Colour me speaking softly

   

I dunno if I am a quiet talker. I don’t know if I even have it in my genetic makeup. My DNA tends to be more on the shouty side. I’ll blame the partial hearing loss I was born with for the loud voice but even without that, I think I am just a loud person.

I have friends who are quiet talkers and my impression is that they are calmer people. I don’t know whether they compartmentalise it or what, but they always seem calmer. Well, at least calmer than me.

So I have been trying, with moderate success, not to shout at the kids. It is freaking hard though mainly because my kids seem completely allergic to any of my instructions. The seven year old mouths the word, “Wait,” at me whilst holding up the palm of her hand to my face. I have also found myself asking my children if their ears are broken. They answer, “no,” and continue to ignore me.

 

I spend my Friday mornings helping out in the classroom. What strikes me as impressive is the ability of a teacher to retain order over a room of 20 plus kids without ever really needing to raise their voice. Sure there is a more forced emphasis at certain times but it is always warranted. It is just that ‘tone’ that works so well.

The other morning I observed my kids screaming at each other. I watched and surprisingly calmly {not a lot like normal for me} said that they didn’t need to talk to each other like that. They shouted, “but…” and I stopped it there. I just repeated myself and life moved on. What got me the most from this exchange was that my daughter was behaving exactly like me. Shouty McShouterson.

This observation of my behaviour and language towards and in front of my kids has come at the end of several incredibly trying and exhausting weeks. Weeks of them not going to bed and then not going to sleep. Weeks of dragging them out from under their doonas the next morning. Weeks of disagreements about their use of technology, the dinner on the table, the school uniform they wear. Weeks of hardcore, exhausting, shithouse, all together fucking relentless negotiating. All I found was that I was getting more and more anxious and they were listening to me less and less. 

  

When Maxabella wrote this post on how hard parenting sometimes feels, I could have jumped through my computer and kissed her on the cheek because she was brave enough to articulate what so many of us feel and do. Judging by the comments to her blog, many of us agreed. But there was some unfortunate judging as well which is completely crap, uncalled for and downright mean. 

Parenting is fucking hard. You can sugar coat it and instagram filter it and shine your parenting success up my shouty arse but there are some days when it just plain old sucks. Days where you are convinced that if you walked out the door, the kids wouldn’t even notice you are gone such is their disdain for you and the presence of your chores in their lives.

So when a friend confides in me that they are having a tough time on the parenting front, I will offer them my advice. My advice comes from my own experience or from something I read or sometimes from a conversation with someone else in the same crappy boat of discontent. What I won’t do is judge because judging is for bitches. What I will do is walk away from the conversation feeling utter empathy for my friend. Sheer, unadulterated empathy.  

 

So if you are a yeller and it works for you on the parenting front then wear that badge like a fucking girl scout. If you are a soft talker then share your wisdom for you are more adept than me. If routine and lists and tasks are what gets your family moving then roll with that. And if fly by the seat of your pants parenting is how you move then keep on trucking, I say. We are all doing the very best we can. Sometimes we get it so wrong. I know I certainly do quite a lot. But sometimes, my goodness me, we get it so right.

Yes, I shout. Yes, I get angry. Yes, I swear in front of my kids when I am doing both but…

I am also loving and funny and empathetic and nurturing and compassionate and organised and careful and worried and tactile and silly and generous and giving and reasonable and a terrific role model. I won’t be made to feel any other way.

I won’t get caught up in the shitty cycle of comparisonitis. I’m not doing that anymore. Instead I am finding things to love about myself and the way that I parent. I know that despite the yelling and the swearing and the altogether hard slog that parenting sometimes is, I am doing a really good job. So are you. So are many of us who give a shit. The very real emotions of hurt and guilt and shame along with the yelling and shouting means we give a shit. So much so that it hurts. So let’s quit the commentary and criticism and just get on with it. And have each other’s backs huh? To me, that is the most honest, real and normal parenting you will ever see.

