Colour me in glittered pox

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Such are the ebbs and flows of my efforts to be an amazing mother, the last school holidays saw me break out glitter. Normally this just makes me break out in a sweat and a swear fest at the stupidity of such a ridiculous craft. Kids and glitter equal me losing my foshizzle so it surprised me the most when I was the one that got it out of the cupboard.

I wonder if it was the break in the monotony of Rainbow Looms which pretty much consisted of me picking approximately 4,000 of the little fuckers off the floor each day. Eating dinner around the construction of a purse in the shape of a panda made glitter infinitely more appealing. So out it came and so did the delight on the big girls faces. I doubt I could have done glitter and the one fanged monkey so I waited until he was locked in his cage, er, cot.

The thing was that the kids loved it. And perhaps me just a little bit. Okay a lot.

Getting your craft on is good for the soul. I’m not talking a sin forgiving, walk through the pearly gates soul cleanse here but it is a bit of fun and helps you to be in the moment. You cannot craft and expect to get other chores done. No siree, it does not work that way. There was glitter from here to kingdom come when I was on watch so I imagine that the kids would be shitting glitter if I left them unsupervised.

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So we made these cute jars for the kids to put their crap in and you know where it all went wrong? They came inside.

Glitter outside is a bitch but glitter inside is enough to make you lose your foshizzle one hundred times over. Presently the girls’ bedside tables are like a glitter graveyard for little gold flecks who didn’t get enough glue in the first place.

Then just when you think you are getting rid of the stuff it multiplies like some weird gremlin in H2O. With my shitty shoulder injury, vacuuming is as fun as sticking needles in my eyeballs. All I seem to vacuum up now, besides long blonde hair and looms, is fucking glitter. And I wondered when the fuck did my life get to the stage where I am seriously considering buying one of those robot vacuums so I can just sit on my arse whilst the glitter gets stuck in that thing instead?

But one afternoon I sat down, after vacuuming again, and observed the glitter. It was different to the glitter that I had used with the kids. Had my glitter changed? Then I saw the culprit.

A cute pair of leopard print ballet flats that the princess got gifted for her last birthday, with details of GLITTER. And because she hardly ever takes them off there is still glitter all over the house. Even when she got the chickenpox before Easter, she wore her glittery shoes. She is kind enough to take them off to have a bath or go to bed or when I completely lose my foshizzle over the four billion gold flecks in my house.

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But isn’t glitter a delightful thing? Pretty and shiny and just full of happiness? To my girls it is. They would sleep in it if they could. They would most definitely bathe in it and they would totally use glitter all day on top of the robot vacuum that we don’t have. Okay, the robot vacuum is me.

The girls would just use it all the time, with reckless abandon. They would dust it everywhere because they have the most amazing ability to live in the present, without regard for consequences. And if the consequence of glitter is vacuuming then perhaps I just need to chill the fuck out.

When I feel grey, I talk about needing to have time with it to be able to see the rainbow. Perhaps the glitter came the other way around for us. I have been showered in glitter because now the house is covered in chickenpox. Strike rate at present is 75% despite vaccination. Chickenpox is as impressive as glitter for getting all over your kids. Calamine lotion on the other hand is a bitch to get on to pox in hair. Yes, chickenpox in her scalp. They are everywhere. The glitter and the fucking chickenpox.

Right now I am wondering what the colour is for glitter and chickenpox. It waivers somewhere between pink – creativity + well, because it is lovely to grey – moody + just not feeling right (woe me, yeah?). But it is neither. It is blue – calm + mindful.

It is blue because I am in the moment. I am present. And with this comes mindfulness. Glorious mindfulness.

So here is how I currently feel.

Dear Glitter and Chickenpox,

I will take you for a short time but then you may leave again. You have taught me that I can be present. Mindful, I can be.

Thank you and please fuck off.

Yours sincerely in glorious blue,

Anna x

 

 

Colour my Personal Take : Bachelor of Parenthood

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My creative happy space is being able to write a regular column for the Geelong Advertiser’s gt magazine. I often share images like the one above on my instagram feed and have had several requests for the column to be added to my blog.

So here is my Personal Take (published 12 April). 

“Bachelor of Parenthood”

I spent seven years at university.

For most people, this means that they are working in the medical profession. They have extra letters before their name and an alphabet after it.

What I have is a degree of French and Chemistry, which should be handy the next time I need to use a Bunsen burner in Paris.

My French language skills indicate that I should have no problem conjugating a regular verb. Except I can hardly tell the difference between ma tête et mon derrière.

