Home business, home education and health challenges: what makes us tic?

First of all, this video helped me today: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CtKHnBFO7LY

Someone spoke to me recently about the fact that she is a hermit, largely because she worries what people think about her when she goes out.

The truth is, I think everyone has those problems. I worry that people think my twitching is weird, or my homeschooling is kooky, or my thighs are so gigantic people will judge me as too lazy to exercise. (I know they’re not, Aunty Em, before you moan at me;))

What has helped me is to realise that everyone has a thing they worry about when they go out, and that they’re so focused on what people think about them that they don’t even notice us.

I’m sure when you’re out, you’re not judging anyone else because you’re so busy worrying that they’re judging you.

The same is true for everyone.

And when we start revelling in what are that is good, focusing on our strengths (and I’m pretty darn sure you’re amazingly strong – an inspiration!) it’s so easy to enjoy other people and their strengths, and just have a grand old time being human in this crazy world of ours.

Anyway, that’s long and flowery but the short of it is that I think each of us is brave and amazing. Your kids are awesome, and that’s a testament to you. Many of us can learn from you.

So I hope the rest of the week is better, and that you enjoy it utterly.

we add to our pain

I’m flattrd ;)

Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could live in a world where we just get to blog about the stuff we love all day long, helping others along the way … and actually make ends meet doing that?

Flattr me: buy me a coffee (you know I need it ;))

Flattr me: buy me a coffee (you know I need it ;))

Well, the internet is a nifty ol’ place, full of grand schemes and interesting ideas. Flattr is one of these, and it lets people pay for stuff they like. If they want to. Or not. No pressure.

I just love that. So if you like what you see on this blog, why not buy me a coffee using Flattr? You know I could use the caffeine ;)

Just click on the Flattr icon in the “Share Me” options below this post. It looks like this: 

What Dad can do

Papa Bear does dishes

Papa Bear does dishes … sometimes ;)

When a stay-at-home/work-from-home mama (SAH/WFHM) is juggling a lot of balls (and she always is), it can be difficult to see how there’s space for teamwork. Often she’s so busy rushing from one thing to the next that her poor Papa Bear feels powerless to do anything more than watch. And you just know she’s too busy to ask for help.

To be honest, it probably doesn’t even occur to her to do. Her mantra is “This is my choice. I can do this. I MUST do this.” And, chanting that to herself as she gives the treadmill of her life what for, she soldiers on.

But just because she can do it all, that doesn’t mean she should. In fact, deeper inspection will probably reveal that she actually can’t do it all, and this is where the thoughtful Papa Bear comes into his own.

The first thing he can do is notice.

Be aware of all she does. Be cognitive and present. Be appreciative. You have no idea how far those 10 little words, “I really appreciate all that you do for our family” go in the heart of a frazzled Mama. What you don’t want to do here is be sarcastic, or in any way demeaning. Implying that the only reason she can do so much is because there’s something wrong with her (OCD, Control Freak, Maniac – these words come to mind) is counter-productive. She’s probably doing it all because she thinks she has to. Just say thank you.

The second thing he can do is innovate.

Our on-the-go Mama can’t see the wood for the trees. If you’re like the Papa Bears I know, you’re kind-of on the outside, looking in. That means you get to be objective. You might see ways to streamline operations: get the kids to help more. Take on some of the responsibility yourself. Hire a maid if you can. (It’s not a luxury when she’s homeschooling, breadwinning and getting just four hours of sleep a night. It’s a sanity saver). Helping to identify and implement practicable solutions – and see them through when she’s too tired to be consistent – will save your marriage. Seriously.

Finally, be reliable.

It’s no good saying you’ll be responsible for the laundry, then leaving it to pile up and fester around the house. It doesn’t help to identify creative solutions for managing the chores, then doing nothing to see things through. Just be there, do what you say you will, keep calm, and carry on. That’s what she needs most of all, and it’s really not that hard to do.

So go do it.

And let me know how it works out.

I’d like to help stay-at-home/work-from-home Mamas find balance and purpose in their busy lives. Let me know what I can write about to help you be the best version of yourself you can be.

The Rose

“Unforgiveness is a slow-acting, painful poison that we drink, in the vain hope that our enemy will perish.”

A young lady found herself wandering bare foot and carefree through a beautiful garden. It was well kept, neatly maintained. Predictable. As she ambled down the well manicured garden paths, idly contemplating each twist and turn that lay ahead, she enjoyed the comfort of knowing that nothing in that beautiful space could hurt her or take her by surprise.

Her favourite part of the garden was undoubtedly the roses. The colours lined up neatly, in a breathtaking gradient from the deepest reds – so dark they almost looked black – past delicious ice-cream pinks, and ending neatly in the crispest white she’d ever seen.

She dutifully stopped to smell each and every bloom. How could she resist? They all seemed to hold their own secret scent, meant for her dainty nose alone.

we can complain because rose bushes have thorns or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses

we can complain because rose bushes have thorns or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses

However, she hadn’t gone far when her amble was brought up short with a piercing stab of pain. She’d stepped on a thorn, and it had lodged itself deeply in the soft skin where her toes met her foot.

