I still consider myself relatively new to “doing the mum thing”.  Like most mums (and dads, I suspect), ever since our little Thomas arrived, I’ve been obsessed with ensuring he’s happy, healthy and getting the best start in life.  With two busy working parents, I will happily admit it has been a challenge (and one that we’ve enjoyed) ensuring our family life is well-balanced and works for Tom. 

I always enjoy sharing my experiences with other parents and vice versa, as I really believe that the responsibility is on our generation to find positive ways to raise our little ones.  On that note, it has been baby-boom season at Au Pair Link, I don’t think in the past two years we’ve not had at least one person pregnant, and there are now 40 of us!  To this end, there’s been no shortage of helpful conversations at Friday drinks (read:  Friday orange juices).

The general consensus amongst people I speak to is that raising a healthy family is a challenge.  Let’s face it, our world simply isn’t geared to achieving a healthy lifestyle easily.  It is possible, but it takes times and patience.  With that in mind, I thought I would share what has made it possible for us to maintain a busy lifestyle without sacrificing valuable time with our little one, or our health.

Routine – from the moment Tom was born, we really had to find a routine that would work for us.  For me that’s meant ensuring I’m home by a certain time each day to spend time with him, and remembering that no matter what else we have on – he is our number one priority.  We also make time to eat as a family, as it gives us time to establish healthy eating habits and share some laughs together – I think laughter is as important to our health as diet!

“Cupcakes & I Love Yous” – this sort of follows on from the last point, but I feel like it’s a parents job to put a smile on their little ones face.  While I agree that practical steps towards structure and routine are important, I don’t think we can put a value on the importance of putting a smile on our little ones faces.  That means nicknames (see my previous blog post; Cupcake is just the beginning) and simply letting them know they’re loved.

Conversation – I must be getting good at writing these blog posts now, because the points just keep on flowing on from one another!  I don’t think I’m alone when I say that as a mother, talking to my child (still on those pre-enunciation stages) may seem a little weird to onlookers.  The thing is, and I don’t really have any scientific proof to back it up, but I’m sure there is a certain level of understanding that goes on between Tom and I – you just can’t decode it!  I love our little private chats and laughs, and when he breaks into laughter, I feel pretty certain we’re doing something right.

Playtime –this is one I picked up from our Au Pair Link Family & Programme Manager.  There are probably thousands of books written on the value of play, but I just love watching Tom discover the world around him as through his adventures in play.  Obviously something is happening “up there”, as I read the curiosity in his eyes, and yes, sometimes frustration!  Play encourages sociability amongst children, allows them to express themselves, and of course, gives them a good footing for later in life when it comes to problem-solving.   

So, what do you think?  Do you agree with the above, or are there some other points you think I’ve missed that would be worth mentioning.  Leave your comments in the space below, I’d love to hear from you!

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Cecilia Robinson, founder of My Food Bag, and Au Pair Link, is one of New Zealand's most successful female CEOs. Cecilia's business awards include: 'Her Business Best New Business award' in 2009, 'Businesswoman of the Year 2012’, ‘Best SME 2012’ and 'Supreme Winner of the Woman of Influence Programme' in 2017.

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