Archives for category: Mothering

Yes I would consider going away with your hubbie (or yourself although this blog isn’t about that) for a weekend (or  a week) as a right. And not just for the obvious reasons of needing a well deserved break. (Although obviously that is an important reason.)

I remember being warned by a psychologist that going away is not good for relationships because high expectations are built and then shattered, which can be damaging.

This weekend David and I hightailed to Cape Town for the weekend with great expectations. He had work there on Monday and Tuesday so it was a perfect opportunity for our weekend away. The first of this year together. Alone and away from our three little, sweet Princes. We stayed at the lovely Vineyard hotel in Claremont. (Very recommended – if you’re going to be in Cape Town this Summer on holiday you need to go see it, even if it’s just for a cup of tea.) We were all set for a lovely, romantic weekend away.

And then we had a fight. But don’t worry it wasn’t a hands and fist fight. It wasn’t a yelling/shouting match. It was an argument. (I told my cousin we had a fight and I think she was a bit shocked. Don’t be shocked. Even if it was a big fight. Fighting with your spouse is normal as long as it’s not abusive. Well at least I think so.) What our argument was about was trivial. Something to do with Blackberrys. I always forget the reason. I only remember the feeling. It never feels good. It feels like a cold hand has snatched away my heart and replaced it with a hard, grey stone.

And stuff came out. Like the stuff in a shower that gathers until it blocks and you need to buy that acid drain removal stuff to clear it all away. That stuff isn’t noticed until you sit still together for a prolonged period like on date night (please tell me you’re all having regular date nights) or a weekend away. And then it’s there, triggered by the smallest thing like a husband looking up the sports results on the phone.

In Imago therapy it’s called toothpaste issues. When you look at a small issue such as it bothering the hell out of you that your other half doesn’t put the toothpaste cap on the toothpaste (yes it’s a classic). These small issues when you begin digging is about a lot more than just toothpaste. They’re linked to core issues such as ‘I’m always the one who has to put the phone away not him’ that makes me ‘less important’ etc. etc. etc. and you can see where that led me that evening.

Don’t worry. We kissed and made up the next morning. We after 9 years of marriage had a good, hard look at some of the issues (personal and relationship wise) that were coming up. They weren’t pretty. It never is. And there’s a lot of unknown. In ourselves, each other, the future. That’s why marriage is a commitment I imagine. It keeps us there to work on it as long as both partners are willing, loving and able.

And that dear blog readers is the reason why you need to go away for a weekend and have a break. Even if you fight. Even if your expectations of a romantic, loving getaway are shattered. Because it gives a chance for all the stuff to come out. Away from the kids you suddenly need to face your relationship and see where it is.

Marriage is a dance. It can be a messy, fast dance (especially in this century of Blackberrys) and when you slow down you notice your bruises. That’s when it’s important to give each other a massage. I mean this literally, emotionally, spiritually by. Try it, get away and see.

The rest of our weekend although marred was wonderful!

I have a dilemma when I write these blogs. There are so many topics to write about. It’s hard to choose and as I go about my day I begin writing blogs in my head. About husbands and meeting them for business lunches, about scheduling in structured times with kids, about the artist in all of us (yes even those who can’t draw) etc. etc. etc. It’s so hard to focus. But focus I will, and the biggest lesson of all I’m learning is it’s okay not to be perfect.

This message has been coming at me all year and today my very good, wise friend confirmed it verbally for me over our breakfast. (All of you who don’t have a sisterhood yet – set it up – because hopefully your sisterhood is wise and will know you and say those wise things that really need to be said because they love you.)

So it’s okay if these blogs aren’t perfect. It’s okay if I’m not loving being with my kids 24 hours a day and want to go out for a coffee, it’s okay that my skin breaks out a bit and it’s okay that sometimes I feel things aren’t okay. It takes a lot of pressure off doesn’t it. A sigh of relief. For after all what is perfect?

Is perfection what we see in magazines? Is it on TV? Is it in the books we read? Does it exist in large corporates? Hollywood perhaps?

I hope you’re shaking your head, because I certainly am. Perfection of what should be is a fantasy. Look at your child – especially when sleeping – and that is perfection. Now I dare you to look in the mirror with all your stretch marks and all. (Those of you lucky enough not to have stretch marks please rejoice again at your blessing. I do consider mine silver medals of birth.) Look at yourself. Look and look and look. And yes I’m talking about doing it without clothes on. Look and look and look. Are you thinking, ‘I’m not a size 8 or 10’ or measuring the flab, the sagging, the out of proportion tummy flab? It’s natural especially because are minds are looking back at models that we see in mags and TV. We see them as beautiful, perfect. But us?

