Decorating childrens bedrooms – Basic not Boring !

Before the kids arrived we had two decorated spare bedrooms downstairs along with our own and we have always had an open house and enjoyed a party or two in our time ;-).

We do have two large bedrooms upstairs but they are basically a dumping ground for the time being so at the moment we have no spare bedroom as the gruesome twosome have a room each. So basically if we’ve someone to stay they have to take over one of the kids rooms , that’s why when I was decorating little L’s room it was at the back of my mind that it had to be child and visitor friendly !

When planning the rooms I kept everything simple and cost effective as at ages 2 and 4 the chances are I will be redecorating a few more times before they leave the nest !

Here are my tips for decorating children’s bedrooms in a way that they can be transformed into guest rooms or upgraded as the child ages with minimal effort !

when picking a paint colour , humour the child but don’t pick a colour you as an adult can’t imagine on your bedroom walls.

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For J’s I chose a strong blue and L’s a dusky pink and even though when themed with character bedding and fun posters etc they are perfectly suited to a child’s bedroom they are equally suitable with different soft furnishings for a teen /adults room.

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Invest in a few large photo/ poster frames.

we all are guilty of destroying paint work plastering posters all over our walls pre teens and further on but in order to preserve your walls invest in a few frames and fill them with posters from kids mags or like I’ve done sample pieces from wallpaper shops or your local DIY store. When I decorated J’s room he was eating , drinking and literally sleeping Mickey Mouse so when that phase ended and we entered the world of marvel all I had to do was update my wallpaper samples in the frames.  I also changed the duvet covers and hey presto the room went from a toddlers room to a ” big boys” room ! No stress involved !

 

 

Purchase neutral curtains. 

Curtains can be the greatest cost when decorating a house so getting value for money from your curtains to me is very important . Again for J’s room basic blue black out curtains from Homestore and More (these were just e99 a set and are amazing !) were chosen and little L’s were inexpensive at just short of e70 ( not blackouts but she’s a great girl to sleep like her momma) and are lovely pastel cream, lilac and pink striped curtains also from Homestore and More. Both these sets of curtains will easily see the gruesome twosome into teens and likely into their twenties and if a visitor happens to have to use their bedroom won’t have to awake to chaotic character curtains !

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Up cycle Accessories/ fixtures to suit your colour scheme / theme.

Using little tester pots of paint I (for just a couple of euro) matched up shelves, photo frames even thumbtacks to the colour scheme I had chosen.

With J’s room I was lucky I found shelving on http://www.littlewoods.ie in the ideal blue colours I was looking for at a great price but for L’s room I couldn’t find what I wanted so bought the same shelves in white and painted them to suit.

I also grabbed two frames for just e3 each in a discount store and gave them a coat of the tester tub paint , I went as far as even giving a few thumbtacks a coat of paint to hang a few bits up with , I did this by sticking the tacks in a stale slice of bread, painting them and removing when dry !!!

Hang onto your child’s cot or cot bed mattress.

This can be useful for when visitors arrive, siblings can camp out with each other in the one room but also if you have the space you can make a cool reading corner with just the mattress and a colourful sheet and some cushions!

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* Picture from google images *

Only Books and Bears in bedrooms !

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Our sunroom is our playroom as such and I try to keep the madness and masses of toys to that room (with a slight overspill to the kitchen) and if toys make their way to the bedroom by day they have to be brought back well before bedtime. The general rule is that only books and teddy bears are allowed in the bedrooms. There are two reasons for this !

1) It’s enough for us to have to tidy one mess at night without either extra arguments or me ending up doing two more rooms at the end of the day.

2) I feel you get a better nights sleep in a room that is free from clutter and is an open and clear space. On trips to the toilet or to comfort them at night it’s comforting to know neither of us will have to navigate an obstacle course or sustain a Lego related injury !!!

I hope you’ve found at least one useful tip here ! With these tips all you need is a five minute whizz around your child’s bedroom with the Hoover and a clean ” grown up ” duvet cover and you have a guest room sorted without any stress !

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Xoxo L.

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A year has passed but What have I learned?

I can’t believe it’s a year since I wrapped up my business of ten years to focus solely on my little people , god it’s just flown by !

If I’m honest it’s not been how I daydreamed it would be , it’s not been bad just different to how I imagined.  The first week at home I did up a rota for chores , I’d iron on x , clean the bathrooms on y and I had imagined I’d be the mum who let the kids paint without ever thinking about the fact I’d be longer cleaning up than they’d be painting ! , get creative and take them on educational and fun outings and adventures until they were sick of them ! Oh I was also going to re paint the house , eight years on get the blinds for the kitchen and maybe even decorate upstairs …aside from the fact that I was being unrealistic I’ve learnt a lot.

I miss my business so much and it’s another part of me I have sacrificed for the good of my smalls but I don’t regret it and it was the right thing to do so I take comfort in that .

So what have I learned this past year ?

It’s an obvious one but … Being a SAHM is the hardest position I’ve held.

No stranger to physically hard work I genuinely though this would be an ” easy and enjoyable ” job , I wasn’t pushed into it .. It was my choice and it’s was always my dream to be at home with my kids. I simply had no idea how mentally taxing being a stay at home mum would be .. Taxi driver , referee , nurse , teacher, confidant , problem solver , cook , cleaner , laundry maid etc etc … You fill all of these roles with no knocking off time and no sympathetic sick days.

Yes , working mums do all of these things along with their jobs and I salute them, maybe I’m old fashioned but I felt as I was at home now the house and it’s up keeping along with looking after the kids was my job and I felt I couldn’t ask for help and I’d even feel guilty if I was lacking the motivation to do a “proper dinner ” and stuck on a pizza .

When I was working I thought nothing of asking Mr Mmmm to do things around the house or never felt the need to justify myself if there wasn’t a meat and two veg meal on the table on his arrival and now a year on I’m relaxed and confident the job I’m doing is an important one and If the dinners not done big whoop we won’t starve and there’s no guilt when I see him grab the Hoover !

