Posts tagged #little

5 Steps Back To Self

Two years ago you wouldn’t have even had to ask me how I “balance being me with being a mum” – the answer was spelt out loud and clear in my unwashed hair, two year old maternity wear, and blank stare: “NOT VERY WELL”!  I was right smack bang in the middle of “Mama Pyjama Syndrome”, living each day just to get through to the next nap time.  I’d let myself go, forgotten my passions, and had made putting myself last an art form. 

Two years on, I still battle to keep the Mama Pyjama at bay some days, but I’ve worked really hard to rebuild my sense of self and ensure a better balance exists between my dedication to my family; and nurturing my own passions.  I thought I’d share the first five steps I’ve taken on my journey back to self…

Dreams

"You may say I'm a dreamer..."

"You may say I'm a dreamer..."

In the spirit of the New Year, I wanted to talk a little about dreams and goals and the journey of their pursuit.   A year or so ago I had very few aspirations (and by very few I mean like probably one – “to get through the day”.  That may be a little dramatic, but you get my point).  Today I have so many things I want to do, see, live, breathe, and experience.  I have big dreams, big desires and big passions.  But the fact is the logistics of my life haven’t changed at the same rate as my mindset.  I’m still working the same job, still paying the same mortgage, and I still have all the same commitments as before.  Sometimes it gets hard to see how I can make it work.  How I can hold onto these dreams, when I need both my hands to hold onto my family’s wellbeing, my home, my ‘career’…

I want so much to “throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in (my) sails”…but when you have a family, the decision to do so is no longer yours alone.  I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but it’s the reality.  I would love to quit my job – love to, but it’s not something I’m prepared to do without having a fairly solid idea of what I would do next. 

 “Great ideas need landing gear as well as wings.”  ~ C.D. Jackson

I’m not a patient person.  In most areas of my life I throw myself in head first and play by the motto of "sink or swim".  But in matters of the family, I am different.  Things need to be planned, considered, weighed up and secured before I will take a plunge.  I’ve had to remind myself that delaying a step along the journey towards my dreams, and taking the time to plan my next move doesn’t mean that I’m failing, it just means that I’m increasing the chances of successfully reaching my destination.

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”  ~ Antoine De Saint Exupery

Sometimes we hit hurdles along the way, and if you’re anything like me, impatience can get the better of us.  I know in my heart that I haven’t lost sight of my dreams and I know that I will get there, but I get frustrated with the time it takes.  I’ve set the wheels in motion, they are turning, but sometimes they just don’t seem to be turning fast enough!   It can be hard to accept that progress is still progress even if it is slow. 

“No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow you progress, you are still way ahead of everyone who isn't trying.”  ~ Tony Robbins

There will be moments along your journey when it all starts to seem too hard.  At times, pursuing your dreams can be somewhat underwhelming!  This can quickly result in a sense of defeat…and a question as to whether it’s even ‘worth’ doing anymore.  It’s super hard to keep going when the result isn’t six weeks into the future.  It is perhaps apt to remind ourselves at these points, that it is as much about the evolution and growth of your personal self along the journey to your dreams, as it is the actual realisation of the dream itself.  The strength, patience and wisdom that comes from rising: to meet our challenges; to step over those hurdles; and to continue to crawl when you can no longer walk, is just as valuable and life changing.

“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.”  ~ Zig Ziglar

It takes a real solid, committed effort to keep pushing forward.  It’s a daily battle to keep your sub-conscious mind in check.  You know, the one that tells you you’re wasting your time, you’re a dreamer, you haven’t got a hope in hell.   But you know what?  Sarah Ban Breathnach said it best when she said, “The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers.  But above all, the world needs dreamers who do.”  So keep fighting the fight, keep rising above the negative voices and keep pushing forward with your pursuit.  Write things down and read them over and over again.  Listen to things that inspire you, take in the daily quotes, focus on what made you start this journey in the first place.

And every morning when you wake, ask yourself this one question:

“How am I going to live today in order to create the tomorrow I'm committed to?”  ~Anthony Robbins

Labour

Labour Mama Pyjama

Pregnancy… all things considered I wore it well.  I was one of the lucky ones.  My hair was glorious, my skin clear, and I actually lost weight (not through some crazy mission to not gain a kilo during the gestation period, but rather through giving up my beloved beer and accompanying meat/cheese platters). 

