A Letter To Stepdads…

My name is Mike (you might know me as The Slightly Less Organised Dad).

I am a dad, husband, ex-husband and a step-dad.  All of those things add up to a very happy life presently, however, it’s been a roller coaster!

Continue reading “A Letter To Stepdads…”

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You Rock! How TOMM has helped Jemma

 

Name  Jemma
How would you describe your working situation? Full time prior to starting TOMM, on Maternity leave currently and due to go back 3 days a week in 2 months time!

Who lives in your house? Myself, my husband and my 10 month old daughter.

Tell us about your typical day My typical day is get up around 6am (thanks 10 month old!), change the baby, have brekkie, shower, get us both dressed. Baby has a nap if I’m lucky then we go to a baby group. Then it’s lunch, maybe another nap, 2 second sit down while baby has a feed then waiting game until dinner time at about 5pm. Then bath, play, bottle, book, bed for about 8pm latest (for the baby that is!) Then I go to bed anywhere from 10-12pm.
How do you fit TOMM in? My little one is a nap fighter so if I do get a nap out of her then I buzz around as quickly as I can during nap time as she normally naps for exactly 30 minutes! But normally my half an hour gets split into about 10-15 minutes chunks where I can get little one engrossed in her toys. Or she ‘helps’ me…. If I’ve really struggled during the day (which is often the case lately!) Then I do my 30 minutes after she has gone to bed.
What have you found the most challenging part of TOMM? Sticking to 30 minutes in just 1 room! (Or 2 if you’re doing bedrooms!) Because if I’m tidying something away and take it out of the room I’m doing and enter another one I can’t help but start doing things in that room!
What have you enjoyed the most about TOMM? Having a schedule! I was diagnosed with postnatal low mood and anxiety after my little girl was born and one of my triggers was the house being a state. I’m a bit of a neat freak germaphobe so to suddenly be at home all day keeping a human alive and yet not being able to find a spare second to clean was really hard for me. So having a schedule and a 30 minute rule was heaven! It’s even better that the website has loads of other general help on there, and there’s such a friendly community to spur you on to.
What are your top tips for newbies to TOMM? Do the boot camp! Even if you don’t think you need to, it just gives you such a boost, and it’s a great starting point. Plus, if your house is anything like mine you will need to declutter in order to speed through your 30 minutes!

 

You Rock! How TOMM has helped Hannah

Name: Hannah

Who lives in your house? Me, my husband, my 2-year-old and 6 month old

How would you describe your working situation? Currently on maternity leave

Tell us about your typical day Get up around 5:30/6am with the boys (there’s normally at least one awake and screaming at that time), on Tuesdays and Thursdays I take the 2-year-old to nursery. I’m normally out the house doing things from about 9 – 12 then again in the afternoon – either walks with the boys, classes for them, visiting friends or even just going to my parents for company and some help as 2 under 2 has been mental!

How do you fit TOMM in?
On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays I do my 30 mins either first thing before the 2-year-old is up or around 5 just before my husband gets home. I have tried to get my 2-year-old to help but he is scared of the hoover 🙈😂 (I’d have thought he’d have gotten over his fear as we have the hoover out at least once a day) so I normally use his favourite programme (Thomas) to distract him while I charge about getting everything done. I put the baby in a carrier so he’s getting company and closeness but I have my hands free. I’ve done this since he was a newborn. For changing beds and tasks that aren’t easy with an extra person strapped to you, I try and time it with a nap. I aim to get my 30 mins done as early in the day as I can but accept that particularly when I’ve got both boys it can be really hard. I make sure I do level 1 jobs the first time I’m in that room e.g. first thing I’ll give my ensuite a wipe then make the beds in each room as I pass it etc.
I try and do a bit more cleaning on Tuesdays and Thursdays when it’s just me and the baby as I’ve got a bit more time without having a toddler to run after! It also gives me the chance to catch up on anything I’ve missed on other days.

What have you found the most challenging part of TOMM?
Doing the Friday focus! I always feel like I’ve done so much the rest of the week that I don’t need to do it! But once I do it it’s always worth it.
I struggled at the beginning when I had a newborn and a 20-month-old with feeling guilty that I wasn’t doing enough cleaning if I didn’t make it to the 30 mins or guilty that I was doing too much as my children are only little for a short time. But once I hit my stride (around 3 weeks in) I realised that while cleaning isn’t everything, it makes everything easier if the house is clean and tidy. I know if people pop over I don’t have to worry, I know my 6-month-old isn’t eating something he shouldn’t be off the floor (or if he is at least it’s freshly put there 😂) and I know that my house can be a haven of calm amidst my chaotic life trying to raise small humans.

