Give it a Rest

This post has been brewing for a long time.

Disclaimer: There is no-one individual in particular that this is aimed at. If there are any similarities to stories, it is purely coincidental. However, if you identify yourself in one of the comments/stories...maybe it's something to think about? Again, not aimed at any one in particular...just some of my thoughts from the last 2.5yrs

Now that's out of the way...

I have come to realise in the last 2.5 years, just how judgemental and competitive mothers are. This may be old news to you, but to me I am staggered by the notion and tired of it - I'm also grouping myself into this category.

I had a natural birth so I'm better than those who had cesareans...I had an epidural and drugs, I didn't so I'm stronger...I had my baby in a bath or at home so my experience is better than yours.

I've breastfed for 3 months, 6 months, 12 months, 2.5 friggin years! Who gives a rats?

I don't breast feed, I bottle feed. I express, I don't...I don't shave my under arms!! (sometimes I do one side and forget the other!)

I use store bought food (isn't all of it in some form anyway?) I create my own blends, I only use veggies from my garden, I only use organic or preservative/additive free food.

I smack. I time-out. I like to be a bit more free-spirited. I do baby-wise I do montessori.

I have a routine, I'm flexible.

I love controlled crying/self settling. I prefer to cuddle for every cry.

I love my husband more than my children, I love my children more than my husband.

I don't give my children chocolates/easter eggs/lollies/juice...I do.

My 6 month old is walking - my 18 month old isn't...

I've got boys, I've got girls, which one is harder to raise? Aren't they all?? Their kids for goodness sakes! It's tough work no matter the sex.

And so it goes on and on.

I first came across this in a mother's group I joined when Eme was 3 months old. All the other bubs were only 8 weeks old and yet there was still an underlying competition between the parents. No-one wants to seem like they are doing the wrong thing, yet we all have differing ideas that we get insecure and worry about whether we've got it right or down pat. Sometimes though, this can start down the path of watching what others are doing and judging what they do and what their decisions may be.

"I wish she would just control that child" - while standing in the checkout line.
"I wish she would just smack them and be done with it!"
"How dare he feed his child that!"

I get it - I've thought the same thoughts. Had the same feelings.

But...I'm over it.

Who gave us the right (as parents) to become such oppressive and judgemental people? The baby is born and all of a sudden we're experts - though we claim not to be! We ask for the manual that should have come with the baby, yet we somehow develop a manual/Bible within the 1st year and judge how everyone else is doing by it.

All I'm asking is - can we just give each other a break? I don't like let alone enjoy living in such an oppressive society.

How about when gathering in our little mummy groups/girls nights/coffee catchups - How about instead of jumping down the mother's throat with advice and tips and "tsk tsk's", why don't we just try and listen.

"I'm sorry Harry keeps drawing on the wall while your cooking dinner. That sucks. I understand. I hear you. I still love you. You're not a bad mum, we all have tough days."

Whether you have 1, 2, 3+ kids - it's still tough work.

I can already sense the amount of flack I'm going to cop for posting this, but I can't not say anything anymore. I'm tired of it and I'm also guilty of it. If you are reading this and you have ever felt judged by me...I'm sorry. I'll try do better next time we meet.

And while I'm at it I have a confession to make. Yesterday, I gave Eme a McDonalds Happy Meal for lunch...and my 11 month old, Ava, yeah, I gave her an Easter egg I found under a couch. Shoot me now!


Stripping to retrieve my Dignity

Isn’t it funny how we clothe ourselves in the words others have spoken?
Someone can say a small sentence to me and I will carry it for years.

Age 7 “She isn’t even wearing a real leotard”

Age 17 “You will never get a boyfriend, let alone a husband!”

Age 24 “I never took you for the mothering type”

It has occurred to me that over the years I have carried these words with me, and they have dictated certain things I do or say. I’ve clothed myself (self-image and confidence) and gone about my daily activities carrying these words, usually without even realising how they determine my reactions, words, and thoughts.

I may be struggling with the girls one day and suddenly the words will pop up in my mind “well, you know, you don’t really have it in you to be a mum…that’s why this is so difficult – that’s why today is so hard!”.

Why is it that we (I’m assuming I’m not the only one who does this!) mull over these words so much? Why do we carry these for years and let them dictate what we do?

I’ve just realised – in my ripe old age of 27 – that I have allowed these people and their opinions to shape me, rather than the opinion of the One who really counts, to shape me.

