The Horror!

There have been a lot of movies over the course of time, that have starred children. Sometimes the kids are used in these movies to send chills down your spine such as the twins in The Shinning (1980) and Children of the Corn (1984). Sometimes these kid characters are there to act as homes for evil spirits such as those in The Exorcist and The Omen. These are the movies where you kind of feel sorry for the children, even if they did murder their dog. However, other times these kids play a detrimental role in the movie. Their aim is to hurt, trap or kill the adult cast. The Orphan (2009), Hard Candy (2005) and Insidious (2010) spring to my mind when I think about how truly disturbing kids have the potential to be.

After watching these movies and considering those characters, I look at my own children and think “But how could they ever do such a thing?” whilst tilting my head to the side with a “I’m so blessed” expression plastered on my face. Because children are inherently innocent, inquisitive and beautiful creatures. Right?

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If you read that and sweetly nodded your head, then you have never been woken up in the wee hours of the morning by a toddler standing quietly and patiently an inch from your face.

Because this has been happening to me for a few months now (sporadically, which makes it worse) and I can completely understand why horror filmmakers choose children as the stories antihero. Have you seen what a child looks like at 3 in the morning, quietly standing there with their dummy in their mouth, ‘blanky’ hanging from their hands and only the soft sounds of their breath filtering through the room. The way the tiny amount of light floating in from somewhere else in the house only highlights a small fraction of their facial features, making their eyes dark and their mouth appear in an evil smirk. It is positively demonic.

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The amount of times I have woken completely startled to the point of panic because my son is standing mere centimetres away from me as I sleep is getting out of control. How long was he standing there? What sinister thoughts is he thinking as I lay there completely unaware of his intentions? Does he want to murder me? He could pick up the axe that is next to the bed (burglars beware), open it up and bring it down on my skull and I would have no chance of survival.

Because who the heck knows what is going through a child’s mind right?!? Ill be giving A extra biscuits tonight so I don’t wake up with an amputated appendage…

Nup


When Parenting Has You Beat

I have been put under the parenting pump recently. The kids are at the age (3 and 20 months) that result in me barely sitting down, rarely getting a hot shower by myself or being able to stop – even for one second. Every moment they are awake is devoted to keeping them happy, fed, entertained and most importantly, alive. That leaves very little time for me, myself and I. So when I have some ‘me’ time, I take it very seriously.

Before I continue, I should state that I am a big advocate of forcing oneself to have some ‘me’ time, especially when said person’s day is full and busy. It has taken practice, but I give myself at least 30 minutes to an hour a day (whether in one hit or in little intervals) where I do something for myself. Not for the kids, dogs or the house – just me. This ensures I am feeding my soul or simply keeping my mind from exploding from the stress of life.

I have included a list of things I choose to do in my time. I recommend each and every one of them but that’s just me. Find something for yourself.

1. Take a bath

I do this one either when it’s just Flynn and I at home and he has a nap, or after the kids go to sleep. I light a candle, put something LUSH in the water and get out my book (but more on reading later). Sometimes I take a red wine or a herbal tea, depending on how stressful the day is. The idea of taking a bath actually seems like a lot of effort at times, but every time I have one, I regret not doing it every night.

Some of the products I use in the bath include:

Bathbombs (this one is my favourite)

Magnesium Salt Flakes (This is brand I use)

Lavender Oil (Try this one)

If you don’t have a bath, I recommend some of these shower products to make it a little more relaxing:

Life’s a Beach Scrub

FRANK Scrub

2. Sit outside without technology

This one I tend to do when it is raining. I have an old school swinging lounge on my patio, which I force myself to sit on for 10-15 minutes when the kids go to bed. I have always found the rain calming, so this one is an easy option for me. Even on a nice evening, sitting outside in the fresh air helps unwind and calm your mind. Especially with the soft swinging of a lounge chair. I tend to do this 2-3 times a week. Its an easy unwinder for me.

