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Who can forget the movie The Bucket List with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson. (If you haven’t watched it – watch it. What struck me as sad was the fact that the main characters in that movie waited to have cancer before they took the time to fulfill their dreams. It’s humbling when we are reminded of our mortality, and that the only moment that we can be sure of, is this one right now. 

Recently I read a book by Robert A Johnson, called ‘Living Your Unlived Life: Coping with Unrealized Dreams and Fulfilling Your Purpose in the Second Half of Life’. (My psychology/self help reading addiction is back.) It’s the kind of book that speaks about having a midlife crisis without throwing your life away on some self destructive, crazy, wild fling. It’s all about giving life to unlived aspects of yourself. He writes what his friend, who’s a chaplain at a hospital, told him about a recurring theme that she heard repeatedly from the dying men and women. ‘They thought that if they met the responsibilities of life, fulfilling the culturally prescribed things that we all feel compelled to follow, that somehow life would not run out before they had a chance to live it. Yet in those precious moments  before death they realized there was no more time. It was too late, and they had missed some essential experiences.’  Isn’t that chillingly sad. 

And that’s where a bucket list comes in. I don’t think you can ever be too young or too old to have one. It’s about writing out the life you’d love to have, the things you’d love to do and achieve. The small and big goals that you would have loved to do if today was the last day of your life.

A few years ago on New Years Eve, my husband and I made our bucket lists. I wrote mine on paper and now don’t know where it is. He put his on his phone and still has it. The other night we were out on ‘Date Night’ (See previous blog post. Bucket listing is a great date night activity) and we read through his list. We were surprised to see that he’d done quite a few things on it. It was exhilirating to see that we’d gone to Italy and that he’d fulfilled some of his personal goals. These were things we may not have ended up doing if he hadn’t written them down.

Of course there was a lot left to do on the list. But it didn’t matter. It’s not about fulfilling each goal, dream and wish fastidiously. The list is more of a guideline as to the general direction you’d like your life to go. That night we individually rewrote our lists. 

My list was fun and simple. It helped me refocus on what I want in my life. There were easy, doable things on the list: Draw and paint. Walk to coffee shops with baby (something I find hard to do in Johannesburg). Read poetry. Get my children involved in a social, reading cause with other South African children. And daunting goals: Bake a six layer cake, bake bread. And my bigger, hairier, audacious goals like travel to India and do a yoga course there. 

From simple goals to high dreams, my life is enriched for the better by writing out my bucket list. Since I’ve written it I’ve found a six layer cake recipe. (In this months House and Garden Gourmet magazine.) I’ve broadened my reading. I’ve walked a bit more. I’ve lived a little bit more of my unlived life. It’s so simple and it can’t fail to bring a smile to even the most cynical, despairing face. There’s so much to do and be, and I believe just sending the intention out there, creates in our unconscious the space to do more than we ever imagined we could.

The Right to Date Night could also read – The Right NOT to be Bored. I think marriage especially once you have children becomes a relay race of ‘hellos’ rather than real connection. Unless you go on a date night. Unless you make an effort. I’ve always believed in date night, and we’ve always gone out at least once a week. (This is more due to the fact that I NEED to get out, more than any relationship development.) For the last month or so I hit  a wobbly patch of ‘boredom’, even on date night. Boredom in the same old places we go to in small town Johannesburg. Boredom in the same conversations (mostly about the kids). Boredom in myself at nothing new, exciting or challenging to engage with. It’s a boredom that stifles the best of relationships.

I chatted to one of my very good friends, and to my surprise she admitted that as much as she loved her husband, they too faced the same challenge of boredom. It made me think that it’s not such an uncommon thing. It’s not that the relationship is bad, it just needs spicing up, a point of interest, something FUN. And when do we ever do anything fun with our spouses? (Notably if you don’t have a spouse, it’s still important to do something fun with yourself, or partner, or good friend.) Fun lets us be kids again, children of light and life who dance in the dewy grass. It brings back the reason you fell in love and married your partner in the first place.

A part of me wanted my husband to plan the ‘fun’, ‘romantic’ rendezvous for us. The part of me that wants to be taken care of, to be wooed again. Naturally I had to get over myself. My husband is not the kind of guy who plans ‘fun’, ‘interesting’ things easily. (I’m working on him though.) So it’s up to me to plan the unpredictable, the spontaneous and out of our comfort zone fun. And so I did.

FUN Things to Do

Theatre - Last week I booked ‘Solomon and Marion’ with Janet Suzman. It was a resounding success. It was a wonderful production, incredibly written and beautifully acted. We both left inspired, our spiritual bellies full of creative food.

Movies, Documentaries – I’m on Hazel Cohen’s Cyril Harris Auditorium’s email list, and get a host of emails about the documentaries they show. I just saw ‘The Flat’ by Arnon Goldfinger, which was thought provoking and beautifully done. Another simple, stretch my horizons experience.

Go Somewhere New – Eg. Arts on Main – Joburgers sometimes don’t make the most of their own city. I know I don’t. There are a lot of events, nightly and on Sundays at the Maboneng Precinct in town. It’s safe enough, has a buzzing artistic energy and it’s definitely outside our comfort zone which is absolutely exhilarating. It’s on my list of to dos.

Go Away – This isn’t an easy one, but I believe it’s essential for couples to go away, even for a night. Even if it’s to a B & B down the road. Being away from the hum drum practicality of life is pure heaven, and you get a proper nights sleep! (You could go to Cape Town and see Solomon and Marion there.)

Physical Activities – Bowling, ice skating, walking, running, roller blading. Find something you both enjoy and do it together. Even better learn a new skill together. Truth be told we don’t do this in Johannesburg, but on holidays by the beach we have a whole exercise ritual which includes running, walking, yoga and  dipping into the sea.

Attend a Class – Art class, knitting (just kidding, although you never know), cooking, chocolate making, French or Spanish lessons, Jewish history classes, Biblical Tanach classes. There are endless adult evening classes in Johannesburg. Learn anything that gets you both thinking, talking, and discussing, even laughing as you expand your skills and knowledge. This is a great way of being together.

Play Music – Lately we’ve begun playing soft, romantic music. Enya is our favourite at the moment. We play it whilst we have tea and chat. (Another idea would be to put groovy dance music on and just dance in the comfort of your home. Or if you can, go out dancing. My husband flat out refuses to dance, but I think dancing is ALOT of fun.)

Chat Daily – Not everything has to be brilliantly exciting. We’re tired at the end of a hard working day and a nice chat with tea and music fills us up, and reconnects us in that domestic, happy way.

