Browsing Category

Mamma Musings

Mamma Musings

Kids Afraid Of Flying? Try These Tips!

When it comes to holiday time, and you want to travel abroad, the chances are that you will need to take a plane. The trouble is, many children – perhaps including your own – have an entirely rational fear of boarding a plane, flying thousands of feet up in the air, and landing on a hard surface at tremendous speeds.

Let’s be honest – can you blame them? Flying is an entirely unnatural thing for a human being to do, and even though most of us have flown dozens – maybe hundreds – of times, it can be easy to forget what a scary experience it might be. If your child suffers from anxiety about getting on a plane, read on. These tips might help – and maybe even help you calm your flying nerves, too.

 

Talk about it

Most children are afraid of the great unknown – it’s only natural. So the more you can introduce them to the concept of planes and flying, the better. Discuss planes, and point them out on the TV whenever you see them. Pick up a custom model aircraft or two and build them with your kids, helping them learn what all the different parts are called. And have a look around for any science museums in your local area that might have planes in them – perhaps one that you could go into the cockpit, for example.

Sounds and feelings

Part of the big issue with flying is that the noise and roar of the engines can be incredibly scary for young ears. It’s a good idea to get them familiar with the sort of sounds a plane makes, so try to get them making the whooshing and roaring while playing. Car washes are another good option – the noises the brushes and engines make are quite similar to a plane, and although scary a first for your child can often be a good starting point.

Tell the airline

Airlines tend to be pretty good with fearful children. They might offer your kids a chance to go and look at the cockpit and meet the captain or copilot, which can be incredibly reassuring. The stewarding team will also help your kids by giving them sweets – perfect for when the air pressure starts to affect their ears.

Bring entertainment

The more you can distract your kids, the less fearful they will be – it’s as simple as that. In-flight entertainment helps for longer flights, but for short hops bring along plenty of games and colouring in books to keep them busy, too. And snacks actually – all the snacks!!! 

Note: This is a collaborative post with Pic credit  – Pexels

 

 

Mamma Musings

Off the Scales Tips for Keeping Fish with Kids

A child’s first pet is an exciting thing. For some, it’s a puppy or kitten, but for others, it’s something a little more manageable. Fish can be an excellent choice for a first pet because they don’t require as much dedication as other, larger animals. While they can still require daily attention, they don’t need walking or playing with several times a day. Looking after fish can be a great way to teach your kids responsibility and empathy. However, there are some things you need to think about before you decide if you should get fish.

Deciding If Fish Are the Right Choice

People often think of fish as being an easy option when it comes to pets, but they aren’t necessarily as easy to care for as you might think. For one thing, it depends on the species of fish. Many fish are much more high maintenance than others and can be more expensive to keep. Plus, just because fish are small and often live in a tank, it doesn’t mean they don’t come with some of the same responsibilities as other pets. You’ll still need someone to feed them while you’re on holiday, and you still need to keep them clean and fed. You also need the space to keep them.

Keeping Fish Outdoors

While keeping fish in a tank or aquarium is one option, another possibility is having fish outside. It’s a fun choice if you already have a garden pond or you’ve been thinking of having one. It gives you the option to have much bigger fish, but you need to make sure they have enough space. If you want to keep something like koi carp, you need to make sure your pond is suitable. You’ll need to get a pond filter from Swell or a similar brand, or perhaps carefully choose the plants you put into the pond. Safety is essential to think about too. You need to cover your pond if you have kids.

Giving the Kids Responsibilities

Fish will help your kids to learn how to take care of their responsibilities. There are some tasks they should do regularly, but that don’t require too much effort. Feeding the fish should be simple, although watching how much they’re fed might be necessary. If the tank gets cloudy, you could be overfeeding them. Having something the kids can use to measure out the right amount of food can be useful. Children can also help with other tasks, like cleaning the tank.

Things You’ll Need to Do

If you’re going to get fish, you have to be prepared to do some work too. Some tasks are a bit much for kids to handle on their own. You will probably need to help with things like cleaning out the tank or pond, and it might be completely up to you with some setups. If you decide to keep tropical or marine fish, they can be a bit more work, and there are some jobs like testing the water that kids can’t do. And, of course, you’ll be responsible for paying for everything.

Keeping fish is one way of getting kids interested in animals and teaching them responsibility. However, make sure that getting them is the right choice.

 

#Note this is a collaborative post

Mamma Musings

Fixing Up the Family Home: Never-Ending Headache or a Fantastic Opportunity?

