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Anxiety

Anxiety. 

All is not what it seems.

Anxiety – what is it and who suffers from it?

I feel that the word anxiety has a stigma against it. It shouldn’t. I think that perhaps a lot of people actually suffer anxiety to some degree, but it’s how we deal with it that allows others to believe that perhaps, we don’t suffer from it. 

So what is anxiety?

The dictionary definition is – 

“A feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome.”

“A strong desire or concern to do something or for something to happen.”

Anxiety can be normal in stressful situations such as public speaking or taking a test. 

Anxiety is only an indicator of possible underlying disease when feelings become excessive, all-consuming and interfere with daily living.

I myself suffer anxiety. From the outside, I may look like I am controlled and at ease but little things give me anxiety. I control it well but sometimes it manifests inside me and makes me feel overwhelmed, shakey or even emotional. I get tight in my chest and my tummy becomes knotted.

Research suggests that people with certain personality traits are more likely to have anxiety. For example, children who are perfectionists, easily flustered, timid, inhibited, lack self-esteem or want to control everything, sometimes develop anxiety during childhood, adolescence or as adults.

Some people who experience some type of anxiety symptoms, may have a genetic predisposition towards anxiety and these conditions can sometimes run in a family. However, having a parent or close relative experience anxiety or other mental health condition doesn’t mean you’ll automatically develop anxiety. We are all different and deal with situations differently.

My husband says that I have O.C.D (Obsessive compulsive disorder ) and to an extent, I would agree. A mild case. I like things in particular order, in my home I have a place for everything and if something is misplaced or put back where I believe it may not go, it bothers me. Bothers me to the extreme that I need to put it back in its place. If it isn’t where it should be I can become jittery, unsettled, tight in my chest and agitated until it is back ‘in its place’. This can be difficult to deal with especially as I have young children but I’m learning to deal with it. I find that my O.C.D can cause me anxiety.

The definition of Obsessive compulsive disorder is – Excessive thoughts (obsessions) that lead to repetitive behaviours (compulsions).

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is characterised by unreasonable thoughts and fears (obsessions) that lead to compulsive behaviours.

An example of my O.C.D and anxiety that my husband recently picked up on was when we were driving in my car, and he wanted to turn the music up. Now for the majority, this would be fine, so my husband went to turn the volume switch on the centre dashboard. 

When I noticed him changing the switch, I stopped him. I like the circle with the stroke on it pointing upwards. I myself only change the volume from the thumb controls on the steering wheel, not from the centre dash. I quickly changed it back. My husband then challenged me and asked me to ‘deal with the stroke not pointing upwards’. I tried, I lasted about 1 minute before he could see that I was getting agitated and struggling to have it not how I prefer it. 

To the majority of the population, this wouldn’t be an issue. For me any anyone with an O.C.D or anxiety, this can become a distraction and lead them into all kinds of feelings. It was my compulsion to need it ‘back perfectly’ to how I prefer it. It’s little things like this that can cause  fears and a sense of ‘lack of control’. 

I’m not a controlling person but I’ve been very Indepandant from a very young age. I had to be. I left home at 17 and moved 3.5hrs away from where I grew up, and all that I knew. Yes I chose to leave my small country home town, but it required me to find Independence, responsibility and maturity really quick. I had a job and bills to pay. No parent looking out for me, making sure I had groceries and money to pay my rent. It was all on me. 

To an extent, this sense of needing perfection started at a younger age. I remember having my C.D collection in alphabetical order. My books stacked smallest to tallest and everything had its own place. Underwear was folded a particular way and to this day, my house is still very ‘orderly’. Everything has its place and I find that when everything has a place or belongs somewhere, it’s easier to find. 

But has my need for all this resulted in something that isn’t healthy? I guess it depends who you ask? 

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is considered to be a mental illness that causes repeated unwanted thoughts or sensations (obsessions) or the urge to do something over and over again (compulsions). Some people can have both obsessions and compulsions.

OCD isn’t only about habits like biting finger nails or thinking negative thoughts. An obsessive thought might be that certain numbers or colors are “good” or “bad.” A compulsive habit might be to wash your hands multiple times after touching something that could be dirty. 

Although you may not want to think or do these things, you feel powerless to stop.

Everyone has habits or thoughts that repeat sometimes. People with OCD have thoughts or actions that:

  • Take up at least an hour a day
  • Are beyond your control
  • Aren’t enjoyable
  • Interfere with your work, social life, or another part of your life

OCD comes in many forms, but most cases fall into at least one of four general categories:

  • Checking, such as locks, alarm systems, ovens, or light switches, or thinking you have a medical condition like pregnancy.
  • Contamination, a fear of things that might be dirty or a compulsion to clean. Mental contamination involves feeling like you’ve been treated like dirt.
  • Symmetry and ordering, the need to have things lined up in a certain way. (What I suffer from) 
  • Ruminations and intrusive thoughts, an obsession with a line of thought. Some of these thoughts might be violent or disturbing.

Many people who have OCD know that their thoughts and habits don’t make sense. They don’t do them because they enjoy them, but because they struggle to stop doing them. In some cases, if they stop, they feel so bad that they start again.

I like things to be in a certain place and I believe that having things in place makes my like easier. Colour coding my children’s dinnerware, having all knifes face a particular way, folding towels a particular way and even the need to stack the dishwasher a certain way.

Obsessive thoughts can include:

  • Worries about yourself or other people getting hurt
  • Constant awareness of blinking, breathing or other body sensations

Compulsive habits can include:

  • Doing tasks in a specific order every time or a certain “good” number of times to make it ‘right’ 
  • Needing to count things, like steps or bottles
  • Fear of touching doorknobs, using public toilets, or shaking hands in fear of ‘germs’

Obsessions and compulsions in some situations cannot be controlled. They can feel like they control you. Doctors aren’t sure why some people have OCD and quite often stress can make the symptoms worse.

