Tag Archives: family

Guest Blog -Sharna  @jameshealthjourney

Hello all…

So Rachelle said, ‘write about something you’re passionate about’. Equality and inclusion for all!!! That’s it, that’s what I am truly passionate about. 

Let me introduce myself to you. My name is Sharna, my labels include wife, mother, ballet teacher and autism advocate. 

I am the mother of two beautiful little souls, James (4 years old) and Scarlett ( 2 years old). They are the apple of my eye, my greatest achievement!  I never thought that motherhood would ever fulfil my soul, I thought nothing could ever replace the passion of dance that I held so dear to my heart for many years. 

Motherhood has not only fulfilled my soul but it has given me a fierce perspective of what is right. 

Having a child with additional needs has made me loud, proud and determined to spread awareness for not only autism, not only special needs but inclusion for all.

You see we are all different.

We love different, we learn different, we see the world differently. Being different from another shouldn’t mean exclusion or disrespect. Being different should be embraced. 

Every single person regardless of religion, race, sexuality or ability should be embraced.

You see we all have something to offer the world we live in.

When my son James was diagnosed on the autism spectrum at age 3 I was determined to show the world his abilities. The day he was diagnosed was the day my voice got loud. Not only for James but for all that need inclusion.  It’s really mind blowing the amount of narrow minds that still walk amongst us today. I encounter many, believe me. It gets me down it truly does. 

My son at age 4 has learnt all too well the disrespect of others, he is 4. He sees it and he feels it. He feels it deeper than us, he knows he is different but teaching him he is not less than when you encounter such ignorance is hard. It’s hard on him and it’s hard on my mummy soul. 

Ignorance doesn’t make me stop, it makes me fight harder…. louder and stronger. 

I wanted to ask you today to think about the world around you.  Embrace, encourage and include all of those that are ‘different’ around you. 

We are one world. One love.

Much love, 

Sharna xx  @jameshealthjourney

www.jameshealthjourney.com

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The perfect Bluetooth speaker is here….

My kids love music and watching movies on our tablets and phones. I have been on the hunt for a decent Bluetooth speaker for awhile now, after purchasing one that was terrible quality, with no battery life that eventually broke after just a couple of uses I discovered the Mini LifeJacket III  from Altec Lansing.

This little speaker is fantastic and so durable (very important with little sticky hands around). We have used it a lot;  out on our deck, at the park, the lake and when we have gone on picnics.  The 16 hour battery life is fantastic and it will hold up against the elements. The Mini LifeJacket III is even buoyant so if you are doing a spot of fishing  or hanging out at the kiddie pool and it gets dropped in the water it will float.   The sound quality is really good and if your phone rings the speaker will still work so you don’t miss any calls.

You can pick up one of these beauties at Ananconda,  The Good Guys or Target.

Check us out having a picnic at the Redwood Forest in Warburton (Melbourne, AU). We took our Mini LifeJacket III with us and had some tunes pumping while we relaxed in the forest. Such great place to visit with kids, have a walk and a picnic. Perfect!!! 

Rachelle xx

 

 

 

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Quick getaway for the family 

After a busy year we wanted to get away for a night with the kids so they could enjoy Christmas in the city. We took the opportunity to stay at Holiday Inn (Flinders Street). 

This let us experience all the Christmas action that Melbourne had to offer, we had a small break and we didn’t have to deal with screaming tired kids on the drive home in the car. Holiday Inn is so close to everything that as soon as Scarlett rubbed her eyes and Hudson complained of being tired we were back in our room within 10 mintues. 

We went to Crown Casino, walked up to Bourke Street and caught a tram to Docklands (it’s in the free tram zone). Kids stay and eat for free so that is a real bonus. Plus, when we arrived ay our room there were little entertainment packs for the kids that included colouring books, stickers, crayons and brochures. These were a fantastic distraction at dinner.  The staff were really accomodating and our room was made up with a porta cot and trundle bed. 

We stayed in a suite so once the kids went to sleep my husband and I ordered room service (including delicious cocktails) and watched a movie. 

