Happy Face Project Part 3- Why Crawling On The Floor Will Make Me A Better Mum

Drove to university to complete paperwork. Prammed Miss 1 yr all around the campus for no particular reason. Went for a brief window shop at the local mall. Miss 1 yr getting a wee bit rowdy. Mini gluten free blueberry muffins save her day.

Drove on highway all the way home. Well, to another mall to pick up my lifesavers. Lifesavers= new reading glasses. Old reading glasses? Covered in white-out by Miss 1yr.

Zoomed home so Miss 1yr can nap. I also want to crash. Realize I haven’t had a meal today. Or a snack. 2pm. Bad example to my kids. Guilt and reason still doesn’t spur me on to eat.

Miss 1 yr wakes from a peaceful 15minute (far too brief) slumber. I plonk her on the floor, feed her more lunch (which I must admit, started to look mighty tasty to my ravaged stomach) then let her “read” a book. “Read” to a 1yr old= rip pages out of a newspaper.

Miss 1yr begins her slow crawl to the dining room. At random, I follow her. On my hands and knees. Painful. She notices me. I speed up and let out a monster growl. She cackles hysterically. She speeds up towards the window. I speed up. She’s laughing so much that she’s crying. I start crying. She stops. I sit up. She moves to a sitting position. And then says “Mummm Ma” and grasps my hand. Her hand is a third of mine in size. Match sticks compared to branches. Looking into my eyes, she’s just confirmed that we’ll be best friends forever. Holding her tight, I kiss her Cabbage Patch Kid cheeks and reposition her for a crawling race. She wins. Don’t ever tell her I let her win or she’ll be heartbroken for sure.

Moments like this take me to the calmest, most love-filled place I could ever imagine. The world stops and I’m reminded the only thing that matters is my family and friends. Bottom line. And that I need to get on my hands and knees to see the world more often, a different perspective can change everything.

This is My Guardian Angel

This is My Guardian Angel

This is my Mum and I, one of the last photos I could find taken of just us together. I miss the hell out of this woman. She was incredible. She is an inspiration to me: to work hard, to love harder. She was never truly appreciated for who she was. She gave until she couldn’t give anymore. I love her and today, as I sit here wishing she was here, I’m so bloody thankful that she was my Mum.

My Declaration of Intention

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this year i will ENJOY EVERY MOMENT

i will let go of WORDS, ACTIONS AND OBJECTS THAT DON’T MATTER

& i will embrace MY CREATIVITY

i will honor  MY FAMILY, MY PARENTS AND MY DESIRE TO LIVE A LONG, HAPPY, HEALTHY AND FULFILLING LIFE

& love my LIFE IN GENERAL

i will stand up and share my VOICE AND MIND with the world

& most importantly:

THIS YEAR I WILL REMEMBER THAT I AM LOVED AND I AM ENOUGH.

 

What do you declare?

I Can’t Live Without My….

There are some things in life, and I’m not necessarily talking luxuries here, that people can’t live without. There are obsessions and addictions, where people believe they couldn’t possibly breathe another breath without the object/person etc in question.

My list encompasses much less daunting things. Some people may not care for my favourites. If you do, we have something in common. If you don’t, you are probably in the 99% of the world’s population.

I love, and can’t live without, these things and people:

  1. I have to say my family first- they paid me a lot of money to do so
  2. music and my Sennheiser mega headphones
  3. Schweppes Creamy Soda
  4. {Quality} Stand-Up
  5. the chance to go shopping for adult things- and no, I don’t mean what you are thinking. I’m a lady. I mean items that are not of the Fisher Price, Barbie, Trash Pack, Hot Wheels or Lego varieties
  6. my senses- hey, everyone needs this, but I think I’m one of those tactile, sensitive human beings who really focuses on sights, scents and touch for memory purposes. it’s awesome to say the least.
  7. my memory- apart from allowing me to hold down my {hectic} job, I need this to relive my childhood, teenage years and the years I’ve lost to Pregnancy and Baby Brain
  8. my phone- I love talking. And taking semi-artistic pictures. And playing games on my phone help me nod off to sleep!
  9. my friends- who else keeps me from going bonkers?
  10. my writing- for all those times when people have had enough of me talk!

What can’t you live without? Have you tried going without these things?

LEJ

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(Image courtesy of http://www.sweetcasualstyle.com)

My Anti Bucket List- Stuff I Really Can’t See Myself EVER Doing Once or Doing Again

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Taking inspiration from this great article I read on news.com.au in the wee hours of this morning, and following on from my Bucket List post I published not long ago (which you can read here), I’ve decided to make public the stuff which I will NOT do in my lifetime. I’m not thinking short-term, because I will hopefully live until a ripe old age, I’m thinking like well into my 80’s (if I’m lucky).

