HONEST MUM REVIEW: SIMPLE as that Natural Sunscreen

#HonestMumReview of {SIMPLE as that} Natural Sunscreen:

Living on the beautiful Gold Coast means we spend most of our weekends outside enjoying what this sunny beach-side city has to offer. Our weekend’s are filled with water parks, beach days and park picnics.

Since having Teddy, I’ve become conscience of what I’m smothering him in prior to our fun in the sun. I didn’t want to put harsh ingredients on his skin. So I began to research safe sun-care for toddlers, and I discovered {SIMPLE as that} Natural Sunscreen. Their SPF 30 lotion for children has been developed my pharmacist and fellow mum-boss, Danielle Glover.

So why do I recommend this product? It’s pharmacist-formulated, using high quality ingredients, and, unlike other sunscreens, it’s sulphate, petrochemical and paraben free. And it’s full of the good stuff; chamomile oil, green tea oil, rosehip oil, all while delivering SPF 30 broad spectrum protection for our little ones. I even use their natural sunscreen, with raspberry seed oil, as a make-up base and for everyday use.

This sunscreen has become a nappy bag essential for us, and goes with us everywhere! Check out their insta-page or visit simpleasthat.com.au 🌞

So here’s the problem with “mummy bloggers”…

So here’s the problem with so-called “mummy bloggers”: If you’re reading this, you either follow mummy bloggers or you are one. I guess you can define a #mummyblogger as first and foremost, a mum, and secondly a mum who shares her life via social platforms. Over the past few years, many mummy bloggers have entered the stratosphere of semi-celebrity status, and this has pissed allot of people off. Why should a stay at home mum with no social media training or writing degree get so much notoriety? Well let me tell you why. Because they’ve opened up their lives, their homes and their souls to the world. It’s no small thing, to be raw and honest and real. Social media is filled with the fake. The “ambassadors”. The “influencers”. The “fitness models”. The “insta-fomous”. And to the average mum, struggling with mum-life, it’s refreshing to see cellulite and mum-tums. It’s reassuring to read about poo explosions and toddler tantrums. It’s a release to talk about post-natal anxiety and mental health. As a fellow mummy blogger, I’ve discovered an avenue to share my ordinary mum-life, and it’s been like therapy!

So why do mummy bloggers cop so much hate? I see it everyday. The underhanded comments. The eye-roll at the very mention of “mum” and “blogger”. The complete dismissal of this platform. I believe it comes down to two things.

The first is resentment.

Average women dominate this side of social media. Companies and brands recognizing the potential of parent bloggers are capitalizing on this. Where once only insta-models were considered “influential”, now stay at home mums covered in biscuit and sporting mum-buns are now the new INFLUENCER of Instagram. The re-branding of the “influencer” world has not impressed alot of people who have built their reputations upon perfectly filtered, staged and photoshoped profiles. Now don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of “perfect” mummy bloggers out there, who’s organizational skills, spotless houses and beautifully filtered photos put my blurry, messy, make up free photos to shame. But these women are also killing it when it comes to the Instagram game. They’ve taken this platform to a whole new level and are now reaching huge numbers of followers. This is something completely unprecedented and completely dominated by us, the average mum!

The second reason sadly is the audience itself; mums. Mum’s can be cruel. It’s sad to say, but it’s true. Becoming a mum is this intense transition which brings out the best and worst in us. Because bloggers share so much of their lives, every aspect is open to criticism. Formula feeding, co-sleeping, daycare, car seats, toilet training, milestones…it’s all scrutinized and compared and judged. Take popular mum blogger Revie Jane (@reviejane), she received an incredible amount of backlash over exercising whilst pregnant, and again when she stepped out for a baby-free girls night. And alot of this backlash came from mums! Unfortunately we are creatures of habit. We compare our bodies, our children and our lives to others, and we often find ourselves coming up short. So what do we do when this happens? We lash out at the person who made us feel this way. And who is easier to do this to then a popular internet mum who’s buckled their kid wrong into a car seat.

Blogging has developed into this huge social media monster. It has so many variances in quality and content. If you find yourself following someone who makes you feel less then average, who doesn’t inspire ordinary life, who doesn’t affect good change or challenge your way of thinking, then simply click unfollow. The problem with so-called mummy bloggers is not the bloggers, it’s the followers who don’t connect with their content or respect the person behind the camera.

