Colour me loving date nights + flexibility

I have found this week hard. I expected last week to be hard but this week has been awfully challenging. This is why I adore writing this post on a Friday night. It gives me perspective and a big reality slap across the face. My life is really great. I need to make sure I manage it well and appreciate it.

{To the nasty woman who honked her horn senseless at me on Tuesday night, we are all in the same boat of stress. Work out how the fuck to calm down without making everyone else feel shit okay? Anna, take your own medicine at your kitchen bench.}

So in this super dooper cranky arsed week of mine, I am loving…

1. Date Night : Hells to the yeah! The Baker and I got some uninterrupted conversation and a glass or two of wine last Sunday night. So good. {Thanks Erin, you rock in more ways than one.}

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Zigfrids Dining Hall / Bar

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Here is what I wore because I know you guys would like to know!

{It’s an old Mink Pink shirt that I teamed with new black jeans from Trenery}

2. New shoes : Well, I don’t technically own them…yet. I am hinting hard to the Baker for Mother’s Day. Because, I totes deserve them. Swoon. Faints… (I wonder if they come with those ankles too?)

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Bared Footwear

I am also coveting these…well specifically the Golden Jungles

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Rollie

3. Flexibility : I feel really, really lucky that this writing gig of mine gives me tremendous flexibility. I can go watch the kids run cross country, help out in the classroom or meet a mate for coffee. Last week I did all three. I can’t buy the happiness that it brings. Some of you may say that women shouldn’t feel lucky and that flexible working arrangements are just part of the emerging employment landscape but the reality is different. We own our own business so the Baker works incredible hours with incredible stress. I work part time with incredible flexibility. I am not going to argue that as anything but lucky.

Plus I get to walk down little laneways like this on my way to school. So Australian. Corrugated tin and all.

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So how was your week on a scale of average to shit? Or did you rock it?

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Colour me rattled

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Yesterday I just couldn’t get in the zone. At all.

I was off :: had a bad game. :: not my usual self.

I was edgy and on the brink of panicky. I had a couple of moments where my breath shortened and I had to concentrate hard on deep belly breathing to recalibrate. One of these was during a guitar lesson but I think I held it together okay.

On top of the shitty feelings that were surfacing, I was subjected to a nasty bout of road rage. The traffic was heavy, the light was failing and the woman was horn-tootingly angry. Judging by the amount of times she tooted that fucking horn she was super dooper cranky. The two older girls got a fright.

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

She was angry. I was rattled.

My parenting confidence has been rattled too. Nearly a decade in and I am finding it harder than it has ever been. Challenging kids, demanding schedules, managing expectations, trying to have some ambitions of my own. The thankless relentlessness of it all. That pressure of holding it all together because if you don’t the whole fucking family will come tumbling down feeling.

The one fanged monkey is really testing the boundaries. Stubborn, uncooperative and STRONG. He kicks my arse and he is three years old. The six year old Princess is still struggling to settle into school wavering between off the scale confidence and exhausting whinging. There is a pitch in her tired voice that drives me to drink (which I am not doing on account of my emotional instability). The seven year old over-thinker is over-thinking and getting angry. Her resilience makes my heart sing and her temper breaks it. The nine year old is pushing back at everything I ask and doing some exceptionally impressive eye rolling. She is worrying me with her high standards that are scarily like my own.

I feel like Elastagirl minus the flexibility. Stretched every which way but relaxed. I wanna be Mrs Incredible.

Am I making the right decision? Am I making the wrong decision? Can I actually make a decision? I am filling with dread at the thought of doing so. Then my anxious head spins around again and again and I feel blurry with concern. Did I make the right decision? I can’t seem to make it and move on.

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So I guess I will stumble down various paths in this oddity of life and parenthood and hope that I don’t fuck it up too badly. I lost my shit a few times at the kitchen bench last night. A mummy meltdown. It was spectacular. No wonder my kids are so good at it for they are learning from the master.

But like any bad day, the one thing that is good about it is that it will end. And a new day brings with it new promise. A fresh start. And another cliche. I do love a cliche.

Today I feel exhausted. Flat. Melancholy. So I’m going to go back to basics because that is how I started to heal myself. Simple nutrition. Simple exercise. Simple mindfulness.

