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!

 

 

 

Woe is me

Warning: Self indulgent, ‘woe is me’ post ahead…

School holidays; I’d actually been really looking forward to it. Watching my boy grow so fast lately, I’ve realised just how much I miss spending our days today now that he is at school and I am back at work. So I was looking forward to it. And we had it all figured out. Hubby and I had managed to juggle our work days around so that we’d both get to spend some time at home with the little man. And then I went and got sick. Always seems to happen on school holidays doesn’t it? Today is day four of laryngitis and tonsillitis; no voice, a horrible cough, heavy headaches and just feeling all round crappy. Woe is me.

A trip to the doctors earlier this week confirmed that it is viral and there’s nothing to be done but rest. Day four and I’m over resting. I’ve been drinking lemon and honey drinks and downing Panadol like it’s going out of supply. And I miss my boy. My hubby and some good friends have done a great job at making sure he hasn’t missed out on the school holiday fun which I’m really grateful for, but also sad to be missing out myself. Yes, I’m aware it could be worse, I’m not dying, I will get better but I did warn you this was going to be self indulgent post so just excuse me whilst I sit here feeling sorry for myself. It’s hard to be sick when you’re a Mum. Woe is me.

I’m also aware this is probably my body’s way of saying slow down. It’s been a busy start to the year (is it really July already?!) With the little man starting school and my return to work, it’s been all systems go. I’m loving it, but it is busy and has been an adjustment for everyone. So, back to bed for some more rest I go and fingers crossed that I’m feeling better to enjoy the second week of school holidays.

Meanwhile, how are your school holidays going? And any suggestions for some shows on Netflix I could binge watch? After all that is probably the only good thing about being sick am I right?

 

 

Little Big Milestones

I watched my son ride his bike without training wheels for the first time the other week. Off he went, full of confidence, like he’d been doing it all his life. Then on the weekend, he lost his first tooth. And it got me thinking about all the milestones he’s already achieved and all those yet to come. There are so many milestones that as a parent you will see your child reach. All the big firsts; crawling, walking, talking, first day at kinder and school, first tooth…the list goes on. But what about all those other milestones? The little ones that no one really tells you about but are just as important as those ‘big milestones’. If you’re a parent you can probably think of quite a few yourself, here’s what I’m talking about….

That moment when:

  • Your child can finally wipe their own butt themselves (without getting it halfway up their back). Man that’s a good day, am I right? Same goes for wiping their own nose.
  • Your child can now spell and you can no longer get away with spelling things out to your significant other in front of them when you don’t want them to know what you’re talking about. Last weekend I said to my hubby ‘how about we go to the z-o-o today?’ and the little man immediately jumped up and down ‘yay, we’re going to the zoo!’ Crap. Who knew he could now spell zoo?
  • They don’t want to hold your hand or hug/kiss you in public anymore. My son isn’t there yet so I’m hanging on for dear life while I can!
  • They get up by themselves in the morning and make their own breakfast. Again, my son isn’t there yet, not even close, I look forward to that day..and a sleep in.
  • They have their first trip to the hospital. It’s sort of like a right of passage that every parent inevitably has to go through and regardless of the reason, it’s always scary.
  • They can click themselves in and out of their car seat. Double bonus when they no longer even need a car seat!
  • You can leave them in the bath unsupervised. I love this. My son will now happily play and splash around whilst I’m in the next room cooking dinner on those nights when everything seems like a rush. Total time saver. The fact he sings the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theme song on repeat at the top of his lungs lets me know he’s still above water ha!

What other little big milestones can you think of that really deserve as much credit as the big ones?

10 Things I’m Afraid to Tell You

A couple of weeks ago, Lisa from The Art of Joy wrote a post titled ‘Keeping it Real- 10 Things I’m Afraid to Tell You’ I thought it was really brave of Lisa to share these things; she says she did it ‘in the spirit of vulnerability, connection and opening up the tough conversations’ and I love that. I found myself nodding along to a few of Lisa’s confessions and so I thought today I would share my own 10 things, and I love you to share some of yours, even just one thing, in the comments below. What real things are you afraid to tell other people about yourself?

  • I’m a fussy eater. I wish I wasn’t. I wish I liked a wider variety of food and was more adventurous with my cooking but I’m just not. I’m slowly getting better as I get older. Becoming a mum has made me want to be a better role model for my son.
  • I’m a bit of a home body and travelling makes me anxious, being far from home makes me anxious. But it’s something that I push myself to do because despite my fears I don’t actually want to spend my entire life at home.
  • I’m a bit OCD when it comes to having a tidy house. Everything needs to be straight, I don’t do clutter and the beds are always made.
  • I’m not sure I believe in God, I believe in something, I’m just not sure what. I do believe in ghosts, I’ve seen them.
  • I’ve started two university degress and finished neither…and I don’t regret it. The only brought me closer to what I actually wanted to be doing.
  • Ive never watched Game of Thrones or Orange Is The New Black and don’t really have any desire to. Are we still friends?
  • I’m claustrophobic. I will only get in an elevator if it’s totally necessary and even then, never alone. I will only stay in hotel rooms that have balaconies, it’s a non negotiable.
  • I’ve spent way too much of my time as a parent worrying about what other people think and questioning myself. I’m slowly getting better with this but still often feel the need to justify and explain myself when I really shouldn’t.
  • I carry a bottle of water and a pack of lifesavers in my handbag with me wherever I go. It’s my first line defence and safe guard against panic attacks.
  • I don’t enjoy pedicures. There I said it

 

Reading, Watching, Listening.

