Can I let you in on a secret? Aside from having to pop a watermelon sized baby out of my vajayjay soon enough, my big fear is breastfeeding. It’s not been a success for me over the years. At.all.
We talk a lot of breastfeeding shaming that goes on, but I can tell you there’s almost an equal amount of bottle feeding shame that one endures. Because apparently when you bottle feed your child, you’re practically murdering them. They’re going to grow up to be illiterate sociopaths via the bottle. Think of the children! Shove a boob in their mouth for crying out loud!
I did. I really, really did. And I could not feed my children fully. With my first, she was premmie, and didn’t have a sucking reflex developed. It was a hard slog. I tried it all- with every lactation consultant under the sun helping. I vividly remember one day sitting in the feeding room of the special care nursery- one boob stuck to a pump, the other one being squeezed to within an inch of it’s life by a nurse- trying desperately to get milk supply happening.
It’s like the Rubix cube of life, isn’t it? Trying to figure out the puzzle that is being in a relationship with someone. Co-habitating. Dealing with their quirks. Bad breath. Leaving towels on the ground. Laughing at fart jokes. Actually, screw relationships- go and live on your own. Much less fuss……
Sorry, I digress. So, we’re all after it, aren’t we? That magic recipe- the keys to a good relationship. Every time some article pops up on it, tell me you don’t sneakily click through to see if you’re doing it right….. *cough* yeah me neither *cough*.
What do we do? What is the secret? Is there even a secret?
That’s the thing. There is no secret. And the sooner we accept that the better off we’ll be.
You know how we often feel like we have to don our superhero capes, totally do everything for everyone, even at the expense of ourselves? Or maybe I’m just one of those ridiculous over-achievers. Actually, good chance of that. Well I’ve learned a very important lesson these past couple of weeks- it’s ok to quit sometimes.
Have you ever quit anything? How did it make you feel? For me, I’ve never quit out of anything before. EVAH. Even when it sucks balls, I still see things through to the end. Because. Stubborn biatch. I think we’re often raised to think that we don’t quit, and if we do quit- or switch out of something, then we’re weak, indecisive, we can’t follow through. And that reflects badly on us.
There are so many monsters lurking around, isn’t there? We’ve looked at the worry monster, we’ve looked at the sad monster and we’ve seen what little bastards they can be. But what about the angry monster? What’s the deal there?
The angry monster is a little different to it’s previously mentioned cousins. The angry monster can pop into any kind of difficulty a child is having. It’s not necessarily a ‘disorder’, but the angry monster is a main player on the kidlet scene. The angry monster can mean bigger things, like anxiety, depression, oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), or it may just be a function of testing boundaries and learning their place. It’s a tricky minx, the old angry monster.
So what does an angry monster look like? Prickly, loud, breathing fire maybe? Possibly. Seething, quiet and contained? Could be. Our angry monsters can look different depending on the situation we’re in, and depending on our personalities.
The angry monster can be hard for parents to negotiate. And even harder for kids to manage. It’s tough. But it’s not impossible! It’s really about helping kids to understand what’s going on for them, what the angry monster is, and why it might be popping up at this time.
The biggest message to share with our kids about the angry monster is that anger is normal! Anger is common and we all feel it. What’s not ok though is when we let our anger get the better of us and it takes over. Normally the angry monster is at the surface, while another monster bubbles below. So when we explain the angry monster to kids we need to be able to let them know they are allowed to feel angry, but letting the angry monster make them aggressive is something else entirely.
How do we explain the angry monster? Try a little something like this:
Let’s have a look at what’s been going on for you lately. Seems like things have been pretty tough. Maybe you’ve had a visit from the angry monster, do you know much about the angry monster? Well, it’s a monster who can get really annoying and LOUD. And when an angry monster gets loud, it can make us loud. Yelling, screaming, stamping and stomping. So much noise! That’s the work of the angry monster. They hit our bodies, our minds and our actions. They do things like make our fists clench, grind our teeth, get all our muscles tight. They can make our cheeks feel hot, our eyebrows frown. The angry monster is tricky like that. And then when our bodies are all tight, they start telling us all sorts of things, like “it’s not fair”, or “I want that toy!” or “they can’t do that to me”. If you think things like that, how do you think you’ll be feeling? Pretty darn angry! Aha- the angry monster is working! So when we think angry, we feel angry. And when we feel angry, sometimes it can come out in not-so-nice behaviours. We can get aggressive- hitting, throwing, yelling, breaking things. Sometimes we can get so aggressive we can hurt others. And that never feels good, for anyone. Before we know it, our angry monster has us all twisted up, and we don’t know how to get out of it! Why does the angry monster visit? Well there can be many reasons. We can find something unfair, we can feel like we’ve been hurt by others, we can actually be scared or sad about something, and it feels so yuck the only way we feel like we can get it out is by letting the angry monster take over. So we need to be detectives, get to the bottom of why the angry monster is visiting us, and learn ways to shrink the monster down so we can shine again.
Sadly with anger, we inadvertently paint it out to be a bad thing, and something we need to hide away and not express. Anger is a valid emotion, and both ourselves and our kids are allowed to feel it. It’s all about how we deal with it that’s the issue though, and what we want to upskill our kids on. With kids, particularly younger ones, anger is the go-to emotion when they’re struggling to understand or express what’s going on for them. So it’s always helpful to try and educate them on anger, and get them to understand what is happening, and why they might be acting in such a way. A lot of the time, once we can see what’s going on, our anger tends to simmer down.
