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Me and My Munchkin

Me and My Munchkin: April 2012

Monday, 30 April 2012

The Complaint-free May Challenge

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I have been inspired by the April issue of Cleo in more ways than 1. To start with, this particular month featured the Cleo Bachelor of the Year special. Countless pages of 50 eligible bachelors, most of which are shirtless to get lost in. And I particularly love the mini interviews they do, as it makes the guys sound so down to earth and like they would be likely to choose an ordinary (though sometimes strange) girl like me.

But to get back to the point of this challenge, there was also an article in which one of their young journalists embarked on a 21-day complaint free challenge. She had to make it through the full 21 days without so much as a complaint that her coffee was too hot or her friend cancelled on her again.

I began to think about what a great idea this challenge would be. I like to think that I am a pretty level headed person, and try not to be too whiny. But, unfortunately I am human. So along with never being able to grow wings and fly, I do have my periods of feeling sorry for myself, where I will whinge to my little hearts content. I have gone through one of these periods this week. So I thought that the beginning of the month would be the perfect time to start my challenge. I am doing it for a bit longer than the girl in the article, but I'm hoping that it will be easier the longer that I'm doing it, and I won't notice.

To start the challenge, here is 2 definitions of the term complaint:

1. A statement that a situation is unsatisfactory or unacceptable.

2. An expression of pain, dissatisfaction or resentment.

The article states that when embarking on this challenge, you need to recognise the feeling of when you're about to complain, and stop it in it's tracks, ignoring it (or shrugging off whatever is causing the complaint) or turning it into a positive. Upon doing some research, I have found that when doing this challenge, some people like to wear a rubber bracelet, and switch it from wrist to wrist, every time they find themselves complaining. The idea being, that you physically catch yourself in the act. You could even try flicking a rubber band on your wrist if you think that the pain association would work.

I will keep you updated on my progress with the challenge, with a post every Sunday to let you know how I coped with the week, and any failures! Is there anyone that would like to join in this challenge? If so, comment below and I can try to work out a system that is easy for everyone to join in and share their challenge success!

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Friday, 27 April 2012

Living the Single Life

For those of you who are new to my blog, I am a single mum. I have been ever since my son turned 1. After separating from Master A's father I moved home with my parents until I was able to get back on my feet. That was around 6 months ago and I am still there. Do I ever regret the decision to walk the down the parenthood road alone? No.

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Of course, being single has it's drawbacks. Having nobody to fix my car, for instance (my dad is great but I don't entrust my car to just anybody!) I have also noticed how nice it would be to have someone to cuddle in this cooler weather. But where there are cons there are also many pros to living the single life. I love being able to make plans to do what I want, without having to run it past my partner first. I also have the freedom to really wolf whistle at notice any and all attractive men that just happen to be near me. This is especially great as the house next door to ours has just been demolished ready for a new one to be built, which means... TRADIES! (A tradie for a single lady, anyone?)

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I have been in a few relationships. There was, of course the high school sweetheart. Then there were a few flings before I met my son's father. And since being single I did briefly date another man however found it fizzled out way too quickly. I guess that I have a bit of a fear when it comes to meeting men now that I have a child. I expect that they will hear "child" and run away faster than I can say playdough. And then if I do meet someone, I fear that they will struggle to cope with helping to raise another man's child. And then that brings me to the question, where do you meet a man when your outings are limited to trips to the play cafe or supermarket in your chocolate and snot stained t-shirt, run-a-muck toddler in tow?

I just hope that when I do meet the right man, that it will all fall into place and until then, I am happily enjoying my single days, doing things my way and enjoying all the hotties that this beach side suburb has to offer!

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Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Finding My Happiness

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My life has been a little crazy lately. Between follow-up hospital appointments, play dates, studying, and trying to organise the house, I never remember to take the time out to enjoy the things that make me happy. There is a lot of things that make me happy, and they don't even necessarily have to be big things. Simply watching Master A's big smile, or seeing a gorgeous baby makes me happy. I just need to make sure that I take the time to stop and enjoy these things when I see them.

