Doubt

‘Stressaholics’ always let that seed of doubt creep in. That little voice at the back of your head that asks ‘Are you really sure?’ to everything you do. One of my friends even has a name for her voice!

Some days it yells louder at you than others. Some days you pay attention to it more than others. Some days it just seems relentless.

Do non-stressy people even have this voice? Well, I am pretty sure they do, they just know how much notice to take of it! I guess it is what we call our conscience. Mine seems to often be out of control. I have lived so long listening to it and doubting myself that it’s volume almost feels normal! But, it really is too loud.

Of course, there are advantages to this voice. It pushes you to always do your best, to question methods and improve. But some days I wish it would just shut up and today was one of them!

Distraction and perspective are the key. Luckily, when I got home from work today there was a welcome distraction from my voice! Check out this little guy….

So cute. Pretty sure he isn’t having any doubts about eating my flowers! Good on him, just going about his business and doing what he has to to survive.

Does he have a voice inside his head? If so, it certainly wasn’t warning him of danger because we could get as close to him as we wanted. So chilled out and at ease with my daughter and I. I guess I am harmless after all!

LLS

If only fish could talk….

Today I managed to create stress out of the simplest of things…….. and man was I frustrated!

It all started with forgetting what day it was. I am pretty sure there were a few of us out there who after a public holiday yesterday, genuinely thought it was Monday today. I realised at 8:20 that it was Tuesday, just as my daughter was riding her bike out of the driveway.

Stop! ‘It is Tuesday you don’t ride today because you have art after school’

Then ensued the rush about. Bike back in garage. Adjust bag contents. Grab car keys. Run out the door. Off we go to kiss and drop. All good.

I get home and begin my list of chores. The usual…….. hanging out washing, loading dishwasher, taking out rubbish, checking emails, while my husband makes some phone calls (yes lucky us, Tuesday’s off together). Then we decide to duck into town to pick something up at the post office and have a coffee together.

No car keys…

What??!! I am completely confused. I dropped our daughter at school, came home walked in the door put my keys and phone down on the bench and started jobs….. didn’t I?

Twenty minutes of us both looking. No luck. Get the spare keys. Get in the car and guess what…… the battery is flat in the spare key. Car won’t start.

At this point we are both feeling frustrated and weary. We get the ute keys and head into town via the car dealership to get the battery changed in the spare key. By the time we hit the coffee shop we are hanging out for that familiar warm and bitter pick me up. What a morning……

Some 5 hours later and after turning the house upside down, our son and I are clowning about, when I suddenly look up at the shelf and there right beside the fish tank….. the keys.

So as it turns out, I did not walk in the door and put my keys and phone down on the bench and then start my chores. No, as per usual I was in a rush to get things done, my brain was moving at a million miles an hour, listing out the chores in my head. I obviously was not concentrating as I walked in the door and walked straight over to open the blinds and feed the fish.

If I am completely honest, I still really don’t remember doing it! But, I must have opened the blind, put they keys down picked up the fish food, fed fish and walked away, brain already focused on the next task.

A simple action with a major consequence, all because I was not present in the moment. Instead I was somewhere in my head, listing jobs, planning my most efficient approach and perhaps even thinking about that 11am coffee.

Not being present wasted 7 whole hours to frustration and stress and not just for me, for my husband too.

Today’s lesson: Less haste, more speed. Slow down and concentrate, it will be worth it in the end……. Unless of course, you can train your fish to talk!

LLS

Obstacles

Life is about overcoming obstacles, yet to so many of us, the obstacles seem to become life. Somehow, we become focused on all the things going wrong and that are being thrown in our path. We blame all these external things for our internal turmoil. We completely forget we have the power. The power to overcome and the power to control how the obstacles affect us. We have the power to our own happiness.

We almost never give ourselves a pat on our back and congratulate ourselves on getting through that tough time. If you are anything like me, that is because you are already focusing on that next challenge or obstacle on the horizon!

STOP!

