Essential Oils, Lifestyle, Parenting

Back to School

First week into the new term and my emotions have been all over the place! The highs of the holidays followed by nervous excitement in the days leading up to the first day back all take their toll. Not to mention the fact that my middle son decided that the first day of Year 1 would be a great time to lose his second tooth. I was a hot mess.

I have a love-hate relationship with school. On one hand it is a place where I have seen my children thrive. They have learned new skills, made incredible friends (not to mention linked me to some pretty awesome mom friends!) and have grown in stature and confidence. However, I struggle with the fact that my kiddos spend over six hours of their day, five days a week, with people who I barely know. Their characters and their personalities are being influenced by people who undoubtedly have very different lives, loves and beliefs to me.

Now don’t get me wrong, I trust our teachers implicitly. The school that my children attend is excellent, the staff are kind and caring, having benefited from strong leadership and ethos. But sometimes I struggle with the fact that after a summer of freedom and learning through play, I am sending my small children into a classroom to sit still for a good portion of their day. I worry that someone may be mean to them or that they may end up playing alone. I worry that they might find the work too difficult, that they may feel overwhelmed or out of their depth. I worry that they may not be noticed or that they may be sad, or that they may simply be missing me.

Short of homeschooling, (which is something I have seriously considered, and decided that, for now at least, this isn’t an option for me) there is very little I can do to control or influence what happens in the classroom. But I can control what happens in the home.

You will know that essential oils play a massive part in our every day lives, and the children are no exception. We use them to support us physically and emotionally. I want to share with your our every day oily routine to help get the term off to a great start, for both me as a mama and for the children at school.

First and foremost we start every day by diffusing citrus oils. Citrus essential oils are true multitasking oils. They lift the mood and give you a natural pick-me-up, whilst calming the mind and boosting the immune system, making them a perfect way to start the day. We usually diffuse 2 drops each of grapefruit, orange and lemon essential oil which smell divine and make us feel soo good.

Next up we all have a swipe of our Immune Roller before getting dressed for the day. This roller includes Thieves, Frankincense and Lemon essential oil, all epic oils for supporting the immune system and helping the body during cold and flu seasons. Going back to school with lots of new children can be overwhelming for little bodies. Throw in the emotions of starting a new school/class and being away from home can make them very susceptible to coughs and colds. We use this roller day in, day out, but when it is back to school we go twice a day to keep all the bases covered.

Before we leave I use my Calm Roller Blend on the boys. It contains Vetiver, Lavender + Cedarwood essential oils which promote calm, focus and concentration. If they are particularly anxious we reach for Valor or Stress Away to help us feel cool and courageous. Meanwhile I am also rolling on Stress Away for the school run dash!

On pick up in the afternoon, the first thing we do is use our Thieves Hand Purifier. My kiddos have been touching who knows what and I want to make sure their hands are clean before giving them an after school treat. Then its back home where I am diffusing Stress Away and Peppermint. Stress Away helps them calm down after a busy day and Peppermint is amazing for focus and concentration while we wrap up any homework.

Finally, we will get everyone bathed and top up the bedroom diffusers. For the first week back we use Thieves and Orange or Thieves and Frankincense to keep that immune system boosted while they sleep. Ordinarily we go for sleepy vibe blends such as Peace & Calming or Lavender + Cedarwood. As they climb into bed we do another swipe of the Immune Roller on the soles of their feet before bedtime prayers.

And that my friends is how we use essential oils to go back to school! These natural, non-toxic products pack a punch and we wouldn’t be without them. If you have never used essential oils before and want to know how to get hold of some to support your family please drop me a line by clicking the join our team tab or follow this link as I would love to hook you up!

Have a blessed week Little Oilers

R x

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Parenting

Why new moms need new expectations

Expectation. What a word. To some it can bring excitement, to others it can bring exhaustion. To one, it can bring fun and to another, it can bring fear. We all have expectation in our lives, whether that is how we expect our day to pan out, or how we expect our careers to pan out, whether we expect to build a FTSE100 empire before we are 30 or build a family home.

I love having a goal, a dream, an expectation. My expectation was to get married and be a mom before I was 30. I happily achieved said expectation, but did the reality live up to the dream? Not quite. Rest assured that I am happily married and couldn’t be more grateful for the blessings that have been bestowed on me in the form of my three little ones. But that doesn’t make my long-awaited expectation of the motherhood experience any less challenging.

My first son was born (relatively) easily in a peaceful water birth, but he soon made his presence known by keeping his poor unsuspecting parents awake all hours for the first three months. I expected to cherish these first few weeks of his little life as I blissfully washed his bamboo nappies (yes, really), however, these were some of the hardest and saddest weeks as we desperately tried to fathom out our new family member and survive on next to no sleep. I vividly remember one night, around 2am, when Dave and I were literally on. our. knees. and I placed our son in the middle of the bed and stepped back, not knowing what the heck to do next. In our sleep deprived state, we had tried everything, except swaddling, and this turned out to be the saving grace for our sanity, as we turned a corner and saw our firstborn sleep for more than 2 consecutive hours.

Then came the second son. Another much loved, much planned for baby, albeit with a much larger gap than I would have liked. Surgery necessitated the long wait, and my health was more important than expanding our family, but when he came oh what joy I awaited.

Only the joy didn’t come.

Don’t get me wrong, I was head over heels in love with this little one who snuggled up to me so calmly, but my heart raced as I contemplated juggling two children. I expected to breeze into motherhood second time round, but as reality set in, my fears became nerves that grew into anxieties. I soon felt so overwhelmed that I just couldn’t face being a parent to anyone, much less the precious boys I have been blessed with. All this, despite a hands-on, supportive hubby and a fantastic network of family and friends.

