Tuesday, 18 October 2016

How to Establish a Bed Time Routine for Baby

The best time of the day has arrived! It's finally bed time. You're exhausted, I know, and all you want is for baby to go to sleep peacefully, without a fuss, without crying, and then to stay asleep for as long as possible.

Does baby know that it's bed time too? By developing a routine that you implement each night your baby will begin to recognize that the day is winding down and it's soon time for bed. 

My own children love a schedule. They take comfort in the familiar and knowing what is going to happen next. Sometimes it's a battle to get the process started, but once we kick off the first step of our routine, they start to relax.  As babies, our children followed the following basic routine: 

1. Warm Bath: we don't necessarily use soap or wash their hair each night, but warm water is soothing and helps make babies sleepy;

2. Boob or bottle: Immediately following their bath and putting on their onesies, we rocked them in a chair with milk;

4. Song or book: we sang them lullabies while they drank their milk and we always finished with the same familiar song. Reading a story, even the same story every night, works well too;

5. Change diaper;

6. Swaddle or sleepsack, or however else you ready baby for bed;

7. Bed.

[A tip that has worked for us: Past the newborn stage, my children were awake when I put them into bed. We never rocked them to sleep and they therefore learned how to put themselves to sleep early on.]

Knowing the routine prepares baby for bed so that he is less resistant to it. Routines need not be time consuming and can be adapted to suit your style. For example, taking your child for a walk before bed as the first part of a routine so that he can benefit from fresh air is a great idea, but may be exhausting for you. Giving a bath every night may also be exhausting. The most important thing is consistency. So choose a routine that you will stick to, try to start it at the same time each night and perform it in the same order each time. 

Other bedtime routine ideas:
Wash baby's face, baby massage, talk quietly about what she experienced that day, say goodnight to all objects in the room and outside, play music.

Feel free to comment below with bedtime routines that have worked for you and which you would like to share with other parents.

Happy sleeping! ZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Regaining Your Sense of Self-Worth After a Bad Breakup

Not all breakups are bad. Many times breakups can leave you feeling liberated, even happy. But when a particularly hard breakup does occur, it can leave you shattered.

In my lifetime, I have experienced only one breakup which left me feeling broken. I knew the relationship had to end, that continuing on in our two year relationship was not only pointless, but unhealthy. Instead of bringing each other up, as a couple should, we brought out the worst in each other. That, and there was no sex for the last six months (that's a quarter of the relationship! - but that's another story). I felt like I was dating a friend, and one whom no matter how hard he tried, could no longer make me happy.

It was very hard to get out of the relationship. I was 22, living with him in his nice house. I had grown to love his dog and he bought a second dog during our relationship which I considered mine as well. He had been very needy and unsupportive of my friendships and as a result I had neglected many friends throughout the course of our relationship in order to spend time only with him. He was seemingly accomplished in life at the age of 27 and exuded an air of competence. I became dependent and reliant on him for all things, even the smallest of things, and completely lost my feeling of self-reliance. I felt clumsy, inadequate and very nervous to break things off and have no one to turn to for everything that I was used to him taking care of.

But, alas, the relationship ended and I was forced to leave. I left his cozy house, I left our two dogs (something which saddened me to no end but I had no claim to them as he had purchased them), and I left the man that at one point, I thought I might marry.

The end of the relationship was really telling. It immediately became clear to me that this man, whom I had given up a lot for, never really truly cared for me. He wanted absolutely nothing to do with me any longer. He moved on a week later with another girl and that was that. The idea that I was so unimportant left me feeling devastated.

I immediately became depressed. All my pride or ego which existed at the time of the breakup was shot down. I felt ALONE. I felt UGLY. I (irrationally) rationalized that the fact that the one person who I thought knew everything about me could so easily dismiss me and reject me like I was nothing to him meant that I must not be special, not be attractive, not be worth fighting for. I felt worthless.

Looking back (now that it's 10 years later and I am very happily married with two children), it seems foolish and childish and ridiculous that I took it to such an extreme. But my emotional response at the time was REAL.

After about a month or so I began to pull myself together, and the feeling of sadness and desperation turned into anger, and the anger turned into empowerment and empowerment turned into healing (kind of like the progression of Beyonce's Lemonade album). A took positive actions and used positive thinking to get through a hard time, and it worked well for me.