In reality, what this weird combination of tertiary degrees means is that I am the most over qualified person to stand at the kitchen bench making unlimited rounds of sandwiches for small people.

My ability to submit a 10,000-word dissertation may be impressive, but it is useless when it comes to counteracting the wrath of a five year old that cannot find her whizzy skirt. No good is the sparkly one, nor is the bright pink one as life can only continue with the WHIZZY skirt. Apparently Tuesday will be the “worst day ever” if she is unable to wear said item of synthetic, highly flammable clothing.

My overqualified role as Chief Sandwich Maker meets the criteria for my self-appointed position as CEO of Domestic Repetition. If domesticity had a magnate, then I would be bankrolling it with Richard Branson. I may not be worth $4.6 billion but this is approximately the amount of times I have said, “because I said so,” in a spate of parenting laziness.

Based on my highly skilled career as a shoe picker-uperer combined with my exceptional tolerance for nagging, bothering, begging, crying and loud noises, I believe parenthood should be a nationally recognised degree.

One such offering could be a Bachelor of Laundry with a major in ‘Sorting the Washing’. In this class you will be given tips on dividing dirty laundry into darks, whites, colours and tutus. This will become useful when completing the compulsory unit, ‘How to deal with the wrath of a five year old.’

It is worth noting the fine print: you will never complete this module.  Any parent knows that just when you think you are on top of the washing, the kids get undressed. The NeverEnding Story continues with you cast as the main character.

Also available is the Bachelor of White Lies, which you will excel at and earn an honorary degree. You will fail the ‘Financial Management’ component because unfortunately the degree only specialises in conversations with your children and not those with your spouse. You will need to find another way to justify those new shoes.

Scholarship prerequisites for a Masters in the Search and Rescue of Small Pieces of Plastic and Pretty Much Everything Else in the House include being able to crawl in and out of small spaces. Extra marks are awarded if you can answer the questions that your husband asks as well. Especially if it is, “Where is the yoghurt?” before he has opened the fridge door.

At the end of your long study period, you will qualify for a PhD in Patience with a major in Familial Law Enforcement. You will be well equipped to answer the barrage of questions that start at sunrise and continue until sundown as well as referee sibling scuffles. All tasks will need to be performed with six hours sleep.

But no amount of studious determination can prepare you for those sentences that come out of your mouth. Like the stunned words of disbelief that only a mother can say #43: “Please don’t eat yoghurt on the toilet.”

Followed closely by, “Mon dieu!” of course.

 

 

Colour me (not) practising my preach

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I reckon that I have quite a big safety blanket in this blog. I get to empty my mind, offer advice and tell a story of how I manage my own anxiety.

But lately, there has been a fair discrepancy between my blog persona and myself.

I seem to have lost my mindful way. I am most definitely not practising what I preach. I certainly haven’t been checking in to Smiling Mind with any regularity. The irony is that I’ve been sending my kids to their rooms to practice Smiling Mind when they get tense. They come out in a much better space although it is a constant work in progress. But for myself? I have been bumbling along in a mindless mess without much consideration to the impact it is having on me.

Inside my head is a lot of noise. In fact, right now, all I can hear is noise.

There is a lot of noise from the worries on my mind. There is a lot of noise from the small people in my house. This will not go away but some days…Oh. My. God. The. NOISE.

It is exhausting and stressful and panic inducing and relentless and everything all in one crescendo.

So the noise inside my head needs to go. It needs to be processed and let go. I need to get back to the present moment.

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I have taken some time these holidays to help the kids work through some stresses in their lives. Talking to them about gratitude in a take, take, take kind of world. School holidays can bring out the worst of the “I want…” in all of us but “I want…” costs money. So does maintenance like hair cuts and dental appointments which need to fit it with art classes and swimming lessons and a bit of working in between.

I have always adored positive affirmations so I have encouraged the big girls to write their own.

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I need my own blackboard I think. I have lost my way with my affirmations and my gratitude journal. These small practices make me feel fabulous so I wonder why I haven’t been doing them?

And then there is my shitty shoulder injury which I have used as an excuse to stop doing a lot of exercise. Full stop. A bad, bad decision.

I still do Pilates 2-3 times per week but I have lost that muscle tone and strength that I did have. I know that I can get it back but it will take work, once I am recovered.

But more poignant is the lack of that calorie burning, endorphin producing stuff that makes you feel good. And keeps your weight in check. And did I mention, makes you feel good? Really good.

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So I am getting the lycra back on properly. And here is my promise to myself: I will practice what I preach.