How far should you go when fixing up your home? Should you just get the basics done and leave it at that? Or should you take a more long-term approach and try to add as much value to your home as possible? These are questions most homeowners ask themselves, and there are arguments to be made for each of the options open to you.

If you let your home improvement plans drag on for too long, it can become a never-ending headache. But it can also be seen as a big opportunity, so you need to weigh up your options carefully. Let the information below help you out as you decide how to approach your home improvement plans.

 

There is Always Room for Improvement

The fact of the matter is, there’s always room for improvement. No matter how great your home is, there will always be things that you can or even will want to improve. This can be a good thing and a bad thing, though. On the one hand, it means that there will always be new ways in which you can add value to your home and make it more appealing to future buyers. On the other hand, it might mean that you keep doing more and more, and the task eventually overwhelms you. You don’t want to spend all your time and money on home upgrades.

Your Home Should be Unique to You

On a basic level, you want your home to be unique to you. No one wants to live in a dull drab home that they don’t feel suits them and their personal preferences. And that’s the main reason why people spend money on improving their home. If this is the mentality that you’re bringing to the table, you will probably not be thinking about the value that can be added to the home or what future buyers might want. This applies to the vast majority of people who fix up their homes and make changes.

 

However, a Unique Style Might Put Off Future Buyers

On the other hand, making your home unique to you can be risky. When you create a home design that is specific to your own preferences, you could put off other people. You might be wondering why this matters. You don’t want to sell your home, so why does it matter what other people think of it? Well, you might not want to sell your home now, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t want to at some point in the future. When that time comes, you don’t want people to be put off by design choices that are a little out of the box.

It’s Going to Cost You Money

If you want to make changes to your home, you’re going to have to spend money on it. This is just the way it is, and you should try to make sure that you improve your home in an affordable way. Remember, if you can make positive changes, the value of the home will rise. But that will be less useful if you spend so much money on upgrades that end up taking out high risk personal loans or dipping into your savings a lot. Just try to do it in a sustainable way, and a way that works for you.

But Your Investment Might Pay Off

The investment you make in your home might pay off if you make the right decisions and do the right things. This will help you to get the most from your home when it comes to selling because you will have made the most of your asset. You should definitely try to make sure that the upgrades you make to the home are all things that add overall value to your property. Not all changes you can make allow that, but many do. Think about what matters to real estate agents and buyers.

Some Homes Have More Room for Value Growth Than Others

It’s also important to point out that all homes are different, and that means that the room for growth differs depending on your property. If your property is currently valued lower than the market average for similar properties in your area, that suggests that there is plenty of potential for value growth. So, if you then decided to make big changes to your home and improve it in a variety of ways, you could find that the value of the home increases quite dramatically. But if your home is already one the most expensive around, even big changes might not push the value up by much.

 

Mamma Musings

Make Your Home Safer and Healthy For the Tiny Humans In Your Home

One thing that you learn when becoming a parent is just how much your home is a potential accident waiting to happen. Things you wouldn’t have even thought of before having children can now be the biggest thing ever and can be a real problem when raising some tiny humans. The reality of them being able to pull something over on themselves or fall off things can be very real. Especially as they grow and can suddenly reach things that they couldn’t before. So what are some things to look out for to make sure that your home is a safe and healthy place for them to be? Here are a few of my thoughts.

Door Locks and Latches

There are so many things that you wouldn’t have thought were a problem around the home pre-children. A lock on the fridge might have just been something that you joked about to keep you from snacking. But with kids, it can be a reality. They could get their fingers trapped if they manage to open it, and worse, could get themselves stuck in there if you have a large American style fridge-freezer. The same goes for securing away cleaning products. Things like laundry tabs or dishwasher tablets can look like sweets to a toddler, so they need to be kept out of reach (and out of sight).

Keep Pests Under Control

They say that we are never too far away from a mouse or a rat, especially if you live in a city. So we need to think about this kind of thing with children too. If pests around the home aren’t kept under control, then it can be bad for our children’s health. They test out a lot of things with their mouth, so if there are droppings around the house, then it can be quite dangerous. So looking into something like Terminix and keeping the house cleaned regularly are the best ideas. Then you can have some peace of mind that your home is more safe and healthy, at least.

 

Wires and Cords

If you have things like window blinds, then before children, you might have just left the cord for them dangling down. But this can be rather dangerous for children. If you haven’t already, then get some ties for them, to wind them up when they are pulled down to their longest length. Babies, and toddlers especially, can get themselves into all sorts of spaces when they are on the move, so it is better to be safe than sorry.