GREEN-DOT

 

Colour me loving a regular routine

Some weeks are just lovely based on them being uneventful aren’t they? After an epic weekend in Byron Bay, it is nice to get back to normal. Regular cooking, regular sleeping, regular shouting at cuddling with the kids.

I have decided to have another focus on my health. It is winter and things usually go a bit haywire in these four walls so it is vital that I am on my best form. I’m starting a healthy eating programme next week to increase my energy levels. I will let you know how I go. After then, I will refocus back on gut health although I kinda do that all the time anyway. In winter it is so easy to overeat but because I ain’t no hibernating bear then it is time to make sure I don’t blubber on up.

This week I am loving the simple things:

1. Coffee : Hello my darling long black lover {that sounds so wrong but tastes so right}

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Coffee from Targa in Byron Bay {an excellent breakfast spot}

2. Dressing up : I’ve talked several times about my love for joining in #everydaystyle with Styling You. You can read why my instagram feed is sometimes filled with photographs of my clothes here and here. I don’t always have a willing photographer at home but the Baker was chilled out on the weekend so it made for some fun. Here is what I wore :

On the plane :   

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 Jacket from Beach Club Clothing {last summer} : Seed Scarf {no longer available online} : Sportsgirl tee {last summer} : Trenery JeansMollini boots {I purchased mine in brown from Goose but Teal and Black are online} : Louenhide Bag {similar here}

Out for dinner :

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Bohemian Traders Drop Crotch Pants : Sportgirl tee {last season} : Decjuba vest {several seasons ago, find similar here} : Mollini boots {as before} : Clutch from Quirk Collective

Wedding not so #everydaystyle :

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Gorman Ninja Pantsuit : Basque Shoes {back on sale} : Happy Tiff Clutch

Recovery Day :

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Bohemian Traders Shirt : Seed Heritage Scarf {not available online} : Katies Jeans : Bared Footwear Boots

The Baker’s Birthday : 

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No brand top {sorry} : Sussan necklace {no longer available} : Trenery Jeans, Bared Boots + Clutch {all as before}

Heading home : 

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Bohemian Traders Shirt : Trenery Jeans : Bared Footwear Boots

 Thank you for letting me spend a weekend indulging in some excessive photo taking.

3. This is my new life motto :

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Damselfly Candle

Sometimes a week of simple is just as lovely. How was your week of normal?

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Sleep + Anxiety: 4 things that will change your sleep

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Without a doubt, sleep and anxiety are not friends. The more anxious you are, the less likely you are to be able to sleep. And the less sleep you have the more likely you are to be extra anxious in your sleep deprived state. It is a vicious cycle.

Anxiety peeps are not great at sleeping. When I was at my worst, I could hardly sleep at all. I would lie awake in the middle of the night, riddled with exhaustion and worry. The longer I lay there the more worried I would get. Naturally I would fall back asleep a nanosecond before the kids woke up to start their day. It was a dreadful time.

So what can you do about it?

I am not going to tell you to paint your bedroom in calming colours, light a candle and drop lavender essence on your pillow case. All this stuff feels like bullshit when you are wide awake in an anxiety filled insomniac daze.

I will, however, remind you that caffeine, alcohol, reading Facebook on your phone and eating dinner really late will affect your quality of sleep. If you ain’t getting much on the quantity side then it is probably wise to try not to fuck it up.

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Here are four things that have changed the way I sleep:

1. Acceptance : Once you accept that sleeping really, really well will not always happen then your sleeping mindset will change. You will lose more sleep worrying about not sleeping than from anything else. It may be useful to tie this acceptance in with some reaffirmations. Try some words along the lines of “I am going to try to let go of my worry about not sleeping”. This kind of positive self talk is surprisingly beneficial and changes your perception and obsession with the perfect sleep, which doesn’t exist.

