thought overload

Posts tagged ‘relationships’

Finding the joy this Christmas

christmas 2007

Not my usual style, I know.

I am still trying to regain the joy in Christmas since my father passed away in September, 2010  and oddly, I have found this Christmas much harder to navigate emotionally than last. Perhaps now that I have more distance and perspective, it has hit me harder. I am not sure. Last Christmas seemed to go by in a blur. This Christmas I was painfully more aware of who was not amongst us. It has been almost 10 years since my Mother passed away.

I talked to my beautiful, sweet sister this morning and gained some more perspective, gained some more healing ground.

I realised that it is me who has to make new traditions for my family. I am no longer the child , I am only the mother.  Now that I have no living parents, that painful truth is all the more evident.

I say to all of you right now, enjoy every moment you have with your loved ones, whether it be Christmas or other. Each day is a gift and don’t take it for granted. Find a way to appreciate the positives in all people and don’t focus on the negatives. They aren’t important. Clearly, don’t endanger yourself physically or emotionally but find a way to cut through all the drama, hurts and insecurities that can accompany family relations.

I once had a friend who constantly complained about her mother to me. Her mother would in turn call me up and complain about her daughter. I will never know if either realised I was the very same sounding board for both of them  because I always respected their right to have their feelings heard and never betrayed any trust. For years that continued. What I did tell both of them at times though, was…You have each other and that is the gift. Nothing else matters, no matter how annoyed, irritated or hurt you may feel.

I don’t have the gift of being hurt, annoyed or irritated with my mother or father anymore.

Why I won’t be nominated for mother of the year

We are well and truly in the thick of school holidays here, in Australia. I am a mother to Master 6, The Princess, Bieber and Red. I am also studying my bachelor degree in education and have an essay, an Eportfolio and two other assignments due in three weeks. My husband works night shift. It is two weeks before Christmas and we have a guest arriving from overseas on Monday that we haven’t seen in two years. These are the makings of some fairly weird, ill timed and poor choices in parenting at the moment. We have no routine, bare cupboards and children coming and going in all directions. It is complete and utter mayhem.

I am pretty certain I won’t be nominated for mother of the year. Here is why:

  • Our Christmas tree has been sitting bare for two weeks and was only assembled because The Princess dragged it out of the garage and put it together. We decorated it yesterday and afterwards decided it looks like a dog’s breakfast. Red arrived home from Rockhampton last night, took a brief look and said “Tree looks good”. I said brief
  • There is nothing under the Christmas tree except for three skipping ropes, unwrapped. I have not done any form of Christmas shopping, baking or decorating except for the tree ( and we all know how that turned out)
  • Actually, I lie…there is an advent calendar I made for the children. It is missing days 16 – 21 because Red and my husband ate the treats when I was making it. I bought more treats but never got around to make days 16-21 and the children ate the treats this afternoon when all their friends were over.
  • We have been staying up watching movies and not taking notice of the time. My husband got home from night shift at 2am and we were still awake. The children were hyped up and we were subjected to animal noises and giggling until 2.30am
  • It has been 3.5 days since my children ate vegetables

    This looks about right

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  • Getting like this

...and this

...and almost as bad as this

  • I let my children stay in their PJs until the afternoon, sleep in and eat chocolate for breakfast. So did I.

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Just like this

  • The Princess has become a better house keeper than me
  • I have not cooked a family meal in 3 days
  • Bieber had a friend over this afternoon and I forgot to shut the bathroom door. That was very nearly a horrific moment for all of us.
  • We missed our craft activity morning at the library because we stayed up, danced to music and watched movies together
  • I have not read a book to Master 6 in 7.5 days
  • We ate meals at 8pm 3 days this week
  • Bieber actually did a little shuffle on stage at his graduation ceremony after he received his senior award. I believe this is because I did not give him a pep talk beforehand and I don’t bat an eyelid when my children shuffle : in the library, car park, grocery store, hospital waiting room or wherever they feel the beat. Threshhold of acceptance = high. Setting of boundaries=low
  • Master 6 wanted to know why his clothes drawers were empty today
  • I did not know it was Friday today. All day.