What have you enjoyed the most about TOMM?
I love the community with Team TOMM. People are always helpful and kind and nearly always have a solution to cleaning/organising problems.

I also love how much TOMM has helped my mental health. I was diagnosed with severe anxiety during my pregnancy and this has continued and developed into postnatal depression. Having a clean and tidy home has helped me feel able to stay at home and play with the boys without feeling trapped or stuck. It’s also helped me feel like I’ve accomplished something more each day than just being a mum.

What are your top tips for newbies to TOMM?
If I’m being honest my house should have been bootcamped before I got stuck in but I think that would have led to me never starting. So my top tip is to just get started. Join in with the week everyone is on, join Team TOMM for motivation, inspiration and way more info than you ever thought you needed about cleaning products like Zoflora, and rock the housework!

How Sandra (a full-time childminder and mum) Rocks The Housework!

I LOVE this case study from Sandra! If you are childminder or work from home it is a MUST READ! 

Name:  Sandra

Who lives in your house? Me, my husband and two lazy boys (19, 20)

How would you describe your working situation? I work 7:30-5:30 Monday to Friday as a childminder. On top of my working hours, I also have a fair bit of paperwork to do – accounts, risk assessments, journals to keep track of children’s learning, daily diaries, planning, reports etc. There’s more to it than playing in the park with the kids that’s for sure!

Tell us about your typical day? Up at 6am to shower and get ready (wiping over the bathroom after my shower). I clean and tidy the playroom as soon as I finish work the night before (this only takes 5 minutes as the kids are a whizz at tidying – I train them well!) so I just do a quick once-over of my lounge and kitchen/diner and vac/mop the wooden floors (another 5 minutes). Level one jobs done by 7am. Then half an hour to prep dinner for the slow cooker and a quick breakfast before 7:30am. It’s a bit manic but I’ve got into a good routine and it makes my evenings so much easier! BE YOUR FUTURE BEST FRIEND! After work, minimal prep is needed for dinner so I get straight on to my level 2 jobs for the day. If it’s a kitchen day I’ve tended to do most of it as I clean up after the children. By 6-6:15pm I’ve finished cleaning, prepped the food and ready to relax.

How do you fit TOMM in? I wonder now how I ever managed before! It’s just about fitting it in with you and your life. If I’m going upstairs to the loo I might take my cloth and spray and wipe the bannister for example. Anything to make life easier. I find that by making that 30 minutes a priority it gives me a cleaner house and more free time, as my cleaning is focused and kept on top of. My mind is able to relax more as I don’t have the guilt of watching TV or reading a book when I feel I should be cleaning. A tidy house… a tidy mind!

I’ve developed a rota for my paperwork too whereby I spend 1 hour a week, over a 4 week rota, doing a different aspect of my work paperwork. In exactly the same way as the TOMM it’s meant that everything is covered in a focused way and so I keep on top of it all and never feel like I’m being swamped or getting behind. The ripple effect of being more organised at work and having a much more organised home has been meant we have been getting more organised with our finances too! We set ourselves a weekly budget and try to stick to it. Since putting that in place we’ve had money left each week. We would’ve ordinarily gone way over that amount had we not been more focused and deliberate in our spending. We’re going to have a monthly date night with the amount we have spare each month. Bonus!

What has been the most challenging thing about finding time for TOMM? There are days when it doesn’t get done. Life gets in the way. And sometimes I’m just plain knackered! I’ve found letting go of the guilt one of the most challenging things but I’m getting better. I have a mental ‘f*#k it bucket’ that I’ve started using – life doesn’t end if my skirting boards don’t get dusted! The other thing I’ve found challenging is getting the rest of the house on board. I have an amazing husband who washes, irons, cooks, washes up, does the shopping etc etc (I DO know how lucky I am, although it pees me right off that women should feel lucky when their other halves pull their weight!!!). My two sons are a whole new ball game. I’ve still to come up with a solution to their total lack of hygiene and their untidiness, but as long as it’s confined to their rooms I’m having to learn to live with it – for now!

