What is the Definition of a Millennial Mom?

Or… more importantly, why did I self-proclaim yours truly as essentially a Millennial Mom?
Here are a few articles and resources that provide a really comprehensive explanation of what defines millennial moms:
  1. https://www.webershandwick.com/uploads/news/files/MillennialMoms_ExecSummary.pdf
  2. http://www.popsugar.com/moms/Signs-You-Millennial-Mom-37484119
  3. http://digiday.com/brands/5-things-brands-need-know-millennial-moms/
These make such interesting reads, simply because I am not only one of them, but I am surrounded by them! Women in this day and age are driven, and technologically savvy, and highly connected. Gone are the days when all women do is stay at home and look after their kids and take care of the chores. Women have become amazingly efficient in staying productive and maintaining a work / life balance – they are so good at it – and have further emphasized the fact that we can, in fact, multi task.
We can maintain a healthy social life (both physical presence and online), stay organised, raise our children and use creative modern ways to engage with them, maintain traditional values, keep the household running smoothly (with some duties possibly outsourced – according to what’s the best way to use their time and the value of that time), self development (eg pursuing a small business, health goals eg gym classes or physical activity, a hobby or passion, etc) and top it all off with some much needed R & R time to reset, recharge, renew and then start all over again.
The keyword here is healthy. Millennial moms are highly digital, therefore they spend a lot of their time on screen (I mean, look at me… typing this blog post right now and have already spent an hour in front of my laptop and it is only 9.45am)… so in 15 minutes I need to remind myself that my kids still need me and whilst I am always happy to drop what I am doing here if they really need me, they still need that undivided attention time so I need to make sure I strike that balance and not neglect my kids completely). It is also a good idea to NOT look at any digital devices while out and about eg socialising or at the park. They can wait until you get home and stick to your allocated and scheduled time for work / digital time.
Millennial moms also tend to have it much harder than most other demographics. They are more vulnerable to mental health problems and stress and anxiety issues. Without a solid support network, and when things go wrong, it is easy to lose control over being in control.
So, reach out to your fellow millennial mom friends – tell them they are doing a wonderful job. Do not be discouraged if you have some bad days, you are a strong confident woman and you will come back from this. Find inspiration to be motivated again. Surround yourself with positive people who make you smile and make you feel good. Do not let yourself be burdened by the list of things you need to do, always remember to stay organised and plan, plan, PLAN!
To all my fellow millennial moms…

Just Start Somewhere… just do it.

See the face of that mom in the image above? She looks calm and under control. I just hope I maintain this calm, lol. It is so easy to pat myself on the back whenever I have good days… but knowing me, I am going to need a lot of contingency plans in place for self motivation purposes. I suppose the key is to be at a place in your life when you are settled and ready to take that leap of faith. Staying motivated is easier when you love what you do, and I am absolutely loving what I have been doing this past week.
The more I do my research and explore all areas of this business, and the possible challenges that lie ahead, the more invested I become. I am hungry for knowledge and excited by the challenge. We need to just start somewhere.. no matter how small, one step at a time and see how we go as we progress. We just need to start somewhere.

Raising Kids & Running A Business From Home (and Blogging)

Today is actually one of those days when I want to just sit down and write down all my thoughts before I forget them. Even when I managed to get a struggling and whinging 2yo down for her afternoon nap, and quickly jumped in the shower because it was already 1.30pm and I haven’t showered for the day… my brain somehow kept coming up with ideas and things to go on my To Do list for this start up business.

Basically as soon as I got out of the shower, I sat down and completed more of my Business Plan, specifically my marketing strategies. I also had so many questions – questions which need answers either by research online or for me to go and ask an expert. Things just kept piling up on my plate, and instead of being stressed out (not yet anyway) I have somehow managed to keep my cool. That’s what planning stages are for.. to explore all these questions and to go out and get answers. Research is so important, and I want to know exactly what I am doing and be fully prepared before we go out to market.

Meanwhile, while my brain keeps working and while I am sitting here writing this blog post trying to process these thoughts – Silver is busy rummaging through my drawers here in my makeshift office. Micah is pretty good, he is happy playing with his dinosaurs. Actually, Silver has now moved on to see what her brother is doing so they are both playing together. How wonderful and seemingly peaceful, right?