Sure, I had some weird pregnancy side effects that drove me a little crazy…like blocked ears that wouldn’t pop no matter how hard I tried, and a nose that grew at twice the normal rate (I swear it was never this big)!  And facial hair.  Yep, I grew sideburns.  Lucky I’m fair-haired, otherwise I’m sure I would have heard the circus calling.  I had wicked reflux and one time I almost dropped my toddler when low blood pressure caused me to nearly black out…but all in all it was a pretty sweet ride.  I possibly felt the best I’ve ever felt about my body. I had a real sense of purpose.  My liver had a chance to recuperate after years of abuse, and I finally had a taste of what it is like to have a full head of thick hair (though still not enough hair to blend in with the glorious manes of my Italian friends and family!). 

I carried both boys to term, the first to almost his due date, the second to five days over.  I experienced my water breaking with both kids (a beautiful moment where you feel like a water balloon has just popped inside of you and you’ve wet your pants in the excitement).  It was all pretty textbook…until I got to the actual labour part.

Labour… now here’s something I do really badly. 

Both times my contractions started shortly after my water broke only to stop completely several hours in.  I was put on synthetic hormones to restart and/or speed up the process, but it had little effect, other than to cause my firstborn extreme distress (we later found that the cord was wrapped around his neck).  I laboured for what felt like forever (about 17hrs each time), my contractions had all the intensity of two semi-trailers going head to head with my uterus stuck in between, but they remained at 2 mins apart for practically the entire time.   In short: my contractions were ineffective; I didn’t dilate quickly enough; and put simply, my body just sucked at labour.

I had an epidural about half way in with both boys.  The second time around was a waste of time.  The anaesthetist inserting it looked a whole of about 14 years old, and despite my insistence that it wasn’t working he assured me it was.  It wasn’t.  We found out later that it wasn’t inserted properly, it was half hanging out, leaking god knows what into god knows where. It may help explain my back spasms and strange reactions to the anaesthesia, if nothing else. 

Towards the end of my labour with my second child my body went into shock.  Whether it was a reaction to the misplaced anaesthetic, or just the complete overwhelm and fear of labour after 16 hours, or whether it was just plain and simply the pain...I’m unsure.  But I shook, uncontrollably, like I had hyperthermia.  I couldn’t stop it, I couldn’t calm myself and I felt utterly ridiculous.  Women have been doing this since forever – what the hell was wrong with me?! 

 

When it came time to push with my first child I think I’d completely let go of any fight to maintain my dignity.  There I was, feet in stirrups, four people peering down at my knicker-less bottom half, and the doctor wearing gumboots using the bottom of the bed as an anchor-point getting ready to pull my baby out of me.  After the doctor attempted to attach two different suction caps to my baby’s head, I pushed hard with the help of the doctor’s vacuum machine thing.  Out came my baby’s head, then bang…my contractions stopped completely.  It was like standing in an elevator with four strangers all staring down at the floor waiting - except they were staring at my baby’s head sticking out of my hoo hah and there wasn’t any pleasant elevator music to distract from the awkwardness.  In the end I had to push without the assistance of a contraction.  He came out…but he was blue.  They all but threw him onto my chest for a matter of seconds and then rushed him off to get him breathing.  It was all a blur and I still don’t remember much about it, but looking back I know that the shock of his birth experience would take about three months post-birth to actually hit me. 

The birth of my second child goes a little like this… I’m about 160cms short and medium framed – he was 4.40kgs (nearly 10 pounds) with a 38cm head.  As you all now know: I don’t labour well; my epidural didn’t work; and I was about 16 or so hours in (having missed a night’s sleep already) by the time I was ready to push.  I birthed him without intervention/assistance.  Let’s just say - it wasn’t pretty.

It was almost 48hrs between my water breaking and being given the all clear by the doctor.  The placenta was so big that it tore the lining of my uterus when it came out, causing internal bleeding.  Shortly following the birth one of the midwife’s detected clotting and called in the obstetrician.  The long and short of it is that it involved intense lower abdominal ‘massage’ to assist me in expelling the clots.  It was essentially like giving birth to the baby’s head five more times.  The clots were the size of mangos, so big in fact that the midwives took them away to weigh them and show them off to the interns.  I was hooked up to drips on either side, a catheter bag hanging off the side of the bed and given two blood transfusions.    