Watching:

13 Reasons: I’ve debated for a while about watching this but intrigue finally got the better me. There’s been much conversation and debate about this show that’s based on the story of a teenager who commits suicide. I’ve decided to watch it so that I can make up my own mind. I’m five episodes into the thirteen episodes so I’ll let you know what I think when I get to the end…I hear that the final episode is especially confronting. Have you watched?

This is us: Who’s hooked? I am. This show had me right from that brilliant twist in the very first episode. I feel like it’s all building to something, and of course we all want to know how Jack died (I still can’t believe he’s going to die). Any theories?

Reading:

Small Great Things: Last month I finally found the time to sit down and read ‘Small Great Things’ by Jodi Picoult. Jodi is one of my all time favourite authors so I always have high hopes whenever she releases a new book. Jodi is renowed for always have some kind of big twist towards the ending and I have to say that was probably my only real disappointment in this book. For me, the ‘big twist’ lacked the usual punch and shock factor, maybe even seemed a little too neat, with everything tied up in a neat little bow at the end. But, having said that, I still thoroughly enjoyed the book and it held me captive right the way through.

Work Strife Balance: I’m going to be brutally honest and say I’ve never been a big fan of Mia Freedman (she seems to be the woman that other woman love to hate) but I didn’t really know why exactly. I don’t think I’ve ever actually even read anything on Mamamia before (not that I can remember anyway) but I do love her podcast No Filter; though I think that’s more about the subjects she interviews than Mia herself. Anyway, I decided I didn’t really know enough about Mia to judge so I picked up this book, a little intrigued to find out more. And you know what? I actually really, really enjoyed the book. There were funny bits and touching bits and even some uncomfortable bits. There were bits I couldn’t relate to and bits I couldn’t. But overall, I enjoyed it and I definitely feel like I know Mia a lot better now (as much as a total stranger can!) At the end of the day, she just another woman, another mum, trying to do the best she can, stuffing up a lot along the way; something which she openly admits. Have you read Mia’s book?

Listening:

The Well: One of my favourite podcasts is finally back after a long break! I’ve talked about The Well here before; Rebecca Sparrow and Robin Bailey talk all things motherhood, friendship and life. And they’re back with a bang with the “when life pulls the rug out from under you” episode. Get on it people.

S- Town: Oh man, I could devote an entire blog post to this podcast (and I might just do that one day). Just seven episodes long I binged listened to the whole thing in a week. And then I couldn’t stop thinking about it. So I recommended it to a friend who I knew would enjoy it as much as I did so I had someone to talk to about it. If you haven’t listened to S-Town it’s hard to explain in too much detail without giving anything away. I can say this; it is quite unlike anything I’ve ever come across before. As my friend so perfectly put it in a late night text message after he’d finished listening “clocks, mercury and gold. A story about nothing and everything”. The story begins with a man contacting a journalist, Brian Reed (the creator and narrator of the podcast) informing him there had been a murder in his small town that had been covered up and asked him to investigate. In the end, that’s not really story at all….and that’s all I’m going to say. A little like Sarah Koenig’s commentary in Serial, you find yourself mesmerised by Brian’s voice and left wanting to hear more. Lucky for me I will be as my friend and I scored tickets to this event in Melbourne next month where we’ll get to hear Brian talk.

So, what have you been reading, watching and listening to lately?

Memory and Smell

 

They say that smell is one of the strongest links our brain has to memory and I totally agree. Ever noticed how sometimes, certain smells, are enough to transport you back in time, to a place or a person or an event. I can rattle off a whole bunch of different smells and what they mean to me like:

The smell of incense burning takes me to Bali, on holiday with my new husband, my sister, brother in law and niece who was one at the time (she’s now seven). It’s navigating the tiny, hectic laneways of Kuta on a hot, muggy day bartering for cheap shoes.

The smell of vinegar and hot water reminds me of my childhood, when my Mum would make my sister and I wash our long, blonde hair in vinegar once a week.

The smell of eucalyptus trees, a campfire burning or canvas takes me back to camping along the Murray when I was younger. It’s one of my all time favourite smells. My sister will tell you the same.

The smell of steaming plum pudding reminds me of my Grandma. She used to make it for dessert every Christmas. My sister and I hated it but would always ask for piece because she would hide one and two cent coins in it (they still existed back in those days). We would shuffle it around in our bowls with our spoons until we found the coins then promptly declare we were full.

The smell of coconut is summer.

Cuddly softener smells like my Mum and her house. Whenever my son comes home from a sleepover at Grandmas house I love to inhale the smell of his clothes. Even he will sniff it and say “this smells like Grandma”. I love that.

What smells transport you to a different place? What’s your favourite smell?