The Day I Unexpectedly Ran Away…From Myself!

June 23, 2014 in Blog, Column, Content, Dads, Latest, Mums, Parenting

 

orla breeze parental guidanceI was a bit naïve when I became a Mum. And I don’t just mean about the HUGE amount of work involved in taking care of a baby. Everybody gets whacked around the face with that one. It was more to do with how the woman I thought I was before childbirth suddenly turned into someone altogether different. And how I’d be required to get to know her all over again. Whilst also trying to get to know my newborn. And we all know how long that takes. The timing couldn’t have been worse.

In my case, the old Orla legged it out of the hospital just as soon as my baby entered the world. That self-assured, laidback, emotionally stable version of me ran as fast as she could bellowing “Taxi!” I don’t blame her although I do sometimes think she could have waited until they had finished stitching me up.  That’s just manners, right? But as she gleefully waved from the back of that speeding cab, she left behind a terrified newborn me desperately wishing I was in that car with her.

The thing is I liked the old me. She had conquered her demons. Shouting was something she hadn’t even thought about for the vast majority of her glorious self-involved 20’s. Anger had no chance of ever overcoming her with all the personal time she had to contemplate her life lessons. And as for Guilt? Well that was something she didn’t give even the tiniest of thought to. But Orla V2.0?  She was a whole new animal. She thought and felt things I didn’t even know were possible.

Shouting as a new way of communication. Anger at creating herself anew as a 24/7 carer of a baby who literally never stopped crying. I mean, who knew anyone could feel irritated by a beautiful baby boy? Guilt became a layer of new tight-fitting clothing that she had never intended to buy let alone wear. But man, was it difficult to take off at the end of the day! Or at any time actually. “Should I have breastfed for longer?” “Should I have put him in his cot instead of letting him sleep in his stroller?” “I should be holding him more, shouldn’t I?” She spent most of her time “shoulding” all over herself.

Needless to say, I wasn’t very fond of the new me. And with the old version slowly becoming a distant memory, the idea of even trying to get to know her wasn’t the least bit appealing.

So I ignored her completely.

Until one day when the old me called me up out of the blue. She’d been sipping cocktails by the pool when she realised that something just didn’t feel right. A part of her was missing, she said. And that part was me. So after a little conversation, we agreed to get together to see if we could come up with a new version of Orla that was acceptable to both of us. One that encompassed her fun, care-free attitude with my newfound understanding of life from that clearer perspective of parenthood.

Which is exactly what we did.

And although she never apologised for her total abandonment of me at a time when I really could have done with her support, I knew she was sorry.  She simply couldn’t cope with the changes that were coming. But the truth is I’m grateful she ran away. If she hadn’t, I’d never have known how important her fun and laughter were to my happiness. And I’d never have known that my happiness would make such a HUGE difference to the happiness of my family. Turns out that getting to know the new me was just as important as getting to know my new baby. And definitely just as rewarding.

 

 

parental guidance by orla breezeOrla Breeze is a writer, columnist, workshop facilitator, eft practitioner and Mum of 3 so generally quite busy! She is based in Hong Kong and also spent 8 years in the UK working at both the BBC and ITV whilst there. Nowadays her focus is on writing about parenting, running parenting preparation workshops and offering private sessions for parents of all ages and stages. Oh and looking after her kids! She makes regular visits to Australia and Europe and can be contacted here by email.

Keep up to date with her latest articles, workshops and her monthly column Rated PG! on Twitter,  Facebook or by signing up for her newsletter on the top right of this page.

 

 

 

The Sneaky Kind of Postnatal Depression (And How To Quickly Overcome It)

June 10, 2014 in Blog, Column, Content, Latest, Mums, Parenting

 

parental guidance by orla breezeI don’t do exercise. And I definitely do not run. In fact I saw a great t-shirt online that summed up my entire attitude to exercise in one sweet sentence.

“If you ever see me running, you should run too because something is probably chasing me.”

I want that t-shirt.

Consequently it’ll come as no surprise that I won’t be telling you how many starjumps are required daily for optimum fitness or how many bicep curls are necessary to eliminate bingo wings. It just ain’t my thing. However, if you were to ask me about mental health, that would be a different kettle of fish altogether. Why I could write a whole encyclopedia on that topic! Especially the dreaded postnatal depression.

And I’m not talking about the kind that results in psychosis or an inability to bond with your child. Although that kind certainly exists. I’m talking about the less talked about type that isn’t so obvious yet still takes a toll. What I like to call the “creeps up on you and and hangs around like a bad smell” variety. Because that’s the one that spent a whole lot of time with me in the early weeks, months, ok I admit it, years of The Motherhood. Which wasn’t at all helpful and was about as welcome as an early morning run. Or any kind of run for that matter.