I’m pretty certain that God doesn’t think I’m a terrible mum. I’m pretty certain he had Russell in mind for me. And I’m also pretty certain that he doesn’t care how I look on the outside. He is the one who created me – even all the little quirky bits he treasures.

But why can I not start my day off dressing in the grace, love, compassion and confidence He gives?

I find it really hard to not care about what others think. In fact, I only care about what other people think and often I do things to please others rather than look after myself. I can be a bit of a push over – in certain aspects anyway! I often bust my butt to keep someone else happy, but end up putting myself out and piling to my stress pile.

I constantly worry over my words, whether I’m saying the right thing, whether I’m being understood/misunderstood, whether people are just being nice to my face and behind my back whispering “what crack is she on?” A side note here: A vast majority of my dreams involve my mouth being full of gum or my lips and tongue are swollen and I can’t speak or get my words out…they are VERY frustrating dreams!

And all of this worrying is starting to wear me down. I’m tired of doubting my parenting abilities. Tired of doubting whether Russ feels like he got ‘stuck’ with me (he assures me he doesn’t feel this way!) I’m tired of doubting whether I look appropriate or if I’m saying the right things.
So, this week I’m going to strip. I’m going to strip the labels and opinions other people have of me, in the attempt of God re-dressing me. God knows I need it! It’s going to be a massive journey and a bumpy one at that, but I can feel God tugging at me saying “c’mon now, you KNOW I’ve got better plans for you”.

I don’t want to live my life in fear, in fear of doing the wrong thing. I don’t want to live my life under the labels, opinions, and off-handed comments others make of me.

I want to live the life God has planned for me. I want to live that life in the body and mind that he created for me. Quirky bits and all!


Soft like melting ice-cream

I think I may be getting soft in my 'old age'.

What used to irk me and get me all fired up no longer bothers me - as much anyway!

When I was 20/21 I would go to church and get so angry about...well...just about everything! Too many old songs, too many slow songs, boring unchallenging sermon, stale communion bread, etc etc...
But, as I have aged and hopefully 'matured' in my faith, some of these things no longer bother me. What does it matter how many old songs there are? As long as they are relevant and I understand what they are saying! I guess I still have the same issues, but they are no longer causing such a fire in my belly. I don't feel the need to jump down peoples throats or complain endlessly to Russell.

Ive been praying and looking for more opportunities for God to grow me spiritually. And while it hasn't felt too drastic, I have definately felt God's peace and reassurance settle within me.

I'm starting to be able to sit through a service and just worship or enjoy fellowship. I'm not saying things don't bother me anymore - because some things still do. There are still things which I think are important and play a part in each church, but for the majority I'm finding myself more and more happy. Which is definately a nice change.

Maybe it's thanks to my amazing small group - love you guys xxx
Maybe it's thanks to a couple who are mentoring Russ and I and who are so supportive in prayer and fellowship
Maybe it's just old age...I am nearing my 30s after all!


I don't know which of you chookies laid that egg, but....OUCH!

Cuddles with Rahni

I don't think I mentioned on my blog, but on Dec 15th 2010 I became an Aunty again to little Rahni Mae. She is Russ' first 'blood' niece so he was pretty excited :)

Yesterday she and her mum came for a visit and we got some cuddles :) She is very adorable! Russ was holding her and quick as a flash Ava flew over to him to show Rahni just who her Dadda is...she never goes to Russ for cuddles of her own free will, but if her Dadda holds someone else, she gets very jealous!!

Blossi in pink - Rahni in blue

"What's going on over here? He's my dadda!"

Quite a nice photo of them both!


New Course

While I have put my nursing studies on hold I have begun another degree! Crazy...why yes indeed I am!

I was meant to continue my nursing studies at the start of this year, however I didn't feel I would be able to get it done with 2 very young girlies at home. So I decided to put it off another semester...which is due to start in another month or so! However, I have put them on hold again. I decided that it is not really possible to get to labs and pracs when I don't feel right having my daughters babysat or in day care. That's my responsibility! I made the choice to have children, and sacrifices need to be made. I am in no way saying that mums shouldn't work or study, and should dedicate their entire lives to their kids, but for me, this is my choice...and I currently choose to invest in them.

However, I did feel the need to occupy my mind with something a bit more than the lyrics to Wiggles songs. So, I am currently studying externally through Griffith University - a Writing Degree. I am majoring in both Creative Professional Writing and also Journalism. I enjoy writing (hence the existence of this blog) and it is one of the things that I feel I am (somewhat) talented in.