I was never sure about just going to the city for a night or two with kids but we all really enjoyed it.  All the family rooms on level four have been renovated and look amazing. It’s  the second time we have stayed at Holiday Inn and if you’re looking for somewhere family friendly and close to everything give them a call. Hudson and Scarlett are already asking to go back. 

Perfect for a school holiday getaway.

Rachelle xx 

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So long 2016

As we head into a New Year I can’t help but reflect on the past year. I have a slight apprehension about what a new year brings as 2016 hasn’t exactly been an easy one for me. I started 2016 at the beach with my family, full of hope for a wonderful new year. 

This year has taught me a lot and I have certainly grown. There were some low points. I delt with the gut wrenching pain of losing my father and explaining death to a 3 year old and one year old. Telling them they will never see their Pa again. A concept I still don’t think they understand.  I also had to watch my mother lose her husband and someone she has cared for, for over 30 years. 

Hudson broke his arm,  which meant 4 weeks off childcare and a little boy who is now very anxious about hospitals and x-rays. 

We also had our first experience with tonsilitis and hand, foot and mouth (oh the joys). Along with many other little trinkets from childcare, otherwise known as viruses. Which basically meant I stayed home with upset little children and copious amounts of snot.  All the time praying my husband doesn’t get man flu. 

While there were some bad things that happened. There were also many good things. Both Hudson and Scarlett have learnt so much.  Scarlett started walking. Plus, they now play and interact as brother and sister.  I am loving watching them grow into independent little people who are caring and so loving. 

Another positive was my new job, which allows me more flexibility and to work from home with the kids. It’s been great learning something new and working with new people.

There has been tears, tantrums, laughter, guilt, cuddles, more tears and more laughter. I guess this is life and especially life as a mother.  There will always be curve balls and low points but they are balanced with good. It’s important to aknowledge the negatives but dwelling on them and letting them consume you will not help anyone. 

So again, just like last year. I’m going into 2017 with a positive outlook and I’m excited to see what the new year brings. 

Rachelle xx 

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Embrace the chaos 

I have always been a very conscientious, efficient and organised person. I really don’t enjoy flying by the seat of my pants and I often struggle to relax.

Since becoming a mother I still had the desire to be organised. However, children are completely unpredictable so this made it extremely hard. Add working, my husband’s business, playdates, activities and birthday parties to the mix and I was becoming a hot mess. Being organised and feeling like I was being a composed adult was just getting harder and harder.

I wrote lists, used a calendar, meal planned and grabbed food shopping at lunchtime. I would spend Sunday afternoons prepping meals for the week or making meals and freezing them.

After a couple of very busy weekends and starting an extra day at work. I simply couldn’t find the time to be super organised…..I felt like I was drowning. I couldn’t do everything, I couldn’t be everywhere and there was no way I could please everyone. It felt like my kids were being extra needy and wanting more and more attention.

I had no choice but to roll with it. No meal plan. I decided to just grab a few things at the shops and some washing done but it wasn’t 100%. Do you know what?  It wasn’t that bad.  Taking my foot off the accelerator and taking a deep breath has been amazing.  I say no to things if we have too much on or if everything is just too busy.  Also, I’m not so worried about little distractions like housework. My kids aren’t that worried about getting my attention, they know they can have it. They’re even helping with little chores!

Another bonus is my husband is also helping out around the place as he can see what needs to be done and has a chance to get to it. He puts the washing away and tidies the kitchen. Instead of constantly having meals ready, I keep a couple of brought pre prepared meals in the fridge.  My husband simply heats them and they’re ready if I’m running late home from work with the kids. I found the Woolworths family favourites are simple, delicious, ready in 45 minutes or less and only about $12 for a family serving (there’s also a good range of meals and my kids love them).  Having meals on hand makes everything so much easier. Sundays aren’t spent prepping meals and shopping. I have more time to play with my kids. We read books, go to the park and bath time is more relaxed. I’ve also noticed some nights we grab the dog and go for a family walk.