The following is a list of tips and tricks that should help you get over a bad breakup:


1. Give yourself time to be sad over the relationship. Cry a lot and get everything out. Watch sappy movies and listen to sappy songs. Think about it, question it, and let out your emotions.

2. Talk to your friends and family about it.

3. Spend a lot of time with people who you love who have your back. Family and good friends will build you back up.

4. Try not to spend too much time alone. Keep busy. Go to the gym, join an art class, do what you need to to prevent yourself from spending too much time in bed, mulling.

5. Dote on yourself. Go to the spa, buy a hot outfit, buy new makeup, work out. People feel better when they feel attractive. It has a direct connection to self-esteem.

6. Write. Keep a journal, write poems, write letters to your ex that you'll never send (writing out Taylor Swift's lyrics for "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" can't hurt either).

7. Start to introduce comedy into your life. Watch really funny movies or go to a comedy show. (I remember watching Borat on dvd around the time of my breakup and laughing out loud for the first time in weeks).

8. Dance around your room. Yes. Put on some music, and dance. It must release some hormonal chemical or another because it feels like therapy.

9. Get back into the dating scene ASAP. Unless you want to take time to figure yourself out first, the physical component of moving on is important.

10. Pour yourself into something creative (writing, art, music, etc.), to release your emotions in a healthy way.

11. Give yourself time. Time heals.

12. Get involved with charitable work. It is easy to get wrapped up in yourself, lost in your own turmoil. Helping others who need it will put things back in perspective.


1. Don't contact your ex. If the relationship is really over then it's over. If it was a bad breakup then you both need a long (or permanent) time away from one another.

2. Don't check your ex out on social media. In fact, delete your ex from all social media accounts. You're dealing with enough pain already, you don't need additional reminders of it all day every day.

3. Don't go on the rebound prowl. By rebound, I mean hooking up with people who are simply there to temporarily fill your emotional void. You won't feel better, and in fact you may feel worse.

4. Worry. While you may need to go through many emotional stages until you are healed from a bad breakup, don't ever stress about your future. Your future happiness is defined by you and not any silly ex.

Remember, you can talk yourself into anything and just as equally, you can talk yourself out of anything. Be your biggest supporter. Build yourself back up. Say nice things to yourself. Be a good friend to yourself. Only you define your self-worth.

Choosing A Baby Name: Names for Success And Most Popular Baby Names

Choosing a baby name is usually a highly prioritized item on the baby planning agenda. Parents spend a great deal of time nowadays pouring over baby name books and baby name websites, trying out sounds, seeking out meanings, hopeful that the right name will bounce right off the page, clear and obvious, as if it was meant for their child all along, as if it was fate.

Is a name a random characteristic of a person or does it affect a person's destiny? William Shakespeare so famously said, "What's in a name? that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." Did Shakespeare have a point or can a name influence a person's life? It has been suggested that the perception of oneself and the perception of others' based on a person's name may affect the way one carries themselves through life and the way that person is treated.

With that in mind, I have compiled a list of the most common boys and girls names of successful people:

Boys                           Girls
1. Steven                    1. Jacqueline
2. Ross                       2. Morgan
3. Christopher             3. Elizabeth
4. James                     4. Katherine
5. Robert                    5. Victoria  
If you're looking for today's most popular baby names, you'll find that the trend is a shift away from highly original and unique names towards more classic names.

The following is a list of today's top 10 most popular baby names for boys and girls, including their origins. These names have earned their top positions as they have withstood the test of time. 

