Archives for the month of: January, 2011

Maybe I shouldn’t write these blogs at the end of the day. When my thoughts are a mess. But then again would it be honest to only write when I’m sparkly and fresh and so positive making all exhausted moms out there feel they’re all alone??? And my main message is none of us are alone in what we experience. It’s universal but uncommunicated.

So here I go…

I am freshly spick and span clean. Having soaked in a hot tub full of stress release oils. I lay with my feet up they were so tired and sore. I couldn’t have stood in a shower let alone lie them down in the bath. These days I’m waking up with sore feet. I’m serious. So freshly out of the bath I’m all dolled up in my brightest Johnny Was dress and heaps of blush to make my now greying skin pucker up and pretend it’s in its last year of 20’s youthful flush, ready to go see a movie. It’s been one of those days.

You see I’m trying not to buy into the ‘mother’ reality and go to bed at 8pm. (Which is what I really feel like doing after a day of at least 4 hours driving, maybe even more. And again I’m dead serious.) So I’m experimenting. After a grueling mommy day yesterday I went out for supper and tried to erase the premature worry lines from my forehead. (All afterglow of my 9 day detox is gone – I’m eating on the run again and my stress levels are…well let’s just say I don’t want to do a blood test.) And the thing is I don’t want to be that way – ie. all stressed out.

Get a driver, an auper….yes true but in my mind A. This driving craziness is not permanent I’m just settling into a schedule and because I chose to take the kids to an energy massage this afternoon in Lonehill well that’s kinda my choice (in other words my fault for all the extra work and driving.) B. I want to be there for the kids. I want them to have their Mummy pick them up.

Am I deluded??? Maybe, very possibly. I did my ‘mother’ beliefs and I have a lot of unhealthy ones. And maybe the truth is with all the shlepping what’s getting me really down is no nurturing bosom to turn to and lay my head on and cry to. (Yes we pay a therapist for that, but sometimes I wish we didn’t have to.) Anyone maternal for me is hours of jet lag away. And I think me and my friends whilst we do nurture each other we’re just as exhausted and can only commiserate, and maybe even create more of a negative cycle of ‘this is the way things are’.

Mothers – We’re unappreciated jugglers. Unappreciated acrobats. We’d be better off running a Mommy circus at least we’d get some attention even if we were booed for dropping the balls. Meanwhile a lot of us struggle silently. Those with new babies and who have PND or just mild depression. Those of us who’s kids are grown up but cheeky as hell. And then those of us with the littlies and all the physical and emotional work involved.

And yes we forget ourselves whilst we juggle. We become clowns with red weeping noses instead of sophisticated, elegant women that we dreamed of becoming. (Or am I the only one?)

Yes there are those of us who keep it together at least at the surface. Manage to go to gym, starve themselves, hire aupers and look like models. The minority I’d like to think and another part of me thinks ‘all on prozac’. Or is that jealousy??? (None of us wants to face that shadow side of jealousy. It’s hard to even admit it on this blog.)

And yes things aren’t that bad – I know that I’m personally very blessed and it’s that blessing that I want to bask in every day of my life. So why aren’t I? And why am I feeling so down on myself for not radiating my positive affirmations?

I think there is a choice. To complain, and complain and complain. And yes I’ve indulged in a lot of that. Then there’s the second choice to complain – so that you recognise what’s wrong and then go and do something about it.

So tonight I’m going to a movie. I’m committing to down size and have at least two freeish afternoons a week. My lift schemes are all done. I’m into my second proper scheduled week and I’m still walking. I even managed yoga twice a week last week. So I’m doing well. I really am. And I’m going to organise that nurturing I need somehow. Emailing my cousin more consistently in LA is definitely one way.

And I did what I do when I’m at the end of my tether and am full of prayer with no answers to the way I feel. I took a card from my Ask and it’s Given Abraham cards (please note these are just for inspiration. I don’t take it very seriously in terms of pegging my life on it.) It said exactly what I needed to hear and maybe what some of you also need:

Even your babies are offering vibrations that the Universe is matching. And like you, your little ones are influenced by the vibrations of those who surround them, but nevertheless, they are creating their own reality. And like you, long before their physical birth, they set into motion this life experience they are now living.’

So in other words our children are souls on their life journey as are we. They chose where they are as do we. We can’t really make or break them. We can do our best as mothers and still have our own selves. (Something a lot of our mothers or societies maybe weren’t in touch with.) So let’s keep choosing and creating new, positive, joyous stories for ourselves to live, and not repeat unexamined patterns of mothering, which are more often than not fantasy.

And a recipe – an easy Macaroni and Cheese recipe that’s seriously yummy!!! I’m putting it on because a recipe is long overdue and because since I served it at Prince No. 3’s birthday party at least three people have asked for the recipe.