Winter is upon us here in Adelaide, and it is perfect weather for a big hot chocolate, especially with a marshmallow, yum! If I have the time, I love looking through old photos, and this is something that I have been doing recently, as I have been cleaning up my pictures folders on my computer ready for back up to disk. And speaking of cleaning up, there is nothing like enjoying the feeling of a clean house, or in my case, I LOVE an organised house. And while I am sipping on my hot chocolate and looking through old photos, I love a good daydream to go with it.

There are a few things that make me very happy that I can't enjoy as much, now that the cold weather has hit. Walking along the beach and enjoying a beautiful sunset are 2 things that I always made time for. However, only 6 months or so and I should be able to start enjoying these things again.

Taking the time to stop and smell the roses is essential in keeping you "in the moment". Staying in the moment means that you are able to focus on the small joys of life, instead of focusing on what you don't have, or whizzing through life in such a stressed out hurry that you miss everything and before you know it, you're children are grown up or you have grown old and can't remember enjoying your life. If you find yourself on that fast-track road, sit down and make a list of everything that makes you happy, big and small. Start making the time in your day to stop and enjoy these things. These are just a few things on a long list of things that make me happy. What's on your list?

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Monday, 23 April 2012

The Next 12 Months

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Following on from last weeks post on my goals for the next six months, I have my goals for the next twelve months! These goals were a lot harder to set, as I am unsure what my situation is going to be in 12 months time. I may be living in my own place, I may still be living with my parents. I may be working, or I may not. So I have just come up with some goals based on my situation at the present time, assuming that nothing changes. The beauty with this is that if my situation or circumstances change, I can adapt my goals and change them to suit. It is good to allow your goals to be flexible so that you aren't disappointed if something happens and you have to change them, or come up with new goals altogether.

So here are my 3 goals for the next 12 months:

1. To be financially stable
Like a lot of people coming out of a relationship, I have walked away with a less than desirable financial position. I have accepted this and I am slowly working through it all. I hope to be back on my feet in 12 months time and working towards savings.

2. To have more professional photos taken of my munchkin
When Master A was about 2 months old, we had family photos taken. Now that he is almost 19 months old, I would love to have more done, and have made it a goal to ensure that some are taken in the next year. I have allowed a year as professional photos can be very expensive, and I want to be sure that I can afford to get the photos that I want.

3. To be looking at getting my own place
The support from my parents has been great these last 6 months, but I would love to have a place of my own to call home. So I am hoping that if I haven't already, I will be looking at getting a place, just for me and my munchkin!

So there you have my goals for the next 12 months. I am not expecting too much of myself, and these are flexible if anything should happen and they need to be changed. I would love for you to share how you work out your goals. Do you work out 6 and 12 month goals, or do you just do one list? Please take the time to share with us your goals.

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Friday, 20 April 2012

The Best Mummy

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I have been doing a lot of research lately on parenting toddlers. Dealing with tantrums, sleepless nights, fussy eating, and discipline. It’s not all that often that you see me without my nose in a parenting book. And it’s all so that I can be the best parent. I want to know exactly what to do when my son is sick, or whether I should be ignoring his tantrums or disciplining them. I worry that what I’m doing isn’t good enough.

Today I had a bit of an eye-opening experience. After pulling a cup of scalding hot coffee onto his face, Master A was screaming and terrified. We put him straight in a cold shower, pyjamas and all, and I watched with tears in my eyes as my frightened little boy tried to cling to me. As soon as he was out the shower he grabbed me with all his might and sobbed into my shoulder, with me reassuring him that “you’re ok, mummy’s here”. It was then that I realised that I AM doing the right thing. My son loves me more than anything in the world. He relies on me to be there for him, and I am. I will always be there to give him cuddles when he is upset. I will always kiss his boo-boo better. I will always teach him right from wrong, and I will always do what I think is right for him at the time.

