Sep 30, 2015

Mess Induced Depression (and how I'm dealing with it)

I always thought that "home-making" would be my dream job because I'm domestic and a homebody and I just like making food and decorating things and being organised, ya know?

And then I became a housewife with a toddler.


 Lately I've found myself getting increasingly more stressed/overwhelmed/down in the dumps over little things like the constant never-ending suffocating mess that magically recreates itself day after day after day. (Actually every 10 minutes with a toddler).
When I am sitting in a cluttered room, I actually get a kind of claustrophic feeling like "I can't even walk in a straight line to get out of here."

I clean up after my daughter is in bed, then again in the morning, and again during her nap but holy wow-balls there is always another mess. A childless person might mistakenly think I hadn't had a clean up for a while, but this is right after tidying:

Tidying with a small tornado next to me, that is.
I think the sheer pointlessness of tidying is what got me. What's the point when I live with a toddler sized tornado? The repetition of cleaning and cleaning and cleaning was straight-up depressing.

And then along with that, the self-beration that goes with it. I am ALWAYS thinking "How come no-one else's house looks like this 24/7? What's their secret? Am I more lazy than other mothers? I know I am more lazy than other mothers. I have ONE child. What's wrong with me? Why am I so lazy? Why do I have to have hobbies? My only hobby should be cleaning. Everyone else's only hobby is cleaning.

And then I would immediately feel reeeeeally sleepy.
And mopey.
And lazy.
And sad.
And negative.
And dreading the cycle starting again the next day.
............ i.e: depressed.

I googled it and mess induced depression is common so I can't be the only one?

I knew I had to get some strategies going over the course of a few days I kept note of all the things that I was constantly tidying up. I mean the things that just always end up all over the place for no reason. And then I started thinking about how to tackle those areas. Here's what I've come up with:

1. Ella's toys and books always in piles between the couch (where we read them) and bookshelf
Solution: Hide 80% of toys in the hall cupboard because she never plays with them anyway. Put All the books we read frequently into a basket by the couch. Suddenly the living room was actually tidy all day apart from small things I could easily chuck into a basket.

2. Our books and magazines always getting removed from the ottoman
Still to do: Find, somehow, a spot to build a floating shelf on one of our walls and keep all our books up there out of reach.

3. Shoes. Everywhere all the time.
My husband's shoes are so big they are an actual hazard. We need a system. I just don't know what yet because we enter and exit the house by 3 different doors!

4. Paperwork forever covering the whole dining room table
I have no real fix for this yet (tips?) but I just dumped everything into a laundry hamper to get it off the table and it feels good.

5. My clothes all over the bedroom chair and surrounding floor, always
Um, no fix yet. If my wardrobe door could actually open more than halfway I feel like I would be way more likely to hang clothes up where they belong!! We were quoted 2K to install bifolding doors in the wardrobe (it's a standard double wardrobe size). Does that seem ridiculous to you? I'm sure I could just make one? Or not.

6. Bathroom clutter. Makeup, husband's shaving stuff, contact lenses + bajillion corresponding bottles of stuff
I put all my makeup into the wall cupboard shelf thing that's hidden behind a mirror in true 70's style, so that little hands can't reach it. We still have a whole window-sill of contact lens stuff that's not practical to store in the vanity under the sink because it's used 2xper day. And it doesn't fit in the wall-cupboard thing. And then there's all the sunscreen that doesn't have a home. :(

7. We like to pile things along the top of the stair rail down our hallway when we can't be bothered putting them in a certain room.
I don't know the answer. Own no things? That would work. Give ourselves small electric shocks whenever we place something on the stair rail? That would work better.

Today I swept through our house with that empty laundry hamper and dumped everything that was cluttering any surface into it. And then I hid it in my bedroom and closed the door.  And the house looked sparkly and clean and I still feel amazing 5 hours later.

{I will pay for this later}

I like everything to have a home, to be part of an efficient System, to be either useful or beautiful... blah blah. But mostly I just like feeling like I can walk in a straight line without faceplanting.