That all said despite days where I’m mentally exhausted from refereeing the gruesome twosome or craving adult company along with a full cup of tea uninterrupted it is also the most rewarding position I will ever hold.

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I’ve learned to make friends !

This last  year I’ve put myself out there a bit more .. I promised myself unless impossible I would accept invitations , invest time into  people I knew but weren’t “friends” and where opportunity struck (and sometimes where it didn’t ) make new friends. It has lead to me not only making a few friends but meeting people who I have great time for and I feel will become lifelong friends.

Of coarse there have been one or two who I thought I’d become ” proper friends” with now I’d time to invest in these potential friendships that didn’t quite workout that way but I’ve no regrets or I’ll feeling toward the fact it was a bit of a one way street. The friends I’ve made more than make up for the potential friendships that didn’t work out ! So accept the invite for a cuppa from someone you don’t know that well, create an event or meet up ! And just try saying yes to as many invites as you can 😉

I now know why if you want anything done ask a busy person !

These days my workload is less than half of what it used to be but sometimes I’m even more allergic to doing a trivial job than I used to be facing into what I knew was going to be a long and busy day ! Sometimes I put off a simple phone all for days , why ? The less we do the less motivated we become . I’ve learnt I need to be doing things to motivate myself , “doing” ups your motivation. I do feel though you need more than doing the mundane daily household tasks and that’s why I continue to volunteer with The Irish Therapy Dogs and why I like to organise the odd meet up etc through my facebook page. Doing things you enjoy , pursuing a hobby also motivates you, So if you needed an excuse for that cuppa with your friend or a run etc here it is !

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Weekends are proof God exists !

Omg I had no idea what I was missing out on ! In that early daydream I had decided I was going to take the kids to church at least 3 times in the month but I must ashamedly admit I can probably could the days this year we attended on my hands or at a push add a foot in !

I have learned to relax … On days off, even holidays in the past I genuinely couldn’t relax. Mr Mmmm used to call me Roy Cropper on holidays BC ( before children) as I’d have the guide book out planning our timetable for holiday almost getting annoyed with him if he wanted to chill by the pool … I know, I know what a nightmare ! I now make sure we have at least one of the days in the weekend without plans do we can go with the flow or do nothing at all if the mood takes us. I now too get the Friday feeling and enjoy the weekends that were once alien to me and I don’t think after working weekends for almost 20 years would I ever go back there .

There is no such thing as ” The Perfect Mother “.

It isn’t that I was focusing on other mums around me and comparing myself to the gentle, patient, ideal mums ( well maybe a little ) but worse ….you see I had put my own mum on a pedestal and tried to be everything that she was to me but I’d focused so hard on all the good memories and moments that I’d not given a single thought to the moments where she was human. The times where she roared at us when we drive her mad ! gave out to us for what seemed like trivial things , even broke the hairbrush on my arse during one of the ordeals that was brushing my hair !!!

I had put an awful pressure on myself to be perfect and it was doing me more harm than good …this is a recent revelation for me and one that I’m sure will do me well in the days , weeks and months to come. We as mothers are so hard on ourselves and often despite thinking otherwise are the only ones who are judging our role as mum so harshly.

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Mum ” me ” time is extremely important .

Trust me there is no one giving out  awards to mums who never go a minute without a break from their kids , the only thing these women should be getting is possibly a Valium ! Only joking … Kind of 😉  If u can spend every living breathing second with your kids and not lose the will to live then more power to u !!!! For me personally I need that ” me time ” to be the best mother I can be …. I need my few drinks with friends who talk about something other than kids , I need the excuse to dress up and I need time to pursue activities that identify me as a person -Laura not mum. Once a week or a few grabbed minutes for me is not enough and at first when I tried to grab 2/3 child free jaunts a week I used to feel guilty ( that damn mum guilt ) now I try to get out on my only if only for a short burst at least 2/3 times more if I can wing it 🙂 because a happy mum leads to happy children – fact  I even grabbed a Mr Mmmm for breakfast in town at the weekend something we’ve never done in our 10 yrs + as a couple , can you believe that ! Before children we both worked harder than we played and it’s one of my very few regrets . So ladies make no excuses for needing your ” me time ” you are entitled to it and it’s in every bodies best interest 😉

The kiddos enjoy a pj day as much as a day of adventure and need a balance of both !

When I was working the kids trucked along and were little legends so when I got a full day or two off we tended to head away or do a day trip or head on an ” abenture” so full days of lazing around just didn’t happen . Now school term has put a stop to our gallop or lack of movement more realistically ! But there were days during the summer that we unashamedly didn’t get out of our pjs and just chilled and I came to realise children’s lives these days are busier than a md in a global company so I think days spent in pjs playing and relaxing are very important and you should’t feel the need to justify these days to anyone.

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It’s up to you to reclaim your identity or prevent it from slipping away from you while you ride the roller coaster that is motherhood.

For most of us when we have children maternal instinct kicks in and our family become our main focus despite any previous swears of never losing yourself in motherhood it seems to happen to the best of us ! Certainly preventing your identity from slipping away from you is ideal but if you feel it has then make a start on reclaiming it. The mum guilt and the fear of being judged is in my case the reason I lost myself…  I wouldn’t ask in laws or to babysit while I went for a few drinks or went to a gig if Mr Mmmm was working , abandoning the kids to drink coffee and gossip with my friends … Sher I couldn’t pay a babysitter so I could do that.

As for asking someone to mind them while I went to an excercise class or for a jog – what would they think of me asking them to babysit for me to do something ” that I didn’t really have to do ” or to swan off doing charity work while someone else was left holding the baby literally.

Circumstances changed I didn’t have the finances or the time for horses , the loss of my business meant I could do very little for the animal charities I had once helped and soon I felt anyone who met me for the first time wouldn’t even find me interesting as I felt I’d become nothing more than a mum.