Look again, and see perfection. Look again and see limbs that walk, feet that can run after your toddler. Lovely breasts and arms that enfold your babies, hug your child. The beauty is more than within, the beauty is. The perfection is. Just in being we are all perfect.

Okay stop shaking your heads at my airy fairyness. It’s not airy fairy it’s true and I’m learning it myself. As soon as that critical voice comes in. That nasty critical voice that says I’m not good enough, am too fat, too flabby, too spotty…I now retort back with my nurturing voice (whoever has not looked into transactional analysis should – it’s very powerful) ‘I’m made in the image of God’ and as I smile it’s true. And the more I say it the truer it feels. Because we are not talking about something intellectual here, we’re talking about the way we see ourselves in every cell of our body.

And there is perfection there. As we see it in our children so are we. And it follows that in our being and doing. In our striving we are perfect. So yes I don’t spend every minute with my kids, but when I do I’m trying to breathe, be my whole self there, and in that lies a perfect moment.

And just to add the scary thing about striving for fantastical ‘perfection’ is that because it’s virtually impossible we simply shrug our shoulders and give up. But that really is another blog.

Below is a Humus Recipe that I learnt from Talya Goldgraber’s cooking course which I did go to and thoroughly enjoyed. It was yummy, very informative and I’ll be honest a bit freaky how unhealthy some of our foods are. So below I’m putting a health tip and the Humus recipe that I’m proud to say I made last night. (Proud because I haven’t been cooking much at all since we’ve moved into my mother in law’s house whilst we renovating. Yes another blog.) It’s an example of what perfect is – it takes attention and presence to get the taste and consistency right. You don’t just throw in the ingredients according to the instructions because there are no clear measurements. Now don’t run away try it. The kids will love it and it’s really healthy for the whole family. A ‘perfect’ dish I think.

Yes!!! Finally put a photo of a Recipe! Healthy HUMUS!

Healthy HUMUS!

Hummus

Ingredients

(Please note there are no exact measurements. It’s add as you taste and according to the quantity of chickpeas.)

Chickpeas

Coriander seeds

All Spice

4 Bay Leaves

Peppercorns

2-4 Cardamom pods(Good digestive aid)

1-2 Onion

1-3 cloves Garlic (or as strong as you want it. Gives the Hummus real taste.)

1/4 cup of Lemon Juice (Freshly squeezed lemons is healthier)

1/4 cup of Tehina or Water

Water

Method

  1. Soak the chickpeas overnight.
  2. Simmer (don’t boil) chickpeas on stove in water with All Spice, Bay Leaves, Cardamom pods and Onion for 2 hours. (When I made this I didn’t have All Spice, Coriander seeds or Bayleaves and my Hummus tasted fine. They do add nutrition so it’s worth adding.)
  3. Skim the scum (or whatever you call the white fluff on top) off like you would with soup.
  4. Drain Chickpeas and take out Onion and all the seeds.
  5. Crush Garlic with a teaspoon of salt in a Magimix (food processor)
  6. Add Chickpeas, Lemon Juice, Tehina or Water and mix until right consistency. You may have to add more water to make it smoother. Play with it.
  7. TASTE – add lemon juice, garlic or salt if needed.

Enjoy with cut veggies, crackers (Finncrisps and Ryvita are the healthy variety) and with whatever you fancy. Lasts up to a week in the fridge.

 

Ooohh even writing ‘The Right to be Decadent’ makes me feel light-headed and anxious. But that’s what I’ve been today. Decadent. I’ve gone for an eye test to check if my eyes are okay for laser surgery (they are) it took most of the morning and meant that I couldn’t drive the whole afternoon. So no lift scheme, and my dear, sweet mother in law (yes such a mother in law does exist) had to drive me to pick up Prince No. 1 and do errands. (A mother who doesn’t drive is like an octopus without limbs. I think you’re disqualified actually. Just kidding.)

But driving is another topic. We’re talking decadence, we’re talking self-indulgence, we’re talking having your husband pick you up from Northcliff and take you out for lunch, as mine did today, as totally, obscenely decadent. And how does it feel?

On one hand it feels wonderful – like having blurry eyes for a day (just half a day no more than that am I willing to put up with) is  a blessing in disguise.

On the other hand and this is an important point. When I am decadent – you know, having a pedicure, getting my hair done, reading a book in the middle of the day. Going for coffee and not writing etc, etc. I feel guilty. GUILTY like a black masked ghost that overcomes me, takes me over no matter how much I say to myself, ‘But I deserve it.’