It’s holidays now our children are out having fun, we need to reconnect with ourselves, our partners and have a bit of fun too. There’s nothing like a giggle to make us forget our every day problems. Cynics out there will say, it’s easy to say, ‘have fun’, but practically life’s too difficult, hard and busy for such frivolity. Such people must have the deepest, furrowing, war trench wrinkles ever, and I doubt they have fulfilling, happy marriages. I say don’t listen to such people, even if it’s your own inner critic, or your spouse, do it anyway, and see what happens…. We may not have the perfect marriage, but at least we’re having fun.

NB. The above are my own ideas. I’m sure you have a heap of your own. You can comment and share some of the more fabulous things that are possible in Johannesburg.

Last week was an inspiring week. I was privileged to hear Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks speak on leadership and it made me think how we are all leaders, especially mothers. It’s not something we speak about in our society much. Mothers are either ‘spiritual mumbo jumbo’ martyrs or we’re irrelevant. It’s like the story that Gary Neumann told at Sinai Indaba about his wife. They were sitting at a high powered, women’s CEO conference where he was speaking. The table was doing the ‘so what do you do’ rounds, and each woman’s resume as you can imagine, was more impressive than the next. When the table came to his wife, she said, ‘I take care of orphaned children. I feed them, dress them, nurse them, school them.’ The table was duly impressed and amazed at such self less, Mother Teresa work. She then added, ‘Of course they’re my own children.’ And the spell was broken.

There is no doubt that mothers are under appreciated. I’ve come to realise that no one is waiting to applause us, thank us, give us that well deserved pat on the back, for clocking up thousands of kilometers on our mum mobile speedometers. We’ll be waiting forever if we’re waiting for that. Appreciation must come from ourselves. Self care, self nourishment from ourselves. And sometimes it seems like such a pain – ‘What I have to also mother myself? Not another person to mother, ppplease!’

And this is where leadership comes in. Seeing the value of ones role that we’re called upon in life to do. It just so happens that mothering is a common role. It’s not very difficult to become a mother. Being a mother, even that proverbial ‘good enough mother’ is a whole different story.

  1. A Leader is Bottom of the People Heap:

Rabbi Sacks (I will abbreviate his well deserved title for the sake of easy reading) spoke about leaders being at the bottom of the pile. They are there to serve the people, rather than the other way around. A metaphor for ‘old style, dictatorial’ leadership (or modern African leadership) could be the ancient buildings of power such as the Egyptain Pyramids. The peaky top symbolised the Pharaoh, who was akin to God, and the massive, heavy bottom were the people who served him.

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Revolutionary to this leadership model is the ancient Jewish symbol of the menorah – the Temple’s candelabra, which had seven branches at the top, symbolising the people and the bottom, central leg represent the leader.

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This reminded me of the role of ‘mother’. There is no doubt that we’re the bottom of the food chain, as we serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. We hold our children and husbands up, and without us, there is no toilet paper in the bathrooms. If we quit, thousands would lose their jobs. If we went on a shopping strike, economies would crumble. I could be wrong of course, perhaps we should try it and see what happens…

Rabbi Sacks quotes Martin Luther King who said, ‘We can all be great because we can all serve.’ So we need to, as mothers, begin seeing ourselves as great leaders, not maid servants, serving our children and families as we build them up.

2. We ALL Need to Be Leaders in Our Own Sphere of Influence

I don’t think much more than that needs to be said. Mother’s have the most profound influence on their children, for better or for worse. We imprint our children with their gifts and their issues. Whether we like it or not, we are who we are because of our own mothers. We’ve either copied them, or reacted to them. Either way you can’t escape the influence and power that ‘mother’ has in our lives. So I’m hoping to use my influence as a mother for the good.

Rabbi Sacks spoke about collective responsibility. Teamsmanship. Treating our family unit as a team, where everyone can lead and be responsible is an important idea. Teaching ourselves and our children to be empowered individuals.

3. No One Said it’s Easy

We all know a lot of the concepts that I’ve outlined above. I myself have worked on them, drawn up my star charts, given out chores. Heck I even got two Labradors who spent the weekend chewing up my newly fixed irrigation system (again). All in the hope of empowering my Princes, and bringing them up to be confident, contributing, positive members of society. And it’s an upward battle. Dealing with moods, tiredness, cheekiness, and general Princely anarchy. Even my loving Prince No. 4 has gotten the hang of vandalising every shelf. No book is safe, no breakable is unbroken in this house, as balls and little sticky fingers go flying. So I need to ask – am I failing as a leader in this small fiefdom of mine?

4. The Ability to Persist

Staying power marks a leader, says Rabbi Sacks. God doesn’t give up on His stiff necked nation. I think as a mother, I’m learning more and more, not to give up on my mothering because nothing stays the same. No behaviour is static. All of us are growing, including the Princes, as they navigate their way in this world.

Of course as Rabbi Sacks said, it’s important to consult when making decisions. Check ourselves, know ourselves, know our limits as mothers. God consulted with the angels when creating the world. How much more so do we need to learn and consult with others when creating our angels on earth. (Okay that just sounded good. They so aren’t angels, but they’re pretty wonderful little human beans.) The biggest consultation being with our husbands. (That is a blog post just waiting to be written.)

5. Believe in the People You Lead

I do believe the best gift we give our children, is our belief in them. Belief that they will grow up wonderfully despite us (and the school system). That they have inner resources, inner wisdom, and inner strength, which we can’t imagine. Faith that they are exactly who they’re meant to be, and on their own individual journey. It puts less strain on our already taut and tired heart strings, and it gives them the wings to fly free to be themselves. (Not what we think they should be.)

And here I think I need to go back to point number three. All these points are easier said than done. But however challenging mothering is it helps to redefine mother as more than taxi driver, tutor and food buyer. A mother is a generational leader as William Ross wrote, ‘The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.’ No wonder it’s so hard….

I’ve missed writing. I haven’t written in weeks and for very good reason. I’ve been traveling (lucky, lucky me, I know). I feel like I’ve traipsed through Europe (with a creepy crawly eleven month old) – London, Paris, Milan. A dream of a trip. A journey full of beautiful memories now that I’m back in Johannesburg, on the kiddie schedule treadmill again.

