What Made You Happy Today?

Seriously, think about it for a while. It is so easy to get caught up in all the negative stuff that happens around us. Especially when the everyday is rolling away and chores and errends and jobs and tasks and demands and what-not fills up our days. We get stressed. We get tired. We get grumpy. Sometimes we get bored. I get bored a lot. Then the negativity spiral takes off. Damn it.

Negativity breeds negativity

I read this article explaining how emotions are contagious, the negative once even more so:

“Many experts believe that negative emotions are a lot easier to catch than positive ones. Some believe this is reflective of our evolutionary past wherein being highly attuned to other people’s negative emotions (pain, fear, and disgust) was directly linked to survival. Those who could pick up on someone else’s pain, fear, and disgust were more likely to survive than those who could not.

But – positivity also breeds positivity. Phew!

It most definitely does. Take it from the experts and take it from me, the self-acclaimed negative/positive expert that I am.

Saying positive things. Doing positive things. It spreads positive vibes.

So, am I positve all day everyday? Hell no. I am often the opposite. I am prone to dwelving in my own missery, but that is exactly why I need to do something active and conscious to force the positivity into my life – otherwise it all gets too dark and dull to handle. Worst of all, I can give my negative vibe onto my kiddos.

My bag of little tricks to boost my own and my family’s positive spirit is pretty jam packed. I think I need to use it even more, ay?

Well, this particular trick is a family one, because our family needs to calm the fuck down and be postive every night – we can be such a bunch of whingers otherwise.

What is it we do?

It is pretty simple and something everyone can do every day. We eat dinner together every night and while eating we take turns in telling the other which three things that made us happy during the day. Simple.

Does it really work?

Yes! Focusing on some positive things that we experienced during the day help us to:

1. Start good conversations about the day around the table.

3. Give everyone a chance to get a word in and be heard.

2. Focus on the positives and go to bed with that in mind – or at least we can remind us self that life isn’t that bad afterall.

It might sound basic, but, as you know, back to basic is the new black. Some days it is really easy. Some days it can actually be pretty hard. On all days it is a good idea.

Here are some examples from our dinner table:

Today it made me happy (kids edition)…

…to play with my friends.

…to eat pizza here with you right now.

…to play in the sandpit.

…that I love my whole family.

…to get lollies.

…to swim in the pool.

…to play games together.

And the adult edition…

to paint the bathroom.

…to have a nap.

…to see Lulu take her first steps.

…when you girls played nicely together.

…to finish my assignment.

…to hear back from that job.

…to get the shopping done.

And one that very often goes again around the table:

Right now, eating dinner together.

As you can see, it does not have to be huge magnificent things. It can be, but it can also be tiny little things that made your day better in some way or another.

Have a go yourselves tonight and let me know how you go. Also, be a bit patient. It somehow gets better over time. At least that is my experience.

What has made you happy today?

❤️

Sunday Scribbling

The photo has nothing to do with my writing what so ever, I just like it.

Writing for the sake of writing. That is my new thing in the evening after all the kids finally have gone to sleep. Writing about anything, everything or mainly nothing in particular.

Being the good girl I am, I do it because I was told to by my professor in one of my two courses at the university this semester; Creative Writing – expecting to get a “good job” sticker someday soon.

I have never had any writing education or training after I finished high school half a lifetime ago, so I think it is about time to get some tools and some direction.

The first lecture debunked a bunch of myths about writing that I actually feel like I have been restrained by. And then it set the forthcoming direction for us:

Write, write a lot. Read, read a lot.

Easy. In theory.

Time is not always on a parent of three small kids’ side. But hey, tonight I have already read two entire books before 8 pm. That they included pictures, a grumpy princess and turtles that celebrate brithdays is immaterial.

Our professor wants us to write at least a full page of whatever, by hand, for each tutorial. By hand, guys. She warned us that we would probably get sore hands and underarms, since no-one is used to hand writing anymore. She’s probably right. My hand is yet to be fatigued. One advantage of being 15 years older than most other students, maybe. The “forced” writing is good, though. It works. The words get out and down on paper. Words that I had no idea was in there, somewhere in my mind. It almost feels like therapy.

Self help writing. It’s actually a thing. I have used it before, but that’s a whole other story which I might share with you one day – if(when) I find the courage.

For now, I will keep on writing. Another day. It’s time to go to bed and do some reading (for two minutes before I fall asleep) instead.

Good night❤️

Abby’s Class Situation – Update

Last Friday we went to talk to Abby’s principal to discuss the possibility of changing her to the other prep-class at the school.

We made the deal with her, that we would observe Abby at home and she would make sure the teachers did the same at the school.

As the perfect mum I am, I had forgotten the meeting and arranged a surf trip instead. Yep, just hand me that mum of the year reward now, thanks!

