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{Guest Post} Surviving The Mayhem Known As Motherhood – Musings By Ellen

Today’s guest post is by Ellen from Musings by Ellen. Ellen is a soon-to-be 40 year old mum to 3 girl-kids. She boasts of being Durban-born and proudly South African. She works full-time and relishes her role as a mum more than anything. Read more to find out her tips and tricks for motherhood.

Surviving The Mayhem Known As Motherhood

Those pregnancy magazines make it all look so easy. You know those glossy types you leaf through while waiting at the gynae for your next scan. Or eagerly start buying  to devour its contents as you prepare for this phase you’re about to enter into. You flip its pages to see perfectly made Mums, with coiffures to envy, slim manicured fingers holding a sweet baby close. They seem to glide out of hospital, and dwell in these houses that magically clean themselves, while the new baby dozes softly, and lines of pure white linen gently blow in the breeze – all 100 sheets for the day up by 10am. She puts hotel-quality meals on the table, whilst easily breast-feeding her newborn with the other hand.

SCENE CHANGE – There I was, some eleven years ago.  Hair swiftly knotted into a messy pony-tail donning my flannel front-open pyjama’s that they said would make nursing easier. Nails having been stripped of any polish or adornment to meet the theatre requirements for an emergency Caesar; now hobbling around bent over trying to burp a colicky newborn who refused to break wind or even latch at all. Easily forgetting to eat or cook but for the saving grace of mothers and aunts. No, sadly I soon began to realise that for all the reading, this welcome to Motherhood would have to be learnt another way. I had become more of a circus act, starting to feel like a novice-juggler dropping all the balls, watching helplessly as the scattered around my constantly untidy arena, a clown without  make-up – where was the time ???

Fortunately over the years (11 to be exact and 3 children later) – I have gotten better at my juggling act and my clown routine is now supported by an arsenal of tips safely stashed away in my bag of tricks.

That has remained unopened, until now that is.  So without further ado, Step right up….

TRICK #1 – Approach your house-hold like a business. All those years of Economics and working as an intern in the Accounts Dept;  that cushy PA job you’re currently on maternity leave from ? Use your experience like a pro. Keep a calendar on your fridge to map out your month – from vaccine due-dates to your own gynae appointments. Use your diary to log your daily tasks – pencil in sleep if you must.

Once you begin to sync with your babys patterns this will become easier to do.

And once you’ve done all that, grey out your weekends. Plan nothing and aim to to do as little as possible with bub and hub. And then do that for as long as it works. Try it and let me know how that goes.

TRICK #2 – Become a master planner. Schedule as much as you can.

Set out a weekly meal plan, and stick to it. It also makes your grocery list predictable and easy to plot.

Eg. get your bread and milk bought on a Sunday so you’re not needing ad-hoc trips to the shops during the week. Once you’ve tried venturing out with a newborn, trying to master the new car-seat and making sure you’ve packed everything into this bag that will define your life for the next few years – you’ll find its easier to build a life around being at home more often.

TRICK #3 – Shop Online – while we’re on the topic of staying at home, technology has revolutionized our lives, bringing whole stores to our door, while excluding the necessity of having to walk down the shopping aisles. Granted, in a few months or so going to the shops will be your saving grace, a bit like coming up for air – you’ll be offering to buy bread or milk if anyone needs. But for the first few months online shopping is a dream. In fact if you’re anything like I’ve become, you’ll sift out the usual suppliers and their times of specials, and buy your babies stock-standard monthly items online in one easy  online purchase. Most stores offer the option deliver to your door, sometimes free or at a cost. Or you can have it collected instore. And since you’ll be awake anyway, while the rest of the world sleeps, you can do it on your night-time data to boot.

TRICK #4 – Cry for Help. As a new mum I battled with this one. Laden with my own angst and own  personal evolution, it was not easy for me to let others in. I was determined to figure it out on my own. That has its pros and cons. As the years progressed I have learnt that I enjoy more success as a mum, wife, employee and all the other roly-poly hats I wear, by relying on the strength of others, and being willing to learn from them. Ask for help and ask for it often.

TRICK #5 – Love yourself. A happy mum makes for a happy baby. No, this is not a modern mantra that seems to be the buzz these days. It is a tried and tested truth. Take care of yourself. Get some air, go for a walk. Yes, money is tight when children come, so some luxuries do get set aside for a while, but find those things that feed your soul. And do them. This is where Trick #4 comes in handy. Find 1-3 people that you can develop trust with and engage as your support system. This is not only sensical, it is essential to your sanity, and sense of well-being. Even if they watch baby, while you take a long soak in the tub – precious time to tend to your needs will ensure you maintain your role as a woman whilst enjoying this time as a mum.

TRICK #6 – Think in the box. OK, the personal coaches and motivation guru’s who would have us think outside the box, would probably  hunt me down for killing future sales, but this is my top  tip. In trying to divide yourself between being a mum, a wife, a worker out of the home etc etc,  don’t run the risk of trying to be everything to everyone at all times. Compartmentalize and live in each box. Think in the moment – when you are at work, be at work. When you leave work, go home. When you are at home, be at home. Boxes are useful. Use them.

And finally, for my last trick…..any mum who has been on the Disney circuit in the last 5 years or so can probably sing most of the tracks off the top of their head. Well, for my years as a mum, my current theme-track and personal philosophy has to be based on those two sisters, in the frozen snow belting out something about letting it go…..

No, not your looks. Not your house.

But unrealistic expectations. Impossible grandeurs of perfection. Compulsive desires to get it all done – those need to go.

Children are our greatest teachers and for myself, 3 of them have refined so many of my rough edges.

I’ve learned to embrace imperfection, to walk alongside weakness and find myself in the glorious mess of home.

Relax, breathe and don’t forget to enjoy this marvelous ride to Motherhood. Soon they will be all grown up – it happens right before your eyes. Soon they will leave the nest. Your wallet will be full but your hands empty and the hallways a little quieter. So while they are ours to hold and to love, let us do so tightly, often and madly.

Yep, that’s it folks! Don’t you wish there was more?! Anyways, I personally love the message of Trick 5 (You know, a happy mum makes a happy baby!!). Catch up with Ellen at the following links:

Musings by EllenWeb: https://estherellen40.wordpress.com
Facebook: @MusingsByEllen

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Simone Gobin is a 24 year old, it graduate, wife to Avi and mother to Yash & Ralee Gobin. She spends her days being a mother and a wife. She has decided to start a blog as a creative outlet as well as connect with other parents. Her belief is that there is a lot to learn from other parents out there and she welcomes all advice possible.


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