Knowing when…

Parenting; it’s a tough gig am I right? Just when you think you’ve got things figured out, bam, they go and change. Turns out, kids keep growing and with each new age and stage comes a whole new set of rewards and challenges. I’ve spoken here before about all the new stuff we’ve had to learn since the little man started school this year; there seems to be something new everyday. Yesterday morning at school drop off, one of the other mums came over to speak to me. Her son is planning his birthday party and he wants some of his friends to have a sleepover; one of those friends of course being our son. Straight away my brain went a little something like this “no not yet, he’s not ready for this yet, I’m not ready for this yet, he’s still too little.” I let the Mum know I would speak to our son about it and get back to her.

Within 10 minutes I was at work and had gathered the fellow work mums to workshop the situation. They quickly reassured me that it was perfectly fine to not be comfortable with our 6 year old son having a sleep over at someone’s house. The things is, he’s only ever really slept over two places without us; his Grandma’s and his Aunty’s. This past school holidays he did have his first sleepover at friends place but the we are very close to the family (having known them since high school) so we felt comfortable with that. I don’t think he’s ever even gone to someone’s house for a play date without me being there before (again, apart from family and close friends). Having only really spoken to this particular Mum a couple of times, and never having met the Dad, I just didn’t feel comfortable and my husband totally agreed (always good to know we’re on the same page!)

This isn’t the first time since becoming a parent that I’ve wondered when? When is the right time? When will he be old enough? When will he be ready? When do you stop doing this and start doing that? And I’m sure it won’t be the last time either. But here is what I’ve come to learn. I think you just know. Like many things in life, your gut will tell you and when it comes to parenting, you’re child will also tell you (either literally or maybe just figuratively). It’s about knowing your child….and I know mine. I know that just like his Mum he is a bit of a homebody, that he can get shy and a bit anxious in new situations, that he hasn’t yet quite found that confidence needed to speak up when he might not be feeling comfortable or safe; and until he does, having sleepovers at friends places just isn’t something that is going to be happening.

I decided to have a simple, honest conversation with our son. I let him know that his friend had invited him for a sleepover but that I didn’t really think he was old enough yet for that and because he hadn’t really had a sleepover at a friends house before maybe we should wait for a while. I was relieved (and a little proud) when he agreed, nodded his head and suggested “maybe I could just go for a little play Mum and you could just pick me up before bed time.” Because, like me, he just knew. Every child is different and I think as parents, we just need to be guided by them. We need to trust that they will let us know when they are ready.

Have you every faced this type of situation as a parent before? How old was your child when they had their first sleepover? What about their first parent free play date?

 

 

What’s important

Oh hi there, how are you? It’s been a little quiet around here lately I know and I’m just here to tell you well, it’s not you, it’s me. You see, I woke up the other day and it was October….like seriously, October! That’s the 10th month of the year people, what the actual?! Time seems to be going at super warp speed lately and I have been so very busy. I know, I know, apparently it’s so not cool anymore to say that; to say you’re busy, but in actual fact it’s been true. Between working 4 days a week, then more hours at home in my other job, the little mans first year at school (and being there for every school event, swimming lesson, excursion etc he’s had so far) then you know just general life stuff (you don’t need me to tell you, I know, you’re busy too) my days have been full. Then before you know it, another year has almost gone by. So, it was time to stop and reassess, reprioritise and go back to my word for 2017 that I decided on at the start of this year.

So, what that has meant for me is this; I quit my side gig job as a social media manager. A hard choice but absolutely the right one for me and my family. I’ve been spending less time on social media. I’ve been blogging a lot less. I’ve been stopping to think about why I’m doing things rather than just doing them because I feel I should or have to because that’s what I’ve always done. I’ve been learning to say no. I’ve been trying to spend more time in the moment, being present; a thing I’ve kinda sucked at for some time. And through doing all that I’m learning, (or maybe remembering is a better word) what is really important. That’s not to say that this blog (and you, my awesome readers) aren’t important because it is; you are. But is it really important that I blog at least once a week, every week? No. Is the world going to stop turning if I don’t post something on social media every single day? No. But, it is still important to me to have a space to write, an outlet, to share and write about things that ARE important to me (and hopefully to you too). So that’s what I’ll be doing, writing when I want to because I have something I want to say not because I feel I should or have to.

So if it seems a little quiet around here, don’t worry, it just means that life is good and I’m busy enjoying it!

How are things with you? Can you actually believe it’s October or are you shaking your head in denial like me?