It’s a bit more common in women than in men. Symptoms often appear in teenagers or young adults.

OCD risk factors include:

  • A parent, sibling, or child with OCD
  • Physical differences in certain parts of the brain 
  • Depression or anxiety 
  • Experience with trauma
  • A history of physical or sexual abuse as a child

Recently we were away on holiday and my husband had to leave early and head home without us. Usually I am ok with this and am 110% cape able to look after our children alone. However on the first night of us being alone, we had gone to bed early and were all deep asleep when there was loud banging on our door and rustling with a deep man voices yelling to let him in our room. This went on for a good 5 minutes before I realised that I wasn’t dreaming and in fact someone was trying to get into our room.

I got out of bed and tried calling the reception of where we were staying, they didn’t answer , I tried concierge, they put me on hold, I retried reception to them answering and asking to put me on hold. That’s when I said, no someone is trying to get into my room. This rocked me. My heart was pounding, I could feel my hands trembling and I was quite afraid for if they hot into our room. Not scared for me, but for my children who were sleeping, next to me. 

Within minutes, security arrived and they calmed me down but this made me anxious and I just wanted to go home. Home to the safety of my own surroundings and husband. 

For the next few days after this event I have been anxious. The tightness in my chest has staied and I am ‘on edge’ so to speak. I just want to feel safe and calm. 

I have dealt with anxiety all my life. I feel like I have it under control for the most part, but I feel with some situations, it’s to keep my family safe. 

From the outside, most people who know me wouldn’t know about my anxiety as I try to keep it at bay. For those close to me, they know I suffer from it but probably not to what extent. 

This is not a ‘poor me’ post, but a please be mindful. You never know what others are going through and how they feel. 🙏💗 #BeKind

Friends.

Friends.

I’m at a stage now where I find that I don’t have too many ‘friends’. I guess with age, I have grown out of needing lots of friends and just wanting a few.

Those whom I know I can call upon at any time, and those whom I can confide in and it’s just ‘easy’. I dont need explain myself, I don’t need a reason to call, it’s just an easy relationship where I can be me without judgment. Trustworthy and honest.

I turned 40 earlier this year (amongst covid) and I remember thinking about who I will invite to my 40th birthday celebrations. I only had about 5 close female friends and their partners. Why I hear you wondering. Well because I have outgrown so many of my old friendships.

Friends that are needy. Friends that judge me. Friends that i always had to visit because my house seemed too far for them to travel. Friends that would gossip behind my back. Friends that refuse to introduce you to their new partner (for whatever reason) and simply friends that I no longer feel are important to me. Different values and we have grown apart.

In the years past I have invested so much into forming friendships and I tried so hard to keep them. What I have since realised, is that friendships should not be hard work, they should be easy and seamless.

In the past couple weeks I have found out that two of my closest friends are leaving. One I met by chance almost 5 years ago and even though I’m 10 years older. We ‘clicked’. We have kids the same age. We share similar interests. Our kids go to the same school and it’s just easy. She doesn’t judge. She isn’t competitive with our children’s academics and she is genuinely happy and proud of my children when they accomplish things. As am I of her children. We are I suppose, surrogate aunts to each other’s children.

The other friend whom is leaving I only met this year, however I feel as though we have known each other all our lives. Our daughters started kindergarten together this year and although my daughter is my second child to attend school, she is my baby and last child. (I only have 2)

Upon school drop off the first day of kindergarten I cried. My daughter was fine but I was an emotional mess. I struggled to comprehend that I was now going to be alone. I have been a stay at home mum since my son was born and he is now 8. It’s been a huge adjustment for me but I enjoy being a mum and I have given up my career to be a mum and I do not for one bit regret it. My husband is in a very senior position and has an extremely successful carer, so I chose to be the home duties parent. Back to school story, anyway as I walked out from my daughters classroom I was wiping the tears from my eyes and holding back the blubbering when this beautiful mummy approached me to check if i was ok? She comforted me and since that day we clicked.

I then saw her at pick up each day at school and we would chat. We swapped numbers and met up for coffee and had play dates with the children. Again we have children similar ages and our daughters have actually become best friends and we are close. I value her and think it’s rare to come across people that are so selfless and special.

This morning as I was organising the farewell luncheon for one of the Mums it hit me. My eyes welled up and tears dripped down my face. Im loosing two of the most loviest mum friends I could have found. Who would have thought that in my 40’s I’d be faced with finding new friends?

I believe that the universe has a wonderful but weird way of showing you what people mean to you. I will miss both these women immensely. They have become a huge part of not only mine, but my children’s lives. They will never be replaced and we will forever have holes in our hearts where they have left us. (Only by distance) but what I do know is, that there will be plenty of phone calls, FaceTime chats and weekend getaways to visit each other.

So my advice for you all reading this, hold those important to you close and with two hands.

As the old saying goes ‘True friends are like diamonds precious and rare; fake friends are like autumn leaves found everywhere.’

You know who you are. 💗💗

Defiance.

Defiance.

Yes, I have a couple of defiant children at the moment. I’m unsure if it’s from them being at home and in self isolation with me for the last 9 weeks, or if it’s an age thing? 

Whatever it is though, it’s testing times. 

I’m sure I’m not alone. I’m sure plenty of other parents have experienced this or similar or perhaps they are still experiencing this. It can be very frustrating and hard work, but what we must always remember to do, is not loose our control or connection,

Our children struggle with change, much like adults do. They however may not always be able to express their feelings and emotions nor are they always able to control their outbursts.

