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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Internet is not what's Stressing New Mothers

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So apparently this whole idea that modern mothers are more anxious because they have access to too much information, is not exactly true. 

I bought into that same myth myself and even rant about it in my mission statement. I have no idea why I adopted such a belief other than maybe it was easier to have something to blame for how I felt.

A survey of 4,000 Australian women, by Medela AU, showed that after seeking advice from a family Doctor or midwife, the next place mothers looked was the internet.
click to view infographic
Most women saw having access to expert information 24/7 as a huge benefit.  They also found value in connecting with like-minded people. Of the women surveyed only ten percent felt overwhelmed by the amount of information available online. So there you have it. The interwebs are as convenient a place for parenting advice as they are for grocery shopping. #whatagift

Seriously. What did breastfeeding mothers do before smartphones? I remember Googling every. single. thing. It's a solitary job, being a milk maid.

So if the web isn't stressing us out...it must be something else.

One sobering statistic the Medela AU survey revealed is 48% of women experience some form of depression/ baby blues/ low mood after childbirth. That is basically HALF of all mothers!!!

Let that sink in for a moment.

48% Half.

I mean, even as a fellow PND sufferer I had no idea the numbers were that high.

Why is this disturbing?
  1. It tells me not nearly enough people are comfortable talking about their experience with PND 
  2. Therefore I highly doubt those women are getting the help and support they need
Maybe there is a stigma with the word ‘depression’ but my guess would be that there is more of a stigma surrounding the "M" word. Perhaps we feel that if we admit we are struggling with motherhood then we are failing at it. 

Which is simply not true.

Opening up about my own experience with PND was terrifying. I literally felt sick when I published my first blog post about the subject. When I was flooded with emails, messages, and kind words from women who had all been through (or who were currently going through) the same experience, I no longer felt alone.

The main lesson I learned is that those metaphorical villages, you know, the ones it takes to raise a child? Well, they look different today.

More and more families are relocating for work, study or even an International romance (guilty). I live half the world away from the people I grew up with.

By opening up about my struggles, I didn’t know it then, but I was inviting people into my own, albeit virtual, village. 

So what can help? According to the Medela survey three main things can help mothers who are suffering.
  1. Speaking to a friend/ partner or family member
  2. Reading about people’s similar experiences online
  3. Consulting a Doctor or Midwife
So just like my advice in the video- we need to create our own villages. These could be online communities, forums, blogs, new friends. Medela AU have created a personalised app with all of these elements and more at your fingertips...Available even in the dim glow of a 3am feed.

To learn more about the Medela app clik here. I will plan to have it for the next bub because it’s a combination of several different apps I used when I had my daughter.  

Note: Can I just say, participating in this campaign has been a privilege. I’m proud to work with a company like Medela AU who are clearly sensitive to a mothers needs. I hope this study encourages women to speak out, because they will find that they are definitely not alone.

If you or someone you love is suffering from depression please contact your local crisis hotline or beyond blue in Australia.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Makers Monthly: April

A crafty project waiting to happen!

Makers Monthly FAQ

I’m starting to think that this month, personally, is about that easel cradling a blank canvas, or a blinking courser or...maybe even the bones of a brand-new building waiting for finishes. It’s that moment of anticipation before the making begins. It’s full of doubt, trust and inspiration right before the hands and mind are set free.

It’s been a busy month! Lots happening creatively but I have had zero time to paint and that makes me twitchy.

When I feel overstretched the first thing I look at is my time management. I will need to book myself some 'free' time- really make it a priority. This is not an easy task when you have lots of other priorities (ah-hem toddler). Obviously not all priorities can share top billing. 

How do I achieve this?

By rotating the important things. 

My family and my own (mental and physical) health come first (not necessarily in that order). My work is my passion and, I think, key to my overall happiness. Some weeks I feel more inspired to write and others it's more about painting. So I switch it up depending on my mood. Of course there are those tasks I never feel like doing (ah-hem admin & accounting) so I need to force myself to do those as well.

The last few weeks I’ve been concentrating on the blog. A bit of writing and a bit of networking with brands…more exciting news on those soon! This was a fun post I wrote about how April is National Craft Month #ncm here in Australia where I got to partner with Spotlight craft stores. Hello craft mecca! They are hosting free events this month so check it out if you have time. 