 

 

Reading, Watching, Listening

Is it just me or do the years seem too be going by faster and faster? I can’t believe it’s already September, but I do have to say that I am looking forward to some warmer Spring weather! Here’s a little of what I’ve been reading, watching and listening to over the past couple of months of winter hibernation..

Reading:

The Maze Runner by James Dashner: I’ve had this YA fantasy triology sitting on my shelf for a while now and finally got around to starting it. I devoured the first book within the week and the ending has of course left me hanging so I’ll need to get onto the second book soon! If you were a fan of the Hunger Games and Divergent series then you’ll love this one too!

Give me the child by Mel McGrath: I was sent a copy of this book to read and review and I’m really glad because it was probably not a book that I would’ve picked up myself but I actually really, really enjoyed it. It had me intrigued from the first few pages and then I was hooked and found it hard to put down until I finished it a few days later. If you like a bit of suspense you’ll love this one.

Beautiful Messy Love by Tess Woods: Chick lit, rom com, whatever you want to call it, I loved it! This was one of those books where the characters are so real you can totally imagine yourself being friends with them. The perfect spring/summer read.

Watching:

Look me in the eye: When I saw the preview for this new Aussie show hosted by Ray Martin on SBS I just knew I was going to love it…and I do! The concept of the show is this; two people who are estranged from one another are invited to sit in an empty room and look at each other in the eye, without saying a single word, for five whole minutes. At the end of the five minutes they walk out of the room and can then choose to either go back in and talk to the other person or leave. Get the tissues ready people, this show is intense.

Doctor, Doctor: One of my favourite Aussie series and what’s even better is that my hubby likes it too! So it’s become a bit of a tradition that every Wednesday night we curl up on the couch and watch it together. I’m not ashamed to admit that I totally have the hots for Dr. Hugh…..whos dying for him and Penny to finally hook up?!

The Bachelorette: I didn’t watch The Bachelor but I am committing myself to The Bachelorette. It’s romantic, full of hot men and a little bit awkward…what’s not to love! Here’s hoping Sophie finally finds her one true love.

Listening to:

The Nitty Gritty Committee Podcast with Meshel Laurie. I love Meshel and she interviews a whole range of different, interesting subjects for this podcast, from JonBenet Ramseys dad to Kyle Sandilands and everything in between. She does it with genuine interest and excitement and a good dose of humour too.

Conversations with Richard Fidler Podcast: I don’t care if it makes me sound old, I love Richard Fidler; he does a great interview. Just today I listened to his interview with Benjamin Law on ‘how the safe schools program began an ideological firestorm’. I’ve read and heard a lot about this topic so was really interested to listen to someone who has done a lot of research into it.

How do you sleep at night? Podcast: Ok, so I haven’t actually had a chance to listen to this yet but it’s all downloaded and ready to go in my podcast app. Currently sitting at the top of the iTunes podcast chart the description grab my attention: ‘How Do You Sleep At Night? is a new podcast hosted by Hack’s Sarah McVeigh. It’s about people who live their lives in the face of judgement. You’ll meet characters including a big tobacco lobbyist and big game hunters, a killer and a stock market manipulator. The show explores the different moral codes we all live by. Because no one thinks they’re a bad person, right?’ Sounds interesting….

Whar have you been reading, watching and listening to lately? Got any good recommendations?

 

 

 

 

 

Saying No

I really suck at saying no to people. I find it really hard, always have. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, analysing if you will, my inability to say no and I’ve realised that I find it hard for a number of reasons.

  1. I’m a perpetual people pleaser: I don’t want to let people down, I don’t want to disappoint them. I worry what others think (a lot) and I want to be liked.
  2. I don’t know how to; like literally. When someone asks a favour, asks you to go somewhere or do something how do you actually just turn around and say “no thanks” without an explanation? I always feel I need to give a good reason for saying no and in the absence of quick thinking I often find myself panicking and just saying yes.
  3. I genuinely want to help people: I really do. I like helping people. Especially when it comes to my friends and family.
  4. I don’t want to miss an opportunity: I don’t want to say no to something and then have it turn out to be a missed opportunity that I will forever regret. Trouble is, without a crystal ball, you never really know that at the time do you?

