kitchen for 5 minutes instead haha) but like I said it's all part of the roll!
Tantrums do seem harder to deal with and arguments seem ten times worse when my pregnant body is aching and I'm in need of sleep so I do have a moan!
Okay so let's leave the tantrums behind because we all know that they are normal and not going anywhere haha.
My body has changed and that's completely okay! I can see my growing bump I see my growing arms and growing thighs, (let's not talk about my arse 😂) I'm in no way perfect or a "hot mumma" but I feel healthy and I'm okay with my small weight gain, I see a lot of mothers to be expecting upset on their personal weight gain, be proud of your body it's growing your beautiful baby!
I feel to much pressure sometimes to look thin whilst pregnant and to remain super styled and make up on, hair perfect all day , and I'm like, what the frock!!!! I want to be comfortable, I'm growing, I'm hurting I'm tiered and have three other children to care for. I have to clean a house, cook and remain mentally stable! So I'm being daggy! I'm being scruffy and I'm staying grounded!
Pregnancy isn't easy and it's a hard road to go down but look what's at the end of this road! A miracle! A perfect addition to our family!
And how bloody lucky are we anyway, so much sadness surrounding pregnancy or even beginning to try for a family, some people have it hard right at the start!
I'm going to be a Doula….LONG PAUSE…. A what? Whilst using a Doula is becoming more and more popular I find many people have not heard of one before. Surprisingly though Doula’s are becoming more and more in demand. The dictionary states that a Doula assists women during childbirth and after labour. The Modern Greek origin of Doula however is female servant [Well I am a mum to a toddler surely that fits that description well]. How I like to explain it however is that I will be offering physical and mental support during labour and most importantly mental support before and after the birth. A professional birth partner. An on call for all your non medical labour requirements partner. I'll pack the heat pack and the rainforest sounds if you want them partner. Whether you are having a home birth or a hospital birth a Doula can support you, reassure you that everything is normal and help keep an eye on the pattern of sensations so you can focus on birthing. I have so much to learn in my 20 week course but I know that generally when someone hires a Doula it is 2 pre natal appointments, being on call for labour or a scheduled C section and 2 post natal appointments.
I have always been fascinated by the labour process. Self confessed one born every minute addict and the flight attendant who would often declare “if anyone goes into labour – I’ve got this!”. When I became pregnant whilst sadly not enjoying pregnancy itself [what a let down!] I loved the process of the appointments and was actually excited for labour. Whilst the most intense, unrelenting and painful experience of my life it was by far the most amazing and I am so excited to do it again. Next time however I want to be more prepared and focused. The Doula appointments before labour will be to build a relationship and to discuss any expectations of me. I want the mother and anyone else going to be at the birth to feel comfortable with me. To know that my plan is to help them with their plan. Every women has an idea in their head on how they would like their birth to go in an ideal world. Some women want a completely natural (isn’t the process of delivering a baby no matter how natural? A natural and beautiful thing), some women want the comfort of a scheduled caesarean and some have no plan. Whilst I certainly respect the ideas that a plan is a nice thing to have I will also be honest in telling women that it’s important to not put too much pressure and emphasis on it. I have seen that perfect plan go out the window many times. It is nice however to be prepared for all the possibilities and have a clear ideal situation in your head to go by.
My ‘plan’ for instance was to have a great obstetrician and I always dreamed of pushing my baby out and have it laid on my chest but I also was sure that at some point towards the end I wanted an epidural. I relied on the midwives advice and support and I found that when things got really intense that I actually wanted to go as long as possible without pain relief (never my plan but you really do go into I CAN DO THIS beast mode). I found that when the midwives came and sat with me and held my hand I felt much more at ease. They had done this before and whilst they couldn’t tell me what I should be doing they kept telling me I was doing a great job and giving me encouragement. This meant so much to me. Before that moment I would never have thought that I would ever have wanted a Doula but it made me understand why they are so amazing.