So what makes this sort of PND different? Oh so many things. For starters, it’s not debilitating in the way most depressions are. You can actually achieve at quite a high level whilst under its influence. Things you can do include…

  • Taking care of all of a baby’s needs
  • Socialising
  • Caring about your appearance
  • Working
  • Partaking in a relationship
  • Laughing

Actually, all the things that would normally floor you if any other kind of depression even thought about coming your way. See? So sneaky.

It’s also deviously clever in how it seeps in. It knows you’re distracted by this new phase of your life and that it’s your first time experiencing this thing called Motherhood. So hey, maybe you’ll just think its part and parcel of it. Maybe you’ll be a bit surprised at how emotionally challenging it is but you’ll probably simply accept that this is how parenting is. Super sly.

So how is a new Mum ever supposed to know that she is dealing with a very tricky customer at a very tricky time? Easy. Just ask herself if she’s enjoying anything. Because I guarantee you, the one thing she will have no connection to is joy.

Of any kind.

And that my friends, along with some gentle nudging from two very persistent but very good friends, was how I realised that something was up.

Nothing gave me a deep sense of joy. Planning a holiday – nothing. A full weekend all to myself – nada. Family visiting from afar – zilch. Don’t get me wrong, I liked all these things but I didn’t enjoy them. Which was a subtle but big difference.

The good news however is that despite the complexity of the issue and the duration of time you can be affected by it, the solution is exceedingly simple.

Ask for help.

Having PND does not mean you are a bad mother or an inadequate mother or a terrible one. It just means you have PND. There is a world of help at your fingertips if you simply ask. I deserved it. You deserve it. And the joy that bursts back onto the scene is frankly too good to miss. So if you think you’ve fallen prey to this devious, underhanded, super sly trickster, do the one thing it doesn’t expect you to.

Simply ask for help.

 

 

parental guidance by orla breezeOrla Breeze is a writer, columnist, workshop facilitator, eft practitioner and Mum of 3 so generally quite busy! She is based in Hong Kong and also spent 8 years in the UK working at both the BBC and ITV whilst there. Nowadays her focus is on writing about parenting, running parenting preparation workshops and offering private sessions for parents of all ages and stages. Oh and looking after her kids! She makes regular visits to Australia and Europe and can be contacted here by email.

Keep up to date with her latest articles, workshops and her monthly column Rated PG! on Twitter,  Facebook or by signing up for her newsletter on the top right of this page.

 

 

4 Ways Our Kids Drive Us Crazy! (And How To Make It Stop)

May 6, 2014 in Blog, Column, Content, Dads, Latest, Mums, Parenting, Uncategorized

orla breeze Playtimes May 14

I knew Motherhood would involve plenty of role-play. Taxi driver, social planner, chef, homework inspector and even cheerleader were all parts I expected but Logistics Supervisor was a role I definitely was not planning on. Item location, relocation and the myriad of questions on the topic has got to be one of the most annoying aspects of parenthood. Where’s my football? Where have you put my schoolbag? Who do my kids think I am, their own personal Google?

I desperately want a robot to come live with us and spend its days and nights obsessively cataloging everything we own. I want it to use its little robotic claw hands to stick a tracking device on each and every item and spend its entire lifespan locating them when they go “missing”. And yes the constant sound of its whirrs and clicks may eventually grate on my nerves but nowhere near as much as those endless questions on where my kids’ belongings have gone. Usually framed in the following four frustrating ways…

 

Querying an item’s location without even looking for it.

Mum! Mum! MUM!!

Yes?

Where’s my school shirt?

Is it in your wardrobe?

I don’t know.

Have you looked?

No.(Looks in wardrobe) Oh it’s here.

 

Grrrrrrr!

 

Blaming parent for misplacement of item.

Mum, where have you put my bag?

I haven’t put it anywhere.

(Whining)  But I gave it to you on Tuesday, where did you put it?

Nowhere. You didn’t give it to me.

(Ear-splitting whining)  BUT I DID!!! Oh hang on, found it.

Where?

(Nervous laughter)  I forgot I left it under my bed.

Oh you forgot?

 

Grrrrrrrrrrrr!!!

 

Moving parental items without permission.

Where’s my phone?

(Deathly Silence)

Where’s my phone? It was in my bag but seems to have walked itself out of it.

(Nervously) Ha ha, that’s funny.

No it’s not. I need it.

Oh well, I’m sure it’ll turn up.

Oh you are, are you? Hang on, what’s that behind your back?

Nothing.

Show me!!

Oh, it’s your phone. (Drops phone, runs like the wind)

 

GRRRRRRRRRRRRR!

 

Relocating items intended for the following day.

Where are the clothes that I left on your bed?

What clothes?