Baby Name Origin
1. Noah (unisex)  Hebrew (Biblical) - Noah's ark 
Meaning: Rest, Comfort
2. Liam Irish
prior to 1066 C.E.
Meaning: Desire, Guardian, Protector
3. Ethan Hebrew (Biblical)
Meaning: Strong, Safe, Firm
4. Mason French
Used in middle ages by stoneworkers
5. Lucas   Greek, from Latin "lucius" meaning
"the bright one" or "the one  born at dawn";
Appears in Ancient inscriptions, prior to 70 C.E.
Meaning: Light
6. Oliver French, from Latin "olivarius",
at least 11th century
Meaning: Olive tree planter 
7. Aiden (unisex) Irish and Scottish Gaelic,
400 B.C.E.
Meaning: Fiery One  
8. Elijah  Named after Jewish Prophet
9th Century B.C.E.       
Meaning: The Lord is my G-d
9. James Derived from Hebrew name "Jacob",
Appears in New Testament
Meaning: Supplanter, One who follows
10. Benjamin Hebrew (Biblical)
Meaning: Son of my right hand
Baby Name Origin
1. Emma Derived from German,
at least 10th century C.E.
Meaning: Whole, Universal
2. Olivia  Derived from Latin "oliva",
at least 13th century C.E.
Meaning: olive
3. Ava German, may have derived from Latin "avis" meaning
bird" or may be a short form of the Hebrew form of the  
name Eve, "Chava", meaning "life"or "living one",
at least 9th century C.E.
4. Sophia  Greek
Middle ages
Meaning: Wisdom
5. Isabella Hebrew, Variation of Isabel, Elizabeth
at least 13th century C.E.
Meaning: My G-d is an oath, Pledged to G-d
6. Mia Latin, Hebrew, Scandinavian
at least 17th Century C.E.
Meaning: Mine, Wished-for child, Beautiful
7. Charlotte French, female version of name Charles,
at least 18th Century C.E.
Meaning: Strong, Virile, Vigorous
8. Amelia Latin
at least 7th century C.E.
Meaning: Industrious, Striving
9. Harper Scottish, Originally a last name which appears
as early as 18th century C.E.
Meaning: Someone who plays the harp, Pleasant, Brave
10. Abigail  Hebrew (Biblical)
Meaning: The father's joy

Whatever name you and your significant other choose for your baby, remember that the process, albeit one to take seriously, should be fun as well and should be entirely your own. Don't let others influence your decision with unsolicited criticism. You are the parent(s) after all and you are best suited to provide the most fitting name for your child.

Please leave a comment below with the names you have chosen for your child(ren), and how you picked them.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Top 11 Nursery Rhymes/Songs for Baby

Here is a compiled list of the top 11 nursery rhymes and songs for your baby, with lyrics attached:

(Please feel free to comment below with your favorite songs/rhymes)

1. Twinkle Twinkle

Twinkle, twinkle, little star
How I wonder what you are
Up above the world so high
Like a diamond in the sky
Twinkle, twinkle little star
How I wonder what you are

2. Old MacDonald Had A Farm

Old MACDONALD had a farm
And on his farm he had a cow
With a moo moo here
And a moo moo there
Here a moo, there a moo
Everywhere a moo moo
Old MacDonald had a farm

(Repeat with different animals:

3. Baa Baa Black Sheep

Baa, baa, black sheep,
Have you any wool?
Yes sir, yes sir,
Three bags full.

One for my master,
One for my dame,
And one for the little boy
Who lives down the lane.

Baa, baa, black sheep,
Have you any wool?
Yes sir, yes sir,
Three bags full.

4. This Old Man

This old man he played one
He played nick nack on my drum
With a nick nack paddy whack
Give a dog a bone
This old man came rolling home

This old man he played two
He played nick nack on my shoe
With a nick nack paddy whack
Give a dog a bone
This old man came rolling home

This old man he played three
He played nick nack on my knee
With a nick nack paddy whack
Give a dog a bone
This old man came rolling home

This old man he played four
He played nick nack on my door
With a nick nack paddy whack
Give a dog a bone
This old man came rolling home

This old man he played five
He played nick nack on my hive
With a nick nack paddy whack
Give a dog a bone
This old man came rolling home

This old man he played six
He played nick nack on my sticks
With a nick nack paddy whack
Give a dog a bone
This old man came rolling home

This old man he played seven
He played nick nack up in heaven
With a nick nack paddy whack
Give a dog a bone
This old man came rolling home

This old man he played eight
He played nick nack on my gate
With a nick nack paddy whack
Give a dog a bone
This old man came rolling home

This old man he played nine
He played nick nack on my vine
With a nick nack paddy whack
Give a dog a bone
This old man came rolling home

This old man he played ten
He played nick nack on my hen
With a nick nack paddy whack
Give a dog a bone
This old man came rolling home

5. Mary Had a Little Lamb

Mary had a little lamb
Little lamb, little lamb
Mary had a little lamb
Its fleece was white as snow
And everywhere that Mary went
Mary went, Mary went
Everywhere that Mary went
The lamb was sure to go

