Five Rules for Happy Mums (and Babies!)

The following article is a guest post written by Dee Mason, a wonderful freelance writer who would like to share some of her own personal tips for mothers. She has written for many websites on a wide range of topics, like her (wikivee article) interview with a travel writer and (one of my faves) her tips for social media. I think she is a terrific writer, so I hope you enjoy!

five rules for happy mums and babies guest

5 rules for happy mums momsAs a mother who was determined to stay at home and look after my son, I clearly recall the difficult early days. It seems utopian to some, but if you struggle, like I did, to conform to everyone else’s idea of what a perfect Stay At Home Mum should be, then read on. These are five things I wish I had known at the time.

“Stay At Home Mums Should…”

There seems to be an unwritten expectation that Stay at Home Mums should have perfect houses, dinner on the table at six and a child with an IQ of 150. After all, what else is there to do all day? It was pointless trying to explain to people that just being dressed by eleven was difficult some days. As a first time mother I felt overwhelmed and frequently out of my depth with my new baby. In a typical optimistic young parent moment we had taken the bizarre decision to move house not long before I gave birth. Suddenly, almost overnight it seemed, I was there on my own, surrounded by unpacked moving boxes, and a screaming baby who demanded my undivided attention every minute of the day.

RULE ONE: Focus on what you can manage. The most important thing you can do as a first time mother of a young baby is to get through each day. A happy baby is one whose mother is not stressed by the unrealistic expectations of others. Or even the realistic ones! Some days just don’t go to plan. Let it go! Your job is just to do your best and do what you can manage that day. Be the Stay At Home Mum you are, not the one everyone else thinks you should be.

Pay attention to your relationships

I used to envy my friends who had everything under control. Some mothers seem to be able to cope with it all. “Oh yes, I am up at five preparing the vegetables for the evening meal” said one friend, in all seriousness. I could have wept. And whilst it is important to remember rule one ‘Focus on what you can manage’, it is equally important not to allow yourself to disappear into Motherland never to reappear.

RULE TWO: Set aside one day per month to go out with your husband/partner. My mother gave me this advice. It sounds great, but it was difficult in practice. Babysitters, money, tiredness – all these things stand in the way. But I think it was great advice and I would say the same to any new parents. You and your relationship matter too. Even if it’s just a walk in the park together, it will remind you why this whole situation occurred in the first place! If you are a single parent, then it’s also important for you to go out, just for yourself, or in search of Mr. Right.


It is so easy, amidst the chaos of the day, to be consumed by stress and lament the mundane round of chores our life has become. I used to tell my husband that my day was like digging a very big hole, only to have it filled by the next morning. Unless you have experienced being at home with a young baby this will seem like an exaggeration. It’s not! Washing (stuff gets dirty in moments), cooking (everything gets eaten), cleaning (where did that banana come from?!) all have their equal and opposite and there is no escaping it.

RULE THREE: Try to take one moment in the day to be mindful of all that is positive about being a Stay At Home Mum, and how lucky you are. I used to do this at bath-time, when the day was nearly over and my baby was happy and playfully splashing in the bath. As I watched him playing I would bring to mind all the good things about that day, and live in the moment, enjoying the pleasure and love in my child’s face. I was thankful that, however hard and difficult the day had been, we were both here, safe and well. It became a sort of mental reckoning I did every day, and it really did help.

Do you want this or that one?

As parents we get so much conflicting advice about how to bring our children up. When you are at home on your own with your baby it is easy to chat away about all sorts of things.  But don’t ever forget that your baby is not your best friend – that doesn’t mean not want to be. By this I mean remember that you are in charge and not your baby. Babies need stability and security, and being offered endless choices about things is sometimes confusing for them. By all means let them make small decisions, but don’t let that extend to offering them endless choices about everything. I wish I had listened to this piece of advice, instead of feeling like I was restricting my child’s ‘freedom of expression’, or whatever nonsense I had read at the time. In the end, ‘Put your boots on, we’re going to the park!’ is much better than, ‘Would you like to go to the park? No? You’d rather stay home and watch cartoons? Well honey, Mummy would like to go to the park…” After a twenty-minute discussion and potential tantrum flashpoint, the walk in the park is likely to be a grumpy affair, whereas a cheerful exhortation to just come and have fun will always win out.

