Love till you Die

 

 

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If you are a regular reader of my posts; in particular my posts on anxiety, you will know that the one thing I fear most in life; is death. My death in to be specific; or worse, my children. Almost on a daily basis I find myself thinking of all the possible ways that I may die; and be taken away from my beautiful children. Mostly it is being confronted with another’s death, The news will often be a source for raising my fears, as I hear of fatal car accidents involving children, or tragic deaths of mother’s, and the tragedy of flight MH-17 that took the life of three Australian siblings. I cannot fathom the pain and anguish that the mother of those three children must feel. I cannot begin to understand mother’s that take their child’s life and whenever hearing of such an unspeakable incident it only makes me hold my children tighter and cover them in kisses.

I am overly affectionate with my boys; I tell them multiple times a day that I love them and how clever and wonderful they are; to the point where I am concerned I may be doing them some kind of mental disservice by my smothering mother’s love (aka: Norman Bates)… but I will never stop showing them how much I love them and cherish everyday I am with them, no matter how difficult they can be at times.

Recently an older work colleague told me he had lost his mother. He discussed how he did not find out about her passing for a few days after her passing due to conflict within the family; and it was through Facebook. He went on to say that he had not had much to do with his mother and she had been in a nursing home for quite a few years. Although my colleague was clearly upset by his mother’s death; he was certainly not devastated and part of me felt a lot of his distress came from the conflict between himself and his siblings which had obviously resurfaced.

Some days later it occurred to me the difference in how people deal with the death of their parents. I always thought to myself that I would never want to be taken away from my boys; but if I were to die when they were older, married with children of their own, I would be more “at peace” knowing they were more able to deal with the loss and had their wife and children to help them through that period of their lives. Then I thought I all the people I had witnessed that were absolutely lost following the death of their parent/s even though they themselves were grown and had children of their own. It occurred to me that it is not how old your children are that effects their level of grief, but how close the parent/child relationship was. Given that I smother my boys with love and affection, and can only hope that this translates into a close and loving bond that will continue well into their adulthood, then I can only believe (and hope) that they will be pretty upset when I die. Should I then scale back my affection? Should I put emotional distance between myself and my children so when the time comes they can put me in a nursing home and slowly fade out of my life, one less visit at a time until I die and experience minor grief and loss before going on with their lives? 

                                                                   NO WAY!!!

Unfortunately I am just going to have to be selfish in this respect and continue on loving my children in an overly affectionate, over-complimenting way and risk that they will be as devastated to see me pass on as I will be to leave them.

 

 

Image Credit: en.wikipedia.org

 

 

Back into the swing of things

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It’s been awhile since I’ve posted a blog; I haven’t felt very inspired of late, and still have nothing of particular interest to write about. However, that urge to write remains and despite having nothing to really blog about I’ve decided that I should post anyway and try to get back into the swing of things.

I have been writing monthly 500 word contributions for ABC Open (www.abcopen.net.au) and have been enjoying these immensely. Each month offers a new focus topic and I was asked to record one of my contributions for radio! It was extremely hard! I needed about 10 takes; each time attempting to portray the emotion expressed throughout the piece. It astounded me how difficult it was to read something aloud without being self conscience of how you sound; battle nerves and reflect the essence of the story with varying pace and inflection. Each Tuesday I also attend a writing group for the monthly contributions where we brainstorm our monthly pieces and share our work (as well as drink coffee and tea; eat biscuits and get slightly off track in conversation)! It’s nice to have that 2 hours to myself to do something for me, as well as get constructive feedback on my writing and learn of other’s writing styles.

I return back to work in a few weeks and can hardly believe a whole year has past since the birth of my baby! While still small for his age he has certainly grown since his 2 month early entry into the world. He is crawling like a Trojan and pulling himself up on everything and scooting along lounges and the TV unit constantly. He has sprouted 4 teeth in the past 4 weeks and is all gummy smiles and giggles and loveliness. He loves nothing more than to wrestle with his brother and follow big brother around in awe and admiration.