To be honest I love, love, love traveling (who doesn’t?) and feel a real need to leave Johannesburg at least once a year to feel alive, connected to the world that walks its streets, popping into gorgeous coffee shops at will. With that love comes a deep, heavy seated, toilet deep anxiety. Fear that I’m too spoilt (okay I am spoilt, but can one ever be too spoilt with life and world experiences?). Fear that it won’t work out. Fear that the Princes will be hanging from light fittings. Fear that my righteous mother-in-law won’t cope. To sum it up I feared the fear of the unknown that is a common human experience and paralyses us into not doing what we love and dream of.

Luckily I was going with my husband who had to go anyway, so he booked everything.

(There has to be a perk to having a husband who travels for work.) Last year I had agreed to meet my cousin Sharon in Milan to visit her niece who’s studying at a Chabad seminary there. A crazy plan to make with an almost one year old who can’t keep still. But forcing myself to just do it worked. The trip turned out better than I dreamed and the lessons I learnt are a reminder of how amazing life can be if you make a basic plan, action it and let it unfold all on its own.

So I’ll write a brief summary of my trip with a couple of tips on how to travel with a baby so those jet setters amongst you can enjoy it too.

Book a Bassinet

The flight to London was a nightmare, I hadn’t booked a bassinet, not realising that the bassinets on airplanes have changed. It used to be that a baby could only get a bassinet if they didn’t sit up. Nowadays you strap the baby into the bassinet and they need to be under a certain weight and size to fit. I’d say a baby these days can get a bassinet under the age of one, and if you have a small one year old they would also fit. I had a bassinet on the way back and that made a world of difference to my trip, especially as I travelled back on my own.

Walking London

The best part of being in Europe is walking the streets and seeing the post card sights in real life. We stayed at a lovely friend of mine in Hampstead Garden Suburb (with a baby staying in a home is much, much easier). Hampstead Garden Suburb is the most beautiful, cottagey, English area, looking right onto the heath.

West End – Matilda

Matilda

One of the best things we did in London was go to the West End show Matilda. It far exceeded my expectations. It was such a creative, vibrant, clever production. Anyone who has a chance to go see it has my blessing. It is fantastic Roahl Dahl fun. Although Mrs Trunchbull was completely frightening, so I wouldn’t take small kids, unless they don’t get scared of big masculine, raging women (Mrs Trunchbull is played by a man). Thank God I was able to organise a babysitter for Prince No. 4. After a West End show having a drink in Soho is a must (a cappuccino in my case). It’s one of my favourite things to do – walk around an area that’s brimming with night life.

Tower of London

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A lovely, lovely day was when we went to the Tower of London. I don’t think I would have appreciated it as much if I hadn’t been reading Philippa Gregory’s historical English novels. I had just read the series about the war of Roses, between the Lancaster and York houses. She writes so beautifully and well, that I’m absolutely addicted to them. Walking through the towers and recognising the names of the historical figures that were mentioned on the Beef Eater tour (The yeomen who take care of the tower are known as Beefeaters and they give a fabulous free tour. In our case we had a yeowoman.) Of course we saw the Crown Jewels which was quite fun. I’ve never seen diamonds that size. It’s all beautifully organised for tourists. (Although not for prams. We had to carry the baby through the towers, so we didn’t see it all. In fact all of London is ill designed for four wheels, especially the Tube. Luckily when I was on my own, people were more than happy to help.)

Boat on the Thames

From the Tower, which is right on the Thames River, we took a tourist boat to Westminster Abbey. We discovered something new, Prince No. 4 loves boats, so it was a lot of fun, as he made a complete racket in his excitement. At Westminster, we went into Parliament and listened to some of the passionate debate that was taking place about Ireland. Of course Westminster is very beautiful and grand although the actual House of Commons is much smaller than I imagined. (And yes we couldn’t take the baby into the debate room. We had to take turns going up.) It was fun to see legislature in action. It reminded me of my law days, and I felt that familiar excitement rise up in my veins, at laws being discussed, debated and made. The heart of a country lies in that room.

Wartski

One of my highlights in London was to go to Wartski, a jewelry store with a royal warrant that David’s grandmother’s grandfather had founded in Llandudno, Wales. It’s in this store that she grew up playing with Faberge eggs. Another store was opened in London, and it’s to there that the business relocated. In fact it’s from Wartski that Kate Middleton got her Welsh gold wedding ring. I had to go see it for David’s grandmother and for myself, as I’d heard so many stories about it. Of course it was in Mayfair and I bullishly planned our tube route there. It was a moment down memory lane, touching fingers with the past, however briefly. And they did have Faberge, but don’t ask the price.

Paris

Paris was beautiful, magical and in Spring with poppies in bloom everywhere. I should add that London also was blooming with pink and white skies of cherry blossoms and the heads of happy, yellow daffodils everywhere. When we debated going to Paris, I said it was a must, we needed to recreate our Paris moments, as our last trip there was a semi nightmare with a hissing French fight when my husband spoke English at the Picasso museum. This time was different. We stayed in a hotel in St Germain, a vibey students area of books, boutiques and music shops. It was right by the River Seine, and we spent our first afternoon walking around taking in the atmosphere, making our way to the Musee d’Orsay and basking in the Impressionists. My favourite soul feeding art, where joy is not the right word to describe what I feel in front of them. Awe, a well of creative spirit.

Locks of Love on the Bridge in Paris

Locks of Love on the Bridge in Paris

 

I Love Paris in the Spring Time

I Love Paris in the Spring Time

 

Milan

Italy is the most beautiful country, and I’ll take any excuse to go there, and here’s why:

Creamy Hot Chocolate

And More Creamy Hot Chocolate!

And More Creamy Hot Chocolate!

Plus the:

- Shopping

- Art

- History and Culture

- Friendly Italians

- Friendly Italians who love babies

- General happy feeling in the air of everyone enjoying life with their cappuccinos

 

Verona

My clever cousin hired a car, and drove like a true Italian all the way to Verona. It was a surprisingly lovely, medieval stop over, and of course the home of Romeo and Juliet.

Juliet's Balcony

Juliet’s Balcony

Lugano

We also drove to Lugano, Switzerland. It was fabulous crossing borders into another country. And Lugano is the prettiest city.

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Back to Reality

I am now back in Johannesburg back to the reality of everydayness. Cooking, juggling the Prince’s schedules, shopping and mothering, my trip feels like a life time ago even though it was only last week that I was traipsing around Milan with my cousin and her niece. I’m happy to be back with the Princes and I’m very happy I went away. It was more than the delicious cappuccinos, food, and wonderful museums. More than being able to walk endlessly on the street breathing in the busy, beautiful European city life. Thinking back to it what I really loved and valued most about it was the relationships I developed. With my friend in London who generously shared her home and way of life with me, to my husband, with whom time together is always so precious. Having quality time with Prince No. 4 and teaching him to give a high 5. Licking gelato slowly (I tend to guzzle ice cream too fast) with my cousin Sharon from LA and her niece. Deepening our connection, learning from each other, sharing and enjoying life together. This was the biggest blessing for me. Being in relationship.