He followed her to school one day
School one day, school one day
He followed her to school one day
Which was against the rule
It made the children laugh and play
Laugh and play, laugh and play
It made the children laugh and play
To see a lamb at school

And so the teacher turned him out
Turned him out, turned him out
And so the teacher turned him out
But still he lingered near
And waited patiently
Patiently, patiently
And wai-aited patiently
Til Mary did appear

Mary had a little lamb
Little lamb, little lamb
Mary had a little lamb
Its fleece was white as snow
And everywhere that Mary went
Mary went, Mary went
Everywhere that Mary went
The lamb was sure to go

6. The Wheels on the Bus

The wheels on the bus go round and round
Round and round
Round and round
The wheels on the bus go round and round
All through the town
The wipers on the bus go swish, swish, swish
Swish, swish, swish
Swish, swish, swish
The wipers on the bus go swish, swish, swish
All through the town
The driver on the bus goes 'move on back'
Move on back
Move on back
The driver on the bus goes 'move on back'
All through the town
The people on the bus go up and down
Up and down
Up and down
The people on the bus go up and down
All through the town
The horn on the bus goes beep, beep, beep
Beep, beep, beep
Beep, beep, beep
The horn on the bus goes beep, beep, beep
All through the town
The babies on the bus go 'waah waah waah'
Waah, waah, waah
Waah, waah, waah
The babies on the bus go 'waah, waah, waah'
All through the town

The mommies on the bus go 'shh, shh, shh'
Shh, shh, shh,
Shh, shh, shh
The mommies on the bus go 'shh, shh, shh'
All through the town

7. Hickory Dickory Dock

Hickory dickory dock,
The mouse ran up the clock.
The clock struck one,
The mouse ran down,
Hickory dickory dock.

Hickory Dickory Dock,
The bird looked at the clock,
The clock struck two,
Away she flew,
Hickory Dickory Dock.

Hickory Dickory Dock,
The dog barked at the clock,
The clock struck three,
Hickory Dickory Dock.

Hickory Dickory Dock,
The bear slept by the clock,
The clock struck four,
He ran out the door,
Hickory Dickory Dock.

Hickory Dickory Dock,
The bee buzzed 'round the clock,
The clock struck five,
She went to her hive,
Hickory Dickory Dock.

Hickory Dickory Dock,
The hen pecked at the clock,
The clock struck six,
Oh, fiddle-sticks,
Hickory Dickory Dock.

Hickory Dickory Dock,
The cat ran round the clock,
The clock struck seven,
She wanted to get 'em,
Hickory Dickory Dock.

Hickory Dickory Dock,
The horse jumped over the clock,
The clock struck eight,
He ate some cake,
Hickory Dickory Dock.

Hickory Dickory Dock,
The cow danced on the clock,
The clock struck nine,
She felt so fine,
Hickory Dickory Dock.

Hickory Dickory Dock,
The pig oinked at the clock,
The clock struck ten,
She did it again,
Hickory Dickory Dock.

Hickory Dickory Dock,
The duck quacked at the clock
The clock struck eleven,
The duck said "Oh Heavens!"
Hickory Dickory Dock.

Hickory Dickory Dock,
The mouse ran up the clock
The clock struck noon,
He's here too soon!
Hickory Dickory Dock.

8. Grandfather's Clock

My grandfather's clock was too large for the shelf
So it stood ninety years on the floor
It was taller by half than the old man himself
Though it weighed not a pennyweight more
It was bought on the morn of the day that he was born
And was always his treasure and pride
But it stopped, short never to go again
When the old man died
Ninety years without slumbering
tik, tlk, tik, tok
His life seconds numbering
tik, tok, tik, tok
It stopped, short never to go again
When the old man died

9. Row, Row, Row Your Boat

Row, row, row your boat
Gently down the stream
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily
Life is but a dream
(Alternate Lyrics:
Row row row your boat
Gently down the stream
If you see a crocodile
Don't forget to scream, ahhhhh)

10. The More We Get Together

The more we get together
Together, together
The more we get together
The happier we'll be
'Cause your friends are my friends
And my friends are your friends
The more we get together
The happier we'll be
11. Itsy Bitsy Spider

The itsy bitsy spider climbed up the water spout
Down came the rain and washed the spider out
Out came the sun and dried up all the rain
And the itsy bitsy spider climbed up the spout again

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Reward Charts for Toddlers: Shaping our Children's Behavior

Positive reinforcement and reward-based techniques are generally more effective than any disciplinary measures and are the best means to moulding and shaping your child's behavior.