So yeah, for a variety of reasons, I find it hard to say no. But, on the flip side, I know I need to learn how to say no more because:

  1. I end up doing stuff I don’t want to do and going places I don’t want to go. Nothing worse than that ‘how the bloody hell did I end up doing this/being here’ feeling.
  2. It creates expectations. People just come to assume you will say yes. You’re the organiser, the planner, the helper; you always do it so why would you say no? And I can’t really resent people for thinking that because really, I’ve created that expectation by always saying yes.
  3. My priority should be me and my family. I shouldn’t be taking time away from them and spending my energy elsewhere on things don’t really matter.
  4. It’s exhausting. I get exhausted. I am exhausted.

So, I know for all of these reasons I need to work on saying no more. And I’m trying, really I am. It’s a (slow) work in progress.

Any tips for a perpetual people pleasing yes person like myself? Or is this something you struggle with too?

 

 

My Favourite Books

Last week my social media was filled with pics of kids dressed up for book week. It really made me smile because I’m a total book lover from waaaay back, and so I love seeing children embrace their own love of reading. For some reason, my sons school is celebrating and having their book parade this week. He’s decided he wants to go as Batman. I consulted with my tribe on Facebook, and the consensus was that Batman is a character in comic books and they are a type of book so that is a ok. Phew, because we already have a batman cape and mask so that makes things super easy!

Anyways, I digress, back to my book loving ways. I thought I would celebrate book week here on my little blog too. Not by giving you some great book week costume ideas (there loads of other clever clogs handy with a sewing machine, unlike me, who have already shared their ideas) but instead I thought I would share with you some of my favourite books.

Now, asking me to choose my all time favourite book is like asking a mother to choose her favourite child….ok I only have one child so that’s pretty easy for me but choosing my favourite book? Not so much! So I’ve narrowed it down to the Top 10 from my bookshelf. Here goes:

Fiction:

Tomorrow, when the war began by John Marsden: No matter how old I get, this teen series will always hold a special place in my heart. My sister, Mum and I devoured these books when I was younger and I’ve reread the series several times since.

The Pact by Jodi Picoult: Jodi is one of my all time favourite authors and whilst this may not be my favourite, it was the very first book of hers that I read, so again, it holds a special place. I’ve since read all of Jodi’s books and always get very excited when I hear she’s releasing a new one.

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold: I read this book many years ago now but it has always stayed with me. I remember thinking at the time that it was haunting but in an almost beautiful way. I also remember being disappointed by the movie because of course the movie never quite lives up to your imagination does it?

The Time Travellers Wife by Audrey Niffenegger: Ah, the beautiful, albeit unconventional love story of Henry and Clare. Once you managed to wrap your head around the whole time traveler thing you really get swept away into this story.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larson: This series took the world by storm when it came out and for good reason; it’s clever, twisted and captivating and quite different to anything I’ve ever read before.

Non- Fiction

On Writing by Stephen King: If you’re a writer, at whatever level, you need to read this book. You don’t have to be a Stephen King fan (I’ve never read any of his other books) to appreciate the fact that this is one smart guy who knows what he’s doing and has some great advice for navigating the world of writing.

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert: I think you’re either an ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ lover or hater and whilst I can certainly understand some of the criticism that has come out about this book (self indulgent much) I took if for what it was and enjoyed the journey. I’m a lover.

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert:  Packed with loads of ‘a-ha’ moments, wisdom and guidance, this one if for all the creative souls out there! Love it.

Power Over Panic by Bronwyn Fox: When it comes to managing anxiety and panic attacks I’ve read a lot of books but this one if by far the most practical and helpful. I often pick it up for a reread whenever I feel that my anxiety is getting a little out of control.

What to expect when you’re expecting by Heidi Murkoff: No, I don’t have a special announcement to make but I did think it would be remise of me not to include this in my favourite books because this was practically my bible when I was pregnant. I’ve recommended it and lent my copy to many a pregnant friend. If you only buy one pregnancy/baby book, make it this one!

So there you have it, 10 of my favourite books. Did you find any in there you would agree with? What are some of your favourite books? Can you choose just one??

 

 

 

 

The Wave

Imagine you’re swimming in a beautiful blue ocean. The water is warm and clear, it’s calm and you’re feeling perfectly relaxed. Then, out of nowhere, on the horizon you see a giant wave forming. It’s coming straight for you, building and building in power and height as it comes towards you. You freeze with fear. You can’t outswim it, there’s nowhere to hide. The wave is coming, it knocks you over and you feel yourself taken under. You can’t reach the surface, can’t catch your breathe, you’re drowning…..That’s a bit like what it can feel like to have a panic attack.

