Category Archives: balancing act

Real

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When Bebito was first born I wanted to gift him a special book. Something that meant something. I remember this passage above from when I was 14 from The Velveteen Rabbit so this was what we bought him. It means something. In fact, I think real means everything not just something.

It hurts to be real with ourselves and with others but it is the only thing we can do I believe. It is the only way I can sleep easily.

I find it easier to be real sometimes than others. Some of what I write here, like my last post, is raw and real and I don’t think you have to be raw to be real.

I also think my version of real may be different to yours. And that is how it should be.

I don’t think real means mean or brutally honest either though I think some people see it that way.

Sadly, I think being real opens us up to being hurt by others who don’t know how to respond to the real within us because the real within them is buried too deep.

Yesterday I was given great advice by a health professional to be pragmatic about what my life involves at the moment and to take far better care of myself or there will be consequences. Time to be real about my health. I needed to hear it. I had to hear it.

Today I received a beautiful gift and note that really touched me from Pip. It means a lot to me to know my version of Real is understood by others and I’m not completely neurotic.

“Once you are Real you can’t be ugly”.

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Weary

My littlest man isn’t much of a sleeper. He goes through patches where he isn’t too bad but there are more patches where he is horrificly unsettled, waking every 90 minutes and needing a lot of cuddles to settle him back to sleep. I’ve tried every strategy in the book and have taken to the path of least resistance now, whatever that may be. This latest phase has come at a time when I’m really busy with work, study and craft as well as the humdrum of domesticity, some illness and the needs of an older child too. There have been meltdowns galore and not just from the boys.

Normally, I throw a bit of organisation into the mix and structure my way through things. Getting by on three hours broken sleep just isn’t cutting it though and no manner of organisation is helping. I am behind on work, the washing pile is back logged and my patience for everything and my humour are thin. I have cranky totally nailed at the moment.

The worst part though is my weary mind and the thoughts that visit whilst pacing with a sleepless, crying two year old. The fog. The weariness of body is mirrored in my mind.

Yes, this too shall pass. The sleeplessness, it has changed me and I am weary.

Focus

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I was speaking with a friend yesterday about how hard I am finding it to focus.  It’s fair to say I’m spread thinly but it’s more than that.  Days are going by in a blur.  I think some of it is the nature of having small children in your life….that my energy is in large part transferred to playing with, caring for and thinking about my little ones.  

My energy flows outwards rather than inwards.  I am acutely aware that I spent the majority of my adult life so far, perhaps my whole life before becoming a parent, with the energy flowing inwards so it’s a good thing to not be so self focused.  It’s my nature to overthink, overprocess and live in my head.  There’s nothing quite like finger painting with a toddler to stop the overthinking….it’s more about the, “oh, look, he’s shoved his paint covered finger in his eye…I wonder how much that’ll hurt!?!” 

And there is the juxtaposition of my life, being lost in moments and yet not being able to see the bigger picture because of the trees. 

The filter over the lens is blurry.  It’s time to focus again. 

I believe

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I believe in kindness
I believe in love
I believe it is not always easy to be kind or loving but it’s important to try anyway
I believe that faith is important. Not religious faith but a hopefulness that things will be ok
I believe in friendship and in being a good friend
I believe in equality and especially in feminism
I believe that most people mean well even if they say something stupid
I believe in quietness
I believe in allowing my boys to be little boys for as long as I can
I believe in creativity and surrounding myself with things that inspire me
I believe in words
I believe that Mama-hood is the most wonderful gift
I also believe that Mama-hood is relentless
I believe that rules are important
I believe that food should be prepared with love and that includes toast
I believe that Jeff Buckley was a genius and he will always make my heart soar
I believe that reading to my children is a joy for us all
I believe that sometimes it’s important to shake things up a bit, in spite of the rules
I believe that life’s too short not to eat chocolate cake
I believe that pretty clothes can improve your mood
I believe that refugees need more than what our government is offering them
I believe that I may never sleep past 6am again
I believe that marriage is an optimistic thing to do and that it’s important to commit to over and over
I believe that sunshine is healing
I believe in letting my boys get dirty and messy and creative
I believe my Mum is one of the most amazing women who ever lived
I believe in family but that family can be crafted from all kinds of relationships
I believe that listening is more important than talking
I believe that books can be friends
I believe in laying on the grass and guessing shapes out of clouds
I believe that life can be overwhelming
I believe we can take things for granted and that gratitude is important
I believe I overthink everything
I believe that champagne is awesome
I believe in laughter
I believe that all children learn in their own time and it’s important to gently guide them
I believe it’s sometimes important to be still
I believe in love
I believe in love
I believe in love

A Day in the Life

I’m sitting in the dark – save a lovely changing coloured nightlight – on the floor of my boys’ bedroom wishing them to go to sleep. Again. The soundtrack is, still, Rockabye Baby versions of The Cure. Mr 4 is out like a light, Mr 1 still fighting sleep, as normal.

It gives me a few minutes pause in my day so I don’t mind sitting here.

When people ask me how life is I say, “good”. Which is true. I’ve banned myself from saying, “busy”. That’s true too. Crazy busy actually. The roundabout of work and family life is full on. I know my days won’t always be like this and I wanted to document it so I can look back one day and smile.

