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Mamma Musings

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.

 

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

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.

Mamma Musings

How to Perfect a Home Renovation

 

They key to any successful project lies in the preparation and the planning. So before you get your hands dirty and bring out the hammer and chisel, come up with a plan.

Preparation Is Key

  • What is the goal?

ehardwareTo save yourself and everyone around you stress and headache, try and make all of the decisions before the work begins. Know what you want before you start breaking down walls. This does not only apply to the bigger questions like which rooms will be renovated. Even the smallest of things should be considered beforehand, such as which paint colour, door knobs, and faucets to choose.

  • Have a Plan B

No matter how well you plan ahead, there is always the possibility that something can go wrong. So find out what to expect during the renovation and have a backup plan ready. Good builders and contractors know what kind of problems could possibly come up on the job and how to deal with them without causing delays.

  • What is your budget?

The last thing you want to happen is to end up with no money mid-way through your project and realise you can’t continue with the renovation. So before you start, draw up a budget detailing what kind of costs you can expect.
How expensive are the materials? Find out whether there are more affordable products you can opt for. While a crystal door handle might look the part on the Downton Abbey set, it might be wiser for you to think about cheap door furniture made out of stainless steel or glass instead of crystal.

Professionals vs DIY – Know When

While you might consider yourself a pro, it’s advisable to come to terms with your abilities and your limitations.ehardware2

Chances are, you won’t have the answers to everything. Luckily, there are many ways to inform and educate yourself. Not sure which door furniture and bathroom accessories to go for? Be it YouTube tutorials or online DIY guides – you’re never far away from help. And for those who prefer a more personal touch in the form of customer service, most hardware stores, for instance, also offer free and expert advice on all renovation-related questions.

Once you have established what you have to do and how to do it, don’t try to do it all by yourself. Confidence and ambition are qualities that are commendable. In this instance, however, it might be wiser to pass the torch, or rather the screwdriver, on to someone who knows a bit more about plumbing and electrical jobs than you. So don’t shy away from calling in the professionals to take care of the big stuff.

Work with What You Have

Blowing up our budget is, unsurprisingly, easier said than done, and the simplest way to achieve that is by being unrealistically over-ambitious.

If you are thinking of moving your sink or your toilet, for example, stop. Introducing a new plumbing system into your home will almost always be the number one reason for your budget, your stress level, and your blood pressure to skyrocket. Renovate, don’t rebuild!

Resist the Temptation

There is no doubt that you want your home to look all nice and flashy after a tedious and expensive renovation. After all, you spent so much money on new fixtures, fittings, and furniture, you naturally want the end-result to look the part.  ehardware3
The one way you should not go about achieving this, though, is by going for hip and trendy furniture options. Stay away from impulse purchases and buying the “coolest” items. Rather, opt for fixtures that will stand the test of time. After all, the last thing you want is to wake up in a month or two, look at your house, and feel like Justin Timberlake when he sees his hairstyle choices from his NSYNC days. #SayNoToBuyersRemorse

 

Note: This is a collaberative post, pic credit Pixabay

Mamma Musings

A Definitive Guide To Pregnancy: What To Expect And How To Cope

Pregnancy is a feat of nature. It can be a wonderful experience, but it can also be exhausting, stressful, and scary. One minute, you may bask in the bliss of feeling your baby wriggling around. The next, you may wonder how on earth you’re going to survive another few weeks or put up with any more mood swings, cravings, or morning sickness. If you’ve recently found out that you’re pregnant, here are some tips to help you prepare for the months ahead.

What to expect: scans and tests

 pregnancyWhen you find out you’re pregnant, you’ll probably have to wait a few weeks to see your baby on the big screen. Most women have their first ultrasound scan at around 12 weeks. At this stage, the technician will be able to show you the body parts and check everything is developing as expected.

