SIGN UP NOW, and receive my FREE e-guide: '6 EASY WAYS TO RECONNECT YOUR FAMILY WHEN LIFE IS BUSY' These tips are invaluable for getting children of all ages off the screens and reconnecting your family in real life!

Life Lessons from a week camping

“Time camping isn’t time spent, it’s invested.”

So I have a confession to make: up until recently I really hated the idea of camping. Give me a tropical 5 star resort, a big pool to relax and read a book by, and a comprehensive cocktail list and I would be one happy camper lady…that is, if I am by myself (which is never) or with my girlfriends on a mumcation (which is hopefully once a year!)

Of course, my family like to go on holiday with me every now and then (go figure!) and our expectations of what a good holiday entails vastly differs: I have a nature loving husband, an adventure seeking teenage son, a creative tween daughter, and a free spirited 8 year old, all with differing ideas on what constitutes a good time.

As I was recently researching holiday options, in between quietly sobbing to myself at the eye watering cost of accomodation for a family of 5 (don’t even get me started!) it occurred to me that our holiday woes could be solved…if I was prepared to put my camping phobia aside and embrace the great outdoors.

So when I suggested at the beginning of this year that we buy a friend’s second hand camper trailer and start have some camping holidays, my husband first checked to see I wasn’t delirious, and then quickly set about making it happen.

Fast forward, and I have not just survived but absolutely thrived from a week camping over the Easter holidays (well apart from the 745 loads of washing that have resulted!)

I thought I would share some of the life lessons I learned while camping, that I will attempt (no doubt with varying levels of success) to implement in my everyday life.

  • When you’re camping and it gets dark, you start thinking about going to bed. Well you have a glass of wine and dinner first (I’m not completely uncivilised!) With no TV or screens to lull me into the ‘staying up too late’ zone, I was in bed and asleep before 10.00pm every night…and so was the rest of my family. This is a big deal in my family of night owls, and I’d say we all felt better for it. So, I’ve been setting my phone to remind me to go to bed earlier, and I’m trying to get the kids to bed a bit earlier as well (thank God for the end of Daylight Savings on this count!)
  • Less screen time for everyone, means more family connection. This comes as no surprise, and yet it was kind of a surprise to me at how much better we all got along (in particular the Playstation obsessed teenage boy of the house). Now we are back in the school routine, my boundaries around screen use are definitely tightening up, myself included!
  • When you are less busy, you are more willing to have fun and play, and there is no doubt your kids will love you for it! I kicked the footy with my son, played chasey with the girls, and we all enjoyed cards and backgammon. Try and create some space in your a week for a ‘family fun time’, these are the moments that our kids cherish (and we should too).
  • When camping, you spend more time outdoors in nature. Slowing down and noticing the little things, such as standing under the moon watching the stars, feeling the grass under your toes, or simply sitting in the sun with your eyes closed and noticing how you feel: these are all little things we can do in our everyday to ground ourselves and be more in the moment.
  • Camping is a cheaper form of holidaying, and it reminded me of something we can all do with being reminded of every now and again: you don’t need to spend a lot of money to have a good time. In fact my kids said it was one of the best holidays we have had, because of the fun way we all spent time together. Maybe create a list of free things your family could do together and try and tick one off a week. Your heart (and your hip pocket) will be happy!

So thank you camping, you have shown me a new way to connect with my family, and for that I am eternally grateful. Until next time…

10 ways teenage boys are the same as toddlers

people-men-sport-young

‘Of all the animals, the boy is the most unmanageable’ ~Plato

  • They both love ‘crap’ food. Remember those days when your toddler would only eat white toast (with the crusts cut off and cut in neat squares… oh no, I mean triangles…oh no, I mean star shapes…) well now your teen has access to pocket money and a bit of independence, the lure of McDonalds, Subway, and 7eleven is strong and seems to be where most of his (I mean your) money is spent.
  •  They both love to do dangerous things. When my son was little he moonwalked backwards off a brick wall. A little while ago my now 14 year old decided to do a vertical push up off a rock wall with waves crashing menacingly below him.  Same same. Note to self: book into hairdresser for touch up to the new grey hairs that have mysteriously arrived.
  • Take an iPad off a toddler and watch the ensuing meltdown. Turn off the Wi-Fi before they are finished, and behold the fury of the toddler reincarnate as the teenager screams in frustration about not being able to watch some random YouTube video of an American teenager playing Playstation (nb. I will never understand the appeal of this for as long as I live!)
  • Getting out the door on time with a toddler dressed appropriately for the weather with matching socks and shoes is a parenting rite of passage we all go through. Getting your teenage son to sports practice on time with his shin guards, sports shoes, drink bottle and a jacket all accounted for and present, is nothing short of a holy miracle.
  • The toddler and the teenager are both similarly amused with the sounds that emanate from their bottoms. I don’t think this ever changes unfortunately!
  • Toddler speak vs teenage speak. Both moderately grunty, occasionally whiny, and often hard to comprehend.
  • They don’t like being kissed (any kisses that manage to land are soon wiped off the face with the back of their hands) but they love leaning all over you, particularly while sitting on the couch watching TV.
  • The toddler and the teenage boy can both be resistant to bathing and getting clean. A bath or shower may require some long winded negotiations, however when it is time for their hair to be washed or nails to be trimmed, be prepared to use all the bargaining chips in your parenting toolkit!
  • The sleep patterns of a toddler may be more disruptive, but getting a teenage boy to physically go to bed at night, is equally as challenge as getting a toddler to go nighty-night after 25 stories and just one more drink of water!
  • The toddler and the teen can both drive you crazy, cause you grief, and make you want to tear your hair out on occasion, but just sometimes when they look at you with a twinkle in their eye, and tell you that they love you, well then they are the most awesome creatures on the planet!