Being in relationship is a human gift, for me it’s the reason why we’re alive. So I’m happy to be back home, to enjoy my relationships here with my wall climbing Princes.

Deliciously Decadent - Chocolate Love Cake

Deliciously Decadent – Chocolate Love Cake

Pesach is over. It’s hard to believe, after the flurry of intense preparation weeks in advance. It feels surreal, light years away, like Pesach never happened. After the sun set and the stars appeared in the sky heralding the end of Chag, the end of matza and the end of endless meals, I felt strangely free. A freedom that comes after hard work and knowing that it’s now over. A freedom of being able to move again through the coffee shops of Johannesburg, sipping cappuccinos. I felt a bit disappointed in myself, am I meant to be so glad that the week of Pesach is over? Am I betraying a part of myself that should be missing this time of reliving the Jewish exodus from Egypt?

I confessed my thoughts to my husband. (He’s an excellent person to confess to, although he has to remind me that he’s not a priest.) He calmed my negative thoughts and said that my feeling of post-Pesach freedom is part of the whole process, that’s why we’re not meant to live chametz free all the time. It’s the freedom that comes through limitation, that sense of accomplishment and moving on.

It made me think of all my other moments of redemption which come about through hard work or limitation.

Friday Afternoon – That open feeling in my chest, when the school week is OVER and there’s no homework.

The ONE CHOCOLATE A DAY – That sweet feeling of savoring that one dark Lindt truffle chocolate (available at Woolworths Melrose Arch) that I allow myself a day (on my good days) with a cup of tea at the end of a long day. If I have more than one the magic is lost. (Although in all honesty I sometimes do succumb to the second, third and um…fourth.)

After YOGA CLASS – Never during. That feeling of being stretched and light and energetic after a yoga class is officially addictive. I love it. (My favourite studios are Yoga Lova with Nadine Hurwitz in Illovo and Yoga Warrior in Rosebank.)

Quality Time with Princes – Sometimes I get it right. I sit on the floor and do that puzzle, play chess or backgammon, read a book or jump on the trampoline with my Princes. I am in being, I am at play with my sweet boys. Having sweet, innocent fun, which is what the foundation of our relationship will be built on for years to come (hopefully through their hectic, moping teenage years). I don’t do it enough, but when I carve out that time just for focused fun, there’s nothing, nothing better!

Stealing Time to Write a Blog Post – I love writing. I love sitting at my computer, it’s like being with my favourite friend whom I don’t make enough time for. But, when I do it. When I’ve scheduled in my writing, forced my reluctant, wandering bottom onto the chair. There’s nothing better.

There are so many more freeing things in my days, weeks, months if I look for them. It’s through contractions that we give birth to life. It’s through limitation that we find freedom. Saying no and don’t’s to ourselves (and our children), setting boundaries, entering that middah – character trait of Gevurah – Strictness/Strength/Discipline (my translation) is freeing (although not natural to me), and it’s my redemption that Pesach has taught me this year.

Now onto a delicious, yummy recipe of a cake that I’m completely addicted to. So if you make it, save me a piece.

Chocolate Love Cake
Now this cake should really be called ‘Raw Chocolate Tart.’ It comes from the super healthy South African cookbook, Rawlicious. It’s made with raw, healthy ingredients (no sugar, wheat or dairy) and it’s texture is rich and velvety like a tart. I love it and made it over Pesach. It was a delicious, healthy hit with everyone (except my husband who doesn’t like coconut). Be warned you need a good blender.

Ingredients – For the Base:

3 Cups Almonds, soaked for 2 hours
1 Cup Pecan Nuts, soaked for 2 hours (I use all almonds, and always forget to soak. It still works without soaking.)
1/4 Cup Agave Syrup (If the base mixture is a bit dry add more Agave Syrup.)
Seeds of 2 Vanilla Pods (I often leave this out.)
1/2 teaspoon Himalayan Rock Salt (I often leave this out because I find it a bit salty.)

Method – For the Base:
In a food processor, grind the almonds and pecan nuts until fine. Add the agave, vanilla seeds and salt. Process all the ingredients together until sticky, crumble like base is formed. You may need to stop and scrape down the sides. Press into a springform cake tin or quiche tin with removable base. Puncture holes into the base using a fork and put it in the fridge while you make the topping.

Ingredients – For the Topping:
4 Cups pitted dates, soaked in warm water
1 1/2 Cups Coconut Oil
1 Cup Cocoa Powder (I use good quality, organic Cocoa powder available at health food shops or Dischem.)
1 Avocado
Seeds of 1 Vanilla Pod (I often leave this out.)
1 teaspoon Himalayan Rock Salt (I leave this out sometimes as find it too salty.)

For Decoration:
10 Cacoa Beans
10 Pecan Nuts
You can also decorate with strawberries. The red is beautiful against the rich, chocolate brown.

Method for the Topping:
Blend the dates with a little of the soak water in a power blender or food processor. Add the coconut oil, cocoa powder, vanilla seeds, avocado and salt. Blend until all ingredients are mixed through. Transfer into the cake or quiche tin and spread evenly. Decorate with cocoa beans and pecan nuts. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

I wrote a blog post and saved it. Now I can’t find it. (Maybe it’s just as well it was about The Right to Know Cricket.) As I sit here wondering what to blog about, I realise that I’m trying to escape from the truth. Do I really want to blog about how I’m doing at the moment? Not really, I’d rather choose a sweet, fun topic and pretend I’m the perfect mother. Unfortunately I’m not the perfect mother (although I was told last week that I was a good, good, good mother according to this spiritual psychologist who I saw. I suspect most of us are actually good, good, good mothers.) There’s nothing sweet or fun about the way I’ve been for the last couple of weeks. 

The truth of the matter is that I’ve been walking around angry. Not all the time. Not even most of the time. Just around the Princes, when they’re home from school, homework time and Power Hour. (Is that most of the time? Oops.) Last week my dear, darling, lovely husband went away for the week to Australia. I couldn’t go because someone had to look after the dear, darling, sweet Princes and make sure they felt emotionally secure. Let’s just say it was a week from hell. All on my ownsome shouting at the Princes. I didn’t realise I had a serious discipline problem until then. And I do I have a serious discipline problem, coupled with an anger issue.