I have been getting stuck into some serious cleaning of late; all the tasks I had set myself to do whilst on maternity leave but never completed as I’ve been much too busy doing nothing! (Having cuddles with my baby takes a lot of time and effort)! Needless to say I can now (reluctantly) return to work knowing that all my spring cleaning has been completed.

I recently got some more ink done to my former forearm tattoo; adding a bird in flight and some red roses to my letter ‘A’ to symbolize my boys spreading their wings (and the roses to make my tattoo feminine and pretty). At first I was concerned about how large my tattoo was and how much of my arm it took up and wondered if I had made a terrible mistake. I found myself worrying about what people (such as my boss) would think and whether people would look at me in a different light. A few days later however once the shock of my new addition settled I fell in love with my new tattoo and come to realise that I don’t/shouldn’t give a s@$t what others think and if they see or treat me differently because of my tattoo then that was their issue and not mine – as long as I am happy with it (which I am), then that is all that matters. I plan to get some more work done and eventually have a 1/2 sleeve on my lower arm.

We’ll, that’s all I can think to write about for now but it felt great blogging again. Hopefully next blog I will have something more creative and insightful to contribute! =)

 

 

Image Credit: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=10591

Analyse This…

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There are very few television shows I enjoy watching or can commit to watching season after season; if fact there are two: Puberty Blues (an Australian based program based on the book by the same name), and The Walking Dead. I recently finished watching Season 4 of the Walking Dead and prior to viewing was beside myself with excitement; I had been left hanging on the last season wondering how Rick, Carl, Judith and Daryl would fare (as they were/are the only characters I have any emotional attachment to) and was not disappointed by the season return (apart from one very boring episode featuring a near hour-long saga of Beth looking for alcohol and Daryl losing his shit; the only saviour being Daryl losing his shit).

Afterwards however I found myself starting to question little things; such as where are Judith’s bottles coming from; there’s hardly any fresh milk available and I’ve not seen anyone carry or prepare any formula (which they had sourced a few tins of in a previous season); and if they did where are they getting the water from to mix it with? Which leads to the realisation that apart from Beth and Daryl’s deep and meaningful drinking session I’ve not seen any character drink water or any other liquid either. Perhaps these little nuances are ‘implied’ and supposed to be presumed by the viewer as occurring; like how you never saw a Brady use the toilet but is is assumed that they like all other mere humans do require to urinate and such…

Once I started wondering I couldn’t stop; is there still electricity? I can only imagine at some point it would fail to run; which without it means no hot water, light etc. (Which in turn led me to the belief that all featuring females must either have very hairy legs and underarms or are quite handy with a knife? Perhaps some wax was picked up on a run at some point?) Also; when Daryl and Beth approached the golf club my partner asked a strange but curious question; “Who’s been maintaining the lawns”? The club while not pristine as golf clubs generally are; was certainly not overgrown as it should be in reality. Don’t get me wrong; I love the show and am still addicted and committed to seeing it out until the very end, but perhaps the creators/writers could have some respect for the anal viewers with little going on in their lives and too much time to over-analyse stuff and show someone going to the toilet; having a drink of water and the difficulty of preparing a baby’s bottle in the midst of a zombie apocalypse; surely that’s not too much to ask?..Otherwise, bring on Season 5!

Image Credit: Gene Page/AMC http://blogs.amctv.com/the-walking-dead/photo-galleries/the-walking-dead-season-4-episode-photos/#/96

DP: I Walk the Line

 

 