Sep 23, 2015


 1. I went on a Girl's Day Out with my mum - and no baby. It was so long overdue and really made me appreciate how much I can get done baby-free! We started at 9.30am and the day included a cupcake and coffee from Sweet Bakery and Cakery (pic below - such a cute tiny place) and visiting my Grandma and then... shopping.

To say I've been overdue for some decent clothes is an understatement. You know how you open your wardrobe each morning and mentally dismiss each option, e.g, I would go along the rack of tops and for each one there would be some reason I wouldn't wear it. "Too clingy", "Has a tiny hole in sleeve", "Need to wear something under it and can't be bothered dealing with that", "Not comfy enough".. etc.
I decided to literally unload my wardrobe of every single item on that list.
And when I looked back in my wardrobe, there were about 3 tops left that I wanted to keep. Eye-opening!

I realised then, that every single day I reach for jeans and a tshirt top. Every. Single. Day. They are what I wear.
Once I accepted this fact, I realised I need to get some good quality t-shirts/tops that will go with everything and last me for, hopefully years. Accepting that there are certain things I ALWAYS go for made this process so much easier and helped me to avoid buying rubbish.

I came home with 3 tops that will cover most occasions. Today I got a new tan leather belt. Now I just need some tan boots, a pair of comfortable heels (I have never found any comfortable ones, ever), and a cross-body slim-line bag that I can use for baby-free events instead of the nappy bag. And then I'll be SET with my new tiny but functional wardrobe.
[New Jade green simple T, and coordinating baby accessory]
 2. Aside from the wardrobe purge described above, I realised that having my hair presentable every day is super important to my ability to leave the house. I always dress casual, but if my hair is ok then I feel like I'm ready for anything. It takes me ages to deal with my crazy hair (it's actually an afro underneath the heat styling) but for me it's worth it.

3. I bought a new concealer. I know you don't care, but for someone who suffers from such severe dark circles under my eyes that I'm actually scared someone will call the cops on my husband thinking I'm being beaten, concealer is important. I wish I didn't need it, but I do, and the new one I'm trying (my first 'proper' makeup brand) is Estee Lauder Double Wear concealer. It's performing a lot better than my usual supermarket brands!

4. My daughter is old enough to go on Fluffy dates with me. I can't tell you how happy that makes me. A week ago, we went for a walk along the beach and then sat in a cafe (out of the freezing wind) and I got to sip my latte in peace while my little buddy sipped her fluffy like a little lady. I feel like I've been waiting for this day all my life.
{Photo is from her 3rd fluffy date with me and Daddy at Mojo in town}
She is also old enough now to enjoy going to the zoo and swimming pool and other fun activities - so good.

 5. I'm over buying house stuff. 
Maybe I got burnt out with the impossible task of making our 70's house into a gorgeously perfect classic abode without spending money, and whilst keeping everything practical for a young dirty family. Suddenly I'm over it and I have this gut feeling that this is not the right time to be throwing money into our house. FYI - our house is pretty perfect as is, it's sunny and spacious and warm and functional. I just have issues with the original 70's kitchen, brown vinyl floors, etc etc. And we'll get to those one day. I'm just starting to accept it probably won't be any day soon.

BUT I am loving my new coffee machine that I was given for my birthday, and I've been keeping an eye out for nice little latte cups. I ended up picking up these ones from Country Road on sale and I'm tempted to go back and get a few more.
{Husband doesn't know why I can't just buy huge mugs instead, but don't these mini ones feel a million times morce schmancy?!}
 6. Kid's clothes. Oh they are SO FUN. Ella has a lot of hand-me-downs which is amazing, but when I need to buy clothes I try to get them from Next (an online UK store) as they are so much cuter than most NZ shops. These sneakers I am going to have to keep FOREVER.
P.S Why must they grow out of everything after 40 seconds??