So as I’m now 31 years of age, I’ve given it my best and come up with a list of 31 things I, Lauren, will NOT EVER do in my lifetime.

Enjoy!

  1. swim with sharks {even gummy ones- holy moly they creep me out with their slimy skin and streamline swimming!}
  2. go skiing (again) {long story short- think dislocated shoulder after a Lauren-versus-tree incident at high speeds}
  3. eat wasabi (again) {holy mother of burning tongue hell!}
  4. bungee jumping {I have developed an INTENSE, and boy do I mean INTENSE! abnormal fear of heights. It’s bordering on a phobia I think. Yes, self-diagnosed. Lucky I’m only 5ft nothing tall}
  5. abseil {again} {brings back frightening memories from a camp as a child where I was told “it’s okay Lauren, it’s only concrete, you’ll bounce”} {!!!!!!!! is all I have to add to that}
  6. having another child {I’d love to NOT EVER go through another pregnancy, but yeah, give me another cute pipling and I’d be happy}
  7. saying “yes” to everything I get asked to do {I’m a people pleaser and it has really worked against me in the self-esteem department}
  8. Zumba {just no!}
  9. going on another date-date again {happily married to the man of my dreams thank you!} {ps we do go on dates occasionally, I’d like to more often, but that’s the subject of another “how to have more time when you have two little piplings” blog post}
  10. own a bird {again, I’ve done this before. It ended quite badly. I’m not ready for friends of the feathered kind}
  11. like Rachel Danger, the creator of the viral post My Anti Bucket List, I won’t EVER run a marathon {I was built to run up until my early twenties. Now all I run for is cover when my children wake up in the morning}
  12. sky dive {insert terrified scream here. no thanks. keep me INSIDE the plane or ON the ground}
  13. go on a scary upside down, round and round etc ride at a show {again, I’ve done this before but no, never willing to do this again. God bless my iron stomach and its need to stay on stable land}
  14. i will never smoke or take drugs {the most prudish person you might meet, but hey I value my lungs, my organs and my senses thank you very much!}
  15. take on too many clients at the same time {comes back to my “people pleaser” roots}
  16. saying “yes” to everyone and everything {no, just no!}
  17. volunteering to sing in public, which rules out ever going to Karaoke {I sing in my car only, my poor children’s ears….}
  18. walk in the city alone at night {Can’t trust the Victorian Parole Board to keep us Victorian Women safe in the community, so I’ll take matters into my own hands….and most likely become a hermit}
  19. going on a bus tour in Europe { I can drive, I’m middle-aged now, no Contiki Tours with randoms for me}
  20. eat any animal offal or leg of ANY kind {frog, chicken, pigs trotters. EWWWWW. No}
  21. become vegetarian {don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my vegetables and love avoiding meat occasionally, but I can’t see myself passing up a delicious roast chicken or scotch fillet any time soon}
  22. spending a tiny amount on my children for Christmas and Birthdays {I love spoiling them, what can I say?}
  23. visit Iceland or Greenland or Antarctica {Warm old sunny Australia for me, thanks}
  24. FULLY completing a daily “to do” list {there are always things I just don’t get done- maybe I’m trying to do too much. Maybe I need more naps}
  25. ignore someone who I think is struggling {I like to help, Nurses are built like that}
  26. painting our house {I REALLY dislike painting. It’s more tiresome and boring than watching paint dry. And the fumes make me see noises!}
  27. die my hair black {I’m just too pale}
  28. ending my writing career {I’ll die with fingers on the keyboard or with a pen in my hand}
  29. having a good night’s sleep {two children under 5, what can I say? zzzzzzzzzzzzz}
  30. becoming a body builder {I like my womanly curves and pasty, yet feckled skin. No bronzing, weights or protein shakes for me. Just the tiger stripes I earned growing my piplings for a total of 18months- glad I’m not an elephant, two years for each pregnancy would have me reaching for the butter knives….}
  31. AND last but not least- getting a tattoo {scared of the pain, don’t like needles, don’t like the idea of permanent images on my skin, what if I don’t like them in like 5 minutes? Temporary tattoos that come in bubble gum packets all the way for me}

Have you created your bucket list? Now you know what you want to do, it’ll be easy to work out what you DON’T want to do with the rest of your life!

Link your bucket list and anti bucket list blogs below!

LEJ

Organizational Skills- Optional. Stamina- A Must.