RULE FOUR: It’s not your baby’s job to make decisions. It’s yours. Never forget who is in charge. Kids like firm parenting; it makes them feel secure and loved.

I beg your pardon?

Pester power. I never suffered from it, and here’s why. I resisted, with all my strength, the impulse to spoil my child. It was hard. Spoiling children is fun. But it is, as the saying goes, a rod for your own back! When asked if we could go to a toy-shop I would reply ‘Just to look’. That was the deal. Any nonsense and we left. If I was asked for anything I would simply reply, in a slightly mystified way,”But it’s not your birthday is it? Or Christmas?” as if the request was a sum that simply did not add up. It amazed me how quickly children accept what they are told when you handle things this way. Your response frames their expectation. Exceptions to no spoiling rule were last day of school term or injury/upset. After all, everyone needs treats sometimes. But that’s it!

RULE FIVE: Be the adult: consistently resist the temptation to spoil your little one and it will save heartache for both of you.

I hope these pieces of advice are helpful to others. I know how difficult it can be to stay at home and look after children. It’s a heroic endeavor and one you should be justly proud of!

~Dee Mason

U-Printing Personalized Cards Giveaway! (CLOSED)

personalized cards giveawayI plan to host a few giveaways this month, so get ready to win something awesome! Although the holiday season is still a little far off, it is never too early to prepare and these giveaways will be a great way to gear up for the holidays. This U-Printing giveaway in particular can be used to make 250 personalized holiday greeting cards or thank-you cards for home or business. Now, having said that…

I am very happy to announce this wonderful giveaway opportunity to my readers provided by U-Printing, one of the leading online printing companies. They can provide a wide variety of businesses with unique printing services such as flyer printing or business cards. They can also be used to make personalized invitations, greeting cards, or calendars. At the moment U-Printing is having a sale on their club flyers, for which they have a wide range of templates. Also, the club flyer and business flyer templates are available for download.

u-printing giveaway

So, what is this wonderful prize that I am so happy to share with you? One lucky reader will get to personalize their own set of 250 flyers! The size is 4″ x 6″ on 14pt. cardstock gloss with front-only printing. So, it’s about the size and weight of a postcard- which would be great as a business flyer or a greeting card, whichever works best for you. The shipping is free of course, with a 3 business day turnaround time. Sounds great, right? Just follow the instructions below to enter in this awesome giveaway and be sure to include a valid email address. Good luck!

This giveaway is sponsored by UPrinting, no monetary compensation was given and I will receive flyers for hosting. For more information about flyers, please visit

We’ve Been Featured!

My Baby Experience was recently asked to contribute an article to on the topic of things to do before having a baby. This is a wonderful blog for moms of all stages, ages, and genders written by Jamie, a writer and newbie mother. My guest post entitled “5 Things To Do Before Baby Arrives” was published in her spotlight series last Friday and I would love for you to check it out. If you like her blog, you should check out her fanpage on Facebook too.

My Family Loves Fall Festivals- Happy Autumn!

Well, today (September 23, 2011) is officially the first day of autumn (or spring if you are south of the equator) and Oktoberfest is just around the corner. My favorite part of summer ending and fall beginning are the festivals- free entertainment and fun for the whole family. Harvest festivals are so much fun!

fall festival fun
So many people...It was a little too crowded but Anneliese loved it.

Although I love summer, it’s my favorite season, I am very much ready for fall this year. With our money expenditures being so tight right now, we are trying not to waste any on entertainment, and I am getting cabin fever from being stuck in the house way too much.