Wrong. Just an hour ago, Silver came up to me crying with her hands held out to me. What was on her hands. Poo. Lots and lots of poo. Oh how delightful. The only thing to do with that situation is to chuck her into the shower.. and that I did. So she is all showered and clean now, but that wasn’t a pleasant mess to clean up.

I have a newfound respect for working mums, and a bigger respect for mums who work from home while juggling raising their children. It is not an easy thing to do. I know I have really just started this week, but I can already see how I won’t have enough hours in the day to do everything I hope to do. In the process of juggling it all, I will need my quiet cup of teas to collect my thoughts and stay focused. Basically I have come up with a simple list to keep me on track:

  1. Avoid unnecessary distractions – uninstall the Candy Crush, no more TV shows (unless you allow yourself an episode or two on weekends, etc), turn off Facebook notifications, stay away from personal Social Media during child minding and working hours.
  2. Schedule Your Day – by this, I mean, schedule everything you need to do. From showering to nap times to pick ups and drop offs, grocery shopping, blogging, research, business planning, website planning, marketing planning, cooking, cleaning, socialising, play dates, parties, rest time, activities with kids time, everything goes in that calendar! Sure everything may not happen as perfectly as it was planned, but at least it is a guide to your day and you are not feeling overwhelmed by all the things on your To Do list knowing there is an allocated time later on specifically for that task. Helps you to focus, to be productive, and to keep calm.
  3. Set Goals – What do I want to achieve this week? This month? This year? Setting these goals will help in the planning process as you set tasks that would work towards achieving those goals.

…… and I just lost my train of thoughts. Great! My calendar reminder just popped up to remind me that I need to start getting dinner ready in 15 minutes, haha. Meanwhile, Silver is trying to tell me something but because she doesn’t talk much she can’t really say what she wants. So.. looks like I have to end this post abruptly right here.

I must say though, it feels really good to write down all my thoughts and blogging again. I need this. I need to be able to think out loud.. and this is helping. Thank you for listening, reading, etc.

I might come back and build on that list above. I am distracted now by my beautiful daughter saying “Mummy.. mummy.. mummy…” and that smile she just gave me… melts my heart.

Off to give my babies cuddles before I get dinner started 🙂

New Year, New Beginning

I know, it is already April. So the term “New Year” sounds a little bit ridiculous. In all fairness though, the start of this year kinda sped right past me! January was a lazy “we just got back home from being in Wollongong for two whole months and Christmas busy season and just want to be lazy and look forward to our holiday coming up” month. February we were away most of the month in Malaysia and Singapore for our holiday. March my mum stayed with us in Melbourne, so it was a lazy spend time with mum month while trying to figure out mentally what’s next… get Micah settled in kinder month (and he settled in very well)… major work decisions for Enoch month, etc.
So really… January, February, March have gone… and NOW it all begins. April is the official month of a new beginning for me. Things have all settled, Micah is in kinder (currently on school holidays), Silver is growing up, Enoch’s work situation is starting to change based on family as a bigger priority… and I am ready to take on the world again.
I am ready to not only be a full-time mom, but get back into regular blogging AND start a business.
I am not ready to go into too much detail, but Enoch and I are going into this together. Although, once everything is set up I will primarily be running the business while Enoch still goes and does a full-time job gig. I just see his brain as too smart to be wasted on this business lol. I do need his brain and technical capabilities to set this up initially, but once it is up and running, the only person who will be fully invested and intimate with the business would be me.
We are still in the planning stages, I have completed about 40% of the Business Plan. I have registered for an ABN and registered the Company Name. We have secured our domain name and Enoch is setting up our email server and taking steps towards setting up our eCommerce website. I have booked plane flights to Brisbane next week to attend a large expo that would help me in my research and planning before making major equipment & inventory purchasing decisions.
So today, I have spent an hour in front of my computer just planning my days for the next few months. It is ridiculously full and busy. I have set aside time for kids, house chores, work, planning, travel and blogging.
Looks like my blogging time is up for the day, so I will stop here. More posts coming up in the next few days. Stay tuned! Whoever you are.. if anyone is even reading. Lol.