And let’s remember, when women support other women, we are capable of incredible things!

πŸ“· Follow our journery at instagram.com/lexie.theordinarymum

FINDING CONFIDENCE AFTER BABY…

FINDING CONFIDENCE AFTER BABY. We give so much of ourselves in order to be a mum. We give our bodies, our sleep, our social lives and often our careers to motherhood. We prioritize ourselves last and don’t think twice about it. Our focus shifts from our well-being and happiness to souly our children’s.

After 14 months of playing first-time-mum, I’ve discovered that we give so much of ourselves to motherhood, we often lose a piece of who we are. One piece I certainly lost was #confidence. Confidence in myself, my new role, my new life. For me, confidence post-baby is like a puzzle. Some pieces get lost under the couch or sucked up the vacuum. But we must try to complete it without them. So where do you even start?

I am 10kg heavier than I was pre-baby. Leaving the house takes the organizational skills of a small government. I have post-natal anxiety. These reasons alone should keep me inside the house. But it’s these reasons I make myself get out everyday. And that’s the first step; GET OUT OF THE HOUSE! Schedule a daily walk, coffee date, drive or park visit into your routine. Give yourself time to learn how to unfold that pram and get baby in and out of that car seat. Practice how to leave the house. The most under-valued therapy for a new mum is just being outside! And once you’ve mastered the pram and car seat, nothing can stop you.

When your body is ready, EXERCISE! If you’ve never been one for the gym or bootcamps, now is the time. Start with a walk. Progress as your body allows you. There are mummy-focused, pram friendly, post-natal bootcamps and classes available in most towns and cities. One I found here on the coast is Yummy Mummy Fitness . Another option is finding a gym with child minding facilities. So do your research. Find something that will push you out of your comfort zone. Challenge yourself! Once you do, you’ll feel better, you’ll get out of the house, you’ll meet new people. It’s an incredible waterfall effect all starting with exercise.

The next step is ACCEPTION & APPRECIATION. Acception of your new body and appreciation for everything it’s done. No body bounces back after baby. The only thing that bounces is our saggy boobs, butt and belly. It’s ok if you feel more comfortable in high waisted tights then a denim skirt. It’s ok if you have to donate half your closet to charity, because nothing fits anymore. It’s ok because you carried a baby and it’s changed your body forever. It’s what you do with your body now that counts. Learn how to nourish it. Learn how to dress it. Learn how to challenge it. Learn to accept it. And eventually you’ll learn to love it.

An important step to finding confidence is to SCHEDULE SELF-CARE. This is something we never had to do pre-babies. Self-care might mean different things to different people. To me it’s regular visits to the hairdresser and baby-free gym sessions. To you it might mean a girls night out or getting a massage. The important thing is to schedule it. Get your partner to do their 50% and parent the baby for a day. Book a babysitter. Get Grandma over. Organise time just for you! It’s incredibly beneficial for your mind to just switch off from mum-life for a moment and reconnect with yourself.

Along with self-care comes something equally as important. Get a SOCIAL LIFE! After I moved to Gold Coast from my hometown of 29 years, I had no connections, no established friends, no one outside of my immediate family. Then I fell pregnant a short time later and the isolation grew exponentially. So I did something I would have never done pre-baby. I joined a social group, I put my self out there and I met new people. Mama Tribe helped push me outside my social comfort zone, and reestablish a confidence I thought was long lost. Talking to other mums, engaging, getting out of the house, it all made me feel less alone in the crazy journey. So I highly recommend finding a new tribe, joining a play group, planning mum meet-ups, or attending baby-free brunches. Find a social setting that pushes you outside your comfort zone and gets you meeting new people.

CLEAN OUT YOUR SOCIALS. Do a mass unfollow, and get rid of people or accounts who make you feel less then worthy or second guess your surroundings. Perhaps following Miranda Kerr gives you #organizationgoals, but at the same time you’re comparing her flawless mum-bod to your glorious mum-tum. Follow accounts or bloggers who inspire ordinary life. Who give you realistic insights. I love following accounts who keep it real and make me feel a little less alone in this journey. Some of my favorite ordinary mums are Adele Barbaro, Courtney McCarty and EmmyLou.