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So this morning Master Nearly-5 had his first “I don’t want to go to kinder”, “I can’t put on my velcro shoes today“, “I don’t want that breakfast”, “I’m about to explode” meltdown. Set off by Miss 6 Months giggling at him crying, Master Nearly-5 was hysterical. “Tell her to stop laughing at me, it’s not funny!!!!’ he screamed as he tried to get ready. I must admit after an hour of tears, repeated outfit changes thanks to giving birth to a reflux-laden baby, spilling the milk and literally crying over it, and falling over in the driveway in full view of the neighbours, I had had just about enough!

Pushing my patience, testing how far the boundaries stretch. Using the waterworks as a tool of his sneaky trade. Master Nearly-5 is going through a phase which requires me to be super on-the-ball and strategic about my choice of words and actions.

After sorting through the drama that was the first waking hours this morning, the Master was settled with his kinder friends and playing happily. So where was this boy as I stood crying over milk this morning? Ah, that’s right. I’m Evil Mum apparently, the Mum that yells, that punishes and makes rules instead of strawberry cupcakes. And the Kinder Teachers aren’t like Evil Mum, so best behaviour is part of the show.

It took all my energy, just to get out the door this morning. After what has seemed like weeks of grappling with this child I love so much, I let out a sigh of relief. It took all my patience and skills just to get him out of our house today. I did it!

For those who don’t know, Master Nearly-5 is completely healthy, physically and mentally. No underlying concerns. But WOW, he hasn’t been the easiest child to nurture of late.

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As all the mums (and moms) would know, when you fall pregnant and give birth, a lot of your parenting dreams can fall by the wayside. Not everything turns out as you planned. And there’s little you can do but just accept what you can and use the supports around you.

Your friendships turn into play dates. Relaxation, it turns out, is the point at which the matchsticks you’ve used to prop your eyelids open pop out and you fall into a deep sleep. Sleep now includes time fighting for an inch of doona, fighting for mere minutes of uniterrupted slumber with three in the bed, which becomes four in the bed on weekends. The tiny child, who needs you the most wakes you up for a feed and with that, you realize it’s not long before the sun will be up and all you’ve got will be needed again. And yes, you really do need to do it all again. For many more years yet.

People ask “what’s happened, are you okay?” when my house isn’t a complete mess. People comment “Oh it must be great to have a sleeping baby at home”- Miss 6 Months DOES NOT DO DAY SLEEPS. So no, it’s not so great. My husband wonders why I’m up until all hours doing things that could be done in the daylight. The brain of a mother never swtiches off, is what I constantly need to remind him.

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And it’s at this point that I find myself this morning. For someone that’s usually so organized in all facets of life, seeing the milk on the floor, watching Master Nearly-5 fight to within an inch of his childhood to not have to go to dreaded kinder (who’d want to go somewhere where you can eat when you want, spend time with your friends, have a nap if needed, read a good book or two and get really messy with paint and or bubbles?) and having Miss 6 Months teething and in pain, yet still managing to laughing at us both really woke me up.

You can be the most organized Mum in the universe- one who labels jars of spices, has a clothes sorting system for lights and darks and never EVER washes them together. The Mum with children who are enrolled in 18 different activities on a weekly basis and activities and times never get muddled up. The Mum who has a completely finished to-do list each day and everyone is still happy and smiling. One who never misses an appointment or arrives late thanks to great diary keeping. That Mum who can visit four friends for play dates in one day and still manage to cook a roast dinner before bathing the kids. But if your Missus and Masters want to tantrum and fight, to demand a “day off” from kinder, or to just plain test you, it’ll take all you’ve got to get back on track.

It makes you take a step back and realise just how tricky parenting can be, when you truly believe that work work achieves more than house work, when feeding yourself needs to be accomplished in a matter of two minutes, give or take a few moments of heart burn. When adult versus child negotiation skills are the first on your CV. When just going grocery shopping requires you to turn into an octopus combined with event planner and child-wrangler all in one. And I really need to get a new internal memory card- I missed five things off my shopping list last night and didn’t even take Master Nearly-5 and Miss 6 Months with me. I went shopping alone, for me-time, yet they were all I could think of.

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So before I return to work work this drizzly morning in Melbourne, here’s a friendly reminder from one busy Mum to the next: I typed this entire post whilst wrestling with Miss 6 Months, making phone calls to electricity companies and trying to eat my own breakfast, so just go with the flow. And go easy on yourself. Event though the tantrums are difficult to cope with in the midst of one, it’s all part of learning to be part of a family. If washing doesn’t get done, it’s ok. And definitely don’t cry over spilled milk. You’ll look like a “silly goose”, according to Master Nearly-5.

LEJ

Blog Challenge from a Little Red Fan- When Have You Felt Out of Place?

Before I go on, take a look back at my post about how having confidence shapes you here.

