I absolutely love this time of year!! Now is the perfect opportunity to reflect on the year that was, celebrating successes and finding the lessons that the tough stuff was sent to teach us. Then it becomes time to let it go and turn to the crisp blank page that is the New Year!
A friend was telling me last week over a glass of wine how much she has hated 2016 and can’t wait to say goodbye to it. She had a particularly eloquent way of putting it that I just couldn’t improve upon. “All year I feel like I’ve been stepping out of one pile of crap only to land face first in the next one!” After I heard her say this I realized how crucial it is to actually take the time to go through a process of letting go of the year that was and planning for the year ahead. If we don’t do this we’ll cruise on in to the new year with a piece of toilet paper dragging behind us, only to realize it’s attached to the same pile of crap that we were dealing with last year!
It’s important to reflect in a productive way rather than getting bogged down in the gory details, which is why I’ve created a document to guide you in celebrating the good stuff and focusing on lessons learnt from the tough stuff. After all, the thing that separates the pro’s from the rest is their ability to use what some of us might call failures or losses as opportunities to grow.
I’m not big on New Years Resolutions, but I do LOVE to set goals leading in to the New Year. What’s the difference you might ask? A decision and a plan. The saying “Fail to plan and plan to fail” really rings true when it comes to goal setting. I have spoken with so many people who tell me with equal enthusiasm about their big, inspired vision and the goals they have set for themselves, but only very few who have actually gone about making a decision to make it happen, writing it down and creating a plan which is regularly revisited and reviewed. Needless to say it’s the latter who are ultimately successful in achieving them... Let's be in that top 1%!
Unfortunately it’s not enough just to write down your goal on a post it note, stick it on the fridge and wait for it to work it’s magic… there is a bit of an art to doing it well. BUT if done well your chances of success are much much higher! It is SO worth it, stick with me here because I have a free resource that you can steal to help you on your way to achieving all that you dream of in 2017, just click the link below and I’ll send them your way!
Most of you I’m sure have heard of SMART goal setting (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time bound)... and you probably just yawned because that’s what I tend to do when I hear that term these days. But let me break it down nice and quickly for you, because honestly it’s done to death because it works.
Specific – write it down clearly and concisely. Give as much detail as you can! Example: “Complete Encounter Bay Triathlon November 2017, Sprint distance” rather than “enter a triathlon”
Measureable – how will you know that you’ve achieved it?
Achievable – the above triathlon example is my own goal. Why haven’t I chosen one of the many triathlons in January/February next year? Because I know that I haven’t done anything in a pool since I was pregnant with my now nine month old other than play Humpty Dumpty and sing “everybody splash.” Make it something that is actually doable for you, if it’s too difficult you’re going to be putting too much pressure on yourself and you’ll end up disenchanted, down and out. We’re doing this to make our lives better and to feel positive and inspired – not more stressed.
Relevant – set a goal that means something to you, that you know will improve your life, that fires you up and gives you butterflies thinking about it. If it doesn’t have this effect, either it’s too easy and the waste of a goal setting exercise or you probably don’t care enough about it to actually get it done. The ‘WHY’ is more important in keeping you on track than the ‘WHAT’. If you’re wanting to achieve more balance, try setting a goal in each area of you life. For example, I have a career related goal, a personal achievement goal (which doubles as a fitness and health goal), and a goal centered around my family. Once I achieve a goal in each area I replace it with a new one!
Time bound – Make sure you put a date on it or it will be too easy to forget about and say you’ll do it later.
That’s SMART goal setting in a nutshell. So, once you have that under control you need to make a plan. I’ve already said that the WHY is important, of equal importance is the HOW. You need a plan! Work out exactly what you need to do to get to where you want to go - breaking it down in to daily, weekly and monthly targets is ideal depending on the goal.
For my triathlon example I have printed a training plan off and I’ll stick it up in my office as well as translating each week in to my diary as I go to fit it around my schedule. I know how many times per week I need to train and what each of those sessions will entail. What this looks like will vary depending on what your goal is, the important thing is that it is done and that it is very specific. If your goal is to promote to the next level in your company, ask the person who is there what they did, break it down in to small actions and schedule those actions in to your working week. Make it happen!