Post birth was a whole new ball game.  My once gloriously pregnant body was now beaten, squeezed, stretched and sorry.  There’s nothing quite like having your obstetrician ‘try’ to insert a suppository and hearing him say “geez, I need a compass and a roadmap just to find it”.  Yep, labour – it gave me hemorrhoids too.  (I feel really pretty right now). Three months down the track I lost all my glorious pregnancy hair, and whilst I was happy to say goodbye to my Elvis phase, I wasn’t quite ready for the bald patches just above my temples.  My boobs, once so full and joyously disproportionate to my frame are now like little beanbags…without the beans.  If you lean forward and grab my stomach skin and squish it all up together with the belly button in the middle, it looks how I would imagine an 80 year old tiger’s butt would look.  Yep, that’s the reality.  Pregnancy and labour, no matter how smooth, are really tough on your body (and your mind!), but you know what?  I’d go back there and I’d do it all over again.  That statement is one part love, two parts insanity…but hey, they’re kind of the same thing, right?

Little Things Lost

"I'm just playing hide-n-seek Ma"

"I'm just playing hide-n-seek Ma"

I lose things all the time…my shoes, my hairbrush, my phone, my keys…but not my kids.  I’ve never lost my kids…well…not until last week.   I’m always on hyper-alert when I go out with my eldest, he’s super independent.  Always has been.  At his second birthday he had the entire group of extended family and friends in shock as he took off on his new three-wheeler to go investigate the local oval without so much as looking over his shoulder to see where we were.  He’s never been attached to the other end of an apron string.  He’s never fretted.  He just gets about his business and if he wants to go check something out, he does so - with or without his parents tagging along.

Ironically, it happened when I was shopping with only my youngest child.  Was I more relaxed?  Was this my first mistake?

I was in Best & Less, chatting away to him as I tried to quickly riffle through a rack of singlets and shorts to grab some cheap ones for the boys now that summer has hit us in full swing.  I was glancing between him and the clothes telling him to, “Stay there, I’ll just be a second,” and bribing him with a choc chip cookie.  Next thing I know he’s running towards the other side of the shop, giggling like crazy and I’m saying, “Hey, get back here!”  whilst madly trying to grab the last size 3 monster top off the hook as I run after him. 

I can see him running – when the hell did he get so fast?!  He’s headed straight for the floor-to-ceiling rack of clothes against the window.  By the time I reach him (a whole of 10 seconds later) he’s snuck in between the gap between the window and the clothes.  He’s grinning at me and edging slowly away from me like a cheeky little crab, as I’m saying, “Oi, come here.  Get out of there” with a reciprocal smile on my face.  Was this my second mistake?

He’s gotten too far away from me, so I come out from peering down the window and head to where I’m assuming he’ll exit.  He’s not there.  Ok, that’s fine, he’s just playing, he probably just went further along the window… He’s not there either.  We’ve been playing hide-and-seek at home lately…was this my third mistake?

I call his name.  My brisk walk is now semi-jog.  I call his name again.  No answer.  Now I’m on the floor, peering under clothes racks, a man asks, “Have you lost something?” 

“Yes, my child,” I answer. 

“That happened to me once,” he says and then he disappears. 

The shop is FULL of people.  It’s suddenly HUGE.  There are clothes and people EVERYWHERE.  But no child.  I can’t see him, I can’t hear him, he’s not answering my calls.  Now the panic is started to kick in.  It’s not cute anymore.  Now I’m starting to freak out.  Now I’m running, and I’m calling his name over and over again.  Louder and louder.  I can actually hear the change in my voice.  It’s gone from sing-song to deep, and now it’s starting to raise octaves.  People are looking at me, but the moment I make eye contact they look down, or to the clothes on the racks, or to their handbags.  No one says anything. 

 

Suddenly my mind kicks into gear – what if he isn’t in the shop anymore?!  What if he ran out?  I look towards the entrance and I see the man I spoke to minutes before.  There he is, with his wife, guarding the entrance.  He calls to me, “He hasn’t come out, Love” as he looks back and forth over his shoulder.  I can’t tell you the gratitude I felt for that dear man in that instant.

My mind is racing.  So many thoughts – I’m thinking of those boys that took that poor child from the shopping centre to the railway track, I’m thinking about Madeleine McCann, I’m even thinking about bloody dingos!  What if someone took him?  What if he got out before the man went to the entrance?  What if, what if, what if...

Finally one of the store girls asks if I’m ok, to which I reply, “No I’ve lost my child”.  She asks what he’s wearing.  My mind, for a split second goes completely blank as I try to recall.  Then she’s off looking too. 