The ones that were laid out on your bed for the wedding tomorrow.

I don’t know.

What do you mean you don’t know? There was a full set of clothes on the bottom of your bed. How could they just disappear?

Oh them! I eh threw them in the laundry.

You did whaaaaaaat??!

 

GRRRR and Double GRRRRRRRRR!

 

I read somewhere that losing things is developmentally appropriate for kids. That they are so busy dealing with actual physical growth that remembering where they’ve left something is not exactly a priority. And although that makes a kind of sense to me, it doesn’t really solve the problem. So I guess that leaves us with two options.

Option one: the robot or option two: acceptance.

Option one involves waiting for someone to develop and market the logistics robot. Considering we’re only at the stage where robots can just about vacuum the floor without maiming a cat, this could be a very long wait.

Option two doesn’t involve any waiting but does involve a change in perspective. If we simply accept that logistics just ain’t a child’s game, we stop expecting them to keep track of their things. And if we don’t expect them to keep track of their things, we don’t get so annoyed when they don’t. That significantly reduces the opportunity for irritation. And less irritation equals yes, you’ve guessed it, an altogether much calmer parent.

I know which option I’m moving towards

 

 

orla breezeOrla Breeze is a writer, columnist, workshop facilitator, eft practitioner and Mum of 3 so generally quite busy! She is based in Hong Kong and also spent 8 years in the UK working at both the BBC and ITV whilst there. Nowadays her focus is on writing about parenting, running parenting preparation workshops and offering private sessions for parents of all ages and stages. Oh and looking after her kids! She makes regular visits to Australia and Europe and can be contacted here by email.

Keep up to date with her latest articles, workshops and her monthly column Rated PG! on Twitter,  Facebook or by signing up for her newsletter on the top right of this page.

 

 

 

 

The Little Known Way To Parenting Joy!

April 17, 2014 in Blog, Column, Content, Dads, Latest, Mums, Parenting

parental guidance - orla breeze playtimes aprilAh Spring! A time of new beginnings, new growth, rebirth and a clear invitation to make some changes.

(The good kind that make you feel great about yourself not the other kind that make you want to stay in bed with the covers over your head and the door firmly shut. You know what I mean.)

And so in the spirit of new beginnings and fresh approaches, I’m going to suggest something new you can try on your parenting journey. A small change that can be simply incorporated into your daily life whilst changing you and your family for the better. So what is it? I hear you cry! Allow me to elaborate.

For many years, possibly since Adam and Eve came to the realisation that their newborn’s arrival was waaaaay more stressful than their banishment from the Garden of Eden, we’ve all pretty much followed the same approach to parenting. Sure, we differ in our methods and rules but overall, we’ve all been doing the same thing.

And what is this thing, I hear you ask?

Focusing on one side of the relationship to the almost exclusion of the other.

And the truth is; it simply doesn’t work. Yes we muddle through the days and weeks but ultimately we pay the price for ignoring ourselves. It’s the same with any relationship. If in our adult relationships, we focus solely on the other person, it really doesn’t end well for either party. We reach a point where we simply can’t keep giving without any return and as adults, we either make changes or walk away.

The problem of course, with the parenting relationship is that we can’t walk away. We’re committed for life so if we don’t make changes, the outcome can be a box full of stress, exhaustion and chaos wrapped in a general feeling of “what about me??”

So here’s where the change comes in. How about we make an adjustment and focus not just on our children but on ourselves too? Now, I know what you’re thinking. “I’d love to focus on myself but I simply don’t have time! Children require a lot of attention! ” Which of course they do. I have 3 of my own who take up vast chunks of time every single day! But the beauty of this new approach is it takes just a few minutes a day.

Five, to be precise.

So here it is: every morning when you’re having a shower simply spend five minutes focusing on everything in your life that brings you joy – that deep-down unmistakable feeling of happiness.

Maybe you’ll start with your baby or children and all the sweetness and light they bring and then move onto your partner and all the positives s/he brings to you.

Maybe then your friends will come to mind followed by all the things in your life that make you happy like your car or your clothes or whatever. And if it turns out that you’re at a place in your life where it’s only the material things that give you joy, that’s ok.

As long as it makes you happy then celebrate it. You see, as human beings we have a terrible habit of focusing on what’s wrong. We effectively train ourselves to automatically see the problems in our lives. But when we switch our focus to the positives for even five minutes, things begin to change. I promise.

But why take my word for it? Try it for yourself. For the next 30 days, I challenge you to simply spend 5 minutes of your time focusing on your own joy. Just 5 minutes. Before you know it, you could find yourself walking with a new spring in your step. (See what I did there?!)