I’m still on top of things, just a little more relaxed. I keep lists and use my calendar but I just order as much as I can online and have it delivered (including birthday gifts). If something isn’t finished or I’m not 100% organised I embrace it and move on. I realised I’m only one person and can’t look after everyone. Especially if I feel like a mess and I’m not looking after myself.

Try it, embrace the chaos and take shortcuts. It’s alright!

Rachelle xx

 

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Ohhh you’re an only child

If I had a dollar for every time I heard this phrase, especially with ‘tone’. I would be a very rich only child.  It’s often followed by a couple of ridiculous questions. Were you bored? Did you hate it? Are you spoilt? Well no, actually I don’t know any different.

I believe I have been brought up well, I was rarely bored and I had friends. Being an only child didn’t affect my social skills and surprise surprise….. I really wasn’t any more spoilt than my peers (all of which had brothers and sisters). I didn’t get everything I wanted or my own way and my parents taught me respect. They may have spoiled me with love but I don’t think this is a bad thing at all.

While I like to say that my parents didn’t have anymore children after me because I am perfect. The reality is that it was a struggle to have me and just after I was born my father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease (at 30 years old). My mum has often told me she would’ve liked more children,  but they didn’t think it was a good idea and didn’t even know if they could have more. When I was younger,  I often asked for a baby brother or sister, but the reality is that I didn’t really care. I was happy.

The only time I wished that I had that extra support was when my father was quite unwell a couple of years ago. He was in intensive care in hospital and I felt a lot of responsibility to make sure both him and my mum knew I was there for them. I am lucky though as my husband is very supportive, I am close with my aunty and we shared the load.

People need to stop with ridiculous comments about only children.  I believe couples are extremely lucky to have one healthy child, if they have more it’s a wonderful blessing. Yes, I now have two children, it’s not because I feel I missed out as a child. It’s simply because my husband and I wanted two children. If I hadn’t been able to have anymore children after my first I would have also been very happy. Decisions shouldn’t be judged, especially if you don’t know the back story. Next time someone tells you they are an only child or they only have or want one child let’s try to keep the ‘oh are they bored’ or ‘they must be spoilt’ comments to yourself.  One, two or ten children they are all beautiful and the number you have doesn’t need to be justified. Especially to judgemental strangers.

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Rachelle xx 

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Think before you type……

In a day and age where Kim K breaks the Internet by showing her butt or posts naked selfies with #liberated, it’s no wonder that so many trolls exist.  However, this is her content, she is old enough to know what she’s doing and has a team of management/lawyers who deal with everything. Plus, really who cares? If you dont like it don’t look.

I started this blog on maternity leave as a hobby, a creative outlet. A way to share funny stories, support and perhaps help other women with the struggles of raising children. Recently, I posted a pic of me in my filthy car and described a snapshot of my day which included an early wake up and work. This photo went crazy on social media and ended up with over 2.6M views and lots of comments. 

I have posted hundreds of photos on my social media accounts, all with honest captions and written some controversial blogs. I had no idea that this simple photo would cause such a stir. I was fully clothed and it didnt even show my full face or my children’s faces.

There were many comments and 90% of them are postive (thank you 😙).  I also read some of the troll comments and just took them with a grain of salt.  My main concern and first thought was for all the young girls (or boys) trying to be like Kim K or Justin Bieber and posting photos or blogs online. What if they read these comments about themselves? I was called a bitch, whinger and slut multiple times? My parenting was questioned? I was told I was neglecting my children by putting them in childcare and a number of people commented on my looks and/or makeup. I realise I’m not the first person who has had trolls comment and I also realise that people have had worse things said about them.  Trolls want attention, but in all truth the nice/supportive comments were the ones getting attention from others.

My point is, I’m 34 years old, thick skinned and don’t easily offend. However, an 18 year old with anxiety might not take this ‘feedback’ so well.
The postive comments I received were mostly from women and men around my age, the big surprise for me is that a lot of the negative comments were from people my parents age?  People who have raised children and probably now grandparents. Why on earth do they even care? Shouldn’t that generation be setting an example for younger generations? I certainly want my children to encourage and support others, not try to belittle them or tear them down for no reason at all.