What top tips do you have for others who are new to TOMM? I think it seems daunting at first and the temptation is to spend longer than the 30 minutes doing your jobs which defeats the object. Once you’re in a routine the 30 minutes is genuinely enough. Trust in it – it works! What doesn’t get done can be your priority the week after and the more and more you do it the jobs get easier and easier. Also don’t confuse clean with tidy. Your house is there to be lived in and that means, especially if you have young children (or adult children it seems) it is not always going to be tidy … but it can be clean! Engage children as much as possible. I look after a child who is only just one and she knows exactly where all the toys live! More than anything else don’t give yourself a hard time! Guilt takes up too much time – stick that in the f@*k it bucket too!

How Lorraine (a single mum who works full time) Rocks The Housework

We all lead very different lifestyles but the beauty of The Organised Mum Method is that it can be adapted to suit you! It is a flexible routine that is bringing balance to homes all over the world! Lorraine explains how she uses TOMM to keep on top of everything as a busy working mum.

Name: Lorraine

Who lives in your house? Myself (41) and 2 daughters 7 and 10

How would you describe your working situation? I have a busy job as a Trading Standards Officer – I work 30 hours a week (often much) more but this does give me some flexibility doing full days and shorter days. I’m lucky that my parents help with after school childcare, but this often means I don’t get home until gone 7pm.

Tell us about your typical day? Up at 7am – getting me and kids ready for school and work (mornings are often stressful) but since following TOMM, I honestly can say they are a lot less stressful, as it is now in my nature to get everything ready the night before –which actually makes me sleep better! Drop kids at school and head to work – on a day I finish early I would pick the kids up from school and use that time to get things done – this is when I plan in my 30 minutes for TOMM. So for me, some days might mean I do an hour (say I have worked a long day Monday I will do 2 tasks Tuesday as I will finish earlier). I also have Colitis so a full day at work can leave me exhausted in terms of doing a 30-minute task, so for me, it works perfectly having some flexibility to the method and means I am not overwhelmed.

Before I started TOMM I was terrible at leaving jobs and going to bed – now (because I know how much better it feels) I get everything ready for the next day and it makes a MASSIVE difference to life. Also, the girls now love joining in, so I feel I am setting them up for life – if one is at a club, the other will help me do the 30 minutes and bizarrely we spend more quality time together even when doing the jobs rather than me running around like a headless chicken!

How do you fit TOMM in? We have a wipe board in the kitchen where all the tasks are written down. I allow some flexibility if I know I have a long day at work and also switch different tasks to different days if it will suit better that week – saves me feeling a failure if I don’t get it done on the TOMM planned days !!! So for example, for us, bedroom day is often a Saturday morning – the kids help and I have found that week on week things get done quicker and quicker – I feel like I have a head start now. The girls are on board and love the difference, so it has now become pretty easy to fit it in because it has just become part of our routine. I don’t set a particular time in the day to get it done – just the days – it works for us.

What has been the most challenging thing about finding time for TOMM? I was VERY sceptical it would work for us but within a week things had changed beyond what I thought was possible. The hardest part for me was actually focusing that 30 minutes. Before I spent all my time doing household jobs but getting nowhere! Once I started to properly focus I found that 30 minutes was more than enough if I’m honest.

As the weeks have gone by you always have less and less to do because you have kept on top of things. I don’t beat myself up if something gets missed through lack of time – prior to following TOMM, this would have caused chaos because I was behind on everything, now it just means a bit extra the next day, it is so easy to pull it back.

I also had to be tough on myself when bootcamping different rooms – it never felt there was enough room in my house (small 3-bed semi) but not anymore – I got rid of so much stuff and have not missed any of it. I also don’t have a dishwasher (!!!!) so it was ALWAYS the thing that got left – no anymore simply because I am on top of everything else.

 

What top tips do you have for others who are new to TOMM? Focus focus focus –  I now realise that before I spent a lot of time doing stuff around the house but not actually achieving anything – I always felt overwhelmed and to be honest a bit of a failure – I CANNOT believe what a difference to our lives this has made – I actually have a bit of time for me now which is amazing and when my daughter was poorly for a couple of days last week it meant I didn’t stress about things getting out of hand in the house. My daughters are with me 24/7 and I work basically full time – I don’t have the natural tidy gene trust me, so if it works for me anyone can make it work for them – once you start doing it you won’t go back because a switch flips at how much easier your life is following something so simple yet massively effective. My parents came to babysit on Saturday night – normally this would be a full afternoon of panic cleaning – literally ten minutes pop round this time and I was done – complete game changer! I was the person who dreaded anyone coming to my house without prior notice – not now! A sense of calm is now installed at my home – I’ve never, ever had that before and I LOVE IT.