10 Helpful Things I have Learnt to do as a SAHM

As a Stay at Home Mother of two young kids, I have realised very soon after my second child was born that I needed to do a few things differently around the house. What used to be a “luxury” of just having one child, is no longer a luxury. When I only had Micah, I could have time to myself a few hours during the day whenever he naps. Now with two, I have to make sure their sleeping schedules sync so I still get that down time. If not, I spend the whole day just being consumed by my kids. It is consuming.. time consuming, energy consuming and mentally consuming.
After a while, I think I have developed (quite naturally) a few tips to help me get through my days and still stay sane. Some of these are common sense, others are tips from other people, and some are what I found works best for me. Every mother is different, is no point judging me as I will never judge anyone else. You just have to do what works best for you 🙂
  1. Organise play dates with other mums at least 2-3 times a week. This not only tires out the kids but also avoids them going crazy, hyper and restless being at home with the same toys and the same company every single day. It is also good for mothers to meet up and have some adult conversation, and enjoy each others’ company.
  2. Go out and do something every single day. For your sanity and theirs. Get out for some fresh air. Even if it is just a quick trip to the shops, a walk at the park or the local playground. For more adventurous days, a trip to the zoo, animal farm, beach, or swimming pool, amusement park, etc. Kids will have a ball and so will you!
  3. Establish a good routine. Breakfast, play, morning tea, play, lunch, nap, afternoon tea, play, dinner, bath time, story time and bed time at a reasonable hour so parents can have some down time to themselves in the evenings.
  4. Use TV when necessary. Don’t feel guilty about using TV. Especially when you are tired and just need to rest on the couch for 30 minutes.
  5. Do not leave mess to accumulate. Put away something every single day when you see something that don’t belong somewhere. It is easier to put away 5-10 items per day than to leave them all to accumulate and you find an absolute bombsite to tidy up at the end of the week…
  6. Vacuum 2-3 times per week.
  7. Do the dishes every single night, without fail. No matter how tired you are after you put the kids to bed, at least do the dishes. You will thank yourself tomorrow!
  8. Start prepping for dinner during kids’ afternoon naps. That will tremendously cut down your cooking time closer to dinner time, when kids are awake and likely to distract you.
  9. Coffee.
  10. Hire a fortnightly cleaner if you feel you are not coping. Justify the cost. Cannot afford to? What can you sacrifice in order to afford the fortnightly cost of hiring a cleaner. You will be surprised… it may only require the sacrifice of purchasing new toys or new clothes or sacrificing takeaway and planning your meals better to avoid food wastage and overspending at the supermarket. Or sell a few items around the house each week online, make a few dollars here and there and that’s your budget for a cleaner!
Nobody is perfect and sometimes, or most of the time, my house ends up looking like a bombsite anyway… and sometimes we end up eating instant pasta and only instant pasta for dinner. Or toast. Sometimes none of the washing got done and we have close to none clean clothes that fit to wear. Sometimes the kids end up watching TV for hours and hours during the day.
Forgive yourself, rest, rejuvenate, do something for yourself, get back into that positive mindset, reset and start again.

I used to be a Mummy Blogger! What happened??

Where do I even begin…
I used to be a mummy blogger. A fairly good one too, I must add. I used to document Micah’s development week after week. I can look back at Micah’s first year and tell you exactly when he started crawling, eating, walking, clapping, talking, throwing tantrums, etc.
(Just as I was typing that, Micah screamed “I WANT MY WATER BOTTLE!!!” I then went up to him and said “That is not how you ask for things, ask again, nicely, and say please.” Which he did. I then gave him his water bottle and walked back to my desk)
So let’s start again.
I used to be a mummy blogger. I not only write on this blog about baby stuff, I also had a food blog. I had a lot of passion for my food blog. I experimented with new recipes. I went out and wrote a lot of restaurant reviews. I hung out with the cool kids… fellow foodie bloggers who are 100x more awesome than I am and get invited to 100x more events than I do… but on that rare occasion when I got invited too, I always have lots of fun catching up with them. Tucking into amazing food. Taking photos of beautifully presented food. Blogging about our experiences. Sometimes, we even get PAID to do what we love. We get paid to go out and dine at restaurants for free. We get paid to review a product we get to keep. We get freebies, samples, prizes to giveaway to our readers…. they still do all that stuff. I don’t remember the last time I did it. 
So what happened???