I love to make life easier for you so as promised, if you click on the link below I will send you a free copy of the How She Does It New Year Planning e-book to help you reflect on the year that was and cruise on in to 2017 with some exciting goals and a rock solid plan ready for your best year yet.
Wishing you all a Safe and Happy New Year, now go and create and demolish some goals and make your dreams come true!!
My belly is filled with nervousness and dread at the thought of laying this all out on the table for the world to read. What I’m beginning to realize though is that the things that I am afraid to write about are the things that are likely to have the most impact - because if I’m afraid to talk about it, so is someone else. That person needs to know that it’s ok.
Flynn was born in the middle of March. I had a pretty ‘perfect’ labour (in the ‘oh my god this is the most effed up thing I’ve ever had to do, get him out of me’ sense of the word ‘perfect’ that can only be attributed to labour of course). He was placed on my chest and my husband and I thought he was the most unbelievably perfect thing we had ever seen. I frequently think back to that moment and try to remember every little detail so that it will be clearly etched in my memory forever.
The midwife placed him on my chest and told me it was time to feed. He latched on immediately and went for it and I said ‘Oh my goodness look at you, you’re winning at life already!’ Everything was just wonderful. We went back to our room and Flynn slept for most of the night. Dan and I? We were peering at Flynn and each other through the clear bassinet every five minutes to make sure he was ok. He was. Beautiful memories.
Thinking we had this parenting thing nailed already, we were about to get a massive dose of reality. The next night things got hard. Flynn was feeding constantly and it hurt so so much. I was in tears, Flynn was screaming , I had midwives coming in every five minutes giving their own slightly different version of what I should be doing and how I should be doing it and we were losing our minds! We kept going, morning came and we were assured that this was all completely normal until my milk came in, which it thankfully did that day.
We stayed in hospital for the full four nights, happy to be getting fed, seen to and looked after. As frustrating as the varying opinions were, I was happy to get some more help with breastfeeding – was it really meant to be this hard?! No one spoke about this!
Home we went - a cute as a button, healthy baby boy, a tired husband who had been sleeping in his swag on the hospital floor, and me, sore everywhere and wondering how on earth they were letting me take this baby home on my own without a clue what I was doing?!
Days passed and my nipples were so so horrendously sore and broken. I had bought the chemist out of every remedy that they had and I spent all of my spare time googling how to make it better. Flynn would spend up to three hours straight feeding in the evenings and one hour every three hours during the day. Every time he came towards me I was half bringing him in, half pushing him away, really not wanting to do it. I can remember in the middle of the night putting him down next to me half way through feeding and just beginning to cry. I was breaking.
Two weeks in I was feeling particularly flat and unwell, I had breast pain and a bit of a fever. I just thought I was tired. I had a follow up appointment with my Obstetrician the next day so I mentioned it to him then, he checked out my breast and saw the redness and instantly gave me a script for antibiotics. He said "take these if it starts to get worse" and I took my first one that night. Thankfully the mastitis settled but the nipple pain went on. Horrible pain every three hours for four weeks, and the worst thing? Flynn wasn’t putting on enough weight! All of this effort, hours spent feeding and I still wasn’t doing it properly!! I was struggling, I couldn’t hold Flynn to my chest because it hurt too much so I was missing precious cuddling time. I was waiting for that instant mother, son bond to happen and it just wasn’t happening! I loved him with all my heart but he just didn’t feel like mine. What was wrong with me?!
I decided to call in the help of a lactation consultant. He was great, he came around and gave me more help with technique. Could it really be that I was THAT bad at breastfeeding?! After more advice on how to treat my shredded nipples, and feeling happier for having talked about things, we kept trying.
That week Dan got the flu and we had to clear out of the house. Flynn and I went to stay with mum and I spent the first night there writhing in toe curling pain during the night trying to feed Flynn. My baby needed me, he needed to be fed, he wasn’t gaining enough weight and I couldn’t do what I naturally as a mum was meant to be doing. The only thing he really needed from me while he was that tiny and I couldn’t do it right! Now even after I fed him I had burning pain in my breast for an hour afterwards, only for it to finally go away and then have to start all over again. By this point I avoided holding him sometimes so that he didn’t smell my milk and want to feed because it hurt too much. I avoided feeding him whenever I could. I want to cry even thinking about it.