There have many instances in my life, as far back as I can remember, where I stand still in a group of people and realise I’m a bit different. At primary school, my friends were going to their beach houses for holidays and proudly speaking of their time away collecting shells and riding waves. Then there was me, standing up quite shyly in front of the class, talking about sleeping in swags (no tents, or rarely a tent to house my family in for the night on our trips away), going to bush pubs to play pool with my dad, driving through fast-flowing waterways in our dust-covered Troopie (who Dad fondly named Bertha) and never, EVER, was there a mention of hotels, room service, theme parks, shopping or expensive restaurants in my show-and-tell stories. And no one paid attention because no one could understand what this experience was like at a young age without actually living it. Our trips were about the experience. Firing guns into the central Australian red sand, being so covered in flies you’d have to wear a net over your hat permanently, eating food out of eskis for weeks on end, being “showered” by our mums in rivers with buckets of fresh (freezing) water, playing with Aboriginal children at the local shopping mall (a pub, a general store and a petrol pump in the middle of nowhere) and your Mum being asked “how much for the two girls?” by an Aboriginal family, being grateful for a pub lunch every so often, waking up in the middle of the night and realising that you are sleeping right underneath a sprinkle of stars that no one else can see from this viewpoint except you. Waking up to bacon and eggs cooking on a fire and not having any electricity to use but the motor of the Troopie to power the cassette player. Our childhood experiences were exceptional and I felt out-of-place, maybe a little misunderstood, talking about them as a child when no one knew where Innamincka or Tibooburra were. No one my age had heard of Burke and Wills or the Dig Tree. No one cared. I know where I’d choose to travel along if I was given the Oodnadatta Track or the Tube in London. But as I grew up, I realised that my experiences and their uniqueness were helping me to feel more comfortable with being me.

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As I became a teenager, I had accepted that I wasn’t like any of the typical girls who went to the private school I went to. No overseas trips to boast about, I didn’t own horses, I lived in an average suburb and we never knew any sort of extravagance. Being taken out for dinner to a restaurant was a great night out in itself. I never felt hard done by, or like we were missing out on anything. You don’t miss what you don’t know, right? I was totally into music from a young age and my taste took a few people at school by surprise. My choice of instruments to learn, bagpipes to name the most “strange”, shocked and stunned. I began to feel not so much out-of-place, but comfortable with being me.

I didn’t rock the in fashions, but still looked respectable. I didn’t drink underage or do drugs (I still don’t even know how to smoke a cigarette- an “achievement” I’m significantly proud of) so anyone would think I was a bit weird. I can see some of my old friends saying “What have you been doing all your life if you haven’t been to Thailand or Bali?” but I’m just happy where I am and always have been. All my friends were following trends. I never did really. There comes a point in time where you go from feeling “out-of-place” to being “happy in your own skin”. And it’s a momentous milestone I think. I think reaching this new-found place in your life can make all the difference between living a happy life and living life a tortured soul.

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As I became an adult, I was still getting comments, even from family members “Geez you’re weird, but I still love you”. Over silly things like what I found funny. My favourite songs. What I wanted to wear. Comments I’d make and things I’d cry over. Suggestions for things to do on a weekend. It’s so much easier now to shrug those feelings away, the ones that seek to separate me from the person I am comfortable being now.

I was thinking about how much I’ve changed as a person and as a grown woman since having my two children, since I became a nurse and more recently, since I started my own business. And I think that when you feel out-of-place, you can think about it from two perspectives. You can feel gawky in your own skin and not feel snug being who you are and showing people who you are. Or you can take a good look around and remember that not one person is the same from the next and we all have flaws and strengths. Maybe the people you associate with aren’t being true to themselves and that makes you feel out-of-place, because you are forthcoming, upfront and confident in how you feel about your place in the world. As the old advice goes, you only feel the way others make you feel. You only feel this way because you accept the way others treat you. And of course, if others treat you differently and you don’t have the emotional capacity to be strong and be yourself, you will most definitely feel out-of-place. I really believe in accepting people for who they are and loving them regardless.

Surely there is something to love about everyone. I embrace the weird, the unique, the peculiar, the amazing, the bizarre and the uncanny in everyone. I don’t expect the same good fortune back but at least I know where I’m at and where I’m headed. I like the same comforts as the next person, but I’m content and always ready for a challenge.

So in answer to the Little Red Fan who asked about a time I felt out-of-place, I can’t give you one. I’m happily living a life that allows me to be me, to be my quirky self. I wouldn’t trade it for routine for one minute!

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When have you felt awkward and out-of-place? Have you learnt to accept what you cannot change? I’d love to hear about how you have overcome feelings like this to become the brilliant, inspiring people you are today.

LEJ