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I cant say I have a particular motto or moral code I live by, however that is not to say I do not possess ‘good’ morals and ethics. I simply do not analyse my moral code so much that it particularly affects me on a day-to-day basis. Ultimately I try to live my life stress and anxiety free; taking pleasure in the little things and looking at everything in a positive light. If things are getting me down or I’m having a  bit of a shit day, I take a deep breath, plough on and a few hours later find that I got through the little dilemma or depressive slump and most times am feeling pleased with the results and much more improved in my mood. Today for example; we had plumbing issues in our house and had no hot water for approximately 12 hours. My partner and I made sure all the babies bottles were washed, water boiled and water-reservoir in the fridge filled so we had fresh drinking water. Although it was a culture shock and I lost count of how many times I turned on the tap to wash my hands before remembering there was no water, we got through the night until the following day (today) and the plumber arrived mid-morning. That however caused other issues. Whilst trying to feed the baby, make phone calls following up appointments and deal with the daily dramas of a 4 year old, the plumber trampled toilet water through the house and kindly left the bathroom in a mess so when we did have hot water again I got the pleasure of mopping the bathroom floor and trying my best to clean the carpet which the baby crawls all over while investigating his house and mobility abilities. I cant deny I was extremely stressed and a little annoyed at the time, but an hour later those feelings had past and I was simply glad to once again be living with the modern convenience of a working plumbing system. 

So, I suppose one of the moral codes I may live by would be ‘patience is a virtue’. Having patience helps me keep calm and avoid anxiety. As for other moral and virtues I possess I can’t really say as I’ve never really thought that much about it. I know if there was an old man and a baby drowning in a river I would stand on the shoreline screaming “Oh my god somebody save them’! before jumping in myself and most likely drowning due to my disgraceful swimming skills. I’m a firm believer that you should treat those how you would like to be treated and I am generally pleasant to everyone I meet unless they give me reason not to be; i.e: by being rude to me for no reason, upsetting my children, etc. However given this I feel everyone should be given a second chance and I can always see the positives in most people; (excepting anyone who abuses/harms children; then my moral code takes a 180 and all I can express for these people is nothing but contempt and disgust).

As far as being moral or immoral I know that although (as many of us have) I may have done a few ‘bad’ things in my life; (told a secret you swore confidence or lied to your parents about where you have been), I am still a ‘good’ person. I think Ernest Hemingway sums up morality best in Death in the Afternoon by saying: “So far, about morals, I know only that what is moral is what you feel good after and what is immoral is what you feel bad after.” 

Image Credit: flickr.com

 

DP: Singing the Blues

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Whenever I am feeling down one sure thing to cheer me up is playing with my 4 year old son or giving my baby cuddles and kisses. With the silliness and outrageous comments my 4 year old comes out with it is hard to stay depressed for too long! And the feeling of baby love is just magic. Otherwise some other ways I cheer myself up are:

  • Watching a comedy film or television show.
  • As strange and macabre as it may sound; reading a sad fictitious book; when presented with characters that are having a rougher time than you are it can change your outlook on how you are feeling and make you thankful for your life/situation when it is put into perspective.
  • Going for a walk or doing exercise. Endorphins are great mood lifters.
  • Talk to a friend.
  • Listen to some of your favourite  music and sing along (but perhaps not blues)!

Image: http://cdn.mamamia.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/happy.jpg

Some Handy Tips for First-Time Mothers (and second, third, fourth…)!

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Here are some (hopefully) helpful thoughts or advice on what I found made things a little bit easier when caring for baby. Although everyone is quick to give advice regarding how you should look after your baby; especially when its your first, at times this advice is not helpful despite all good intentions, or just does not suit your routine, parenting style etc. I hate to be another one of those people, and if you have already been bombarded with helpful tips and feeling are annoyed by the whole process I suggest you stop reading now! Or at least do what most do and take good information and store it for later while disregarding the not-so-helpful hints. At the end of the day you will come up with your own way of caring for your baby that suits you and your little one; which is how I came to develop these “handy tips” – which as stated are only suggestions on what I found helped made things easier and enabled me to really enjoy caring for a newborn and everything that goes with it. So, here are some of my handy hints:

  • If bottle-feeding try to wash/sterilize bottles at night so come morning (when sleep deprived), you have fresh clean bottles ready to go. Try to wash/sterilize as many as you can accommodating for all of baby’s feeds for the following 24 hour period. E.g: If baby has 4 bottles per day wash/sterilize a minimum of 4 bottles.
  • Similarly if using Milton sterilizer change solution at night also so the next day solution will be fine to use until the time you changed it last (solution lasts 24 hours). Also, you can cut down on tablet/solution use by getting another days worth of bottles clean, so hopefully you will not have to use solution the next day. E.g: My baby is on 2 bottles per day (rest breastfeed) so I sterilize 4 bottles at a time, using 2 on Day 1, leaving two for Day 2. On the 3rd day I change solution and sterilize all four bottles and repeat process for days 4, 5 and 6. Plus, its always good to have extra clean bottles on hand should baby need an extra feed.
  • Boil water at night before bed or early in morning (6-7 am). As with sterilizing solution boiled bottle water lasts for 24 hrs. I found doing this meant the water was cooled and ready to go for morning routine.
  • Put a post-it-note or have a log for sterilizing solution/boiled water to record times solution changed/water boiled, as its easy to forget. Alternatively if able try to pick a time you do both each day routinely so you know that at 8 pm for example is when solution/water ‘expires’/needs changing.
  • Have a separate kettle for baby’s bottle water. You can buy cheap kettles for around $10 and dedicate this kettle to baby’s bottle water so Mum/Dad can still have a coffee without interfering with boiling times/cool down process. There is nothing worse than having a hungry, screaming baby and a kettle full of boiling hot water that you cant use for an hour or more! If this does happen, put the boiling water in the bottle and place in fridge or even freezer to speed up the cool down.
  • If breastfeeding invest in a good quality automatic pump. AVENT (Phillips) is a fantastic model and well worth the money. Some cheaper manual ones will not extract milk effectively increasing risk of mastitis (and a lot of frustration and tears), or even not work at all. I bought a Tommee Tippee manual pump for $60 which fell apart every time after one pump. For $150 I got the AVENT automatic and loved it so much I wanted to marry it!
  • Don’t bother with expensive bottle brushes. I’ve seen (and bought) bottle brushes at ridiculous prices. I purchased one for $15 which looked aesthetically pleasing but in practicality was a piece of crap, breaking within a week. I next purchased a plain, ‘old-school’ wire one from The Reject Shop (discount store) for $4 and am still using it now after 8 months and many clean bottles with no complaints.
  • Don’t worry about housework! Yes, admittedly it is nicer and somewhat easier to cope in a  clean house but do not sacrifice your health/energy or more importantly bonding time with baby. As cliche as it may sound babies grow up quick and that special  time does not last forever so enjoy it! As a lovely little poem outlines: “Cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow, for babies grow up we’ve learnt to our sorrow, so quiet down cobwebs, dust go to sleep, I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep”.
  • Don’t feel bad if you don’t know what your doing! I remember with my first born my mother and mother-in-law would say “You know what he wants” and “you know him best”; especially as far as a feeding routine was concerned, except I didn’t know what I was doing at all! Their comments would give me a sense of failure and feelings of inadequacy that my motherly instincts were not telling me what to do. In actuality it is normal to not know what to do particularly with your first baby. Babies are hard and every baby is different,Your first child will be different to your second, and third in temperament, routine etc. And; just when you think you have them worked out they will go and have a growth spurt or developmental change and throw the routine you just worked out completely out the window! Mothering is all about trial and error and going with the flow; what works one day wont always work the next, but with each adversity comes a learning experience and another ‘mothering’ skill under your belt (apron?)!
  • Take time for yourself. Don’t forget you are not just a  mother but a person! Let grandma babysit for an hour or two and go and get your hair/nails done or go out for lunch with your friends, you will feel better about yourself and appreciate baby all the more when you get back home.

I hope these tips were helpful to some and help mothers expand their “skills” and make things a little easier throughout a wonderful time in your life. Enjoy your baby because they are beautiful! xoxox

Image: “Mother and Baby” by L. Lauter fineartamerica.com

I DO NOT PLAGERIZE!