The course that I am completing is through the Australian Doula College and is a 20 week course. Whilst the course focuses on childbirth it covers everything from the first trimester pregnancy, settling and caring for newborns to PND. The cost for the course is $2805 and their are payment plan options available. I will be fully qualified with a certificate at graduation which is the 21st of June. I will be needing to complete 3 training births from the 5th of April onwards after completing the first ten weeks (If anyone is interested you can contact me or the college - I'll bring the allen's snakes - EXCITING!). The cost of hiring a doula really does vary depending on the level of experience and what you want included. I would love to discuss option with anyone looking to get a doula and to talk over what is involved. I will learn so much more when my course starts next week and have a lot of learning ahead of me. I can't wait to get my business up and running and focus my energy on something I feel so passionate about (Almost as much as wine!).
I love that becoming a Doula means that I am not only a support person during labour but after birth as well. Giving birth no matter how you do it is tough but becoming a mother and those first few weeks can be even tougher. In becoming a doula I not only want to offer birth support but I want to be able to help to establish feeding, comfort and reassure that it takes time and perseverance [and sore nipple perseverance can be tough!]. Post birth I would also offer settling techniques and where it is wanted advice on routine for when baby is around 4 – 5 weeks old. I absolutely swore by having a nice gentle routine which is why Emmi has slept so well from so early. She loves the comfort and safety of her room and loves going to sleep. A simple routine with some simple sleep triggers can make the world of difference. Again it’s perseverance that will well and truly pay off.
Who would hire a Doula? Absolutely anyone. Extra support during labour can be a life changer. Adam was amazing and whilst the rules before labour where no phone, no games I actually found that I preferred him sitting quietly playing games in the corner so I could just focus! I had my mum in the room with me on the day and whilst it was so nice having them both there is was the midwife’s face walking back into the room that I longed for. Someone that could tell me how I was doing and use her qualifications and experience to reassure me. She was far more calm and less worried then Adam and Mum. It’s also for people who’s partners may be FIFOS (fly in fly out), women who are doing it by themselves or with a family member or friend. A doula can simply give you an extra support person to lean on [literally], someone to get a cool towel, to get sips of water and to encourage and reassure throughout the process. A way of communication also between expecting parents and midwives.
Have I got what it takes to be a Doula? I hope so. I love helping people, I have so much empathy that I need to find an outlet for it. I have given birth and survived the first 16 months of Motherhood so hopefully that counts for something [surely we should get some kind of medal or a cocktail machine for that??]. I’m hoping that my fears and nerves will go in time as I get used to my new role and gain more experience.
I worry that I won’t live up to peoples expectations as it is such an important time. Every single birth is different so I know I have to be prepared for anything and everything. I know that my training will give me the professional certificate but it is the wonderful people that allow me into their lives at the most cherished moments that will give me the most experience. I am so excited to see where this takes me and build a business for myself. Surely there is no greater privilege then to help welcome new life into the world. I am enthusiastic, ready and willing for this new adventure. I hope to document as much of my experiences as possible to stay tuned for what is to come as I embark on this new journey.
Julia Coffey xx
THIS ARTICLE WAS PUBLISHED IN THE FIRST ONLINE ISSUE OF MUMMAS TRIBE MAGAZINE! Such an honour xx ENJOY
To read this article go to: www.mummastribe,com
Meet The Maker
Hi! Im Amy! 36 & married to my best friend! When he gets up in the middle of the night to feed our little Olivia or hug her when she is teething, his status rises from best friend to SAINT! But believe me, there are other times when I feel like I actually have three children, he is the third. When I started the business I had 2 children under two. Double trouble? Yes! But definitely more than a double blessing.
My dream for My Tiny Wardrobe is to use the business to encourage other mums to work from home if they can and want to, and provide them with a platform to sell their designs. I am currently collaborating with women designers who are raising children in Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom and Indonesia. It is a collection of working mummy designers, photographers, and suppliers, all woven together to empower women through small business.
Life is Too Short Not To Chase Your Dreams.
Yes, I am speaking to you, the one who is reading this blog. I feel that @mytinywardrobesydney (insert hyperlink) with the support of other women might lead to some mums setting aside their stilettos if they choose and continue to pursue their dreams of working from home. I want YOU to email me, Facebook me, Instagram me, tweet me (joking, I don't do twitter). Seriously before I launched this business I thought Facebook was “trending”. I had no idea. What a learning curve I have loved riding the wave of.