I know we are not supposed to look back and dwell on the past, but sometimes we have to look back to see where we have come from. It is the only way to see growth.

HAVE A GLASS OF WINE AND CELEBRATE WHAT YOU JUST GOT THROUGH. PLEASE……

Because, no one else is going to pat you on the back (well not often in this adult world anyway) and no one else knows what you went through to get to today.

I am sick of worrying about what other people think. I am sick of waiting for other people to see things like me. I am sick of justifying and waiting to be validated. I am wasting precious time. The only person who can validate me, my actions and my achievements is me.

My husband has told me about this phenomenon that happens some time in your 40s. It is called the ‘F$&@ you’ stage (excuse my French). It is basically that moment when you start to realise you don’t care about what anyone thinks about you any more. I am sort of (because it seems to also mean an admission of middle age!) pleased to say I am getting there. It is so close…….. I can feel it.

I am nearly ready to say F$&@ YOU. Not to anyone in particular of course, but almost to that voice inside my head that doubts everything I do, that questions whether whatever I am doing is good enough.

I am just really worried about something………. what if it accidentally starts with a proper ‘F$&@ you’. What if I get too carried away in the moment of my epiphany and actually say it to someone?!!!!

LLS

Ignorance is bliss

One of those parenting conundrums, to tell your child they have vaccinations at school today or……… not?

After a week of discussions, we went with NOT.

Rewind….

His 4 year old injections are etched in my mind forever. I did something I can now see (as a more experienced parent) was a dumb rookie mistake. I took both kids for their vaccinations at the same time. It wasn’t until I got there, it dawned on me the doctor could only do one child at a time and worse still….one would have to watch the other have their’s done, because I was there by myself.

Second mistake: my daughter went first. He watched her (the brave 18 month old) and then…… he (the big 4 year old) ran. He ran out the door, through the waiting room and out of the surgery front door. Screaming the whole way.

I had to leave the crying baby (only a little bit, she was pretty brave) with the doctor and run after him. Through the waiting room, all those eyes following (I am sure there were a few wry smiles) and outside to catch him.

Then…… after ashamedly making my way back through the waiting room, myself and the nurse had to hold him down, screaming for him to receive his two jabs. My daughter got upset watching the drama unfold and I finished up with both kids screaming and crying. Parenting fail….I felt traumatised, silly and I really felt like I needed the lollipop afterwards (or wine!).

Some time after this, there was a blood test episode which involved 4 people (including my husband, I was never doing that on my own again!) holding him down. There was even a second attempt because they didn’t get enough blood the first time. We all breathed a sigh of relief after that and said ‘don’t worry you don’t need any more until year 7’.

So, here we are in year 7.

There was no warning, no time to worry or build up. Period 2 they were marched past their class, to the nurse’s office and suddenly they all realised what was happening. There were those that screamed, those that fainted, those that felt sick and those that felt fine.

And my son?….

He went first and was the one who said, ‘when are you going to do it?’ And they answered ‘already have’!

Wahoo!

He was elated tonight. Amazed by his own bravery and lack of drama. He recounted the whole story; from what the teachers said, to who felt sick, who punched whose arm after (always got to be one!) to what people ate afterwards. Tonight he kept laughing when he lifted his arm, he thinks the aching feels really funny! Not a tear in sight.

So there you have it, I was stressing about nothing and kids DO grow up! I didn’t tell him I knew it was happening today and that I had checked my phone 20 times by lunchtime, preparing for the call from school to say he needed to be picked up after fainting or worse still, that he had run away!

He, on the other hand, was stress free. Blissfully and calmly going about his day with only the briefest of moments to contemplate what was coming.

Good on you kid. x

LLS

Proud

Tonight I am just a little bit proud of myself and a few significant others around me. It is all centred around an amazing swimming event that I just love. I love it because of what it represents, which to me is home, challenge, adversity and triumph.

Today was my 9th. Each one so different, but each equally special. Today’s was special because I smashed my previous personal best time by a whopping 3 minutes, which I set back in my second year (2012).

