Dance like everyone is watching

I was watching my daughter at the weekend,  dancing and singing with abandon.   She is eight.  She was putting her whole heart out there,  singing, miming, doing hand gestures,  kicking, spinning…she was doing it all.

They say dance like no one is watching, but she didn’t care that I was watching…in fact,  the audience made her push harder,  throw herself more energetically into the performance.

It made my heart lift, watching her… she wasn’t self-conscious at all,  enjoying herself so much in the moment,  not caring what others think because clearly she is thinking she looks fabulous,  (after all…that  is how she is feeling on the inside)

And it made me feel nostalgic,  because I remember feeling the same way.   So many hours spent in my bedroom,  spinning and kicking.  Imagining myself on the stage.   It was so much fun.  It was awesome.

Except, then I started to feel sad.

Because where has that girl gone?   She has been replaced.   By someone who is always a little bit anxious.  Worrying a lot about what others think.    Scared she is not doing things “right”.   Someone who is held back by the knowledge that she is really not actually an amazing dancer.

Don’t get me wrong,  I am conscious of having fun in my life. But what is missing, is the reckless abandon.  Doing things that I’m not very good at, just for the joy of doing them.

It reminds me of a conversation that they were having on the MamaMia podcast the other week,  about doing things you know that you know you are not good at on purpose…because as adults, sometimes we miss the point.  That the fun is the creating,  not the output.

So,  I took some inspo from my little person and when I was feeling flat before work this morning…you guessed it…

I put on some tunes, turned it up WAY loud and I rocked it in the lounge room.   I imagined I was on the stage and everyone was loving it.

I tell you, it is near impossible to feel bad whilst dancing and singing.  It pumps through you like electricity.  And I am reminded that even though I’m a very serious and responsible adult,  I don’t always have to act like it….( I just better not tell my physio … but she didn’t specifically say no pirouettes, did she!?)

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Breakfast, lunch, dinner…repeat…

Yet again, I found myself spending my weekend drowning in a sea of recipe books.

I used to like planning meals, Hell, i used to ENJOY going to the supermarket.

But, people, those days are gone…long gone.  Planning meals is getting harder and harder by the day.  I buy food, and the kids…well…eat it.  So, then I have to buy more food.  And more food.  And more food.

And I’m not a totally organic-straight-from-the-source-of-nature kind of mum, but I do prefer home cooked meals and I am really conscious of how much fruit and veggies the kids are eating.   I find myself pondering over lunch boxes trying to calculate the protein, carbohydrate and vegetable portions that each person in the family has eaten.  Not too much sugar, too much salt, too much wheat.

And…we haven’t even got started on dinner yet.  Have we had red meat this week, fish too many times?  When will the kids have afternoon activities,  impacting what time we can eat?  When will we be home from work, will there be time to cook?  What have we got in the freezer?

Did I miss the deadline to do an online shop, yet?

This is one of those things that i just KNOW I have to get organised, otherwise it becomes a thorn in my side and an unnecessary decision that has to be made each day (apparantly there are only so many decisions you can make in a day, so you want to save it for the good stuff!).  I am so happy when my weekly meal plan is posted and we have a fully stocked fridge.

However..it has somehow become MY job, when it used to be shared with my husband.  But because I didn’t mind it, it became mine, and somehow I have ended up being the planner, the shopper and the cook.

I used to have a spreadsheet of weekly meal plans, with corresponding grocery lists.  Yep. I was one of those people.  Those spreadsheets gave me goose bumps of satisfaction. But they all needed re-doing with a family of four now in mind.  Plus I need breakfasts, lunches and dinners all to be included.  I’m exhausted.

So, I started scouring the internet for ideas to help me and , not surprisingly, there are websites that you can subscribe to that send you meal plans and shopping lists (although a lot of them are in the US…which is fine but then you have the seasons all backwards for what fresh food is available).

And then I decided to try Hello Fresh (no, this is not a paid commercial…ha ha…although, Hello Fresh team, please feel free to send me free boxes).   They deliver a box each week with a list of recipes and ingredients to cook them.   Two things ticked off at once, but still a home cooked meal.  Awesome sauce.  At least that is dinner sorted.  PLUS, the recipe cards make it easy for ANYONE (yep, that’s you husband and kids) to step in and cook.