I may not be an experienced mother. I am not a wealthy mother, who is able to buy whatever he wants. I lose my temper and I am forgetful. But I am the best mother for my little boy. I am the one he turns to when he is upset. When he is excited, he comes to give me a hug and do a little dance in front of me. I would die for my child, and I would never go back in time and do things any different.

Parenting is one of the hardest jobs any mother or father will have. But I do the best that I can with what I have. I only have myself to offer, but I know that’s enough for my son.

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Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Bedroom Transformations - Part 1

I am a very excited mummy today! After 6 months of sharing a room with my older sister, I am finally getting a bedroom to myself! No more single bed, no more of having nowhere to put my things, or tripping on my sisters things through the night. You see, when I moved back home 6 months ago after the break-up, I had to move into my childhood bedroom, where my sister had moved into, only weeks before me (our poor parents).

I was very lucky and grateful that my beautiful mum gave up her sewing room so that Master A could have his own room.

His room has his bed, chest of drawers, change table, and my chest of drawers with my clothes in it. It is also used for sleeping and changing his nappies. Otherwise it is basically used for storage.
Currently, my bedroom is somewhere I only sleep, and watch TV once Master A is in bed. My room simply has a single bed, with a bedside table at the end of it, A TV cabinet with a TV next the bed, and a built in wardrobe, which I occupy about a quarter of.

I am so excited to get stuck into making these rooms havens for Master A and I. My room will take a lot longer to get organised as I will be bringing some furniture and belongings home from my storage unit (including my desk and scrapbooking things YAY!!)

I will be turning the transformations into a 3 part series. Next I shall reveal Master As bedroom, a haven for a little boy! So stay tuned!

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Monday, 16 April 2012

The Next 6 months

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I mentioned in my last post Attitude of Gratitude that I was undertaking a makeover of the soul. Since moving home with my parents, I have been a little lost, I have been lacking direction. Goals are a great way of getting me back on track. They give me something to work towards. Don’t get me wrong, goal setting is not for everyone. Some people don’t like the structure of goals, or prefer to just enjoy the ride, not focus on the finished product. Some people really aren’t disciplined enough to follow the paths to reach their goals. Sometimes I can be one of those people. If I overload myself with goals or pick something that is just attainable at this point in my life.

I have had a little bit of trouble with my goals in the last year so this time I am choosing to things a little different this time. I have come up with a number of goals that I want to achieve within the next 6 months. I will then form goals for the next 12 months, and then for the next 2 years. I do not want to go beyond that time frame as I am in such a temporary situation, and I am unsure how long I will be here, or where my life will be in 3, 4 or 5 years time.

Goal setting is really quite simple. You think about something that you want to achieve, and you break it down into small chunks, so that you have a plan mapped out for how to get there. These can be added to your weekly to-do list. It’s the same as planning a party. When you plan a party, you have to work out the food, the guests, the venue, the decorations, and these all get added onto your to-do list to make sure that they are ready for the party. The party is the goal, and the aspects of planning are the small chunks.

I have made 7 goals for myself for the next 6 months. These goals are from all aspects of my life. My schooling/career, my car, my personal growth and my sons health. I have chosen a few to share with you.

1.      To build Master A’s immune system up and get him back into a sound routine.

Master A’s immune system has suffered a real blow in the last 6 weeks, and it seems that he is catching everything under the sun. All of this sickness has caused his routine to suffer, meaning sleepless nights and a run-a-muck boy. I have chosen an immune-booster to help, as well as upping the amount of fruit and vegetables he eats. I will print out a copy of Master A’s schedule and stick it to the wall so that I can remind myself of his schedule and routine.

2.     To become totally comfortable in my own company.

Being a single mother can be rather lonely at times. Friends are a great source of company, and of course there is Master A, but what about the days when everyone is busy, or Master A is sleeping and I find myself checking Facebook on my every 5 minutes for something to do? I plan to make a list of things to do by myself that I enjoy and make me happy. I also want to make a list of hobbies that I would like to try, and hopefully I can find a new hobby to keep me busy.