I was recently sent an email stating that a piece I had written for the 2014 Blog for Mental Health was not an original piece by you, but rather a reprint of an article by another author altogether; and that my article was removed from the blogroll; and was I aware that reproducing an entire article was plagiarizing/content theft?! Umm, yes I am aware of that and No, I did not reproduce any other authors work and present it as my own! The article I wrote (“Don’t Panic! Don’t Panic”) is most certainly my own work based on my experience and knowledge of suffering from anxiety; and MY blog was posted on MY blog page well before I submitted it to the Blogroll for the 2014 Blogging for Mental Health campaign. I am extremely angry and hurt that someone has not only stolen my work but then presented me to be the plagiarizer! It seems that one cannot even post a  blog without risking copyright issues. Just another lesson learnt about copyrighting and the integrity of others. 

Some thoughts on returning to university (for a third time)..

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After finishing high school I was offered two choices for tertiary study; primary teaching or social welfare. Whilst I wasn’t quite sure what social welfare was I was very sure I didn’t want to return to school after already spending the past 13 years there! And so, social welfare it was. It took some time to adjust to tertiary study; writing my first real essay, referencing, research, the cost of texts, (the dread of exams I already excelled at). All throughout my course I silently pondered each subject; not really seeing the relationship between why I had to learn about politics for example if I was going to counsel people about their problems; and it wasn’t until my last year that I actually got a real taste of what social welfare really was until my first placement. It was here in the field that everything fit together; and I realised why I was taught politics; sociology and psychology and all the other “ology’s”.

Upon completion of my degree I worked within the field, and for some time felt that I was “making a difference” and good at my chosen career. However after 6 years my passion began to wan and my empathy for other people’s problems diminished until I became a cold, uncaring, “I’ve heard it all before” type of person. Feeling that I was not benefiting myself or my clients I left the field and returned to study my real passion, English.

Although I had been a somewhat avid reader (albeit ‘junk’ material rather than scholarly works) for most of my childhood, it was a particular teacher in my senior years of high school who first passed on the love of literature. His recital of T.S Eliot’s ‘The love song of J. Alfred Prufrock’ was inspiring to say the least and one I will I remember until this day. In hope to become a published author I enrolled into a BA arts degree majoring in English and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of my studies. The course forced me to read material I wouldn’t otherwise have read which were outside my chosen genre of interest and introduced me to the works of great writer’s such as Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins. I loved studying poetry, (especially my favourite poets Eliot, Coleridge and Frost) and found doing so like solving a puzzle or decoding some secret message as each stanza was broken down and mere beautiful words and phrases gained meaning and insight.

While studying, my writing developed both in literacy skill and influence and I filled notebook after notebook with poems, character development and plot ideas. The beginnings of stories and novels were begun and then discarded as I deemed them unworthy, but regardless my passion was strong. I learnt about the process involved in getting work published (or at least attempting to); and vowed that on completion of my studies I would dedicate my time to finishing work for publication. However, as it often does; life got in the way. And so after two children, and many, many attempts, I have yet to even finish a piece of work let alone submit one to a publisher. Initially this caused me much disappointment and frustration within myself (and towards myself) for my lack of commitment and felt that as it stood my degree was a waste of time and money. I have now come to the realisation that this is not true. Although I may not become the published writer I always dreamed of being, my love for English has been strengthened and my understanding of the subject deepened and for that my course was not a waste at all.

This year I begun a BA of Secondary Teaching and am once again excited and inspired by my studies. Although I am only into my first week I am already imagining teaching a class and the reward of hopefully passing on my love of the written word to young minds as was once passed on to me. Let us go then, you and I…

 

Blogging Blues

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I turned on my computer today; excited to log in and see if anyone had viewed my most recent blog, or made a comment, or even liked something. I clicked on my ‘stats’ and was devastated to see I had ‘0 views today’ and ‘0 views yesterday’. Well. Okay. Fair enough too I guess. I know what I’m writing is not amazing, inspirational pieces of work, or overly creative or particularly well written, but surely its worth just one view? I mean, can’t someone just throw me a pity ‘like’ for self-worth value?! Apparently not. In my moment of despair I though ‘why even bother’? ‘I don’t think Ill do this blogging thing anymore, its just added and un-needed stress in my life’. But then I realised thinking like that is one of the reasons I am not the published writer I always dreamed of being, or the professional anything I ever dreamed of being. I am a quitter. That is what I do best. When things get to hard, or too overwhelming, I bow out; with excuses such as ‘I wasn’t enjoying it’, or ‘It just wasn’t for me’. As well as quitting I also excel in self-rationalisation. I believe that I could make myself believe just about anything. It’s a shame I cannot find a profession where denial is a essential criteria; because I have it in spades.