Family Fall Festivals
Anneliese with Grandma Missildine at Depot Days

This past weekend we had a blast with our baby’s grandparents at their town’s fall festival called Depot Days (it’s a week of activities all centered around the old train station depot). I’m not very artistically inclined so I love to see all of the art booths with people’s inspired creations. There were some really cute baby things that I had to avoid the temptation of buying on the spot. After walking around and checking out the art booths, we sat under a tree in the park for lunch. There are usually some really yummy options for food at the festival but this year the prices were so outrageous that we ended up eating pizza.

Family Fall Festivals
So Happy with a Full Belly

The Depot Days Festival was a nice break from our monotonous daily routine. Anneliese loves to be around people and see new things, so she had a great time. Plus, it’s always fun to hang out with the Grandparents (especially when they bring treats).

Family Fall Fun
Anneliese at Grandma Duckworth's House

After the fun of Depot Days my baby passed out for her afternoon nap, and when she woke up, she was in such a good mood I had to record it. Lately she has been trying to talk and she will go on and on in her adorable baby babble which I will have to write more about in another post. Well, my baby was so happy about her fun day at the fall festival that she felt like telling us all about it. We were at her Grandma and Grandpa Duckworth’s house because my husband was cooking a big dinner meal for everyone (Turducken) and she was having a grand time playing with the other children.

I hope you are having fun and enjoying this nice weather too. What fall festivals do you enjoy with baby? Do you have any fun plans for this fall?

fun fall festivals with baby

Selling Our House

selling our houseWe have recently decided that it is time to sell our house and move on with our lives. Move on from what? As you may remember, I resigned from my job after my baby was born because my husband was making enough working in a factory to support our family. Well, he has now been laid off for more than two months and there are no signs that the factory will ever call back the hundreds of people they laid off. With the overwhelming numbers of jobless people in this area, there are absolutely zero employment prospects. We have depleted our emergency funds and need to sell our house before we lose it. So that brings us back to the topic of this post…trying to sell our house against the odds.

selling our house with a baby
Our Historic Home was Built in 1909

If we do sell our home at the price we need, it will be a miracle from God. The economy is not doing well around here and many people in similar situations are trying to unload their houses also. Everyone knows this is a terrible time to sell but I don’t see a better time anywhere in the near future either. In a more stable economy our beautiful home would probably sell very easily because of its historic Victorian design and curb appeal that had drawn us in when we first saw it.

selling a house with a baby
I love the big bay windows.

Another obstacle in trying to sell our house is the very mobile and curious “destructo-baby” running rampant and making messes throughout the house. When we first decided to sell our home, I did not consider my baby would be one of the many mounting difficulties. But, I never even got to finish my spring cleaning checklist and it’s almost fall! I wanted the house to be spotless before any pictures were taken but it doesn’t look like that is going to happen any time this year.

destructive baby
Ahhh! Destructo-Baby is at it again...

The only time I was able to get a significant amount of work done around the house was the day my sweet mother-in-law came over to help out with the baby. So, I guess my biggest tip for anyone trying to get their house ready to sell is to ask for help from your family and friends. Have any of you been in our situation? I would love to hear some tips on selling our house quickly.

selling a house with baby
Anneliese playing in our big beautiful backyard.

In case you are curious, here are the stats for our house: 2100 square feet, 2 large bedrooms, 2 full bathrooms, a great room with a bay window and gas fireplace, a large dining room with a gas fireplace, a laundry room, and a kitchen with a built-in breakfast bar. There are 12 foot high ceilings and plenty of 8 foot tall windows, crown molding, bead board with chair rail, and trim work throughout the entire house to go with the Victorian theme (and of course since I live in Alabama there is central heat and air- a necessity around here). Oh, we also have two big pecan trees and a storage building in the back yard.

Sounds great, right? If you happen to be moving to North Alabama then you can send me an email and I will tell you more. If you have any tips for me, please feel free to leave a comment.