3.     To be organised and efficient in various areas of my life

I am already a fairly organised person, but there are still a few things that need tweaking, and would help my life run a lot smoother, especially help with time management. I am a huge fan of lists (if you hadn’t noticed!) so I have lists and charts for everything. And what I don’t, I have them on my to-make list.
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These are just a few of my goals for the next 6 months. I will be making my 12 month goals next, and will be sharing those with you once I am finished. Please feel free to give me a friendly kick up the butt and reminder to make sure that I am working on these goals!

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Friday, 13 April 2012

Attitude of Gratitude

I am currently undertaking a change in my life. A kind of “makeover” of my soul. At the moment I am focussing on gratitude, putting myself into the attitude of gratitude. When I looked up the definition of gratitude on Google this is what I found:


The quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for     and to return kindness.


Gratitude is one of the most powerful tools that you can use when it comes to creating peace and happiness in your life. And in the end isn’t that what we all want? I am a pretty lucky person. I live a good life. I have food on my table, nice clothes, access to good health care. I have great parents that took my son and I in after the split from my ex-partner. Of course my life has its tough moments but on whole, I don’t really have a lot that I can complain about.

When I first decided to embark on my makeover I sat and thought about the thing that I am the most grateful for. What sprang to mind is the birth of my son. At 30 weeks pregnant my hind waters broke. I spent a few days in hospital, with the doctors feeding me antibiotics, steroids and medications to help prevent me from going into labour. After this I was allowed to go home with close monitoring, I was no longer allowed to work, and there was every possibility that I could go into labour at any time. This lasted until I 34 weeks along, before the doctors agreed that I needed to be induced. The labour and birth was quite uneventful, however within a few hours of his birth, Master A was in an ambulance on his way to the Womens and Childrens Hospital, where they have a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

Master A was placed on respirators and morphine, to assist his breathing, as he had been born with immature lungs. He was in a humidicrib, with what seemed like hundreds of tubes and lines going into him for 10 days. After this he was finally able to breathe on his own, and we were finally able to hold him. He was transferred back to our local hospital so that he could learn how to feed. This proved to be a difficult and lengthy task. The day after coming back to our hospital the Paediatricians found a hole in his heart. 9 days later we were finally able to take our little boy home.

To cut a long story short, the hole closed over and apart from an early diagnosis of asthma at 13 months old, Master A is now a happy and healthy boy. I cannot help but think every day just how lucky I am that he was ok. That I didn’t give birth at 30 weeks, that when they transferred Master A to the bigger hospital, they were able to find me a room there too, so I was able to stay in the same hospital as him for 5 days. I am extremely grateful that he was able to come home within 3 weeks and be with his family. We were lucky, and I am still, 18 months on, so grateful for it.

When you try to add an attitude of gratitude to your everyday life, try to focus on the little things as well as the big things. The dance that your child does to their favourite song, the beautiful dinner your mum cooks for you, the massage that your partner gives you. All of these things are beautiful, and feeling grateful for having them means that you are able to appreciate them, which in turn brings peace and happiness into your life.

Following this post, for the month on the Me and My Munchkin Facebook page I will be posting one thing that I am grateful for every day. I would love if you would follow these posts and join me in saying what you are grateful for. All you need to do is click on the Facebook link to the right of the page.

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Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Somebody tell me that life gets easier. Please?

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As I write this post, I am in the middle of one of the hardest days (and weeks) of my life. I have a toddler with an attitude, a sore foot from tripping on my sister’s stuff in the middle of night last night, and I can’t drive my car as the remote to unlock the doors is currently swirling around the washing machine, and because it is a front loader, the cycle takes approximately 2 – 2 and a half hours to complete, and once turned on, you can’t open the door. I’m at that point where it’s all become just a little too much and after setting the alarm off on my car trying to open the door with the key (hey it was worth a try!) I burst into tears and spent half an hour sitting on the couch feeling sorry for myself.