7.  Just for kicks, here's what we were doing at this time last year:
[Being sleep deprived and taking grainy phone photos in the dark, that is]
 My girl was cute back then, but she has my heart even more now, and most of the time she lets me sleep a bit more too :)

Sep 15, 2015

More than I can chew (always)

Ahoy there!

I thought it was about time for a brief update on the gazillion (or 3) things that have been occupying my 'spare time'. In quote marks because define spare.
Meant to be loading dishwasher? Spare time.
Floors need vacuuming to the point that guests have started wearing their shoes inside to protect their socks? Spare time. 
Toilet that stinks even after cleaning and no-one knows how/why? Spare time.

Oh and just incase my future non-toddler-mum-self ever forgets this one point that is so obvious to me I assume everyone knows it: There are 1.5 hours in a day when this spare time phenomenon can happen. Maybe 2.5 if I'm lucky. I.E during toddler naptime, of course! You can't do things and have a toddler. At least, not my toddler. I sometimes see pictures of other one year olds sitting on beds or benches and I'm like, what? Yours just sits there? Sitting? Without launching herself onto the concrete floor or anything?
These toddlers be crazy.

1. Life has just got fun. Every month or week that passes I find myself thinking "This is the best stage so far!" but right now our 'baby' jusssst got old enough to sit with me in a cafe and drink her own fluffy out of an espresso cup. Basically everything I've been waiting for since I first found out I was pregnant. We also go to the zoo, the playground, 'gym' groups and walks on the beach and/or in hardware stores with her now. She can walk herself and it's weird and novel and amazing to not be carrying her or hauling a carseat or buggy around! Also she is obsessed with her gumboots and going wild in the great outdoors. You know - chasing dogs, eating shells, being throw 10 feet in the air...

[Just when I thought she couldn't get cooler.]

2. I get most of my energy from two things: 1) Being organised and controlling my physical environment by cleaning, styling etc, and 2) Being creative. Unfortunately the second one creates a truckload of MESS and I would show you a photo of our spare bedroom but it's hidden underneath piles and literal piles of fabric scraps. I recently borrowed my mum's sewing machine and rediscovered sewing..... I may never give it back. 
Among my far too many projects that I want to complete, is a quilt for my daughter. My mum made me a quilt when I was little and I just feel like it would be fun, and meaningful, and also would make her room a bit more pretty. 
Here are some of the fabrics I'm starting with - artfully piled on a grubby rug with some plastic, as you do...
{Remember when my blog was professional and pretty? har har har}

3. Is getting stressed and overwhelmed to the point of tears, followed by getting all 'on top of' everything and feeling like you've got it all sorted, followed by getting stressed and overwhelmed to the point of tears, a normal thing for mums? I feel like this cycle repeats itself every couple of weeks. 

4. I have like 50 house projects on my list and weirdly I feel in no rush to do any of them. New carpet? Too hard to decide which one. New kitchen? Yes but I need a billion bucks. New paint in bedrooms? Yes but can someone do it for me? Buy furniture and curtains that we need/want? Ok but I'll probably just end up with buyer's remorse a year later.
I think I'm realising that good things take time and also, our house is always going to be a 70s build. Those darn window pelmets are built in to the studs. I can repaint walls but without the furniture that I want, what's the point? Everything depends on something else being done first, and honestly, it all just sounds so exhausting right now.

5. Clean eating and exercise. I attempt them but so far no difference to my physique. I think I might have more energy but I also think that might be in my head.
Also, define clean.
Because zero flour, dairy, or sugars is just not sustainable! What happens when you go to someone's house? We are always eating at other people's houses. Bludgers that we are.