snZbGJDOiMAUnWkBQk3XzQR1C7ihM5K3OU8WDdlUFEM

The Empowered Woman by Sonny Carroll

silhouette-1447173_1280

This poem was read out at a Mindful Women mass meditation I recently attended. I resonated strongly with it, and felt that it evocatively describes that sense of better knowing yourself as you get older. Yes it takes courage to live like this, but the rewards are great, Melissa x

 

The Empowered Woman, she moves through the world
with a sense of confidence and grace.
Her once reckless spirit now tempered by wisdom.
Quietly, yet firmly, she speaks her truth without doubt or hesitation
and the life she leads is of her own creation.

She now understands what it means to live and let live.
How much to ask for herself and how much to give.
She has a strong, yet generous heart
and the inner beauty she emanates truly sets her apart.
Like the mythical Phoenix,
she has risen from the ashes and soared to a new plane of existence,
unfettered by the things that once that posed such resistance.

Her senses now heightened, she sees everything so clearly.
She hears the wind rustling through the trees;
beckoning her to live the dreams she holds so dearly.
She feels the softness of her hands
and muses at the strength that they possess.
Her needs and desires she has learned to express.
She has tasted the bitter and savored the sweet fruits of life,
overcome adversity and pushed past heartache and strife.

And the one thing she never understood,
she now knows to be true,
it all begins and ends with you.

How to slow down when being busy is all you know

bicycle-788733_1920

‘Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans’ ~John Lennon

Can I ask you a question?

When someone asks you how you have been going, what do you tend to answer:

a) ‘Good thanks, life is pretty great!’

b) ‘Not so hot at the moment actually.’

or

c) ‘I’ve just been really busy.’

I’m wagering that if you are like most women I know, ‘c’ is your default answer.

So why has busy become the default badge of choice for the modern mum to wear at all times?

Is it because we are supposed to have a successful and meaningful career, run a well organised household, spend quality time with our kids, catch up with our friends, exercise regularly, visit our extended family, and maybe indulge in a little sexy time with our husbands every now and then?

Well yes, they may all be important things, but here’s the kicker: You are important too.

 

first_me

‘I can take care of everyone~ but first me’

is a motto that I try and live my everyday life by. You should not feel guilty for putting your own needs first every now and then. Because let’s face it, if I am too busy, run down, stressed and tired, then that affects everyone else around me, in particular my family. If the health and wellbeing of my family are a priority for me, then shouldn’t my own health and wellbeing be my number one priority?

 

 

 

So when I feel overwhelm and stress creeping back into my life (and let’s face it, it always does, that’s simply the world we live in) I make a conscious choice to dial down the level of ‘busy’ in my life, and slow right down…

Here are some of my go to ways to kick busy to the kerb:

Don’t push yourself to do something when your gut says no

Turn your FOMO (fear of missing out) into JOMO (joy of missing out)

Take regular guilt free nana naps: short and sweet is the trick for beating fatigue

Try tracking your menstrual cycle and nurture yourself in the lead up to, and during your period

Put your feet up and just chill for a few minutes (also try ‘legs up the wall’)

Have an epsom salts bath by candlelight once a week

Put your phone away and read a great novel before bedtime

Mindfully drink a cup of tea basking in the sunshine

Say no without guilt or long winded explanations

Turn off notifications on your smartphone (you will survive!)

Meditate daily for 5-10 minutes: in a chair, lying down, listening to music or chanting (whatever floats your boat, just give it a try)

Take mini moments through your day to close your eyes, put your hand on your heart and breathe deeply (ps. this is actually a form of meditation, but if you just said to yourself that you can’t meditate, then start with this!)

Pay more attention to what your body needs: food wise, movement wise, rest wise, and make a commitment to yourself to make at least one positive change in each area.

It’s pretty simple really…being busy all the time is overrated, so take some time for a deep breath or two, and give yourself permission to slow down and simply be. Your mind, body and spirit will thank you for it (and quite possibly your family will as well!)

snZbGJDOiMAUnWkBQk3XzQR1C7ihM5K3OU8WDdlUFEM

If you would like to chat to me about how I can help guide you to dial down the busy and bring more calm energy into your life and household, then email me at melissa@melissajeffcott.com and let’s organise an obligation free 20 minute call. 

1 2 3 14