3. Take care of your skin

I have found being consistent with my skin care ritual makes me feel that everyday, I am doing something for me. At night I ensure I cleanse, (exfoliate when its time), put on a serum, face oil and moisturiser. Every week or two I also do a mask (I recommend this LUSH mask or if you are feeling extra dull, go for this Mecca mask). I think with my days being full of nappy changes, trucks, diggers, dirt and super heroes, ensuring I dedicate some time to my skincare every night allows some femininity to seep back into my day. I feel good about myself and its also calming to focus some time on something that is just for me and no one else.

If you are interested, my favourite skincare is by far Go To Skincare – I have been using it since 2014 and can’t fault it.

4. Read

I am an avid reader. I love reading and although I tend to favour crime/psychological thrillers, I have recently expanded my horizons and have been dabbling in all genres – which only makes me a more passionate reader. Regardless of how tired I am, I always dedicate time to read before I fall asleep and if I am really into a book, I make sure I only spend a small amount of time in front of the TV before forcing myself to put away all technology and read.

Reading really forces to me to take some time away from my day and enter the life of the character. If the book is interest enough,  with my face in a book, I don’t have room to worry about my day or To Do list.

These are my current recommendations if you are looking for a new book.

Reader, I married him – collection of short stories inspired by Jane Eyre

Brain on Fire – This is Susannah Cahalan’s recount of the time she went ‘insane’. A reporter by trade, she uses her parents recounts, her medical documents and video footage to write about her experience. Amazing read.

Modern Lovers – about friends/bandmates from college, their relationships and grown up lives. Really well written and I loved every page.

Eileen – follows the life of Eileen who is a little bit strange, a little bit funny and a little bit troubled. I love Ottessa Moshfegh and this was a winner.

H is for Hawk – about a girl dealing with her grief after her fathers death. She becomes obsessed with raising a goshawk. You need to concentrate for this one but it is fascinating and worth your time.

Along Came A Spider – James Patterson’s character Alex Cross is my favourite. Every book is amazing and leaves me wanting to read another book. This is a series and I um currently up to book 8. If you love crime, the Alex Cross series is mint.

5. Unwind with some TV

TV is the easiest tool for unwinding. You don’t need much brain power to watch a show. My favourite shows at the moment are Ballers, Ray Donovan, The Good Wife and Iron Fist. I also love Bones, Criminal Minds and The Knick. My secret obsession? The X-Files if you love a bit of Sci-Fi.  I simply put my kids to bed, eat my dinner, lay down, let my face and brain relax and let the TV do the thinking for me.

6. Colour in

I am surprisingly still colouring in even though the fad has faded. I have always enjoyed drawing, writing and colouring so this one is an easy choice for me. I use this if I am really stressed/worried/anxious about something. Colouring requires my full attention as I am terrible at staying within the lines therefore there is no room left for outside noise. Although I love Johanna Basford, my favourite colouring book is the Harry Potter Colouring Book.

7. Circuits

Although you might roll your eyes at this one, I have started to use exercise circuits as a ‘me time’ activity. Since getting to the gym is impossible for me at the moment, I have had to resort to doing circuits at home if I don’t want to go backwards in my fitness.

I have previously done Kayla Itsine’s workouts, but I found that my motivation to stick to her workouts fading over the weeks. My solution? I cut it in half. I do 2 x 7 minutes (instead of 4 x 7 minutes) workouts based on her circuits. I found it easier to rap my head around and I am more likely to complete them since I do them after the kids go to bed. I do them 3-4 times a week and so far I haven’t missed a circuit.

I find doing them later in the afternoon means I make better choices for dinner and post-dinner snacks. I also use them to justify having that glass of wine or that bit of chocolate i have across the course of the week.

If you don’t have access to Kayla, I recommend @bubs2bikinis on instagram – Anna does some amazing at home circuits that last between 15-30 minutes. So no excuses. Your physical health is closely linked to mental health, so give it a go.

 

So, give one of these a go. You will feel good giving yourself a treat and a break.


A Son, His Mother and Her Yawn.

I was sitting at a cafe, sans children, when a mother and her son sat at the table directly in front of me.They were chatting about a library book the boy was holding and he was energetically telling his mother something about space shuttles. I looked up briefly from the book I was reading to get a better look at both of them. In that moment, I caught the mum mid yawn.

