My biggest lady is a treasure. She truly is. She is so caring, and compassionate, always there for others. She tries so hard to do the right thing by people, and is the first one in line to help. She’d give the dress off her back (just don’t ask her for her tutus…. Girl ain’t parting with no tutus) to make someone else feel better. It is heart-melting stuff.
With such compassion though, comes the other end of the spectrum: emotionality. In buckets. In fact, the buckets are overflowing with emotions and they’re leaking all over the floor, and filling up rooms and our feet are wading in all these feelings and I’m considering purchasing flippers and goggles to swim through the overflow.
My brain right now. More mush than usual mush. And it’s pretty mush. Why? No idea.
Just the same ol’ bundle dropping cycle.
You know how you go along, doing all the things, thinking you’re on top of it all and invincible, and then suddenly, somehow the tables are turned and all the things are on top of you and you’re just a ball of mush?
Do you ever just feel like you’re a bit shit? Or that others might think you’re a bit shit?
Pull up a chair my friend, you’re in good company.
I think it’s safe to say that there’s a few of us, thinking we’re a bit crap, or feeling unsure about our abilities. If I had a dollar for every time I was told ‘but you seems so confident!’….. then I’d at least have a dollar.
It’s a tough gig, this insecurity shit. Always feeling you’re not quite good enough, or if you’re entrusted with something, you’ll mess it up. Worrying that you’re not being a good enough friend/partner/parent/worker/boss/human.
Ah, parenthood. So many major moments. So many cherished memories. They develop so quickly, each time hitting a big milestone, and we cheer them along. You know, crawling, walking, the first word. Hashtag blessed.
Often I get asked about milestones. What is normal? When should my child be doing stuff by? If they don’t hit the milestone by a certain age are they DOOMED? (Spoiler alert: They all get there in the end).
While we focus on the general milestones as an indicator of development, there’s a whole bunch of other hidden ‘milestones’ that are going on at the same time. They’re the ones that don’t seem to get mentioned in the books, but are just as cherished, albeit perhaps not so Facebook worthy. These milestones leave you feeling a confused mixture of pride and horror, as you wonder just how the fuck they developed that ability, and where it came from (it’s never from us. NEVER….. *cough cough*).
Seriously, what is with life? It gets busier, and faster, and more manic and faster and insane and did I mention faster?! I swear I only had my firstborn yesterday. For realz.
We have so much on the go nowadays, and it’s hard to keep the juggle up. We try to keep the house afloat, the kids alive, work chugging along, partners to remember (oh yeah, who are you again?), and somehow get that holy grail ‘me’ time cracking. If you get this all balanced, please come and be my guru and teach me the ways. Plllleeeeaaaasssse.
Friendships are funny things. We muddle our way through, bump into people and sometimes we just ‘click’, and a friendship is born. Others we cautiously dance around, sniffing the other out and a friendship grows over time. Some we’ve known since we were kids, and some we’ve met yesterday but feel like we’ve known them forever. Friends are da bomb. We tend to gravitate toward a few and class them as our close friends, while others are more run of the mill friends.
Sometimes though, we’re not the close friend. We’re the other friend. The friend that is great, but just not ‘the’ friend.
Ever felt like that?
It’s the feeling of being the back-up friend.
It’s totes a thing. Might not be in the clinical handbooks, but it happens. A lot. Google search that shit, you’ll see topic after topic of people feeling the same.
Princesses, pirates, superheros and fairies. Hepped up on sugar and excitement and bouncing around like a mob of hyperactive kangaroos. No, it’s not a Liberal fundraiser; it’s the standard child birthday party; every parent’s dream and nightmare all at once. You want so desperately to create magical memories for your little cherub, while at the same time feeling a tad sick to your stomach wondering how to pull off a party for a group of little monkeys without resorting to drinking wine out of a brown paper bag. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I endorse wine coming out of anything, truly.
With every party comes a series of stages that we go through, as we plan and prep to within an inch of our lives, the much anticipated celebration of our darling’s birth. Just like the Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’ five stages of loss and grief, so too do we have five stages of children’s birthday party prepping. IT IS REAL, YO.