While the idea of reward charts isn't complicated, their actual implementation does require some thought and proper planning (ie. what behavior to reward and how to reward specific behaviors).

Reward charts, positive reinforcement and a continuous cheery and positive attitude at home worked wonders for my child, truly. My child was acting up - She wasn't listening, she was hitting other kids in school and she was testing me at every opportunity. In an attempt to curb my child's negative behavior I would have consistent "talks" with her, constantly explaining the importance of listening, of keeping her hands to herself. I would punish her with time-outs and by taking away her favorite toys for a short period of time. On rare occasions, if she was really giving me a hard time in public, I would cut the outing short and take her home (this may only be effective if your child is not trying to leave a situation by acting out on purpose). My tactics weren't enough. They were not working and not only was it exhausting and sometimes inconvenient to implement them, I often felt sad for my child, that she was consistently bombarded with negative reactions from her parents (and probably teachers). I was exasperated, starting to feel worn down and desperate for a solution.

I decided it was time for a big upheaval in the way I was doing things. It was time to change MY

I went online and printed out a reward chart and devised a plan, a new way of doing things. Fast forward to about a month and a half of consistent use of a reward-based system and my child's behavior has improved exponentially. It's night and day. That's not to say that she doesn't' act up on occasion, she is three years old after all. But her attitude is completely different. Her desire to please her parents and receive positive attention far outweighs any propensity towards obtaining any attention for negative behavior.

Here is how to do it:

1. Print out a reward chart (click here for some great charts). A 10-step chart is ideal; Toddlers normally understand the concept of 1 to 10 and have an idea that the goal is within their reach.

2. Put the chart on your fridge and explain to your child how it works. If you're trying to achieve specific desired behaviors (such as eating dinner nicely, taking a bath without a fuss, going to bed without crying, etc.) then write these goals down on the page and review them with your child. Explain to them that they will get a sticker for their good behavior.

3. Explain to your child that when they receive a certain number of stickers on the chart, they'll receive a "big" reward (for example, my chart has 10 steps - At step 5, I drew a picture of a muffin and wrote "Baking muffins with mommy"; At step 10, she gets a surprise). Try and find things that appeal to your child and reward accordingly. Activities with mommy and/or daddy are always best.

4. Give your child a sticker as soon as possible after the desired behavior. Don't forget!

5. On the first day of implementation of the chart, reward your child at least once for good behavior (even if you're pushing it or have to look really really hard to find something positive). Start your child off right.

5. Make a REALLY big deal when you reward your child. Big smiles, big hugs, and tell your child you are proud of them.

6. Let your child choose the sticker and let him/her put it on the chart. Count how many more steps they have to go before they get a big reward.

7. Reward them with a"big" reward as soon as possible after they're entitled to it.

8. *** Most importantly: Consistently remind yourself to check your behavior. Your child is learning from you. Your child is leaning on you. Keep calm and BE the example of positive behavior. Telling your child not to yell while you're yelling is nonsensical.

And that's it!

Of course there are variations of reward systems. I have two charts, one is a calendar where I allow my child to place smaller stickers for multiple good behaviors throughout the day, and the second is a 10-step chart where I allow her to place one big sticker at the end of the day if she was generally good all day. The "big" rewards flow from the 10-step chart. The idea here is to be constantly rewarding and praising with small stickers, and using "big" rewards more sparingly for consistent good behavior.]

Don't expect results in a day or in a week. It takes time for a child to take in exactly what it is we want of them and to start adapting their behavior accordingly. It took a full month of implementing my system before I really saw big changes in my child.

Essentially you are steering your child in a certain direction, showing how attractive positive behavior can be. Such a system obviously has to go hand in hand with a positive parental attitude and outlook. Additionally it should also be used in conjunction with other methods when required. It is important to talk to your children and explain to them the importance of acting in certain ways as opposed to others. It's also sometimes important to discipline when a given behavior calls for it. Certain things, such as hitting, are never acceptable. A time-out, confiscation of a toy, or even removing your child from a situation is sometimes necessary.