I’ve never been a great swimmer, the sheer vastness of the ocean has always scared me a little (actually a lot). And big waves? Forget it! In the past, when I’ve felt a panic attack coming on, when I’ve felt that wave rising, I would turn around and swim away as fast as I possibly could. That is, I would get up and leave. Or I’d just avoid the ocean (aka- situation) all together. But lately? Well, I’m ever so slowly learning to ‘ride the wave’. I feel it coming, I feel the panic rising and I just let it come, I let the wave wash over me. Because here’s the thing, it will eventually pass, the wave does eventually receeed and go back out into the ocean. I might get momentarily swept up in it, but I will not drown, I will not die (even if it might feel that way sometimes!)

My closest friend once said something to me whilst I was mid panic attack meltdown and it has really stuck with me, she said “just remember, you know what this is. You know it’s a panic attack and you know it’s going to pass.” Sounds simple but mid panic attack you can loose all sight of rational thinking. So the other week when I was home alone with our son (hubby was away for work) and I woke in the middle of the night mid panic attack, heart thumping hard and fast, I just lay there and repeated what my friend had said to me in my head over and over again. I let the wave come and wash over me. It’s a  really uncomfortable feeling, to just let yourself succumb. It was scary but I did it and I’ve done it again since and I feel like the more I do it, the better I will get at it. Because pratice makes perfect right?

Have you ever experienced a panic attack? How would you describe the feeling? What techniques do you have for getting through them?

 

Not just luck

I recently read ‘Work, Strife, Balance’ by Mia Freedman and found myself nodding along to quite a few parts and bookmarking others for future reference. One idea in particular that really stuck out to me was when Mia spoke about the idea that women are uncomfortable with sharing and celebrating their successes. Too often, we pass our achievements off as being ‘dumb luck’ when that just isn’t true.

We see it all the time; a woman posts a photo of herself with her husband  #blessed, another talks about how she is ‘so lucky’ to have the job that she does or to be going away on holiday. When in reality, she probably works hard at her marriage, she probably worked hard to get the job she has and to take that holiday she’s taking. Being lucky or blessed has nothing to do with it. Hard work, yes. Sure, sometimes the whole ‘right time, right place’ thing might come into play; you just happened to walk into the bar where you future husband sat, or a chance meeting at a party lead to a dream job. But, beyond that initial encounter, it’s all you; you made it happen and you should be proud of that.

But, as women, we’re taught that tooting our own horn is a big no, no. ‘Bragging’ about your achievements isn’t done. Any woman who applauds her own successes is seen to be ‘up her self’ or ‘in love with herself’ as if that’s a bad thing! I say we should all love ourselves more! We should all toot our own horn a little more, share our successes and more than that, we should support other women in sharing theirs too.

So, let’s start here. Leave a comment below telling me something awesome you’ve done lately, a recent success you’ve had (personal or professional), something you’ve achieved that you’re damn proud of.

Doctor Doctor

I’ve wanted to write this post for some time now but wasn’t sure how to go about it without sharing my story which, at this very moment, I can’t really do because there are some things going on in the background (icky legal stuff) but that’s ok, because I’ve realised that I don’t really need to be able to tell my story to make my point; it’s much bigger than that. I wanted to talk to you all about the importance of having ownership over our bodies and our health. Too many times in my life I’ve felt really let down by medical professionals (doctors, nurses, specialists etc.) and I know of many others that have felt this too. Not feeling heard, being dismissed or misdiagnosed or too quick to medicate and it’s just not right. We all need to start standing up for ourselves and become more educated and assertive when it comes to our own health. Here’s how to do it:

  • First step is finding a GP that you love. Yes, you should love your Doctor. There are some really awesome ones out there and we shouldn’t settle for any less. It is so, so important to have a doctor that you trust and respect and who also respects you. After a pretty awful interaction with a GP last year, my sister and I embarked on finding a new family doctor. We asked family and friends for recommendations, which is a good starting point, but then we also made appointments to check them out for ourselves. Do this. Shop around for a family doctor and don’t stop until you find someone who you feel completely comfortable with and whose beliefs align with your own.
  • Remember that you know yourself and your body best. If you feel like something is wrong don’t stop until you get an answer or at the very least, feel that it has been fully investigated. The same goes for your children; you know them best and as a parent it is your job to advocate and speak for your child when they are too young to do this for themselves
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ask a lot of questions; ask them until you feel comfortable and confident in the answers and you understand completely what is being said. Do your research (just make sure it’s from a reputable source, not Dr Google) and become educated and informed about your body; knowledge is power.
  • If you feel you want or need it, get a second opinion. There is nothing wrong with doing that.
  • If something happens or is said that just doesn’t feel right, speak up and keep speaking up until somebody listens. Doctors are in quite a powerful position and unfortunately, sometimes this power can be abused which is not ok. Doctors are also human and make mistakes too.