A defiant child is often met with anger and being reprimanded by their parent. By meeting your child’s anger (which is generally what defiance is) is only showing them that it’s ok. 

As a parent we must rise above and help keep an open and honest relationship with our child without them feeling belittled, unimportant or dismissed. We must listen to their feelings, acknowledge them and help them to understand them. Meeting aggression with aggression creates power struggles which will only enhance the defiance within a child.

I read an interesting article by AHA Parenting that goes into great detail about to how to deal with defiant child at any age. 

Although this article may seem long, trust me it is worth the read. 💗

Sending big hugs to all those who are going through this right now. 

Defiance. 

It’s guaranteed to push a parent’s buttons. After all, we’re supposed to be in charge, right? Defiance rubs our nose in the fact that we can’t really control another person, whether he’s three or thirteen, unless we use force. And who wants to be that parent?

Because when we overreact to defiance, we escalate the battle.  Since force creates resistance, either openly or in a passive-aggressive form, it’s ultimately a losing strategy. (You might win the battle, but you’ll lose the war.) 

So what can a parent do about defiance?

Cure it at the source! Kids are defiant for a reason. Often, they feel controlled and pushed around, and they need some positive ways to feel powerful and capable in their lives. 

Because a defiant child is rejecting the parent as leader, at least at this moment, defiance also indicates that the child feels disconnected from the parent. 

Maybe the relationship needs some repair work, or maybe she’s just very upset at the moment, and since she’s in “fight or flight” we look like the enemy. 

Punishment will just make the disconnection worse. It will make the child feel more unfairly pushed around. And it won’t help her with the upset. So you have to address defiance, but you can’t solve it with discipline. You solve defiance with connection.

Your approach will depend on how old your child is. Here’s an age-by-age guide.

Toddlers

Toddlers are still figuring out that they can be themselves and get what they want without saying No to everything. Although we as parents sometimes forget this, even small humans are separate people who have the right to their opinions and need to protect the integrity of their own “selves.” That’s why they’re so fiercely committed to “NO!” and “Do it myself!” Their defiance is best handled by:

  • Let her know you hear: “You say NO bath, I hear you….” (Sometimes, that’s enough to get a toddler cooperating happily.)
  • Give her a hug. (Often, toddlers just need to reconnect.)
  • Decide how flexible you are: “Ok, we can just wash your hands and face today” or “And you are so very dirty, we do need a bath, so let’s find a way to make it work for you.”
  • Kindly insist on your limit if you feel it’s essential: “You’re crying because you don’t want a bath….I am right here….You can cry as much as you need to…..When you’re done crying, let’s find your doll so she can take a bath with you, I know you like to wash her hair.”

Preschoolers

Preschoolers know the rules. When they’re defiant, they’re saying “Mom, Dad, I’m upset but I can’t really express it….So I’m going to be as bad as possible to get you to pay attention…I am going to DEFY you!” Their defiance is best handled by:

  • Remind yourself that his defiance is a bid for reconnection, not something that requires discipline.
  • Reconnect through play, if you can. Try being mock-outraged to get your child giggling: “Excuse me…WHAT was that? Did I hear you say NO? You WON’T do what I said? We’ll see about that, won’t we? En Garde!” After your pillow fight or wrestling match, your preschooler will have giggled out his upset and reconnected with some oxytocin released by all that roughhousing; he’ll be ready to do what you ask.
  • If he’s too upset to play, listen. “You’re saying no, you won’t go to soccer practice? Something must be upsetting you about soccer practice….What do you think it will be like if you go?”
  • If his upset persists, set a kind limit and welcome his tears. He might just need to get all those feelings out with a good cry in your warm presence, after which he’ll feel reconnected and able to cooperate.

Elementary Schoolers

Elementary Schoolers respond with defiance when they feel that we’re unfair. When kids argue all the time, they’re saying they don’t feel heard or connected. Their defiance is best handled by:

  • Stop, Drop (your agenda) and Breathe. Since your buttons are pushed, you need to get calm before you address the defiance.
  • Remind your child that disrespect is out of bounds: “You know we don’t speak to each other that way. You must be very upset.”
  • Consider that when kids are defiant it’s a relationship problem. You’re losing your child somewhere, so he’s not willingly following you. Are you being unfair? Are you not listening? Are you losing his respect by having your own tantrums?
  • Reconnect by listening and reflecting: “You’re saying No because you don’t think it’s fair? Hmm….Maybe I’m missing something here. Tell me more.”
  • Empathize: Remember that anger won’t begin to fade until it feels heard. “Oh, so you feel….You wish…It must feel so hard that….”
  • Look for win/win solutions. “So you want…and I want…How about we…?”

Preteens and Tweens

Preteens and Tweens begin experimenting with defiance because they hear it from peers, and to see where the limits are. Their defiance is best handled by:

  • Stop, Drop (your agenda) and Breathe. Since your buttons are pushed, you need to get calm before you address the defiance.
  • Reinforce your expectation about the standard of respect in your family: “Ouch! You know we don’t speak to each other that way.”
  • Give your child a chance to correct herself while you reopen communication: “I know you didn’t mean to be disrespectful. I do want to hear what you have to say. Let’s try a do-over.”
  • Consider your approach. No one likes to be told what to do. And yet research shows that the average parent gives hundreds of orders every day, most in a negative tone. If your preteen is bristling, consider how you can help her step into more responsibility, instead of feeling ordered around.

