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 Blues and My Empathy Super Heroes

I have been a bit down this weekend. Especially today I basically just wanted to go back to bed. I have had no energy and everything has been a struggle. It might sound relatively normal for a mum with a teething baby, but for me it is an alarm bell I have to take seriously. If not, things can get a lot worse – I am planning on writing more about my mental health, but it takes time and curage, so for now I’ll just tell you my little Sunday story. It’s actually a feel good one, if you stay ’til the end 🙂

Mummy is just gonna paint a wall

Luckily Josh caught me before I really fell – he took the girls and sent me to bed in the airconditioned bedroom. A nap and a cool down (it’s bloody hot here atm.) gave me enough energy to go and paint the bathroom. As you do, right? Maybe not your average stress-down activity, but when I struggle in my mind it helps me to focus on a specific hands-on task. This bathroom has been a running project for weeks now. Stressful in itself.

I sweated and painted for four hours.

Meanwhile I could hear the girls play together in the garden. Play. Not fight.

Then, at one point I could hear screaming from the living room. Billie fell down the stairs and bled from her lip. Apparently Abby “accidentally” pushed her. Well, I went out to save, what I thought was, the sinking ship. While I gave Billie a cuddle, Abby came over and said sorry, gave her a kiss and they shook hands (that’s Billie’s thing these days) and hugged each other. Then all was good and they went outside to play happily together again.

Wait, what just happened?

A little later Abby came and slit a drawing under the bathroom door. She made it to make me feel better. You see, when I don’t feel good we let the girls know that mummy is tired or maybe even a bit sad. Then they accept that I need a break and they, somehow, get extra loving and caring towards me – but also towards each other. It’s like some kind of “family above all”- thing is happening.

My Emphatic Super Heroes

While I was wrapping up my painting I could hear the girls talking to Josh:

“Mummy has painted a lot today. I think she’s trying to make us proud of her. I am proud of her, but she doesn’t need to paint so much. I am always proud of her”

Oh, my heart!

I am so proud of them. They often drive me nuts, but their intuition of when they need to step up is (almost always) spot on. It becomes so obvious that they do have loads of empathy hiding underneath their cheeky, rascal surfaces.

The Flower Dilemma

Actually Abby is in quite a dilemma due to her emphatic nature. It can be hard to have loads of empathy and be an aspiring scientist at the same time, I tell ya.

So, Abby wants to find out if flowers have feelings (don’t ask). Josh set an experiement idea up for her: get two similar flowers. Plant them in similar pots, place them next to each other and give them exactly the same amount of water. Then, one flower you keep telling how much you love and the other you keep telling how much you hate. Then, if flowers do have feelings, the loved one will flourish and the hated one will die. Logic.

Abby gets the idea and really wants to try the experiment. However, she is very worried about doing the experiement in case flowers actually DO have feelings – because she doesn’t want to make any flowers sad. Oh dear.

Mummy, are you okay?

At dinner Billie said to me: “now mummy, you don’t have to paint anymore” and gave me a kiss and a cuddle. I think it was her way of saying “mummy, are you okay? I hope you are feeling better.

And I do feel better. Exhausted, but better. Fingers crossed for a good nights sleep. Ready for the Monday rush in the morning.

Oh, and I actually do have to paint some more. The little sucker of a bathroom needs another coat. Exciting when that’s going to happen.

❤️

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❤️

New Year, New Me

2019 will be the year! The year of change! The year of new beginnings! The year of shit loads of healthy stuff! The year of no sugar, no TV, no alcohol, no, no, no!

…it sure will. Not for me, though. 2019 have started out pretty much where 2018 took off and it’s quite okay, really.

However, I have gotten a renewed energy boost for getting myself back into the good ol’ blogging game.

As most of you probably know, we went to Denmark to celebrate Christmas and New Years. We spent 6 weeks there and only got back to Australia one week ago. I might get back to that later on, since the trip moved something in me that our prior trips haven’t done in the same way. Anyway, getting back has been a bit tuff. We have been very jetlagged and tired, especially Abby has been restless and bored, the tantrums have escalated and settling back into our Aussie life has taken time – not completely there yet. And speaking of restless, I have had a hard time this past week. It’s like there’s SO much to do – practically – that my mind goes into an understimulated state, where I get ridicoulesly restless and frustrated. Even bored, even though there’s heaps to do. All of the mixed emotions about being back here doesn’t do much to help on the matter.