Secure Furniture

There was a video going around on social media not too long ago about twins in a room, and they were climbing up a bookshelf that then fell on one of them. This can easily be a reality in the home. You can’t just get rid of all of your furniture. But you can make it safer by securing it to the wall, for example. It takes a couple of minutes but can mean a much safer environment for your little ones to be on, especially if it is in their room.

 

 

Note: This is a collaborative post
Mamma Musings

International Woman’s Day 2017

So yes we have our own day. A day to celebrate woman rights. But we shouldn’t have to have a day.

Gender equality and inclusion should be a given, not something we need to fight for.  As some of you already know, as well as being a mother and blogger, I work full time as an accountant.  The issue of gender equality is a hot topic around boardroom tables.  I have seen a marked improvement in efforts made by corporates to close the gender gap, however I am under no illusion……. there is still a long way and in some case a very very long way to go.

There have been lots of studies conducted in this area. One very recent one was by Content marketing agency Axonn Media who surveyed 108 parents on their working life and found that being a mum still presents greater professional challenges than being a Dad, even in 2017.

Research from its Gender in Marketing 2017 report reveals that 62% of Mums said that parenthood hampered their career, compared to just to 24% of Dads.

However, despite the obstacles working mums face, parents on both sides of the gender divide have challenges to overcome.

The top 3 complicating work factors for working parents are traveling and meetings (55%), working hours (48%) and lack of flexibility (34%) from their employer. I can see the lack of flexibility issues as being a key topic for discussion these days.  With significant technology advances working from home is so much easier, logging on from home, dialing into calls, emails at your fingertips.  Your precise working location is being much less significant. In fact I know of some companies who actually promote a day a week at home due to office space constraints.

It does seem however that companies are failing to capitalise on flexibility despite parents valuing it more than ever before when it comes to approaching their work. For me in any work contract negotiations it would be one of the items top of the agenda.

Another interesting finding of the study is the differences between men and women when asked “Which aspects of working life are the most important”. What I thought interesting was the breakdown of why  men and women said they work! Salary topped the list for men while doing something they love topped the list for women. See top 5 opposite. For me personally id agree with findings, for me enjoying what I do is key, getting paid well is a bonus. Lets face it if you leave your kids behind for 8-9 hours a day you want to me doing something you love.  I’d find it very hard to leave them all week and hate the job also.

 

So as we celebrate International Womans Day I am grateful for the advances made in closing the gender gap, I am optimistic for the future that this will continue albeit slowly.

I am humbled and proud of the hundreds of thousands of women who marched in Dublin today to #strike4repeal.

As Eleanor Roosevelt so eloquently said: “A woman is like a tea bag – you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water”.

Take Care

~Mamma F

 

 

 

 

Mamma Musings

Its what I wish for…..

This post was prompted by a discussion on a parenting discussion board, when somebody asked what is that we want for our kids.  For me the answer was easy the doing not so much.

Just over a year ago our family lost an incredible person – Granda by name but so much more in reality. I’m the oldest grandchild – he was my best friend, my confidant, the person I asked for advice, the person I trusted unquestionably, the person I loved more than I express in words.  In some ways I was incredibly lucky to have had him for 34 years, but on the flip side having had him so long meant the good bye was incredibly painful and a pain this still strikes me out of the blue on the bus to work, doing the shopping often when I least expect it.  We had an unbreakable bond.

At 88 healthy years old, he knew his time was up and in his own words he was ready to go. He told me not to be sad that he was ready to go because he lived his life, he saw the world, he had a family who loved him, he was happy.

He used to brag about seeing every country in the world during his navy days, something many of us can only aspire to have done. He had many different jobs, he loved his family and everybody who knew him knew just how much. He loved life, he really did. I was sent a poem the evening he passed away entitled “Miss me but let me go”, the words were exactly what he would have said to me.  I have a chain engraved with these words and his initials, it means the world to me.

From that day I have vowed for mine and my boys sake to live our lives.   Sometimes that means just ignoring the pile of washing on the floor while I play with the boys, saying no to that work event, giving the kids the requested fish fingers and waffles rather than stressing about their greens. It means being present, ignoring my phone, the work emails, the calls when its our time in the evening after work.  Its easy to get caught up in the cycle of work and bills etc.  That’s always going to be there but its how I deal with it thats changed.

Its all about perspective and I can honestly say I have a lot more of that now.  So in honour of a great man, what I really wish for  my kids is that they too can say they lived their lives. Life is after all for living.