2. Consistency : It is soooo boring but necessary. You can’t bank sleep so you need a consistent routine. If you head to bed at 9pm one night and 1am the next then your circadian rhythms are going to be all out of whack. This is exactly the reason why you feel like you are jet lagged when you are actually jet lagged or you have a really bad night’s sleep. Your body can’t work out the difference between night and day. So, if you can be consistent then choose the time you go to sleep and stick to it. I like 9.30pm. The same goes for waking up. Try 6.30am.

3. Stop thinking : OMG this is a sleep killer isn’t it? Sheesh. The thing is that thinking and worrying are perfectly normal things for us to do. The problem arises when we do it in bed. Soooo, because us anxiety types love a list, then this is where your thinking and worrying goes – on a piece of paper and out of your head. Even the worrying that you have about getting a good night’s sleep if you want. But, write this list during the day and not in the couple of hours before you head to bed okay? If I wake in the night and think or worry about the things on my list {which sometimes still happens} then I say to myself, “I don’t need to worry about this right now / I have thought about this today / I can think about this tomorrow,” and then I follow it with the words, “Now is the time for sleep.” {Swear words optional.}

4. Lose the language : The only person that can fix your tiredness is you so suck it up and lose the language. There is no one more boring than that person who says they’re “sooooo tired” all the time. If you lose the language you become way more interesting and less obsessed. See points 1, 2 + 3.

I’d love to hear your tips + tricks for a good night’s sleep too.

Colour me balancing all the acts

  
Last Sunday night, as Mother’s Day drew to a close, the Baker turned to me and commented on how tired he was. We were trying to work out a few things in order for us to get away for a family wedding plus the logistics of running our household. There is extra athletics, guitar and general chaos in the next couple of weeks so balancing it all out is a fine act indeed.

We have always subscribed to the notion that although we may have four kids and other commitments we aren’t any busier than the next person. Yeah sure, there are extra lunches to make and clothes to wash and little monkeys to tuck into bed but everyone is busy aren’t they? I also thought that when our third started school that things would get a bit easier but I can honestly say I think I am getting busier and busier.

  
I am fully aware of how stuffed our after school schedule is this term. Term three is looking much better as I know that the eldest’s running commitments will have hopefully ended. {Am I allowed to say that?!} She can go back to doing the *just* the other three activities she does. Gulp. Then the next two can keep swimming and learning music. Term three is that horrid one where germs are plentiful and darkness envelopes us so we will take our feet off the accelerator for a little while.

 
There is plenty to keep us going. The Baker will begin his marathon training at the end of June…yup. I will drop back on my running and replace it with more Pilates and injury rehab. I will also spend some more time building this little blog into something amazing. Watch this space, there is a lot of exciting change coming!

And then I got thinking about how down I’ve been lately but that for some reason I am feeling optimistic again. My resilience is back.

 
Perhaps it was the weekend away where my head was partly emptied thanks to a lack of constant chatter and demands. 

 
Perhaps it was because I got to have adult style conversations that weren’t interrupted every 4.2 seconds. And you know, be the boring old Aunty at the wedding. Apparently this is shaka braahhh or something…clearly I’m unsure.

 
Perhaps it was because I got to sleep in, have my hair done, go for a run, eat a lovely meal and just hang with my extended family.

Perhaps it was because I got to soak up some sunshine.  

Perhaps it was because I have found my resilience again. Whatever it is…I think resilience needs a colour. Is it purple or aqua?

So here is where I need your help. Share what you think resilience is and which colour best represents it. After then, we’ll add it to the colour mix. You get to choose your own adventure.

In the meantime, I am colouring this post yellow because I feel happy + optimistic. Happy that my old faithful friend resilience has come back to visit and optimistic that it will stay by my side. Because balancing all the acts and staying strong is what resilience is to me. And I’m feeling it.