I think I’ll need some thicker skin to deal with my posse of small people too. And they’ll need a lesson in respect and behaviour. There is already a birthday party and an after school activity being missed out on this week on account of their poor form. I won’t sugar coat them. Yes they are also navigating a tricky path too but they must also understand the consequences of their behaviour. Like I do. I had a tantrum last night to get my point across but all it showed them was a shitty way to behave and made me more rattled than I already was. There were no winners in that situation.

But you know what? I am going to colour myself red – with confidence + bravado because I feel like I might need a crap load of the stuff. I am colouring myself incredible. And winging it with parenting. Isn’t that what we all do? But sometimes, it really is a very difficult job indeed.

 

 

Colour me same, same but different

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I watched what was, in my humble opinion, an epically crap movie on the weekend called Interstellar. Rave reviews, great cast, Oscar award winning special effects. Tick, tick, tick. Feeling of meh afterwards? Tick.

When I posted about this mediocre cinema moment on my Facebook page there were several people singing its praise. I was flabbergasted! Matthew McConaughey was floating in a space suit in some arsey 5D world that looked like the back of the bookshelf in his kid’s room from decades earlier. What the? I’m not much into sci-fi or time travel stuff but what. the. actual? Weird. And why was he so tanned?

Anyways, it got me thinking about different strokes for different folks and how that makes this crazy world of ours all the more interesting.

It is like a journey of recovery from anxiety. Some do it at lightning speed and others take their time. I manage mine, not ever believing that you fully recover. I take it easy when I need to and go for it when I don’t. What works for you won’t work for me. It is the beauty of this that makes us all so interesting.

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I find this so obvious when it comes to observing my kids. Same genetics, so different. One is diligent, another doesn’t give a shit. One is crazily tidy, the other could not be messier if she tried. I swear she is actually trying to be messier so I guess I could praise her consistency! But their same, same but different is what is so delightfully delicious about them. {I still kinda can’t believe I am here at this stage in my life with four little people beside me. Sometimes I am stopped in my tracks when I think about the enormity of it all.}

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What I experience with my anxiety is so different to you. It is not right or wrong. It just is. But lately I have been exhausted with the constancy of comparisonitis. There is an actual definition of this. How fucking absurd is that?

I can’t compete. I won’t compete. And you know what, I don’t need to compete.

By compete, I mean compare.

Compare myself to what I was two years ago. Compare myself to my friends. Compare myself to some random person I have never met but I instantly dislike because she is thinner, taller, funnier, betterer than me.

Or so my head tells me that it is so.

I’m calling myself to task. Last week I said that I was being kind to myself by not letting the negativity in my head jeopardise my self esteem. This week, I am telling comparisonitis that it has no place in my life. I am happy for constructive criticism but not just straight out bullshit talking myself down. I won’t have it. I won’t do it. I won’t.

I know that I am different. It is what makes me beautiful and interesting and intriguing. It is not arrogant that I think this way about myself. It is the truth about me and the truth about you. So I am going to tell you three things about myself that I like and you are going to do the same. Theodore Roosevelt said, “comparison is the thief of joy” so we will just share them and let them be.

Here goes…

1. I am proud of my anxiety. I don’t wear it like a badge but I am proud of the way that my anxiety has shaped me to be the person I am today. I am a beautiful mess.

2. I like my face. I am not sure if it is because I look at it every day and it has become a familiarity that is comforting to me. But I like it. It looks happy and like life has been kinda fun.

3. I am giving. Sometimes too much but I am generous in my time, my attention and my intentions. It has taken me places and given me a tremendous amount of satisfaction in return. It is a good relationship in my world.

Today I am colouring myself proud and honest and celebrating same, same but different.

You can colour me red – with confidence + bravado. Because hells to the yeah, that is how I should be.

What about you? What do you like about yourself?

 

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Colour me loving new denim, a quiet head + a Friday night red

Hello Friday, it sure is nice to see you again.

I’ve never wanted a week to pass so quickly. I think the pain in my body from my half marathon was so intense that I was literally wishing for another day as it meant another 24 hours recovery. I smashed out an awesome Pilates session last night and despite tiredness I feel a million bucks today compared to the first four days of the week. Huzzah!