The saddest thing of all is that when I feel guilty and I’m sure it’s this way with everyone – the pleasure is discounted. It’s a drag to go for a coffee with a friend. The guilt makes what is wonderful, heavy. It tells us off with a ‘should of’ and all sorts of mind talk that destroys us. Like,

‘So you’re leaving your children to go to yoga. What kind of mother are you? They’re neglected.’

‘But I want to go,’ you whine back.

‘Go then,’ our inner critic says. ‘But you’re not a good mother.’

‘Fine I’m not a good mother, but I’m burnt out and need to go.’

And so you go. Stomping off instead of floating.

How much better would it feel without that conversation. How much more would we enjoy our ‘time off’. I would. And the saddest thing is that I think we want those guilty conversations to take place, we like the shadow.

Why? Because in a funny way we feel better. Yes we’re taking time out but look I’m not going to enjoy it to my fullest so I’m not so bad. I feel guilty, so I’m a good mother.

This all can happen quite subconsciously. And I know it happens with me. Like when I’ve had a whole morning to myself. A morning of having my nails done, coffeeing and having a lovely time. Why then when I come back to my kids within the first hour I feel like I’m going mad. I feel stuck and exhausted. Why, why, why? I’ve just had a beautiful morning to myself?

I think it’s because of that black shadow of guilt that hangs around my neck like a noose. I’ve done lovely things but haven’t really allowed myself to be fully present.

Yes it’s subtle, yes it’s not normal. (But oh for that major philosophical question – are any of us normal?)  But it happens.

So what to do? Well firstly we mothers need to let go of the guilt. We need to tell ourselves, ‘Go and enjoy yourself darling’. Just like the idealic, fantasy mother that most of us don’t have would say. (Because heavens no one else will say it to us. Sad but true.)

So here’s what I’m going to do. When I’m doing something lovely for myself – do it and savour it for the blessed time it is. When I’m doing something for my kids and being the usual, giving, loving (well I try) mother – do it fully. Like now I’m meant to be giving the 2 Princes a bath (the 2 year old vandaliser is sleeping because he’s a bit sick. It does make my job a bit easier with bathing. The fact is 2 is easier than 3.) So I’m going to go and leave this lovely white page of possibility and go bath them, be with them and not dream of my next quiet moment to myself. (Although they’ve already bathed themselves and are out of the bath. Oops! As I said the advantage of having a sleeping 2-year-old at bath time.)

Today was a mad, mad day. One of those heart beating, thumping days. I seriously thought by the afternoon that my heart was going to jump out of my chest from the sheer stress of it all. And even as I type this I feel like some of it coming back. Because yes I’ve managed to finally calm down at the end of a long, long day with a nice cup of chamomile tea and a piece of cote d’or dark chocolate (the nice rectangle ones wrapped in goldy paper).

 

Well to be honest when I first sat down with my hot cuppa my heart was still beating. I was ready to strangle my oldest who was refusing to go to sleep (we’re renovating and living at our in-laws so the princes are all unsettled) and was causing an almighty ruckus. And as I sat with that heavy, stressed out, worn out feeling (I also hadn’t slept the night before as my 2 ½ year old had a high fever and kept waking up and crying hysterically that there were lions who were going to eat him up) I thought, ‘This isn’t life, this isn’t the way I’m meant to be feeling or handling my life. I shouldn’t be at my wits end because of 2 articles due and a hectic mothering life to live as well. This is my choice.’

 

And the ‘aha’ bells went off somewhere in my tired body and all of a sudden I felt as if I’d had a massage. I kid you not. (That’s the only reason I’m writing here. I was way too stressed to write a blog this evening even though I really wanted to. But all that changed.)

 

What helped with this magical transformation was going for a walk with my friend Jacqui, who’s also a life coach, this afternoon whilst my soccer playing Prince was at his practice. I told her about how I totally lost it with him on the way to soccer as he whined about how far we were from soccer practice when we were only 100 meters (or even less) away. ‘You’re so negative,’ I ranted at him. ‘I want to hear one positive thing from you.’ La lee la lee la – I went. Because obviously I didn’t imbue any lesson of positivity or gratitude in him as I raved loony binnish.

 

‘We all do it,’ Jacqui coached me (she’s a natural she can’t help it) ‘Instead of recognising the facts of the moment (i.e. he is frustrated that he’s a bit late and feels he’s far away from the soccer pitch), we project our mind talk onto our children.’ Such as, ‘He’s so negative, he’ll always be negative, he’s going to get nowhere in life by being so negative. I’ve definitely failed as a parent…..’ You get the idea I’m sure.