In the last month or two I’ve started to reclaim my life and my identity , I’ve signed up for a ” girl crew ” kayaking trip with strangers , I’m looking forward to my first bloggers meetup the same weekend and I’ve started reaching out to my friends for impromptu pints and coffee dates . The more I do to reclaim myself the easier it becomes and I’m leaving go of the guilt with the aim of reviving the twinkle in my eye ! If you feel your in danger of losing yourself or have lost  … Start now make a plan you can do it 😉

So even though these lessons I’ve learned in the last year aren’t mind blowing they have been valuable to me and I think it has been a pretty good year and the best thing I’ve learned in my eyes is …

To just go with the flow and enjoy the little things ….

This year J started his second year in An Naoinra and L will start after  Halloween , before I know it they’ll both be in ” big school”  so for now I’m savouring each moment ( in between losing my shit with them of course 😉 ) and I’m celebrating all their accomplishments and milestones, creating memories and banking all those hugs, kisses and I love you’s for when they become to cool to give them to me 😉

Xoxo L.

 

 

 

Xmas gift ideas from birth to preschoolers.

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Maybe I’m mad but I’ve allready started thinking of Christmas and do so about this time each year to spread the costs and get the most meaningful and best presents possible for the ones I love !

With J from about 14 months he was all about machinery basically anything with wheels and tools so by the time his second Xmas came it was easy to choose his gifts and we knew easily what he’d love from the big man in red .

The first Christmas along is usually filled with joy and excitement and unless you have a winter babe baby toys feature heavily also and they are easy enough to choose . Little L being a babe of late December was very nearly one for her first Xmas which meant the cute photo shoot I did with J at 6mths was a nightmare ! I’m lucky if I’ve one nice shot ! She was like an electric eel covered in tinsel… That aside she was out of ” baby” toys and not quite into anything and I was unsure what to get her for that first Christmas and similarly last Christmas as she wasn’t into anything as such and just ambled along with the toys wed had all ready ! It was trial and error and maybe our toy experiences can help you out if your not sure what to get your little love this year 🙂

Snoopy Pull Along Puppy

Over the last few years between the pair I’ve bought and received some lovely toys to encourage crawling and walking and this was a firm favourite with my 2 and is now with the girl I look after who has recently got on her feet.  It’s light,simple and good value for money , snoopy wiggles along making a nice sound that isn’t overbearing . It’s aimed at ages 12-36 months but you could use it earlier if u vigilantly supervised or cut the pull along chord ( making sure to leave a bit long enough to tie on the rest of it again when your little one gets on their feet ) as that’s the only thing I could see preventing it from being safe for younger ones.

http://www.boots.ie/fisher-price-lil-snoopy-pull-along-puppy-10190142

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Old Mac Donald Tractor and Trailer Set 

This fantastic tractor and trailer set was gifted to J for his first Christmas by his aunt and godmother, after two children of her own she had seen how popular it was with all who entered her house it was a sure bet that my tractor mad man would love it too and he it ! Him , L and all who have visited also. With lovely farm sounds, activated when the animals are slotted into their place in the trailer old mac Donald’s tractor drives off playing the popular nursery rhyme ! We’ve only replaced the batteries once in the four years and it’s been a great addition to our playroom therefore I would highly recommend it !

http://www.smythstoys.com/ie/en-ie/toys/pre-school-and-electronic-learning/preschool-vehicles/old-macdonald-farm-tractor-and-trailer-set/p/100364

 

 

Leapfrog Musical Rainbow Tea Party and Number Loving Oven.

For L’s first Xmas and her second for her ” main Santa presents ” we chose Leap frog toys . Year one -almost a year old the rainbow tea set and after that being such a success ( as much with J as L !) we went for the number loving oven for year two – L almost two and again no regrets ! Leapfrog has it all with these amazing role play toys both appealing to kids and also educational in a child friendly manner. The tea set, the focus is on colours and the oven it’s numbers . Three years later the tea set is one of the most played with toys in our sunroom and I recently saw an add for a new leap frog icecream cart that looks amazing also J has allready put it on his Xmas list !

littlewoods Ireland have a sale on right now so have a peep at the links if your interested you’ll save a few euro ;-).

http://www.littlewoodsireland.ie/leapfrog-musical-rainbow-tea-party/1268668986.prd

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http://www.littlewoodsireland.ie/leapfrog-number-loving-oven/1600007905.prd

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Another lovely set from Leap Frog…

http://www.littlewoodsireland.ie/leapfrog-sweet-treats-learning-cafeacute/1600188656.prd

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The Skuttlebug 

This is just one cool piece of kit !!! While in a childminders for a few hours a week in the peak of my busy summer a few years back J fell in love with the Skuttlebug ! This is suitable for any children that are starting to put their legs under them ( marketed at 12mths +) , it’s low to the ground so isn’t dangerous and you’ll get at least four years out of it per child . It is nice and small anyway but you’d nearly get it in a adults backpack when folded.A great buy for any child as there will be hours of fun to be had on the bug !

http://www.argos.co.uk/product/3677179

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Jcb Transporter, Tractor and Loader.

We purchased this for J’s second Xmas ( aged 18mths) and it was a great buy and is still going strong three years later. What drew me to this originally was the great value for money , you got three decent vehicles for less than e50 and at his age I knew they were going to get a hammering so at that price I didn’t mind if they didn’t last that long. Amazingly they did and it’s still making reversing sounds and we’ve never changed the battery !! For any machine mad monkey this is a great buy .

http://www.smythstoys.com/ie/en-ie/toys/construction-and-cars/construction-vehicles/jcb-heavy-load-transporter-tractor-and-backhoe-loader/p/103487

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Bosch Chainsaw, Helmet and Work Gloves.

Again a huge favourite in our house with J and everyone who comes to play ! Chosen by myself as a gift from great grandad to J  2 years ago for Xmas ( aged 2.5yrs ) this was a super buy and is still played with regularly , so realistic looking  with a great realistic hum from it that isn’t irritating on the ears ;-). There are different sets you can get in this range and they are all superb and I found the quality to be great . A big thumbs up for this product.

http://www.littlewoodsireland.ie/bosch-chainsaw-helmet-and-work-gloves/1122399534.prd

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Junior Doctor Medical Kit.