Macaroni and Cheese

Ingredients

2 Cups Macaroni

1 Tablespoon Salt

Olive Oil

2 Tins Tomato & Onion Mix (comes in a can)

Soya Sauce

A Drop Worstere (how do you spell) Sauce

1 Green Pepper

1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar

1 Onion Cube

Garlic Salt

Onion Salt

1 Tablespoon Butter

1-2 Tablespoon Flour

1 Cup Milk

Cheese

Method

1. Boil 2 Cups of Macaroni in boiling water + 1 Tablespoon Salt + Olive Oil until ready. Drain.

2. Fry chopped Green Pepper in a little butter add 2 tins of Tomato and Onion Mix, Soya Sauce/Woerster Sauce, 1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar, pinch of Garlic Salt, 1 Onion disolved in a little water to make a paste.

3. Make white sauce.

Mix 1 Tablespoon butter + 1-2 Tablespoons Flour, add 1 Cup Milk and stir until thick. Add 2 Tablespoons grated Cheese, season with Garlic Salt and Onion Salt.

4. Baking dish – Put in Layers – 1 Layer Macaroni, then Tomato Sauce, then White Sauce then Grated Cheese.

5. Bake at 180C for 45 minutes.

 

 

The reality is that being a mom is work – any one who’s a mom would agree with that. And no we don’t have to convince the rest of the world although I so would like to sometimes. I am lying on a couch with my feet up whilst my child is in his extra mural. I’ve planned my son’s party this Sunday – on paper at least and I’m just thinking about the one and a half hours I’ve just spent on the road driving.

No I’m not kidding. From 1215 to 2pm I’ve been driving straight. (ACH an hour and forty-five minutes.) And I’m exhausted and feeling a bit sorry for myself. I know I shouldn’t. Firstly because I’m so lucky that I’m in a lift scheme that gives me Tuesday and Thursday off. Secondly because this is life, you have to do the dog work sometimes.

But this brings me to the topic of being a mom and dog work. Is being a mom dog work? It shouldn’t be. It’s not what I signed up for. I don’t think any mother signs up for dog work and no wife either. We sign up for romance, for love, for cuddly sweet creatures who sleep when we put them to sleep. We don’t get that (the sleeping that is, we must discuss the romance another blog), what we get is real little people to bring up. Little people who need to be clothed, fed and more than that socialised, educated and disciplined.

So we’re sitting (at least I am) in the car on long, long drives to school (apparently in London the drive is a standard forty minutes to school for some people – how do they survive it?) and thinking about all that has to be done. For some of us our hearts are racing as we review all the different chores, things we need to keep up with. That’s me for sure. This year however I’m trying something new. It’s called positive affirmations that I’m learning from a CD by Louise Hay called ‘You Can Heal Your Life Affirmation Kit’. (Stop rolling your eyes. I know this is New Age stuff, but I happen to believe in it because it makes sense. Common sense even. Read on and tell me what you think.)

One of the things I’ve learnt is that we create our world with our thoughts and words. Now we all know this. I know it. We know that God created the world with words and words have a lot of power. Hearing it on this CD drove the point home though. It really emphasises how we create our energy space, our lives with the positive or negative thoughts we have.

Now I’m quite a positive person. But I’m toxic. Not an easy thing to admit. But the more and more I monitor my thoughts the more I see the negative, defeatist thinking that comes with it. Like ‘Mom’s do the dog work.’ Obviously if I think that way I will be doing the dog work. I won’t be delegating, asking for help or doing things I like, because by definition I as a mom should be doing the dog work. Not God forbid enjoying myself, and certainly not sitting with my feet up. (I wonder what the therapist will say when she sees me. ‘Ahum didn’t your mother teach you no feet on the couch?’)

So homework for all mothers everywhere this 2011 – examine your beliefs about being a mother. What do you believe you should be as a mother? How many of these thoughts are positive and build you, bring joy to you and those around you? How many of these beliefs are toxic and are creating wrinkles on your face as we speak??

I wrote my beliefs out and I was surprised at how many damaging unconscious beliefs I had. Amongst them ‘A good mother is ugly’, ‘A good mother puts her kids needs first (and that’s why she’s ugly)’, ‘A good mother is always smiling’.

True or False?

I’d say false, false, false!!! And I refuse to believe these snakes in my head any more. So I’m going to replace them with new beliefs (I know a lot of you already know this jingo from More to Life etc. etc. but humour me.) So instead some healthy thoughts, ‘A good mother is beautiful or at least takes care of herself (hopefully that also translates into feels good about herself)’, ‘A good mother expresses when she’s happy and sad and angry and teaches her children the whole spectrum of human emotions and how to deal with them’, ‘A good mother puts her needs first so she is present for her family.’

Much better, much more powerful and I would argue much healthier.

(Okay I know that a ‘good mother’ is out of style and it’s all about ‘good enough’ mothering. But we can define our own good, our own light, our own way, can’t we?!)

I think it can be a bit scary to sit with a piece of paper and examine your beliefs about mothering. We all carry so much. It’s worth a look though and doesn’t take longer than a cup of coffee. So grab a pen, a coffee or juice if you’re on detox like me (still! I know I’m trying to make a lifestyle change here) and start the journey.

