Thursday, 25 October 2012

making peace

I don’t do new year’s resolutions. I have always maintained that if there is something i don’t like or something i need to change, i shouldn’t be waiting for the start of a new year. That said, about 9 years ago I found myself feeling a little melancholy one NYE. I had returned from four years in the UK a month or two earlier – a spectacular failure of a relationship had left me feeling vulnerable, doubting my self-worth and a little fragile. I’d had a number of months in the UK after it’s predictable and mundane end to try and find my way but returning home to Melbourne had put me a little off kilter again as I tried to find my feet and where I ‘fit’ back in my old life.

I had a discussion with a friend about happiness and it suddenly hit me (an epiphany if you will) that happiness needed to come from within me. I made a resolution that I would no longer rely on other people to make me happy, rather I would look within myself to find it. Not to say that other people don’t or can’t make me happy, of course. Hindsight tells me it was a good resolution and after a time I no longer needed to fake it until I made it.

Fast forward to now and it occurred to me that perhaps the next step is to make peace with myself. While my 30’s have brought me confidence in being me and have also delivered a wonderful partner and children, I still feel that I am on the cusp of change but there is some intangible thing holding me back and clouding my vision from seeing what it may be. Add to that there are things I don’t like about me (stay tuned for my next blog on weight loss and exercise!). 

Making peace with who I am and embracing more change is surely the first step to a more peaceful life.

the balancing act

I love a good epiphany. That feeling when an idea or realisation, one that has all too often been staring you in the face, seems to leap up, give you a good figurative slap and set you straight on something.

I have to admit that I've never been a fan of the idea of the so-called ‘mummy guilt’. I think it’s become an overused term and one that I don’t fully understand or agree with. I believe that most mums (and certainly all the ones I know personally) all want to do the absolute best by their children. Sometimes you make decisions that may be tough or don’t seem to be the popular one. You may read articles from ‘experts’ that suggest you’re doing it all wrong. But the way I look at it is that you are trying to do your best. You do what is best for your family. So why waste your time and energy feeling guilty? Be proud that you have made decisions that put your family unit first. Maybe it’s a decision that you know, in hindsight, wasn't the right one. So we live and learn – this is all about on the job training, there’s no manual that accompanies a baby or child.

It’s a term that comes up often in relation to child care or doing something that might be deemed as treating yourself – maybe getting a manicure, pedicure or going to the gym. My epiphany was that we should focus on mummy balance rather than these nonconstructive feelings of guilt. So much of life relies on a good balance – I bet nearly every mum that worked prior to becoming a mum (and many who have worked since) have come to a point where they have desired a better work-life balance. And being a parent is no different – you need to balance being a mum (or dad) and being you. Just because you are a parent, you do not need to lose your own identity. 

It took me a long time to get to this point – I actually did get there about 18 months after my son was born. All of a sudden,  I realised there was no lasting damage going to be done if I went to get my hair done or spent an hour at the gym. In fact, when I returned I was arguably a better mum because I had that opportunity to be me and to nourish my own identity. This time I have reached the point more quickly – it’s only taken me 6 months since the birth of my daughter to get here. Last weekend I went to get my hair cut and coloured. It was nice for a change to be able to say to someone ‘just fix it’ rather than being the one always doing the fixing.  So I say embrace your decisions and feel proud that you can make the tough decisions. Remember that you are important and being mum is only part of the puzzle. 

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

peace & gratitude

Clunk, clunk, you hear that? It’s the sound of my brain churning & working. Not such a well-oiled machine these days – children will do that to you. Baby brain they call it while you’re pregnant. People smiling politely as you return tea bags to the fridge & milk to the pantry. “Ahhhh”, they say “baby brain”, happy to be able to pinpoint an explanation for this vague and slightly troubling behaviour. What they often don’t tell you is that it never seems to return to its former glory (well, perhaps glory is something of an exaggeration but bear with me) and the months (often years) of sleep deprivation that follows the arrival of your precious bundle does nothing, absolutely nada, to help matters.

So, as I was brain has been clunking (slowly) away. A blog is something I have been thinking of for some time. Self doubt has always won to this point – why would anyone want to read about me? I am not particularly interesting and don’t feel I have anything groundbreaking to share. I love reading other people’s blogs – especially the food blogs with their glorious pictures. But then I slowly came to the conclusion that perhaps a blog doesn’t need to be about whether other people want to read it. Instead this is for me. For me to try and empty my brain of random thoughts and ideas and perhaps even work itself into better shape. 

I don’t imagine I am the first or the last to make that statement. And I guess part of me (hello ego) does hope that someone may be out there reading what I happen to write. They may even nod their head or smile – but I won’t get my hopes up just yet! 

The name of my blog is Peace & Gratitude. Because that is how I would like to live my life and this is my journey. I don’t feel that I am a particularly ‘at peace’ kinda person. I am quickly annoyed and frustrated. And too often I fail to feel thankful for my little life that really does deserve to be thought of more fondly. In an attempt to take back some ‘me’ time I started doing yoga again. It lasted two weeks (although I do have extremely good intentions to return in the very near future!) but in those two weeks I sought out some prayer flags to assist my transformation. I chose some that had wonderful affirmations. Words that made my partner roll his eyes heavenward and mutter something about hippies. But I love them and my favourite was ‘I live in peace and gratitude’. I can't say that I do as yet but I plan to enjoy my journey towards it.