Friday, February 27, 2015

Do you glam up for the school run?

I read the most bizarre piece of research the other day.

Mums vote their looks as their top priority in the morning.

An astonishing 90% of 1022 Irish Mums said that styling their hair and make-up was the first thing they did in the morning, ahead of sorting out their kids.

This really surprised me as it's the total opposite of my life and priorities.

This begs the question: how old are their kids? And what time do they need to get up before their kids to sort themselves out first? No matter how hard I try with that good intention, I just can’t. My kids always wake earlier than me (even before alarms), and we love to have a morning cuddle in bed whilst we’re all sleepy eyed.

I’ll let you into a secret - I’m lucky if I’ve even brushed my hair by lunchtime. If I ever drop the kids to school you’ll see me wearing a peaked hat because I’ve had no time to even look in the mirror or brush my hair. I’ve settled on showering every other day (mainly in the evenings) and I gave up on make-up a long time ago.

So, where do these women who can’t bear to leave the house without glamming up live I wonder? Are they the infamous glammy inner-city mums who drive Range Rovers and wear heels on the school run? Or do they have nannies to help them? I rarely see those types around here, in our rural east Cork village.

The second priority for the survey mums is getting breakfast ready for themselves and their children, closely followed by 78% who must have a shower.

Shower? Who has time for a shower every morning?!

Let me tell you my priority: getting my 3 kids up, dressed and eating breakfast (no they won't do any of this by themselves yet) whilst making lunchboxes, logging onto work and trying to make myself a coffee to wake up. The coffee is the only thing I get to do for myself – and then maybe brush my teeth and get dressed once things have calmed down a bit. 

I always think it’s something of a miracle that my kids make it to school in clean clothes, bags packed with the right books and lunchboxes and water for school, and their hair is brushed. This morning they even brushed their teeth – well 2 out of 3, which was a big achievement!

So I guess I’m a SlummyMummy rather than a GlammyMummy, but then I’d say most of my friends with young kids are the same. I wonder…. 

When you have young kids, you tend to put their needs first ahead of your own. Who cares what other people think? Looks tend to become very unimportant, unless you’re trying to project an image to the world.

One of the quotes from a mum in the survey suggested that it was an inner-confidence thing: “The thought of leaving the house without any make up on and with my hair looking like a birds nest leaves me feeling embarrassed. Some women are confident enough to do it – I’m not!”

Take a look at these results and let me know what you think, what matters more to you in the morning: how you look or looking after your kids?

Poll published by

Hair and make up             90%

Kids breakfast                  82%

Shower                            78%

Cup of coffee / tea            68%

Packed lunches                 52%

Kids ready for school         50%

Check social media/emails  24%

Washing on                       20%

Tidying up after breakfast  14%

Exercise                            6%

It’s great to hear how the other half live isn’t it? Maybe one day I can dream of my kids doing more for themselves in the morning whilst I get to splash on a bit of moisturiser or have a shower.

For me, this survey really shows me the big eye-opening divide. What do you think? Is hair and make-up important to you too?

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Thursday, February 19, 2015

My recipe for feeling 75% better

After collapsing at Christmas with utter exhaustion, chronic back pain, sciatica and a lack of motivation for anything, I knew I would have to make some drastic new year’s resolutions. 

Normally, these would involve giving up drinking and doing some exercise for a month, but this time, I was barely drinking anyway, and my body was so broken that it just wasn’t capable of exercising. 

Perhaps the worst thing about being 42 with 3 young kids is that their energy far exceeds any I could ever hope for. I was finally feeling my age – if not 10 years older!

Drastic action was needed. A full overhaul. 

I started seeing a chiropractor to address the nerve pain I had every time I moved. 

I signed up with a nutritionist who gave me a strict gluten-free diet plan. 

I cut out toxins and started taking liver detox pills and iron tablets for energy. 

Seven weeks in and I’m starting to see signs of improvement. I have more energy and zest for life again, some of my aches and pains are gone so I’m able to start exercising again and my allergies have settled down. I notice now every time I accidentally eat wheat (who knew wheat was hidden in everything?!) my lips feel like they’re swelling up and I start clawing at my incredibly itchy face and body. 

I’m told this is a sure-sign of a wheat allergy, which could explain why I’ve been so exhausted for so long, and suffered with other allergies such as dust, cats and hayfever for 20 years. 

My chiropractor has got me tuning into my body and noticing where I feel movement in different muscles in my body. It’s all connected, she says, and I’ve got to get back to some harmony and start looking after myself if I want to live another 40 years. 

It’s making me think about the cycles of life and the way our rhythms, routines and consciousness naturally renew themselves every seven years into new life cycles. Without a doubt, seven years ago I entered into a massive life change when I gave up work and had my first baby. 

And now I’m evolving again. I definitely feel I’m done with babies now, my kids are growing up and so am I as a parent…. Onto the stage where I can let them build their own wings and learn to fly. It’s a lovely sense of freedom, not to be weighed down by nappies and constant mothering, because they’re starting to do more and more things for themselves. Hourah!

And finally I can say I have more energy and patience, thanks to these few simple things I’ve put in place since the beginning of the year. I've even stopped taking my underactive thyroid pills, and I'm still functioning well.

So here is my recipe for feeling 75% better: 

1, cutting out wheat and gluten 

2, discovering new grains such as millet and quinoa

3, using a €10 foam roller to stretch out my hunched spine:

4, using a tennis ball on my pain points:

5, drinking less coffee and more chamomile tea

6, taking iron, ashwanganda, milk thistle (alongside my usual supplements of Evening Primrose, Omega 3 and Glucosamine)

7, seeing a holistic chiropractor who's helping me to understand my body

8, taking walks and exercising again (core conditioning classes and yoga)

9. avoiding alcohol

10, not letting the small stuff bother me anymore.

Now, I'm not saying I'm fixed, probably a long way off that, but I'm on the right track, finally.  The motivation is realising that I want to be around for years to watch my kids grow up into stunning adults.

So that's my new manifesto for life, it's tough but I'm not going to beat myself up if I fall off the wagon now and again, so long as it's not back to the way I was. 

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