4 Tips for getting your shit together

I don’t have my shit together…at all.  However I am learning little tricks along the way which help me feel like everything isn’t completely imploding.  They make the day to day things easier so that I can tackle the big stuff.  Which hopefully means that the little stuff won’t be so damn hard all of the time.  getting your shit togetherLet go of the bullshit idea that all food must be made from scratch all of the time.

I have made no secret that I suck at cooking.  I have a few wins but the chances of me stuffing it up are higher than me pulling it off.  My motivation for cooking is also touch and go.  Some days I am all move over Martha Stewart and other days we have toast for dinner.  In saying all of that though, to make things easier and it much more likely that I will actually cook, I buy prepackaged vegetables.  I know, I know, won’t someone think of the environment but if me buying mushrooms that have been already been chopped by Rhonda from my local Coles (not actually sure if there is a Rhonda, but it’s the first name that came to mind) means that I use the whole packet rather than throwing out a bag of shriveled mushrooms three weeks later….I call it a win for the environment.

Embrace your energy time.

It’s 3am, you can’t sleep, and suddenly you get the urge to make a banana cake.  I say go forth and make that banana cake.  If all you are going to do is lay in bed and think about how you aren’t sleeping, well you may as well get up and make yourself useful.  Plus, there’s cake.

Go with your mojo flow.

I have only really been embracing this one over the last week or so.  However it is having a bit of success.  I am finding that rather than doing things in logical order, that I just do them exactly when the motivation hits.  This works especially well if you are an epic procrastinator.  I find that I get caught up in the thinking about how much I have to do, how far I have to walk or how long it is until vodka o’clock and I don’t actually get it done.  Which of course just creates more stuff to do.  So, even if it takes me 3 goes to get the washing up done, while watching trashy tv, it means that it is getting done.

Screw the guilt.

Stop using the word should about yourself and the people around you.  No one *should* do anything.  Make choices that you are comfortable with, that will allow you lay in bed at night and feel like you did OK today.  Sometimes you have to say no, there is nothing wrong with admitting that you can’t or don’t want to do something.  There are no awards for being the biggest martyr.

Life is already hard enough some days.  There is no reason to purposely make it harder for yourself.  You can still do things for other people, live your life and take care of yourself.  If making things easier for yourself means that you can do more of the things you love (whatever that may be) then I don’t see why you can’t embrace it.

What are your tips for making life easier?

Children are people too

This may be a little bit obvious, but children are people too.  I know, I know of course they are.  However the way that we seem to focus on their behaviour in a negative light seems to point to us forgetting this a lot of the time.  I know that it’s something that I forget too.children are people tooHow many times have you been out and seen a child throwing a tantrum?  How many times have you blamed the child for that behaviour in a negative way?  Have you thought that they need to be controlled?  Now, how many times have you felt overwhelmed, scared or that you aren’t being heard?  How did you react?  Can you honestly say that you behaved perfectly every single time?

My guess is that your answer to that last question is no.  After all none of us is perfect.  However we seem to put this impossible standards on small children who don’t have the same skills that a grown adult would have.  They don’t have the language skills to tell us why they are unhappy, yet we expect them to.

Of course I don’t think that children can throw tantrums all over the place without intervention.  That’s not even acceptable from an adult.  Children need direction, they need to be shown and taught better ways to communicate their feelings.  They need to have their frustrations listened to, validated and help with resolving.  Even as an adult, one of the most important things to do for someone who is struggling, is to validate how they are feeling, tell them that it’s OK to feel what they do.

Think to a time when you reached out to someone and shared your feelings about something important to you and they didn’t understand or dismissed your feelings.  How did you feel?  Were you able to brush it off, because you understood that not everyone can deal with emotions?  A child doesn’t have this ability.  So they act out, their only way of coping.

This is something that I do struggle with in parenting Mr 6.  He has big emotions and so does his mother.  We’re learning together.  I do notice that he does become more calm when I respond to his emotions rather than telling him not to feel them.  Of course it doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have outbursts.  He still screams when he is angry but the duration when I respond positively has been reduced dramatically.

Children are just little people.  They still have wants and needs, they just need help communicating them.  We need to stop placing our adult expectations on children who are still growing into themselves.

What ways do you think helps to validate emotions?

Do you think that we place unfair expectations on children?


Being a real woman

On social media lately I have been noticing an influx of posts about ‘keeping it real’ aimed at women.  These posts have always been there of course, but I seem to be taking notice of them a lot more.  I think it’s possibly because they are getting under my skin, we all know that the more we think about something, the more we notice it happening around us.

Image credit

Image credit

Last week I saw one post in particular (which of course I can’t find now) about women wearing make up.  The post lamented the fact that women were feeling the need to cover up and that they couldn’t be more ‘real’.  That is the part that I have a problem with.

I do wonder if it is a bit of Tall Poppy Syndrome at play, or at least the marketing of the tall poppy syndrome.  It’s the creation of ‘us and them’, a black and white look at how women physically present themselves to the world.  You are either real or you aren’t.  You can’t enjoy putting make up on, without being fake.  You can’t not wear make up without being labelled as not caring.