At around 20 weeks, you’ll have a more detailed scan, and you can usually find out the gender of the baby. Some couples can’t wait to see if their bundle is a little boy or girl while others prefer to leave it as a surprise. In some cases, it may not be possible to determine the sex. This may happen if the baby is in an awkward position. You could always book another scan if you’re desperate to find out. The sex of the baby comes down to its genetic makeup and whether it has XX or XY chromosomes. You may have tried to work out the gender using a Chinese gender chart. But in reality, much evidence suggests there’s very little you can do to influence the sex of the baby. Many women have no further scans unless there are hiccups along the way. If you do experience bleeding, or you notice that your baby has become less active, seek advice from your midwife. Don’t hesitate to get help if you feel like something’s not right. You know your body, and it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

 

Coping with pregnancy symptoms

Pregnancy affects women in different ways. Some enjoy an incredible pregnancy while others have a really tough time. pregnancy2Symptoms vary, but usually include morning sickness, bloating, mood swings during the early stages. As your baby grows, you may find that you experience more physical symptoms. You’ll gain weight, you may retain more fluid than usual, and your back and breasts may feel sore. Hormonal changes can make you more emotional than normal. Try and take things easy and avoid stressful situations. Eat well, try and get enough sleep, and stay active. Exercises like swimming and yoga are relaxing, and they provide benefits for your physical health. At times, pregnancy can be overwhelming. Don’t suffer in silence if you’re struggling. Share your worries or feelings with your partner or a close friend. Ask your midwife if you have any concerns, and look after yourself.

 

Pregnancy is a unique experience. Every woman’s journey is different. Hopefully, this guide will give you an insight into what to expect and some helpful tips to make life easier. Try and stay calm and relaxed, focus on yourself and your baby, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Take Care

~Mamma F

 

Mamma Musings

Keeping kids occupied during the summer months

With the kids summer holidays fast approaching, and every parent knows what to expect over those weeks. Two words will likely penetrate your ears more than any others over the next few months: I’m bored!!!

bored

Even with planned holidays, day trips to the likes of the zoo and other local attractions booked those 2 words will still be inevitably uttered at some stage over the summer holidays.  Don’t fear; these simple tricks will help keep your little ones entertained in a pocket friendly way. Win -win for parents and kids alike.

The Great Outdoors

My boys, like many kids love being outside, between being out the back of our own house, the park, the playgrounds and the beautiful Liffey walk way on our door. We get out and about as much as we can.  The kids get exercise, fresh air and generally play together and more times than not there are plenty other kids out and about and they play together.  Kids have brilliant imaginations and can happily play for hours with other kids they only just met.  I find even by getting out and about together with the boys it really does helps encourage that  sibling bond.

Keep Technology Cheap

siblingsWhile as parents we do try to keep screen time to a minimum, most of the older children I know do love their modern tech gadgets. As long as it’s in moderation, there’s nothing wrong with them spending some time in front of those screens (just not all day!). However, you don’t want it to end up costing you a fortune.  While my boys are still much too young to have a real interest in particular games, I spoke with my Aunt informed my with the Euro’s about to commence FIFA is the game of the moment! Im not going to pretend I know anything about games however she did give me a good tip that rather than forking out huge sums for a new game, you could simply enhance the ones they have, for example in relation to FIFA you can  buy FIFA 16 Ultimate Team Game Coins.  She says it really does save quite a lot.

As you know im a Netflix StreamTeam member and can definitely recommend Netflix for both adults and kids.  The great thing is you get a free 30-day trial so might be worth contemplating for one of the summer months. Currently writing my May Netflix picks so check back soon for some recommendations for both adults and kids.

Make Money

It’s never too early to teach kids the value of money. So this summer, why not implement those lessons by helping them earn some cash? We did this regularly over the summers as kids. My little sister still hasn’t let me forget selling an East17 poster behind her back!! Please tell me we werent the only ones to do this. (below pic is from google but you get the idea!)yard sale

Im sure our house is not alone in the amount of junk we gather over the years and as the saying goes “one man’s junk is another man’s treasure”. Selling some of this at a garage sale can help earn money to be invested in the new items they want. Alternatively, you could bake and sell cakes. Whatever you do, it should remain fun. Nevertheless, this is a great opportunity to save money while educating the kids too.