So, a day in the life of me…

5.30 alarm goes off, shower and get ready for work, scrub bathroom in the process.
5.50 start making lunches for Mr and me
5.53 realise I spilled toothpaste on my dress and change my clothes
6.05 get Mr 1 his breakfast
6.07 field request number 100 from Mr 4 to read a book. Position the boys on chairs next to each other so Mr 4 can “read” to Mr 1 (about ships in this case)
6.15 inhale coffee made by Mr – he’s a gorgeous soul and never fails to present me with caffeine
6.20 finalise lunches for Mr and me, give Mr 1 more muesli and a banana
6.23 negotiate with Mr 4 about what are acceptable toppings for his toast and give in slightly by allowing Nutella and banana, make said toast and a piece of plain toast for Mr 1. Continue to field a million questions on transportation that I have no clue how to answer.
6.40 make myself a bowl of muesli as boys still munch and chat
6.50 dress Mr 1 and change icky nappy
7.05 pack my bag
7.08 ask Mr 4 to get dressed for the 7th time in 10 minutes. Stop what I’m doing to cheerlead him getting dressed. Kid needs an audience at every turn.
7.15 put on a load of washing
7.18 hang out the load of washing done the night before
7.30 put shoes on and ooh and aah over the, “redecorating” Mr 4 has done in their room
7.35 kiss all my boys goodbye and head to train
7.40 alight train, read trashy book for entire journey
8.15 arrive in city and walk to work peering at the line at coffee shop which is too long for me to wait
8.25 arrive at my office and login, checking emails and responding to various things
9.05 set up for class
9.15 start teaching
11.45 finish class, help colleague with packing up after her class
12.10 return to desk, more emails, eat lunch, more emails
13.00 start lesson preparation for tomorrow
13.45 have very funny twitter chat with two of my favourite people
13.50 go for a walk to get coffee, have lovely chat with friendly barista
14.00 return to desk, more lesson preparation and emailing
15.15 staff meeting
17.15 head for train station. Meet Mr briefly to say hi.
17.35 train departs, continue to read trashy book and email my bestie
18.10 arrive home, collect mail, open mail and pretend the bills aren’t there!
18.15 prep soup with pumpkin baked yesterday
18.30 prep sauce for creamy chicken & vegetable pasta bake for tomorrow night’s dinner
18.50 boys arrive home. Change Mr 1 who has leaked through his nappy, give him a good clean and ask Mr 4 to choose one book.
19.00 tuck boys in and sit.
19.10 pick up Mr 1 who won’t stop crying. Cuddle him and reassure. Attempt this post in between repeating that process. Text Mr instructions about further dinner requirements and roasting our vegetables for lunch tomorrow
19.20 Mr 4 asleep
19.30 Mr 1 still NOT asleep
19.33 pick up Mr 1 and cuddle him again. Tuck him back in with Little Ted. Wait for his breathing to deepen.
19.40 Mr 1 asleep
19.43 publish post

20.38 come back to post to update…

19.45 finish making lasagne for tomorrow – it’s become lasagne now not pasta bake, make labne for lunches tomorrow, tidy kitchen and do dishes
20.10 sit down to eat and chat to Mr
20.30 dishes and pack away roasted vegetables for salad tomorrow.
20.35 instruct Mr on baking time for lasagne and prepare for bed

It’ll be bed time and more trashy book reading for me shortly!

How do your days look?

Messy Monday

It’s been far too long since my little men and I spent the day without any plans and as the house is in much need of a clean anyway I declared today, “messy Monday”.

I encouraged them to do every possible activity to get messy and of course they were happy to oblige!

We started with play dough, drew and practised letters with texta, I made a batch of tiny and little fingerpaint that we made fruit paintings with and then they drip painted with, they made cities in the sandpit, picnicked and then we made pizza together.

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But this was by far my favourite sight of the day, Bebito reading outdoors.

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The weather turned this afternoon and they are happily reading and playing trains now. This kind of fun, relaxed, messy play is just what the Dr ordered.

Energy and kindness

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I’m not a religious person. I don’t really know what I believe actually. I am schooled in religion and know much about various religion. I do believe in energy. It’s a physical law and I think it impacts us emotionally and physically.

When we were in Melbourne a few months ago we spied the amazing piece pictured above in the lobby of the National Gallery of Victoria. It did what all beautiful art (music, writing, painting) does, it’s energy spoke to my soul.

Bebito, a few months shy of 5 was transfixed by it. He lay on the ground on his belly listening to the china clink together and watching the slow movement of the bowls. For once, he asked no questions. It spoke to his soul too. He’s very like me so I wasn’t surprised.

I have come to realise a few things in the last little while. That I will never have enough energy to keep up with my darling children was one stark realisation. I’m 38 not 5! I just don’t have their energy levels. My philosophy in parenting has been guided by, “energy and empathy” so it took me a while to forgive myself for not being as energetic as I want to be. I have started to look after myself better to keep up that energy but again, I’m 38.

The other huge realisation that hit me with a thump was that the energy and principles by which I am guided – kindness and love – these also need to be mirrored back into myself. I have been focused on sending kindness and love out that I haven’t been so kind or loving to myself, instead I’m increasingly task focused thinking of the dozens of things I need to “tick off the list”.

The list still needs attending to but I’m going to slow down my inner dialogue and breathe a little.

Are you kind to you?