6. The simple life.
We've gone so far as to only watch any tv or movies on weekend evenings. And usually we have something else on so the result is that we only watch something every 2-3 weeks... it's good! 
I also started waking up at 6ish to get a shower, makeup, quiet time and quick chores done before Ella wakes up (gasp!). But then she started waking up early and I stopped. But I should start again. Because those sleepy first few minutes of being ALONE before the day begins are amazing and make me feel human. BLISS

7. Other types of bliss:
- Coffee in the morning when no-one else is around. It doesn't matter about the coffee - it's being able to drink something that always feels like a luxury for some reason, without interruption or having it grabbed at by a curious bub.
- Letting yourself get really freaking cold before hopping into a hot bath. Sitting naked on the bathroom floor getting really really freezing and goosebumpy on a winter's evening before finally getting into a steaming bath is stupidly good.  Oh - thank me later! I should write a book.
- Going to bed at 8pm and just sitting there with a book knowing you still have some time to do NOTHING before bedtime. 
- When you make something and it turns out awesome.
- When someone takes the baby for the day so you can do stuff. #husbandpoints
- When it's still dark when you get up, so you light a candle and keep the lights off (while you sip coffee and have quiet time). It feels like you are the only person awake in the world. 
- When Summer is slowly on it's way and there are now birds singing when you cook dinner.

8. Not bliss:
- Getting overwhelmed / overthinking / mess-induced-depression / negative thoughts / when you make something and it turns out horrid / fatigue / cooking and then cleaning and then cooking again and then not cleaning and then not cleaning and then DISASTER ZONE KITCHEN FOR DAYZ /  asking somebody to help and then feeling guilty about it / not giving baby full attention for 5 minutes so that you can get something else done and then feeling guilty about it / complaining about anything and then feeling guilty about it / sitting down to read or go on facebook and then feeling guilty about it.

9. I think that's it?

Thanks for bearing with me through the world's most pointless blog post ;)

Jun 11, 2015

The nursery one year later {Then & Now}

You know how I basically never ever actually "finished" our nursery room for Ella because when I was pregnant I made really poor decorating decisions and couldn't be trusted? But I tried anyway?
Well guess what, I still don't like it. But it has changed quite a lot and after a whole year of vaguely mentioning this (during my umm about 4 posts that I wrote in that time) I thought I may as well share some photos.

The paint colour is still a very stark stark white which looked amazing in all the Pinterest rooms I admired... but Pinterest deceived me because it neglected to mention, that stark white looks awful if you are pairing it with, say, all your white furniture which now turns out to be not actually pure white and everything looks dirty, like a smoker baby lives there.

These are not After photos. Just saying. I'm actually still gathering my energy to change a few things e.g. paint and curtains. I bought blackout curtains which saved my life but they are so thick and rubbery and greyish even tho I thought they were pure white, too. But can anyone tell me how you repaint a room when there is a 1 year old sleeping in there several times a day? Hmm.

 Meaningless explanations aside, here is a little "Then and Now" to show how this room suddenly became very girly and pink which was never my intention but now as I write this post I realise that's what happened...

View from door way then:

View from doorway now: 
 Points of note:

  • cream rug which doesn't look great in photos but actually it makes the room seem so much bigger. This room is super super bright in the sun and looks kind of ethereal at times - it can be gorgeous in person but clearly my photography skills are failing to show that.
  • Random dining chair with a quilt over it because I soon realised my child sleeps in a merino sleep sack and all the quilts and blankets don't get used. Also, it covers the big rips in the chair upholstery. I use that chair to sit on in the middle of the night when I'm rocking a sick baby.
Right hand wall before:

... And currently:
Again another average photo that doesn't really show any improvement - maybe because there isn't any - but the original wall art was old and had a yellowing background which looked pretty gross against the stark white walls. So I pinned a tea towel there instead, naturally.

Oh and Wellington ladies with babies - any tips for earthquake-friendly wall decor that can go above cots? No way am I hanging pictures or anything remotely heavy there now that she sleeps in this room.

Changing corner before:

 ....and the same corner now, below. We don't read to Ella in this room so the books are in the lounge, and the armchair has been gone since my breastfeeding days ended so long ago. I do love the extra space and organised changing tables make me happy. P.S how long does one use a changing table for a baby or toddler?????