If you or your children are starting a blog, posting photos online just know exactly that. They are public, people are cruel and while it’s nice to be aknowledged, in the grand scheme of things it’s really nothing.  My car is still dirty, I have to work tomorrow and my children will still probably wake up super early.

If you are a troll or thinking of making a negative comment think twice….the young girl who you insult on her beauty blog may suffer depression, the mother that you say is a ‘bad mother’ may have PND. The child you call ugly is just an innocent child and has done nothing to you.

My post was meant to be a relatable post about a normal working mothers day, it was a small snapshot of my life. If you can relate great, if you don’t like it……move on.  If I rewrote the post and took all these comments into consideration it would be a very long boring post.

I’m happy in my life, I love my family and appreciate my job. I have taken this whole experience as a lesson for when my children start using social media. Mummy and Daddy will be watching!!!

Be kind people, it costs nothing.

Rachelle xx

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One of each – Congratulations!

Yes, I have a son and a daughter. Almost everytime people find this out, I am greeted with a comment like ‘well done’, ‘aren’t you clever’, ‘that’s a perfect family’ or my favourite ‘you must be happy, you got one of each’.

Let me tell you, it has nothing to do with being clever. I didn’t try to have a boy and a girl. I was simply trying to have a baby. Growing up, I always thought I would like a daughter one day. However, when my son was born 6 weeks early, I saw first hand how quickly things can take a turn for the worse.   After days of heart rate monitoring and worry, I was just happy to be holding a healthy baby.   There are parents holding the hands of sick children everywhere, I’m sure they dont care if it’s their son or daughter. As a parent you just want a healthy and happy child.

The ‘clever’ people are the doctors and nurses who care for you throughout your pregnancy and help deliver a healthy baby, the doctors that look after sick babies/children and the people assisting women and men experience parenthood with IVF. I am certainly not in that category. I simply got pregnant twice and just happened to be lucky enough to have two healthy children – one boy and one girl. 

Also, people often ask if I want more children and it’s like I am given the ‘ok’ by them to not have anymore because I already have one of each? ‘Oh, a boy and a girl, how wonderful. You don’t need anymore’. Where on earth is this mentality coming from and why do people feel the need to even comment on such a personal issue?  I can honestly say even if I had a second baby boy,  I would still have stopped at two children. It had nothing to do with the sex of my second child, it was a decision by my husband and I. A choice we made for our future and the fact that we are happy with two healthy children.

We need to stop the silly comments, shaming, questions and judgements on parents. Just because a family has three boys or four girls is doesn’t mean they are unhappy. It doesn’t even mean they kept having children so they could get a boy or a girl. It may simply mean they want a big family?  Next time you see someone with two or more children, don’t comment on the sex of the child,  don’t congratulate them for having a pigeon pair or look at them disappointed because they have two boys. Just tell them they have beautiful children…..if you can’t even manage this, say nothing at all.

As a mother I don’t need the appoval or praise from others, especially strangers. I didn’t pick the sex of my children, I’m just doing my best to be a good mother, regardless of if my child is a boy or a girl.

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Rachelle xx

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How is it possible to miss someone you’ve not even met?

My name is Kelly. I’m a full time working wife and mumma to a beautiful almost 2 year old boy, and another little boy due at the end of May. Recently, I spent the night in hospital with gastro and dehydration. It was an awful experience! My first pregnancy was plagued with bleeds, hospital stays, threatened premature labour and an eventual emergency C-section 3 weeks early. Up until the point of my recent hospital stay, I was feeling pretty happy with myself and incredibly blessed, that this pregnancy was cruising along, drama-free. So needless to say, as I lay in my hospital bed, as sick as a dog, I shed a tear of self-pity..

My amazing husband must have realized this so he sent me a photo of himself and my son, smiling into the camera. It immediately warmed my heart to see my boys there, smiling for
me! But at the same time, instantaneously, I was hit with a realization. There’s something missing from this photo. Or someone..