Well, ladies and gentlemen… no surprises here. I had children.

Two beautiful, amazing little children I must add.
Yes, they consume most of my time I have not much time to do anything else.
When I DO get some extra time… I quickly catch up on the hundreds of chores which are neverending in this house.
The laundry basket is ALWAYS full. I am never on top of my washing.
The kitchen always needs a tidy. If not, it piles up to be a huge mess I don’t wish to deal with.
The floor needs to be vacuumed at least once every 2-3 days so it doesn’t get disgusting.
I sweep up food on the floor 3 times a day, after each meal.
The tables and benches also gets a wipe down 3 times a day, actually make it 6 times a day. Before and after cooking, and again after each meal. Is that 6 times a day? Or 9 times a day? Who cares… wipe down, wipe down.. baby wipes are my best friend. Disposable cloths for wipe downs are good too. The ones you get to use for a week before they get absolutely disgusting and then you just chuck it and tear off a new piece of a giant roll from CostCo.
The toys… oh the toys. Those little toys you don’t always see and always end up stepping on. Ouch! I have learnt to be safe, wear slippers around the house. Or I might end up stepping on a little dinosaur. Poor little dinosaur. No, poor my foot! Even though Micah is pretty good at following instructions when we tell him to put away certain toys and things like shoes, etc… there is still a lot of other things we need to put away ourselves at the end of each day. Silver my little 10 month old, doesn’t know how to put things away yet. Thankfully her mess is contained in a play penned area… so it is not too bad. Collect them all, chuck them into a toy box. But some days when we decide to have a bit of fun and get out a new activity… the fun usually lasts 15 minutes or so and then it is time to put them away again. Or not. It may get put away later that night after they go to sleep.
Where was I going with all this… oh, yes, free time. My kids still nap during the day. When they do, like now, Silver is being an angel and having a good morning nap… I rush off to have a quick shower and a quick tidy up of our bedroom. Emphasis on the word “quick” as most tidy ups need to be a quickie and it needs to be done every single day, before it gets out of control.
The study is out of control… I will get to that room someday. I have a plan. I am already eyeing this cabinet with shelves thing someone is getting rid of for $5. That should go well in the space where my desk used to sit on… that currently has a pile of junk and papers and STUFF on the floor… time to get rid of the junk, and organise the stuff properly on a cabinet/shelf unit. I will do it. I can do it.
Sorry I rambled on again…
My mind just goes on and on and on… all the time. The only time I stop is after the kids go to bed, the dishes are done, the toys are put away, little things have been restored and put away in its place, and I make a cup of tea and a snack, and sit down to watch TV with my husband. This usually happens around 9pm at night, so really we only have 1-2 hours to relax every day. Very common if you ask most parents. So I choose to sit and watch TV with that time. I have my TV shows, and sometimes we watch a movie. We need that winding down time. When we don’t get that time for any reason at all, eg one of us goes out or I have to quickly go do grocery shopping at night so that it is easier and quicker without kids, or we have other evening commitments eg church music practice or Bible Study, it is like the whole day was just CONSUMED by things. 
Do we really not have enough hours in the day??
Not really. We prioritise.
I choose to spend my day looking after the kids and getting chores done. That way, I don’t stress because the house does not get out of control. It brings me satisfaction.
So that doesn’t leave much time at all to blog, or go out to foodie events, or take beautiful pictures of things to go on my blog to make my blog look pretty…..
Too bad.
It makes me sad sometimes.
But I know I will find time to do all that again someday.
(Micah: Mummy! Mum! Mummy! Mum! Dragon master go in the water!)
Micah is trying to get my attention now.
Silver is awake.
My kids are my priority.
I choose to stay home and look after them, I could quite easily send them off to child care and go back to work or even get some time to myself and go back to blogging more professionally.
I could.
But they can all wait.
My babies don’t stay babies for long, and I want to enjoy these babies.
Someday, and very soon, because as we all know, time flies… I will get some time to myself again and immerse myself back into what I love to do other than my kids.
I look forward to that day, and at the same time I try to enjoy every minute of now.
It is not always easy. Some days are so tough and really tests my patience….
But we all do what we have to do.
So I used to be a mummy blogger…..
In my mind I still am.
But my kids need me more right now.
So give me another year or so.
I will be back… bigger and better than ever!! Ok, that’s an exaggeration.
I will BRB 🙂

Product Talk: Lucky Smart Snax + Product Giveaway!