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Not me

I had no clue what day it was!
  • I let The Princess talk me into letting her watch a horror movie  and then she was so scared she slept in our bed. She has not done that in 3 years.
  • We are running out of essentials. We never run out of essentials. I could not run the dishwasher tonight because there were no tablets left.

The funny thing is…I do not feel bad. I do not feel guilty( see my post Mother Guilt).  The children are smiling, laughing, enjoying themselves and pitching in with things around the home. They are capable, smart, creative, polite and respectful. My husband is not admonishing me but supporting me.  Things are not planned, regimented, ordered or even done around here. I’m OK with that.

Not me

Not me

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Hit me with your qualifier

No Talking

Image via Wikipedia

I was just thinking about some of the things people say. You know, the minute that it comes out of their mouths and you’re standing there thinking “Well, that’s the biggest load of BS I have heard in my life’ or ‘ Yeah, right’.

What I particularly like in conversation, are those little qualifying sentences that people begin with. You know the ones. They’re never going to end well. You’re standing there with that perfectly masked, pasted on smile belying your complete and utter lack of interest/here we go again face/’ut oh do I really wanna hear this?’ thought/tuning out/nausea.

Firstly, I will give you some examples of my all-time favourites, what they mean and  useful strategies to deal with these little gems.

  1. “If you want my advice…”
  2. “I’m a straight-shooter…”
  3. “No offense, but…”
  4. “I’m not one to gossip, but…”
  5. “I like to call a spade a spade…”
  6. “This is not like me, but…”
  7. “I didn’t want to say anything, but…”
  8. “It’s not your fault, but…”
  9. “I know my kids aren’t angels, but…”
  10. “You know I love you, but…”
  11. “I’d do anything for you, but…”
  12. ” I don’t usually lie, but..”
  13. “I came here to see you, not you’re home…”
  14. “I am not a violent person, but…”
  15. In fact any of these… “I am not sexist/racist/homophobic etc, but…”

Most of you who have read a few of my posts know that I believe  everything can be dealt with  by using a good dose of humour. I am an Aussie. We are known for our laconic wit – ( the drier the better), strong sense of irony and our laid back attitude to most things. “She’ll be right, mate”…”No worries”. If they can’t –  don’t deal with it. Just kidding!

With that in mind, let’s look at some of these ‘you beaut’ sentence starters.

“If you want my advice…”. No. I don’t, but you’re going to give it to me  anyway,aren’t you? If I really wanted your advice, I would have asked you. Nope, still talking huh? Arghhhh. You can’t stop them, they’re really not out to help you, they just like the sound of their own voice and are like an unwritten self-help book. Tune out. Go to a better place, while nodding and placing the appropriate “ah hah” every now and then.

“I like to call a spade a spade…” Immediately tell them you don’t like card games and then 1. walk away or 2. offer food and drink as a distraction or else you will hear everything they think about you/your neighbour/your husband/your kids/your boss/your dog all in its pure, uncensored glory.

“I’m a straight shooter…” Please refer to “I like to call a spade a spade…” except this time  insert “I don’t like guns”. These people are particularly volatile when you first meet them and I would highly advise walking away as the only step. But you didn’t ask for my advice so I won’t.

English: A chicken running Français : Un poule...“It’s not you fault, but…” yes it is. We both know it is. It’s just that you don’t want to say it and I don’t want to think about it. Cry. Cry like there’s no tomorrow. Drama cry. Like that fake cry in ET, when Elliot is trying to cause a distraction for ET to escape. Like that. here’s why:  1.  Your talker will go away to get tissues  2. They will think you’re nuts and leave 3. They will excuse themselves saying you need time to be alone. And cry. Because it really is your fault.