No matter how your child has behaved, no matter how tough or challenging the day has been, always remind your child that although you may be upset, may be really really upset, mommy and daddy still love them, always. 

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

How to Survive the First Three Months with a Newborn

Don't get me wrong. I love babies, I love motherhood, I love my children (obviously), I love raising children, and blah blah blah. But man, is it hard.

In the first few months after my first child was born, I felt like someone knocked me over the head with a baseball bat. My head was fuzzy with exhaustion and I was so busy looking after my newborn that I would forget to eat. I basically felt like a zombie with two boobs. Two milk-producing jugs; albeit the milk flow was hardly something to brag about and nothing like the two litre overflowing variety some women are lucky to produce.

In the beginning, the first few weeks, I found that the excitement of being a new mother (and my post-pregnancy hormones) provided me with some much-needed momentum to tackle the job. Everything was new, fun, and my husband took time off work for the first two weeks so I wasn't alone. A short while after though, once my husband was back at work, I began to feel it. The grinding effects of the lack of sleep creeping up. That has to be the hardest part of the whole experience. Sleep deprivation is a mother#$@*er.

With infants everything is so monotonous. Your day (or at least mine) goes a little something like this: Wake up to baby's cries, shuffle over to baby's crib, lift shirt, attempt to shove nipple in baby's mouth, deal with cracked-nipple pain, burp baby, change baby's diaper, put baby in swing or seat, apply cream to soothe nipple, apply suss to soothe baby, play with baby, quickly try and feed yourself, put baby to sleep, stare at baby, do dishes, do laundry, and repeat.

And unless you have some good friends you can call or who can visit, and even if you do, you start to feel isolated in your home those initial months. You're tired, sometimes too tired to get dressed, and entertaining someone else, other than the infant you're required to be ON for, is the last thing you feel like doing.

And through all this, You. Are. Irritable. And not just you. Your significant other is most likely just as irritable especially if he/she is being woken in the night just as many times as you are. Let me just say this: it is okay to feel like you DISLIKE/CAN'T STAND/HATE your partner during this stage. It's perfectly normal. This is TEMPORARY. You're exhausted, you're doing so much, you really have absolutely no energy left over for anyone else no matter how much you really do love the person, and right now anyone who isn't saying "yes, sure, what else can I do for you, no problem, I'm going to take care of the baby for the next five hours - you go relax" is an @*hole. Totally. I get it. This stage is a write off. Once you're through it, and believe me it does pass, you both just agree to totally forget about it, because really you both weren't yourselves and you cannot be held accountable for deleting all of his recorded football games, purposely forgetting to wash his socks that he kept throwing on the floor before bed and leaving there for you to pick up the next morning, and really wanting to take a permanent marker to his favorite watch (but not doing it - obviously that would be crazy :/)

Somehow though, once you've gone through all of it the first time around, it is much easier with baby number two. You 're wiser and you're experienced. Your body just knows. It gears up and readies itself for lack of sleep like never before. You got this. You know which things worked with baby number one and what you need to do differently in round two.

Whether you're learning how to adjust with a first baby, or whether you're on baby number three, the following list will be invaluable, or may just serve as a reminder, for helping you get through the first three months with a newborn infant like a champ:

1. Feed yourself and drink a lot of water (in general). Even if you're only munching on bread with peanut butter. Or ask a friend or family member to pick up food for you. Order in. Eat something.
2. Drink a full glass of water each time before you breastfeed.
3. Sleep when the baby sleeps. Do not ignore this advice which you will often hear. It's a warning. Even if the house is upside down, even if that means you can't get to the laundry and your baby will have to stay in dirty clothes a bit longer.
4. If a responsible friend or family member you trust offers to help, let them. Let them make food for you, play with baby while you relax, help tidy up the house, help pick up diapers. Just say Yes. Even if you're a control freak.
5. Go for walks. Get out of the house with the baby, even if it's for 20 minutes. Fresh air is revitalizing for both of you and you'll feel half normal making contact with the outside world.
6. Do not compare your baby's habits to anyone else's baby. Obviously if you have a concern, speak to a doctor, or a qualified nurse or social worker. No one else is the authority, and your baby will sleep as long as 'Martha's baby' when he's damn ready.
7. Soak in all the infant sweetness you can - soft skin, first smile, first laugh, and endless love.