Got concerns your cherub’s anger is over and above what is appropriate for their age? Chat to your GP. More complex issues like Oppositional Defiant Disorder do exist, but the prevalence rates range from 2% to 10% (Maughan et al., 2004; Costello et al., 2003. Source). Some sessions with a psych might help give you some tricks, and enable further support for your child.
One resource that is great for explaining anger is the book “Mad isn’t Bad” . And all the cute series of “When I’m feeling…” are really useful too. You can often pick them up from Kmart. For children with Aspergers, a fantastic book to help them understand is “The Red Beast”. And if you’re stuck on how to deal with misbehaviour (because we’re all about the anger being ok, the aggressive behaviour is not though) here’s some strategies on disciplining kids that we’ve looked at before. But truly it’s about helping your child uncover what is driving the anger. And not having them beat themselves up for it. That’s what we have monsters for!
How’s your anger monster travelling? Are you all over it, or does your angry monster get the better of you sometimes? I tell you, without my wine, my angry monster has a little too much spunk. Must remedy that. In a few months.
So I was trying to work from home (read: getting distracted by ALL the things and simultaneously wrangling kids), struggling to keep all the balls juggling in the air and wanting to hide under the dining room table, and I was reminded of this ‘controversial’ concept raised by Gisele Bundchen late last year where she advocates that Mother’s need to put themselves first. Haven’t read the article? Check it out here.
And apparently she’s been met with a some backlash over it? My first thought was “damn straight, Skippy”. And not just for Mothers- for EVERYONE! My number one thing I say to almost every client I have (big and little) is you can’t be there for anyone else unless you’re there for yourself. Fact. Now, I’m no fan of Gisele, some of the stuff she’s said in the past has been a bit naff to be honest, but this point is something to take on board.
Hello! It’s that time again, where I come here and waffle some crud on some stuff and hope it makes sense. Sounding really profesh, right? I know. I have no faith in me too after that glowing introduction. Anyways, let’s push ahead, shall we?
Last week we chatted about our monsters, and I wanted to know what your monsters were like. And then my manic monster took over and I haven’t even had a chance to respond to your comments yet. Noice. I promise I’m going to. My ‘sir paranoid a lot’ monster will make sure of it.
We know there’s lots of monsters out there, but the first cab off the rank is one of the biggest monsters, we and our kids often face. The dreaded worry monster. I’m going to talk about anxiety in worry monster format, in the hopes that it might help if you have a cherub who is currently afflicted with said monster. Because sometimes as a parent (or as a teacher or anyone who deals with kids!) it’s hard to put into words what anxiety is, in a way that kids are going to grab a hold of, and most importantly, not blame themselves for.
Monsters. They’re little fuckers. They tend to be upsetting across the board. From storybooks, to hiding under beds, to jumping out of cupboards, it’s hard to find a good one these days. They can even follow us into adulthood.
We all have monsters. For most of us, our monsters are pretty tame, they’re small and occasionally flare up, but mainly we’re in control of them. But sometimes our monsters get big. Like, really big. So big that they block our ears and cover our eyes. They jump up and down like a toddler denied the last chocolate biscuit in the pack. They suck balls when they get that big. And they can have a huge impact in our lives
It’s been a while since we’ve taken a look at the other side, and this is a rather apt post, given our chat about food and mood. When we get extreme with stuff, it can really muck with us. Eating disorders strip our gut of our happy juices, strip our minds of stability and sense, they are insidious. And when they happen to someone you love? I cannot begin to describe the helplessness that is felt. It’s like you’re trapped outside the glasshouse. You’re screaming, beating at the glass. You can see what needs to happen for the person inside, but they can’t see you, nor hear you. Instead you just watch on as they destroy themselves, without realising they’re doing it.
My experience with eating disorders doesn’t just come from a professional aspect, it’s been a personal issue I’ve seen too. One of my dearest and closest friends battled courageously for years and years, and has recently begun to come out the other side. But it’s never over. Never ever over. She graciously agreed to share her story.
So, for today’s Wellness Wednesday post, I’m all about the food. Mainly because I feel like an oompa loompa post-Easter. Because. Chocolate fiend and lack of self-control. But food is the shiz. Truly. It does so much for us.
Now I just need to be open from the get go. I am no dietician. I can’t go and break down food into chemical properties etc. But I do know about mood. And what impacts on mood. We psychs get trained on the physiological aspects of the body and brain and what can influence mood. And food? It’s got a big role to play.
Mindfulness. It’s this new ‘buzz’ term going around these days. And by new, I mean it’s actually thousands of years old and utilised all.the.time in Eastern philosphies. But us Westerners have now grabbed on and yelled ‘well golly gosh! Look at us clever Western folk! We’ve found a new way of being!” Facepalm.
Anyways. I’ve always liked the idea of mindfulness. But… the ‘feel the peace’, kumbayah stuff? I.cannot.do. I giggle without fail at the mere hint of an ‘ommm’. But I so want to be on that mindfulness train, I do. Zen, come at me. So if you’re a bit like me and want to be mindful but don’t want the hippy children-of-tomorrow shit, then read on.