The idea of sustainability first came up when James watched a documentary called "". James is a very logical person, if there is a way for him to get all the nutrients he requires in a way that impacts the planet less, he'll make the change. He set to changing one meal at a time to a vegan diet. I sat back and watched this change with interest, but hesitated to commit to anything myself. I then came across a quote that changes by way of thinking.
"We don't need a handful of people being perfectly sustainable, we need millions of people doing it imperfectly."
I'm not sure about you, but I'm definitely guilty of using the excuse of not being able to make a real difference as a reason not to do something.
Having a child has put a lot of things into perspective for me, and this being a big one! I want my son to grow up seeing his parents doing everything they can - in all aspects of life. I want him to know that hard work is worth the effort, it's rewarding, satisfying and worthwhile. I never want to be the type of person to take the easy way out.
So instead of looking at sustainability as an impossible and unachievable goal for us, I started looking for some small things to change at home - because any change is better than no change.
1. The first change I am making is to convert my meals to primarily vegan, but I am doing this very slowly. I really need to enjoy the food that I'm eating, otherwise I tend to crack and binge. I have been quite neglectful with my diet and not focussed on whether I am getting the macro and micronutrients I require, so I am making sure to do a lot of research to make sure that this change is not just tasty, but good for me!
2. I purchased reusable shopping bags from Seed & Sprout. Not only are these bags sturdy, they are pretty enough to encourage me not to forget them every time I go to do the shopping!
Images from Seed & Sprout Instagram.
3. I started shopping at farmers markets and bulk food stores. This is probably the most significant step for me, both in terms of possible impact on the earth and most difficult to implement. My aim is to buy zero food that comes in plastic packaging. The Source Bulk Foods is a fantastic place to buy foods such as pasta, flours and more and put it into your own packaging. Farmers markets allow you buy your produce bag and chemical free, as well as support local families.
4. I now use a reusable coffee cup from Frank Green. This is a small change that can add up. If you're drinking a coffee 5 days a week - that's 260 coffee cups per year you could be cutting back on. My tip is to buy a large so that you can fit any size coffee.
Images from Frank Green Instagram.
5. I have researched making my own cleaning products. This is a change I am yet to implement, as I still have products to use up in our home. As I run out, my aim is to have reusable containers and make my own cleaning products. Stores such as The Source Bulk Foods even sell some cleaning products that you can package yourself!
6. I purchased toothbrushes for all of us through The Boo Collective. I love this business for many reasons. For one, they're from my home town - Ballarat, VIC. Secondly, their toothbrushes are stylish and handles are made of 100% biodegradable bamboo. 30 million plastic toothbrushes are sent to landfill every year and that's just in Australia. Another small change that can add up to make a big difference!
Images from The Boo Collective Instagram.
These changes aren't groundbreaking, necessarily earth altering or overly significant, but that is no reason not to make them. If we can make any difference and inspire others to do the same, we can make a real impact. Even if we don't, isn't it worth a shot?
The struggle is real! Finding a balance between home life and work life is a real juggle, but I do have some key tips on getting through the day to day of it!
I'll be the first to admit though, I find these tips great but I don't always remember to follow them. We're all human. We all get overwhelmed sometimes. When I'm overwhelmed, I sometimes forget what works for me, so having it written down somewhere is just what I need. Take this as your reminder to sit back and take stock.
1. Create a space you want to be in!
OK...so I'm a very visual person, but this was a big one for me! In order to work from home, I had to have a dedicated workspace that I wanted to spend time in. I didn't want to be waking up in the morning and dreading the day. I didn't want work associated with anything negative (if I could help it!) so I set to work creating my own space. I decided to place this area in our living room. This was essential because I needed to keep an eye on Teddy while working and I hate being shut off from the hustle and bustle of day to day life. I purchased a simple but sturdy desk from Ikea, kept my favourite design books and magazines on hand and styled with my beloved Louie Luxe print received on the Revie Jane purpose tour in Sydney. Keeping items close that bring me inspiration and joy has been incredibly important!
2. Take it one hour at a time. Or half an hour at a time...or 10 minutes!
My point is, break it down. Don't tell yourself you have to sit down and hustle at the computer for 8 hours straight. It might be so daunting that you quit before you even begin (if you're an all or nothing type of person like I am). If you break the day down into time periods or even specific tasks, it can seem so much more achievable!
3. Write a list and break it down!
Writing a to-do list is a bit of a no-brainer, but a lot of people get carried away and write everything they can think of, and see it as a bit of a failure if everything isn't done. It's also hard to know where to begin with one huge list. My advice is to break your list down into three categories: 'must do' tasks, 'would be good to do' tasks and 'if I have time' tasks. This way you have priorities all ready and you avoid disappointment if you only get your 'must do' tasks completed for the day.