So I, as well as being an extremely honest, am also extremely into my issues. I love dealing with them. I over deal with them, so much so that the Princes run a mile when I try and deal with theirs. And my dear husband…well let’s not even go there. So I was left looking at my jello, discipline muscles and murky, mucky, volcanic anger. I realised that it was all the same thing. Because I feel that I have no control over the Princes. After I tell them to ‘please, please, please’, for the millionth time,  take out their homework, get their pencil, go to the bath..(need I go on), I lose it. They don’t listen, and my brain falls out of my mouth in impotent rage.

And it’s in the impotency that the rage comes from. At that point everything is a mess. The Princes still don’t listen or finally do because they’re scared stiff. And I’m left feeling like a puddle of smelly shame and guilt. This isn’t the mother I want to be. This isn’t the mothering life I signed up for. 

Of course this leads to a bit more rage – ‘Why is everything so damn difficult? Why didn’t anyone tell me that mothering is such a sham (crap) job?’ Then with a throbbing throat and a heart that wants to burst with tears, I soldier on. Try clean up the larva of emotions and cool it down as soon as possible. 

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Not pretty, not fun and certainly not on. So I had a really hard look at myself and having gone to Sheryl Cohen’s parenting workshop recently where she has a section on discipline, I realised that I’m very inconsistent in my punishments. I also realised on the course that one of my underlying beliefs as a mother is that I want them to be happy. I can’t bear the Princes crying tears it makes me feel terrible. However I can’t discipline them and keep them happy at the same time. No wonder they’re busy breaking sinks, flooding hallways and leaving towels everywhere. 

So first to change my underlying belief  and replace it with – ‘My children do not have to like me’ and ‘I am the boss.’ That second one is huge for me. I do have a bossy streak for sure, but in general I’m quite easy going. I was brought up very strictly, strait jacketed at a very early age. I find it difficult to have my own voice. I find it difficult to be strict with my children. I really, really, really don’t like it. However I don’t like feeling like I’m the maid in my own house. So enough is enough and the ‘dragon mother’ is officially here.

So these days if the children don’t listen I say very sweetly, ‘If you choose not to wear pajamas then you’re not coming to Granny’s house.’ I left a flabbergasted Prince crying, when he chose not to wear pajamas. When another lovely Prince was incredibly rude in the car after I asked him about his day, I informed him (angrily I’m afraid) that I will not fetch him from school the next day, the driver will, because I won’t be spoken to that way.’ Needless to say he was very polite on the way to soccer later on.

It’s not easy being consistent with consequences and always being on top of the Princes’ behaviour. And I certainly don’t want to over dragon them. So I am trying to balance the policing and consequences with three things:

1. Move On – Once I’ve given a consequence I try and renew our relationship, and forget the incident. I don’t want to cling to a bad incident or behaviour and I don’t want my Princes to either. 

2. Try Again – I say to them, ‘Tomorrow you’ll have another chance to listen and put on your pajamas when I tell you.’ It’s important that they know I don’t want to punish them, but rather educate them.

3. Have Fun – Tonight I made the Princes sushi, because it was a different fun meal. It created a laughing, chopsticks, soya sauce feeling for the evening, that definitely lightened everyone’s moods.

I certainly don’t get it right all the time, but I feel that I’m at least on the right road to self respect as a mother. It may be a long road. But the earlier I start teaching the Princes that there are consequences for their actions the better. (Another topic is positiver reenforcement. We do have a star chart, that’s a whole other blog.)

Meanwhile I do recommend educational psychologist, Sheryl Cohen’s parenting workshop, you can look up her website – http://www.mumcomequick.com . It has a lot of information about her talks, parenting CD’s and articles. She’s sensible and practical. Well worth a look. 

 

 

It’s no wonder that women were considered witches and were up at witching hour through the ages. It’s the only peaceful time of a day. There are no phone calls, no jobs. It’s so peaceful and quiet, with absolutely no demands from anyone. It’s 5 am and I’ve been up for the last hour. I’ve crept through the house made some lemon tea and written my morning notes. (Read Julia Cameron’s ‘The Artists Way’ for more details about morning notes.) I haven’t been up at this hour wide awake and unable to sleep since my pregnancy. Obviously Baby Prince No. 4 has woken me up on countless of nights, but I always went back to sleep. There’s something different about being the cause of your own sleeplessness.

I must acknowledge, that my sleeplessness points to my restless, unhappy spirit at the moment. It was a rough day yesterday. The Princes finished school early, and I had a lovely time with them until I let them go swimming. I love pool fun. I spent most of my childhood in the pool, so I was surprised when I was so rattled by them in the pool. I was scared for them as they began fighting. Even as I type this I feel myself stop breathing. There is nothing worse than boys fighting in the pool. They had friends over and their friends were lovely. It was the stupid sibling fighting over a dolphin floaty. I now know I should have just marched in and taken away the dolphin, easy to say after the fact. Instead I threatened them with time out from the pool. This didn’t stop them. This frayed my nerves and I began to shout, which for me is the downward spiral into self loathing, which makes me more angry and hence shout more, as they, being children, refuse to listen to me.

At that moment I hated myself. I hated being a mother, and as much as I love my children, wished I wasn’t their mother. It made me realise that I wish I could just have fun with them without all the responsibility. How many other mothers feel this way? I wanted to run away and hand them back to their real mother. I would be happy being their aunt, or friend. I love them passionately but I was dead tired.
Tired of mothering, tired of homework, tired of running around to therapies, swimming, judo, cricket, teacher’s meetings, doctors and the never-ending shopping to fill my fridges and cupboards. And here in the wee hours of the morning listening to the birds chirping as they welcome the first rays of sun that lightens the sky from black to a light early morning grey, I still feel it. It would be far easier to have a full-time job, where I didn’t have to discipline anyone, or worry that anyone was going to kill each other, or beg, pleading on my hands and knees for the Princes to do their homework. I feel there’s something completely awry in my life, and I feel it’s not all me and it’s not all the Princes.

I think we’ve forgotten something in our parenting, in our education system and in our lives in Western society. It’s called the soul. Even though my kids go to a religious Jewish school and I also did, somehow it doesn’t teach about the soul. It’s something that has to come from the home, I know. But you’d kind of expect it to come across in normative Judaism. But it doesn’t. Sure it’s spoken about, and I saw some lovely thoughts written in my Prince’s book about the Neshama – soul. But it doesn’t touch such an ethereal part of ourselves. Something that can’t be seen or explained, that bit of God that we all carry in us, whether we understand it or believe it, we can’t help that part of us. It’s there. When we feed it and connect to it, there is light in our face and our lives, when we don’t a part of us dies.