The comment sections of these posts are where it really gets interesting.  I do try to stick to the belief that you shouldn’t ever read the comment sections, but let’s be honest, who actually listens to that advice.  The comments are filled with women arguing about who is more real.  Those who don’t wear make up crow about not having enough time to worry about silly things like that.  While those who do wear make up accuse the other side of not caring about themselves.

I feel that the body love movement has almost gone too far in the opposite direction.  It is almost taboo to admit that you enjoy wearing make up and wearing clothes other than sweatpants.  There is an underlying current that people who use make up have too much time on their hands, that their priorities are wrong, or that they must hate their appearance.

If you like wearing make up, that’s great you wear it.  If you don’t like it, then don’t wear it.  If you want to do a bit of both, then that is awesome too.  What a woman wears or puts on her face doesn’t make her any more real.  If you identify as a woman, then that is real enough for me.

The hidden place

She picked up the newspaper from a table nearby.  Her face was staring back at her again, the third time this month.  She folded it in half, trying to hide from the grin that seemed to take over the page.

This cafe was her sanctuary, she felt safe here.  The staff knew who she was but they didn’t care.  They didn’t make a fuss, she was another customer to them.  To them she was skinny latte in a mug.  It was perfect.

As she sipped her coffee she flipped through her diary, sighing at all of the things that she had to do for the day.  There were meetings, interviews and being in the public eye.  It was exhausting.  She often wondered what it would be like to spend the rest of her days drinking coffee in this sanctuary.  Would she become part of the furniture, part of the quirk of the place?  Would people know her as the woman who never leaves, some kind of legend to make tales about?

Her life was already about people making stories of her life, regardless of how much truth there was to them.  These stories were rarely heroic or romantic.  They didn’t make her part of the history.  At least that is what she tried to tell herself when she was swamped by clicking cameras and people shouting questions.

She was still surprised that she had managed to keep this cafe a secret for so long.  Every morning she dreaded the moment that they found out and followed her here too.  They could usually anticipate her every move, sometimes even before she could.  Their hands grabbing for her as she tried to break away.

From her handbag, her mobile started to chime.  It was time to face the music and get back to reality.  It was now or never.  She had to give up her hot coffee and designer threads.  It was worth it though, for her new bosses where hard task masters but they were cute.  It was fun to play dress ups, to reminisce about the life she once lived, of front page news, but she knew being a stay at home mum was what she really wanted.

5 things school has taught me

It’s now term three of Mr 6’s first year of school.  I feel like he is just developing and learning in leaps and bounds at the moment.  If I’m honest it is a little scary, but it does make me crazy proud too.  However Mr 6 isn’t the only one who has been learning some new things.  Here are the things school has taught me as a mum.starting school

  1. Even the most laid back class can have it’s dramas.  I’ve been really lucky and have managed to score a pretty great group of fellow mums.  Of course when you get a group of people together who who have different life experiences and parenting techniques, there are going to be times when heads but.  It’s been a pretty good test of my developing interpersonal relationship skill.
  2. I’m not the only one freaking out.  As much as I enjoy the school drop off and pick up chats I have with other mums, it is also one of my biggest sources of anxiety.  It’s nothing to do with anything anyone else has done, it’s me getting caught up in my own head.  I agonise over saying the right thing.  Last week I was talking to another mum who has been a bit stand offish at pick up time and she said that she has been scared to talk to us because we all seem so close.  Proof that if you are feeling anxious because everyone seem to have it together, chances are that they are freaking out too.
  3. Don’t sweat the small stuff.  This one can apply to more than just the school run and it’s an important one.  Some days it can feel like everything is overwhelming but in reality it’s all small stuff.  The world isn’t going to end if you miss a night of homework, you run out of bread and have to get a pre-made lunch on the way to school or you sleep in and don’t get to school on time.
  4. Talk to your child’s teacher.  This one seems like a no brainer but I’m not talking about the passing ‘how is he doing’.  I am talking about letting them know if you have concerns.  I had a chat with Mr 6’s teacher last week and it put a lot of my worries to rest.  Teachers also need to know about this stuff so they can help your child be the best that they can be.  Mr 6’s teachers have also been an absolute asset in helping to form a united front on behaviour and consequences.
  5. Restrain the Mama (or Papa) Bear.  I get it.  They’re your baby and it’s the longest time you’ve spent apart.  School is so much different to child care or kindy.  You may feel the fire of a 1000 suns when you find out that your child has been hurt or someone has been picking on them.  It’s tempting to give the child a piece of your mind, or hunt down their parents and tell them their child is a shit.  However the reality is that in most cases by the time you’ve found out about it they are back to being best friends.  Unless it’s a repeated offense, or bullying, never get involved in your kids school yard antics.  It very rarely ends well.

School can be a daunting experience at first, not just for the kids.  However watching Mr 6 learning new things and seeing his face light up when he masters something new is the best experience in the world.  Even if I still have to pinch myself some days that I am the mother of a school aged child.