 

Colour me loving Byron Bay

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Image courtesy of YOKO.home

I told the Baker to take me to Byron Bay. So he did. And here I am.

We’re here for my cousin’s wedding and we’re kid free. Did I mention that we’re kid free. Holy shit, we’re kid free!

So here is what I am loving this week:

1. Reading in peace : Wowzas, it has been a while. In fact last year I read three books for the entire year and two of them were read on a long haul flight to London when the Baker’s dad passed away. The other one took me another 50 weeks to read. So now magazines are my thing. They don’t take up too much headspace and the chance of me being able to read them is high. Winning. 

 

Is there anything more undignified than the airport screening process? So many men doing their belts back up. Awkward.

2. A blow wave :  I love a blow wave. I even love the phrase. It sounds so old fashioned. When I am older I am totes gonna be that lady with the big bouffant, freshly blow waved. So it is a very lucky thing indeed that I won a cut + colour for mum and I on Mother’s Day! Thanks Berdi, you rock!

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3. Hangs with the Baker : In the midst of the chaos of parenting, running a business and a household, my freelance writing and all of the shenanigans of life, I still want to hang with this guy. And he wants to hang with me. 

 

What are you loving this week?

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Healing {and loving} my guts

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Last week’s post touched on some of the dietary changes I have made in my recovery from and management of anxiety. It is by no means a one solution fits all approach. Finding out what works for you is all part of the magical journey that is the ups and downs of life and living with all the feelings.

I also live by a 80:20 rule. 80% of the time I am really good with my diet, which leaves a small amount of space for the fun foods that don’t always do the best things for us {but that taste reeeeeallly good!}. Hey, life is too short right?

Part of my recovery process was also to heal my gut. This may not be for everyone but with modern stressors, processed foods, medications and other toxins then the leaky gut syndrome feels quite real to me.

A leaky what? What is leaky gut syndrome?

Check out these articles:

1. Leaky Gut : this article shows both sides of the story in its attempt to define leaky gut

2. 4 Steps to heal leaky gut : if you’re a bit of a science nerd like me then this article has some pretty rad diagrams and stuff

Then there is this fabulous website:

Supercharged Food : I have just purchased the ebook so I will follow the program and report back okay? Excellent.

But don’t just presume you have leaky gut. Go get it checked out please. Then do these rad things to heal it {along with your practitioner’s advice}.

What I do to heal and love my guts?

Seriously, you need to really love your guts. You wanna be feeling all the fabulous? Excellent, then let’s go.

1. Fermented vegetables : Quite literally vegetables that have been fermented {which allows the growth of beneficial bacteria} these guys deliver a power punch of probiotics and fibre.

Yes, they can be as rank as they sound. But you are lucky that Pat’s Veg do some great flavours. I buy mine via Green Mumma in G-Town. I tried really hard to eat them as part of my meal but found myself just eating them off my plate first so they were gone! Then my naturopath said she just has a spoonful before her meals and I copied and now it is done.

But, if you do like a fermented vegetable then this is kinda the way I serve them if I need extra doses.

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Sprouted Spelt : Avocado : Pat’s Veg Kimchi : Goats Cheese

2. Bone broth : A liquid version of the goodness in the bones, it contains a powerful combination of bone marrow, gelatin and amino acids.

My naturopath said if there was one thing she could recommend me to eat it was bone broth. I call it beef juice. It is not the fainthearted but my goodneess it works. When my anxiety and adrenal fatigue was at its worst, my hair fell out. This stuff will do wonders for your skin, hair and nails. Even after a big dose of it recently, I now have new hair growing like a fluffy newborn. It is win-win-win-win kinda stuff.

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Bone broth : Miso : Nori

I will warn you though…it is hard core. Even making it is hard core. I followed this recipe and made the Baker do it because, beef jelly. This is another good recipe with some excellent tips on how to use it.

I drink my beef juice bone broth with brown rice miso because it is also a fermented food. I also have some nori in it for additional iodine. It makes it more palatable for sure.