Finding confidence after baby is a journey. It takes time and it takes practice. But just know you are not alone in this. The struggles, the ups and downs, the self-doubt, the self-loathing. We’ve all been there. But it’s how we pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off that matters. It’s completing the puzzle without the missing pieces and appreciating it anyway. You are enough and you are worth it.

SHARE this with all your mum-friends! Confidence is contagious 🧑

πŸ“· Follow our journery at instagram.com/lexie.theordinarymum

So here’s the problem with Ashy Bines…

So here’s the problem with Ashy Bines.

If you haven’t heard of Ashy, or you’ve been living under a rock; Ashy Bines is a fitness ambassador turned entrepreneur, with over 1 million followers on instagram, snapchat and facebook.

Ashy Bines is a brand. The husband and wife team have spent years culminating Ashy’s persona into fitness apps, tours, nutritional supps, activewear, fashion labels and beauty products, all combined with a strong social media presence. It’s because of this, we no longer see Ashy as a person, but as this brand. This ultimately means the brand may be thriving, by Ashley Evan’s is an afterthought.

So I’m not on here to tell you to buy their app or jump on their clean eating bandwagon, because I certainly haven’t. I’m here to remind you of something else. No matter what you think of their brand, Ashy Bines is human. She is human. Read this again. Ashy Bines is a human being, and I think a lot of us have forgotten this. I have noticed of late, reading comments under some of Ashy’s instagram posts, the shameless and disturbing comments in regards to her son and her family. I read one comment stating her son should have never been born. Just let that soak in. Who feels, in their right mind, that this is justified? With a team assisting in the running of her instagram account, you can only imagine what comments and DMs we don’t see.

She is a mother and a wife. She goes home at night, cuddles her boy, cooks him dinner, baths him, reads him a story and watches his monitor once he’s asleep. Sound familiar? It’s easy to dehumanize someone you have never met. Someone who is constantly popping up on your news feed or snap chat. Somone standing in a bikini on a beach in Bora Bora, whilst you are cleaning up a poo explosion and negotiating with a toddler not to paint with it. But this is what the social media has conditioned us to do. To take our daily lives, compare them to a filtered photo, undermine ourselves, self-loath, become envious, turn this envy into dislike, dislike into anger and anger into hatred.

We don’t have to like the husband and wife’s branding of their business, or their services they offer. You don’t have to buy their activewear or sign up to their apps. But what you MUST do is stop. Stop hating someone you have never met. Stop the cycle of self-loathing which leads you to this place. Stop jumping on bandwagons and encouraging bullying behavior. Stop comparing your life to Instagram squares. From everything I know about Ashy Bines, which is limited to social media, she is a good mum and a hard worker. So lets start with that next time you feel that keyboard warrior rearing its ugly head. At the end of the day, we are all just mums, doing our best, wishing for a quiet moment alone in the toilet.

#ashybines

I want to talk about anxiety…

So I want talk about #anxiety. Previous to having my Son, Edward, I never really experienced anxiety. I did have moments where I felt overwhelmed or stressed, but not to the level I do post-baby. I had always felt pretty in control when it came to mental health. Whatever in control means. But after having my first child, I almost instantly started to feel different. I remember an incident one morning, about 1 week after giving birth. I was home from hospital and my husband, Patrick, was back at work. Edward was crying in his bouncer in the loungroom, I was desperately trying to get his bottles sterilized whilst holding onto a full bladder. I hadn’t showered in days, I was functioning off a few hours sleep, and I felt like I was doing this all by myself. It seems like a simple, manageable situation. But for some reason it felt incredibly overwhelming. My stomach was wrenching. My heart was pounding. I felt sick and dizzy and breathless. It wasn’t until months later that I recognized and sort help for anxiety. My brain had been crushed with a new reality, new struggles and a newborn.

As time went on, and I came to terms with our new-normal, I still felt that lingering presence. That quite, intangible consciousness. It appeared mostly when I tried to leave the house or go to a social event. I sometimes find myself shaking whilst trying desperately to pack a nappy bag, with a clingy toddler on my hip, and exactly 8 minutes left to get my hair and makeup done. When this happens, I know it’s time to stop. Put down whatever it is I’m doing. Walk into the loungroom or bedroom. Sit down with my son, and just cuddle and breath. I’ve had to learn that being late to an appointment is mum-life and not the end of the world. It’s a process I’m still trying to master. To see the signs of my anxiety, to stop and to put my mental health first.