So, here I am. Blogging. Because it relaxes my mind. I need to relax my mind these days. If only I was one of those people who actually relaxes by doing the laundry and cleaning the house – I’ve heard they are out there somewhere. For real life! – Ohh mayn, I’d be the most relaxed woman south of Darwin. Unfortunately that’s not the case. But hey, fortunately Josh is pretty good at the laundry duties and my blogging game is ON. Again. Ahhhh…bliss!

Ohh, and let me not forget to wish you all a very Happy New Year – thank you so much for reading my lil’ blog❤️P.S. Here’s a random photo of me and the girls ready for a bike trip – because it makes me happy.

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!

I GUESS WE CAN’T AVOID THE DOWNS AMONG THE UPS

The observant Scandiroo reader might have noticed a lag of posts from me lately. To be honest, I have struggled to find something to write about. You see, when I started this little blog of mine I wished to make it essentially about positive things going on in my life. You know, happy little stories about love and laughter and silly kiddo incidents. I think I was scared, that I would otherwise be perceived as a whinger and a pessimist. Which I’m really not. Really. At least not when I’ve been fed and had my beautysleep.

However, it turns out that life isn’t always filled with rainbows and beach days. Sometimes the picture perfect family life is swopped for constant power battles with an almost three-year-old, bickering with Josh, and back pain from dealing with the giant, little Billie Maja. Worst of all, with all that comes a level of stress I’ve never experienced before in my life. It might sound weird to some. I mean, what do I do all day, right?!

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Well, some days I basically do nothing else than trying to keep my offspring alive. Most days I even manage to have some fun with them, and on the goody good days I also do some washing. It is pretty basic, but it can also be very exhausting both physically and mentally. True story.

We had Abby in pre-school for three days for a couple of months, and it was great. She started making a lot more friends there, so she was suddenly happy to go in the mornings. I had enough time off with Billie to give her the attention she needs, and to get a little bit of stuff done in and out of the house too. Basically, it was just the right amount of time to suit our family. Now, due to bureaucracy and regulations we’re back to only two days a week. And it really tax my mental health. Actually, it has eaten into the whole family’s surplus of mental resources and we’ve been close to going into red figures all around. It’s like we’ve just been lacking that tiny bit of extra energy that could make such a positive difference in our every day life. Everybody has just been tired, grumpy and emotional on-and-off for the past month or two.

Fair to say, Josh’s busy life and my lack of a life (without kids, that is) is not the best combo in the world.

Hands down, I have never missed my mum and dad as much as I do right now. When they were here over Christmas they were true superheroes, and helped out in every possible way. We never needed to stress about a dirty house or a late dinner during those days, and there was always someone who would climb trees with Abby in the garden when she was going a bit crazy in the house.

Obviously I miss all that practical help now, but actually, lacking their company is the worst. I can kinda deal with the cleaning and the food preparation, but to see Abby cry because she misses them, just breaks my heart. On the tough days, it’s the main reason why everything gets a little bit harder than hard. Even though we have some lovely people in our life down here, the persons that love us the most are just too far away, too often. Booohooooo!

On the more positive note, we will travel to Denmark and see my family and friends relatively soon. To say that I am excited would be the understatement of the year. I can’t wait to go home. It’s been a year since I went last. The longest I’ve ever been away. Too long…

And hey – we’ve also had lots of fun times lately. Including a holiday weekend to Port Macquarie and the Ironman Australia, a family wedding, friends visiting and lots of outdoor adventures in the awesome autumn weather.

On the even more positive note – today Josh stayed home from uni. Partly because he slept in, but mainly because he wanted to give me a much needed break from the girls. Ahhhhhhhh! He took Abby to pre-school and has gone to Wollongong to hang out with Billie for some hours. They do need a bit of daddy/daughter-time and I do need a bit of me-time. All good. I might even kick myself in the butt and go to yoga later. Who knows, tomorrow I might even be on top of the world and sparkling with positive energy again 🙂

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