Posts tagged #need

Mindfulness

I’m a ‘busy’ person by nature, and by that what I really mean is my mind is constantly on the go.  We don’t go out much, we’re not part of any sporting groups, and we aren’t even what you’d call domestically motivated - yet I feel busy because my mind rarely rests. 

This busy feeling has been compounded by the day-to-day drill of parenting, and a sense that every minute is occupied.  If I’m not making lunches or packing bags, I’m wiping bums or breaking up squabbles; all the while doing so to the background music of my sometimes anxious, sometimes list-making, sometimes slightly insane mummy thoughts. 

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!

Waiting

"What are we waiting for?"

"What are we waiting for?"

Ever sat back and thought about how much of your life you spend waiting?  Waiting for the mail to come, waiting for someone to return home, waiting for lunchtime, waiting for the phone to ring, waiting for a holiday, waiting for your moment to arrive…

Kind of sad really.  Whilst we’re busy waiting, our life is passing us by without a second thought.

Thinking about the future isn’t a BAD thing.  Having plans and setting goals are essential to our motivation, drive and sense of being.  But filling up all our todays with the notion that tomorrow will bring bigger and better things can be dangerous.  After all, tomorrow becomes today when it arrives, so it’s really not a maintainable approach. 

If you’re in the early months (ok…years) of parenting and stuck in the mode of “survival waiting” (waiting to sleep, waiting to eat, waiting for your partner to return home and save you from your sleep-deprived self), I feel for you.  It is really hard and it can do really nasty things to your motivation and sense of self.  You can get lost in the cycle of waiting – and forget almost completely at times to enjoy the moment you are in.  I know that talk is cheap, and that most things are easier said than done…but if you can try to remind yourself that things WILL get easier, that the time WILL pass without you needing to sit and watch the clock, and all the things you are waiting for will eventually arrive, it may help bring you back into the living moment.  Try to stop focusing on passing the time and start focusing on enjoying the moment for what it brings.

Again, I know, not the sort of stuff you need someone telling you when you’ve got a screaming newborn in your arms and you’re functioning on an hour’s sleep…Perhaps reserve the “survival waiting” for moments like these?

As a parent I’ve found myself saying these sorts of things on a regular basis:

It’ll be easier when they are sleeping through the night. It’ll be easier when they can feed themselves.  It’ll be easier when they can talk, walk, dress themselves, explain what’s hurting, tell me when they’re hungry…the list goes on and on.  It is so easy to fall into this cycle of thinking, and I’m sure it’s pre-programmed in us to get us through the tough times.  But…and I know I risk coming out sounding like an annoying twat, the time really does pass so quickly.  Before you know it they’re off to kindy, dressing themselves and telling you the “right” way to cook their dinner and fix their hair.  We can waste away a lot of these precious baby moments whilst we’re focused on waiting for the next phase to start.  And besides, the reality is that no matter how much hope you are pinning on the next phase solving your current difficulties it will inevitably bring with it its own set of unique challenges. 

There are many other types of waiting, “sanity waiting” for the kids to go to bed so you have you time out, gather your thoughts and do stuff for yourself.  There’s “fear waiting” for the perfect time to follow your dreams, indulge your passions, take that leap of faith.  There’s “anticipation waiting” for the holiday, the weekend, the next big event.  No matter what type of waiting it is, it all comes back to the same dilemma.  Whilst we’re busy waiting, our focus is taken away from the given moment.  Sometimes that moment is bad.  Sometimes it’s boring.  Sometimes it’s tough.  Sometimes it doesn’t bear thinking about.  But sometimes it is great, precious, unable to be captured… sometimes it’s beautiful. 

So let’s try to stop this waiting game, or at least put the brakes on it a little bit.  The time is now.  Enjoy it, indulge in it, live it, survive it, treasure it and put your faith in knowing that everything will continue to tick along in the background with or without you urging it along.

Phobias

Phobias Mama Pyjama

Want to know something that freaks me out? Saliva.  Yep, weird huh.  I blame my 10th grade science teacher…she made us pair up and test a friend’s saliva under the guise of it teaching us some fundamental science law.   Personally, I think she was just a bit of a freak.  I had to stand there and watch my friend spit enough to fill a beaker, or maybe I’m exaggerating slightly perhaps it was a test tube.  What can I say other than that it totally grossed me out?  I have no idea what the rest of the experiment involved…I was too busy dry retching to care.

15 years post experiment I welcomed my science friend’s first born into the world with a jumpsuit tagged “Spit Happens”.  Great laughs…yeah, great laughs until you get to thinking about the fact that if you do end up having kids yourself – there’s going to be a LOT of saliva to deal with!  *Panic*!

Needless to say I have overcome my spit phobia – well at least as it relates to the saliva of my offspring. 

Isn’t it amazing how fears and phobias seem to be so easily overcome when our children are involved?  I think I could pretty much, hand on my heart, say there’s NOTHING I wouldn’t do for them.  No amount of spit, poo, spew or snot could get in the way of me loving them (as a side note, I’m sure my friends would get great delight in seeing me test this theory).       

Then there are the REAL phobias and fears…like public speaking in order to coach your child’s sport team, or catching spiders in their bedroom, or rescuing them from great heights.  No problem right? 

It really does spin me out how we could pay experts thousands of dollars to try and help us overcome phobias that would probably only take a matter of seconds to overcome if our child were at risk or needed us.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could manufacture that feeling, that drive, that sense of “do or die” …and use it to overcome all the things that hold us back?  There must be a way to tap into it, to harness it and to use it to face up to our demons and get out there and get living without all the road blocks and sub-conscious barriers.  Clearly we have it in us…we just need to work out how to trigger it without requiring our children to do it for us!  

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!