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.
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.
Ahhhh travelling. Jumping on that plane, going somewhere new. Sometimes for fun. Sometimes not. At some point we all end up travelling. Unless you’re dedicated to the cause and you refuse to put a foot outside your door. Then you might need to come and have a chat to me. When you can put your foot outside your door.
Travelling can bring out the best in us and the worst in us all at the same time. It can test relationships, it can give parents conniptions for years to come, it can plant that little itch that needs to be scratched only by jumping on a plane and going somewhere else.
You know how we talk about our personality styles? Introvert, extrovert, omnivert, pervert. So I may have made that last one up, but it rings true at times, no? I think that travelling shows us another side to our personalities. One that isn’t really described much, but very much threads its way through our everyday lives.
Our travelling personality can change relationships. They can show us a side of ourselves we’ve been reluctant to let out. And sometimes we see that personality in others and we just don’t know what the hell to do with it.
So without further ado, I present to you, the 7 core traveller personalities, and tips for dealing with them. So you can all enjoy your trip without murdering each other. You’re welcome.
So no doubt by now you’ve probably heard the whole Belle Gibson (founder of ‘The Whole Pantry’ app) saga. And if you haven’t- what rock have you been living under? Can I come join you please? Anyways, to get you up to speed- see here. I’ll wait for you.
Read it? Shaking your head in disbelief? Welcome back. Bit cray, isn’t it?
On the surface it seems so incredibly outside of the realms of possibility to actually be true. Could someone spearhead such a huge deception? How could she live with herself? Is she just a cruel, manipulative person who has taken many for a ride? While understandably a lot of people are confused, hurt, and very angry at her, another question has been posed. Could she have Munchhausen Syndrome?
Munchhausen Syndrome is a mental health issue, whereby a person feigns illness in order to seek attention and affection. Also known as Factitious Disorder, it’s not for any financial or medical gain, it’s more a complex issue fueled by irrational and clearly unhealthy desire to get the sympathies and focus of others. It’s not about some jerk egomaniac who wants to hog the spotlight, or some evil person who loves to manipulate others. They tend to believe their own lies, or the payoff for telling such lies simply fuels them to go further. In a way, Munchhausen is a form of self-mutilation. Pulling oneself down, sometimes even hurting oneself, to make the appearance of being sick ‘realistic’.
Ok, I’m calling it. This working mum vs Stay at home mum stuff is bullshit. I’m so sick of seeing lists and ideas pitting one against the other. It doesn’t help any of us. Or dads for that matter. You don’t see them copping this kind of shit. Let’s think about the psychological upheaval having kids does to one’s mind. It’s crazy. One day you feel in control, next you feel like you’re not cut out for it. One day you feel so grateful and blessed to be in the position you’re in, the next you feel ready to tear your hair out with the mundane and the Groundhog day. BOTH working mums and stay at home mums feel this. Doesn’t matter the location, doesn’t matter where the kids are. This is an intrinsic thing within us all. So let’s clear a few things up:
No, working mums don’t get to enjoy coffees in peace. Because often they are running around so madly trying to cram in so much extra work into a shorter time frame so they can get out the door to get to their kids. They too suffer from the cold cup syndrome.
No, stay at home mums don’t lounge on the couch eating bon bons and go have fun coffee chats and playdates every day. It’s a grind. A big grind. Of cooking, cleaning, keeping kids alive, running errands, keeping everything in line. There’s no let up.
There’s been a ton of these articles getting around late, espousing what not to say to a working mum, or what you should never say to a stay at home mum. For fucks sake. Let’s just stop it all now, shall we? We are our own worst enemies sometimes, perpetuating this division. So I propose let’s make a list- 5 things you should never say to a Mum. That’s it. A MUM. With no caveat about being at home or at work. Because that is irrelevant. Or you know, we could even stretch out on a limb and say things you should never say to a Dad. Ooooh errrr… taboo!
Don’t ask a Mum what she does all day. Whether that be ‘lounging at work’ or ‘lounging at home’. Mums are freaking busy. No matter where or what they do, they are busy. There is no let up. The job just continues around the clock. Whether it be working outside the home and then rushing home to work in the home, and then having to take outside work home with them. Or whether it’s working in the home, from 6am until 10pm. We ALL work non-stop.
Don’t tell a Mum she looks tired. No shit. She will be tired. Whether she’s at home all day (no she doesn’t get to have a rest) or whether she’s at work all day (no she can’t use her lunch break to rest. Because often she doesn’t get a lunch break), she’s going to be tired.
Don’t say to a Mum “I don’t know how you do it” Whether working, or choosing not to work, coping can be tough either way. Being at work for a lot is a necessity. How do they cope being away from their kids? They do it bloody tough. Even when women work because they need that for themselves, they still don’t escape that feeling of sadness and guilt at missing their children. Being at home is also a tough gig. Giving up a career, walking away from a job which gave satisfaction and an income? That too brings its own guilt at times.