 

The soul loves creativity, loves engaging with the world, loves adventure. Alot of these ideas I get from Julia Cameron’s books. She’s a creative expert and believes in soul expression. Whenever I feel melancholy and depressed at being a mother, feeling stuck I turn to her books. Even to read just a chapter. It always makes me feel better. Puts my life into perspective. Helps me realise where I”m going wrong. Here’s what she says about the soul and adventure in her book ‘Walking in this World’.

 

‘The soul thrives on adventure. Deprived of adventure, our optimism fails us. Adventure is a nutrient, not a frivolity. When we ignore our need for adventure, we ignore our very nature. Often we do exactly that, calling it “adulthood” or “discipline”. When we are too adult and too disciplined, our impish, childlike innovator yearns to rebel. Too often rebellion takes the form of a stubborn, self-involved crankiness rather than an exuberant and expansive risk. Risks we tell ourselves are too risky. When we avoid risk we court depression.’

I find this validating. It makes me feel better at five in the morning. It helps to know I’m not alone in my feelings. It gives me hope that I can change, have more faith, have more fun, and make my every day schedule more fun and magical with the small things.

We are definitely the pill generation. I think a lot of women are on anti depressants. I think a lot of mothers are unhappy. Not all the time, just sometimes, like when our kids are fighting in the swimming pool. Which is one of the reasons I blog about Mothers Rights. We have a right to create the lives we want, put the joy and creativity we crave into the every day.

I’m not thinking of self-destructive risks or adventure, like leaving small children to go to India and find yourself. (Okay if the thought has crossed my mind, I’m certainly not actioning it.) It’s small risks, doing things differently. It’s small moments that make all the difference.

What I should have focused on in the middle of the night was how wonderful it was that I made slush with the Princes yesterday, rather than yelled at them at the pool. It was an experiment which was fun, yummy and full of laughs. It was healthy. It was  just Appletiser and ice blended together. Last post I wrote about changing perspective. I still have a long way to go…

As I finish writing this the sky is now a pale blue with the soft morning light and full of birds song. I’m an optimist by nature, a morning person who believes that here’s another day, another chance for moments of joy and fulfillment. To try get off the treadmill of everydayness, and find the soul moments of today.

This blog post has been written already. Written and lost into the black hole of cyberspace thanks to yet another Eskom blackout. (This time it wasn’t cable theft. It was because they were butchering the street’s trees.) I loved the post, it was perfect and so I cried. Full, copious two-year old tears. And it made me think of all the times the Prince’s cried because their beautiful Lego creations or block towers were broken by one of their princely siblings and how I told them, ‘Don’t worry it’s terrible it’s broken, but you built it, so you can build it again.’ Looking back with my loss, I shudder at the inadequacy of my response. The lack of empathy, of being in their world of hurt and loss, and just wordlessly holding them as I would have liked to be held that fateful morning. Once held we can dry our tears of loss and get back on the writing seat, the building blocks floor and get on with it.

The experience of loss further challenged exactly what I was writing about in the post that I lost – PERSPECTIVE. In the big scheme of things losing a blog post is really not a big deal. There are other mornings to write, there is tomorrow, even when at times it feels that there is no tomorrow. Even when I’m struggling with sleep deprivation and every moment spent writing feels sacred. But sometimes I don’t remember this, sometimes I do lose my head and go into my drama queen hysterics.

Especially now that school is in full swinging swing swing. Leaving me catching my breath and crawling into bed at the end of the day exhausted. I hate feeling tired and pap, like a cloud hanging over me that I’m only half aware of. It makes me grumpy and moody, it makes me unhappy, which is a terrible thing because I love my life. I have a very blessed life. And with all the terrible, awful, nightmarish happenings of last week I am that much more aware of how I should be bouncing out of bed, singing ‘What a beautiful morning.’ Not blearily grabbing a toothbrush and brushing as if my life depended on it for a full five minutes trying to wake up. I really feel the more I hear the bad, the more I have a duty to feel good, appreciate my life and the lives of everyone I’m blessed to be surrounded by.

So it’s my mission to rev up the energy levels and appreciate what I have and here are my findings on how to do it:

1. Go for a Medical Checkup

This is the first step to dispersing foggy brain thinking. Because having low energy may not be you, it may be a physical imbalance that’s causing the unexplainable heavy lows and mood swings. I’m not one to really share my private medical history, especially not on a public blog (believe it or not I’m an incredibly private, quite shy person), but this is for the public good, hence the public blog.

Last year I had a lump in my throat, which I tried to ignore for a month or so, but couldn’t ignore anymore. With my heart in my shaking toes I went for a sonar. Every horrible thought of what it could be traversed my mind like a poisonous Redback spider bite. So when it ended up being Post Partum thyroiditis I breathed a sigh of relief.

Not that thyroiditis is something to be sniffed at, but as my endocrinologist said,  it’s very treatable. And once an under active thyroid is treated, mood swings, weight gain and general tiredness disappear. Now here’s the thing, one in eight women suffer from thyroid imbalance, wether hypo (under active) or hyper (overactive). I was once advised that every woman should get her hormones checked once a year. It’s good advice, and it could make all the difference to energy levels and mood swings.

2. Increase your Fun Loving Time

One of the things I’ve learnt from ‘The Happiness Project’ by Gretchen Ruben, is that when you give energy to what you love and have fun with, you increase your energy. This is hard to believe, however it really works. This week for example I had an awful night, chasing baby Prince No. 4 all over my bed, as he refused to settle down and sleep. I woke up feeling like I’d spent the night driving a heavy 4×4 with nonstop lifts. My plan that morning was to go to yoga, the last thing I felt like doing. I went, and at the end of the class I felt like someone had given me a full night’s sleep. I had boundless energy for the morning. It doesn’t make sense, but it’s a truism. When you do what you love you increase your energy. So here’s to more writing, more  playing, more baking, and more drawing for me. And taking more fun breaks in between work.