4. Clean a little every day, not ALL day!
When you're working from home, it's so easy to get fixated on your surroundings. There can be washing, dishes and all sorts of mess around you and it can be very distracting. My saviour has been a cleaning schedule! Another simple solution to make sure my mind is on what it needs to be focussed on. I dedicate time to cleaning in the day so that it is done and doesn't need to be thought about for the rest of the day. As I am doing small bits every day, it has helped me avoid saving it all for the weekend and then having to spend an entire day getting the house back to a respectable standard. I got the idea when I started following Just Another Mummy Blog, she has an amazing template (link) that I printed and laminated. I placed it in prime position at our Organisation Station and stick to it daily. James can refer to it and help me out once he gets home, it's been a life saver!
5. Take time to rest, take breaks and get outside!
You know the expression "you can't pour from an empty cup"? It's true. Take time out to rest and refuel during the day. I often schedule this time in or take it when I can feel my productivity dropping. Remember to be easy on yourself, it's ok to sit down and watch an episode on Netflix with a cup of tea in hand. Taking breaks isn't lazy, it often makes us even more productive than if we didn't take them! Just make sure not to over-do it. Set a time limit and stick to it.
Teddy is just over 1 and so far, is yet to go into daycare. This is about to change, but I wanted to touch on the fact that some mama's will have their kids at home with them and some won't. Some mama's will have some kids in care/at school and the younger kids at home with them. Whatever the situation, you're not alone and you can find a routine and method that works for you and your family. No two families are the same just as no two people are the same, so try not to compare your situation too closely with another's. You've got this!
What came first, the good sleeper or the routine? It's hard to know whether Teddy was born a good sleeper or if the routines we implemented from day one at home assisted him to be one. Let's call it 50/50!
When mum's are telling me I just got lucky and the next baby will be a nightmare, I do remind myself that Teddy went through some rough stages with sleep. James and I worked hard to create positive associations with sleep and develop his skill to self settle. We've always approached it with the philosophy that "we do the hard work now so that it's easier later".
A lot of people fall into a trap of doing what is easy in the moment, the bandaid fixes, and it ends up just dragging out the sleepless nights. Here is what Teddy's bedtime routine has looked like from day one and why I think it has been so successful.
I'll start off by saying, The Kind Parenting Company (previously The Sleep Mama) really saved me here. I purchased their programs before falling pregnant and after much research. Their program, social media and support team responding to any query I had were such a saviour for me!
There were certain routines that we implemented with Teddy from day one of getting home from the hospital. These were by no means harsh, cold tactics to get him to sleep through, he was a newborn baby! We simply wanted indications for him to know that bedtime was time for a different kind of sleep. It was a clear separation of day from night and I think this was the real beginning of our success.
Over time, things have come in and out of this routine as he has gotten older, but the general routine has stayed the same.
Get into sleep suit
Put into bed
Dinner (now that he's eating solids)
Bath or shower
Moisturise and massage
Change into pyjamas
Get into sleep suit
Read 2 books
Sing a bedtime song
Put into bed
He has always known that bedtime is time for a bigger sleep and I think that this routine really helped him to make that connection.
Over the first 3 months we implemented some things that we knew we didn't want to be apart of our long term settling technique. Teddy had a dummy at bed time to help him settle to sleep and the moment I realised that he was waking in the night only needing the dummy to settle back to sleep, I knew it had to go. It was no longer working for us. He was also waking at 5am every morning and a lot of light was making it into his room, I believed that this was the cause of the early wake ups.
We decided to introduce positive sleep associations and remove the negative ones. There is so much more detail about this and why it is important in the sleep programs.
Rocking/cuddling to sleep
Blackout blinds (link)
White noise machine
Jellycat bunny - discount code from MissKyreeLoves
After these introductions, Teddy started sleeping 14 hours a night! I'm not saying that's normal, expected or you should aim for it, but it was a great improvement from 5am wake ups!
The only function of Teddy's bedroom is for sleep, he does not play in there at all. When we enter the room at nap time or bedtime, he begins rubbing his eyes. As soon as I put him down in his cot, he grabs a hold of his bunny, rubs its ears and falls asleep. He knows that this environment and these objects signify sleep.
We start daycare next week, but we believe all these things are transferrable to any environment. Stay tuned!
I'm a 30 year old mother of 1 (soon to be 2!) and freelance Graphic Designer - just working my butt off trying to find that work/life balance. I have passions for all things design, sustainability and organisation and I love to share what helps me on a day to day basis with general #mumlife.