So how do I deal with this newfound mum-life induced anxiety? Well firstly I asked my GP if I’m crazy. Her response was “no”, followed by “you are completely normal”. Thank God I have an epic GP. Secondly, I stay away from coffee and alcohol when I start to feel even slightly anxious. Thirdly, I schedule self-care into my calendar. A hair appointment, a baby-free shopping trip, a movie night with hubby, take away instead of cooking, a gym session. Something that makes me feel good or happy or relaxed. And finally, I take a deep breath, hit the reset button and give this gorgeous boy a big fat cuddle.

Don’t suffer in silence. If you are feeling overwhelmed or like something is not quite right with your mental health, seek help. Talk to your loved ones. Speak to your GP or engage services like Beyond Blue. You are not abnormal and you are not alone.

We need to reach a point where speaking up about mental health isn’t brave, it’s just the norm. #anxietyawareness

Self-care is NOT a dirty word…

SELF-CARE!!! It isn’t a buzz word. It isn’t a passing fad or just some nonsense. Self-care is the most underrated and underappreciated occurrences in a mums life. I have discovered over these past 12 months just how important it is, not only for my confidence, but for my mental health. Self-care might mean many different things to different mums. For some, it might be joining a bootcamp or going to the gym. For others it might mean reading a book or taking a Thai cooking class. For me it’s the little things. It’s showering alone. It’s having time to put a fake tan on. It’s finally going to the hairdresser’s and getting that regrowth taken care of. It’s, crazily enough, being able to clean and organize my home with no interruption. It’s guilt-free baby-free time dedicated to my sanity.

After a few months of putting self-care on the back burner, prioritizing baby, work, routine and hubby, I’ve finally hit that figurative wall. I feel overwhelmed and overextended. My eyebrows are sprouting from my eyelids. My hair is now officially unsure if it’s supposed to blonde, grey or whatever colour that regrowth is. I haven’t showered alone in weeks. My days are filled with early wake ups, wrangling a toddler, attempting to get ready whilst toddler is attached to my leg, guilty daycare drop offs, work, swimming lessons, organized baby-friendly activities, cleaning, cooking, nightfeeds and repeat. It becomes way to easy for us to assume this is all we want or deserve.

We give so much of ourselves to motherhood. Our bodies. Our sleep. Our time. Our minds! We invest our entire soul into our little human creations, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. But this ultimately can take it’s toll, both physically and mentally. Without taking time to invest back into yourself, you’ll eventually go bankrupt.

You are first and foremost human, and you are a being that needs to be nourished and loved just like your children do. Don’t forget to love yourself enough in order to be the very best mum you can be. Today, this week or this month, dedicate time to doing something just for you. It isn’t as impossible as you might think it is.

SIDE NOTE: This mama has snagged a ticket to the @mamatribelove pop-up party! Taking my regrowth and eyebrows for a night out πŸ€£πŸ’›πŸΎπŸ₯‚

πŸ“· Follow my honest journey on Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/lexie.theordinarymum

Sometimes we need to stop and appreciate a formula-fed baby

Sometimes we need to stop and appreciate a formula-fed baby.

Watching all the breastfeeding mumma’s out there, I want to scream YASSS QUEEN! I want to high five them or give them cuddle…which would probably weird them out and be highly inappropriate…but breastfeeding is just freaking awesome. And for every equal reason, so is formula feeding.

I tried, so very very hard, to be apart of this exclusive booby-club. 24 hours after giving birth, I was being hand pumped by an angry midwife at 3am until I screamed stop. At 7 days post-partum, I was at home pumping for literally hours on end, only to get 5 mls, maybe less. My poor nipples were raw, my boobs ached and there was no bloody reason why it shouldn’t have been working. As I sat there, staring down at the almost empty pumping container, I thought to myself “what’s wrong with me?” We tried a lactation consultant, massage, cookies, everything. We tried everything for 6 straight weeks. I was tired, defeated and out of options. So our boy became apart of the exclusive formula-fed club…and it was the biggest relife in my new-mum life!

