The sport of Parenthood….Adulthood….Life

Before I get started, I must warn you. I’m putting my Dr. Phil pants on today. Oh yes siree Bob. My Texan drawl is out. My receding hairline is at its finest. I’m channelling the doc and just saying it how it is. Bear with me, I’ll put him away soon!

It’s funny, I’ve been talking to some friends of late, and just seeing what goes on at one of my jobs, and I find we’re all feeling the same way. We’re all feeling like shit, uncertain of ourselves, trying our hardest to do the best job we can. But yet we humans, sometimes feel the need to run each other down. Over anything and everything. As adults we are constantly comparing- diets, exercise, jobs, partners, money we make. Paleo vs CSRIO. HIIT vs Crossfit. Labor vs Liberal. Thermomix vs…. I don’t know, what did we do before Thermie? (jokes, I don’t even own one. But I hear they’re top notch. Or if you listen to the other side they’re shit and a waste of money. See? MORE RUN DOWNS). She did what? He said that? Uggggh. Happens in adulthood as it is, but when you become a parent? Holy dooley. The opinions. The judgement. The criticism. THE COMPETITION. There’s always a fucking competition. Stay at home Mums vs Working Mums. Working part time vs working fulltime. Daycare centres vs. Family day care. Breastfeeding vs Formula Feeding. Watching TV vs not watching TV. Girls vs. boys. Baptism vs naming ceremonies. Private vs public schooling. ENOUGH ALREADY. A darling friend of mine put it perfectly recently when we were chatting “I don’t think motherhood and children should be a sport”. Amen sista! I don’t think life in general should be a sport. Being a grown up sucks enough as it is at times, let alone being in constant competition.

mean
Erm…. yeah….. nah…

You know what I think? I think we’re all shit to a degree (how’s that for an uplifting psych quote? You’re welcome). We all make mistakes. We all choose the wrong option at times. And we all regret some of the shit we might have said or done. But that’s life. And everyone is entitled to live a life that suits them. Want to stay at home and have the ability to do so? Go you. Want to go to work, and you need that for you? Enjoy. If you love breastfeeding, that’s awesome. If you can’t breastfeed, that’s ok too. We might not agree with someone else’s choices but you know what? They’re not our choices! It’s not our life! So let’s try to restrain the urge to broadcast our dispersions in such a public manner, shall we? Or going down the subtle bragging/ramming down others’ throats path when we think we’re the better person. Unless someone is clearly endangering themselves or others, who are we to tell them what to do? And better yet, if we feel we must say something to someone, BE A NICE HUMAN BEING FOR CRYING OUT LOUD. Say it nicely. Use the sandwich approach:

Feedback sandwich
Eat it…. just eat it….
  • Start off with your bread-something fluffy, nice and complimentary (“I like how you are always there for others”)
  • Then lead in with what your concern is- the meat of the issue. Always start with ‘I feel’. (“But I feel a bit hurt with the things you said to me the other day”) Because it’s just your view. Not fact. Nor anyone else’s problem.
  • Finish off with more bread-something fluffy and nice to resolve the issue (“I like that you were trying to help, but maybe if you’ve got an issue with me you could say it in a different way?”)

Done! It’s that easy. I teach 8 year olds to do this and they use it with aplomb. So why can’t we grown-ups? I love sport, I love competition (particularly with my husband. I.will.beat.him). Just not when I’m trying to raise my kids and juggle jobs and home and you know… be a general human being. That wizz bang ½ year birthday party for your friend’s 6 month old that comes complete with powerpoint slideshow, lolly buffet table and personalised monogrammed, handcrafted thank you handbags? You don’t have to match her. The high-powered careerwoman swanning around in her Porsche SUV with perfectly groomed children? You don’t need to be like her. You need to be like you. We’ve all got our own stories. And you know why it’s utterly ridiculous to cast disdain toward others? Because we have no clue about what’s really going on for them.

The pesky helicopter mum who gets on your nerves? Could have PND and is really struggling. And all she might need is someone to ask her how she is.

The stand-offish guy at work who seems rude? He might have severe social anxiety and is contemplating suicide.

The perfectly groomed career Mum who seems to have everything? May be the loneliest, saddest person you know.

The overly-zealous lust-for-lifer that makes you want to gag? She might have just lost her partner to illness is cramming as much into life as possible.

So before you open your mouth and spew forth vitriol about another person, ask yourself: Do I know all the facts here? How would I feel if someone said this to me? Am I prepared for whatever consequence comes my way? And if you’re cool with all of that, then ok then. And if your busting your gut to present a certain image of yourself, is that really who you are? Is that really what you want to be? Because if it’s not, then that’s ok! You can make a change at any time. No one is going to hold it against you. Well, maybe some but they’re just dicks.

Shit motto

We all gripe and bitch and whinge. It’s our thang. And certainly no one’s saying we gotta stop and be mega virtuous and think only of rainbows and lollipops. Doing it in your mind, or quietly confiding in your BFF is one thing. Speaking it aloud, or being a keyboard warrior, is quite another. If we all just chipped in here and there, we could feel a heck of a lot better about things. Try to say something nice about someone you have previously held judgement toward. Reach out to someone you think you have ‘mapped out’ but maybe you don’t. Let’s not make life into a sport, a sport that no one seems to be able to win. We’re all going to end up in the ground eventually, so it doesn’t matter what your path is, we’re all heading in the same direction. Wow, anyone else feel like swigging a bottle of wine and crying in the corner now? Sheesh, brighten up sista! Ok, I’ve shaken the Dr. Phil out now, let’s hug it out, k?

 

Have you ever experienced the sport of parenthood/adulthood? If you could give one piece of advice on how to navigate it all, what would it be?