 

Striking a balance – nourishing ourselves whilst being “Mum” (by Kelly Vines)

Before we get started on the important bit, I thought I would give you an insight into how this blog post came about. The lovely Gemma from “The Organised Mum” got in touch with me having seen some of my posts on Instagram. I jumped at the chance to guest blog as blogging is something I really love doing when I get the time. Time being the operative word right…that precious commodity which is wasted on those young childless folk! So a whole month later I am finally sitting down to write this…life with 2 children, illness, a burst water pipe, a broken fridge freezer and a half-term holiday just got in the way! But that’s ok as that’s life and it’s what we’re meant to be here for right? So I guess this leads me into talking about one of the biggest disruptors to our overall wellbeing…STRESS!

Being a Nutritional Therapist brings about a whole world of stresses…am I doing the right thing for my client? Will they conform to the plan I have set them? Will they think my plan is codswallop and never come back again…however one of the main things we are taught is that chronic stress is one of the worst states to be in for our body. Don’t get me wrong we need a bit of stress, the acute, low level kind that encourages us we need to get out of bed in the morning (or is that the kids???), not the kind that leaves us feeling like we are running from a hungry pack of wolves! However most of us in this day and age are living with the “fight or flight” response daily and this sends our hormones all over the place which has a knock on effect for the whole body. Our immune system lowers, we gain weight, we deplete vital nutrients so our bodies require more, we want to rest more than be active and this is not good for our mental health either. Now I am a mum of two beautiful girls, one 5 and one almost 9 months. They bring their own set of stresses but I have learned over my years how to help myself be calm, here are a few of the ways I do this:

Walk away – when the older one is pushing my buttons and talking to her is like trying to convince the devil to wear white, it’s the only thing to do to keep yourself sane and calm.

Take a magnesium bath – soak in magnesium flakes for 20 mins in the evening when the kids are in bed and stick on some meditation from You Tube. Most people nowadays are low in magnesium due to over farming and it lacking in our soil. We need magnesium for calming the nervous system. It is the nutrient responsible for relaxing the muscles (calcium contracts the muscles) so soaking for 20 minutes before bed really helps with sleep and relaxation.

Ensuring I fuel my body well with enough nutrients to enable my body to have a good immune system and keep those stress hormones (cortisol and adrenaline) balanced. So for the time poor here is a list of some essential food/meal ideas I like to think of as my armour to keep me sane so I don’t have to think too much about what I’m going to feed myself:

Smoothie for breakfast – takes 5 mins to whizz up and I can do this whilst making breakfast for the little ones and drink it whilst I feed them – ingredients:

  • Handful of spinach
  • Big glug of almond milk
  • Banana
  •  Apple
  • Pumpkin seeds (tbsp.)
  • Flaxseeds (linseeds) (tbsp.)
  • Spirulina powder (tbsp.)
  • Ginger root (1 inch – you can leave the skin on but wash it)
  • Handful of frozen berries
  • Coconut oil (tsp.)

Organic sulphite free apricots for snacking with some almonds – full of iron and protein.

Soups – you can buy some really nice fresh soups from the supermarket and these are always really good to have in for a quick healthy lunch or dinner.

Eggs – these are so versatile you can knock up a quick omelette with some mushrooms and spinach in, scrambled, poached or make a frittata – all so easy and healthy and packed full of protein to give you energy and keep you full.

BROCCOLI – my fave food of all time – has so many benefits – too many to list so get that in daily if you can as a side or in a frittata or any way you can!

So hopefully this has given you some ideas, I could talk for hours about this subject so be sure to check out my instagram @feed_me_healthy for more tips…Remember you can’t pour from an empty cup…if I had a pound for every time someone had told me that I would be a rich lady and sat on a lovely warm beach right now! BUT…it’s the truest, most honest thing I have heard in a long time!

Thanks for reading,

Kelly

Sarah’s Story: Playing Mum was easy! (by Sarah Mullin)

 

I started life as a nanny, at 18, and for the next 10 years I worked for 3 families. Most recently with a lovely working family (7am-7pm). I’ve always loved my job, I was really good at it. I could get the children in my care sleeping with no fuss, eating everything I gave them, and behaving like angels. I had perfected a single look that sufficed, I never raised my voice, never repeated myself. I knew every milestone and how to encourage and nurture their development. I didn’t care about any playgroup awkwardness or politics, I had my own circle of friends so didn’t need to worry about making new ones.

I had it sussed!! playing mum was easy!