If you love photography or love marketing or you LOVE TO DESIGN, SEW, PRINT, STITCH and would love to do that while your little ones 'play' under your desk at home, it's possible. In creating this brand, I stepped out of the corporate world to design a future for myself and my family, and other mums who would join this collection of creatives, all working from home!
I design clothes for “All the places they'll go and adventures they'll have”.
I want babies to be snuggled up safe in my baby blankets and hold onto them as they grow up. I want to see little ones running up and down Bronte Beach to the tip of Cape York in swimming costumes designed by indigenous women highlighting indigenous prints. I want to see boys (and girls) skating, wrestling, and laughing, in comfy, casual, yet edgy and unique clothes. I want little girls to feel like Princesses, but feel free to run in the mud at the same time.
My Tiny Wardrobe is here to clothe our bubs, inspire creativity, fuel imagination, hear from real mums, resource our mums through fortnightly blogs, and empower women to dream, and take action. The majority of our products are made by mums, for mums, in Australia - with LOVE!
How do I cope with the juggle?
Having launched my business while my premie baby was in the NICU, I am not sure if I always cope. But I think that is normal. Being a stay at home working mum is a challenge. You usually are “at work” all day long. No paid sick days and no paid annual leave. I try and do most of my work after 7pm when they are tucked in or when they have their sleep in the middle of the day. However, many times I find myself trying to reply to emails in the playground, take calls while also trying to play tea parties and look at fabric combinations while also trying to feed my little one. Its a juggle. I think as long as you are not glued to your mobile or Mac, and you are present when they are awake for the majority of the time, you are doing well. Actually you are doing GREAT! There are many days where I have had to use the TV as a parent. BAD? I don't think so, as I'm not a superhero, I'm one up from that, I am a mum. And there is no more important job. I take that very seriously. But if that means a few hours of screen time to keep my sanity, so be it. I ain't judging. Great mums always try their best.
I won't sugar coat it and say it's easy establishing a successful small business, with a budget, but I wouldn't have it any other way. My obstacles in launching this business did not stem from just having a premie baby, with her gorgeous big sister Chloe at my side or rather trying to climb me like a monkey for extra attention. I have been fighting a muscle disease over the last 14 years called fibromyalgia. Instead of letting this chronic painful disease define me, I have let the journey with it REFINE me. I have grown into a strong woman with a passion for joy, adventure, laughter and fun. Some days it wins but this year I am going to work smarter and focus on ME, my family (and my business). Yes, I believe it's possible.
Its taken me a year to realise that you can grow a business at any pace you like. At first it was a marathon effort, little sleep, constant hustling, little sleep, so much work, no sleep, more hustling, IG learning etc etc. But this came at a cost to my health and my family. So in year two of the business (2017) I plan to work smarter. HOW you ask? Ask other mums for advice, you don't need to research everything alone. Some mums are more than willing to share industry contacts, tell you what loops/markets are great and why. What hashtags are trending. Just take a chance and ask. What do you have to lose?
Also, as long as you are moving forward with your strategy and vision then you are creating growth. It doesn't need to be all work and no play. Your business will still be there next week/next year if you take some time out. Life gets busy and somethings have to give, so remember it's not all or nothing.
Best organisational tip to other working mums?
If you have the energy on a Sunday night, plan out the week. Have a list of actionable items and plan the week accordingly; including social media, urgent emails, phone calls, meetings, daycare, sleep times and think what you can get done and on which day/s. Otherwise a week of work can appear insurmountable on a Sunday night after a big weekend and the last thing we need is extra stress on a Monday morning.