 

Mamma Musings

Uniforms – do you love or loath them?

My friends give me a hard time about this, I most definitely have a uniform.  I spend 37.5 hours a week (and sometimes more!) in an large corporate office for my work as an accountant so day to day I usually wear some combination of suit, smart trousers top or skirt/ top/ jacket combo. This has spilled into my personal life and I more often than not find myself reaching for the work trousers or work tops when going places. I am drawn to these types of clothes spending so much of my time in an office no doubt has done this!

Interestingly I went to both primary and secondary school in uniform wearing schools and I am sending the boys to a uniform wearing school.  I know not everybody does but I like uniforms in school. I like the way the kids are dressed the same, there is no pressure on kids to be in branded gear, there is no pressure to be in different clothes every day, it promotes a more equal social environment in my view anyway.

The Research

I was sent an info graphic by 4imprint which contains some interesting statistics on wearing a uniform see opposite for more information and findings.

I did have a little chuckle about red colour in uniforms reducing performance.  My secondary school uniform had an all red tracksuit for P.E but blue school jerseys for hockey and soccer, obviously this was the main contributing factor to my less than brilliant PE performance over the years!!

Having been a uniform wearer I would definitely subscribe to the claim that it helps contribute to a sense of community and shared values, in some ways it reinforces why we were all there – while we all may have wanted different things at the end, we shared a journey to get to our own goals.

Quite interestingly is the very last part of the inforgraphic which shows how the colour of uniforms affects perceptions. In reality what this shows to me is how social norms have developed over time as they were the colours historically used by certain professions. For example if the police arrived at the scene of a crime a pale pink uniform it would create quite the stir. We expect them in blue, same as we expect the consultant in white coat. Some interesting findings above and it reinforces my own positive view on the use of uniforms in schools.  Our kids wear what their school tells them. In time, a few of us will have jobs that require certain clothes while some wear printed t-shirts as a uniform.

Do you have a subconscious uniform like me? Do you favour the schools with uniforms or are you the total opposite like the individuality the non uniform displays?

Would love to hear your thought.

Take Care

~Mamma F

Note: This is a collaborative post

 

 

 

Mamma Musings

One year later -our second house move

I have discussed this on the blog before, we took on a mammoth house renovation over a year ago, exaig1tending up, out and total remodelling inside. Well a year later we are getting there and getting ever close to the home I imagined over a year ago when I sometimes doubted I could turn around the time warped 70s house we had just bought. The location and price were perfect, the house itself not so much.  My husband who works in construction had a lot of coaxing to do to help me see his vision for what the house could become.  I can finally report, we are getting there, the house we bought all those months ago I can happily say has turned into a home for our little family.

I was asked to get involved in a campaign with AIG who had produced a really helpful infographic which I have reproduced below.  Buying a house is a major purchase, probably the biggest one we will make in our lives so its important to be well researched and well informed when contemplating such a major purchase.

Having been through this twice, one of the best pieces of advice I can give is to do your homework, ask friends and family for recommendations for solicitors and surveyors.  I can’t stress enough how important it is to get a comprehensive survey done on the property saves a nasty surprise after the event. Also example, did you know at the time of buying your first home that lenders require you and your partners to not only have life insurance but home insurance too? Research the area, consider schools, catchment area, distance from your work etc.  Its a major purchase so take your time to consider your option.  aig2

Although buying your first home might seem like a complicated process, which can take months or even years to get in shape to apply for one, AIG Irelands this 16 step guide to buying a house in Ireland that takes you through the steps you will have to take to get through the process should give you a good sense of what you need to get the process under control and as smoothly as is possible.

aig3It is no doubt a stressful time but its also the most wonderful feeling the day your pick up those keys.  I will never forget our first night here – we had no working oven and ended up bbq-ing out the back for dinner (in October!!). Im sure the neighbours wondered who this crazy family were moving it!

One year on I can honestly, its all so worth it, the late nights painting, the weekends spent looking at furniture and kitchen and the one or two arguments discussions along the way!!

 

 

Take Care

Mamma F

Note: This is a collaborative post.

 

 

Mamma Musings

Raising Healthy, Happy Kids: Essential Tips For Parents

Every parent dreams of raising healthy, happy kids. Sometimes, it’s impossible to prevent illness, but there are steps you can take to promote good health and wellbeing. Here are some essential tips for parents to take on board. 