I felt sick the next day, my nipple was looking dreadful and it was so sore even to have fabric lightly brush over it, let alone trying to feed Flynn from it. Then I felt it. That dreaded feeling that anyone who has ever had mastitis would know well - a firm, warm lump that made me feel ill to touch. I gave the lactation consultant an emergency call and he came out to mums to have a look. He said he thought we’d caught it early enough so not to take antibiotics just yet, to keep feeding and massaging out the lump… and MORE technique tweaks. He assessed Flynn’s mouth further and questioned whether he might have a tongue-tie. He wasn’t sure and was going to refer us on for a second opinion.
I woke up the next morning in a pool of sweat. I felt absolutely awful and wondered if I actually just had Dan’s flu. Mum very apologetically had to go in to work but assured me she was just a phone call away. I sat on the couch with Flynn next to me and that was it… I couldn’t move, I couldn’t function, I felt lifeless. I was staring at the kitchen willing a glass of water to walk my way. I had to keep Flynn within arms reach because I was too scared to walk with him in case I fell. I was becoming vague and confused, I had started taking my antibiotics as well as some panadol and nurofen but I I didn’t trust myself to know how many I’d taken and at what interval so I stopped. I couldn’t remember the order of Flynn’s routine… I was feeding him when he needed sleep and trying to put him to sleep hungry. I called the breastfeeding help line and parenting help lines who told me to hang in there, take panadol and rest. I was beside myself in tears on the phone and at the end of the conversation the lady said to me, “Now I need to ask this - How are you going emotionally?” ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! Terribly!! Did you not just hear that whole conversation??
I made an emergency call to mum who got home and read my temperature at 39.8, we called the hospital who told me to go straight in. When I arrived my temperature remained extremely high and my blood pressure had dropped dangerously low. I could barely string a sentence together. I was immediately put on an IV for saline and high dose antibiotics and felt almost instantly better with some hydration. Beautiful little Flynn tagged along un-phased and slept beside me in a bassinet. The nurses encouraged me to express to give my nipples a chance to heal which was such a relief. I did that for my three nights in hospital which meant that all I was doing was expressing, bottle feeding and putting Flynn to sleep. I felt extreme guilt that I was so unwell and so consumed with my breast feeding issues that Flynn was missing out on the love, care and attention that I would have otherwise been able to give him.
On discharge from the hospital one of the doctors came in to find me on the verge of tears with a crying Flynn. She sat down on the bed and said, “You know you don’t have to do this. You don’t have to put so much pressure on yourself to breast feed.” I broke down. I was so confused. I knew I wanted to breast feed, I was struggling with my bond with Flynn and I thought if I didn’t have breast feeding I wouldn’t have anything to offer him at all. I didn’t say that. I never said that out loud.
I went home and there was no improvement, breast-feeding was still excruciating. The lactation consultant referred me to an oral surgeon who looked at Flynn’s mouth for all of five seconds and said yep he has a tongue-tie and snipped it then and there. Flynn coped well with the release and fed a bit better after wards. He fell straight to sleep and I was feeling elated, maybe that was it?! Could it really be as easy as that?? I called my mum, Dan, brother and mother in law to tell them the good news.
Then we got home, Flynn woke up and refused to feed from me. He wasn’t able to latch on to my breast, he couldn’t work out how to use his mouth. I called the surgeon who said, “Oh sorry I don’t know, I’ve never heard of that before.” That was it. I had put myself through absolute hell for five weeks and now suddenly it was going to be all over, Flynn couldn’t breast feed! I called Dan at work hysterical. He obviously couldn’t help me from there so ten minutes later his mum walked in to find me topless, sobbing, sitting on a fit ball holding Flynn. “He won’t feed!!” I lost it. We called the lactation consultant and he assured me that this was normal. Thankfully I had some expressed milk in the fridge, bottle fed him and kept trying. Flynn worked out how to use his new mouth the very next feed.