Although I consider what I described above as a true account of how most new mothers may feel at one point or another (even if they won't admit it publicly), obviously if you're feeling something deeper, if you're feeling depressed, don't try and make excuses for how you're feeling. I was lucky not to have suffered from postpartum depression, but it's a very real thing. Just because being a new mother is extremely difficult, depression is not something that should come with it. You never signed up for depression or anything that resembles it. If you feel helpless, seek out resources and people who can help you get better right away. You must always come first in this scenario - your baby wants and needs a healthy mama.

While you're in the thick of learning how to adjust as a new mama, and the first few months seem like they'll last forever, remember that you will feel normal again soon. This stage too shall pass. And it does. Too fast.

Monday, 26 September 2016

How to Flirt When You're No Longer Single

I used to flirt. I used to have this shy thing going, this demure, lashy innocent stare I had down pat. But that was a long time ago. A decade ago really. 

It was a time before toddlers and diapers. A time before marriage. And while it was also a time before mom jeans, first grey hairs and fine laugh lines, I don't believe the reason I haven't gotten my flirt on in a while is a lack of potential flirt suitors. I'm just busy. And tired. And so out of practice that I think I may have forgotten how to flirt. 

But isn't flirting healthy? Even if you're off the market for ten years, married for five, and still carrying leftover baby weight following the birth of two children, doesn't flirting remind one's self of one's own sex appeal? Isn't that a good thing? And is it wrong to flirt once you've ticked off certain 'life milestone' boxes? 

I believe a certain amount of nonchalant, contextual, fleeting flirting when you're no longer single isn't bad at all. I think it's healthy, as long as both flirting parties feel comfortable and know that it's simply a friendly exchange, which can be likened to a tip of a hat, the opening of a door, and nothing more. Obviously, it should never be done in front of a significant other or in such a way that would be crossing any boundaries, but what's wrong with a locking of eyes and a smile once in a while after you've gotten a great blowout, or tried out a new red lipstick, or spent that extra time in the morning choosing the right outfit? Am I right ladies?

Only very recently, now that I'm able to sleep through the night without waking up multiple times to feed another human, now that I've had time to blowdry my hair and fit into my old clothes, now that I'm starting to feel like me again, I've rediscovered what a joy flirting can be. It reminds me that I am still an attractive being. I don't know about you, but a little flush of the cheeks makes me feel nostalgic, like I'm a teenager again. When I walk away giggling to myself like a ridiculous schoolgirl, I feel good. So, I figure it might be fun to lay out my ideas of what constitutes 'acceptable', 'harmless', 'all in good fun', flirting techniques for those women who are no longer single and who just want some fun endorphin-releasing attention. 

The Harmless Flirting Do's

1. Eye contact is EVERYTHING.
You know that smile with your eyes thing? I think it's really more about brow manoeuvres and glaring, but it works. Try and lock eyes with a stranger of choice and do your best to 'smile' (without smiling), using your eyes. It might sound absurd, but something magical happens when you connect.

2. It's all about the Head Tilt
Looking down and then up slowly giving a sideways glance is mysterious, and sexy. Especially when accompanied by a shy smile. 

3. Hair play
Whatever the length of your hair, running of your fingers through it is playful. 

4. Lightheartedness
The goal of this whole experience is to get your kicks and go back home to your partner, so don't take yourself too seriously. Keep it light and fun.

5. Leave them wanting more
Cut off any flirtatious talk mid-conversation, however short it may be. Leave them hanging. You're a busy girl...I mean woman, so keep it short.

6. Have fun
Well, this is self-explanatory.

The Harmless Flirting Don'ts

1. No physical contact
Keep it innocent. You don't want to cross any real boundaries or create any situations you may regret. Hands off. Look but don't touch. 

2. No exchanging numbers
(or facebook/instagram/twitter/snapchat accounts)Why would you? Don't get carried away. Nothing good could come of that.

3. No Flirting via text/pictures, etc.
There is something very substantive about flirting in writing. Shit gets real. It requires some real planning on your part. Don't do it. It's not a good idea.

Remember, there are no real rules, but using proper judgment is key. Don't put yourself, or significant others in an uncomfortable situation. Have fun and if you feel like you want to, get your flirt on! 

“She wore her sexuality with an older woman's ease, and not like an awkward purse, never knowing how to hold it, where to hang it, or when to just put it down.” 
― Zadie Smith