Teens

Teens are defiant when they feel disconnected or have lost respect for us. Their defiance is best handled by:

  • Translate your teen’s defiant words. Your child may sound like she never wants to see you again, but underneath her rudeness, she’s saying “I’m all alone out here and pretty miserable…I wish you’d find a way to come out in the cold and get me, because I don’t know how to find my way back.”
  • Stay compassionate. Say “Ouch! That was pretty rude…You must be very upset to speak to me that way….I try to always speak respectfully to you….What’s going on, Sweetie?” (If you realize your role modeling of speaking respectfully has been lacking, admit that, apologize, promise to do better, and state your expectation that everyone in the family needs to turn over a new leaf.)
  • Stay compassionate while he expresses his upset: “Wow…I see…I’m so sorry…I didn’t realize…Thanks for telling me.” Just keep breathing and stay calm. He needs to tell you about all his built-up feelings that have been making him feel so disconnected from you.
  • Find a way to re-connect. Listen. Reflect. Seek to understand. Tell him how much you love him and how much he means to you. Find a common ground. Problem-solve so you both get your needs met. Model the respect you expect.

Whatever your child’s age, respect his right to refuse sometimes.

Maybe he’s studying for a test or only has five minutes to finish building his castle before bath time. If he cooperates most of the time, and asks respectfully, why isn’t it ok for him to ask for special dispensation tonight? The more he feels you’ll listen when he makes his request, the less he needs to resort to defiance to express his wishes. Of course, that doesn’t mean you don’t put your foot down when you need to. But you never need to be mean about it; that just breeds more defiance.

Finally, notice that defiance is an opportunity, not an emergency.

Most of us get so triggered by our child’s defiance that we automatically come down like a sledge hammer. After all, we wouldn’t have been allowed to act that way when we were young.

But defiance is like a red light on the dashboard of your car; a signal that something is wrong that you need to fix. What’s wrong isn’t the child, but the relationship, and you fix that by reconnecting, not by attacking. 

So the next time your child is defiant, remind yourself that you don’t have to attend every power struggle to which you’re invited. Try setting a clear limit about the standard of respect in your house, while at the same time reconnecting. Be grateful that your child’s defiance gave you a warning about how much distance had crept in between you.

Then, use this opportunity to change the course of your relationship with your child! 

And maybe, of his life.

***

Thank you AHA parenting for the light at this challenge of times. 💗

It’s ok.

It’s ok.

These are uncertain times.

People are stressed and suffering anxiety more than ever before.

These circumstances are something that the majority of us have never experienced before and possibly won’t experience again.

And it’s ok.

It’s ok to feel alone.

It’s ok to feel overwhelmed.

It’s ok to be anxious.

It’s ok to be fearful.

It’s ok sad.

It’s ok to cry.

It’s ok to not know.

It’s ok to feel confused.

It’s ok to feel misunderstood.

It’s ok to not feel your ‘normal’ self.

But what we must not do, is allow it to overcome us.

I know it seems easy for me to say as I sit here typing on my couch, but we can’t allow it to overcome us. We are stronger than this. Have your bad days, weeks, time. You are also grieving a loss. 

A loss of normality, a loss of seeing those whom you love, who you would normally spend your time with. The smile from other parents, children or teachers at school drop off or pick up, the smile from the stranger in the supermarket. A smile is contagious and if your not receiving them, you may start to feel sadness.

Communication is now more important than ever. Call, write, email, FaceTime. Stay connected to those whom you can’t give a hug too. Contact the ones who cheer you up. The ones whom are normally the happy bubbly person. They may be able to help you see the light on this dim situation. Or they may need cheering up themselves.

It’s times like these that push us to limits. 

Push us to what feels like breaking point.

Push us into uncharted territory where we haven’t been before.

These times will have us question almost everything in our lives.

Are we actually happy?

Do we really enjoy what we are doing with our lives?

Is this the life I actually want to live?

Is this really the person whom I want to be with for the rest of my life.

Reflect on yourself, good or bad.

Being in isolation can make or break you.

It can show you sides of others that you may not want to see. You may see greed, anger, nastiness, love, care, understanding, arrogance, selfishness. It’s uncertainty that feeds on anxiety and emotion. 

People whom you once saw in a particular way, may not actually be that person. Statistics have shown that domestic violence has tripled in China over this pandemic. Domestic violence could be emotional or physical. Someone hitting you, pushing you or even a shove, be it slightly forceful or violently or even yelling at you in a derogatory way or calling you names, saying you are negative, intolerable, unbearable to be around is abuse. This is domestic violence and neither are acceptable or should be tolerated.

People fear the unknown and for the majority, the unknown creates anxiety. Anxiety can have us behaving in ways that we normally would not. 

In these uncertain times more than ever, take time for you. It may seem far fetched, unattainable or unreasonable because others are relying on you (children and family) however if you are not coping, how can you help others? It may seem selfish and that the responsibility is falling on you which is another stress, but you need to look after yourself, first and foremost. 

Even taking a warm bath alone may help. Do some stretching, sit with your eyes closed on the floor with your legs crossed and focus for 5 minutes on your breathing. Slow breaths in then slowly breath out. Even lay flat, with your eyes closed. Taking time away from normality, even for a short time will help your own mental health.

You may feel like you have no time alone, or selfish for having time alone. However, we as people are not meant to be constantly in the company of others. We need to recharge ourselves, and there is nothing wrong with doing so. 

You may find that things that used to make you feel happy no longer do. Change is confronting and can also be confusing.

Find comfort in things that make you happy. 

Not everyone will support you. Not everyone will understand you. Sometimes you just need empathy, compassion and comfort in your feelings. Not being put down and made to feel worse about the situation. Support those who are not coping. Don’t make them feel worse about their feelings. Acknowledge their feelings and help them to feel better. Sometimes it’s better to keep your own personal options to yourself. Try to support those who are not finding this difficult situation easy. Those whom appear to be the strongest in dealing with stressful times may actually be the ones needing to be supported the most in these unusual situations.