Was it all over?? Unfortunately not. The next week I had an appointment with the community midwife. I told her my story, said I thought things were on the improve, went and grabbed a coffee, came home and brushed my handbag over my right breast. No no no… that feeling again. Straight to the chemist for antibiotics, I wasn’t waiting this time. I still wasn’t quick enough, it hit me like a truck. An hour later my temperature was up to 39. That night I was up feeding Flynn and had to call out to Dan to bring me a bucket and hold Flynn while I vomited from the pain. We had an appointment with our Obstetrician again the next day who was so so kind, going above and beyond to give me continuing care until it was under control. He looked me over apologetically and said “you’re going back to hospital.” They arranged me a physio appointment for some ultrasound therapy, a scan to check for an abscess and a hospital bed.
I arrived in hospital that night, Dan dropped Flynn and I there and went home to grab some clothes for us. We were left to wait in the waiting room for an hour, and as soon as we got to the room I said I needed to feed. The physio told me to feed straight after the treatment and I wasn’t confident doing it in public yet. I sat down and fed Flynn while the nurse took my obs. She left without a word and minutes later an entire medical emergency team rushed in to the room. They frantically put me on the bed, snatched Flynn away from me and started taking blood and doing tests. No one was talking to me about what was going on, Flynn had been part way through his feed and was screaming. The nurses asked if they could give him formula and I of course said no, I was here because I was so desperate to exclusively breast feed him! My temperate was 40, my blood pressure was extremely low again and they were concerned I may have sepsis.
Another four days in hospital, another huge dose of antibiotics which Flynn’s belly was clearly not coping with. I saw two more lactation consultants while in hospital, both lovely ladies, with completely varied opinions and advice. One said to focus on my own wellbeing, that I wasn’t looking after myself enough so my body couldn’t cope to fight the infections which is why I was getting so sick. Made sense, I was so all consumed with breastfeeding and the newborn fog that I was barely remembering to eat. The other was more medically focussed, saying there must be something underlying, lets take some samples and get to the bottom of this. I think they were both right.
Dan had been such a rock for me, he stayed in hospital with me and made sure I was eating properly and getting rest once we got home. He did all that he could but I know he felt helpless. He had googled so much and listened to all of the lactation consultants and had been helping me with correct technique – I think he’s more of an expert on breastfeeding than most women now! He was booked in the next week for knee surgery which I knew was going to knock us around again. I was concentrating on getting myself well so that I could cope for the day or two while he was recovering.
A few days later Dan woke in the middle of the night with sharp abdominal pain. I pressed on the lower right of his abdomen, released pressure and he hit the roof. With my bit of medical knowledge from my career as a sonographer I knew it straight away – appendicitis. You have got to be kidding me. Down to Flinders we went for Dan to be admitted and await surgery which finally happened two days later. The knee surgery was postponed and he now had abdominal surgery to recover from. Trying to cope with the cooking, housework, Flynn and ongoing feeding issues I wasn’t able to give him the care and attention I would have liked to during this time. I didn’t even get in to hospital to see him... More guilt. Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.
Feeling like we’d been through just about enough, I was desperately trying to find an answer, move on from this phase and enjoy motherhood. I called yet another lactation consultant. This time one specialized in tongue-ties, which from all my research seemed to be a contentious subject. She took one look in his mouth and said “Oh I can see exactly what’s going on here.” She showed us a tongue-tie, upper lip tie and cheek ties and did a full assessment of Flynn’s range of movement, which was not a lot at all. The release that we had done previously had only fixed part of the problem and the resultant scarring had actually made it worse. I researched and researched what to do, no one could give me a definite answer. There were journal articles about the implications of tongue ties going untreated with future speech, behavioral, health and dental issues which was my main concern. I could live with the breastfeeding pain but I wanted to give Flynn the best possible future. Our pediatrician didn’t believe in tongue-ties (whatever that means), GP didn’t want to hear about it, Obstetrician said ‘oh yeah I’ve just been learning about these that makes total sense’. Someone just give me a clear answer!!