But here’s the thing.  Now I feel guilty about it!!  Yep,  bloody guilt!  Is this being lazy? is this wasteful?  another ridiculous concept in the modern age?  First world luxury?  And, should I be ashamed of myself  that I can’t find the time to pop down the shops to feed my family?

Sigh…well, I’m just going to have to shake that off, because, frankly, guilt is a waste of my brain space.   Outsourcing things is smart, not wasteful.   And maybe some time in the near future,  I will find the space and time to enjoy planning and cooking meals again.  In the meantime, I can just bake slice with the children at the weekend instead.

On that note, I’m hungry…what’s for lunch?

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Got something you need to talk about?

 

Talking about it helps…. I know, not exactly a new concept…we all know this is the case.  And anyone who knows me would most likely tell you that I have ZERO trouble with this concept,  I talk hard and fast.  I am,  generally speaking, a sharer.  When I am down, the first thing I want to do is talk to someone…or at least, that’s what the perception is.

The reality is, when I am feeling really down, sometimes it takes me a while to share my thinking. I worry that people are going to get sick of me “whinging”.  I fear that I might share something that I wish I hadn’t later.   I don’t want to be pitied, I want to appear strong and capable.  And sometimes, I don’t talk because I can’t figure out how to articulate what I want to say, my mind is just a whirlwind of feelings, ideas and thoughts and I can’t seem to harness what my point is.  So why share that???  Sometimes I am rushing around too much and failed to make the time for simple chatting,  then when I do…it comes pouring out like an avalanche (my mum is often subject to these types of outpourings)

But there is no doubt,  that when I finally find the time and space to sit down and have a good hearty chin wag with someone…I inevitably feel better.  Pretty much always

And writing can help sometimes too.   I’m not religious at all about writing a journal, I wish I was much better, especially because my memory is terrible and I don’t want to be old and can’t remember anything about my life.   Sometimes I write my journal like I’m expecting someone to read it,  jotting down memories and ideas.  Sometimes I write but hope that no one ever reads it.   But getting the rumbling thoughts out onto paper helps to put them in some kind of order and allows my brain to settle into them.

Either way.  Better out than in.

Things always seem so much more enormous when you are tackling them on your own, in the inner workings of your own mind.  Another perspective can make all the difference,  or just simply freeing your own thoughts from inside is enough to stop them ruminating and smothering you.

So…just a reminder (probably more to myself than to you)…don’t forget to create opportunities for cups of tea and real chats.

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Seriously, my career does NOT make me a bad mother…

Sorry peeps but I have to get onto my soap box for a small moment this week.

Miranda Devine published this short article “Don’t let your career make you a bad mother” the other week, and not surprisingly…it has caused a bit of a stir among the media.

Admittedly, when I first heard this article being discussed (on the Mamma Mia webcast), I immediately went into battle mode.  WHAT THE?  This is OUTRAGEOUS!  As they debated it out on the webcast, I found myself yelling at the radio … how dare you imply that I am a bad mother simply because I choose to go to work.

Feeling a tad defensive Claire?  Ahh…yes… possibly.

The thing is, I am a little bit sick of these silly arguments and inflammatory articles (which, mind you,  I’m sure was designed to do exactly what it has done).   Because when you break it down,  the whole argument is completely flawed by the fact that the analogy she is basing her assumptions on in the article…was, infact,  a woman who was both a mother AND a doctor…and by all accounts it appears that she managed to do both these things successfully.

Because actually,  the reality is not the either/ or debate it is made out to be.

It is not simply a choice between being a crazed career woman who palms her children off to nanny’s while she selfishly talks on her mobile phone (have you seen the movie Storks? Please reference for classic stereotypical example of career parents) OR  an obsessive stay at home mother, who spends all her time at the school canteen and frowns on mothers who dare to bring anything but sugar free home baked cookies to the Fete Bake stall.    Sure…there would be some people who sit at these exaggerated ends of the spectrum but most of us normal people would sit somewhere in the middle.