This week I am loving…

1. New denim : I have nabbed a couple of pairs of new jeans this week. Yay!

They were both inexpensive and cover my bum crack making bending over in public okay. No one needs to see arse whilst sipping a long black.

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Jeans + Jacket from Sussan (both current season) : Tee from Sportsgirl : Rollies from Goose : Mavericks Laces : Sunnies from Ghanda : nice hair courtesy of giving a shit

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Jeans from Katies (current season) : Tee from Next (purchased when in London last year) : Jacket by Lorna Jane (I know!) : Rollies from Goose : Sunnies from Sussan : fluffy hair courtesy of day four of dry shampoo

Okay, okay. I got myself two new jackets too but shhhh, don’t tell the Baker.

2. A quiet head : Call it exhaustion or just the fact that I have spent a fair bit of this week not giving a shit but my head has been relatively quiet. I did have a little moment on Wednesday night when I was really getting our schedule together for the term. So on Thursday I pulled one of the kids out of swimming. She is already under pressure as it is so it made sense to all of us to give her a rest.

Isn’t it phenomenal how you can just feel so much better when you make a decision that you know is going to alter part of a day of your busy week? Now Thursdays look mighty fine in my book.

3. A glass of red (or two) : I’m totes enjoying my glass tonight as I contemplate doing another half marathon. Yup. I’m a bit WTF too. Look how quickly I got this one into me earlier…keys are still on the kitchen bench. Come to mumma!

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How has your week been? What are you loving?

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Colour me being kind to myself

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There is no doubt that adrenal fatigue and long distance running do not go together. But because I am mostly recovered from my adrenal fatigue I felt ready to run again. Unsurprisingly I am completely exhausted this week.

What has surprised me the most, however, is just how comfortable I am with it. Idle does not normally sit well with me. This week though, I am loving it. School is back and although one look at our routine for the two winter terms makes me want to cry, I am relishing in the peace and quiet both inside the house and inside my head. In fact, my ears are a little bit sore from the constancy of quiet during my working days.

We spent Sunday afternoon barefoot bowling with the awesome foursome and some lovely running friends. We got back in the car and the Baker said, “We need to get out more often. The kids loved it too.”

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I have set aside this week to recover from Sunday’s run. I am insanely proud of myself even though my legs feel like they might snap off. The Baker has already been for another run because, actually I have no idea. It was just one of those things he needed to do, I guess? I have scheduled Pilates, osteopathy and myotherapy. My fridge is full of pre cooked meals, the slow cooker is on my bench and my online shopping is ordered and on its way. I will write and sleep and reconnect with the kids and the Baker. Next week, reality will bite again and I will be back running and running around. But for now, I am being kind to myself.

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What struck me as the most odd about being kind to myself this week is why don’t I do it more often? Why has it taken me to run a half marathon until I cried to realise that I need to be kind to myself? And if that sentence doesn’t sound like a complete contradiction then I don’t know what is. I needed to run a half marathon to be kind to myself? What the actual fuck?

I suspect that because often, as a mother, you put yourself waaaahaaay down the priority list. You organise stuff, you bark orders at both the kids and your husbands (although we are all learning to shut up on that one aren’t we?) and you run around getting shit done because it just has to get done. To slow down for a bit isn’t really on the agenda because that agenda is stuffed full of all the other stuff that needs to get done, which doesn’t leave much time for you.

But I wonder if we turn around and say hey, I am going to be kind to myself every week then how would that make us feel? I’m not talking about getting to a Pilates class. Yeah, sure that is being kind to yourself to get out of the house and exercise but let’s look at the reality of that.

One Pilates class is equal to 4% of one single day.

FOUR PERCENT.

I don’t know about you but I am worth way more than four percent. And although exercise is seriously amazing for both our bodies and our heads, it is not a luxury in my book. It is just part of your day and your routine. Just like unpacking the dishwasher.

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But being kind to myself goes beyond taking a week to recover. It has struck me hard that it also includes the way that I think about myself. I’ve looked at photos of myself running on the weekend and do you know what my first thoughts were? I need to lose weight. Look at the cellulite on my legs. My boobs are massive.

What the fuckity fuck?

I am running a half marathon. And I am running it fast. I look like shit because I am hurting in a way I have never hurt before. I swear labour was easier because at least you can suck down on that gas and you get a beautiful baby at the end of it. At the end of a run you get a plastic medal and a fucking banana.