It was probably only about 5 minutes later that she found him.  But it felt like a lifetime.  He was hiding in some clothes…doing a poo.  Clearly he just wanted a bit of alone time to do his business.  I’ve made a mental note that if this ever happens again, I will drop my nose to the ground like a bloodhound and sniff for the poo trail.  But jokes aside, it was up there with one of the most distressing moments of my life. 

In that short moment I think I experienced the full spectrum of human emotion: Gratitude; Empathy; Disappointment; Fear; Relief; Anxiety; Hysteria; Guilt; Panic; Love… I shook for a good two hours following, and I still feel my stomach flip-flop when I think of it now.  I cannot fathom the magnitude of pain those people whose children never return, must feel.  I experienced the minutest tip of it, and it near on brought me to my knees.  It only takes a single second and your life can change completely. 

My other realisation in that moment was this: 95% of people will turn the other way when confronted with a difficult situation.  They’ll fuss with the contents of their handbag; rush to a change room; or turn their cheek to play up the intensity of their otherwise trivial conversation.  They’ll avoid eye contact; fixate on a price tag; or simply turn to walk in the other direction.  The shop I was in was packed.  Perhaps the busiest I’d ever seen it.  If everyone had stopped still and looked around I believe he’d have been found in less than 30 seconds.  Instead they watched me run panicking around the shop for a good 10 minutes and did nothing.   In the same moment that I thought I’d lost my little boy, I also lost a little faith in the world.  With the exclusion of the paid shop assistant…just one man stopped to help.  He saw a problem and he stepped up.  He thought for me when I couldn’t.  He dropped everything he was doing to stand guard at that door, and I have no doubt that he would have stayed there as long as I had needed him without me having to even ask.  These are the people we need in our world...  Sadly, it seems, they are the minority.

Thank you dear man.  Your simple act of kindness truly touched my heart.  It will forever remind me not to lose sight of the impact a little consideration, a little compassion, and a little time can have on the lives of others.

All Grown Up

All Grown Up Mama Pyjama

I’m pretty sure it was just yesterday that I was sitting on a school bench, giggling with my friends about what we were going to be when we grew up.  We talked about how old we’d be when we got married, how many kids we planned to have, all the things we were going to do when we were ‘free’ from the shackles of youth.  It all seems like a lifetime away.  Thirty seemed so old, and the thoughts of us being parents and career women, wives and homeowners, were like alien concepts – far far away in a land we were yet to discover. 

All of a sudden, we’re 34, married, with kids, careers and mortgages.  Yet when we get together we still look at each other, often erupting into a fit of giggles as we look to see our kids playing together on the floor.  We can’t be that OOOOLLD yet!  Whose children are they?! They couldn’t possibly all be ours?!

There are also times when we question our capability and readiness as parents.  We’re 34, and we’re still finding our way.  We’re still growing, we’re still learning, we’re still calling upon our mums and dads for help.  Sometimes it feels like we’re playing dress-ups.  We’ve sometimes wondered if we’ll ever have it ‘all together’ in the way we envisioned all those years ago. 

It’s a strange awakening when you realise that your parents would have felt the same way.  When you acknowledge that you never stop needing to learn.  You never stop growing.  When you realise that there’s really no such thing as ‘grown up’…unless of course by ‘grown up’ we actually mean ‘passed on’.  When you look at it that way, it changes your perspective.  If we’re not growing...we’re dying. 

It’s a lot of pressure hearing a little person call you “Mum” (or “Dad”).  It’s hard not to feel overwhelmed sometimes…especially on those days where you feel like you’re just dressed up, playing house, flying blind.   But it’s ok.  We’re not alone.  Millions of parents before us have felt the same way.  You pick yourself up and you keep fakin’ it ‘til you make it.  Our children will still view us as we viewed our parents.  As old, as wise, as safe, as stable and as home.

We need to remind ourselves that if we’re not learning, we’re not living.  If we were as ‘old’ and ‘together’ as our 11 year old self envisioned we’d be, we’d be boring as bat poo.  There’s colour in our flaws and depth in our weaknesses. This is the light and shade that people always speak of.  This is what makes us human, this is what makes us want to keep on living.  This is what makes us ‘real’, ‘normal’, functioning and approachable people. 

So I’m 34, I’m a wife, I’m a mother, I’m a career woman, I’m a homeowner…but I’m not grown up.  I’m growing.  With every day that passes I do become a little wiser (and a little wrinklier), I gain a little more experience, and I develop a greater understanding of life in general.  But there’s always room for more.  I don’t intend on having it ‘all together’ or being all ‘grown up’ for quite a number of decades yet!