 

 

website bioOrla Breeze is a writer, columnist, workshop facilitator, eft practitioner and Mum of 3 so generally quite busy! She is based in Hong Kong and has also spent 8 years in the UK working at both the BBC and ITV whilst there. Nowadays her focus is on writing about parenting, running parenting preparation workshops and offering private sessions for parents of all ages and stages. Oh and looking after her kids! She makes regular visits to Australia and Europe and can be contacted here by email.

Keep up to date with her latest articles, workshops and her monthly column Rated PG! on Twitter,  Facebook or by signing up for her newsletter on the top right of this page.

 

 

65 Reasons Why Mums Are Amazing!

March 26, 2014 in Blog, Content, Latest, Mums, Parenting

orla breeze - parental guidanceTired of worrying about all the things you’re doing wrong as a Mum? Sick to the back teeth of wondering if every other mother is far better at the job than you? Well you have come to the right place my friend! Here for a pleasant change are 65 reasons to focus on what you’re doing really well. All thanks to the many Mums who responded when I asked them to put their worries aside and think about the one thing they excel at. Because it turns out that when we switch focus to our talents as parents, we’re actually doing pretty well!

To all who contributed to the following article, I thank you from the bottom of my mothering heart. May your words inspire others to remember their own excellent ability! And a very Happy Mothers Day to you all!

 