So why does my stupid head find itself being so utterly and ridiculously critical? Why is my language so ‘glass half empty’? And why in the scheme of things did I not just look at this amazing body of mine that has birthed babies, recovered from illness and injury and slogged out 21.1kms in under two hours? Because I am not being as kind to myself as I think I am.

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So here is my promise to myself and a call to action for all of you who would like to join me. Just as I am learning to shut up with the constant criticism of my husband, I am also going to learn to shut up with the constant criticism of myself.

Colour me blue – calm + mindful.

Colour me yellow – happy + optimistic

Colour me green – with clarity + understanding.

Colour me in all of the colours that are just being kind to myself.

 

 

 

 

Why I’m nervous about sharing my wellness journey

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A little while back I asked you all if you’d like me to share some of my tips on how I keep myself well. The resoundingly obvious answer was hells yeah!

I was pumped! My head began swimming with ideas and content and how I was going to shape it all for you. I was deciding which day of the week I would share my wellness with you. I was compiling a list of bloggers who I love and who talk a really genuine and honest talk. Plus they walk the walk and love cliches like me.

But then I wobbled. Lately the health sphere is gone a bit weird. Firstly there was the sad passing of the Wellness Warrior and then the oddity of everything The Whole Pantry spouted and all the hoo ha with the Food Babe. It’s enough to make you cry into your Mars Bar.

If the truth be known, I am nervous. What if I give you the wrong information? How can I ensure that what I am telling you is just the story of what works for me and that you’ll have to forge your own path anyway? Why will you read what I have to say?

So let’s start with the things that I am not:

I am not a doctor.

I am not a nutritionist.

I am not an expert.

But this is what I am:

Honest, open and consistent. I’ll tell you what has helped me but I am by no stretch of the imagination cured. I will not offer you a cure because there is no cure for mental illness. It is something that we learn to manage. Some days I manage it well, just like you will. Other days, despite all our good intentions and efforts, it sucks to try and manage it. It is the nature of the beast.

I will share my experiences with you but by no means do I offer a one size fits all approach to managing mental illness. I will share some things that have worked for me. Your job is to take my words and mesh them into what works for you. Some of what I share will be applicable and some of it won’t be. Take what you need and leave the rest. Change it around to what suits you.

You are in charge of your own mental health. 

You can have the best support network and intentions but if you do not accept that it is your responsibility then switch off and come back when you are ready. No one will judge you. You have to be ready. When you are, we are here with open arms.

When will we start? I think very soon. And I am thinking Mondays or Wednesdays are good wellness days. What do you think? So many questions but so much to look forward to.

So are we ready to Colour ourselves well?

Colour me loving school holidays, a single page + sockettes

Welcome to my first Colour me loving!

Each Friday I’ll share the things that I am loving that week. Sometimes there will be several things and other times, perhaps only one. It will vary from feelings to events to things that I really like.

It is kind of a gratitude list I guess. Perhaps it is a reverse bucket list where I just take a moment to appreciate all the radness that I already have in my life instead of lusting after what I don’t. Other times it will be completely materialistic.

So here goes…

1. School holidays : Long enough to relish the lack of routine, short enough not to get too cranky with the kids and the mess and the relentless snacking. I won’t miss the ‘Gracie and Mommy Show’ though. That YouTube abomination is enough to make you want to stick pins in your eyes. And that Stampy guy from the Minecraft videos. [Insert horrified emoji here.] And judging by the photos, I clearly like taking the kids out for coffee and lying on the couch!

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2. Being on the same page : Even with the lack of routine, the Baker and I are on the same page. It really feels awesome. You can read more about what I mean here. And this is how we literally stay that way. You can buy yours from Kikki-K or just use a regular piece of paper. I like pretty things. We also invite each other to every single appointment that might affect the other so our phones beep and it stops that, “I really need you at home tonight” panic conversation.

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3. Sockettes : Normally these things send me into a spin on account of the forty bazillion times a day I need to adjust them. Then I discovered these ones that not only look funky but freaking work. Huzzah! Grab a pair here and thank me later.

Rollies + Gorman footsies = Happy Anna!

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So tell me, what have you been loving this week?

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