 And finally, some more current shots. I have to include the wardrobe one because baby wardrobes, once they are past the onesie-and-nighties-all-day phase, are my favourite.

 Anyone else find they never really finished their nursery? I've accepted that this will probably never be our 'dream house' and there are plenty of things I would like to change but am never going to. Having said that, a few simple changes could make this room quite pretty. I just haven't figured out the logistics of painting a room with a baby on the loose... yet.

Jun 8, 2015

A Day in the Life

Oh you want to know every boring detail of a day in the life of a one-year-old's mum? Who stays at home and has basically nothing to show for herself except a happy child who is still alive despite various accidents and incidents that scared the pants of both of us over the past year? You want a peep into this magical world of glamour and child-rearing? You want to see our kitchen floor covered in gremlins that literally stick to your socks every single time you head for the fridge and then get smeared in the carpet later? To smell my sub-par cooking that gets thrown on the floor and mashed into my child's hair (by her) even when I spent like 30 precious minutes cooking it and now I have to throw it all out? And then do all the dishes again and clean the floor again and change her outfit again and wash her face and hair again? And then do it all again several times throughout the day and then go to sleep and then wake up and do it all again the next day too?

Ok since you asked.

7am - Baby wake up call. Now, I'm fully aware that 7am is like blissful luxury sleep-in'o'clock to most parents and that at some point reallly soon my child is going to start getting up at 6 or 5.30. Which is why I have no inclination to get up at 6am for some 'alone time' before she starts sqawuking. I know it would feel really nice to be dressed and showered before the crazy starts, but without that hour of sleep I would be even less productive than I currently am and probably spend all day after 3pm crying for no reason. (I only do that after 8pm now. Wink wink)

7.15 - I actually get up and if I'm really onto it I will go to the toilet before releasing the little monkey from her cage because the moment she is in my sleepy arms, she demands my full attention and seeing me sneaking away down the hallway to go pee is quite offensive to her. She knows who's boss and it's not me.

7.20 - I start making her porridge (also called oatmeal by some strange countries ;)) with raisins and then leave it to cool. For some reason she loves eating this stuff. I make myself a coffee at the same time even tho I don't really feel like it, it makes me feel like I'm still doing something for myself that's like a little luxury. Granted I won't get to drink it because my minion will be all over me trying to grab it and potentially burn herself so it's not THAT enjoyable but I do it anyway.

7.40 - After watching her trying to feed herself porridge with a spoon that she can't actually get any food onto while I try to help and cheer her on if any gets into her mouth, then perform the torture known as wiping her face, we play. Well, to be honest I often sit on the couch chugging cold coffee while she crawls around bringing over random objects to show me, giggling hysterically like she is so chuffed with herself for helping mummy by showing her her shoe! Look mummy I'm opening your purse! What's this thing in a wrapper? *unwraps tampon*. Oh thanks honey for finding that for mummy NOTE TO SELF do not let her play with my purse in public.

{Except usually we are wearing trackpants and dirty cardigans during this scenario}

9am-ish. Somehow we have made it to 9am and I'm still in my pajamas still sitting on the couch still thinking about whether I should have another coffee. I always decide not to, because I'll wait for the little miss to be asleep. This makes me really anxious for her to go down for a nap.

9.30 - nap time! Yay! It's earlier than a lot of other babies I know and I love that. We go through the whole nap routine which is VERY specific to the point that my wee sausage won't drink from her bottle unless we are reading a book from her collection of books that she likes to read before sleeping. She will literally slap the bottle onto the floor unless I have the right book in position. We do this book routine with her wearing her sleep sack which is stupid because she tends to dribble milk onto the merino and that's such a pain to wash and makes it go yellow. #mummyfail

9.30-11am - naptime! I finally have a shower, get dressed, get a decent coffee that I can sit down to drink, and start to tackle the dishes from last night, the porridge dried onto the highchair and the surrounding floor... maybe put some washing on... tidy away the bombsite of toys from the last 2 hours so I can sit on the couch and not feel like I'm going to cripple myself if I try to walk away. And then I make plans for what I will do with this glorious naptime and open my computer and sit down and then she wakes up. 