In other news

Etsy has unveiled a new look with mixed reactions, my own? I just try and roll with it. Social media is constantly evolving anyway. Adjusting might be a pain but I try not to fret- the minute I get used to something sure enough there will be another change on the horizon!
Also... our home extension is almost finished. It's going to seriously change our family lives for the better. And for the first time in my life I will have my own dedicated art studio.

Trust me when I say A LOT of creative energy has gone into dreaming up that space. Every finish has been chosen with the utmost care and consideration. It’s been such a long process that it feels completely surreal now that we are near the end. I recently wrote about how my brain was starting to feel like the empty shell in our backyard, bursting to be decked-out, in this post here

In the interest of that beautiful moment of nothingness before it becomes something- Let's share our latest and greatest projects in the link-up below!

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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

4 Craft Ideas For Beginners: Crafting Confidence in Kids

*Sponsored by Spotlight*

Know how kids tend to make things for fun and then destroy them? Think sandcastles or if you grew up in a place like me, snow angels. Making stuff can be just as much fun as wrecking it for no other reason than it rocks our socks.

So why shouldn't adults have a crack at it? Even if our 'castle' ends up in the garbage can.

When we overthink things we tend to take less risks. We stop trying to make stuff. Joy gets dusty along with our creativity. I for one am guilty of worrying too much about the end result. Can we just collectively turn-off our brains and let our hands guide us for a while? Just for this month?
Did you know that April is National Craft Month here in Australia? I was recently invited to a launch party sponsored by Spotlight Craft Stores (American readers, think JoAnn Fabrics or Michaels). The afternoon was full of fabulous demos, creative peeps and plenty  of inspiration.
It's April! Like you needed an excuse to get some craft on! Or maybe you do...

Is something holding you back?

I know fear is a big reason many of us 'adults' keep the glue and sparkles close to our chest. Maybe we are afraid of judgement or even our own ability. But seriously guys! We don't want to show our kids this sort of negative thinking do we?

Kids don't sit in front of a blank canvas and say, "Hmm...I'm not sure I'm feeling this today because- pressure," OR "I'm not good enough," OR "Everyone is going to laugh at me." They just grab for the crayons and go nuts. You can too!

How about we make a deal? Try some of these little crafts with your kids and then...maybe take on a project you've always wanted to. So what if it ends up in the rubbish? Do it in the name of joy.

"Whats worth doing even if I fail?" Brene Brown

Here, I'll even hold your hand: Let's get messy. These are just a few little ideas off the top of my head. Google will have a million more should you like some more. 
I'm sorry I always want pasta
1. Pom-poms
Have you seen this website? It features apologies with Pom Poms. Think Post Secret but with colourful, fluffy balls instead of post cards and apologies instead of confessions (though sometimes the apologies are confessional too "I'm sorry I cheated on you." Juicy. I met the lovely redhead behind this clever campaign at the National Craft Month launch party. Here is a simple Pom Pom tutorial- try it! Kids can easily get in on the action too...Obviously G rated apologies only in their case! "Sorry I spilled my milk."
2. Photography Series
No fancy equipment required- all you need is a smart phone. There are tons of apps that can send daily photo prompts (with different themes, colours or ideas) to get the creative juices flowing. This article has the top 100 apps- I've personally used the 'Little Moments' by Fat Mum Slim app. This article talks specifically about iPhone photography and this article is a 30 day photography challenge that you can easily follow along with your iPhone or digital camera. Get the kids involved as subjects or photographers!
Only fingers and a fun attitude
3. Finger Painting
No brushes needed! Squish it, smear it, feel it. Just let your hands and digits guide you. It's actually a mental health tool being used by professionals to help adults release repressed emotions. Finger painting is pretty self explanatory but just in case you need a refresher- this article is an 8 step guide to finger painting. Prep is king to avoid a mess when you're getting into the zone. Pro tip: Make sure you get washable (water based) paints if you have real little tykes.
4. Colouring Books
Don't knock em till you try em. I mean, I definitely did. Adult colouring books? Pshaw, whatever! I despise staying within the lines. HOWEVER. I have to say that I 'accidentally' grabbed one my Mother left behind at our house to colour with Lavinia...and I'm not gonna lie- it was kinda relaxing. Colour me surprised!
Bonus: It's a great distraction for the kids on long afternoons when they are begging for TV.

Now get out into your life and make something! If the results aren't Pinterest-worthy at least you'll be crafting confidence in your kiddies. Besides, it's fun.

Don't forget to check out the FREE crafty party happening in all Spotlight Stores on 23 April. Click here for more information. Hope to see you there!

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