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It wasn’t your average yawn – it was a lengthy eye rubbing “I-am-so-bloody-tired-I-don’t-know-what-being-normal-feels-like-any-more” type yawn. And it was only 915 am. During the length of the mums yawn, her son continued talking,  saying “mum, mum, look, mum” over and over. As soon as the mum finished her yawn, stretched out her face and had what I am sure was a quick mental reflection as to why she was so exhausted, she swiftly answered her son and they went on discussing the book. Just like that. She could spare no more minutes thinking about how she was feeling – it was mum time.

I felt like getting up out of my seat, hugging her and saying ‘I feel you’.

Adulthood, let a lone motherhood, is tiring. There is always so much to do and think about.

You have bills and exercise to start. Am I eating the right foods? Are my kids eating the right foods? Am I teaching them the right things? My car due for a service. Am I dedicating enough time to my job? Am I dedicating enough time to my children? How is the status of my relationship. The dogs need to be walked, the grocery shop needs to be done, those clothes need to be dropped off at Salvos. Have you seen the dust on all my home’s surfaces? My dog is limping – book an appointment with the vet.

It is a never ending list and most of the time it plays on loop in my mind over and over again.

What surprises me however, is my ability to somehow keep on top of all those things and keep two small humans alive and thriving. Although I do admit to loosing a few of the ‘to-do’ items somewhere in the mess of my busy mind, most of the time I am in awe of we do it.

Albeit I would love to do all those things on my list better, I am still pretty chuffed with our ability to do life each and every single day. And I am thankful for my physical health each day in being able to do each day as it comes.Dealing with your own emotional wellbeing, the never ending to-do list all whilst managing your home and family, is no easy feat. So bravo to you (and me) for getting things done.

In saying this, parent or not, it is nice to reward yourself from time to time. So my next post? All about how to save our sanity in this busy life of ours.

x

 

 

 


Very Near and Very Distant

It is all very near and very distant

I read this the other day and thought it adequately summed up my experience with motherhood.

 

I remember the moment I went into labour with Archer. I woke up from my sleep around 4 in the morning with the startling realisation of “This is it”. A mere 16 or so hours later, out came little Archer.

 

Flynn’s labour was eerily similar. I woke up at 330 (on the morning of my birthday) to bad cramp like pains. But this time, I knew straight away what was happening. Before heading into the labour ward, I distinctly remember finding myself walking the aisles of Woolworths around the corner from the hospital looking for snacks to take with me. I would make it halfway down each aisle, contract, then walk the rest of the aisle before contracting again. I then thought it would be nice to get a coffee at the Coffee Club, where I spent the time wriggling around uncomfortably on the pleather couch trying to cope with the intermittent pains.

 

After giving birth to Archer, I remember finally being alone in the room with him. He was in the clear bassinet staring straight at me and me back at him. I remember thinking to myself “Pregnancy ends with a real life baby?!? How did I not know this”.

 

What I remember even more distinctly, is how I felt in the weeks after giving birth to both boys. I remember feeling anxious, trapped, scared, emotional and tired. I remember my struggle with the guilt with turning to formula for Archer and the many late nights and early morning breastfeeds with Flynn as my nipples struggled to stay attached to my sore and swollen boobs. I felt overwhelmed. I remember when each babe reached a month old, I felt better adjusted and was brave enough to leave the house. I remember all of those feelings as if they were yesterday.

 

As I hold my children in the present day, what I don’t remember is the feel of their small 50-ish cm bodies curled into my chest. I don’t remember the smell of their newborn hair or the sound of their cries. I don’t remember the sound of Flynn’s floppy larynx that kept me awake as he slept or the coos they made when they were happy. Now, during a rare embrace, I look down at Archers long legs and think ‘When did he grow so big?’. I listen to Flynn ask me “where’s nanna and pa?” and think ‘When did you learn to talk?’.

 

Being a parent is an even mix of wishing the harder days to end and in the next breath wondering where the time went. There is huge difference between the difficult moments and the good times. People aren’t lying when they say that being a mother is the hardest job you will ever have. And sometimes it isn’t for the reasons you think.