  1. Being unconditional loving. That will give us everything we need to try to be the best parent… day after day… year after year…mistake after mistake. We love them no matter what and we keep trying. France-Marie
  2. Forgiveness. I forgive everything. Bad behavior, not eating, tantrums, toilet accidents…. I just love them and everything else doesn’t matter. Silke
  3. Fun weekend activities – I’m great at planning & executing “adventures” for my 3yo, be it library trip, fancy cooking class, movie morning or visiting local fire station. Weronika
  4. Anticipating potential disputes between the kids. Being able to take a preventative approach gives us more peace at home! Valerie
  5. Endless hugs and cuddles! Alexandra
  6. Dining with 2 boys 6y and 2y. I get the older one to feed the younger one and they both love it. They elder one gets to order for everyone. They love raising their hands to ask for stuff. Mei Leng
  7. Laughing together and having fun. Froukje
  8. Printing a photo book for each of my kids EVERY year. It is a lot of work to organize each year but so worth it when the kids look at them. Melanie
  9. Laughing, giggling, tickling, infinite number of hugs n kisses … no matter what. Shikha
  10. Multitasking: cooking a meal whilst entertaining the little one (usually by rapping what I’m doing), and trying not to trip over the dog who’s at my feet hoping I’ll drop some food. Stefanie
  11. Being a good timekeeper for their schedule! Joanne
  12. Snuggles and tickles (especially that sweet spot just on the inside of the leg!) Kimberleigh
  13. Taking time out from the hubbub to let them just be kids. A kiss here, a cuddle there and letting them play, dance and sing One Direction songs and ‘Let it Go’ really loudly into toy microphones. Maxine
  14. Looking at the world through the eyes of a child again. Trying to get an answer to questions you haven’t thought about for a very long time (because of all those “whys” from children) Loret
  15. Drinking wine when the monsters are in bed! Allison
  16. Driving! I’m a bloody good driver! Kris
  17. Birthday parties. Cheap and cheerful, no club house or entertainers, just a load of stuff from the store and things to decorate. All done in a tiny living room with a table cloth on the floor. Janet orla breeze - parental guidance
  18. Admitting my mistakes clearly and taking responsibility for them so that they can learn to model that behaviour. Helen
  19. Singing songs and dancing! Never thought I would before I became a mom but once I realized my now 2 yr old girl loved me singing to her I learned to sing so many songs and in different languages too.  Matilde
  20. Baking cakes and pies. My daughter insists that I’m the best at it.  She said so at Mother’s Day celebration at her school too! Anna
  21. Having messy fun! Sascha
  22. Knowing about dinosaurs to be able to discuss with my obsessed 3yo. Celine
  23. Writing a diary of special things my 6 year old son has been doing and saying for the last 4 years. Recently when he read some of it he loved it. Have started doing the same for my twins now! Rucchi
  24. Getting them into books, using the library and storytelling… we do the “never-ending story” which lasts for a whole journey. Everyone adds one sentence to the story until we reach our destination. Joanne
  25. Pulling together the tiniest of ponies in the thinnest, softest hair with the squirmiest of toddlers! Stacia
  26. Standing behind the ‘NO’ for as long as it takes. :) I’m a firm believer in ‘No is no and will always be no’. I don’t say ‘no’ very often though! Carol
  27. Changing diapers – I am the best! Especially the *ahem* brown ones. June
  28. Planning our family holidays! A lot of hard work and always rewarding. Nicola
  29. Making sure my kids are bilingual. We are a mixed (language) family and with few polish kids around I make sure I expose the kids to my mother language a lot. Monika
  30. Giving space to my little one to learn and not being over-protective. Actually I’m just a terrible mother. Kidding! Crystal
  31. Scrapbooking and cherishing each and every moment I have with them. Looking at the world from that point of view. Ramapriya
  32. Sharing all my travels experiences and stories with my kids every night! They enjoy learning what Mommy does at work. Amy
  33. Timing the toast while I pee…pop it down, run to loo…come back (hands washed) & voila…a nutritious snack for any mom or kiddo. Sher
  34. Dancing with them like it is the only thing that matters just like I did with my best mate as a kid. Stephanie
  35. Cooking nutritious gourmet meals for my 1 year old son… His expressive feedback is what I look forward to most! Ekta
  36. Taking polaroid pictures together of everything we do, decorating them with stickers and offering them around! Segolene
  37. Knitting colourful sweaters for my daughter every year plus all other accessories. She is so proud of her beautiful sweaters and keeps telling people “my Mom made it”. Danni
  38. Never making excuses as to why I can’t do something with my kids. I take them everywhere and they are more social and happy as a result. That includes a one month road trip around Europe with a 1 and 3 year old. Just my husband and I. Christyorla breeze - parental guidance
  39. Making them laugh…and think, and laugh again…and dance!! I am an excellent clown with them…happy laughs and meaningful tears. Eveli
  40. Putting on multiple voices when reading books with my little girl at bedtime and she LOVES it. And I’m able to make her giggle lots and that sound is one of the sweetest ever. Jennifer Ann
  41. Negotiation. Captain Philips would have had a much easier time if I was the hostage negotiator. I can always cut a deal in the currency of choice ( TV, iPad, playmobil or stickers) Rachel
  42. Reading almost all the books my 6 yr old reads and then enacting scenes where we choose any of the characters from stories. Rucchi
  43. Giving my daughter space, the independence to make mistakes and decisions. Gina
  44. Exchanging I love you’s between each other at least 10 times a day. We verbalise our love and show our affection for each other regardless of who is in the room. Christine
  45. “Crazy stuff” or rough-housing. My 3yr old has virtually no sense of fear (maybe a bad thing), because we always wrestle and do flips and acrobatics together. I never thought I’d be such a physical mom, but we both love it. Amy
  46. Breast feeding both my children exclusively for the first 6 months of their lives and continuing till they were both 18 months old. Aissa
  47. Loving his dad and allowing him to find his way with his son. Too often we rush in but there’s nothing nicer than seeing them bond in their own way. Brooke
  48. Always telling my kids the truth. It’s not easy and often it requires a lot of explaining on my part and millions of questions on their part but my sons and I have a great open and honest relationship and we can really talk about anything and everything! Keiko
  49. Memorizing the names of dinosaurs, characters in Cars, transformers, cartoons in cBeebies, etc. I do this better than memorizing terminologies at my workplace!! Jmt
  50. Being a single working Mom battling a divorce definitely hasn’t been easy. However, I do my very best to balance work and family and ensure to instil positivity in my little girl every day! I want her to know that she is loved at all times and can depend on me and trust me no matter what. Em
  51. Letting them grow and leave the nest to go to university. Not really, but I’m good at hiding my tears. Michele
  52. Just being there for them when they need mummy and giving proper space for them to grow and learn. Jill
  53. Volunteering at school. Robyn
  54. Letting my son fall down and not fussing over him beyond, “You’re good, you’re good.” I think I have a pretty tough toddler LOL! Lilian
  55. Failing my cookies/muffins recipes… but even better at telling bed time stories and hugging and kissing a lot. Virginie
  56. Not losing the plot on a daily basis! Lisa
  57. Showing my unconditional love and letting them know I will always, always support them. To me they are the most important things, the rest comes from there! Linda
  58. Making fresh, healthy food for my little ones…food I’m happy for them to eat. I can usually talk them out of something I’d rather they didn’t eat by saying I will make it at home myself with much safer ingredients. Tiffany
  59. Knowing exactly where every shoe, toy, homework, school bag, PE kit, piece of clothing or any random object is when asked. And can recall everyone’s daily schedule from memory and make sure everyone’s where they should be on time, every time!! Sue
  60. Giving hugs and kisses – fixes almost anything. Never had any tantrums in my house. Michelle
  61. Creating 101 crafty ideas for toilet roll cardboard and how to make a drink bottle rocketship. Of course working out how to physically get past Earth’s atmosphere is the fun part. Rachelle
  62. Explaining the reasons why, when giving direction or instruction. Also knowing that the moment your teenager wants to talk to you is not necessarily the moment you would have chosen yourself (like 10:30pm on a school night when you’ve a 6am flight in the morning). And when they want to talk, don’t miss out on the moment. Because there isn’t a second chance. Fiona
  63. Making up songs on the spot. Inspired great songs such as ‘Why are you always so hungry?’, ‘I am very very tired’ and ‘You stink, that nappy needs changing now’. Doubt Elton John will be banging on my door to collaborate anytime soon, but it keeps us amused, and others bemused. Geraldine
  64. Not taking things too seriously i.e. giving them lots to laugh at and about. Also lots of listening and talking to them. All of this has been easier since scaling back on work. Bernice
  65. Remaining calm when all 3 of my kids are doing their best to drive me crazy. Took me a few years to get there but here I am! Orla

