Thursday, 17 July 2014

Thoughts on modern parenting and mindfulness

As a new mum I have been amazed by the amount of varied thoughts I now have on a daily basis and the sheer number of things I now need to consider. Whilst we have all settled down into a routine and go about our little life quite happily, I feel like my brain is in constant overdrive thinking and churning over all sorts of things. Even though we seem to be successfully raising a little person right now, I often find myself thinking about the next step and then further ahead. 

To give you an example, in one day I can go from planning what we are doing next, to the logistics of taking a baby abroad,  to trying to learn about weaning as that’s not too far off now, to making a packing list for our holiday, to being concerned about how much TV we should be letting A see, to considering the dangers of social media in thirteen years’ time, to thinking about what type of gender image we should be projecting on to her and then back to what to order for next week’s shopping. It’s exhausting just writing it and to be honest it probably happens in less than a day, more like an hour. Then on top of that I’m checking my phone, emails, messages, trying to hold sensible conversation with other adults whilst making sure A is happy and her latest physical need attended to! Oh yes and me too, I’m trying to look after me…

In today’s society multitasking is a mandatory and now as we raise our children in a multi-screen world, I sometimes think we are all at risk of some kind of information overload. So I’m trying to slow down a bit and take a breath, or two as my Mindfulness app keeps telling me (more on that shortly).

I’ve recently started hearing about Mindfulness. Mindfulness is a therapeutic practice about focusing on the present moment and being really aware of your physical state through your breathing. It’s a way of stopping to take a moment and take in what life is like for you right now. It won’t solve life’s problems but it can help you to take a calmer approach and anchor yourself in the here and now.

In true twenty-first century fashion, an app (or many apps!) have been created to help with introducing Mindfulness into our daily lives. I’ve just downloaded Mindfulness Daily  and whilst I’m not always able to pause at the times scheduled (!) I’m really enjoying the pause function that allows me to look at different landscapes to help centre myself and take a couple of breaths.  

Someone told me that when it comes to raising children, ‘the days are long but the years are short’ and so far I have found this to be very true. We are now at the four-month mark and we are already glimpsing in A the little girl she will become. So I want to try and slow down the whirring in my head (easier said than done...) and savour as much of this time as I can. It’s about enjoying the simple things, lying in the park, cuddles at night and giggles when you’re singing nursery rhymes for the twentieth time in the row!

For more information on Mindfulness, click here.
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Saturday, 12 July 2014

Mummy tip #2 - Free Clinique makeup with Glamour


I was pleasantly surprised to receive a Clinique Chubby Stick with the August edition of Glamour magazine (particularly as makeup isn't too far up my priority list at the moment!) Glamour costs just £2 an issue  and the Chubby Stick is worth £17 (RRP) so this is a great bargain. The lovely people at Glamour and Clinique are giving away four Clinique items this month: Mascara, Moisturiser and two types of Chubby Stick. Might be worth picking up four issues to collect them all... 

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Mummy Tip #1- Iphone Reading List

Many a time I have found an article or blog online, started to read it and then my attention has been needed elsewhere and I've lost or forgotten what I was reading to start with. Well... not anymore! 

This week I made a discovery, the iPhone reading list function. Perhaps everyone already knows how to do this, but for those of you who like me haven't worked this one yet out, here's how you could make your web browsing slightly easier. The reading list option on the iPhone means you can send the web page to a list in Safari that makes it available offline. Quite simple really but perfect for when you need something to keep you awake during the night feed or have found yourself trapped by a sleeping baby on the sofa!

Here's how:

Step 1: Open Safari, click on the Send To icon (third icon in) on the page you want to keep.

Step 2: Select 'Add to Reading List'.

Step 3: Open the Safari Browser and choose the Bookmark icon and then the Reading List icon (the glasses) to find your saved articles.

Happy Reading!

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Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Travelling into London with a baby? 5 tips to help plan your trip.

Abigail taking in the sights of the train...

Taking your baby into London can be a daunting experience. I certainly felt apprehensive when I planned to take Abigail there a few weeks ago to meet some friends. I planned the trip with military precision, packed my changing bag for all eventualities and headed off to face London with a buggy!

My trip was a success in the end (no outfit changes for mummy or baby required this time!) and I learnt a few tips to share with other mums planning on taking their little ones into the capital soon...

1. Plan your route. Work out your route from your front door to your destination and back again. I recommend using the app Citymapper. It's a nifty little app that shows you the different options you have, how long they take, when the next bus is, how much a taxi would cost etc. Plus it's free!

2. Consider your baby carrying options. For me it was a toss up between the buggy or the baby carrier. Each have their own advantages; the buggy will hold more stuff and you won't need to hold your baby for the duration of the trip  whereas the carrier means you only have to move yourself around and baby gets a good view of things. Your decision will depend on the type of trip you are planning and how you think your baby will respond. I went for the buggy this time as we had lunch plans.

3. Travel outside rush hour. One of the benefits of being on maternity leave is that you can plan your days to fit in with the needs of you and your baby. So capitalise on the emptier trains and travel off peak. The travel card is cheaper too!

4. Avoid tubes and use a bus instead.  Unfortunately London tubes aren't very buggy friendly. The stations with lifts are few and far between and unless you are lucky, you will end up having to battle with a buggy and some stairs. London buses are actually pretty good. They are regular, have room for buggies and are a great way to see London. But remember your Oyster card as buses will be cashless from the beginning of July.

5. Ask for help. Sometimes you just need a helping hand to get in out of places or up onto a train, particularly if you are on your own with your little one. Most people are happy to oblige and usually just a glimpse of your baby is enough incentive for anyone.!

Do you have any other tips? Send them through!

Happy travelling!
Mums' Days