Don’t bring up choosing career over kids, or choosing kids over career. Either way the decision is a hard one. And often not done flippantly.
Never ask “don’t you feel like you’re missing something” Erm. No. No no no no no. Working mums ARE missing their kids and stay at home mums ARE missing that previous career. For the most part. There are some working mums who feel like they’ve got the best deal, and there are some stay at home mums who feel like they’ve got the best deal.
We all come from different walks of life, with different values and different priorities. But no matter what our own values and ideas are, you know something? All of us are just trying to do our best for our kids. If we feel that’s us going out and working, then we’re out there doing it. If we feel that’s us being at home, then we’re doing it. Can we just cut ourselves some slack here? One type of mum is no more superior than the other, our kids are going to thrive regardless of our decision to work or stay home. Wanna know why? Because whatever we’re doing, we’re doing for THEM. And they know it. They don’t know any different- they see us working in the home and out of the home. It’s about quality, not quantity. And ensuring they know they’re loved, they feel secure and safe and they’re happy. That’s it. Happiness comes in many forms.
For all the studies that show children are better off with a parent at home, you’ll find an equal amount of studies showing children thrive when parents work. Research is a ridiculous thing. You can skew data to show you almost anything you want it to. Don’t be fooled by ‘scientific’ studies and ‘experts’. Truly. It’s all smoke and mirrors. There are often many caveats in their research and when it comes to human functioning there is no precise, hard and fast rule. What works for one might not work for another.
So what does it come down to? Respect. Simple really. Respect for others’ choices, or necessities. Respect that others’ situations work for them, and we have no right to go raining on their parade. And where do we think our kids learn respect from? If we can’t show it to other Mums, what hope do our kids have?
Taking a break from my usual psycho-waffle, I’ve joined this awesome little circle, whereby on the 10th of each month we each post 10 photos of anything we like- life as it is for that month. When I’m not banging on about green thinking and hanging out on beanbags with kidlets, I love taking photos. I have an unhealthy love for Instagram, but damn work gets in the way of me becoming fully obsessive. I’m still learning (A LOT! Gosh I take some shockers!), but it’s just so good to have something that’s for me, you know? It’s important for all of us to have something we like to do, something that’s just for us. You know, outside of being all the other roles we have to be for others. We have to do something for us and put ourselves first at times (oh yeah I have a whole post about that coming up!) But without further ado, please indulge me as I take you through just a typical afternoon in our ‘hood.
10 on 10 March
It was a bit of a slow moving weekend. With the exception of #parentsgonewild at Soundwave. Well, as wild as one can get when pregnant! So I totes got down with my water and rocked out. It was a sight to behold.
The day before though we headed to the park to run off some steam. It’s a nice small one down the road, easy to trek to. It’s usually quiet and empty. But of course it was busy when we headed down. And so taking pictures without looking like that creepy stage Mom all over her children’s shit, or trying to avoid accidentally snapping other kids in the picture and then looking like a creepy stalker was a mission. I could’ve just said I was a psych and gotten away with it. We’re pretty messed up.
Miss DP of course takes after her Mama and cares not for rules or regulations. In some aspects, but then hates getting in trouble. It’s a conundrum. I’m pretty sure this isn’t a mountain climbing set-up, honey.
I’ll bundle my cherubs off to kindy and school today, and spend the day chatting with other little cherubs, some who are scared, some who are sad, some who are angry. These innocent, open minds, ready to take on the world. They feel all the feels, and sometimes not being in a good place, they do things that perhaps in hindsight might not have been the best idea. They might hurt someone, they might say something they shouldn’t have, they might act out. But when sitting and chatting, they can often see where they went wrong, we work together to help them feel better about themselves and to move on. When I see these children, I see little dudes and dudettes who have the world at their feet, their eyes bright and wide, excited for what the future holds. I don’t hold their actions against them permanently, I see that they are learning and changing.
Some 20-25 years ago, those bright eyes belonged to Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran. While hard to fathom for some now, they were once young children, with dreams of a big future ahead of them. We don’t know the reasons how or why they fell into the nasty trade that they did, but I can guarantee you that this current state wasn’t in either of their life plans. As they sit in isolation, taking in their last breaths, running through their final moments. Hands wringing, waiting, wondering, do they think back to those bright eyed times? Maybe they wanted to be firefighters? Or race car drivers? I try to put myself in their position and I can’t. I can’t fathom it. The pure psychological trauma of waiting to die. After being rehabilitated. After a decade of growth and change.