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I know that there are many people out there who are much worse off than I am, and I don’t deny that. However when you stressed and at breaking point, everything seems like a catastrophe and that is when I blurt out a few choice words, lose my temper at my child and whoever else gets in my line of fire. Oh what I would give right now for someone to please tell me that life gets easier! Tell me that my child won’t always throw tantrums when I take something off of him that he isn’t allowed to have. Tell me that he will start sleeping through the night again. Tell me that I will have the patience to just sit and play with him regularly. That I will begin shrug my shoulders and say “Oh well, these things happen” when things don’t go to plan. Tell me that I am not alone in going through these phases every now and then. Feeling like the world is against you, and everything that you do just seems to be wrong.

I am the sort of person that sees value in life throwing challenges at you. Life would be boring without them and I believe that these challenges are what shape me into the person that I am today. But I think that I speak for a whole lot of mothers when I say that most of us probably ask this question at least once during our time as a mother. Does it get easier? I would like to think that yes, it does. Even standing at the beginning of a long tunnel, and the light seems such a long way away, I would like to think that the light is still there.

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So as I sit on my couch, with my fingers crossed, I am just hoping that when the washing machine finally stops, the remote will still work. I know my chances are slim, but I have to hope. It’s the only thing moving me through my long tunnel. How do you get through your tunnel? How do you cope with life’s challenges, when they all seem to come at you at once?

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Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Taking Time for Yourself

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Yesterday was the most hectic day! Master A has come home from his father’s house with a cold, and it had been a day of temper tantrums and one naughty toddler getting stuck into absolutely everything he knows that he isn’t allowed to do. I couldn’t help but to breathe a loud sigh of relief once I had shut the door to Master A’s bedroom, leaving him tucked up in bed for the night with his favourite toy and a bottle. The first thought that ran through my mind was “THANK GOD!!” and the second was “Yay! Me time!”

When was the last time that you took ‘Me Time’? And I don’t mean slipping into the toilet without an audience, although I know that comes a close 2nd to making a trip to the supermarket alone feeling like a vacation. I am talking about a whole 10 minutes, or even better, an hour, doing something that you love to do; a hobby, exercising, having a bubble bath or getting a facial. When was the last time you left the kids at home with dad or a babysitter and actually took the time to look after yourself? Can you even remember?

As women we naturally put everyone and everything before our own health (and sanity). I have been guilty of this on many occasions, and it has resulted in a very sick, and run down mummy. If you don’t spend some time looking after yourself, think about the toll that it will take on your physical and mental health, and ask yourself who you will be helping then?

I love putting Master A in the pusher, turning my iPod up as loud as it can go, and going for a nice long walk. Master A loves being outside, and it means fresh air for the both of us and exercise for me! That is something that we do at least once a day. I also con my brain into thinking I’m doing it for son because he so dearly loves these walks and as soon as he sees me grab my iPod and sunglasses he races for his pusher and climbs in.
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Blogging has also become my time for me. I am able to get lost in my thoughts, and just write!  I try to spend time daily on my blog, either writing posts, researching, or reading some of my favourite blogs for inspiration (and also just coz I love reading them!) Blogging has become one of my favourite things to do.

I would love to know what it is that you do for your ‘me time’. And if you don’t take ‘me time’ why not? I will leave you with a well known quote: “A happy mummy means a happy child”. Looking after yourself means that you are much better equipped to look after your kids and everybody else in your life. What are you going to do during your next ‘Me Time’?

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Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Helping Out my Bad Memory!

Back in my first post Introduction to a Single Mummy, I mentioned being a little passionate about organisation. I am still learning and growing with it all, but I thought I would share a few tips about what helps keep me organised, and as I implement new things, I will share their success or failure with you!

I have the worst memory of anyone that I know. So it’s no surprise that I keep a note of everything. Birthdays are something that I always seem to forget. Facebook has of course, assisted with this issue, but what about the people who (god forbid) aren’t on Facebook?