Of course cruising through this pregnancy, like anyone, I’ve been filled with excitement and anticipation at the thought of meeting our newest family member. But it wasn’t until this point that I realized, this little boy growing inside me, is already so much a part of my family, that I feel like he is a missing member, like a missing body part!

As much as I absolutely love my boys, I couldn’t help but feel like this photo was incomplete.

I couldn’t help but feel like all my boys, were not in the photo!

I finally recognized the feeling of had a few tunes recently, when my boys and I were doing quality family things, feeling so happy, yet feeling like something was not quite right.. It’s because I’m missing my second son before he’s even breathed his first breath!

Man, that’s a powerful love! A mother’s love!

So as I lay in my hospital bed looking at the photo of my boys, I started to feel a huge sense of excitement… In a couple years’ time, I would be able to look at a very similar photo of not one, but two little boys, excitedly clamouring over daddy, smiling into the camera at a photo they know is being sent to mummy.

It fills me with so much excitement, and so much love!

Hurry up little bubba D, your mummy, daddy and big brother miss you, and can’t wait to meet you!

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Kelly – @working.mumma

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Guest Blog – Sarah (@sass.xo_project)

I wasn’t ready. I’d had a pretty cruisy pregnancy up until 36 weeks when I was admitted to hospital with pre-eclampsia and two days later, my beautiful healthy daughter Matilda arrived. It was so surreal. I hadn’t packed my bags, I had not long finished work and I was holding a newborn in my arms. She was perfect. My husband overjoyed. I was caught up in the moment, with wonderful midwives and nurses surrounding me, helping me with trying to feed and taking her to the night nursery so I could sleep. Family and friends came to visit. Hospital was great. I loved it. I even discharged myself a day early because I was feeling so rested and eager to get home.

The car journey home was also surreal. Taking this baby out of the hospital, so small, so dependent on me. She was mine (ours). After a tough couple of years visiting various specialists both here in Melbourne and interstate, trying to conceive, she was here.

I guess many women can relate. Sometimes pregnancy can be exhausting and challenging but having had the fertility issues prior just compounded my journey of emotions. Yes, I was so thrilled to have a baby but I was also filled with constant worry, emotional exhaustion, and anxiety. I put a lot of pressure on myself that because I’d fallen pregnant through IVF I should be really grateful and have so much love for this new baby. Except, that’s not how I felt. I cried most days for the first six months. Everyone told me it was my hormones adjusting and sleep deprivation but I knew it was more than that. Matilda had reflux, was not putting on weight, visits to several doctors and the Royal Children’s Hospital to try and work out what was wrong… All of the time, my thoughts were flooded with, “what was I doing wrong??” I felt I couldn’t do anything right.

My mum gave me some sound advice when she realised I wasn’t coping very early on in the piece: “You’ve fed her, changed her and she’s sleeping. She’s content.” Sounds simple, but when you are highly emotional and anxious every thought runs through your mind about how to be a good mum. I took the advice on board but only when Matilda started to find her routine, start eating and putting on weight did I really appreciate those words. Babies don’t need much when they are newborn; I felt I had to give everything to her from day one although I didn’t know what “everything” was. This much needed advice I have carried with me with the birth of my son Charlie. This isn’t to say my experience with Charlie was perfect; I still had the occasional anxious thought try and creep in but I consciously reminded myself that I was doing a good job, giving him everything he needed at the time.

I also learnt that I didn’t need to go on this journey on my own. I had my husband and he was (and is) incredible support to me and the best dad but I also accepted offers for help; a meal, a load of washing, a couple of hours off for some “me time” to go for a walk, sleep (!) and go to the shops.

Matilda is now three and Charlie 18 months and I love their little personalities and who they are growing up to be. At times I have been challenged (which I’m sure we all have been at some point or another!), and sometimes I need to be more patient but with the support of family, friends and children experts, I love being a mum and wouldn’t have it any other way.
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Sass.xo

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    Kelly Dernehl