 

 

orla breezeOrla Breeze is a writer, columnist, workshop facilitator, eft practitioner and Mum of 3 so generally quite busy! She is based in Hong Kong and also spent 8 years in the UK working at both the BBC and ITV whilst there. Nowadays her focus is on writing about parenting, running parenting preparation workshops and offering private sessions for parents of all ages and stages. Oh and looking after her kids! She makes regular visits to Australia and Europe and can be contacted here by email.

Keep up to date with her latest articles, workshops and her monthly column Rated PG! on Twitter,  Facebook or by signing up for her newsletter on the top right of this page.

 

 

How This One Simple List Will Re-Balance Your Life

March 17, 2014 in Blog, Column, Content, Dads, Latest, Mums, Parenting

 

orla breeze parental guidance Rated PG column

 

 

 

 

How To Easily Create The Perfect Work/Life Balance For You!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

website bioOrla Breeze is a writer, columnist, workshop facilitator, eft practitioner and Mum of 3 so generally quite busy! She is based in Hong Kong and has also spent 8 years in the UK working at both the BBC and ITV whilst there. Nowadays her focus is on writing about parenting, running parenting preparation workshops and offering private sessions for parents of all ages and stages. Oh and looking after her kids! She makes regular visits to Australia and Europe and can be contacted here by email.

Keep up to date with her latest articles, workshops and her monthly column Rated PG! on Twitter,  Facebook or by signing up for her newsletter on the top right of this page.

 

When Relaxation Met Parenthood

March 6, 2014 in Blog, Column, Content, Dads, Latest, Mums, Parenting

orla breeze - parental guidance!

 

 

 

How Relaxation & Parenthood got back together. Awwwwh!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

website bioOrla Breeze is a writer, columnist, workshop facilitator, eft practitioner and Mum of 3 so generally quite busy! She is based in Hong Kong and has also spent 8 years in the UK working at both the BBC and ITV whilst there. Nowadays her focus is on writing about parenting, running parenting preparation workshops and offering private sessions for parents of all ages and stages. Oh and looking after her kids! She makes regular visits to Australia and Europe and can be contacted here by email.

Keep up to date with her latest articles, workshops and her monthly column Rated PG! on Twitter,  Facebook or by signing up for her newsletter on the top right of this page.

 

 

How Dr Seuss Transformed Our Family Mealtimes

March 3, 2014 in Blog, Content, Dads, Latest, Mums, Parenting

orla breeze parental guidance!

I am not a fan of cooking. I don’t understand how anyone could enjoy the process of spending time creating something only to see it demolished in minutes. Yes, I know there are many who claim it to be relaxing but for me it’s about as relaxing as listening to a pile driver on headphones.

 

However when my children were younger, I decided that it was my duty to prepare beautiful healthy meals for them as a sign of my undying devotion and motherly love. I would spend hours in the kitchen chopping, slicing, roasting and grilling organic vegetables and free-range meats for their little mouths to enjoy. So when they used to greet all my efforts with a chorus of “I don’t like it!” before they had even tried it, it would send me ever closer to the precipice of insanity. I knew something had to be done.

 

My eureka moment happened a couple of weeks later when I was reading them one of their favourite bedtime stories. Dr Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham has always been hugely popular in our home. It’s a rip-roaring tale of a grouchy old git who is pursued by an over-enthusiastic character called Sam I Am, who’s hell bent on getting him to try the latest and greatest cuisine.

 

Needless to say, Grouchy is not too keen. Even I know that matching a food capable of carrying salmonella with green food colouring borders on insanity. However Sam I Am is not deterred.

 

He chases him o’er land and sea with his plate of food insisting that Grouchy at least try it. Eventually Grouchy is worn down. He can’t take the constant repetitive asking. I know how he feels and even though I would advise against it, he gives in to Sam’s demands. This has to end in disaster. But wait! It turns out that Sam was right all along. Grouchy doesn’t just like green Eggs and ham, he absolutely LOVES it! And that was when the penny dropped.