  • Loved this post! So true. I want my kids to go to a school where they learn about the “feedback sandwich” at 8 years old. That is setting the foundations for life!

    • Thanks sweets!! If only there was enough funding to have psychs in all our schools to get the ball rolling on this stuff, huh? Send your kidlets to me and I’ll sandwich ’em good and proper, lol! xx

  • rowe timson

    What a great post Sasha! I totally agree with Karin… I want Audrey at a school that teaches kids the feedback sandwich technique for sure! I really love the way you write. There is always stuff in there that makes me giggle but something to get me thinking too.

    • Oh thank you so much lovely lady! I’m very humbled by such lovely compliments from a fantastic person whom I respect greatly!! I’m always unsure of how I write, so this means a lot! Plus my potty mouth gets in the way sometimes ha ha!! Awww I’ll send the feedback sandwich over to Audrey’s school he he he! xx

  • Spot on as usual. I try not to grow up because I think it’s a trap. I found a really good quote, “don’t judge – behind every person, there’s a reason why they are the way they are.” If we lifted each other up instead of knocking each other down, the world would be a much better place. So here’s a high five, because you’re doing a kickass job!

    • Lol! I love that! Growing up IS a trap!!! I refuse to grow up on a daily basis! That is an awesome quote sweets, I love that! In fact I might even pinch that and put it in my office! And high five to you lady- YOU are doing a kickass job! You’re the real deal!! xx

  • Guest

    So so good Sasha. I needed to read this. I’ve been dealing with shit from all sides lately and this has really put stuff in perspective.
    One of the less important bits of shit is a friend of mine who has been a monumental pain in my arse ever since she gave birth. Her daughter is about 9 months younger than my son but she’s intent on competing with me over every-fucking-thing and it is driving me bonkers (to the point where we don’t talk much anymore). I don’t want to compete! What would I even win!? I can’t bring myself to even be very nice about her child anymore (which is excessively immature, I know). But this post has made me realise there may be a lot more going on that I haven’t considered.

    • It’s hard to deal with competitive peeps, it truly is! And bloody frustrating- all your feelings are totes valid! I’d be taking a wide berth too. Not immature at all- you’re being human and preserving your mental sanity. And saving your liver from hitting the vino on a daily basis. I’m wondering if she might have some low self-esteem, or be intimidated by your all-round awesomeness? Girl might need some sandwiching lovely lady xx

  • Sasha I love this post, it is so true. I used to run training sessions at work on the feedback sandwich but it sometimes seems that the school playground (for the parents) is the place it’s needed the most. Everyone has got their own things going on in life and we often have no idea from the outside it’s good to be reminded of that occasionally. Good words Dr Phil. x

    • Oh you are so spot on Vicki! The ‘parent playground’ is definitely in need of some bloody feedback sandwiches!! It’s easy to forget that what lies on the surface isn’t always how things actually are. Thanks for your kind words x

  • You nailed it!! Loved this. We all need to run our own race and apply a bit of empathy at times. Thanks for getting your Dr. Phil on! Jx

    • Thanks lovely!! It’s hard to run our own race sometimes, isn’t it? Ha ha I’ll pull out the receding hairline more often! 😛 xx

  • Parenting is not a sport! YES!
    A few months back when I was in the grips of sleep deprivation hell ( I’m still there but I’m dealing with it much better) I found I was losing compassion for people. If a mum said to me “Gosh I had a rough night with my bub last night” I’d say all the right things to her face but in my head I’d be saying ” Lady you have ONE baby waking for ONE night with a husband who is home everyday! I have TWO babies waking up EVERY night with a husband gone for 28 days in a row! Don’t tell me your tired. I’m the tiredest of all the tired people out there!” or I’d read people talking about solo parenting for a weekend & I’d laugh at their weekend & think “Mate do that for a whole month with double the amount of kids & then tell me how hard you have it”. I did not like my thought process, it’s not who I am, but being so damn tired was making me a not very nice person, even if those conversations were in my head. Everybody is dealing with stuff & just because our stuff isn’t the same doesn’t make it any less hard or important or big. Be supportive to others in the way you want to be supported is what I tell myself when I feel my inner bitch coming on. It works. It puts that bitch back in place 😉

    • Oh man, sleep deprivation is TORTURE! Truly!! It fucks with your mind hardcore. You’ve got a good mantra to talk back to your inner bitch he he he. But lady I don’t think you have a bitchy bone in your body! Just sayin’. x

      • Aaaaahhhh you are too too kind but trust me, she’s there I just know how to keep in her in line most of the time x

  • Di

    So Spot On, Sasha! Great post.

  • Totally fab post.. tagging it to share on my DTLL Page x

  • Moira Campbell

    You must be in my head, lady! Or I in yours. This is the second week in a row I’ve done something you’ve suggested, the day before reading your post! I reached out to someone I’d previously written off, and while they were a tough nut to crack, it was totally worth it!

    • Ha ha we’re totes in sync sweets! <3 And you're just so clever you're ahead of the game! I want to hear about this tough nut you cracked!! xx

  • This is such a great post Sasha, so true! I’m not sure why we became so critical of each other, but it’s everywhere (or maybe I’m on Facebook too much.

    I love the sandwich, I’ll have to remember that! :)

    • Oh thank you lovely! It IS everywhere, isn’t it? And I want to know, has it always been this way? Or are we getting worse? Ha ha, I’m on FB waaaay too much, lurking around. Probs why I put my Dr. Phil pants on! 😛 xx

      • Yes! I’ve been wondering whether it has always been this way too…not sure…yep I’m a lurker too he he

  • Tash from Gift Grapevine

    Awesome post Sasha. It’s so sad that parenting can be competitive. I just say go by the mantra of “whatever works”. We are all doing the best we can so there’s no need for others to be douchebags about it!