 

As I write this I laugh at the irony of my topic. The irony being that as soon as I typed this heading I thought to myself – what if I’ve already done this topic? What if it’s no good? That my friends is perfectionism. It’s a nasty parasite that lives in me at in the guise of a helpful friend. But it’s not really helpful it’s a fiendish friend who tells me I could do things better. I could be better. In other words it’s a friend who hangs around my neck like a noose. Because ‘being better’ is another way of saying you’ll never be good enough.

I may sound dramatic but perfectionism is a real problem and it’s infested my parenting. What made me think about that. Well I was just flipping through my diary and I saw all the different lift schemes I needed to arrange (HEAPS anyone willing to help?!?!) and my mind was running through the kids and I just felt like such a failure. Like I needed to somehow live up to this fantasy of Super Mom, who does all the lifts with a smile and manages to be in two places at the same time. (It would make a cool comic book series. Anyone up for the idea.)

It’s more than the lifts though – it’s the school lunches where if my 7-year-old doesn’t like the food, I tell him ‘Too bad.’ (That’s the good, strict mom) but then I feel guilty. So I make a special effort to figure out what to make for him.

None of this by itself is good or bad. It’s great to make nice lunches and make an effort for my kids. BUT and it is a big BUT it’s unhealthy to feel not good enough no matter what you do. For what is enough? What defines enough? And who defines what a good mother is? (Don’t leave the definition to you children you’ll never win. Unless your kids are like Prince No. 2, whom I overheard saying earnestly to Prince No. 1, ‘She’s the goodest mummy.’)

We can’t leave it to society to define us. They just want us looking like skinny models with motherly smiles, and a brief case in hand. We can’t leave it to those around us because they just want more. Whatever we give, more is always better. No it’s up to us to set our own definition, our own boundaries, and this isn’t just for moms. It’s especially for moms.

It helps to feed ourselves. Yes a repetitive theme in this blog, but one I’m only slowly getting to understand. I get it intellectually as I’m sure everyone does, but to feel that real deserving, worthy feeling in my heart and in the deep recesses of my bones (yes the marrow). That takes lots of repetition.

So my nurturing self is telling me now that it’s time for bed. And so it is especially since the 6 am alarm tolls for the first day of school for Prince No. 2. (You get a lot of first days of schools with the more kids you have. And my cousie is right the first day of school is exciting and fun! Especially when you like the teachers. Which I really do. I almost, almost wished I was back at school myself when I saw my son’s grade 2 teachers. [Yes a very tenuous almost])

So that’s it. I am going to post a delicious Patrick Holford soup recipe. Really, really yummy and healthy. Part of my delicious health kick which I think I’m eating more on than I usually do. I’ll do another blog on food deprivation, especially coffee deprivation.  And yes I think a lot more can be said for the right not to be a perfect mum. So next time…

The last day of holiday is officially tomorrow. For me at least. All of you whose kids don’t start school until Wednesday, enjoy. And all of you whose kids aren’t in proper school yet – doubly enjoy!!! The holidays were so wonderful – no schedule – no lifts – no homework.

Over the holidays I began thinking. It’s all about to start again, the mommy treadmill, which is almost as bad as the corporate rat race with the schedule, the lifts, the homework. I felt my heart rate increase and my stomach clench. ‘This is no good,’ a wise voice in my head said. ‘Yes,’ I nodded. ‘What can change?’

And that’s the thing nothings going to change this year except MOI. It’s up to me to either accept the situation of a hectic running around school year or keep fighting it which is seriously no good for my liver.

So cheers to acceptance!!! I’m going to accept the year. Accept having to wrap about 30 books in paper and plastic. And because I’ve accepted it I’m going to enlist as much help as I can. Starting with all those school note books. I got all the help in the world being in South Africa. The maid, the gardener and even the guard helped sticky tape the covers on. (My maid enlisted the gardener and the guard – you see even she’s good at delegating! Don’t ask how the books look. Don’t tell the teachers.)

So this year is going to be all about the Serenity Prayer:

God give me the serenity I need to Accept the things I can not change. The Courage to change the things I can and the Wisdom to know the difference.

I think us mums should have this prayer tattooed to the back of our hands so we can gaze at it whilst we’re driving. Or better yet tattooed to our kids foreheads. We’d definitely not forget it then. (Don’t freak out. We can get semi permanent ones that last a couple of months.)

I remember learning that prayer when I was 18 from a kinesiologist in Sydney. I didn’t understand the full meaning of it then. I’m growing wiser with my age what can I say. Wiser with children as well. They force us to grow, even to heal. To learn acceptance is definitely one of life’s most profound lessons. So I’m going to do it this year. Right now even.

As for my liver I’m preparing it with a 9 day Liver Detox by Patrick Holford. Usually I’m not a Holford anything but I picked up my mother in law’s book whilst on holiday and he makes it sound so easy. I’m on day 2, and so far so good, except for tonight’s supper freak out as I ate a whole clove of garlic smothered in olive oil. (No that’s not the only thing I ate. But I was feeling a bit too healthy for my own good. Which is not a good sign mental health wise…)

Anyway it’s good to be back to schedule in some ways. Viva la blogging and viva la mornings to myself back. And until the next holidays… enjoy the pic below. I’m getting there with the photos. Another new year’s resolution which I’m told are now out of date. Oh well!