3. Rest

Sleep, sleep, sleep is the only cure for tiredness at the end of the day. Even if you do fun things that invigorate you, the lack of sleep will eventually catch up. This week I did something I don’t usually like to do. I lay down one afternoon for an hour and said, ‘Sorry I’m going to rest now. Please don’ t disturb.’ And the Princes didn’t disturb. (Even though they should have, as Prince No. 1 sliced his finger open with his pocket knife.) Because of that sleep, I was able to deal with power hour without slaying my Princes. I find it impossible to self regulate when I’m tired. I find myself shouting and snapping away like a dragon. So even if it’s a twenty-minute power nap or lying with your feet up. It’s really worth it, for the sake of the children, if not for yourself. (We mothers really have an issue with taking it easy. If there’s five minutes free, we search for that one other job we can squeeze in. Don’t do that, rest.)

4. Change Your Perspective

This is perhaps the biggest game changer for me. I tend to whinge and whine, a habit I haven’t broken since childhood. It’s not something I’m proud of, but when something bothers me I can’t help but moan. That negative energy really sucks my energy levels, as I focus on what’s wrong, and what I resent rather than accepting what is and getting on with it with a positive, light attitude.

I had a big wake up call, when I went out for lunch with a dear friend of mine. I began complaining about a certain thing that bothered me. She turned to me and said, ‘You know you really need to change your perspective.’ She then went on to outline how I was looking at the situation negatively and she painted it in the new, brighter colours of judging favourably. And she was a hundred percent right. You see she had spent the last year battling cancer with exhausting bouts of chemo. She had the right life perspective of what mattered.

I said to her, ‘You’ve changed. You’ve become softer.’ ‘No I haven’t,’ she replied. ‘I’ve become harder.’ ‘No,’ I said, ‘You want harmony and peace. You have no time for crap.’ She agreed. Her eyes which had always been sparkly, were brighter than ever. She had no time for crap. No time for anything that distracted her from life, and it’s beauty and all the simple, good things it had to offer.

Terminal illness does this. Tragedy in a community, like the passing of Sean Lipschitz does this. It’s a reminder to reconfigure our lives in ways that abound in gratitude, joy and light. To use our time on this earth for good. Not stuck in bitter and twisted thoughts (like how I hate having to do homework every night) that distracts us from our bountiful blessings. Everyone should have a friend like mine. Changing perspective is everything.

This is for Paula and Lara – Mother Support Coffee Pals of NOTE!

The first week back at school has been fabulous. Fabulously difficult, getting all the school gear and uniforms together before it started on Wednesday. And fabulously easy because there’s been no homework. No homework means that the Princes play soccer outside with their Dad before supper catching the day’s last sunny moments drenched in boy bonding sweat and tears. (There are way too many fouls.)

We’ve moved school, which has been heart wrenching, but ultimately what Prince No. 1 wanted (he literally wrote a list of all the pros and negatives of each school and handed it to us last year. So we had no choice but to look into the alternative school.) I love small, homely schools, but I’m learning that there’s an advantage to bigger schools as well. The parents and children have been so welcoming, which has made all the difference. We’ve been completely blessed. So anyone out there with new students in their children’s class, be friendly to the newbies, it goes a LONG way.

There are of course other challenges in moving schools, one of them is dealing with a child’s anxiety to fit in. Every child (and adult) deals with anxiety in different ways. Most children just want to fit in, be seen as just as ‘cool’ as their peers. The question is how far do we as parents give in. ‘Everyone has a Blackberry at school.’ ‘Everyone gets tuck shop money at least twice a week and Mr X gets it three times a week.’ ‘Everyone has a Walka.’ (I’ve just learnt what a DSTV Walka is – it’s a mini portable DSTV TV.) ‘Everyone gets chips, sweets and chocolate in their lunchbox.’

Recently I met a child who had every gizmo gadget, unlimited TV/electronic time and a hefty tuck account. This child was not rotten, bad mannered or unhappily climbing off the walls. No this child was well adjusted, polite, kind and very happy. It made me question myself. Why I spend so much time and energy being a fire breathing dragoneer  policing electronic time and sugar levels? Am I going to relax my rules? No. Although I freely admit that I’ve been humbled by this child, and I’m not sure that my parenting methods are that brilliant. (Can anyone ever be sure?)

What I do know is that I don’t want my kids having Blackberrys at school. (Although he has my old Blackberry now that I come to think of it…) I’m finding it hard to parentally navigate through our high tech electronic world. I want my Princes to have a naive childhood of playing ball, reading books and making things out of sticky tape and paper. (Even if it means sticky tape marks on the ceiling, which Prince No. 1 accomplished this week.)

I definitely don’t want them having a DSTV Walka, EVER. And I retain my right to take away their weekend TV time as a consequence for bad behavior. (As we did last Saturday night. We waltzed out on a date and came back to find the three Princes sitting on the floor building card houses that would make any OT proud. It’s amazing what they resort to when they’re bored!)

House of Cards - Boredom breeds creativity!

House of Cards – Boredom breeds creativity!

We told our Princely Prince that we don’t believe in Walkas or sweets in lunch boxes (besides the odd treat). We told our Prince that our job is to do what we think is best for him until he’s 18. I was so proud of my hubbie when he clearly said, ‘We don’t believe in it.’ And that was the end of the Walka/’everyone else has one’ conversation.

Even though Prince No. 1 hates it, I think one day he’ll look back and be so grateful and happy, that he learnt boundaries in life from an early age. That TV isn’t everything, that having what everyone else has doesn’t make you a better person, or like your self more. (By the way we consequently found out that ‘everyone has one’ = a tiny, minuscule percentage of the class.)

Now on to Lunch Box Blues:

I think every mother experiences Lunch Box Blues. Last year the question always was -

What the heck am I going to put in their lunchbox today? Inevitably I’d end up making the generic cheese sandwich, on ‘normal’ bread as the Princes call whole wheat bread (rebelling against my Low GI option), no tomato or butter. This year I am determined to do things differently.

I took my Princely Prince aside and asked him what he’d like in his lunchbox. Of course he said, ‘Chocolates, sweet sours and chips.’ I said, ‘Of course that’s what you’d like. Now what would you like in your lunch box?’ And we got down to business. We wrote a list of snacks, sandwiches and treats that he liked and then we made up a schedule which I am going to stick on the kitchen wall (…as soon as I create a spreadsheet. I’m lying, as soon as I give it to my spread sheet addicted husband to make for me. I never quite got spread sheets at school.)

I loved sitting with my Prince and coming up with his favourite foods. I have buy in and if he complains all I need to do is point to the list. So I recommend making a ‘lunch’ date with your child and making your own list. PLEASE, PLEASE post your lunch box ideas, send pics anything!!!! to give me and other moms more lunch box ideas.