 

You seem to hold on tighter to those moments where you feel less than adequate or guilty for not doing a good enough job and never give yourself enough praise for when you really are surpassing all expectations you ever held for yourself as a parent. You spend too much time kicking yourself for the things you may have done ‘wrong’ and not enough time looking at your thriving kids and say ‘yep, I’m an awesome mum’.

 

Overall it is a weird sensation watching your kids grow. Now that my boys are 3 and 18 months, I can no longer say I have a toddler and a baby. Somewhere along the way my children grew from babies to toddlers to boys. It feels like only yesterday I was staring at my first born through the transparent bassinet and now he is a robust 3 year old boy who is currently in the ‘thinking’ chair for not following my instructions. When did they grow from blobs to intelligent and independent kids? As the time has passed, the harder times I have experienced have faded from memory and I feel myself yearning for them to stay lovingly dependent on me forever. But I know this won’t happen. I am sure that mothers both young and old will nod their head when I say this, but motherhood completely defines the saying ‘the days are long and the years are short’.

 

So what should you do? Enjoy every moment with your children as they grow and give yourself a break – you are doing a great job.


Why Can’t We Talk Like ‘Ty’

Ty Dolla Sign is one of my secret indulgences. His song ‘Wavy’ is among other similar types of music I like to listen to while I am exercising. R & B and Hip Hop are my jam’s.

As I was walking my dogs the other night in this horrendous heat wave, I actually listened to the lyrics of the song. I have honestly heard this song about 20 different times and never actually listened to what Ty was saying. The verse in particular that got me thinking was:

I’m so wavy, I’m so wavy, all these b*tches wanna have my babies
I’m so handsome, I’m so ballin’, must be why all my ex’s calling

And it struck me like a taxi who didn’t see me stumbling off the side-walk – why don’t I talk to myself like that!? WHY DON’T MOTHERS AND WOMEN TALK TO THEMSELVES LIKE THAT?!

What a great form of positive self talk and reinforcement. Although I probably wouldn’t use such language and I wouldn’t say exactly those things, the principal would be the same. Why don’t I tell myself how awesome I really am? Why don’t I focus on the positive things I do rather than listing the things I don’t have.  You don’t hear Ty talking about his untoned stomach or wonky nose do you? You don’t hear him mentioning the fact that he might have a big bum or wish he was more like jay-z.

He owns himself and is talking up the things that make him feel good. And we should all do the same. We owe it to ourselves and our kids to remember the positives.

If this song was reflective of my own situation, It would probably go a bit like this:

I’m so ‘mazing, I’m so ‘mazing, my babies love me like crazy, 

I’m so patient, I’m so trustworthy, I love my hips even though they’re curvy. 

Although my lyric writing skills clearly need work, you get the point. With a lot of my mental focus going towards the fact that my fitness is not where it should be, I should also look at it that my body is a strong and resilient temple and who cares if my hips are curvy.

We all need to be a little bit more like Ty Dolla. Imagine the positive impact words and lyrics such as these would have on our mood if we rehearsed them as we brushed our teeth in the morning.

I dare you to come up with your own and repeat them to yourself. You are all amazing and deserve to be reminded


Time After Time

Since becoming a mother, I have found that the concept of ‘time’ has dramatically changed. More often than not, I have found there is no longer a happy medium when it comes to time and I am often left resenting it entirely.

I think when we decided to add another child into our family, time then changed again.

Through the minutes, hours, days, weeks and months, I constantly cycle through the same thoughts that I honestly didn’t think I would ever be caught dead saying:

  • I never have enough hours in the day
  • Where did the day go
  • I was meant to do x, y and x today but time got away from me
  • Flynn is 18 months, how did that happen?
  • I spent almost three hours in the kitchen today making food
  • Am I really 27? What have I done for the past 3 years?
  • I really need to factor in some me time during the day (insert blank face emoji who already knows this will not happen)

 

Time has become that homemade boat I spent hours making before testing it on the ‘river’ speeding quickly down the gutters after a major drop of rain. I smile broadly as I watch it speeding past before seeing it disappear down the storm water drain for good. I palm my head in frustration knowing I should have attached a string to the hull (is that the back of the boat?) to prolong the experience, attempted to catch it before it fell into the abyss or at the very least, video taped the whole thing so I could at least re-watch a few times to compensate for all my efforts.