Disclaimer: This is not a paid sponsored post, my opinions are not bias in any way. This is a Product Talk by Nuffnang and I received these products mentioned below in exchange for a review.
If you are like me, many times throughout the day the munchies attack will cause you to go searching through the pantry and fridge (or if you are at work, your bag and your drawers.. and maybe the office pantry and fridge haha) for a snack. If you are like me, many times you may not be as organised as you should be – ie packing a good supply of healthy snacks to keep you going throughout the day. I am guilty of snacking on all the wrong things most days during the week.

This is why I agreed to review the Lucky Smart Snax range of nut snacking mixes, re-launched in the Dried Fruit and Nut aisle. Snacking on nuts, fruit and seeds are a perfect way to remove any guilt associated with mid-meal snacking, because they are all packed with nutritional goodness and they taste great. Lucky Smart Snax are the smarter way to snack – plus they come in convenient little resealable bags which can easily go in your bag as you head out the door each day.

For me, it is very handy to just keep a few packets in my nappy bag. They are not just great for me, but also for my kids, but mostly for me hehe.

The Lucky Smart Snax range has been extended to include six products:

Lucky Smart Snax Digestive – Oven Roasted Almonds, Peanuts, Hazelnuts, Cranberries, Sunflower Kernels and Pepitas.
A great source of dietary fibre to help maintain a healthy digestive system. I usually snack on these while stuck in traffic jam…

Lucky Smart Snax Recovery – Oven Roasted Almonds, Peanuts, Cashews and Pepitas.
A good source of protein, a vital nutrient that is important for body systems, growth, muscle development and recovery from exercise. I go to Zumba two nights a week, and it is a pretty intense 1-hour session, so having these handy to snack on after each session really helps my body recover from my Zumba sessions!

Lucky Smart Snax Womens – Cashews, Almonds, Brazil Nuts and Walnuts.
Because women need a variety of nutrients to meet the demands of each busy day, this is a source of Vitamin E, iron and good monounsaturated fat, as well as calcium, folate and selenium. All the nutrients you usually find listed in Womens Supplementary Tablets, all the good stuff we need. I find this range perfect to go into any salad I make, especially the almonds and walnuts. Great for snacking while you are on the go.

Lucky Smart Snax Cardio – Almonds, Sultanas, Cranberries and Blueberries.
A delicious mix of natural almonds and berries. Great to snack on during my Zumba days leading up to the session, just to make sure my body is prepared for the intense cardio routine 🙂

Lucky Smart Snax Power – my personal favourite – Oven Roasted Peanuts, Almonds, Walnuts, Hazelnuts and Dark Chocolate.
Did someone say chocolate??? Yes, chocolate is in this mix! Dark chocolate, which happens to be my favourite. Gives a boost of natural energy, a perfect snack to help me power through each day… or chasing around an active toddler and caring for a young baby! The tasks are neverending and the house is always a mess that needs to be tidied up, the grocery runs are endless and the kids always demand your attention, and they always need to be fed, changed, entertained, and we are always going on a million playdates and I am always getting in and out of the car and getting kids and prams in and out of the car all day everyday and without the boost of a supercharged snack (and coffee) I don’t know if I will ever survive and get through my day!

Lucky Smart Snax Low Carb – Brazil Nuts, Peanuts, Pepitas, Almonds and Walnuts.
It is a tasty mix of nuts and seeds that is perfect for people watching their intake of carbohydrates. Nuts and seeds are one of nature’s super snacks and fit perfectly in a balanced diet.

The Lucky Smart Snax range is sold at Coles, Woolworths and independent supermarkets in the Dried Fruit and Nut Aisle (near the sultanas and other Lucky nut baking products). Check out their website for more information.

GIVEAWAY: Want to win a hamper which includes the whole range of Lucky Smart Snax products? All you have to do is comment on this post and tell me

“Which is your favourite Lucky Smart Snax product and why?”

This giveaway is for Australian residents only and the best response winner will be announced and contacted after Cup Day on 5th November 2014. Please don’t forget to include your name and valid email address next to your comment so I can contact you!

Good luck everyone and happy snacking!