Here’s my list:

Snacks

Fun Yummy Snacks

Fun Yummy Snacks

Popcorn

Chocolate muffin (healthy homemade – am still working on my perfect healthy recipe. My last batch flopped! Will post when it works out :) )

Biltong

Fruit – naartjies, oranges, plums, litchis (Summer fruit makes it so easy)

Woolies Fruit roll ups

Chips

Woolies Rice Crackers – Chutney flavour

Veggies cut up – peppers, carrots, cucumbers in a container with feta cheese cubes and olives

Main Lunch

Monday - Cheese and Tomato sandwiches

Tuesday – Fry’s Vegetarian Sausages (I don’t personally think these are that healthy, but the Princes love them.)

Wednesday – Pizza or Pasta (homemade)

Thursday - Tuck

Friday – Tuna Mayo sandwich

This is a very basic outline. It makes school lunch predictable and it’s easy to fall back on when I draw a mindless blank. To be honest I won’t stick to it all the time, I’m not a stick to schedule all the time person. I do add the odd chocolate and treat in. I am reaching the conclusion that if a child sees a healthy home with balanced meals, chips and cake at school won’t kill them.

QUESTION – Are we spoiling our children investing so much time an energy into their lunch boxes? I remember getting the same Vegemite sandwich (stop saying ewwww. I like Vegemite.) at school every day, and a packet of chips, a piece of yummy home made marble cake, plus an apple. I never, ever touched the apple, gave away the cake and shared the chips. The most memorable lunch I ever had was a vegemite sandwich with jam. Inedible but funny. I never got to choose my lunch, let alone complain about it. So why do I make such a fuss for my Princes?

The reason is because I learnt the hard way that the Princes were more than unimpressed by their limited gastronomic lunch box choices, they felt unloved. It may just be guys, but with my hubbie and Princes, the way to their hearts is seriously through their stomachs. (With me it’s with chocolate, anything exotic, dark and smelling of a truffle, with a cappuccino.) Food = Mommy’s Love. And that’s why I do take their lunches  seriously. (New year’s resolution…) And it works. I made Prince No. 3 Kiri cheese crackers the other day. (Kiri cheese being an imported cheese treat in my house, that I know he sincerely loves.) He saw it and wrapped his sweet five year old arms around me and said emphatically, ‘I love you.’

Love makes the world go round doesn’t it? I’m going to keep buying Kiri cheese.

Snack notes are a great way to give that extra bit of lunchbox love. New Years Resolution - more notes, even if it's just a smiley face on a sandwich packet.

Snack notes are a great way to give that extra bit of lunchbox love. New Years Resolution – more notes, even if it’s just a smiley face on a sandwich packet.

It’s funny but in my house there are four Princes and a Drama Queen, as my hubbie (it sounds to odd to call him the king) says. And he’s right. It’s the beginning of the new year. There’s nothing as positive and fresh as a new beginning. Like waking up at 6:30am to the trilling birds and the morning fresh chill which is so welcome after our heat wave yesterday. It gives me new energy. And what do I do with all this new energy? I go into over drive and make long lists of things to do, and then go into panic mode as I ‘have’ so much to do, and then I can’t sleep, because I can’t relax and the Drama Queen is out in full force with the best of the Princes whining, ‘I can’t sleep’ and ‘leave me alone’.

I don’t know how many mom’s out there experience the same thing. I find it hard to balance all the practical duties, like dentist, school shoes, school supplies, school book coverings, the garden, de-cluttering a very messy play room, bedrooms etc. etc. And then I feel bad, because I know these are good problems to have. Living in Africa, I know it’s an absolute privilege to worry about ‘stuff’ and to be able to afford to buy all the never-ending school things. (Prince No. 1 and No. 2 actually laughed at me at the till as we bagged loads and loads of school supplies, they said, ‘Can you imagine what you’re going to do when Prince No. 3 is also at school.’)

I’m anxious about my time. I don’t like this feeling of my chest being pressed down by iron tongs. No one does. And I bet a lot of people’s resolutions this new year is to take it easier, stress less and enjoy more. How do I do that?

I’ve come up with a bit of a games plan, which I’ve been actioning for the last two weeks. My progress so far has been the proverbial, two steps forward one step back.

MY OWN SPACE

With lack of my own time comes lack of space. My own sacred space. As I type this I have Prince No. 4 (adorably) crawling himself into a corner, and Prince No. 1 is busy getting his school stuff together on the floor. (Does anyone remember how much fun it was to get all that sparkling, brand new school supplies ready for school and actually look forward to school.)  I could rent a space, which is a fabulous idea and works well for many working women I know. They get to be out and about and have quiet time and space to do their work. But it wouldn’t work for me at this stage. Not with baby cakes 4, to take care of.

But have no fear, I won’t keep complaining, this is the year where I action my dreams so I’ve designed my own corner of the house which is MINE.

My Beautiful Space

My Beautiful Space

It’s only a table and chair. (Although I splurged, so it’s the perfect most beautiful table and chair). It’s a completely neat and clean table with nothing on it. I’ve moved my dear hubbie’s unsightly treadmill from the bay window and now I face out onto our little kitchen courtyard where there’s a quaint row of potato bushes. (It sounds Jane Austenish doesn’t it.) It’s a lovely feeling to sit in my space. So lovely that I caught my dear hubbie sitting in it last night. But I forgave him, because it’s probably the only clutter free surface in our whole house.

I’m loving my own space. I’m loving the self respect and identity that comes with it. It’s so important to have  something that’s yours. It’s important for everyone in the family. I once read (or heard) Dr – Rabbi Twerski, who said that every child should have their own space, even if it’s a cupboard that they can lock, which no one else is allowed to touch. It makes sense, so that every one has a sense of their own identity.

So I’m typing from a clean space.

DIVIDE LIST

I’ve divided my fire ladder long list and do a bit each day, just like the experts recommend.

BE KIND TO SELF – HAVE FUN

And most of all I’m trying to be kind to myself. It’s okay if I don’t manage everything. And I’m making sure that on my list are to do the things I love and find relaxing. Like making the perfect, healthy, yummy muesli recipe. (So far this morning I burnt my second batch. The first batch I made last week, where I learnt you can’t roast goji berries, they burn incredibly fast. When I’ve perfected it I will be sure to post it.)

Third Batch Just Right!

Third Batch Just Right!

Life shouldn’t be one long arduous list. It should be a bit exciting, fun and adventurous. Even if it’s just in the kitchen for now.

 

 

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