Using Microsoft Word 2007 I found a template for a birthday calendar. Very plain, and eventually I do plan on jazzing it up a bit, but for now it does the job! I went through my Facebook friends list, along with other family and friends and copied down all birthdays onto my calendar. It is kept on a bulldog clip on my bulletin board. At the beginning of each month I look at whose birthdays are coming up that month, and by my cards all together. I also buy stamps in bulk, and keep these pinned to the bulletin board. That way I can send birthday cards straight out a few days before the birthday.

Also on my bulletin board is my sons Medication Chart. I drew up the document myself in Word, with a column for the medication name, a column for the time of last dose, and a column for when the next dose is due. This has been a life saver during teething, when in my sleep deprived state, I couldn’t remember for the life of me what time Master A had his last dose of Panadol. The chart is laminated so that a white board marker can be used and wiped straight off.  I have created spots for 5 medications, as he could be on any number of medications at once if he’s sick; Panadol, Nurofen, Asthma puffers, or antibiotics. It all depends on your child. The chart could also be altered to suit more than one child.

My last tip for today is the going out bag/important phone numbers checklist. As I live with my parents and sister, this is kept on the fridge, so that it is central should anyone ever need to use it. It contains a list of what goes into Master A’s bag to go out. As we have a Thomas the Tank Engine backpack for him, I carry my own handbag with my own things in it, although on many occasions I have considered changing back to a large nappy bag again, and doing away with the 2 bags. Underneath this is a short contact list with phone numbers. This includes my mobile number, Master A’s dad’s mobile number, the daycare centre, and the doctors surgery. This is mainly here for my family, if I ever leave Master A in their care, they have all the numbers they should need. I have considered updating this checklist to include the after hours doctor and my sons medicare number. It’s all about what works for you and your family. List the numbers that important for your family. If you take your child to their nanna’s house to be babysat, consider laminating a small card with these numbers and leaving it in your child’s bag.

These are just a few things that I do within my family to help things run a little smoother, and assist my bad memory. I would love to hear what you find helps your family to be more organised.

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Monday, 2 April 2012

Finding your Motivation

What do you think when you hear the word motivation? It can make me cringe sometimes! Even doing the things that I love; scrapbooking, exercising or playing with my little boy can prove difficult to find the motivation at times.

Master A has gone through a recent bout of bad health. He’s spent time in hospital with infections. He had surgery and then got rather sick again, 2 weeks after being discharged. As you can imagine, with a really sick toddler, you don’t get a whole lot of sleep. My motivation to do anything, especially looking after myself has been sitting on zero.

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It got me thinking about the different ways I can find my motivation, even when my eyes are hanging out of my head and I haven’t slept in weeks. Motivation can disappear when you become a parent. The motivation to eat right, exercise, dress nicely and brush your hair before you pull it back into a ponytail, all go right out the window, along with your shot glasses and dancing shoes.

I have started looking at what’s important to me. What matters the most. My health and my son’s health are top of the list. Providing a stable environment for the both of us and ensuring that we have fun are also right up there. This is what to consider when I am struggling to find the motivation to cook a healthy dinner instead of stopping at KFC. And when you are really struggling, or the task you are trying to get motivated to do is particularly unpleasant (cleaning the bathroom does it for me) then set yourself a time limit and reward yourself at the end. Go and get a facial after spending an hour at the gym. Buy a new dress once you’ve finally paid off your credit card (just make sure you do it with your own cash!).

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Reminders are also a great tool with motivation. Hang your favourite dress that no longer fits on the front of your wardrobe door to remind you of what you are working so hard for. Stick a picture of your holiday destination on your wall so you know what you are saving for, and to help with temptation when you hear of a sale in your favourite store. When I worked I had photos of Master A stuck up inside my locker so that when I got to work and put my bag away I’d be reminded why I was there.

There are so many ways to help find the motivation to do what needs to be done. What do you do when you are lacking motivation? How do you find it again?

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