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* I had decided not to put pictures of the toys in action in this post to try and limit the pics but this one was irresistible !!! Little J examining his great grandad 😉 *

I just love role play toys I think they are fantastic for children’s imaginations , that said no house should be without a doctors kit ! This junior doctor medical kit is a simple but super and sturdy kit , there are two sets ( we got the first one pictured as there wasn’t a choice last year ) to choose from and since I’ve bought this set there is a great set complete with doctors coat (second link below) for an additional e11 . When I was shopping this time last year I couldn’t find a little doctor or nurses outfit to fit a 2 and 3yr old so I am delighted this new set is on the market . I can genuinely say the junior doctor set is played with every day by at least one if not both of my gang and it’s a truly lovely and affordable gift for any

https://www.smythstoys.com/ie/en-ie/toys/fashion-and-dolls/dress-up-and-make-up/junior-doctor-medical-kit-assortment/p/122883

https://www.smythstoys.com/ie/en-ie/toys/fashion-and-dolls/dress-up-and-make-up/electronic-junior-doctor-s-small-costume/p/101221

Berenguer Soft Body Twin Gift Set.

This fab set was given as a gift to L for her christening and I can’t find an Irish site that sells them ! Maybe you’d have better luck 😉 ( smyths do a similar twin set ) when L received this she was very young and it was such a lovely set with realistic accessories that I put it away till she was a year plus so she would really appreciate it. Both J and L have gotten great sport out of these dolls and j loves the fact one is a boy ! Again a lovely gift for any small 😉

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https://www.jctoys.com/mobile/product.aspx?ProductCode=30050&404;https://www.jctoys.com:443/product-p/300

Jigsaws.

jigsaws along with role play toys and books are a staple in our house for entertainment . Another lovely thing to do with your child and they are improving concentration and fine motor skills while doing so ! We have loads of jigsaws but without doubt the Orchard Toys brand is our favourite .. They also do educational aids and games and their age guides on the toys are spot on on my experience. I’ll post a link to their webpage but they are easily got in most shops but Art and Hobby have the best selection I’ve seen in store.

https://www.orchardtoys.com

 

Books, Beautiful Books.

I just love books so each Xmas my kiddos always get a few books from Santa and they love it ! I always get one festive one and the rest regular books. Being an Usborne Childrens Books rep means a lot of the books I give them are Usborne but even before signed up I bought many of them as I found a lot of cheaper books sit on the shelf and don’t engage them after one read.

Of coarse I’m a huge Julia Donaldson fan ( our favourites being Stickman, A squish a squash and a squeeze , The smartest giant in town, what the ladybird heard and Zog ) as are the kids and you can’t beat a good ladybird book!

 

I have also got some very good quality books in Dealz at just e1.50 I have gotten some great books by rooting through their stock and if your lucky you’ll find old usborne stock, horrid Henry books and ladybird first readers.

For the younger children my favourites are the “That’s not my” range (from birth) ,the “peep inside” range (from one year) , the “Questions and Answers ” range and the ” phonics” range but usborne have a book for everyone from birth to young adult.

Contact me via facebook to find the perfect book !

https://m.facebook.com/Laura-Meade-Independent-Usborne-Organiser-1098787236810141/?ref=bookmarks

And … What list would be complete without Lego!

Through the years with J I had bought Duplo hoping it would lead to a love of Lego but he never really showed alot of interest in it much to my dissapointment but I’m a stubborn one ! Leading up to his birthday the big four everything was about marvel /superheroes so I chose a batman set from his great grandad as his birthday present and he is stone mad for Lego since. I think Lego is a bit like books all children will love them it’s just a matter of choosing the right topic/ theme. Not much has changed since the early days with J, so vehicles in Lego is where it’s at . We make them as instructed first time round then it’s all about pimping those rides ! Lego is not cheap so keeping an eye on prices is important you rarely see Lego on sale but just last week in the Littlewoods offers section I saved e10 on a Lego city set I’ll share the link below hopefully you might get some bargains.

http://www.littlewoodsireland.ie/toys/lego/e/b/4294938669,5132,5615.end?numProducts=16

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My Favourite Part of Christmas … Stockings 🙂

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*picture taken from http://www.wowwee.ie*

My love for stockings is years old and each year I do stockings for everyone ! I have mine and Mr Mmmm’s stocking since we moved in (we did them for ourselves and dogs pre children) but when J arrived I got him a personalised one from Irish company wowwee.ie it wasn’t cheap (e25.99 excluding postage)but it’s something he’ll have forever as it’s  superb quality and a great size so I got the exact same for L when she had arrived. The company was great to deal with and they provided a efficient and satisfactory service.

So what do I fill the stockings with ?

  • A new drink bottle/cup
  • Arts and crafts supplies
  • A kinder egg
  • chocolate coins ( a must !)
  • A new DVD ( 1.5 hours of peace!)
  • A mini Lego figure / puppy in my pocket etc
  • A ladybird size book
  • Hair clips /ties
  • New toothbrush/paste
  • And any other knick/knacks that grab me !

I hope you’ve enjoyed the post , I’ve paid for or got these toys listed as gifts from friends or family and all my opinions are genuine and honest as always 😉

Xoxo L.

 

 

10 Things as a mum I will never take for granted again !

Standing in the shower the other evening I pondered life ( as I tend to do !) thinking about one thing or another lead me to think about the things motherhood has taught me to appreciate so much more than I ever did before.  I’m am so different to the pre mommy me in so many ways. There are so many parts of me that I mourn the loss of but the positive side of me chastises me telling me I should not mourn but realise the pre mommy me is not all gone it just stagnant.

There are so many other things that are priority and at the surface now that there’s no space but in time the old me ( or at least the best bits ) will rise again.

So here’s just 10 of the things I now have a greater appreciation for since becoming mum …

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10) A Shower…

Ah a shower .. What was once just a means to an end type of thing is now a luxury . Before children (bc) I was in and out of the shower quicker than any man despite having long hair, unlike a lot of women I just got on with the task to hand I washed , shaved etc I could never say I found the shower relaxing nor was I ever that mesmerised by it that I was singing in there either but that might have something to do with sounding like a bag of cats .