You know that saying “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade?” Awwww, so much warm fuzzy. It’s lovely, and a gorgeous sentiment. But you know what? You don’t have to make lemonade. I think sometimes we stress ourselves out by making the lemonade. We struggle with these lemons, grapple with them. Sometimes they have bugger all juice in them, or they’re too tart. We become consumed by the lemons. We start to wonder if we could do something else with them? Could we turn them into a lemon butter? Do we have enough ingredients for any other lemon products? Sometimes our knife is a bit blunt, sometimes we need someone else to come in and help make the lemonade. Making lemonade can get tough sometimes you know? And what if this insistent pressure to make lemonade is all bullshit? Why do we *have* to make something out of these damn lemons?
My husband is a good egg. We seem to be able to balance each other out pretty well. When one is down, the other picks the other one up. Unless we’re both flat. Then we drink and moan. Then hydrolite is ingested and we’re all good again.
I tend to have a habit of stressing. Just a little bit. Anyone who knows me and reads that will probably wet themselves laughing. Ok, so let’s rephrase- I am a freaking stress-head. One friend joked once that if I didn’t have something to stress over, I’d stress over not having anything to stress about. True dat. And when I stress, I catastrophise. That small snowball on the top of the hill? It gathers speed and becomes a freaking huge avalanche. And then we’re all dead and the mountain has no snow left. Grim stuff. You’d think after nearly a decade of teaching people how to stress less, I’d be a master? Erm not quite. And I’m not doing myself any favours for future clients. I promise I can help you! Just not myself!
And then my husband comes up with the goods. We were chatting one morning, while I had a million things running through my head; tossing up whether to switch gears and go for a new job in a different area. He was listening to everything I had to say; and he simply replied “I can already hear what your answer is. Don’t talk yourself into something that doesn’t feel right”. Damn Skippy. When’d you get so zen and shit?
He reminded me, while I went through all the pros and cons of my current sitcho, that shit isn’t really that shit. For either of us. “Remember in retail? They used to say for every 10 good customer moments you have, you tend to only remember that 1 negative asshole”. So freaking true. We do it with everything, don’t we? We could have a great run of compliments at work, and then the second someone criticises us, suddenly we’re thinking we’re shit and will get the sack and how the hell do we show our face again? Or our kids have been beautiful all week and then they have a day of being total assholes and we’re pulling our hair out thinking we’re the worst parent in the world. Why is that? Why do we only focus on the small negatives, and let them overrun the multitude of positives?
It’s how we operate. Think about the news- death, destruction, terrorism, earthquakes, murder, health crises….. and happy little kitten story quickly thrown in at the end. It’s what we’re on the lookout for. Little kids I see tend to do this a lot these days. They’re so focused on the one bad thing at playtime that they forget all the awesome things that have gone on throughout the day.
So I try and help them to refocus. I get them to come up with three ‘green’ things each day. Green- like a traffic light green- helpful, gets us moving forward, gets us where we want to be. And we want to be in happyland. That place sounds like fun. Unlike the red zone. Where we’re stuck, can’t move, not going forward, backward, anywhere. It’s a bit dull. I also get them to make a ‘green diary’ where they can actually write or draw all the good things that go on, or note all the compliments and nice stuff they have. So that when the red zone gets to them, they can go and have a look at all the physical evidence they’ve collated that shows that things aren’t that shit. It’s super cute to see them get stuck into it, and to see them start to re-frame, from the unhelpful ‘red’ stuff to the more helpful ‘green’ stuff. Sometimes I think a lot of these kidlets could teach adults a thing or two.
And I think I might need to do that for myself too. Maybe all grown ups should carry their own green book? And remind themselves that yes, things can get shit, but it’s not all shit, all the time. And while it’s ok to have a pity party for a little bit, to get upset about that negative that happened, if we hold onto it, nothing is going to get better, and we’re not going to move past it all.
How do you deal with the negatives thrown at you? Do you have your own green book? Or a healthy stash of hydrolite like yours truly?
Would you hate me if I said I can’t stand Christmas?
Yeah, I kinda hate me too.
But it’s a game of charades I can no longer keep up. Actually, I don’t think I ever hid it. So in essence I suck at charades. But Christmas drives me mad. The over-production, the insane crazy shops, ugly Christmas shirts. No wait, I kinda dig the tackiness of them. It’s like totes hipster, right? If so, I’m in. The pressure. THE PRESSURE. To hold the perfect day. To be creating amazing food and have this spectacular house. Decorated to the hilt, courtesy of Woman’s Weekly (monthly, whatevs) Christmas Special. To have amazing special, never-to-be-recreated-again moments with all the family. And the obligation to have to spend the whole day with said extended family. Great if one has an awesome family. Not so great if it’s a little nutty. Then it’s more akin to being locked in a panic room with a twitchy skunk. I am deep into Grinchmas town.