We will all come out of this. But being told that may not be the most appropriate thing to say to someone struggling at the moment. Being kind, empathetic and compassionate are nicer qualities. Being supportive may mean being quiet and just saying nothing. Listen to how others are feeling. By saying your feelings aloud is venting and that in itself is a release of fear and anxiety. Being able to admit and speak about how your feelings will help you overcome them.

Don’t let fear overcome you. 

Please remember to be kind.

Change can be good. 

It’s ok to have all kinds of feelings.

Just feel them. 💗

Self isolation.

What does self isolation mean to you?

What have you learnt?

What have you been doing?

How do you think it’s changed you?

Are you missing or craving routine?

Do you miss your social life?

I know that when we all come out of this challenging time, we will all more more grateful and hopefully more understanding of each other. 

I was a very social person prior to self isolating. I will admit, it has been tough. I miss seeing my friends. I miss the things that we would once consider mundane. The school picks ups, the afternoon activities, the bumping into people whom we know at the supermarket. I miss the little things. 

I miss giving my family and friends a hug when they are feeling down. I miss seeing the smiles on my children’s faces when they see their friends of a morning at school drop off. 

I am constantly reading all these posts about keeping busy and what we ‘should’ be doing with our time. What I’m finding though, is that what we ‘should’ be doing, is actually connecting and staying connected to those people who are closest to us. 

This is new for the majority of us. We are not used to being at home 24/7. Confined if you like, to our own homes. Not being able to pop out for brunch, or going to work meetings. The lack of social interaction can be tough for most of us. 

What we need to appreciate though is having this time with our children and partners. Being forced to spend time with those whom we normally wouldn’t get much time with. My two children are in primary school for approximately 6 hours a day. My husband leaves for work early each morning for his commute followed by a working day of about 9-10hrs then another hour long commute home. This does not leave a lot of free time for us as a family.

Having my immediate family all under the one ‘roof’ again for an extended period is a blessing. Being able to bond and reconnect again in a time that would normally be super busy. Each rushing off to our own commitments. What we must not take for granted is that for those of us with children, our children are only little once. They may be a handful at the moment, demanding your time, affection and attention, but give it whilst you can. One day in the future, they may not need you as much, they may disregard the small things like a kiss upon their forehead at bedtime. They may become too ‘cool’ for that hug at school drop off. You may become embarrassing to them. 

I know that most parents are still working remotely through this self isolation. But please don’t be too hard on either yourself or your family. 

We are all in this together. And we will all be ok when we come out of this. 

Times like these seem to be going on for forever, but in the scheme of things, this time will past soon enough abc we will look back on it with wonder. 

Take each day as it comes and be grateful for all that you have, and not all that you wish you had. 💗


Saving our Environment

Saving our environment.

Not so long ago I was approached by another school mum who suggested I write about helping to save our environment. 

With so much happening within the world at the moment there are so many aspects to this subject. 

You only have to watch the news to see the drastic changes within our environment. Some of these are natural disasters, however I firmly believe that we as humans are contributing to the harmful impact that our environment is giving us. 

Drought

Fires

Floods

Call it Mother Nature fighting back if you want, but we have all contributed some way, shape or form to this situation. 

We have had such a dry summer with very minimal rain which has caused terrible drought within various regions. Many families and communities on level 5 water restrictions which meant some households were limited to 100 litres per day and recycling their water usage. This means showering over a bucket for a very limited shower time. Reusing that water to then water gardens or wash cars. Instead of running your hot water tap until the hot water comes through, boiling the jug and using that water to then run a sink for your dishes. Whilst doing your washing of clothing you recycle that grey water into buckets to again be used elsewhere.

We have then had the worst fires that Australia has seen in a long time ravaged through these areas and many more. With the drought drying all the trees and creating kindle. These fires spread fast and were ferocious not holding back on destroying many homes, bushland and wildlife.

From that we saw that still within Australia certain companies were using much needed water to mine and pump this commodity. With rivers and dams dried up, people were allowing firefighters to access their homes pool water to help save others homes and environments. 

We then all prayed for rain and at some point we knew that it would come, but the recent rain fall has then flooded many areas and filling much needed dams and rivers but has also created the danger of overflow and flooding. With dam walks braking and ‘bottle necks’ within our river systems the fast flowing water has to escape somewhere so rises them breaks over the walls and floods into lower laying areas. 

With any natural disaster, there are other impacts and things that rise such as stale water from the floods creating algae and other contamination. Falling trees from both flood and fires damaging homes and waterways. Farmland destroyed. Animals dying. All of these have terrible impact on our environment. 

One example is the drought stricken farmers. If there is no water to feed the grass and paddocks of farmers cattle cannot eat. With no food for the cattle, they starve and die. You may be things how does this affect me?

Well no cattle leads to no milk. Milk comes from cows right? But there is also the conundrum of the companies pumping water to make the plastic bottles for the cows milk to be purchased in. Catch 22?

Cattle also provide meat. No cattle, no meat. What will we eat?

No rain, no grains and vegetables to be grown. No vegetables, no grains, no fruit, equals no food. 

Mother Nature provides so much for us. We should all stand together to help her and save our beautiful world. 

I hear you reading this thinking, how can I help? Well every little thing helps. Start with recycling. Cardboard, plastics, glass, tin most things can be recycled. This plays a huge part in minimising landfills and the pull back on manufacturing more plastic and other recycled goods. I know your now thinking that will stop jobs, it won’t as there are many other jobs out there apart from manufacturing. It’s all  about educating yourself and doing little changes that’s I’ll have a big impact. 