Anyways, Josh was a champ and went to the meeting alone, while I took Lulu and Billie to the beach. Hey, I have been to numerous meetings and parent things without Josh, so I think it was completely fine that he did it. And I completely trusted him with the task.

I think we both kinda knew the outcome before hand, really.

On the very positive side, the school has actually taken our concerns very serious. The principal herself has talked to Abby, about her friends in the class, three times during the week. She has also talked to the other students to paint a pattern of their friendships. And she saw one – a pattern. This means that Abby has connected with a couple of other kids whom she consistently during the week mentioned as her friends – and who also mentioned her. All good.

That she still prefers playing with a couple of kids from the other class is okay as long as she starts to feel “at home” in her own class as well.

Our main concern was actually the conservative teaching methods used by Abby’s teacher. This we have chosen to let go a bit. Mainly to keep the good spirit. For Abby’s sake. We might take it up later on if it evolves in a direction we can’t accept.

Bottom line is – Abby stays in her class and it’s okay. At least we made the teachers aware of our concerns and I honestly think they have been more focused on the social integration this past week. I could be seeing what I want to see, but that’s my experience – and I am still happy that we didn’t just let it be.

❤️

Being Perfectly Average

I have been struggling with some major, lets call them, self definition issues lately. “Just a mom” doesn’t cut it anymore, but who am I, these days? Well, maybe I just need to get a hobby. Who knows.

I just feel like I am standing at a cross road – and I cannot move. I just stand here like a fool. But I want to move. I want to go somewhere. Anywhere, really. And then again…I want to lead the way. But I feel lost. And it frustrates me. Mainly because I do have some ideas I wish to follow. E.G. I want to give this little blogging adventure of mine a real go, but I hit the wall again and again. Ouch! Here’s why. Or at least here’s a bit of the ‘why’…

I am a perfectionist.

Yeah right, what a silly statement from someone who’s clothes are cringled and who’s house is a mess. Hang in there…

I also have a relatively intelligent head put on to my body. Ohh! An even more ridiculous statement to throw out into the open, from someone who never even managed to pass her studies back in the day. Well, we’re not talking mensa smart here, but I get around, right… (even if Josh did score higher in the intelligence test we took a while back. Yes we did).

Sounds like a great combo, ay. Unfortunately it can be a troubled one. You see, I am a smart, lazy perfectionist.

True story, I don’t make this shit up – I have it from my psychiatrist. He was very convincing.

So, what does it even mean? A smart, lazy perfectionist. Well, it means that I can do almost anyything I set my mind to. In theory. In reality, it often means that I don’t even get started on my projects or tasks. I get overwhelmed – because I know that getting it perfect will demand a shit load of work from me. And then I give up beforehand.

A side-effect, or a side order, of this mind of mine is that I am ridiculously scared of mistakes and failure. This being my biggest issue, really. Because we all know that you learn from mistakes – and constantly trying to avoid them or hide from them doesn’t do anyone any good. Ain’t no exciting future in that, I can tell you.

So, bottom line is that I am very aware of my weak points when it comes to self development and I do know what it takes to get somewhere. Anywhere. Unfortunately there’s sometimes an extremely long way from knowing to doing for me – hence me writing this right now.

Old mate psychiatrist also went on with something in the line of “you can do anything if you learn to manage this chaos inside you – but are you really willing? Do you dare?”

Hmmm. I AM willing. And I think I do dare. I am working on this, guys. I have learned that it is okay not to be the best at EVERYTHING. kinda. I have not yet learned to love that I am not good at everything I touch – at first try. But slowly getting there…

My studies commence next week. Last semester I studied two courses; Media & Society and Public Relations. I did fairly good at both and I have come to terms with that being okay. Afterall, I did also have a newborn baby and two additional kids to look after so barely made it to any lectures.

Putting my achievements into context like that is important for me even if it shouldn’t have to be, I guess. For now it makes it easier to have some kind of “excuse”.

I am practicing. I try to not always compare myself to the best. I try to aim less at being the best, but instead doing my best.

I am practicing and I am pretty sure it will take a life time to master. This is in my blood, guys. Hey – my brother have a custom made painting in his house saying “number one, number one, number one, no-one cares about the rest” – it’s two meters high. And red. And there’s a photo of himself in it too. Yeah, that’s where I am coming from. Haha!

Shit man.

Sure, I am in it to win it. Always will be – but I will also try my best to be in it just to have a good time. And learn from my mistakes. No matter what I get into, I hope. So please bare with me if I more consistently spam you with blog posts that aren’t ground breaking, amazingly, fantastic, ‘share it with all of your thousands of besties on Facebook’-good. It’s just me trying to find my way and practicing being okay with being average. Context and excuses, you know.

And just for the record, average can be pretty perfect.