1. I am going to get moving. I can’t run at the moment, but I will walk and I will walk fast and far. Walking will become my running and I will do it until I need it like the happy, side effect free drug that it is.

2. I am going to silence the noise. Mindfulness is back baby! Hello, me time in the morning to take five minutes to empty my head. It is going to be so worth the journey.

3. I am redefining gratitude. I will shout it from the rooftops. I will speak it every day. I will love and appreciate myself and my life again.

4. I will embrace blue – calm + mindful. I will demonstrate this to my children so they can ‘monkey see, monkey do’ from me. We will bathe in blue. Blue we will be.

So I wonder if any of you will join me? We can share the ways we empty our head. Or show gratitude. Or what lycra we choose to wear. We can practice the preach together. I would love you to join me.

Who is in?

 

 

 

 

 

Colour me worried

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When I was working nearly full time, I used to dread the school holidays. How on earth would I keep up my lightening pace? Who would look after the kids? How would I get everything done?

The question I never asked myself was, why don’t I take a break and slow down with them?

So for a long time, the school holidays were a pain in the arse. Two weeks of inconvenience.

Then a little while back, I had the best school holidays. I relished in not having to sprint from the school gates, to the netball court, to the swimming pool, to the supermarket, to homework, to cooking dinner. I stayed in my pyjamas until the afternoon and showered at school pick up time. I didn’t do play dates or art classes or sleep overs or anything. I just stopped to be with the kids. It was fabulous.

I began to enjoy school holidays once more. Although, as hard as I try, I really struggle with the mess that comes with it. Go with the flow, enjoy the chaos, people say. Honestly, it does my fucking head in.

Right now, half way through the holidays, I am exhausted and quite frankly, over it. The five year old princess had chicken pox but because I told her she had the ‘non-itchy’ version (there is no such thing) and thanks to her immunisation, it has been a mild case. We have just had to stay inside a lot more than we would like but thankfully the loom band craze has kept us occupied.

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But one of my children is troubling me. Really worrying me. She is sad and struggling with some big head issues at the moment. The cabin fever of the past week has only exacerbated the tension. She is angry, I am exhausted and it is all a really shitty, tough situation. Plus I am hormonal which just adds more poo to the shit.

I think by nature I am a worrier. It is obvious with my anxiety but I always see what might happen and struggle to live in the moment. Sometimes I can, and I do it well. I love it and relish in it. But it is not something that comes naturally to me.

What comes naturally is worrying about things. If this happens, then that might happen. It is a complete head fuck. Like your brain has a word disco going on in it and you’re stuck on the chair on the side whilst all the girls are dancing. Although the disco feels more like a rave with its laser beam, doof doof, shape chucking messiness. A bad trip that you didn’t mean to take.

Whilst I bumble around in my messy head, the school holidays seem doubly hard. More mess, more negotiation, more snack producing, more demanding, more whinging, more exhaustion and more of just, everything. Instead of less stress, I feel much more stress. And with more stress, for me, comes more worry.

I am hoping that by writing through my worries, I will be able to manage them better. So here goes.

I am worried that she will take a long time to clear her head and that the damage that she has done will define her future.

I am worried that my one fanged monkey will never learn to speak properly. His word wall will remain a colourful distraction as his tongue works out how to pronounce nearly everything.

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I am worried that I parent one child too positively and one child too negatively. I think I parent them differently and I don’t know how to change this. My wall goes up when my defences get low and my worries get too much.

I am worried that my stoopid hormonal issues (that are driving me bat shit crazy) will never be resolved. That I am resigned to giant swollen boobs for 14 days each cycle and the side effect that this has on my mood and stress levels. And my worry levels, I guess.

I am worried that I will never let go of the worry. I have all the tools at my disposal but like some weird security blanket I hold on to them and wallow for a while.

I am sure that some of my worries will dissipate once my hormones rebalance (which will happen this week). And I am sure that I can keep working hard on dealing with the moment, not the mess. As for the exhaustion, a few early nights should help that.

But I wonder if I can ever let go of the worry. I am not sure if I can as think I need some of them. I need to be able to worry. My worries compel me to action. So perhaps worrying is a good thing?

But with that need comes a responsibility to manage your worries. And perhaps this is what is missing right now. A lack of management.

My bumbling head of words is a little clearer from writing this post but there is a lot more letter sorting to be done before some of these worries disappear. I do hope my head empties soon.

My disco rave of words in my head are coloured grey. I am moody + not quite right. But I think there is also a little green in there – clarity + understanding.