Swapping from aerosol cans to roll on. Yes your possibly still using a plastic container but the aerosol gases burn holes in our ozone layer. Our ozone layer is what helps to protect us from the suns burning rays which also helps from extra hot days and drought, drying and fires. 

Every little bit helps. Do some research and educate yourself a little more. Cliche I know, but together we can make a difference. 

New school year.

New year.

As the new school year has rolled around so have many more emotions.

This year will see me having 2 primary school students. 😭

Whilst I am super excited for them both, I’m full of all other emotions. My little man is starting grade 2, and my little miss starts kindergarten. Where had this time gone?

My tummy is already rolling around with anxiety for them. For my little guy, it’s hoping that his friends from last year continue to like him this year, that he gets some wonderful class mates, new and old friendships, his teacher understands him, that he continues to enjoy school and most of all, that he tries his best and is happy. For my little miss, it’s the excitement of starting ‘big school’, she is starting kindergarten with no one from her preschool, that within itself is confronting. She is quite confident, but I still feel a sense of fear for her, walking into a classroom knowing no one. Although she will be perfectly happy, I’m nervous for her. 

It’s all the unknown. I know that I have had 2 years of primary school thus far with my little man, but nothing quite prepares you for the first day back at school facing the almost ‘unknown’. A new classroom, a new groups of friends, a new teacher, a new quadrangle, a new routine and nene learnings. 

For all those parents starting back at school tomorrow, I’m sending you virtual hugs. You may be feeling comfortable and confident about it, I myself am hoping for the best but bracing for what the first day may entail. 

You’re excited, you’re anxious, you’re nervous, you’re overwhelmed, you’re sad, you’re happy.

This can be a tough time of year. On the one hand – you made it through the summer holidays and you probably have some battle scars and could use a few extra hours (or days) of sleep, especially if you have younger kids, but you made it.

On the other hand, going back to school is hard – for parents and kids.

In the weeks before the first day back to school, emotions are at an all-time high. Schedules are made, bedtimes are enforced, and the reality that holidays are over has settled in.

As a parent myself of 2 heading back to primary school, l like to be organised. Back to school means a host of extra tasks and responsibilities that are piled on an already overflowing plate. Stress mounts as you check and double check lists of supplies for school including stationary, lunchboxes, hats, chair bags, uniforms and whatever else your school requires. You also need to make sure that everyone knows what time you need to do drop off and pick up or what time the bus will be coming. There are pickups and drop-offs to be coordinated along with the after school activities.

Your household could be exhausted from the holidays, let’s face it, 6 weeks of full time entertainment of having your kids at home full time, and getting over the hurdle that is the first day of school feels like a task too daunting to think about.

Emotions from all family members range from excitement to dread, depending on how old your kids are. Younger kids might be feeling excited, especially if it is their first time attending school. Parents on the other hand, are likely sobbing while they look at baby pictures, wondering where the time went.

Older kids might feel nervous, especially if it is a transitionary year and they are heading into their first day of high school. Their parents might also feel nervous. With the high school years come more intense academics and athletics. Then there is also the added stress of HSC and studies to help get the marks needed for university degrees and what is the ‘back up plan’. Not to mention figuring out how to pay for it all.

There can also be a feeling of fear, both for parents and kids. Will your kids make new friends? Will their old friends still want to play with them? Will they be bullied? Will they be the bully? What about their grades? Will they be able to keep up? Will they be able to balance their full schedule of schoolwork and afternoon activities? Will you be able to balance everything and keep your sanity? It’s normal to feel anxiety at this time of year.

But there’s also something magical and exciting about it all too. 

A new school year is a new beginning. It’s hard not to feel at least a little optimistic and excited. So snap those back to school pictures and be proud of your child on their first day of school – whether it’s their first day of kindergarten or first day of university. You must remember, you helped them get to this point, and you should be proud of not only them, but yourself.