❤️

We’ve Got a School Child

Abby started school today. Real school. Big school, as she calls it. Wow!…I thought I was cool about it. I wasn’t. Not at all. I freakin’ cried when I left the classroom. What?! Obviously it was partly due to the fact that my first born all of a sudden has grown up and starts school – and that I lay awake half the night reminiscing all of our fun times together at home and out and about the past 5.5 years (somehow all the tantrums and conflicts had already faded).

However, it knocked me over that it wasn’t what I had expected. I had prepared for one thing in my mind and I wasn’t ready for this. I wasn’t ready for the chaos. It seemed extemely chaotic in the room and, more importantly, I wasn’t prepared for not knowing anybody.

Before Christmas Abby went to prep orientation on two different days. Days where she spent two hours in the prep-room with other future prep-kids while us parents (read.mums) were hanging out together in the yard. It was actually really nice. After those two days I had a great feeling in my stomach and in my heart – this was going to be good. Good for Abby and good for me. You see, Abby connected with some really nice kids, who she already started calling her friends – kids who had mums who I also connected with. Say what?!! Ever since Abby was a baby everyone has been saying “just wait ’til she starts school, that’s when you’re going to get a great network of friends amongst the other parents”. Yeah, I have always been a bit sceptical about this, since finding new friends amongst my kids’ friends’ parents have been a bit up hill so far. However, during those orientation days I actually felt like it was going to happen. It didn’t feel awkward, it just felt pretty nice and natural to hang out with these other mums. That, my friends, means a lot to someone who gets minor anxiety everytime I have to get near anything parent-related.

So, back to today. Abby started prep and in amongst all the chaos there were no familiar faces. No kids or adults we knew. All the kids who she connected with during orientation have gone into the other class. Auch!

She somehow felt the same as me, I’m sure. She started crying and didn’t want to let go of me. I hadn’t expected her to react like that at all, but I cannot blame her. She expected to walk into a room of familiar faces and there were none. Thankfully, a teachers aid who she had met during orientation came and helped her settle. And at least I didn’t cry until we had left the room. Geez. I used to be so tuff.

But hey, I know she’ll be fine. I know she’ll make friends in her class in no time. But I still think it sucks that she’s not in the class with the kids with the mums that I like – buhuuu! (I know, I know…there probably are some really nice parents amongst this new group as well, it was just so calming to know that I had already crossed the awkward “hi, so…yeah, I’m Abby’s mum – which kid is yours? Where abouts do you live”-part).

Phew! Okay, now that it’s out of my system (thanks for listening), I’ll try to enjoy the first day in a loooong time with only one child around. And I cannot wait to pick up my Abby in 4 hours – I’m sure she’ll be all smiles – and so will I❤️

Dealing With the Big Bad Mommy Guilt

This past week has been a bit tuff around here. As I wrote in my last post I found out that I do have gestational diabetes and I have just been mentally and physically exhausted, to be honest. This lack of energetic surplus has made me feel like I’ve been a pretty shitty parent. I have been grumpy and my patience has not been able to cope with two small humans’ huge emotions and arguments. Ohh, the arguments(!) So, I must admit that the big bad mommy guilt has build up a bit when I’ve zoomed out and acknowledged that what I am doing is not what I actually wish to do – I just haven’t got the energy to deal with it, really.

That being said, I know that it’s time to adress the bad habits that are starting to build up. Because a lot of it is habit. An autopilot that kicks in when everything else shuts down and right now it doesn’t do me or the kids much good. Luckily I know from earlier episode like these that I relatively easy can adjust the autopilot settings if I remember to focus on it before it’s actually needed. If that makes any sense to others than me…?

If you have a little look at the books I ordered the other day it might clear things up a bit, since they are just a tiny bit reflective of my current mindset…….

Yeah, first step is to acknowledge you have a problem, right? Think I’ve gone a bit past the first step, then. Haha…ohh, dear. If only parenting was so easy as to read about it in a book. The thing is, at least it makes me feel like I do something to move in the right direction. That in itself has a pretty powerful effect on me – and often I do actually get some good insights or even some useable tools from these parenting themed books. Excited to find out if any of these are any good. Or if I will finally learn not to give a fuck, at least.

Well, well!

While I’ve been hitting myself in the head for not being a good enough parent we’ve actually been assured that our children are doing quite alright, nonetheless.

For instance, Abby’s kindy teacher told us that she believes Abby is a very intelligent child due to her way of problem solving, her creativity and her determination to learn letters and numbers. Also, which is what I find most positively surprising, she said that her language is very well developed for her age. This is something that has been worrying me a bit lately, actually. She still struggles with the pronounciation of some letters and mixes up words and such, and I have – of course(!) – compared her to other kids her age and found her language lagging. Now, her teacher tells me I am wrong. Very wrong. How awesome! She says that her vocabulary is quite developed and her sentence constructions are very mature. One proud and relieved mummy, right here.