It was going to have to rest on our shoulders. We made the decision to take Flynn to Melbourne to see the ‘guru’ of laser tongue-tie releases. We entered what we were expecting to be a state of the art facility but was actually a run down dental clinic. My gut said no, but we’d travelled all the way to Melbourne! We had to trust. There was another assessment of Flynn’s tongue with the same advice, and again it was put to us that they could give no definite answers on what we should do. We decided to go ahead. I left the room for the procedure, I couldn’t do it. Dan stayed in and had to sit on the dentist chair, one arm pinning Flynn down and the other covering his eyes and holding his head still while they started with the laser. Flynn was screaming and gurgling to the point that Dan was very nearly going to tell them to stop. I can’t bring myself to give much more detail than this but it was horrendous. Our gorgeous boy came out of the room swollen and puffy from crying and gave us a little smile. Bless him.
It still wasn’t over. So that the tissues don’t heal together and scar, we had to do a routine of stretches. Every four hours for two weeks we had to put our fingers in Flynn’s mouth and stretch out the wounds. It was a two man job as he needed to be held down to do it. Every four hours someone had to come to my house while Dan was at work and help me to torture my poor baby boy. I will be forever grateful to those who helped me through that time. Those were the hardest weeks of my life. I was Flynn’s mother who was meant to be his protector and I was coming at him every four hours to hurt him, it was tearing me up inside. I drew up a big chart so that I could cross off every lot of stretches as they happened and eventually we got there. We had to send photos through for assessment after the two weeks and thankfully we got the all clear.
Unfortunately there was no quick fix. Things gradually and very slowly improved. I am still breastfeeding Flynn after nine months, which I am of course proud of, but as I write this now I do think to myself – who did I do this for? Was it really that important for me to keep breastfeeding him at the expense of my own health and at the expense of those early months of bonding time? More guilt.
I know this was a long story but I feel that this is an important journey for me to share. I absolutely understand that there are people worse off than me and I said it repeatedly throughout that period, but looking back what I went through was hard and comparison wasn't helpful. I have no magic advice for anyone going through this now but here are some things I would have told myself knowing what I know now.
I'm going to make Christmas shopping extremely easy for you this year... thank me later! I'm so excited to introduce you to these talented and passionate small business owners and let you know where you can find absolutely gorgeous, unique gifts that are sure to leave your loved ones squealing with delight! I much prefer to know where my money is going and knowing that I'm supporting the ventures of local legends makes my shopping feel even better. Scroll down and tick Christmas shopping off of your to-do list!
Words She Wrote is a Strathalbyn based business offering hand lettering and design services. Could it get much more personal that gifting your very own message in beautiful handwriting for your loved one to display? We have two of these in Flynn's nursery and can't wait to add more to our collection. Be sure to grab your stylish letterpress christmas cards too!
Brittany Weckert, or the ‘she’ behind Words She Wrote started scribbling on anything she could get her hands on from the moment she received her pen licence back at Moonta Area School at the tender age of 7. As many artists will tell you, Britt didn't consider that this creative outlet could actually be a legitimate career path so instead, she has spent the past 9 years gaining general business and management skills through personal assistant and marketing roles within iconic South Australian organisations, including the Hilton Adelaide, Penfolds Magill Estate, Restaurant Orana and the Glenelg Football Club.
In December 2015, inspired by the success of fellow South Australian woman Tania DeBono (The Writing), Britt took to scribbling song lyrics to liven up her apartment and decided to share an image on social media. So began the flood of requests for commissioned pieces! Brittany has spent the past year honing the skill of lettering and finding her own style, which I'm sure you'll agree she has nailed.
Website: www.wordshewrote.com.au (Going live 5th December!)
Email: email@example.com Instagram: @wordsshewrote
Meet Lucie from LP Handmade! A 19 year old from Strathalbyn, creating a stunning range of clay and wooden jewellery and accessories. LP Handmade began as a year 12 design project and quickly escalated to direct orders, markets and wholesaling to boutique gift stores South Australia wide!
Lucie has always had a creative passion and a desire to make something handmade and unique. She says she '...loved having something that no one else had'. Countless hours spent researching, creating and completing assignments became worth while when school was over and Lucie was suddenly being approached by stores wanting to stock her products!