Intimacy

Intimacy.
Intimacy, quite the taboo word among most, yet I find of late more and more people want to talk about it.
For those who have followed my blog for a while, or know me, you will know that I’m a huge fan of Sex and the City. Both the TV series and the movies. I can still to this day, watch either over and over again. I love the raw honesty of the 4 main female characters and how open they are with any subject. I always hoped that I too would grow friendships with my friends where I can speak open and honestly without judgement or questions. 
I suppose in my early years I wasn’t as open or vocal with my friends, but now I am a lot more comfortable and confident within my close friendships circle that I am happy to talk about such subjects. 
Recently I was at a social event where the woman ended up at one of the table away from their partners and of course, when some women start to drink, they become more open and confident with such personal topics. On this particular occasion I had only known 1 of the women and I wasn’t drinking when the intimacy subject came up. 
Now I’m not one to be open and raw with people whom I just met, it has taken me a while to trust people and also know how much information is ok to pass on without judgement, however a few of the women at this event were more than happy to ask the dreaded question of ‘how often are you intimate with your husband?’. 
This question made me think of the Sex and the City movie where all 4 girls are talking about how often they ‘colour’ and each of the friends had different ideas, wants and needs. Samantha of course wanted to ‘colour all day every day and she used every crayon in the box’. Whereas Charlotte ‘coloured’ 2 – 3 times per week. Miranda hadn’t ‘coloured’ for over 6 months and Carrie let out that when big colours, he rarely stays inside the lines. 
I didn’t want to get involved in that topic as I had only just met the group, but most of the women had known each other for quite some time. I certainly wasn’t going to judge them, but I also wasn’t prepared to disclose my information. I get that each relationship is different and everyone has different needs, so why compare? 
To me, it seems that the intimacy or sex question is no longer personal? These women then proceeded to say how often they are intimate, which kind of surprised me. It also made me think back to the old wives tale of – before you get married put a marble in a jar each time you are intimate. Then once you are married take a marble out for each time that you are intimate, with the conclusion that you will still be left with marbles in the jar long after you are married. Which suggests, that once you are married the intimacy becomes less often. 
On this occasion most of the women were suggesting that they are intimate only a couple times each month some less and on that rare occasion that they are intimate, they were not necessarily enjoying it. That it seemed more like a chore for them? More like their passion had died and it was a scheduled calendar event.
I questioned how long had they been with their partners / husbands and to my surprise they were all about the same amount of married years as myself. Now these women are a little older than me, but not by much. 2 were 47 and 2 were aged 45. I have in the past believed that women are at their sexual peak around mid to late 30’s up until mid 40’s. Seemingly within this group, it was true. All these women were wanting more intimate moments with their partners but it was in fact (according to them) that their partners were not ‘up for it’ as often as they were. 
Another old wives tale is that men are always ‘up for it’ and it’s usually the female turning them down citing reasons of being tired or similar. Not with this group. They were happy to open up and discuss the fact that they would long for their husbands to touch them sexually or romantically.  They wanted to feel wanted and were actually feeling the opposite. Their partners/ husbands had lost their libido and these women were left feeling lonely and unattractive. 
These women are all successful in their own rights, each of them working in corporate roles, still doing mother and wife duties but feeling less than desired because when they would snuggle up to their husbands trying to become or start intimacy with a passionate kiss or touch, they felt that their advances were being shut down.
This made me feel sad for them. The feeling that you have been with your husband for 10+ years, you have made a family together and still love each other, but the relationship between you and your husband has become more of a friendship and the romance and sexual intimacy has dissolved. 
One of these women was open enough to say that her husband has openly told her that since she has been through early menopause, he no longer looks at her in a sexual way. This of course has hurt her feelings and she questions why he is no longer attracted to her. She is still a woman. She is still his faithful wife. She is still the mother of his child. So why has he now decided that he isn’t interested in being intimate with her?
I know that as a women, I want to feel wanted. I want to have my husband be attracted to me. I want the intimacy and romance. I want the passion and romance. So why does it fade for some people? 

Is this 40?

Is this 40?

This year I turned 39, so I’m staring straight down the barrel of 40. Is it confronting I hear you ask? No not really. Not for me anyway. 
I think for me it’s feeling happy within myself. I’m at ease with myself and my life. I know my place and I enjoy where I am. 


I think the whole ‘40’ mid life crisis thing may be for some, however not for me. I understand it can feel confronting yet I believe that being happy from within and comfortable with yourself plays a big part. 


I know a lot of people who have already turned 40 or are approaching 40 and are fearful and questioning themselves. Yes it’s believed to be your ‘half way point’ if you feel you will only live to 80? But I’m positive. I don’t think you gain much if you have a negative mindset. 

What I have realised is that most people, my friends especially don’t talk to each other about their age and how they feel about themselves. If they talk about their birthdays, it’s mostly in a flippant or brushed off way. Some pass comments like “Enjoy your 30’s while they last,” But how is that type of comment helpful? It doesn’t tell you anything meaningful about what turning 40 is actually like. Whether it’s younger people not asking enough questions or middle-aged people being too vague with their answers, it seems like many of us reach an age milestone completely clueless about what to expect or how to feel.

Does 40 all of a sudden make you feel ‘old’? I believe not? My husband is 9 years my senior and he tells me age is a number and it’s mind over matter. Which I believe is true. I think that as a younger person, 40 appears to be ‘old’. Gosh I remember when my parents were turning 40. I must admit I thought ‘oh man they are old’. But in hindsight, 40 is not actually old. 

I personally feel more confident within myself. I have learnt to stop beating myself up for what I am not or what I have not achieved. All that anxiety about whether I am thin enough, too thin, too fat or not muscular enough started to fade away when I reached about 35. I accept what I have and what my body does for me. I appreciate it more because I have 2 beautiful children that grew inside me. 

What I have also accepted is that friends are only forever if you nurture those relationships. If you don’t make an effort to keep them in your life, they will disappear. And by the time you’re 40, you’ll realize that your once larger community of ‘friends’ has dwindled into a smaller and closer knit of people. Less acquaintances. 

Time becomes more precious and you begin to value those who are important to you. Remember all those parties that you went to in your 20s and 30s? In your 40s, those social obligations start to get replaced by reunions and more important events like children’s birthdays or graduations. 

If you wasted too much of your youth listening to the critical voices in your head, telling you that you are no good and to just give up already, you’ll be thrilled to learn that your mindset (well mind did) changes. It is much easier in your 40s to tune it out, Mays our own decisions and respect your own decisions. Be comfortable and confident in your own decisions. Maybe it’s just from years of experience or from discovering again and again that your inner critic doesn’t have any actual idea what it is talking about.

As I approach 40 I feel less I blinded to be stubborn. I let small things slide which I would have once held a grudge over and I find I’m not dwelling on making the right decision as such, but go with what feels right to me.

I have also found that I’m more included to ask for help. There’s no weakness in asking for help or letting your friends and family lend a hand when you need it. It’s humbling, really, to finally let go of your white-knuckled grip on independence and realise just how much other people care and want to help. I can be a bit of a control freak, just ask my husband, but allowing others to help you, is not admitting defeat yet accepting that most of us simply cannot do it all. We are not all superhuman. 