Have you ever felt unheard or dismissed by a medical professional? Do you have a great family doctor?

 

 

Choice

I’m not sure that I ever really knew exactly how many children I wanted. I guess if you had’ve asked me when I was in my twenties (or even younger) I probably would’ve said two. Maybe because that’s what I knew, it’s what I grew up with; my sister and I. I don’t think I ever saw myself with more than that. But honestly, I never really had it all planned or mapped up; which is a little unusual for me because I’m such a planner, but when it came to kids I never had a set idea or number or even gender in mind. Boy or girl, one, two or more; I didn’t know and I honestly didn’t mind. Until I fell pregnant. For the entire duration of my pregnancy I was convinced I was having a boy. We never found out what we were having but when I pictured our baby, I always pictured it being a boy. And I was right. In August 2011 I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy and the very first moment I held him, I felt complete. I actually turned to my husband seconds after our son was put onto my chest and said “if ever I want to do this again, remind me of this very moment’. At the time it was more of a joke; after enduring 19.5 hours of labour and a painful forceps delivery I did not want to go through that again any time soon! But looking back, I think in the moment I knew, I didn’t want any more children….and it had nothing to do with the pain of labour at all. It was just a feeling of knowing I had; knowing that this was our family, this was exactly how it was meant to be. Just the three of us. And that feeling hasn’t changed.

Over the past five years my husband and I have been questioned countless times (like seriously, I’ve lost count) about our decision to only have one child. Friends, family, work colleagues and even complete strangers seem to take it upon themselves to lecture us in all the reasons why we simply must have more children. Our son will be lonely and spoilt we’ve been told, he needs a brother/sister they insist. Who will support him when you get older or die? But you’re such good parents…..And the list goes on and on. And I’ve found myself many times feeling the need to justify our decision (when really, I shouldn’t). I feel the need to explain to people just how much I actually do love being a Mum, how entirely besotted I am with our son; because for some reason people seem to equate not wanting any more children with thinking that means you don’t enjoy being a mum. That’s just simply not true.

Our son is now five years old and I’m finding that it is only now that people are finally starting to realise, and maybe even accept, that we won’t be having any more children. Last week, a good friend told me that she thinks our family of three is just perfect that way it is and honestly? It made me want to cry…tears of joy, because I felt like finally, someone gets its, someone sees what we see! We may not be perfect but we certainly are happy and that’s all that matters.

Families come in all shapes and sizes and I think that’s pretty awesome, because seriously how boring would life be if we were all the same? We are lucky that we get to live in a country where we have the freedom of choice; whether we want to have one child or five or none. We are not limited by the Government to only having one child due to over population and we are not having unwanted babies because affordable birth control isn’t readily available. And let’s not forget those who actually don’t have the choice, who cannot conceive and would do anything to have just one baby. We are blessed. For the vast majority of us we do have the choice and we should respect it; simple as that.

Rant over, ha!

Tell me about your family. How many children do you have (if any)? Do you want more? Or if you’ve finished having kids, when and how did you know you were done?

 

 

 

Book Update

A few people have asked me recently how my book is going so I thought I’d give you all a little update. It’s going…slowly. In terms of the actual book draft I’ve written just shy of 5,000 words but there has been a lot more writing, planning and plotting going on behind the scenes thank that. You see I’d spent so long procrastinating and having this idea for a book but not actually doing anything with it…and then I kept seeing all these memes and reading books and advice that said ‘just make a start’. So I did, I started. I tried to just start writing but I quickly realised that’s not the approach for me. I’m a planner. In every other part of my life I’m a planner; I make lists and research and organise things; so why would my approach to writing a book by any different? It shouldn’t be. So I’ve had to take a little step back, do a bit of planning, write some character profiles, do some plot planning…it’s a lot of work and I’ll be honest and say that a few times I’ve found myself a little lost but I’m not giving up. Instead, I think I’d like to try taking some classes or workshops to learn more and find some guidance. So if anyone has any recommendations for some good courses I’d love to hear them.

Writing a book is hard. Of course it is, or more people would do it. And I’m trying to find the balance; between staying motivated and not feeling pressured; because at the end of the day I’m doing it because I want to, not because I have to. So whilst it is hard work, it should also be fun.

Any writers out there with any advice, resources or tips on where to from here, I’d love to hear from you!