I was quietly confident. I didn’t voice to anyone except my husband what I was aiming for (my protection mechanism). I had put in the work over the last few weeks, I felt strong and the weather looked good. But I surpassed even my own expectations and boy did it feel good! How nice is it to be pleasantly surprised?

I am also feeling super proud of my husband who improved his previous time significantly. He never started out a swimmer like me, but over the years has come to love the sport almost as much as I do. We are very lucky to be able to spend time together doing something we love.

My daughter challenged herself going completely outside her comfort zone and attempting a kids version of the swim. There were times she wanted to give up, but she broke through, changed her stroke and got to the finish line.

The kids I coach did amazing. I love the growth I see in them each year as they progress from team members, to duo swimmers to solo efforts. Most of all, I love their smiles at the end.

Always there are people that inspire, from the disabled competitors to those in their eighties. Each swimmer has their own story to tell as they race against themselves and conquer the jetty.

I know I can ride this feeling for days to come. Tonight I will sleep well and tomorrow I will start an awesome week.

Do what you love people.

LLS

Done and dusted

I feel like I have been on a roller coaster and then run a marathon. This week has been huge. Between our family members we have seen every emotion……. at least once. We have started high school, started new swim squads, started piano, started basketball and started new work hours. And after two months of holidays and well…… Fortnite, this was a massive feat!

But we did it. We survived the first week back to school!

There is no doubt in my mind though, I was the most stressed of the family members. There was so much to think about and my biggest fear was dropping a ball and my son suffering humiliation in his first week at high school. I barely slept and fell back into running through all the scenarios in my head, making sure I had a plan for any eventuality.

What if?

What if?

What if?

What if I calm down and go with the flow? Really what was the worst that could happen?

Well, my answer to that is the bathers scenario I dreamed up. After uniform fittings and buy and sell pages I somehow still managed to get the boy the wrong size bathers!! Mum fail. Imagine……. being the kid whose bathers split at swimming trials week one of high school! That would have been very very bad. It would have been very difficult to live down.

I can laugh about it now but on Thursday morning at 2am this seemed like a very real possibility. By 6am I had him out of bed, bathers on pretending to dive just to be sure there was a) no splitting and b) no bum crack visible!

You will be happy to know he made it through the day with no catastrophe and pretty happy with how he went. Phew! He wasn’t however overly comfortable so I do need to do something about the bathers situation before the main carnival in 2 weeks (if I want grandchildren!).

My new work hours are fabulous. Things have been running much smoother in the meal department and laundry department (just as well because keeping up with which uniform each child needs each day is almost a full time job!). I just need to calm down a bit at work and have confidence in myself and my kids. If I run late, they can get themselves home and get in. They WILL survive without me for 10 minutes!

So, as I sit outside on this balmy Friday evening with my glass of red in hand, I should pat myself on my back, instead of my natural instinct of replaying the week and analysing for where I could have done better. I did good. The boy did good. We all did good.

LLS

The eve of change….

Here I am…….. 5pm on the eve of school going back (one child at high school for the first time) and a significant change to my work hours. I am excited and positive about how this year will go, with just a small touch of apprehension.

Being a working mum is tough. It is super difficult to strike a balance between feeling fulfilled in yourself and having enough time for the kids and their multitude of activities. Guilt seems to be a common feeling.

Each year I plan and schedule to make sure there is someone each day to get them from A to B, feed them, get them in the right uniform etc without them having to miss out on anything. That has included myself, husband, grandparents and friends. Always someone, but every day different.

There have always been last minute changes to schedules and associated stressed phone calls for help. Which is ok. My family and friends want to help, but I am so tired of asking and worrying and not wanting to ask and feeling embarrassed and guilty.

So…….. this year I am very lucky to be attempting to work school hours. I say attempting because I am just not 100% certain that it will work in my job. I can not always guarantee I finish on time, but the kids are now old enough to walk home and let themselves in. If I am 10 minutes late it shouldn’t be an issue.