Fast forward four years and I now appreciate and love my shower, it’s amazing what the motor of the shower and some water can drown out 😉 I now just stand there after my hair is washed letting the water flow pondering my takeover like pinky and the brain ( an old fave of mine !).

It’s nothing fancy just a basic shower but the serenity of the water and my ears are deaf to children and this is epic in my eyes … So epic that it counteracts the fact that in the shower there’s nothing to camouflage my depressing looking boobs (looking like spaniels ears ) after my two attempts at breastfeeding. Sad yup maybe a little but a shower is something I’ll never take for granted again.

9) My Independence.

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Not being completely independent is something that is very difficult for me and one of the hardest things about my role as mum is how now I find myself dependent on others more than I’d wish to.

The obvious one is that basically when you are the chief caregiver for your children you cannot go and do as you please … To have a cuppa with a friend , a night out , time with your partner all these require you to plan an alternative to yourself as care giver and if this isn’t possible you just have to sacrifice your me time …

After my decision to stay at home I became more or less dependent financially on Mr Mmmm, this I find so so hard.

Even though I earn a little pocket money it is pittance in comparison to what I used to earn and I depend on himself to foot the bills. I know in my heart that like all stay at home mums I’m doing a job that is an important one but I still feel that I don’t have the same self worth that I had when I was running my business.

I want for nothing and am never questioned about spending but as a gal who was raised to work for a living this is one of the hurdles I’m finding hard to jump but never fear I’ve had a few runs at it and I’m closer each time to clearing it .

One of the other struggles I have with regard to independence is that I can no longer book a cheap flight and head off on an adventure !!!! Babysitters are hard to come by and there’s an element of mum guilt when your asking favours of people just so that you can go off galavanting !!! BC I holidayed with himself , had a few weekends away , holidayed with friends and occasionally headed off on my own too … I genuinely had no idea then just how good I had it. I blew money like the Aga Khan that should have been wisely saved for a rainy day ( i.e. everyday funding kids ) but fuck it I had some great days that I’ll never forget so I regret nothing !

8) The Sound of Silence.

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BC I genuinely never realised how much I enjoyed the sound of silence ! Of coarse I enjoyed music , TV etc but I didn’t realise how much I enjoyed sitting in silence with my dogs and reading my book , walking the dogs bring around horses with just my voice and their beautiful breaths with the odd whinny or bark … It was so peaceful and I didn’t realise it ! On the rare time Mr Mmmm and myself wake up on our own in our house the silence is strange it’s impossible to think this was the norm four years ago. Every now and then the 3 will head off for a walk or the like and I’ll dive under the duvet or onto the couch and cherish the sound of silence and enjoy a chapter or two without distraction and it’s pure bliss !

7) Good Friends.

* some of my Queenies*

Ive always been a firm believer in quality over quantity in the friend department and this mentality has served me well 😉

In my early twenties I flirted with the idea of being one of the girls ( and every man in a band at the time too but that’s another story) for a while but it just didn’t suit me it was all just too much for me, maybe I chose a bad “gang” but I just couldn’t keep up with nor did I want to the bitchyness , falseness and competition.

Thankfully while this brief affair with ” the girls ” was going on I still had my true ride or die bitches by my side ! These are my soul sisters who’ve seen me at my best and my worst and are there for me unconditionally. I count my self very lucky as I had three of these at that time and I now have eight or nine so I consider myself blessed ( this one time calls for the use of “blessed”) #ifuckinghatethewordblessed !

These ride or die bitches are all very different but have a few things in common , these women are strong, loyal, passionate , understanding, big hearted ( although some try and hide that !) non judgemental and a fucking laugh on a night out.

When I became a mum I realised just how important real friends who you could share your feelings, shout, cry and laugh with are , these women are my queens and we need each other … These kind of friends can be made at any age or at any time so never cut yourself off from the opportunity to meet one :-).

6) My Body.

In my teens/twenties I was never “into” my body , it wasn’t perfect but I didn’t give it a second thought I was never a size ten ( even at my fittest riding 5/6 horses a day I was a 12/14) and never felt anything but confident in my skin even though the older generation would often comment on me being a “fine girl”. Even when I was what is considered plus size a good 16 I felt I dressed well and had more on my mind than a number on the scales I was more interested in gigs, pinting , animals, travel and having fun.

After becoming pregnant and having two amazing children I look at my body differently … Biology and the human body is just amazing and I appreciate it being a vessel for the some of the most important people in my life but I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t say I have my insecurities about it.

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After having j the first thing I noticed was I couldn’t just suck in my tummy like I used to ! I held it in but it looked the same ;-/ nor could I ” be good ” for a week and lose a few lbs easily . Now look I’m taking full responsibility for it… my lazy approach to fitness and my love for chocolate is my downfall so I’m owning that but ones things for sure I’d hate to find myself in the position of having to bare my bod to anyone except Mr Mmmm and even at that I’m not at all confident. Someday I’ll get my self going but for now my heads not in it !

5) A Good Nights Sleep 

imageThis one might seem like it needs no explanation but when I met Mr Mmmm first there was nights that if he didn’t ring me before 6.30( home and away !) he’d have to wait till the nxt day as I’d be asleep as soon as my TV programmes were over !

I spent many nights partying  where I got no sleep and did a days work after but if I was in ,I was in and asleep early ! Mr Mmmmm always comments I’m an all or nothing gal , a woman of extremes!

For me to function I need 8/10 hrs sleep it’s just the way I am so you can imagine how appreciative I was of L ( sleeping the night after 6weeks ) after baby J being a night owl for longer than I care to remember … Even the odd nights that we have bad nights in recent times I cannot cope with interrupted sleep last night I ignored 3/4 calls out pretended to be asleep but the fact I was awake even though Mr Mmmm dealt with it meant I was no good this morn when the alarm went off !