We were incredibly lucky and blessed to fall pregnant quickly, I was no longer going to be playing mum, I was going to actually be a mum! I had no reservations, as I’d being doing this for 10 years…along with the excitement of the positive test came, the indigestion, bloating, morning sickness that lasted all day, and insomnia, you name it, I had it! I clearly wasn’t having the beautiful straight forward pregnancy I assumed I’d have. I had the most dramatic labour and birth which came with a haemorrhage, 2 blood transfusions and a 5 day stay in hospital.

When we finally got our adorable baby girl home came the colic, the sleep deprivation, the sore healing lady parts and the challenge of breast feeding, which always looked so much easier than the reality! Who knew there was so many wrong ways to let your baby latch, and the pain that came with that! Ouch!!

I was now a walking zombie with leaking boobs!

I second guessed everything, forgot even the most basic of things and over thought everything! With time the colic left, the soreness healed, and I got to grips with breast feeding. Although in public my daughter would choose to fuss and expose me to the world!

Our baby is now a spirited toddler and we have been blessed with a boy. Even with the past experience of juggling a toddler and new born, it wasn’t that easy. I panic at the sight of any rash, I have sleepless nights rocking and feeding my baby to sleep, climbing into cots and beds to comfort an over tired or poorly child, sticking on Cbeebies just so I can drink a warm tea or catch up on a mountain of washing! I’ve used sweets and cake as bribery, my daughter calls my bluff on any form of threat and find myself repeating everything.

Gone are the days of putting a child to bed and them staying there. When we go to groups I feel self conscious and secretly hope that when I manage to strike up a conversation it won’t just be about bowel movements or weaning, but we’ll hold an adult conversation!

There is no such thing a pro. Just follow your instincts and simply be the best mum you can be!

One thing I do keep with me, is how fast they grow, time really does fly. Embrace every single moment, even the coffee fuelled sleep deprived ones!

You can follow Sarah on Instagram: @good_morning_sunshines

Roxie’s Story: I had the baby blues but due to my lack of support it was turning into post-natal depression (by Roxanne Judd)

 

My little girl arrived on 23 July, 9 days late, 10lbs (!) and was a horrible birth.  She was a back to back labour, forceps delivery, I suffered a third-degree tear and had to have two blood transfusions.  8 weeks later when I started to feel depressed, a failure, emotional and irritable with everyone around me I went to see a counsellor.  She said that I had baby blues but due to my lack of support it is turning into post-natal depression.  I actually wasn’t that shocked. 

Now there actually wasn’t/isn’t a huge amount I can do about the lack of support so I thought to myself (after a lot of tears to my fiance) right I need to put my big girl knickers on and get a grip on this before it spirals.  What can I use, how can I get out of this rut, because let’s face it 12 hours sleep isn’t going to come any time soon!

Exercise…my outlet, my stress reliever.  I exercised when I was pregnant right up until about 7 months and was a fitness junkie beforehand. Training 4-5 times a week and teaching at evenings and weekends.  I needed that back in my life.  Something I had control over, something that made me feel better about myself, something that made me sleep better.  I also started having anxiety from my lack of sleep.

That was it, I started once a week, then twice a week and now I aim for three times a week (if I can).  Don’t get me wrong I still have bad days, bad nights, days where I don’t get dressed all day BUT I make sure I get a workout in three times a week.  To save my sanity.  Something for me.  Something I have control over.  I don’t particularly like what I see when I look in the mirror as I’m sure many of us don’t, but if I exercise I am doing something about that.  Changing what I don’t like.  Us humans are guilty of moaning but not doing anything about it.  So I’m here writing this to tell you that it is VITAL that you do it!  It is so unbelievably important, as a mum, to find something that separates you from your baby.  Your downtime even if it’s just 20 minutes. Most of the time you probably won’t want to exercise but think about how much better you will feel afterwards.  Exercise is the most underused antidepressant. The endorphins and that ‘feel good factor’ that is produced after you exercise, naturally alleviates stress and tiredness.

So here’s what you’re gonna do.  You’re going to warm up for a minimum of 2-3 minutes, get that heart rate up. I jog around my bedroom (!) Pick 5 exercises – I suggest target areas you don’t like that much so maybe legs, bum and arms.  Once you have your five you’re going to perform them back to back, have a 30 second – 1 minute rest then repeat again 3-5 times. 

After you’ve worked up a sweat you’re going to stretch, have a shower, sit down and wait for the baby to wake up!

Roxie is a personal trainer who specialises in pre and postnatal fitness. You can follow her on Instagram @roxfitt