But I will be the one there, every day.

Now, the other reason for apprehension is it is entirely possible that after a week or two of nagging kids to do homework and racing to basketball practice and having afternoon tea rejected, I may just want to go back to working full days!!!!

All I know is, we as parents are all trying our best to make things work for our families and what works for one family might not for another.

I am going into this year without guilt. I am going to wrap it up in a little parcel and leave it behind and if this plan doesn’t work…….. there is always plan B

LLS

Being a kid

Today was all about being a kid……… for the whole family. We are in the city for a couple of nights and after watching our favourite soccer team (or should I call it football?) win last night, today was about fun. There has been bouncing, bowling, shopping and swimming.

It struck me part way through the day how nice it was to be ‘playing’ and just completely enjoying ourselves. It made me realise how little we do it. I am mainly referring to my husband and I, but not entirely. The kids of course ‘play’ more frequently than us, but in reality I don’t even think they do it often enough these days.

Instead we are ‘too busy’.

Doing what and why?!!!

Over dinner tonight, which incidentally was also fun (sushi trains always are!), all four of us discussed how we should have days like this more often. Even if we have to schedule them in.

For me the highlight was playing a game my sister and I literally spent half our summer holidays doing. Marco Polo. We had the hotel pool to ourselves, there was shouting, splashing, laughing and giggling. Simple, good old fashion fun.

Something else that reminded me of my childhood today is the state of my kid’s hair. Sun bleached, dry and chlorine affected. It made me smile. Summer holidays in Western Australia should end with ruined hair!

LLS

Screen time vs mean time

So I don’t know what is going on with me but this is the third attempt at writing a blog I am happy with publishing. I am not usually like this with writing, normally I just kind of blurt it out and it is done. But not this week.

I feel really uneasy.

I am not quite sure what is going on. Juggling the school holidays and work seems to be wearing me down. I am constantly questioning whether I am doing enough for the kids. They seem tired and don’t really want to be ‘doing’ anything (apart from playing Xbox games and watching TV).

I get paranoid that they should be out and about ‘doing’ more. But, on my days off work, I am tired and I don’t necessarily feel like ‘doing’ anything either. Reading social media posts and ‘articles’ about screen time and limits we should be imposing, is making me feel terrible. I must be a bad mother.

But……. am I really?

So far this holiday my son has achieved his Royal Life Saving Bronze star, swimming and learning to rescue others, my daughter is working towards stage 9 swimming, we have had countless beach visits, pool visits, mountain biking expeditions, friends over, sleepovers, a trip to adventure world and we have a trip planned to watch Perth Glory.

But all I can see is the screen time and me failing to prevent or appropriately limit it.

Just like everyone else, kids need down time and they need time to do what they enjoy doing. They spend 38 weeks a year in the classroom, followed by countless extra curricular activities like piano, soccer, swimming, basketball, dancing etc etc. they are tired.

My question ……….. is there being too much made of the detrimental effects of screen time? Are we taking into consideration everything else a child is doing and that some kids handle it better than others? So by limiting it and forcing the kids and myself out, am I just being mean……to them and myself?

As someone else pointed out, me getting stressed and feeling guilty is not helping my kids. It is making it all worse.

All our children are different. One might find 2 hours a day is too much and their behaviour suffers, while another can spend 6 hours with little effect. I guess being aware of the signs your child displays when it is getting too much might be the best way forward, rather than focusing on a certain time??? I don’t know, I am no guru I am only thinking out loud!!

Today my son showed those signs, it was too much, he knew it and I knew it. You know what he did? He switched it off. It wasn’t me being mean and switching it off like usual, it was him. It was a refreshing change and gives me hope that things are ok.

Sometimes as a parent we have to be mean, sometimes we are mean because we think we should be mean! I think…..we have to assess our own kid/s carefully and work out when we need to be mean and choose our battles wisely.

LLS