I redirect now on how much time I wasted worrying about what others thought of me. I honestly can’t believe that I gave so much of my time and energy to jerks who were never worth the effort. I’ve let many ‘friendships’ fade and instead I focus my energy and give my time to those whom I believe are worthy and add value to my life. I once had so many ‘friecd’ but I have also come to realise those ‘friends’ have not attended any of my children’s birthday parties. They have never visited my house once, not do they contact me for a simple hello. I have found that my radar for detecting when you’re being taken advantage of, or when the respect is anything but mutual. I was once such a giver, now I’m more cautious which has been a hard lesson for me to learn.

Emotional manipulation is not something you’re likely to fall for any more, and being a martyr has lost all its appeal. There’s a time and place when saying yes to anything because you’re afraid of letting people down sounds like a good strategy, and being in your 40s isn’t it. Time is precious so I’m choosing to spend my time wisely.

Stress is never going to go completely away, even in your 40s, but now you start to finally put any stores into perspective. The vast majority of things that most people worry about people are actually not worth that mental energy at all. It may not seem like it now, but everything really is going to be okay. 

Do you have FOMO? (Fear of missing out) as I have aged, I now laugh at such anxieties. Because, you know what? You’re not missing out on anything. I feel now that I have seen enough and experienced enough to earn the right to say “no” and stay in and do as I please. I still sometimes question my decisions, but I’m now more comfortable with them and knowing that I have made the right ones. I guess some could say maturity has kicked in? Along with grey hair and wrinkles. 😉💗

Saving your marriage for family.

Saving your marriage for the family. 
I was getting my nails done recently which is something that I treat myself to on a monthly basis, it is a bit of ‘me time’ which I schedule whilst both my children are at school. Anyway, I was happily sitting there quietly and another woman came in and sat beside me to get her nails done also. We started chatting, just light stuff  and she asked ‘do you live locally?’ Which I replied with yes, and gave her my suburb name. She then proceeded with where she lived and shared with me that her sister lives in the same suburb as myself. Which isn’t unfamiliar as it’s a large suburb not far from the shopping centre where we were. I was then asked the street that I lived on, which startled me, but being friendly I told her, as again, it’s a long street. To which this woman replied ‘oh my sister is number 82’. What a small world as I’m only 3 houses down from where her sister lives. 


I was then asked if I knew her sister, which I don’t personally but as we live within close proximity, I know the house and the car in which she drives etc. I drive past it every day. The woman then proceeded to tell me that her sister (who lives in the same street) and her husband are currently divorcing. I was a little shocked, but realise that there is a high divorce rate within marriages. 


Whilst 1 in 3 marriages end in divorce, they are lasting longer than what marriage did 2 decades ago. In 1993, the average length of marriages that ended in divorce was 10.7 years, today marriages are lasting 12.1 years on average. 77% of Australian couples cohabitate before getting married which may be the reason that the marriage is lasting longer than previously. Getting to know each other prior to the marriage commitment, learning each other’s habits and actually cohabiting helps to really get to know what your ‘signing up for’. 


I was then told that her sister and the ex husband simply ‘grew apart’. Which I understand is common, however also a little sad. I think most people, myself included go into married with the idea and hope for the ‘till death’ vows in mind.  
Now I’m not naive, and I do realise that people change and so do circumstances, but I’m still quite the romantic in wanting to grow old with my husband by my side. I envisage hubby and myself as great grandparents sitting on the couch and having cups of tea. 


It has got me thinking though, how many family’s stay together for the sake of their children? 
Do couples simply stay together until their children are finished school then decide it’s just not what they wanted or realise that their partner is not actually someone they enjoy being around anymore? 


People are always growing and changing. It’s human nature to evolve. Our interests, priorities, and opinions also change over time. Your spouse will not be the same person you married, they will evolve through their life, as you should. … In fact, growing apart after marriage is probably one of the silent things that could potentially destroy your marriage.


Over the course of a single day, our own ups and downs in mood swings can make little waves in our marriages. Some days are better than others – that’s just how life is, whether it’s a relationship, a job, a hobby, or anything else. Things are simply not roses all the time. People go through ups and downs. Sometimes the fluctuations are minor and sometimes they are drastic, but it can’t be sunshine and roses all the time. People can fall out of love, but only if you allow yourself.


You don’t just fall out of love. Falling out of love is something that happens gradually when you are not keeping the spark of your marriage alive.

While it may be fairly normal to have times when your connection to one another feels stronger than others, (if you have followed me for a while, you may remember a post a few years ago where I wrote about one partner being more in love with the other at any given time – which according to therapists and psychologist’s, is normal) you can resist growing apart by making a conscious effort with your loved one.

Drifting apart is only a natural occurrence if you are not doing anything to prevent it.

As with any relationship, friendship or marriage, the first step of keeping the ‘spark alive’ is spending quality time together. If you are not making time to give attention or affection, how can you expect to stay connected?

It’s important to make time for each other. I know that this can seem hard, especially when you have children or work or other commitments, but what can be more important than your commitment to your partner? 

Therapists suggest at least 8 hours per week – should be spent away from distractions like TV and phones, away from work stresses, household chores, the mundane everyday things that can distract you. This is when you can share your concerns, talk about what’s making you happy or sad, share stories and remember happy times, talk about each of your goals for the future, or just chat about things you both enjoy – the whole point is to stay connected. This will help you feel connected and stay in love with the one you married.

Drifting apart doesn’t happen instantly, it happens gradually when you allow it to. Keep your spark alive, go on dates, communicate with each other, snuggle up together, hold hands,  give each other compliments and flirt with each other. Remember what made you fall in love with each other and try to ignite those feelings or keep them alive.

Remember no relationship is perfect. Everyone has –ups and downs, but working together to get through them will make your relationship stronger if you allow it. 💗