Greatest Advice: Focus on the Good. In the world of small business, there is a lot of “COPYING” happening & has come into the spotlight recently ten fold. I have seen it with my own eyes. I have heard about it happening more than monthly from fellow biz mums, I have seen tears and heard sad stories. I have seen anger and I have read comments. BUT, WHAT I CAN OFFER IS THIS:
If YOU have been copied, its distressing. My personality is to let that person know. Sometimes they may know they have copied you & other times they may not. So what I would also say is: If it is very obvious and they have ordered from you and then copied, or even if you feel concerned & can't move on, release that stress you feel and send them an email or a DM. Resentment is not worth it and your health is your wealth, so say something and try and move on or resolve the issue with the other 'maker'. At the end of the day, you just have to be the best you can be and as hard as this is to write, take it as a compliment that you are so amazing and original, people want to replicate your ideas. This sounds easier said than done, I know as this has happened to me, so easier said than done.
What I have learned about Social Media
Before I started my business I never had a personal IG account. NOPE. I knew nothing. Hashtag #whatsahashtag ? So I have learnt soooooo much and feel confident that it is a great selling platform for business when used well.
1: It is not all about the number of followers that you have. Facebook Or Instagram. You can have 40,000 'followers' and only 1000 'Supporters', who want to engage with you & buy your brand. So don't spend too much money worrying about numbers. Think more about how you can be seen and engage with your 'Supporters'.
2. WHAT IS CONTENT MARKETING? This is essential when trying to connect with your audience. Is your content informing or inspiring your audience? No matter if you are blogging, creating FB Live Videos, or posting great images on Instagram you should aim to be doing at least one of these two things 80% of the time. In doing this your audience will connect with you more. Why? Because many people like to have that “know, like, trust” connection with a brand. And at the end of the day once they have that, it will be easier for you to make a sale (with less selling).
3. LOCATION? I have always thought the location of a post was important. For these two reasons: firstly, you can meet other mumma makers in your area and stores that may want to stock your brand. But also, just like we have trending hashtags, there surely are trending locations. THINK….. Where would your audience be hanging out? If they are mums: parks, carnivals, local swimming pools, kids pools etc. So if they ever search that location, they may also find your swimwear label if you are always at “Bondi kids Pool” for example. BOOM, a possible new follower or a sale.
4. HASHTAGS. What hashtags are trending? Ok, so this is a bit more difficult and I am a strong believer you need to keep working on hashtags and see how they rate. But again, what hashtags are your audience using? If you sell a health food item, is it gluten free? If so, there are so many hashtags that relates to gluten and coeliacs disease, so use those. General hashtags like #healthy #yum are not going to get you seen. They are too general. And as so many people globally are using these your photo will be lost under that hashtag in less than 3 seconds, so you wasted one of your hashtags..
….. and the list goes on and on but I think these are important points to think about….
Lastly, and most importantly:
“Empowered Women, Empower Women”….
“Mums Supporting Mums” will always lead to greater success for everyone.
Complete, don't compete.
All my love,
I love working with other mums!
So please reach out and send me a message xx
Facebook: My Tiny Wardrobe
Us mums are really great at putting our kids in rashies and hats and sunscreen. But when it comes to protecting our own skin, like so many other things, we sometimes don’t enforce the same rules onto ourselves. So, as the weather begins to warm up, I want to give you a quick reminder of why we all need to start practicing what we preach so that we can enjoy the sun safely this summer season.
Sun protection is more important than you are probably aware…
The statistics are scary, so read this section carefully to let it fully sink in….
1. 90%-99% of skin cancer is related to sun exposure;
2. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in Australia;
3. Skin cancer accounts for about 80% of all new cancers diagnosed each year in Australia;
4. Two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the time they are 70.
And just in case skin cancer wasn’t enough of a deterrent, up to 90% of the visible signs of ageing, including wrinkles, are caused by sun damage, not the number of candles on your next birthday cake.
So, be it for health or vanity reasons, having the best possible skin comes down to… reducing sun damage!
Top 3 common misconceptions…
Every Australian over the age of 30 grew up with the Slip! Slop! Slap! message (gotta love the 80’s!). But how many of us really know that this message is telling us? Because through simple measures, such as following the Slip Slop Slap guidelines, skin cancer is one of the most preventable forms of cancer in Australia.
The 3 most common misconceptions I see around the Slip Slop Slap message are….
It wasn’t until I started looking into sun protection for my kids that I learnt that the Cancer Council’s Slip Slop Slap message is NOT being fulfilled by slipping on clothing of any description. You need to do more than ‘slipping’ on a cotton t-shirt, kaftan or tunic because the average white cotton t-shirt only has a UPF 5.