After five months of juggling schedules and struggling to keep my head above water, I was diagnosed with Post Natal Depression. The diagnosis came as no surprise in the end, and if anything, it was such a relief to know that I wasn’t losing the plot and that I wasn’t a bad mother. I was not alone. Accepting the diagnosis was no problem. If anything, I almost wore it as a badge of honour to explain that actually, I wasn’t failing, I was a work in progress, and within 6 months I was back to my normal self.

PND is no discriminator of people or circumstance. My baby was wanted, planned for, prayed for. Yet when he came, I was so overwhelmed with the responsibility; the sudden influx of hormones, the sudden immersion into baby world, and the sudden subjection to his every need. I was an experienced parent, who knew what to expect, and my son was a relaxed little man, yet I was so completely overcome with emotion and anxiety that I could barely think straight. I thank God for the medical professionals who helped me through this difficult time, not to mention my faithful husband and my many friends who had journeyed this path before me or with me.

So onto baby number 3. She was no less planned for, prayed for, and prepared for than her brothers, if not she was more so. The nursery was decorated, the work schedules were created, the books were read and the home was ready, yet when she came I felt the old anxieties creep into my mind as my expectation stood at odds with my reality. There I was, with this sweet little one who fell into our arms with a smile and fell into a routine without batting an eye lid, yet I found myself feeling totally overwhelmed by the now enormous task in front of me. How was I ever going to juggle three children along with a writing career, keeping my home (and me) in a half reasonable style and state of cleanliness, oh and build a blog and write a book….. and manage more than 5 hours sleep in the process.

To raise another is the greatest privilege. As a mom of three, I can safely say this is the greatest, most rewarding role I have ever had, however, coupled with my expectations, it has caused the most pain, upset, anxiety, and, at times, even depression. A classic ‘achiever’, my character is such that I want to do everything to the best of my ability. This means holding it all together, at all times, having the tidy house, the contented babies, and the completed deadlines. My ambitious striving, of course, can be a strength, but for those, like me, who place too great an expectation on themselves, it can be a curse.

When it comes to motherhood, the thing I have craved, dreamed of and desired, I expect to succeed, I expect to flourish. I expect to sail through because I am a ‘do-er’, and ‘achiever’. I constantly measure myself against impossible standards, then wonder why I fall short. The advice I dish out to others I can barely swallow myself. The prayers I pray for friends are barely audible for myself.

Why? Because I expect too much of myself.

It is OK for a friend to fall apart, but I cannot. It is OK for a family member to need counselling but not me. It’s OK for a loved one to ask for help but I must march on. How ridiculous.

I recently read this quote from the inimitable William Shakespeare;

Oft expectation fails, and most oft there where most it promises or in modern day language; Expectation is the root of all heartache. 

I put too much expectation on myself, and the resulting wave of heartache that accompanies feelings of disappointment when I don’t ‘make the grade’ hurts like heck.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to succeed, with wanting to achieve, with having a dream. New mom’s do not need to cast off all their ambitions and put their lives on hold in order to raise their baby, but friends, we need to stop putting too great expectations of ourselves. Stop trying to have the Pinterest worthy house, the picture perfect family, the insta-flawless selfie. We need to embrace our flaws, our failings, and our frustrations because this is what makes us human. And I am speaking to myself before anyone else.

So next time I feel overwhelmed, fall down or mess up, rather than just painting on my face and marching on I might just let someone in. If someone texts to check in on me or taps me on the shoulder at the school gates, I might just let them know how I am really doing. I might just say, “Do you know what? Motherhood is a gift, but man is it hard work!” I might just accept the offer of a hug, a prayer, a cuppa or a meal.

Fellow parents, let’s stop being proud and start being real, and today, this starts with me.

Just sayin’.

R xx

 

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Parenting

You make it possible

Wednesday is my favourite day of the week. Why? Because it is a downhill slide on your backside to the weekend! Anyone who is parenting one small person (or multiples if you are truly reckless like me) will know that when your other half walks through the door on a Friday you can finally relax knowing that no longer are you the only source of entertainment / food / drink / discipline in the house.

To all the Dad’s, Step Dads, partners and parents of stay at home or self-employed moms; we salute you.

You make it possible to face another day of refereeing bickering boys and darling divas. You make coffee. Seriously, this is better than diamonds for most mommas! (OK maybe not quite). You make it possible for us to cook a reasonable dinner once or twice a week while you entertain the masses. You make it possible for us to resist cracking open a bottle of Pinot Grigio before 7pm (just).

But, more importantly, because you are working all the hours of the day (and night) you make it possible for us to do the school runs and wish our babies a great day as we wave them on. You make it possible for us to sit in assemblies with tear-soaked tissues as we watch our little one make their stage debut. You make it possible for us to cheer them on at sports days and you make it possible for us to be at home to mop fevered brows and give cuddles on demand when needed.

Children need their mommas, whether that is a birth mom, step-mom, foster mom, adoptive mom or spiritual mom. To be a full-time parent often requires a full-time salary sacrifice, and this usually has to be made up for somewhere else, be that benefits, partners or your own parents.

Being a full-time parent often requires a full-time sacrifice

To other halves everywhere, and especially to my own, thank you for enabling me and other mommas like me to raise our babies at home. Thank you for then coming home to take some of the load off us, despite having had a crazy week yourselves. Whether  we are juggling diapers or deadlines, you are our constant source of love, support, encouragement, guidance and strength. On the days when we can’t go on, or flat-out just don’t want to, it is your hand that pulls us up, dusts us down and sets us on our way again.

You make it possible.

We couldn’t do it without you, and quite frankly we wouldn’t want to.

R x

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