11-1.30 - Two and half hours of the same thing as before. Only this time it's lunch instead of breakfast which is actually more stressful because I have to cook something nutritious and create more dishes and more food mess. But USUALLY we will go out during this time. Also known as The Window because all our activities must happen now. Sometimes it's a coffee catchup, or going to Baby Gym (which is just a room full of obstacles and tunnels and slides for babies), or just going to the supermarket once again. Which is not my favourite at all and I feel like I am there so often it's actually got to awkward levels with the cashiers.

{Getting a workout at baby gym by lying perfectly still for 10 minutes whilst licking plastic balls that have no doubt been urinated on by other children}
1.30-3pm - nap time again. Yay! I spend this one doing more of the same. Cleaning up the lunch dishes, on my hands and knees wiping the floor again, scraping dried food off things, hanging washing that will take 4 days to dry, etc. And then when I think I have a moment to sit down, I remember the dreaded task of DINNER. yeuch. Seriously. I have already made 2 meals today (have I eaten, myself? I don't remember. Maybe just another coffee will do. Oh wait I ate the crusts from her toasted sanwiches and then I ate the sandwich off the floor when she biffed it. And I enjoyed it.)... do I really have to cook AGAIN? And make more dishes again? And wash the pots and pans again? 

At this point I remember I haven't gotten any meat out to defrost so we're already on the back foot for dinner. I think of all the mediocre meals I could make with cans of beans and frozen peas... there must be something??

3pm - seemingly years away: Playtime with baby. Playtime and desperate glances at the clock to see when Daddy is coming home because these 4 walls and this attention-demanding little cutiepie are getting quite tiring. It's basically already getting dark (winter) and too cold to go on a walk. I try to create some excitement over the same old toys and secretly hope I won't have to read all the books again as we've done that twice today already... and each book must be repeated at least twice.

5ish - We are literally waiting at the stairs something when Cal gets home. I create a lot of enthusiasm for this event by banging on the stair gate with Ella and chanting "Dad-dy, Dad-dy!" when we hear him getting out of the car. A celebrity welcome every time... And then suddenly he's here and I am like GREAT well you just watch her for the next 2 hours while I do all the other things I haven't been able to do all day such as check if the washing is still damp (it is) and try to force some meat to defrost in the microwave (it cooks) and do a super quick food and toy cleanup because crackers have been crumbled all over the carpet and couch in the last hour but I like to try to maintain this image of the perfect household even tho he and I both know it's filthy 98% of the time and there is no point cleaning because it stays clean for exactly 0.1 seconds before our small human tornado blows in.

5.30-7pm - Cooking dinner, eating dinner, cleaning up from dinner. Followed immediately by: preparing milk, running bath, giving bath, cleaning toys from bath, and dressing baby after bath. Then we sit down and do story-time AGAIN with very specific books and this is the 3rd time I have done the rather long bedtime routine today. Which is why it's so distressing if she doesn't go to sleep and I have to get her up, feed her again, check a dozen other things (nappy, temperature, hunger etc) and then go through the bedtime routine once more. The shortened version, anyway, depending how difficult it is to get her to sleep...

7pm - Sleepytime, if it's a good day. And then there is somehow still a kitchen  FULL of mess and dishes to clean and a living room absolutely covered in food mash and toys and grubby clothes. Somehow, attacking these things is the last thing I want to do and I just ignore it until morning. I feel like I have been doing the same things all day and have nothing physical to show for it. I spent all my free time cleaning and making food and guess what, nothing is clean and chances are there is no food to snack on. At this point I am tired and lying on the couch watching Homeland is about the peak of my existance. Such a luxury. And then eventually we go to bed, and wake up to do this day over again.

A day in the life. I wouldn't change it.