Please, tell everyone you know: t-shirts do not provide adequate sun protection. You need to be wearing clothing that and specifically been designed to protect you from the sun.
Every day is a day that sunscreen is needed. Warm days, cool days, clear days, cloudy days, winter days, summer days, driving days, gardening days. I think you get the picture. Remember, there is no connection between UV levels and temperature. UV is invisible. You cannot see it, hear it, or feel it.
Get in the habit of applying sunscreen every day. Be generous with your sunscreen, apply it before you go outside and reapply it every 2 hours. Most importantly, sunscreen is a great defense, but should not be your only defense.
Yes, you need your hat to be breathable, lightweight and comfortable – but it also needs to be constructed in a fabric that offers protection.
I see many women wearing their big floppy straw hats and yes, they look good and provide shade, but if you can see through the weave, then those UVA/UVB rays can see you too!
Like sun protection clothing, look for hats that are labeled as providing protection from UV exposure.
DON'T BE A STATISTIC
With so many great reasons to protect yourself and so much public education focused on skin protection, it’s hard to believe that the sun protection message is not sinking in. But it's not sinking it. I implore you, please don’t be a statistic, learn more about sun protection, Slip! Slop! Slap! the right way and enjoy the sun safely this summer.
Founder of Honeybell Waterwear
About Honeybell Waterwear: Honeybell Waterwear is an Australian boutique sun protection clothing label for women, founded by Annaliese Allen a Melbourne mum, sun lover and corporate accountant turned entrepreneur. All Honeybell Waterwear garments are made in a breathable fabric that is certified as providing UPF 50+ protection, the highest possible rating available.
Whoever said that being a parent was easy must have been a husband/fiancè/boyfriend etc that slept through every single night feed and nappy change. Assholes.
I love being a mum, it really is the most rewarding, challenging, exhausting, exciting and overwhelming job IN THE WORLD! However, there are times where I feel I just can’t adult and want to go out, get white girl wasted on Mojitos and Caprioscas, come home and sleep until 3pm the next day. I am sure I COULD do that, but good luck trying to look after a baby with a massive hangover. To be honest, I have not felt the urge to do that as yet but the Mojios do sound pretty bloody good don’t they?
I have found myself lately becoming quite irritated and frustrated (more so because I’m so fricken’ tired) but everything is really getting to me. Not only are we trying to plan a wedding (well this was overseas but plans change) and a christening, but we also need to look for a house to buy. Add a lack of sleep to that and this chick has resting bitch face turning into actual bitch face.
I’ve always suffered from anxiety quite bad and have learnt to deal with it without medication but these past few weeks have really gotten to me. I’m so incredibly lucky to have such a supportive yoncè that is very patient and helps out when he can. Yes, I’ve cried. I’ve cried to the point where my eyes have been so puffy I look like I’ve had an allergic reaction to something, I’ve cried so much that I’ve stayed in the shower, sitting on the floor, for over 40 minutes (at least I saved on tissues, snot right down the drain). Now don’t get me wrong, I have the most amazing baby (apart from the shitty leaps they go through). She is really cruisy and just goes with the flow which is awesome, but those times that she can’t be settled or just won’t sleep, it hits me hard. Is it because I can’t help her? Is it because I’ve had enough? Is it because I feel like I’m failing? I don’t actually know. All I know, is that sometimes I just can’t even (insert hair flick here).
I am home with her all day and I have learnt what is best for her (and me) and we have this game plan going but at times, the game is changed and I want to be put on the bench. I know I can do this. I know I am a great mum, no wait, I am a bloody awesome mum and I can get through whatever this parenting gig throws at me.
You just have to have an amazing group of people around you to support every decision you make (regardless how shitty is may be), be there for you when you feel like you are not cut out for this parenting thing and lift you up, tell you, you are doing an amazing job as a mum and how proud they are of you. You need that. It is so important.
I AM an amazing mum.
I AM my daughter’s best friend.
I AM doing the best I can do.
I AM bloody awesome.
Krystle Bridges xx
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