4) The Television.

imageThe perfect parenting brigade will love this shit but god knows I’d be a broken woman with out my nanny the TV ! If I want to shower, have a cuppa in peace or just separate the gruesome twosome nanny TV comes to work.

when I had J TV was not watched (there was even a period where the dog chewed the lead to the saor view box and we weren’t bothered fixing it for ages )or severely limited to an hour of Mickey Mouse clubhouse every now and then but when exhausted and pregnant and later when a mum of two under 19mths I stopped giving a shit about how much they watched and put on my big girl pants and stood by my choices … There are days they will watch it far too much and there are often times it’s not turned on for a couple of days. They love books, spend lots of time out doors and never crib when I say I’m turning it off so I feel the balance is ok !

Appreciating the TV is not just in relation to the kids , I live for my escape to summer bay every night ! This desperate housewife lives through fictional characters and gets a kick out of these beautiful bad boys and the drama that unfolds that is literally a million miles away from what my life entails right now !!!! Simple pleasures eh ;-).

3) A Good Holiday !

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* footloose and carefree in Puerto Rico the year we got engaged , we had no idea of how our lives were to change for the good , bad and the greater*

God aside from my independence holidays are the bad boys I miss the most ! In a way I guess my Independence and good holidays are linked as in my eyes the word holiday is a joke when mentioned in conjunction with the word children … As far as I’m concerned you “get away” with children and you holiday alone ;-).

A getaway means you get a minuscule break from cooking but all the other mum duties still need to be done and you go home with even more washing than you had when u left ! Of coarse it’s nice to get away with the brood , eat out , visit fun places etc but its no holiday …

A holiday is staying in bed till you please , pouncing on your partner whenever the mood takes u without fearing the footsteps of little ones , buying a fridge magnet or a 100 ;-), balming in the sun, drinking during the day and getting pissed if the idea grabs u 🙂 making new besties while drunk despite knowing you’ll never keep in touch and  eating a meal in peace !  Oh holidays how I missed you… thank god we went out with a bang on our honeymoon ! #sanfran #vegasbaby #yosemite #la

Maybe  well get a holiday soon but for now I’m scheming for Mr Mmmm’s 40th two years from now ! Surely no one could refuse a stint of babysitting if it’s for his big bash could they ?!!!

2) My Family.

Since the arrival of the gruesome twosome I’ve really learnt the meaning behind the saying “blood is thicker than water”. A saying that used to bring Tony Soprano my mind with a smirk has now become a reality for me and I appreciate my family more than ever.

My dad, my aunt and my sisters have just been amazing to me on hand from the word go with baby J  but since L has been born I’ve really had to rely on them to get any mum me time. From last minute requests , sleepovers while we attend weddings , afternoons with friends or doing a bit for charity to times when I’ve just been exhausted and needed the kiddos taken away for the night so myself and Mr  Mmmm could just simply watch some TV , have a good night sleep and a lie in.

My family help me out unconditionally and don’t judge me for wanting ” me time” away from the kids and as a mum this is invaluable. We are not a soppy, emotion showing kinda family but when the chips are down we’ve got each other’s backs and I genuinely can’t say how lucky I am to have such a great family, have such a superb dad and have such amazing strong ” Meade women ” in my life , 2 of which are part of my ride or die bitch squad ! #sisters.

1) My Own Mother.

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One thing is for sure until I became a mother I had no idea just how much mums sacrificed for their children ; their identities, their jobs/careers, their bodies, their independence to name but a few.

Don’t get me wrong I never looked on mothers in a negative way but fact was I didn’t really give it all a second thought , the mums around me made it look so easy .. Were they super human or were some of them paddling furiously like most of us under the surface to keep going , who knows either way I’m in awe of anyone who takes a helpless baby to adulthood and still is in one piece ! ( the mum that is 😉 )

I now appreciate my mother and the sacrifices she made for me. As I was a “surprise” She had to give up her youth, a respectable job that she could have made a career and her city slicker ways to become mum in a rural area on farm that without transport must have felt like millions of miles from civilisation yet she nailed it and was a great mum , I only wish I saw that in time to acknowledge it.

Being a mum now despite it being almost 20 years since she passed makes it harder than ever not to have her here with us but every night the smalls say their ” special prayer” to granny Marian, I know she’d be obsessed with them had she met them and I know for a fact she is with me and present in my home .

well ! What would you add to the list or what had you taken for granted before children that you know feel differently about ? Do share.

Xoxo L.

Amazing Mumpretreneurs. Part 2.

When the idea of a series celebrating mumpretreneurs came to me the first person who popped into my head was Elaine. We have been friends for roughly 20 years and we have literally grown together sharing some amazing experiences along the way !

we met as pony mad teens and became fast and firm friends, never in each other’s pockets but always there for each other when needed but since we had our boys just 3 months apart four years ago we’ve become closer than ever as it’s invaluable as a mother to have a friend who you can be completely honest about your feelings with and share a carriage on the rollercoaster that is motherhood.

When Elaine started her business Specialist Pain Relief I knew she would make a success of it as even from a young age she was a hard worker, extremely passionate about her interests and threw herself into every project she took on 110% over the years and I was not mistaken. I’m lucky not to have had to call on Elaine in a professional manner but am confident that when the day comes that I need her she’ll sort me right out 🙂

I hope you enjoy the interview with Elaine and check out Specialist Pain Relief.

Xoxo L.

 

This fantastic facebook page is where you will find super testimonials to Elaine and her work , useful information , interesting articles and information on clinics and booking.

https://m.facebook.com/profile.php?id=208434202667022&ref=content_filter

Elaine Mackey – Specialist Pain Relief.

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* L>R  Ross, Michael and Elaine *

Tell me a little about yourself .. Not the mum or business woman just you ?

I am kind, intuitive and loyal. In my best possible attitude I’m happy, content, calm and organized. I love to work and to be physically active. Last year, Ross the father of my child and I married. In the same year, we renovated and settled into our own home with Michael and our dogs. Before that, I can boast 42 rental address. Being on the move is natural to me. I like a busy life. My passions include a love of horses & the visual arts.

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What is the nature of your business and the service you provide ?