 

From that moment on, I took a whole new approach to mealtimes. I decided to become Sam I Am and serve every meal with a good dose of Dr Seuss. Every time I heard the words “I don’t like it”, I simply replied with “Well, what about Green Eggs and Ham?” The first time this happened, all three grouches looked at me with blank expressions.

 

“Green Eggs and Ham? You know, the one with Sam I Am?”

“Eh yes?”

“And he said he wouldn’t eat it on a box or with a fox or in a shoe or on the loo?”

“So?”

“And then he tried it and what happened?”

“Well he loved it.”

“Exactly, so what if it turns out this dinner is your absolute favourite food ever and you won’t even try it?”

 

For a few moments, I wasn’t entirely sure that this was going to work but lo and behold, suddenly my kids were trying and eating something they claimed to hate just a few minutes before. It was a mealtime miracle.

 

You see the thing is, kids hate the idea of missing out. We’ve all experienced the child who will forego a nap just in case a spontaneous party erupts while they’re sleeping. Or the child who would rather pee their pants than go to the loo just in case a whole new scene appears on that dvd they’ve already watched 4,279 times. Turns out, it’s the same with food.

 

They simply can’t cope with the possibility that today could be the day their most favourite food ever appears before them. And all it takes is one little phrase to get them to try. Green Eggs and Ham.

 

 

parental guidance by orla breezeOrla Breeze is a writer, columnist, workshop facilitator, eft practitioner and Mum of 3 so generally quite busy! She is based in Hong Kong and has also spent 8 years in the UK working at both the BBC and ITV whilst there. Nowadays her focus is on writing about parenting, running parenting preparation workshops and offering private sessions for parents of all ages and stages. Oh and looking after her kids! She makes regular visits to Australia and Europe and can be contacted here by email.

Keep up to date with her latest articles, workshops and her monthly column Rated PG! on Twitter,  Facebook or by signing up for her newsletter on the top right of this page.

 

 

 

How To Be The Hero At Your Wife’s C-Section!

February 24, 2014 in Blog, Content, Dads, Mums, Parenting

 

completely distracted by baby despite the major op going on behind the cloth!

C-sections ain’t what they’re cracked up to be. Take it from me, I’ve had 3. So if for medical reasons, emergency or choice you find yourself accompanying your wife to the OR for the birth of your beautiful baby, there are a few key things you should really be aware of.

 

Because these key things will make a HUGE difference to your partner’s stress levels.  And being aware of them means you’ll be one she’ll have to thank for an overall calmer experience.

 

Which has to be said is an excellent start to family life!

 

So let me begin by setting the stage so that you can see the C-section through her eyes. The more you understand how she’s feeling, the easier it will be to support her.

 

  • First things first, unless it’s an emergency, it’s not unusual for your wife to have to walk herself into the OR. And then get herself up on the operating table. For the express reason of being cut open. It’s a bit like you having to take that walk knowing that it’s only a matter of minutes before that man with the mask over there will be slicing dangerously close to your most delicate of areas. It’s unnerving.
  • Once on the table, she needs to lie flat on her back – something she hasn’t attempted for months. Mainly because there’s a fully grown baby inside her. And feeling the full weight of that baby on top of her feels, well, really weird.
  • And once the procedure begins, she’s suddenly very aware that she’s being sliced open just behind a thin cloth. The fear of that cloth falling down giving her a front row view of the slicing is something she does not want to be focussing on!
  • However the biggest surprise for her will be that although a spinal block or an epidural blocks all pain, neither block any of the feeling. This results in the oddest sensation that somebody is rummaging around inside her body. Like she’s some kind of shopping bag. This is odd. Very odd.

 

Best thing you can do? Distract her. In any and every way you can. Well except for maybe juggling with the surgical instruments or dancing around the OR. That will probably get you kicked out. But anything else goes. Here are my top 3 recommendations.

 

  1. Put some music on. And not necessarily the music she expects. As the first C-section I went through was an emergency, we didn’t have time to grab the cd I had planned on. But when we got into the OR, the team started playing the last song I would ever have thought of. The great Barry White’s “You’re the First, my Last, my Everything” Which immediately made me laugh and reduced my stress by about 50%.  Still brings a smile to my face over ten years later.
  2. Talk to her. Chat about the last holiday you took. That night you went out on the rip with your friends and ended up coming home with a traffic cone on your head. Anything that has nothing to do with what’s going on behind that cloth. She’ll ask you for updates when she wants them. It might seem strange ignoring the obvious but the distracting chats I’ve had with my husband and usually the anaesthetist made a big difference to me. Besides distraction is one of the great parenting tools so you may as well start practising it now.
  3. And finally, if she really doesn’t want to be distracted and would rather focus on what’s occurring, there are two things you can tell her that will increase her calm. Firstly that it only takes about 10 – 15 mins for baby to be born and secondly that although it’s an unusual situation for her to be in, it’s a very normal and common one for the surgical team. For them, it’s just another day at the office.