And, so, just as the saying goes, I’m getting back on the horse and taking this blogging thing for another ride. And do you know what? I don’t care if anyone reads it or not, or if I get any likes or comments, because my blogging isn’t about recognition or self-assurance, my blog is about me committing to something, making it my own no matter what anyone else thinks. It’s a place where I can express all my thoughts and opinions and lame poetry and then send it all off into the wide wide world of web, in a cathartic release. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

Media and it’s effect on self image

images-3As a self-confessed magazine junkie I spend approximately $20 a week on various ‘celebrity/gossip’ magazines (such as ‘Who’, ‘Famous’, ‘NW’, ‘OK!’ etc). The addiction began while in hospital after the premature birth of my second child, and served to wile away the long hours of being bound to the hospital away from family and friends. In this aspect the magazines provided light-hearted entertainment (amongst a dreary and at times depressing surrounding) as well as a sense of keeping in touch with the outside world (albeit one far removed from the reality we all know). Each edition kept me informed on the latest celebrity hook-ups and break-ups, latest movie releases and fashion trends, and the expected arrival of Kate and William’s little Prince.

6 months later; now settled back home with my baby, my magazine fetish continued; however now I was realising another common trend amongst each week’s issues: weight loss. In Hollywood it seemed as a celebrity you had to walk a fine line when weight was concerned; if considered “too skinny” one was labelled anorexic, and anything above a size 6-8 (US Size 2-4) was considered overweight. Along with headings and captions slandering realistic sizes and glorifying the trimmed, tanned and toned; were pages of tips on weight loss and recipes or menu plans for weight loss foods. NOT healthy foods for healthy eating but foods for the primary goal of weight loss. (So we can all be size 6’s of course – and don’t get me started on the pages demeaning make-up free women for; shock-horror! – leaving the house with no make up on). The images of flat-stomached celebrities frolicking on the beach began to eat away at my self esteem; and now I began to notice my cellulite covered thighs and pot-belly…and began to hate them.

My weight has fluctuated over the years; at my heaviest a size 14-16 and at my smallest size 6-8, and currently after the birth of my second child was a size 10-12. And it honestly must be said that I felt a lot more confident within myself when I was a smaller size; however it was also not healthy. When I was size 6-8 I weighed around 50kg, which for my height is considered underweight; and while I felt more confident at being able to wear anything and not have bulges and bumps it came at a cost. Because I was thin and was able to eat whatever I liked without weight gain my diet consisted of mostly take away and processed foods. Physically I felt terrible; I was tired all of the time and often left heavy and lazy, despite my small frame. I experienced sinking sensations in my chest and dizzy spells almost weekly. Surprisingly since gaining weight (from inactivity; ie: having hour long cuddles on the lounge with a very spoilt newborn) I have not experienced the heart problems or dizziness and have had a noticeable increase in energy. This is likely due to the fact that I made a conscience decision to eat more healthily; cutting down on take-away foods and increasing protein and vegetables into my diet. (Which should be noted was taken from the same magazines that made me feel so bad about myself).

All this inner-turmoil made me wonder; if this is how I, a 31 year old woman in a stable and loving relationship is made to feel about herself, how must teenagers (for example) feel when they read magazines reinforcing the ideal body as a slim and toned one? Even with the popularity of curvaceous figures such as Kim Kardashian; as she too has been pressured into slimming down and getting back her “post-baby body”. Perhaps rather than focusing on figures and how our bodies look in a bikini; we should be focusing on how our bodies feel and how to keep them healthy. Anything that comes from that can only be a positive. And so in my bid for a healthy self-esteem I am tossing the magazines and opening up a newspaper!

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