3. KombuchaA fermented {yes, that f word again} tea that is made with a starter culture known as a scoby that is fed sugar to kick start the goodness.

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The Baker loves this stuff and I don’t mind it in small doses. It is pretty sweet because of the high sugar content and you need to be careful making it at home because sometimes the bad bacteria gets in too. There are some great commercial brands around but watch the sugar content as it is high in the white stuff. I do like it when you have that sweet drink craving though.

We got our scoby from a mate and then purchased this to make it. {We killed our first scoby after we purchased it via The Whole Daily. Whoops.}

4. Gelatin : This is the jelly like stuff that you get when you make bone broth that has tremendous health benefits including supporting hair, skin and nail growth. It can also help joint recovery and aids digestion. I use a powdered version and can recommend this brand.

Check out this site for great ideas on what to do with gelatin, like make your own jelly. Mmm, jelly.

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Hello Jello : Pomegranate + Apple Juice Jelly

Do you love your guts too?

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Colour me feeling all the feels

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The other night I was watching Chicago Fire. Don’t judge me. It has firemen in it and my brain is tired. Anyway, I was crying because Peter Mills was leaving. Okay, you can judge.

{And by the way when did Billy Kennedy get so hot? Sorry, distracted. What? Firemen.}

I’ve been doing that a bit lately. The tears not the lusting over firemen {I always do that!}. I am riding a pretty rad rollercoaster of emotions and there is a rainbow of feelings on it. All the feelings.

I’ll let you in on a little secret. I don’t watch the news anymore. I stopped when I first got sick because I just couldn’t cope with the emotional aspect of it.

Even now, I still choose not to watch or read too much news. This is mainly because I feel my emotional tank is full. I just can’t fill it with anymore hurt or pain or utter tragedy. I am not completely unexposed for that is not even possible. So when any of those seriously hard to manage emotional life things happen then I feel I can deal with them because I have protected my emotional tank. And with all of the tears that have fallen lately, I feel like I have made the right decision to protect myself in this way.

I had a little tear recently because my eldest walked up to me in the kitchen and gave me a hug. I think she has started doing this mainly because she is the same height as my boobs and likes that they are squishy when she cuddles me. Yes, thick skin. But on this day she hugged me hard and told me she loved me. Yup…feelings.

I found this note from the second and my heart ached. More feelings.

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Yes, yes…I want more time with you too. {I also love how she writes her full name at the end of every letter just in case I forget who she is.}

She gave me this on Mother’s Day and as one of you said, at least she didn’t call me bat shit crazy!

I re-read my Mother’s Day post and felt the tears flow. So many feelings.

Then it was Mother’s Day. And you know, super cute handmade gifts, sweet similes and those first ten glorious minutes where life is all diamonds and rainbows and princess mermaid fairies.


After that, normal programming resumes. Back to reality with demands and attitude and constant backchat. Exhausting parenting. I had a disagreement with two of the kids and I wondered if I am just not cut out for parenting. I think I just have too many feelings.

Then I called bullshit. You can’t have too many feelings. I have come to accept that this is just part of who I am. Feelings are a part of my package.

Overly emotional? Perhaps.

Sensitive? Most definitely.

Wrong? Absolutely not.

Feeling all the feels is me and I’m okay with that. Because with all the feels comes lovely highs even with those exhausting lows. I don’t ever want to lose that sense of connection with my emotions. Or that sense of connection with myself. I may be afraid that if I did lose that connection then I would just be numb. And numb is so lonely. Give me an emotional wreck over that zombie like numbness any day. Even if it means I’ll cry over firemen.

Colour me going down the roller coaster in grey – moody + just not quite right. Colour me flying high in the sky of yellow – happiness + optimism. Colour me riding the ups and downs of life and emotions and feelings. For feeling all the feels is exactly how I am. And how I’ll continue to be.

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