 

So now that you know what to do for her, what can you do for you? Can you still be involved in the birth of your child? But of course!

 

Your choices are: watch the entire thing, peep over the cloth at the point of birth or not look at all. The first time, hubby didn’t look at all, the second time he had a peep and the third time, he watched the whole thing. Having done all three, he recommends watching as much as you can. After all, it’s not something you see every day of the week. And remember you can also ask to cut the umbilical cord if that’s something you want to do. Just let the surgical team know in advance.

 

The great thing about C-sections is that once baby is born, you’ll both be so enamoured by your new addition that your partner will almost completely forget that she’s still in the middle of a major operation. And with you doing an incredible job of keeping her well distracted for the first few minutes, she will be able to achieve the kind of birth most mums want – calm and stress-free.

 

parental guidance by orla breezeOrla Breeze is a writer, columnist, workshop facilitator, eft practitioner and Mum of 3 so generally quite busy! She is based in Hong Kong and has also spent 8 years in the UK working at both the BBC and ITV whilst there. Nowadays her focus is on writing about parenting, running parenting preparation workshops and offering private sessions for parents of all ages and stages. Oh and looking after her kids! She makes regular visits to Australia and Europe and can be contacted here by email.

Keep up to date with her latest articles, workshops and her monthly column Rated PG! on Twitter,  Facebook or by signing up for her newsletter on the top right of this page.

 

 

 

How To Have An Affair That Keeps Your Husband Happy

February 13, 2014 in Blog, Content, Dads, Mums, Parenting

orla breeze parental guidanceI’m having an affair. There, I’ve said it. I honestly never meant for it to happen but all the wining, dining, luxury hotels and all those hasty trips abroad have left me truly, madly and oh so deeply in love! But the best thing about this new-found romance is that my husband fully supports it. He thinks it’s the best thing I’ve ever done. So how did I get to this happy place? Well it all came about after a particularly good girls’ night out…

 

I had just finished my first second third drink of the night with a Mummy friend of mine (not the Egyptian kind) when we both decided that we deserved a gift for making it through our first year of Motherhood. Most people would just treat themselves to a couple of hours of pampering but not us. Oh no! The lethal combination of far too many vodkas and the kind of exuberance that can only come from two new mums out on the town resulted in an excellent decision. We were going to get on a plane and go somewhere! Not the most solid of plans but a plan nonetheless.

 

The very next day despite considerable hangovers we booked ourselves on a city break for the weekend. Well I say weekend but what’s the point in leaving on a Friday when we could just as easily leave on a Thursday night? And really, what’s the point in leaving on a Thursday night when we could catch the lunchtime plane? So it was settled. We left our husbands behind with the babies and bolted.

 

The affair began almost immediately. The sheer excitement of boarding a plane carrying only a small handbag had my heart all a-flutter. Even the trip to the hotel in a slightly battered taxi did nothing to quell the butterflies in my stomach.

 

Over the following three days, I was treated to all kinds of luxuries. A relaxing shower every morning instead of one accompanied by the screams of a small child. Breakfast with not one but two whole cups of coffee that I actually got to finish before they went cold. Restaurants that were chosen simply because I liked them and not because they had a highchair. But I knew I had truly fallen in love when I found myself having a long post-lunch nap. That was it for me. I was head-over-heels in love with myself and there was no going back.

 

Since then my self-affair has taken me off for a fabulous short break every single year. And each time I return a little happier, a lot calmer and dare I say, almost joyful.  And that my friends, means my husband is happy too.

 

So I’m declaring it a right of Motherhood. From this day forth each and every Mum must commit to an affair with herself. So go get your laptops, get googling and book yourself on a long weekend away. Right this minute. Only criteria are no children, no husband, one girlfriend and a handbag (preferably your own).

 

You know, there’s an old saying that goes “Happy Mummy, Happy Family” so why not look on this as a duty to ensure your family’s happiness? A sanity break for you: a world of happiness for them. We may just have ourselves a win-win!

 

parental guidance by orla breezeOrla Breeze is a writer, columnist, workshop facilitator, eft practitioner and Mum of 3 so generally quite busy! She is based in Hong Kong and has also spent 8 years in the UK working at both the BBC and ITV whilst there. Nowadays her focus is on writing about parenting, running parenting preparation workshops and offering private sessions for parents of all ages and stages. Oh and looking after her kids! She makes regular visits to Australia and Europe and can be contacted here by email.

Keep up to date with her latest articles, workshops and her monthly column Rated PG! on Twitter,  Facebook or by signing up for her newsletter on the top right of this page.

 

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