Sponsored by Amdocs - Yellow print directory“You know I love you, but…” Oh boy. You know this one is going to be a doozy. “Really? I don’t love you!” might be a little harsh or inappropriate if it’s your husband/child/best friend. “Well, if you love me, you’ll stop right now.” might cut to the chase. I usually put my hands over my ears and yell “lalalalalalalala’. It seems to achieve the desired affect because people usually walk away when you do this and never bring the subject up again. For the persistent others in your life, follow up with “I can’t hear you” X 10.

A toddler girl crying

“I don’t usually lie, but…” Just this one time and because it’s you…I will. Do not ever trust this person again because…they lie. Make them a cup of coffee, but do not believe anything they say and do not tell them anything. In fact, don’t speak at all. They will take what ever you say and make things up about you. No. It’s not paranoia. They will. Don’t look at them. Unfriend them. What? So what if it’s your sister?

Are you listening to anything I am saying here???

“I know my kids aren’t angels, but…” Yes you do. You think they are angels and mine are the devil’s spawn. These people are just leading into a rant about how bad your children are compared to theirs and  well, while we’re at it…let’s look at the way you’re parenting too. Stop them first. Stop them at “I know my kids…” and say, “That’s good, they’re peeing in my front yard”. Right. Sorted.

“I am not a violent person, but…” You don’t want to hear the rest of this. Immediately stop anyone who says this and say “Oh that’s good, neither am I…biscuit?”

English: An SVG rendering of cup of coffee wit...“This is not like me, but…” Who is it like then? Wow, this one gets me every time because you know it’s  possibly not about you and you relax…only to hear the most tawdry, inappropriate unveilings or it is about you and the qualifier is a ruse. Your conversation partner has begun their rant under false pretences and should have begun with ” I didn’t want to say anything ,but…” or “I’m not one to gossip, but…” If it

is the first instance, ignore the qualifier and remember you are not a gossip. Be supportive. If it is the latter, you have several ways to go here. Out the window. Out the door. To the kitchen. To the bathroom. If you choose the escape option, you have cemented it in truth. Better to feign total ignorance/incredulity/disgust/nausea/disbelief. Unless your friend has betrayed you and we all know what happens to betrayers.

“No offense, but…” Seriously? You don’t mean to offend me but you’re gonna do it anyway? Thanks. What are good friends for? I would suggest a counteroffer of the same caliber just to make yourself feel better. Then go to the kitchen and make coffee and spit in your guest’s cup. If you have been brought up better than that – silently cry or pound the bench. Or wait until your husband comes home and say ” Do you know what so-and-so

said to me today?”  and share the pain.

I do not have any pointers for the sexist, racist, homophobic qualifiers because I tend to go straight for the throat when people unleash those little gems of  atrociousness. Yes, I grab my throat and pretend I’m choking, having a coughing fit or going to be violently ill. Works every time. In fact, works for everything.

Honey, I lost the car.

My partner had a job interview today and he lost the car.

I know that he parked the car in a massive car park. I know he was focused on his interview.

I know he was in a rush but lost the car? Really? The phone call kind of went like this:

Him: “Hi honey”.

Me:” Hey babe, where are you?”

Him: “I’m still in the city.”

Me”What? Why?”

Him: Pause…”Honey, I lost the car”

Me: “Huh? You what? How the hell did you lose the car? Did someone steal it?”

Him: “No! I forgot where I parked it. Do you have any idea how big this place is? ”

Me: Pause. Uncontrollable laughter. Regain composure.

Him: “It’s not funny. Stop laughing. Hey.Cut it out.”

Me: ” I’m sorry but….you lost the car?” Uncontrollable laughter.

Conversation didn’t last much longer. Beat police provided an escort and helped my man find his car and he arrived home about 4 hours late. Now, my partner is not the kind of person who asks for directions or help. If his GPS can’t find it, it doesn’t exist. He is not the kind of person who loses things. Especially a car.

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