Green + grey is still a bit messy in my mind. But my worries will help me understand.

GREY-DOT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colour me blessedly injured

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I will preface this post by declaring that is not a pity party.

Yes, I am really, really, REALLY pissed off but I am not broken.

Can I do anything about it? Yes.

Can I deal with it? Yes.

Am I blessed to be going through this? Apparently. Although it feels hard to see that amongst the pain.

Two years ago, when I hit the wall, I was running to manage anxiety and lose weight. I was proud of my post baby body being able to run again.

It should be noted that I am not a good runner and I wet my pants during the Mother’s Day Classic. The Baker made light of it saying, “It’s the one event you can piss yourself at. A lot of these women would have done the same.” No one else looked like they had pissed themselves but I was thankful for the love anyway.

Two weeks later I stopped running thanks to a cuboid bone bruise and shin splints. A lot of painful osteopathy, an MRI and a shit load of tears later, I accepted that running was off my menu.

I went on to learn that I could stay fit and healthy without running. For a little while, I genuinely didn’t believe that I could. I could also manage anxiety without the endorphin rush of pounding the pavement. And I could maintain my weight by being careful with my diet. I guess I counted my blessings and worked out what I COULD do.

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At the time I was also recovering from adrenal fatigue. Running was probably the worst exercise that I could do. It exhausted me every time and I couldn’t recover in between runs because my panic was so intense and my adrenaline was off the scale. It was a road to disaster which I hurtled down.

Pilates became, and still is, my drug of choice. I have taken yoga off my list because of an awesomely weird lump in my wrist called a ganglion that prevents me from putting too much weight or pressure on my hands. I still can’t do triceps dips or pushups, which is not neccesarily a bad thing!

But wait, there’s more. After my foot and my shins and my wrist, I dragged one fanged Fred out of the bath and sprained my sacro-iliac joint. It is lucky that I studied Science at university with a major in biochemistry and anatomy otherwise I wouldn’t have a fucking clue where half my injuries were. This latest one meant that I sprained the joint between my pelvis and my spine. And yes, it is as painful as it sounds.

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Then, a few weeks ago I just did fucking nothing to my shoulder and now my rotator cuff is angry. It won’t let me lift my arm above my shoulder, nor hang washing on the line, or wipe a bench, or the worst of all, style my hair. FFS. The pain keeps me awake at night and I am really fucking angry about it.

I feel miffed because in the past few years I am the fittest I have been in a decade and I have had the most injuries ever. I am angry because I won’t accept that this is part of ageing otherwise I’ll be in a full body cast by the time I am 60. I am pissed because I feel a bit ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’.

But I am blessed. I am blessed that an injury is telling my body to slow down. That it is okay to move at a slower pace. That my type A personality doesn’t have to be a million miles an hour nor does it have to be the best at everything it tries to do. That perhaps, at the end of the day, running is not for me. And because I will not take an anti-inflammatory, I will need patience as I recover. And someone to hang out my washing.

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So today, I am counting my blessings. And exercising patience like I have never had to before. So here they are:

1. I am blessed that my ceiling is beautiful so when I do lie down to stretch out my chest, I have something lovely to look at.

2. I am blessed that I can run after the two youngest monkeys when they want to hurtle down the street (hooray).

3. I am blessed that there are four little monkeys in my house who are full of health and wonder.

4. I am blessed that a friend’s quince tree ended on my doorstep.

5. I am blessed because I understand my body well. I understand its ups and downs and I allow it to take its own time to recover and heal.

6. I am blessed because I have moved my goal posts from running to Pilates and it has helped heal my body and my adrenal system.

7. I am blessed because Pilates makes me happier than any running endorphin could.

8. I am blessed because I see green all around me – clarity + understanding.

Can you count your blessings too?

Colour me Shitsville

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I reckon that there are some days when you can click into gear and everything just works perfectly. Sometimes these days can turn into weeks and you can roll on along for quite some time without a care in the world. Then you come to a grinding halt and stop dead in your tracks at Shitsville. Population: you. FFS.

I’ve been in Shitsville for a week or so. And you know what I have learnt during my visit to Shitsville? If you want to stay there, you can keep right on doing so. No one is making you stay. Except yourself.

A little while back I wrote a post about people being drains or radiators. Then during my epically amazing CTC session with Amy from The Holistic Ingredient she said to me that I was wrong. WTF was my first thought but then Amy explained that people are only drains or radiators if you allow them to be. If you allow someone to drain you then, yes, you will be drained. My plan of attack is to let a drain rant or be toxic or whatever the fuck they need to be to continue to be a drain, consider their behaviour and LET IT GO. Ain’t no place in my little rainbow world for no drains.