It is an emotional journey, not often occurring in a straightforward manner. We can lurch from one emotion, backwards to another, get stuck on one and then shoot through to other emotions. While there may be a range of emotions involved, typically the following emotions can be exhibited at any given time.
We all like to do good, for the most part. It’s like this messed up evolutionary thing where we like to feel like we do ok at something at least. Or perhaps at the minimum not suck hardcore. We also like to feel like there’s something out there that’s for us, a thing that’s our thing, that we’re known to be good at, and then we try to turn that thing into our career.
Some of us are good communicators.
Some of us are good athletes.
Some of us are good creatively.
Some of us are good at figuring out things.
Some of us are good at nurturing.
Some of us are good at drinking wine.
I like to think I fall into the last category.
Finding what it is that you’re good at can be hard though. Or trying to become good at something and putting yourself at the mercy of other’s judgement can be even tougher. I’m currently trying my hand at a course to learn more about something and to possibly have another avenue for my career, but it’s opening me up to some criticism and comparison to others. I’d totally forgotten what that felt like.
FYI: It feels like shit.
Right about now, there’s a bunch of Year 12 students either eagerly awaiting results or just received results. Some will be feeling pretty pumped. Others will be left feeling distraught. It’s one of the main points in our life where we’re pitted against others, compared and ranked so blatantly, and that can be confronting for many.
I received feedback from this course and it left me feeling horrid. I immediately decided that I was shit at the course, what the hell was I thinking and I felt embarrassed for trying. And I’m a grown lady who is supposedly mature (I use that term very loosely). So to be a young 17 or 18 year old and receiving such huge results can be a lot to take on, and for some it might be too much.
It’s all well and good for us to support them by saying ‘you did the best you could’ or ‘it’ll be ok’, but let’s be real here- nobody likes to hear those words, especially not a teen. Such words will probably be met with a vacant stare, glazed eyes, a huff and a heel turn. Think five year old on steroids.
So what can we do for our kids when they’re given news/feedback/results that could impact them negatively? (And this isn’t just for our big kids, this is for little ones too!)
It’s that simple.
We listen to them, when they’re ready. We listen to the anger, the sadness, the confusion, the fears, the despair. Let them get it all out.
When they’re ready, we can try and help problem solve. But they need to be the problem solvers, we’re just the sounding board. We can’t be the ones telling them what to do anymore.
We might know just what needs to happen, but we can’t just spit that out at them. We can offer suggestions or ideas, but they have to be the ones to take them up.
One of the biggest things we can do is let them know that it’s not the end of things for them. Because it’s truly not. For every door that closes, there’s three more that open up. Those open doors might just be down a longer corridor though, or there might be another corner to turn to get to that door. But it’s open.
Problem is when we can’t see those doors open right in front of us, it can feel like we’re stuck in the dark, with nowhere to go. We need to be able to let them know that it might be dark right now, but there are open doors waiting. And the next door they walk through could be even better than they anticipated.
Actually, that advice is pretty good for us all really, isn’t it?
We also need to help them reflect on all the things that HAVE been achieved/done well/completed to date, and get a grasp of the bigger picture. Doors have been opened, sometimes doors have been kicked down. And more doors will be opened again in the future too.
While everyone can’t always be the winner, and sometimes things don’t go to plan, it doesn’t mean the end, or it wasn’t enough. Because the effort was there. And when there’s effort, there’s always an open door.
They did well. We did well. We’re all doing ok.
How do you cope when you get an outcome that isn’t what you hoped for? Do you remember getting your Year 12 results? Did you freak out about it?
Are you prone to an eye twitch when you hear carols in the shopping centre?
Do you wake up feeling exhausted at the mere mention of ‘last minute shopping’?
Then you, my friend, are suffering from what those in the biz term ‘chroverwhelm’. Well, I’m not sure who those in the biz are, nor that the term is actually legit, but it sounds like it should be a thing.
It’ll be a formal diagnosis in the next decade. I’m sure of it.
Do you remember that feeling you got as a child when you lost yourself in your own world? Got caught up in a make-believe game? You were the ruler of your universe, the fastest runner in the world, the discoverer of new lands, the nicest teacher out (because we all played schools right? Even though we were subjected to it every day, we wanted to pretend to be the teacher when we weren’t. Weirdos).