 

This idea of time has been occupying my thoughts more often than not lately.

What I have come to realise, is that I have spent a lot of time blaming time – blaming it for being so cruel in its consistency and its blatant refusal to slow down. Instead I should have been accepting that with this ‘change’ in time comes the simple fact that I too need to change and adapt. I need to spend more time prioritising and being smart in how I want to spend my time and making it count for something.

 

As much as I hate to admit when I am wrong, I have had to remind myself that time is not speeding up to punish me – I have the exact same amount of time in my day as I did when I was 18. It just seems like I have less of it and that I don’t have any to myself because I am managing the survival of two other beings, as well as myself, every single minute of every single day. Up until this point I have been selfish in thinking that my time belongs to me, because it doesn’t.

 

So the challenge I have set myself going forward is to move away from saying ‘time hasn’t given me enough hours today’, to instead just making things happen. Rome wasn’t built in a day (hey hey Hey!) and if I want time to do things, then I need to find it and use it properly (and not to get lost in the time warp that is social media every spare moment I get).

 

Slowly but surely, as time moves forward, my children will become less dependent and more like ‘chore-doing’ little trolls who don’t need me to wipe their bums or brush their teeth or make their dinners. One day in the near future I will be saying to myself ‘how many days until I can see my sons again’, or ‘how many months are they away in Europe for’ and I will get the time I so desperately want now that will seem so much less important then. Because, life is a contradiction like that isn’t it?

 

You always want what you can’t have and you need to make your time count for something right now because that is what life is about – making your time on this earth and in these moments count.


Crazy Christmas Brain

Christmas time is an expensive time of year. It is worse now that I am a casual teacher. Christmas = no school = no income = need to be savvy. Christmas does not equal savvy

Now, I like to think of myself as a sensible spender (majority of the time). This means I tend to remember that although I really want that dress/gadget/accessory, the money should probably go towards my phone bill/day-care fees/groceries. I have goals and those goals mean I need to save my pennies.

But at Christmas time, something happens to my brain. It splits into two equal but juxtaposing halves, that are constantly at war with each other. It happens every year.

One part of my brain says “Now Tara, remember, you have set a strict budget for what we can and cannot spend on gifts for the family. Stick to it”. She is calm, collected and wears things like fitted pant suits and tight buns in her hair.

The other part, well, she isa little loopy. She has wild, unwashed hair and is red around the eyes from too much coffee. She tends to scream “SPEND ALL THE MONEY ON ALL THE PRESENTS BECAUSE YOUR FAMILY IS AMAZING AND YOU LOVE THEM AND WANT TO SPOIL THEM ALL.”. It takes a lot of effort to calm her down and get her to abandon the trolley she spent an hour filling up.

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I tend to like the later half better, because she is fun and shakes from too much caffeine but you know, the first half has some good, responsible points.

In all seriousness, I go through this every year. I would nothing more than to create a mountain of presents for the kids in front of the Christmas tree but I also know that it isn’t teaching them anything. I also know that those toys will end up in the dirt, pool, covered in dog poop or bits will come off and disappear into the abyss (under the couch). But as a mum, I love my kids and I become over whelmed with wanting to provide them with everything and would do anything to make them happy.

But like every year, as I come to the end of the christmas present buying period, I have reflected on my gift buying for the festive season. I survey my pile of presents and have realised crazy christmas lady was patient this year. She was smart in her approach and outdid herself. How she tricks Miss-Trunchbull into letting me spend that much I will never know. She is crafty I will give her that. Miss-Trunchbull will have to fill pick up the pieces in the new year, as I am exhausted from keeping them from tearing each others eyes out.

Where the egg-nog at?

If only I was skilled at photoshop… I would substitute these cats for presents and Flanders would be my fiance. You get the picture though right?

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