Holidaying with Kids

"It always look fun in the photos"

"It always look fun in the photos"

My mum and I were just talking about the Google guy and his multi-billion dollar fortune.  We were discussing the impact that having that sort of money would have on your state of mind.  What sort of goals would you set yourself (you wouldn’t need to save for anything and you could get first class training in anything you wanted to learn)?  How much would it impact the things that money can’t buy…like love and contentment?  What we would spend it on?  Travel - that’s what I’d spend my money on.  Traveling the world and experiencing as many different cultures as possible.   I’ve got to admit, that’s probably the only thing I really wish we’d done more of before having kids.

Holidaying with kids is a whole different kettle of fish.  We took our first son to Bali with us – twice.   The first time went pretty well – the Balinese love little babies!  The hardest part was packing.  We survived on carry-on luggage whilst he required two full sized suitcases to accommodate nappies, formula, shelf stable foods, and about 35 spew rags and clothing changes. 

The second time we went back I was pregnant with my second child.  Looking back I do wonder if I was not actually temporarily insane at that point in time. Well, if I wasn’t then, I can tell you that by day three of the ‘holiday’ I certainly was. 

My son was (still is) a terrible sleeper, so we were up half the night, then from the crack of dawn trying to keep him quiet (impossible) in a hotel with adjoining walls.  Every outing had to be timed to coincide with his sleep times, which meant by the time everyone else woke up, we’d walk down the street only have to start heading back to the hotel again.  He was walking...Bali streets… need I say more?  He got really sick with a fever two nights in…resulting in ear syringing, strange medication, and one million rupiah less in our pocket.  Two days later he runs full pelt into the ocean and gets slammed by a wave landing us back in hospital.  The next day he tried his hand at concussion, slipping and slamming his head on the concrete floor.  He got eaten alive by mosquitoes despite every effort to protect him.  He wouldn’t eat the food, he wouldn’t sit still in the restaurants and whenever we tried to let him run free he’d take off full speed in the opposite direction.  It was a nightmare – made worse by the fact that I was painfully sober, pregnant, hot and (put honestly) FREAKING OUT!  We returned home to wind up in PMH a week later with our son being tested for malaria. 

At that point I vowed never to travel with children under the age of about 8 years old EVER again.

Consequently my husband and I haven’t been on a proper holiday together for a long time…so when the opportunity to travel over east for a few days presented itself recently, my husband and I were just a little excited!  Our wonderful family has offered to look after our babies for us so that we can get away for an extended weekend.   Imagine, dinners at restaurants – on our time (not at 5pm) and at our choice (not HJs or a child-friendly venue).  Imagine actually being able to eat your food whilst it’s hot, talk to each other (rather than the constant diatribe “sit still, just a minute, I’m just cutting it up for you, it’s a bit hot, it won’t be long, don’t touch that, sit down, put that back, leave your brother alone, get that out of your ear!”).  Imagine being out after dark, strolling down the street, contemplating a casino visit, or a late night cuppa.  Oh, and shopping, markets, tram rides, theatre shows, SLEEP-INS…yep, this is sounding like heaven!

I really wish I could be all Angelina Jolie and travel the universe with my boys…but I think it is just going to have to wait (until I win the lottery and can afford private jets and live in nannies) or at least until they are a little older!  In the meantime, let’s hope this getaway is a success so that we can get our little travel fix every once in a while!

What have your travel experiences been like?

The Up Side

The Up Side Mama Pyjama

I am often reminded of the quote: “While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about”.  Like the other day when my three year old said to me, “I’m happy with what I’ve got…Are you happy with what you’ve  got Mummy?”.  Or today when he stood gazing down our humble, semi-suburban street and turned to say, “Look at the lovely view mummy.  Isn’t it just lovely?”.  He says and does this sort of thing often.  We call him an old soul.  We say he’s beyond his years.  We stand marveling at the depth of his understanding, the magnitude of his empathy…put simply - the way his mind works.

This is one of the wonderful gifts that parenting brings.  It's the ability to see through the eyes of the young.  To view the world again as if for the first time.  To be reminded of what’s really important and what really warrants our energy.

I talk a lot about the challenges of parenting in my blog, so this week I’d like to focus on the great things. 