The nature of my business is to reduce, remove and help people manage their chronic nerve pain. I try to get clients out of the acute pain phase through muscle manipulation and skeletal realignment. I am a Neuromuscular & Physical therapist, Reiki energy healer and an academically trained artist. Specialist Pain Relief is the name of my business. In a practical sense, I see myself as a mechanical engineer for the body. I thrive on complicated trauma & injury cases. Rehabilitating my client’s bodies, limbs back to a functional base through postural realignment and skeletal resets is SPR’s focus area of expertise.
A major part of my service is consultation. I inform new client’s that their presenting pain issue is just scratching the surface of the healing process we will initiate. The results we will get will require remembering their history of pain and injury in their body. Often I would use the metaphor of an archaeologist to describe how I approach the physical assessment process. The more I can gather of client history, the deeper I can track injury to relieve stress in the body as a whole, in a way that is sensitive, balanced and safe.
Looking at the whole person while specifically separating pain, emotional and physical is part of the experience of getting well through physical pain relief. SPR is a client focused and confidential. We look at root causes of pain issues.

As a mum and entrepreneur who had to call time on my own business I know that keeping all the balls in the air can be challenging . What do you find the most challenging about being a mumpretreneur ?

Becoming self-employed four years ago was one of the best and most challenging opportunities I pursued. As a highly independent personality I feared that being a full-time mom would isolate me from society and from who I was. I needed the security of earning my own wage, however small to keep my anxiety and frustration away and keep me from feeling compromised by my role as a mother. As a mumpretreneur I find not having as much time as I would like to work. Being a mum is my priority. The happiness and health of my family is paramount.

 

Tell me a little about your family and how you find a work / family time balance ?

Being self –employed requires commitment, finding that time to balance everything means that getting up early is my staple diet as is being asleep for 9pm. It can be very hard to keep motivated at times. Having to put my family first sometimes can feel like business suicide and its hard to trust that everything will be ok

Without whom could you not do this without the help of ?

My mother. Without a shadow of a doubt, there would have been no way in this world that I achieved what I did without the unfailing support of Patricia. Not for one second would it have been possible to get the time or money to go to work. She is Michael’s grandmother but I joke with my parents that actually we share-rare my son! I have always had huge support from my family, my father, and brothers. From business plans to prints outs, baby sitting and bodies to practice on. I’m very lucky and I know it.
My husband is also very supportive and believes that what I do is valuable to other people, so when I feel like giving into the pressures of motherhood or feel overloaded with the burdens of the business, he is slow to agree that it would be the best for everyone involved if I gave it up. Support is key.

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What advice would you have to give to any mums thinking of starting a business ?

If you have a talent or gift that you think maybe a good business venture, start planning. Do a start your own business course, structure your support system and get professional help. Becoming a millionaire from being self-employed when it is a solo venture is probably slim. Be realistic. Set your goals. Identify the strengths and weakness of your situation. Do your market research. If it materializes then be prepared to learn to separate your desires. Keep focused and give it a shot. Be prepared to fail but be open to success. Be brave, it can be very stressful trying to micro manage home and career but the satisfaction I gain out of making a real positive difference to my clients quality of life gives me a huge uplift. The best thing about being your own boss or having a small business means that you can work it around your families needs. Having a few bob well earned goes a long way in establishing positive self-esteem, something that can all too easily disappear with motherhood.

X Elaine.

Elaine Mackey -Specialist Pain Relief

(087) 273 1479

 

Representing The Irish Therapy Dogs at Camphire International Horse Trials.

For those of you who don’t know allready myself and my fantastic Jack Russels Trixie (9) and Penny (4) are volunteers with The Irish Therapy Dogs. I help out with interviews in the Cork Area and proudly sit on the Board of Directors of this amazing charity.

* Trixie makes friends and Penny poses !*

Irish Therapy Dogs’ Mission is to provide physical, therapeutic and educational benefit to people, young and old, fit and frail, alert and impaired, in Hospitals, Nursing Homes, Day Care Centres, Schools and other places where people may be restricted from having pets and where the presence of dogs and their owners, will add comfort and support.

Last Sunday as part of Camphire International Horse Trials Gain Animal Feeds organised a fantastic dog show kindly donating the proceeds to The Irish Therapy Dogs. To show our appreciation our chairman Brían 0′ Sullivan judged the classes (with the exception of the class for Irish Therapy Dogs) and myself and fellow volunteers helped out with the show along with meeting the crowds and gaining awareness on the day.

It’s not uncommon for me to have a mini “plus one” at awareness days as at the best I times I find it difficult to get childminders/babysitters still it’s rare the whole familia head out to awareness days but when I looked up the events facebook page to seek directions I delighted to see that this was a fun filled day out for all the family so we packed the car up and headed off !

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In times gone by I was no stranger to events as I worked with horses from a young age and groomed for a trainer/Eventer in my late teens but despite my history and love for horses I had only once a few years back brough the smalls to an equestrian event. Subconsciously I always chose days out to interest everyone else so we’ve been to multiple car shows and kiddie events , unfortunately this time as my day was mostly spent volunteering I didn’t get to see the equine action but I really gave me a taste for events again and brought me back to the good old days watching the cross country at Blarney Horse Trials.

It was clear from the moment we arrived that this was going to be a fun day out for the smalls and the first thing they spotted was the bouncy castle ! I swear they have a 6th sense for those shaggin things !!!!!! I now know it’s self destruction to say no or try put off the bouncing as they will whinge till they get on it and if Left too late they will be tired and inevitably injure themselves in a life threatening manner .. You know speed burns, toe stubbing , tongue biting and the like !!!!

So all that considered I advised Mr.Mmmm to just go with the flow with them and that he did… the amazing aromas coming from the chipper swayed them from the bouncy castle and funnily enough after they ate and had a wander around they wanted to come back to me and watch the dog show so that they did and gave me a hand giving out treats to all who entered.

Now this was a proud day for J and Penny as it was their first dog show ! They entered the therapy dogs class so that the judge would be unbiased and should we be claiming a rosette it would be on our own merit and I’m glad to say they came third ! It really was cute to hear him tell penny how proud he was of her and discuss her prizes with her !