She cried out in agony and limped awkwardly back to the house to see what could be done. Her suffering was severe. It wasn’t just the physical pain of having a barb lodged inside her. She felt betrayed. Her beautiful, safe afternoon had been shattered, and she wasn’t sure she’d ever have the courage to walk through that garden barefoot again. How could she be sure there wasn’t another concealed prickle out there, waiting to ensnare her, to hobble her?

When she found help, they tried to pull the spike out of her foot, but to their surprise, she resisted.

“This is MY thorn,” she retorted. “It’s my pain, and I will choose when, how and IF I let it go. Until then, that thorn is staying just where it is. I want to make sure that whenever I see that stupid, ugly rose garden, it knows what it did to me – how it’s ruined my life!”

And so it was that every day, this stubborn, crippled young woman would hobble out to the garden (well shod!) and admire all the lovely flowers that grew there, and the orderly paths arranged around them. But she turned her head, and raised her nose in the air, and (sniffing timorously as she held back the tears over what she had lost) she would stalk past the roses and stoically avoid their gaze, allowing them just enough view of her to see the damage they had done.

The roses, for their part, gave out their beautiful scent, and filled the garden with their sumptuous colours, and rustled among themselves as the days cooled into Autumn. They spared no thought for our invalid.

As Spring bloomed into pulsing Summer, then cooled into the mellow sleepiness of Fall, still our young protagonist allowed no one to remove the shrapnel she wore in her foot, a badge of honour announcing the roses’ betrayal to any who would listen. Finally, however, the thorn began to fester. Her foot swelled up. The pain was excruciating. The smell was unbearable, and the foot’s dewy fresh tint faded to sickly green.

At last she no longer had a choice. It was time to lose her leg, or lose her life. The surgery was painful, and the recovery time seemed interminable. Her crippled state ceased to be a personal choice, a mark of pride worn to signify a long-held grudge. Now it was permanent, as were the crutches she needed to visit her garden.

Notwithstanding, she bravely soldiered on, visiting the flowers, breathing in their heady scent. She looked longingly at the rose garden, missing the pleasure these blooms had once given her. Even now, however, with one foot securely locked in a boot up to her knees, and the other foot gone altogether, she still lacked the confidence to face her old enemies and admire their loveliness.

Then she saw it. A thorn detached itself lazily from its rosy branch and sidled to the floor, clearly waiting for an unwary foot to chance upon it. She watched in anticipation to see what the roses would do. Surely they would get rid of the thorn? Surely, after all her suffering, they’d realise what they’d done, and make amends? Surely!

But the roses kept doing what roses do. They didn’t care. They didn’t know. They couldn’t change. That’s how it is with roses.

The pain of compassion

Goldilocks

My darling.

Poor baby.

You feel so deeply

Comprehend so much …

and understand so little.

Why does it hurt?

Why do I care?

Why does no one else?

Ah, baby girl.

Your heart glistens in tear-stained shards on the carpet of my room

so beautiful

little stars twinkling in the grooves of synthetic pile

where we callously walk like it’s everyday

blind

deaf

Oblivious.

You feel the bitter sting of rejection,

the deep heartache of abandonment

so keenly, the pain could be your own.

And you and me, we lack the tools

to tease out the strands

of what is yours,

and what simply comes to you

with all that evanescent, excruciating

empathy.

I'm fine

We don’t always tell the truth

(I have a secret:

we all feel rejected

insecure

unworthy

alone

sometimes.

We don our masks

and paint our smiles

and say we’re fine.)

We’re not fine.

Not always.

 

If we could only bare our souls

as completely

as you do;

standing naked

and raw

in the truth of our personal darkness …

if we could all be so honest,

and look at one another

and say

 

“I see you.”

“I hear you.”

“I accept you.”

“I love you.”

“You are not alone.”

“You are worthy.”

Perhaps we could shine a ray of love into the darkness we share -

the darkness we hide so valiantly -

and let in the light.

Brave girl.

 

 

 

 

Friends and being the change

Kuzco says, "No judgey!"

Kuzco says, “No judgey!”

I have a pact with my best girlfriends, and it goes something like this: you can unload on me. Any time. Any place. Any subject. (Well, okay, not ANY place. If I’m in a meeting, homeschooling my kids, or reconnecting with my husband, I’m not taking your call … unless it’s urgent. Or involves chocolate coffee. I totally meant coffee).

I digress. (Me? No! Surely not).

Anyhoo, the pact is that you can unload on me about any subject. I will listen. I will invest. I will care and I will do whatever it takes to understand. I will not evaluate. I will not judge.

If at all possible (and only if you ask me to), I will try to help you put the pieces back together of whatever has fallen apart. No guarantees, although so far my track record is pretty good.

And I imagine yours is, too.

And if you sort things out with your fella or decide to stay at the job you just said you hated or turn down the opportunity of a lifetime or jump on a boat to Bali, I’ll be there, supporting you. Believing in you. Truly wanting what’ll make you happy.

Why?

Well, it’s really simple: I need to believe in a world where I can safely unload, be heard and understood (not judged), and then be supported when it’s all better. That world starts with me, I guess, or I have no right to wish for it.

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