Breastfeeding was hard, and I can confidentially say, so was the formula gig. Trialing tin, after tin, after tin, until you find one that doesn’t cause World War POO. Testing a million different teets and bottles; size, shape, flow, reflux attachments, wide neck, tall neck … it’s more complex then learning to swaddle! Then there is the cleaning, sterilizing, boiling water, prepping and repeat. And don’t even get me started on trying to do this all once you leave the house. It can be an ordeal for any new mum or dad.

I had a “friend” sit at the kitchen bench and read allowed the ingredients in my newly purchased formula. “You know it has flavoring in it?” Swiftly followed by the statement “this is why I exclusively breastfed”. It is this sentiment which has cast this ridiculous shadow over formula feeding mummas.

To all the mums out there struggling to breastfeed, thinking of stopping or just can’t do it…it’s ok. That’s why science has stepped in and given us powder gold. You are no less of a woman or a mother. You are in fact equal to any breastfeeding mumma . We are all feeding our babies. We are all nourishing our babies. We are all bonding with our babies.

Those little moments when you hold them in your arms and just stare at each other whilst he drinks…those moments are precious. It’s this moment all mums have in common. ALL MUMS!

Breastfeeding shame is real. Formula-feeding shame is real. Mum shaming is real. Let’s stop and appreciate all the feeding mummas!

How to host the perfect kids birthday party…

Over the weekend I hosted my very first kids birthday party, and it was a complete success! So I thought I would share my step-by-step instructions on how to host the perfect kids party.

STEP ONE: Choose a date that will most likely coincide with an extreme weather event. Like in our case, it was an unprecedented heat wave. But you might prefer flash flooding or a cyclone. It keeps things interesting for guests.

STEP TWO: Leave it until the last minute to buy decorations, and in a frenzied manner, run into Kmart screaming like a woman whose just seen Jason Momoa on a beach with his shirt off.

STEP THREE: Buy oddly coloured, highly toxic $1 balloons & streamers. Match these with environmentally un-friendly utensils & plates. Guests will be in awe of your creativity. Also consider that discounted salafane number balloon that requires a helium machine to inflate… which you do not have.

STEP FOUR: Order a nibble platter from Woolies, buy pre-made salads, get your best friend to make a cob loaf, and have hubby cook the BBQ. Not only does this leave more time for drinking wine, it also highlights your ability to delegate tasks.

STEP FIVE: Send your husband or partner to set up the venue a few hours before the party commences. This will demonstrate their ability to complete simple tasks whilst drinking copious amounts of beer.

STEP SIX: Smother your child in 50+ sunscreen but forget to do yourself. Because beetroot shoulders and thick bra-strap tan lines screams style and sophistication.

STEP SEVEN: Wear mascara and nothing else! Mascara will hide the fact you have aged dramatically over the past 12 months and will let your guests know that you have completely given up on your appearance.

STEP EIGHT: Serve delectable entrees which highlight your compentcy in the kitchen. These might include cheezles, half frozen party pies and doritos with salsa. If you are feeling especially confident, maybe even try the always popular jatz with cheddar cheese. Always a winner in our household!

STEP NINE: Always provide your guests with appropriate background music. In our case it was a “best of the 90’s” spotify playlist. Nothing screams class like Alannis Morrisett at max volume on a JBL speaker.

STEP TEN: Have an appropriate amount of cheap champagne in the esky, but completely forget water for the under-aged guests. This will illustrate how becoming a mother has really changed your priorities in life.

STEP ELEVEN: Invest in an epic, over the top cake, and tell everyone you spent all night baking it. Classic move.

and finally STEP TWELVE: Once the party is over and the guests have left, pay your teenage nephew $10 to clean up whilst you sit back and finish the cheap champagne. Delegation is the key to success!

Going back to work has made me a better mum.

Going back to work has made me a better mum.

Before I became a mother, I never understood what all the hype was about. I was never the clucky one. I loved my sleep-ins, my dogs, my travel and my husband. When my son Teddy was born, my entire perspective was violently shifted. Suddenly I knew this intense love and fear that I never thought was possible. He became the centre of our little universe, and I was thrust into the world of motherhood.