I have enjoyed my units so far and am getting some positive feedback. For my creative writing unit we have, for example, 7 writing tasks to complete every 3 weeks. We are given different topics and are then required to post them onto a forum where other students in the course can comment - it's kind of like a blog! We also have 3 major creative writing pieces we need to submit. In my other unit we need to read 5 well-known pieces of literature and have 3 major assignments and final exam on the books we've read. I am currently reading, Antony & Cleopatra by Shakespeare, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight by Unknown, Medea by Euripides, Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte and Anna Karenina by Tolstoy.....BIG I know! And as you can probably guess, the theme for the study period is Love and Marriage!

I am really enjoying it, and I am also enjoying getting feedback on people who are reading some of my written assignments. I'll attach a piece I wrote on the 12th of June - the topic was a 'Sensory Experience - a Day out with Friends'

"The sun streaming through the canopy of trees above, sting my eyes. The soft and slightly damp grass beneath, with toes wriggling between the long strands. The weight of her body upon my chest, I can feel her body rising and falling with each breath. I can hear her sucking her fingers and humming a little tune she has made up on the spot. We can smell meat and onions cooking on the barbie which only causes our stomachs to rumble even more. My daughter wrapped up in my arms, enjoying the warmth we give each other on a cool winter afternoon. The sounds of friends talking away and kids playing on the nearby play set. I tune them all out just to listen to my daughters breathing, and continue to feel the rising and falling. In. Out. In. Out."

I'm not really into writing descriptively, and I found myself feeling a bit try hardish with using descriptive words...but there ya go! It's good to go out of your comfort zone sometimes. To learn new things and develop current talents!


Procrastination Key

Ugh...I'm using my blog as a tool for procrastination. I have a sink of dishes that are calling my name and some assignments I need to get a start on, BUT I've decided I need to put up another post ;)

On the menu for tonights dinner is Sticky Chinese Pork. I can't remember how I stumbled upon this recipe, but I've been wanting to try it out for awhile. Something about the word 'sticky' just grabs me! I'll post up whether it was worth the effort or not!

We have small group this wednesday night also and we are going to be starting our look at Rob Bell's new book 'Love Wins'. If you've been out of it for awhile - there has been a lot of controversy over this book. Hopefully it will generate some healthy discussion and we can all still be friends afterwards hehehe.

On a side note about our group, we got out of our comfort zones yesterday and helped out at a semi-local church! They were in need of some help with their music area, and we pratically contain an entire music team within our group, so we volunteered our time and 'talents'. We were hoping to be a blessing to the church, but I think we may have been the ones who were blessed! Russ and I got such a buzz from it that we couldn't stop talking about it for hours after! It's nice to finally do something for the benefit of someone else. Hopefully we all felt the same and will be up for it in another month...maybe...guys??

Anyway...I think I've procrastinated enough...I better head to those dishes :(


Cobwebs of Procrastination

We have been living in our first (mortgage) home now for 3yrs and 8mths. And for around 3yrs and 6mths I have been thinking “I really need to clean these windows”. Only just this morning did I get around to doing them! While I was wiping the cobwebs away and rubbing away at some of the marks it got me thinking about different things in life we put off.

An argument with a friend that you never got around to resolving.

A letter of encouragement you meant to write and send but never did.

A simple “I love you” to a sister who rarely hears those words from your lips.

I tend to put things off a lot. There have been friendships that have gone by the way side simply because I haven’t taken the time, built up the courage or put aside my pride, to resolve any of the issues. There are cobwebs in my life that tend to continue to build up on each other. Yet, I always manage to find an excuse as to why I don’t ‘have the time’ or the courage to sort things out.

Maybe it’s not relationships that you need to work on, but it is money matters, or words of encouragement that need to be spoken. Whatever it is you’re putting off – put a stop to it! Stop the excuses and get on with it! I’m speaking to myself just as much here!

“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.” Matt 5:23+24 (v25+26 are also good)

It is surprising to me that within the Christian community there seems to be so many broken relationships. Is this simply because we are human and it is ‘human nature’ to not get along with everyone? Or is it something more? Look at David. He was being hunted down by King Saul who was attempting to kill him and yet when he hears of Saul’s death he mourns (2 Sam 1:11).

I’m getting a little side-tracked here :)

I could go down a whole other path here, but I will end it with this question:

What are you putting off till 'tomorrow' what needs to be done today?