 

We project our limiting beliefs on all facets of our life. So I have limiting beliefs about myself writing articles. In that moment with my cup of tea I realised that those beliefs are just that, beliefs. They’re not real unless I feed into them with my overactive imagination and make them the stressful reality that causes my blood flow to go into rollercoaster overdrive. So I move into what is. ‘What is’. I’m sure this isn’t a new concept for most of you. But we need to be reminded of it again, and again, and again as we constantly live in our minds, with its old patterns rooted in past limiting experiences.

 

There’s a lot more to be said on this topic and a lot more to learn. I felt a bit down at myself today for being so stressed when I knew I shouldn’t. But now I realise that that’s part of the 10 days of repentance – actualising in every day life how we want to live and be and in order to do that we need off days so that we can move into the light. So if I can keep this massaged feeling all day tomorrow I’ve achieved some sort of Teshuva. It’s an if – okay maybe a big if – but whatever the case I will report back and hope I manage for my poor heart’s sake.

 

By the by I haven’t forgotten the choc cake recipe. I’ve got it. It’s actually a banana choc chip recipe and the ingredients are outlandish. My email has bogged out so I’m not able to retrieve it as my friend Naami so kindly sent it right away. I will post it next blog post so you can all have healthy, very yummy dessert for next week’s feasting.

Just as I decide to write a blog about mothering I read in Eckhart Tolle’s ‘A New Earth’ that we as evolved human beings are meant to move beyond our roles and into being. Uh oh where does that leave me? Other people can blog about yachting or chocolate making (is there really a chocolate making one – I want to read it). But at the age of 29 with three boys, ages 6, 4 and 2, the thing I’ve put well over 10,000 hours into is being a good, old mum. Now after reading Eckhart Tolle the other night when I was atizz looking for inspiration for my mummy life (you know when you open a favourite book to any page for guidance) I am now questioning my identity as a mother.

Tolle writes (pages 90 – 100),

What really matters is not what function you fulfill in this world, but whether you identify with your function to such an extent that it takes you over and becomes a role that you play.

But that’s me. I’m so over identified with being a mum that I’m here writing a blog about it. If I were to describe my day it would be all about the children. Sleeping with a four year old’s feet in my face. Being chased on the street by a close friend, very sweet but misguided who was shouting at my 6 year old son for taking 30 helium balloons from a birthday party. My 2 ½ year old causing havoc at the Norwood police station trying to climb over the counter and asking every police man he saw, ‘What you doing?’ whilst I was opening a case for my lost cell phone. And that was just yesterday.

Everywhere I go I’m a mother with a kid, and when I’m not with my sweet boys I’m a guilty mother doing her own thing.

Tolle says,

When you play roles, you are unconscious. When you catch yourself playing a role, that recognition creates a space between you and the role. It is the beginning of freedom from the role. When you are completely identified with a role, you confuse a pattern of behavior with who you are, and you take yourself very seriously.’

Oops! I’m clearly unconscious.

Those pre-established roles may give you a somewhat comforting sense of identity, but ultimately, you lose yourself in them.’

Double oops! But at least it’s not only me. This loss of self according to Tolle is common in hierarchical organisations such as the military, the church, government and large companies. Furthermore there are ‘social archetypes’ which he describes. One of which is the ‘middle class housewife (not as prevalent as it used to be, but still widespread…)

Being a housewife spreads to me. I can’t believe I fit into that social archetype – but– deep gulp – I do.

Here’s the inspirational part that did some good for my seeking spirit.

It’s not meant to be that way.

Tolle says,

The all-important question is: Are you able to fulfill the function of being a parent and fulfill it well, without identifying with that function, that is, without it becoming a role?’   

So can I now write this mothering blog as long as I don’t make it my role, my being, my everything??? I wince to myself. I’m a mother but not just a mother. I’m a writer – another role, my preferred label. But I’m more than a writer.

I think I’m going to have to read the rest of ‘A New Earth’ to learn how to move beyond my ego roles of mother and writer into the consciousness of being me, Sarah (is my name also a role, a label? Mmmm..can definitely be over thought). Can I do it? I have a feeling that it’s a long process. Actually I know it to be a fact. Recreating new neural pathways of beingness. But that’s another topic to blog about. Until then…

Meanwhile I’d better go and relieve the grandparents from my three boys who are busy scrapbooking the world cup by gluing newspaper clippings to the couches.