Here are six things that my children have taught me:

  1. Self-awareness – aided even more by my 3 year old’s new found love of mimicking me.  There’s nothing that brings about self-awareness faster than hearing your words come out of the mouth of a toddler.
  2. Another way to love – a little corny and a little obvious but it can’t go unmentioned.  The ability to offer unconditional, uninhibited, pure love – no matter what.
  3. Where each and every one of my buttons are - and how to push them!  My children have triggered a great deal of personal development! I thank them for that.  I am a better person because of it.
  4. Fun doesn’t require money, alcohol, parties or presents - all you need is your imagination and the ability to leave your inhibitions at the door.
  5. Forgiveness - There’s little that can dull a child’s smile for more than an hour.  Grudges serve no purpose other than to hurt ourselves and shut us off from potential new and wonderful experiences.
  6. That my limits are limitless – Through children I’ve discovered that there is no limit to have far we can go, what we can do, and what we can achieve.  Children can push you to your perceived physical and emotional limits…but just when you think you’ve reached them, you find you have more left to give.  There is so much power in this realisation.

My children have taught me a lot!

In keeping with today's theme, here are six more bonuses!  Things you can do just because you’re a parent:

  1. Dress up – whenever you want, as whatever you like, in costumes that are way too small for you.  Awesome.  Seriously.
  2. Sing – like ALL the time…anywhere...as badly as you please.  You don’t come off looking like a crazy person or get criticised for being out of tune.  You just get bonus points for being an interactive, fun, loving parent.
  3. Play – you can spend a full day jumping on a trampoline, dancing, playing with dough, colouring in, watching cartoons and building forts…and nobody’s going to tell you to grow up.
  4. Finish off other peoples’ dinner – there’s a lot of leftovers where children are involved, and guess what?  They’re all yours!  This is an especially great bonus at kids’ birthday parties or when it’s sausage roll and chips night at home.  Waste not, want not right?
  5. Talk in third person – a LOT.  It’s a great way to shift the blame ;)  That “Mummy” has a lot to answer for always wanting them to do something to make her “happy”. ;)
  6. Make fart jokes and celebrate bodily functions - complete with cheers, high-fives and sometimes even Smarties.

Breaking Free

"What? I'm igniting my passions!" ;)

"What? I'm igniting my passions!" ;)

Put a video camera in front of my face and suddenly my mouth’s contorted like I’ve just had a root canal, I’ve a vocab of about three words, and I’m all machinegun giggles (this awkward heckling can be heard ringing out through every poignant scene in my wedding video)… So why would I audition for a reality TV show?!  Sounds crazy right?  But that’s exactly what I chose to do on the back of being told I was “boring”.

I realised that I needed to do something drastic – something that completely challenged me, in order to restart my engine.  I’d been idling for years, sitting on the sidelines, waiting for someone or something to come and pull me out of the rut I was in.  I chose to leap, two feet first, guns blazing, straight from Mama Pyjama Syndrome into a ring of social judgement (‘cause that’s just how I do things, but I’m sure that the same can be achieved by taking less extreme steps).

Suffice to say, I didn’t get through to the final round of auditions but what I gained from the experience was the kick-start I needed.  I felt re-energised by the challenge.  As corny as it sounds, I actually felt like ‘me’ again.  I was doing something that for me was completely ‘crazy’, completely on a whim, completely self-driven - and it felt awesome.

When we're feeling exhausted and a little lost some days it seems almost impossible to brush our teeth, let alone get up and do something that falls completely outside the realms of our comfort zone.  But it's so important to do things that increase our energy levels.

I'm no expert, but in my experience, it’s the things that force you into the “now” that set your energy levels flying.  For me it’s activities that get my adrenaline pumping – like rollercoasters, sports (and reality tv auditions!).  Things that force you to think of nothing other than the present living moment.  Activities that elicit the ‘fight or flight’ response.  Obviously this isn’t really a sustainable approach to maintaining our zest for life, but I’ve found it a very effective jump-start tactic, and one that has been pivotal in pulling me out of my Mama Pyjama Syndrome.

I challenge you to take a chance this week.  Say yes to something you never thought you’d be able to do.  Get the blood pumping through your veins again.  Take the time to remind yourself of what makes you, “you”.  Part of being a great parent is knowing who you are and what makes you happy.  Don’t let “yourself” get lost among the dirty nappies and sleepless nights any longer than is absolutely necessary (yes, there’s a period of time where there is little choice but to put our “selves” on the back burner, but that period doesn’t need to last forever).  If you see an opportunity to reignite your passions – seize it!  There’s no shame in being both a “parent” and a happy, fulfilled individual.  We wouldn’t want our children to settle for less than that as adults, so let’s lead by example.  Go on, get out there – break free!