Long nights, early mornings, poo explosions, tantrums, tears, vaccinations, sleep regression, routines, vacuuming, mopping, washing, folding, sterilizing, prepping and repeat.

I wish someone had warned me about the crushing reality of becoming a new mum. Some of us handle it like champions, others require help. For me, I neither handled it nor had help. No grandparents near by, no family near by, no babysitters, no reprieve. My husband returned to work a few days after the birth, and after the visitors stopped coming, I found myself very alone. Chatting to many new mums, I have discovered that this is a silent reality for so many of us.

Being home alone with my son, 13 hours a day, spending what seemed like endless hours trying to keep him entertained and happy, it was so exhausting. Don’t get me wrong, this kid is and continues to be my entire reason for existence. But sometimes this stay-at-home gig can be the hardest part of motherhood.

At 6 months post-partum, I decided to return to work. Just 2 days a week. I researched and inspected countless daycare facilities until we found the perfect one. The first day I dropped my son to daycare, I felt this sense of relife. I know, I probably should have been bawling my eyes out and googling “am I bad mother?”. But after months of no outside help, I was finally given the chance to shower in peace and sit down for a cup of coffee. It was incredible!

Trying to get baby and I ready for work and daycare is an anxiety filled, high intensity exercise. But once I’ve dropped him off and gotten back into my quiet, air-conditioned car, I switch off my mum-brain, switch on triple J and just take a moment. Because just taking a moment is not something us mums do very often.

We’ve had bad drop off days, where Teddy refuses to let go, and the tears are real on both sides. But for the most part, he loves daycare, and for the most part I’m looking at the clock, counting down to 4pm. I get so excited for pick up time. I can’t wait for that first cuddle after work. It’s this small separation that gives me an opportunity to miss him and appreciate him, which is almost impossible when you are with them 24/7.

Being back at work has also reminded me that I’ve got these other talents outside of wrestling a toddler into a wondersuit. Speaking on the phone, dealing with customers, collating quotes, reconciling, delegating…it came back to me almost instantly, and I’d forgotten I was actually good at it! It was a confidence booster.

Because I’ve gone back to work, I now look forward to our home days together. The playdates, the park adventures, the shopping trips, the swimming lessons and the days we just stay home and get things done…it’s all so much more manageable and so much more enjoyable. I feel like in order for us mums to function, we need that seemingly unachievable life balance. Family, work, relationships and exercise. It takes a while for a new mum to get these things right, but we all eventually do in our own time. For me, it started with going back to work, and everything else just began to fall into place.

If you are a mum considering a return to work, or if you don’t have a choice, my advice is don’t be scared. Change can look overwhelming from the outside, but as with all things in life, we adapt and we thrive.

Dear Mum-Tum…

Dear mum-tum. You’re a stubborn bitch. Yes, you’ve been through allot; 9 months of unprecedented expansion, followed by a sudden deflation, followed by a good 6 months of complete neglect. But the fact that you hang around long after the party is over, despite all my efforts to remove you via good eating, moderate exercise and intense death starring in the mirror, is starting to take it’s toll. You seem to have a life span similar to that of Donald Trump’s comb over, and you’re probably just as popular…

Remember that bandage dress we used to wear to the races? Yeah well, it no longer likes you. And that denim skirt we used to rely almost every day? It’s suddenly become a very unsupportive member of our closet. Oh, and that cute high-cut lace underwear doesn’t appreciate the way you resemble hotdogs in one of those rolling machines. ***insert Homer Simpson drool.

Let’s not even get started on shapewear. How is it you won’t budge an inch to squeeze into our favorite pair of jeans, but the moment we put on a pair of spanx, you morph into some kind of jello monster, and relocate to my upper back?

I don’t expect to look like Jennifer Lawrence, but we have to negotiate some kind of deal. I no longer want to be asked how far along I am. It’s awkward and increases our chances of offending that person with a sarcastic response. I would also appreciate a little more flexibility from you, especially when I’m wearing shorts. Kangaroo pouches are not in. And in return, I’ll take better care of you. I’ll do more crunches. I’ll exercise more often. I’ll even give up my weekend wines…okay I might not go that far. But when we are both feeling low, I’ll throw on some self tan, and make us look 5kg lighter instantly. Do we have a deal?

Your most loyal friend,
Owner of mum-tum.