Our prioritization of our jobs and our kids may change from year to year, month to month, day to day even.   And there are so many other facets of our lives that define us. If I wasn’t a mother, I would not cease to exist or add no value.  But I am a mother and yes…I do work.  I am also a wife.  I am a friend. I am a blogger.  I am a really bad but enthusiastic dancer.

When I choose to “prioritise” dancing around the lounge room instead of doing homework with my kids,  does that make me a bad mum in that moment.  Hell no.  It makes me really hilarious and cool (just for the record)…and it makes my kids roll their eyes and laugh.

So PLEASE can we stop having this conversation.   We do not just have Option A and Option B on the table.   We have a plethora of choices,  and we need to stop judging people for the choices they have made.

At my funeral,  I hope my children talk about what a wonderful, caring Mum that I was.  My colleagues talk about my passion for my work.  My friends and husband talk about my general awesomeness.  Then they all do some daggy dancing at the wake.

Rant over.

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One of those days…

Gosh… I so want to get back in here!

So far, it feels like my day is not going to plan. I got up to take the dog for a walk,  but when I got dressed and walked outside with the lead… I realized it is raining (much to the dog’s confusion).   I had a message from our grocery delivery service saying our goods were on the doorstep…they are not.  I decided I would use this time in the morning productively and do some work.   Can’t log into the work system.  Then my son got up and said his ear is aching and he doesn’t feel very well.  All this, and it hasn’t even hit 6.30am yet.

I can feel myself being sucked into a bad mood.  I’m sooo not looking forward to this day.  It would be really easy to just walk straight back into bed and climb under the doona (especially because it is raining!).

I know this is a vital point where I need to catch myself.  That if I continue with this thought process, by the end of today I will be wound up like a super spring coil and I will most likely blow my top (most likely at poor unsuspecting husband or children).

I need to shake it off.  At the end of the day, nothing actually disastrous has happened.    I just need to revise some of my plans.  I am adaptable!  I can do this.

For times like this, I do actually have a list.  Here’s my “get out of the funk” list:-

  • Have a bath
  • Listen to happy music (ideally including dancing around like a maniac)
  • Walk/Run
  • Cup of tea on the front veranda
  • Headspace app meditation
  • Write in my journal
  • Write a blog post

Ha!  Hence why I am here.   Writing my thoughts down on paper always seems to put them in perspective, catch them before they get out of control.

Right…lets go start this day again.   Put on some music, get the kids up for school, do some daggy dancing.

Any more ideas for my “get out of the funk” list?  I’d love to hear them…

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Blissful moments…

I’m lying on my back, bobbing on the surface of the water.  It was cold when I got in,  a refreshing hit from the heat of the sand and the sun.  But now it feels warm, like a salty cocoon.   The waves are coming thick and fast, but I’m far enough out to just float over them,  rocking me gentle back and forth.

I can see the sun glistening off the curves of the wave tops,  the cliff tops, splatterings of colour from umbrellas and towels across the beach.  And I can hear laughter and the screams of children splashing and falling about.   My husband is falling asleep on the beach with his hat over his face.  My daughter is lying next to him, drying out from her recent swim.   My son is jumping off the wharf, I can see his face strained in concentration and then bursting with happiness as he launches himself off the platform.

And I’m trying really really hard to take in every piece  of this blissful moment. Because actually, my mind is still racing.  I’m thinking about what we might cook for dinner tonight.  I am wondering if my son is getting a bit exhausted (last night he was up at 1pm with a headache…has he had enough water?).  Does my daughter have her suntan lotion on?  Where is her hat?  I’m actually still a bit annoyed at my husband because before we headed down to the beach he was sitting staring at his phone, caught in another world of social media, messages and chats with work.  A world where he spends far too much time.

I have to consciously bring myself back into this moment.  Remind myself that joy general comes as little pockets across the day, not as a blanket across every single thing that happens.

And so,  I’m making a special effort to remember every little piece of this moment.   This little blissful pocket, from our lovely holiday.  Like a snapshot in my mind.  As I take in each thing,  it feels like someone has plugged me into the wall socket and bit by bit I’m charging back up.

Are you taking time to charge up so you are ready to jump into life?

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