Health checks and immunisationshappychild

Children have underdeveloped immune systems. This is why immunisations and regular health checks  are so important. Take care to keep up to date with appointments. Keep a calendar or diary to hand so that you can jot down dates and times. If you’re unsure about immunisations, don’t hesitate to ask your doctor or practice nurse for more information. It’s understandable to have questions, especially if you’re a first-time parent. 

Healthy eating

We all know that getting kids to eat healthy food can be a struggle. kidshealthyBut persist, and don’t give up. It’s really important to provide your children with nutritious food to boost their immunity. Try and introduce them to fruit and vegetables from an early age. Be creative and try and make meals look visually appealing. Check out sites like Pinterest for ideas. You can create stick men made from celery, raisins and carrots, for example. It’s also a good idea to hide vegetables in soups, pasta sauces and casseroles.

Exercise

Many kids love to run around and burn off steam. But we live in an age when children live a more sedentary lifestyle than ever before. Try and combine indoor activities with playing in the garden or going for walks. Kids can also learn a lot from joining local teams or getting involved with activities such as gymnastics or swimming classes. If your children would rather watch TV or play computer games, limit the time they spend in front of a screen. Make exercise fun by trying new games, getting friends and family involved and enjoying a change of scenery.

Use your intuition

As a parent, you’ll often know there’s something not quite right long before test results come through. If you feel like there’s something wrong, trust your intuition. All kids get coughs and colds. But if you think your child may have a more serious illness, seek advice. Your family doctor may be your first of call for minor illnesses. But if you suspect there is a serious problem, don’t hesitate to call for urgent help. If there is a problem, early intervention is often the best course of action, according to experts. Dr Jill Orford is a paediatric surgeon who provides treatment for babies, toddlers, and older children. Your child may be referred to a specialist if they require further tests or treatment. If you have any questions at all, your child’s specialist surgeon will be happy to help.

 

No parent wants to think about their child suffering from illness. But, sadly, this is part and parcel of parenting. Take these tips on board to try and boost your children’s health and wellbeing and reduce the risk of illness and infections. It’s normal for children to be poorly now and again, but if you’re worried, don’t be afraid to seek urgent help. You know your children best, and sometimes, your intuition can be incredibly valuable.

 

Mamma Musings

Banish Sleepless Nights in Your House with These Tips

Do you feel like your family is awake all the time? If the kids aren’t refusing to go to bed, then you’re lying in bed, unable to sleep. Trouble sleeping or even refusing to go to bed isn’t just for children. Adults can find themselves struggling to sleep or perhaps not wanting to go to bed because they dread getting up the next day. Perhaps you’re not getting enough sleep because you have so much to do and end up staying awake too late. If your house has big sleep problems, it’s never too late to fix it. Try some of these solutions if anyone is having trouble sleeping.

Sleep_woman

In the summer months, it’s often the heat that stops people from sleeping. It can be difficult to relax when you’re hot and flustered. The first thing you should do is ensure that everyone has the right bedding. Cool cotton sheets will help to keep everyone cool, and you don’t need a duvet. However, even when it’s hot, many people like to have something light covering them. Don’t forget to consider pyjamas too. Either light PJs or none at all will be much more comfortable. Opening the windows to let air flow if there is a breeze can help, but air conditioning or fans might be preferable.

Blocking Out Noise

Many people are sensitive to noise when they’re trying to sleep. It can be especially difficult when you move house or perhaps sleep in a hotel. You might be used to the noises you had before, but unfamiliar ones are more noticeable. One of the best ways to block out any sounds is to use a white noise machine. A sleep machine is excellent for both adults and children, including babies. It can be very soothing and help you drop off to sleep. However, other people might not like it and prefer the natural noises around them.

Light Levels

Light can also have an effect on how well you can sleep. Some people like it to be pitch black, while others need a little bit of light. Many children want to have a night light or perhaps some light coming in from the hallway. It can be frightening if it’s too dark but might be hard to sleep if it’s too light. For most people, a little bit of light helps to create the perfect conditions, without keeping them awake.

Bedtime Routine

Bedtime routines can affect sleep for children and adults. Winding down before bed is important for everyone. newborn-220142_960_720Your kids will find it hard to fall asleep if they go straight from running around to getting into bed. You could find the same if you switch quickly between doing your bills to going to sleep. Make sure the whole family gets a chance to relax before it’s time for bed, whether that means a bath and a story or a glass of wine and a romance novel.

Don’t let your house be disturbed by sleepless nights. Whether it’s adults or babies struggling to sleep, you can find a solution.