Lucie takes great pride in the fact that all of her creations are unique. It was important that her business name, (LP being her initials) included the word 'handmade' letting customers know that they are getting a unique, one-of-a-kind product. Using polymer and fimo clays, her earring patterns are never identical and each clay bead is hand rolled. Tremendous patience and passion at such a young age. Just one year after establishing LP.Handmade, Lucie has completed her first year of 'Bachelor of Business, Advanced Leadership' at Flinders University as well as continuing to grow her business and sharing her unique products. Watch this space, this is a girl who is going places!! Of course you are desperate to know where to find these creations?
Pearle Boutique, Pony, Kohl & Soda, Best Wishes, The Ivy Room, Lotus Gifts, Little Bohemian
Instagram - @lp.handmade Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
I've had the pleasure of introducing you to Alysha Sparks from One of a Kind Design before. If you missed it, do yourself a favour and check her out here. Alysha is local to Jamestown and offers stunning paintings in a variety of styles - abstract florals, colourful abstracts and a selection of more realistic animal portraits. She works with acrylics and her work is beautifully framed and ready for your wall. All who see Alysha's work fall head over heels in love with it - you would be in the good books for all of 2017 for gifting one of these!
Facebook: @alyshasparksartist Instagram: @oneofakind_alyshasparks
Meet Andrew and Kim from The Field Wholefoods! The Field is a bulk health food store stocking a range of nuts, grains, seeds, dried fruit, mueslis, flours, teas and they also do coffee and delicious smoothies. What I love about them is that they only sell what they eat themselves and feed to their two adorable children Sophie (2.5 years) and Jimmy (10 months) at home. That goes for the food's nutritional value, geographic sourcing and low waste and environmental impact.
This is a family business which is obvious from the minute you walk through the door and talk to the staff. The people who work at The Field Wholefoods have a genuine interest in food, its nutritional value and how to cook with it. On staff are aspiring dietitians, nutritionists and naturopaths, along with Andrew, an Ironman Triathlete with a 15 year history in advertising, and Kim, a Pharmacist and mother of two young children.
The Field Wholefoods was created by Andrew and Kim in January this year. Kim is officially on 'maternity leave' after having their second child but she actively works in the business at the Hyde Park store while Andrew gets their brand new Brickworks store up and running. Andrew says they made the decision to create The Field Wholefoods so that "...our kids don’t know any different when it comes to food and how to cook with it. When Sophie comes into the shop and requests some goji berries, an acai smoothie or some chia for breakfast you know you’re on the right track!" He says "...the health side of things is one thing, but job satisfaction and the potential to make a living out of something we’re both passionate about is something that we will hopefully look back on one day with great satisfaction."
How awesome is the passion that this couple has for their business and their family?? But back to Christmas shopping - I love this idea! The Field sell a range of pre made jars, for example Energy Ball jars - all you need to do is tip them in to a food processor and roll into balls! The picture above is of a 'Seedy Crackers' jar, you literally just soak them for 15 minutes, spread on a tray and bake for an hour. Clever and creative gift ideas, but also an easy, healthy snack option to keep you on track during the festive season.
Make sure you check them out at these locations:
158 King William Rd, Hyde Park
Shop T35 Brickworks Marketplace
158 King William Road, Hyde Park
158 King William Road, Hyde Park
Meet Frog (AKA Alice Elliott) of Frogs Frills! Alice, originally from country SA and now local to Adelaide, started dabbling with the creation of Frills in 2015 which was no surprise to those who know her as she has a clear obsession with statement jewellery pieces. Alice says she loves "...to wear something that is a topic of conversation or just that bit different. You won't see everyone walking down the streets in the same necklace!"
Alice started out making her 'Frills' only for herself and gradually things have expanded as people see them and just have to have one! Alice says she loves seeing people getting excited by having a Frill created especially for them. She is a physiotherapist by day and a 'Frogs Friller' by night so enjoys the opportunity to get creative.
How do you get yourself 'Frilled Up'?? The easiest way is to private message Alice or pop a comment on the photo on Facebook or Instagram of the necklace you like and she will get in touch regarding availability and price. Alice is also happy to discuss design and colour requests as available.
All Frogs Frills are hand crafted by an absolute perfectionist and range from $40-80.
Facebook: @frogsfrills2016 Instagram: @frogsfrills