Then later in the same week her swimming teacher told me that she is doing really well in her lessons – and that she’s really good at correcting her mistakes and working hard to become better. Now, I am not hoping for her to become an elite swimmer. Not at all, actually (do you know how early they – and their parents – have to get up every damn day to train?!). I do, however, hope that she will become recilient, strong and determined to reach her goals whatever they may be. That’s why it makes me happy. And again, proud!

It also gives me a bit of extra encouragement to keep on keeping on.

Because eventhough it all seems overwhelming at times and I feel like this mummy business might not be the right career path for me it reminds me that my children are doing pretty damn good so far – even if I am not a perfect parent 24/7 365. So maybe I should just take a chill pill and try to focus on the positives. I will. I am. Luckily there’s so much to focus on!

I mean, just look at them!

How Small Changes Can Make a Huge Difference

All children are different. Even my children are different. So figuring out and satisfying their individual needs really is a question of observing, analyzing, adjusting, modifying, experimenting, and occasionally just going with the flow.

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So yeah, sometimes parenting really makes me feel extremely exhausted and lost even to the point where I just want to throw in the towel and run away from it all. Honestly, that used to be my solution to any sort of problem back in the day.

Now, giving up is just not an option. This is it. This is my life. And I just have to deal with it. And I try my best…

Lately, we have realized that the girls, especially Abby, have been somehow under stimulated with our daily routine.

It has come to show by a rising number of conflicts between the girls or with us, concentration difficulty, less in-depth play, less imaginary play, more destructive behaviour, and all-in-all less laughter and more whinging.

To try to deal with these challenges that we are facing, we have made some minor but efficient adjustments to our routine and to our surroundings.

LESS STUFF, MORE PLAY

First of all, we have tried to get rid of a lot of stuff and make our home a tiny bit more minimalistic. It might sound a bit irrelevant when it comes to the girls’ stimulation and wellbeing, however, it actually works for us. Somehow having a tidy home with less clutter and even less toys to chose from has made it easier for the girls to concentrate on playing with the toys they do have.

Another benefit of having less stuff is that our house is generally less messy than it used to be, which definitely helps to reduce stress for all of us. And even the girls are now helping tidying up every(other) night. It’s highly recommendable to get rid of the clutter.

THAT DAYUM SCREEN-TIME

Second of all, we are doing our best to cut down on screen-time. We are not fanatics when it comes to screen-time limits, but we have noticed that the number of conflicts are much higher when the TV is on for longer periods of time. So for us there is no doubt that too much screen-time has negative consequences for our children. I am still very guilty of putting the TV on whenever I need some time to make breakfast, lunch or dinner – or when I just need a little break from the craziness of having kids – but I am slowly getting better at turning it off again too.

GETTING OUR ADVENTURE ON

Third, and quite importantly, I am trying my best to get out of the house (and the garden) with the girls every day. Preferably to spend time outside where the girls can be physically active. It can be a trip to the beach or the skatepark, a bush walk or even just a bike ride to the local playground. The most important thing is that they get some fresh air, that they get to explore new, exciting places and first and foremost, that they get to use and challenge their bodies in a healthy and fun way.

Abby has always been very physically advanced and she is simply a happier child when she gets to move freely, so it only makes sense to get out there and get active. Besides, Billie has had a little bit of difficulties with her balance and general physical development, so making sure that we challenge her every day greatly supports her development and lately it has really paid off. Her balance is improving, she is getting a lot more confident with her movements and she even climbs things now. Our little trooper.

On days where we have been out and about the girls play so much better when we get back home and they sleep so much better when they go to bed. Even I get more energy in the long run. It really is a no-brainer that it’s good for everyone – I just have to get a little bit better at organizing snacks, lunch, drinks, naptime and bla bla bla, so we can go on more and better adventures in the future.

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LET THE KIDS

The last thing, that we have actively taken a decision to go along with, might be a little bit controversial, because we are actually giving our two, young children a lot of freedom to roam. Both the girls have very free range to play and explore in our house and in our garden – without our participation or involvement. Of course we keep an eye and two ears out for them, but we also give them privacy and room and time to just do their own thing.

Billie is getting quite good at focusing on one activity for longer periods of time and it really has made Abby’s creativity flourish. The amount of things that she has created so far is seriously incredible. She’s such a problem solver and a creative soul. To give her free range to create, explore and build is one of the best decisions we have made for her lately. And basically we haven’t done anything, really. On the contrary.

MORE LAUGHTER, LESS GUILT

So, have these little adjustments made our family all happy clappy? No, definitely not. We still have our conflicts and our challenges, like any other normal family, I guess. However, the overall mood in our home is better than it was a couple of weeks ago and no doubt it’s a work-in-progress – but very importantly, simply just addressing the matter instead of letting it grow bigger has reduced my parent guilt and made me less inclined to give up and more inclined to keep on keeping on.

I’ve got this!

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