After my stewarding tasks were over so too was the equine action so I just wandered over to see what I missed during the day ! Of coarse the bar in full swing was the first thing I noticed ! But aside from that I saw amazing bubbles coming from the kids area so I went to investigate.

I was very impressed with the kids area, aside from the bouncy castle which they enjoyed a good bounce on there was also face painting and carnival games and these were all reasonably priced. There was also a chill out zone an area for kids to relax on bean bags and a hammock company provided a hammock area which was a huge hit , this and the bubbles display (which had the kids fascinated) was all free. The bubble artists had for all the world what looked like a washing line with loops in it and would dip it in the bubbles , raise it and send giant bubbles floating through the grounds it was super !

At this point the gruesome two some were getting tired to we indulged in smoothies and my fave chocolate marshmallows and strawberries ! I then had a wander at the trade stands before heading back to the car to head for home. As to be expected there was mainly equestrian stalls with a few doggies stands too with just one general stall but to be honest it was enough.

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I enjoyed my day volunteering and the family really enjoyed theirs but one things for sure I’ll be coming back next year off duty to enjoy all Camphire International Horse Trials has to offer and would highly recommend anyone to go along too .

Xoxo Laura.

If you wish to find out more about the Irish Therapy Dogs or about how you can apply to volunteer go to http://www.irishtherapydogs.ie or contact me at mindmadnessmilesandmummetime@outlook.com

 

 

Amazing Mumpretreneurs. Part 1.

A few months ago while attending Constance Hall’s meet and greet I was lucky enough to meet many amazing women and Ranae was  one of them. I like to think I’m a good judge of character as I have amazing friends most of whom are long term legends but sometimes I’m drawn to people and it was a tag team effort I think as I was drawn to Ranae and her beautiful daughter Ava equally !

We didn’t get to chat much that day but as you do we connected on facebook and began to get to know each other a little more, I told her of my FB blog page and she directed me to her page Von Essentials.

I have always been interested in oils but apart from burning the odd time I didn’t really know much about them. I learnt alot from the page and then messaged her about the way I had been feeling in recent times and explained I’d rather not go down the traditional chemical medicine route and asked for some advice. The advice she gave me and the oils and supplements she advised were amazing but I’ve a whole other post on that !

What I loved about Ranae was that at no point did I feel she was being pushy or “sales man ” like, instead she thrived on sharing her knowledge in the hope of helping me which I found very refreshing .

The fact that I ceased trading last year following the inability to do it all really made me admire the mumtrepreneurs out there. These women are mums, partners and so much more and manage to keep all the balls in the air, so when I decided to do a series featuring amazing women Ranae was one of the first I thought of .

I hope you enjoy the interview with Ranae and check out Von essentials.

Xoxo L.

This fantastic face book page is where Ranae posts informative live posts and shares tips and information to enable you get the very most you can out of your oils for you and your family.

https://www.facebook.com/vonessentials/

Ranae von Meding – Von Essentials.

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* L>R ; Ranae , Audrey and Ava.*

Tell me a little about yourself .. Not the mum or business woman just you .

My name is Ranae and I’ll be 30 this year. I have a wonderful Wife Audrey. We met because we both started out in theatre, she as a stage manager and I as an actress and singer. We did reciprocal IVF in 2015 (we used her eggs and I carried!) and now have an almost 1 year old daughter Ava. I am a Libra, on the cusp of Scorpio which definitely shows sometimes. We live in Dublin City. I’m originally from Chicago but we moved here when I was 4 so I have dual nationality. I can be either when it suits me:) Aside from the theatre, things I love are; Horses and Riding. Swimming. Being outside generally. Travelling. Reading. Box sets. Kids. Any animal of any kind. Being obsessively clean. I am a definite Type A personality!

What is the nature of your business and the service you provide?

I started up my own Natural Health Business after the birth of our daughter Ava. It’s called Von Essentials and I teach people about doTERRA essential oils. My work involves networking, education, troubleshooting and just getting to know my clients and what their own physical and emotional needs are and give ideas of what could help.

What do you find the most challenging about being a mumpretreneur?

Finding the blocks of time needed to get any admin work done of being on the computer. Getting out and about is fine with Ava, but for some reason she doesn’t want me to be on the computer when I should be entertaining her? 🙂

What stage is your business at and what are your plans/ hopes for the future?

This is still my 1st year in business but I am very driven and hope to be creating an income from it by the end of the year. Then eventually the hope would be that Audrey could come on board and help me run the business when it grows to the stage where I can’t do it alone any more.

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Tell me a little about your family and how you find a work / family time balance?

Audrey works pretty much full time as a stage manager in Dublin. Technically she is freelance, although it usually works out that she has quite a few jobs lined up. While this is wonderful, it is hard as she has to be away from home. It’s hard on her having to be away for most of the day. So we try to have at least a half hour in the evenings when Audrey gets to do a bath for Ava or just have some fun play time. It’s important to snatch any moments that you can together as a family. Also, I’m starting to do a child swap weekly with a family member which is working out so well. I take hers on one day, and she takes Ava another day. This is something I would highly recommend. Even if you don’t need the time to do ‘work’, it’s still precious time where you can just be you and not feel guilty about it either. It’s a win/win.

Without whom could you not do this without the help of?

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Audrey. She is so understanding about my business and does everything she can to help me succeed. She can also see the potential and so is excited to watch it grow.

What advice would you have to give to any mums thinking of starting a business?

Do something that you LOVE. If you don’t love your product, or service or blog or whatever else your business is about, then when it gets tough, as of course it will, you will just want to throw the towel in. Of course, you’ll still want to throw the towel in, but at least if you love what it is that you sell or do, you will want to keep going… simply for the love of it.

Have you any additional thoughts on this topic that you would like to share on this subject ?

GO FOR IT! It is so hard, but truly satisfying to work for yourself. I have seen so many mums in the same business as me who have created something wonderful for their families. Financial freedom and in the process, having a knock on effect on other families. It is definitely achievable. Surround yourself with positivity because negativity will kill a business before it’s started.

Ranae x

 

Ranae von Meding – 085-7212669

“Von Essentials. Natural health through essential oils.”

 

 

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