So during my visit to Shitsville, I kind of wallowed there for a while. I started writing postcards of angst and misery. “Woe me” it would have read on the front, next to a picture of a crappy beach in a dark storm with dead fish on the shore. Who the fuck wants to visit this place? Me apparently. My head felt like Niall’s from One Direction after my one fanged monkey attacked him with a texta.

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There were a few things that set me on my path to Shitsville. The first threw me for a few days and I realised that in my anxiety, I don’t deal with situations that make me feel uncomfortable. I have built a protective wall so that I can just bumble along nicely and not ever confront anything tricky. It is a lovely place to be. The fish swim in this place. But it is not the real world. I haven’t worked out how to cope with this going forward but I am aware of it.

So instead, I spent the next few days edgy, angry and super tired. On Monday I took my six year old out on her bike whilst I went for a run. The eldest was with us too and she is a competent rider. The next eldest, not so much. The Baker forgot to give me the memo that she can’t brake so within 12 seconds of us leaving home, I am sprinting after her to yank her off the seat whilst her bike went hurtling into a wall.

But instead of sitting down and cuddling the bejesus out of this little terrified monkey, I told her to get back on her bike. Then when she wouldn’t, I berated her and wait for it, threw her bike across the footpath. What a fucking disaster of a rage. She’s bawling, I’m raging and we’re all on a public street. Even if I did this in the privacy of my own home it doesn’t excuse my behaviour. What a crappy, shitty, fucked up thing to do as a parent.

So I wallowed in Shitsville a bit more and attracted a whole lot of other shit like a fucking fly. Invitation politics, netball politics, birthday politics and any other fucking politics that landed in my shitty Shitsville shit. It appears that when you are acting shit, you attract shit. Like a toxic drain. So I packed my bags and got the hell outta that town. I should be living life like this little five year old monkey. I mean, tights AND sandals? You betcha.

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So here I finally am. Happy, calm and resilient once more.

I still have a guilt bridge to get over with my six year old. I don’t like guilt at all, but this week I have allowed it in. It is possibly the reason why Shitsville has seemed like a good place to be.

But now that I am happy again, I will attract happiness. I will click back into gear and radiate happy.

Hello yellow – happiness + optimism. It is nice to see you again.

Colour me grateful

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They say when life throws you lemons then make yourself a gin and tonic. I like this thought a lot, not the least because I like gin a lot. But more that in shitty, grey days there is something beautiful on the other side. I guess that is called a rainbow.

For me though it was about straight up clarity. Fuck me, there was so much satisfaction in having a good mopey, sweary whingefest the other day. I don’t think I have ever really properly done it before. My usual mantra would be something like, “Get over it and get on with it” whilst giving myself a giant virtual slap across the face.

But the thing is, you can’t always shake off the blues. For a genuinely long time, I couldn’t shake it off at all. But when you are on that recovery road, in amongst the potholed bitumen is a smooth patch. A time when you can gain some perspective.

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For the past two days, I have had tremendous clarity. And I am ever so grateful.

I am grateful that the sun is shining.

I am grateful that I had the time and the confidence to sit in grey, wallow and come out of it feeling great.

I am grateful that I was able to run this morning. Hard running (for me). Up hills (blergh).

I am grateful that when I get dressed every day my four year old tells me I look like a Princess.

I am grateful that my job took me to a beautiful part of the world this morning so that I could soak in the ocean.

I am grateful that this time last week, I was sitting in a cafe with my gorgeous cousin although I would love to be doing that again right now. (It appears I am grateful AND greedy.)

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I am grateful that tonight my children will ask far too many times for kisses and cuddles when they should be asleep.

I am grateful that my one fanged two year old can say ‘Good Morning’ in his weird, tongue tied, very cute way.

I am grateful that my hormones are behaving themselves this week.

I am grateful for the grey hairs on my head because I read a quote recently that said, “Do not complain about growing old, it is a privilege denied to many.”

I am grateful for my flourishing garden that is producing an abundance of vegetables and some kick arse chillies.

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So colour me out of the grey. Colour me grateful. Colour me Anna.

I think I will colour myself in a bit of blue – calm + mindful. Then I will add a bit of yellow – happiness + optimism. And if you mix them together then I am really just a big dollop of green – clarity + understanding.

In the snakes and ladders of life, I got out of grey and climbed back into green.

What a wonderful palette of satisfaction there is right there.

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