Tuesday, July 29, 2014

I want my children to know failure

I want my children to know failure.

Not because I want to *see* them fail (because, let's face it, for a loving parent that stuff STINGS) but because I want them to feel it. Really feel it.

There's heaps of stuff out there about how unless  you know failure, you never truly appreciate success... can't have the highs without the lows... how much more you learn from failing. But that's not it at all for me.

I want my kids to know failure so they know forgiveness. So they can be comforted. So they can learn resilience.
We have the rule in our house that it's OK to cry. I often say, "You can cry for
** minutes, but then you have to stop and do/say something good."
Now they are bigger (and their worries are bigger) sometimes I say, "You can mope and feel sad all day today,
but tomorrow you have to put it behind you. What will we do tomorrow?"

I want them to know that *I'm* ok with their failings. I don't need them to be perfect, and I don't expect their lives to be perfect either. That just because I hold myself to exceptionally high standards, it doesn't mean that I can't forgive my own, or anyone else's, shortcomings.

I want them to fail at the little things and know they can come home to Mum and let her know how they're feeling. If they can do that a few times (or over and over), perhaps when it's the big failings they will feel safe and comforted doing the same thing.

Because I want them to know that there is never a problem too big to end my love for them.

I want them to know that not all things can be mended but that time has a way of making the pain smaller.

I want them to know, in themselves, that no matter how bad things seem, there's always an opportunity to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again.

So while I'll sigh when they lose, groan when they are outmatched, wince when their feelings are hurt, I'll let them feel that pain, that loss, that sorrow. Let them grieve the lost friend, vent their frustrations over someone who was mean to them, mourn the loss of something broken that can't be fixed.

I won't go in and sort it out and make it 'all better' for them. I'll share their disappointment and sadness, then I'll teach them (if possible) how to make it better for themselves. And then how to let go and move on. Remind them to look around for the joy that is always just around the corner.

I truly believe this will make them grow stronger as people, fill them with empathy for others and resilience... so that if one day if I'm not there for them to bring their problems to, I'll be part of that little voice inside them that cheers them on.

What about you... are you a fixer? Or are you a meanie mama like me?


If you are having difficulties dusting yourself off, Lifeline is always there to help on 13 11 44

Saturday, July 12, 2014

When your kids don't look like you...

I've often been mistaken for the babysitter. Or adoptive mum. Because my kids do look a little 'different' to the average Aussie kid - because my husband and I are of vastly different genetic heritages. 

I have to say, when I've been asked, "Where did you get him from?" (him, being my eldest), I've chuckled and said, "the hospital - my uterus!" I've always just figured people are curious and making conversation.

My hubby was not always as nonchalant about it and got quite miffed a number of times when people said (in that slow, weird kind of way), "Umm.. he doesn't look much like you, does he?" (he being our youngest, who was blonde and blue-eyed and the polar opposite of my dark hair/skin/eyed hubby).

He would come home steaming, muttering about how dumb people might perceive him to be. I reminded him their comment was directed more towards ME and the possibility of my indisgression! Pfft!

After it happened the first few times, though, he really loved playing with people. When asked, "Is your wife very... fair..?", he often told them no, I was dark like him!

Cue stunned silence. And he laughing like a madman on return to his car. 

People usually aren't trying to be rude - they're just curious. I hope.

In reality, our kids are a really interesting blend of both of us. They all started off blue-eyed and fair haired (like me) and have grown into their own features as they've developed.

The big two's eyes changed (around 5) to a really interesting green colour. We're waiting to see what happens to the Small Boy's eyes... is it too much to hope I might get to keep one little baby-blue like me? After all, J's family is a mixed heritage one, too - with a fair, Dutch grandfather a bit further up the family tree.

Their skin keeps darkening as they grow, too. In the end, I think they'll be somewhere between the two of us. And probably tan really quickly in the Summer (assuming I ever let them out without hats, rash shirts and boardies - I am used to a life of pale, after all).

But to be honest, I don't even really see colour unless I think about it. People are who they are.

And those little round faces, with his nose and my chin are just the beautiful, perfect faces of small people I love.

And when we watch them play, J and I squeeze each other with delight and say, "Can you believe we made them?"


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Random ramblings...


[uh-fish-yuh-nah-doh; Spanish ah-fee-thyaw-nah-thaw, ah-fee-syaw-] 
noun, plural a·fi·cio·na·dos /əˌfɪʃyəˈnɑdoʊz; Spanish ɑˌfiθyɔˈnɑðɔs/ Show Spelled [uh-fish-yuh-nah-dohz;
an ardent devotee; fan, enthusiast.

I used that word in conversation yesterday. Well, I say conversation... actually, it was a text. It wasn't very well punctuated, but... Look how smart I look, using a big word (and spelling it correctly). Did I mention I had been using a dictionary all damned day at work?

I was that kid that my parents and teachers expected to amount to something great. You know - write a thesis and cure something. Or invent a new type of biodegradeable plastic and save the penguins.

Sadly, 'they' were wrong. All of them. I'm a very ordinary, middle-aged primary teacher.

I'm not sure what happened to my brains. Maybe motherhood? Wine? Too many thrill seeking rides in theme parks?

I think about my academic nemesis from school. He was a veritable walking encyclopaedia. I wonder if booze and babies and extreme exhaustion have made him dumb, too?!

I said to J the other day, "I used to be smart". And he smiled sadly and said, "me too, Bylla."

I'm quite sure we used to be smart. And bright. And adventurous.

We should have invented something and made our fortunes. Now we're going to have to rely on our kids to take care of us when we're old. Oh dear.

Best get back to concentrating on being a good parent.

Best tell them it's perfectly OK to be content with being ordinary.

Friday, July 4, 2014

What does your lipstick say about YOU?

J and I took a walk last night. The kids were at their grandparents, so we put on our coats (yes, coats! It's actually COLD here at the moment) and took a walk 'up-town'.

I really enjoyed wearing my coat. It has a pretty interesting story behind it. I was given it by a boozy bartender in London who was concerned about the skinny Aussie lass getting cold while she walked home. Apparently it was one that had been left behind by mistake. I was in no state to argue, so hey-presto... new coat!

Anyway, last night as I reached into the woolly pockets I knew I was bound to make some sort of discovery. My house is full of pocketed time capsules - a legacy of having too many coats and too little time to wear them (I haven't always lived in the tropics). Also of my laziness in regards to emptying my pockets until absolutely necessary.

This pocket was no exception. I found a dummy. I'd say circa 2011. And exhibit A

I'm thinking this lippie is from the 90s. First it has that trendy capless-push-up thing that lasted all of about five minutes on the market. Second it's Australis. Do they even make lipstick any more?

It's not a great colour, but what I was most interested in was the shape.

Back in high school I remember one of the cool girls inspecting all our lipsticks and saying that mine said, "ADVENTURE". I guess, seventeen year old me was about to embark on one hell of an adventure. I was brave. I bounced. I was optimistic and I had more brain cells (but less experience) back then.

"What's the worst that could happen" was my motto. I trusted that things and people were safe and that I would be OK. Oh to be that young and naïve once more!!!

Now exhibit B

What I know about this lipstick. It is one of few remaining after many years spent scraping lipstick from the grout in my bathroom (what is it about tiles that make two year olds want to write all over them in lippie?!), I must have been gifted it because I know I didn't buy it. It's a hideous colour but I wore it out to lunch today because it was the only one I could find (I'd already re-lost the one from last night, typical).

I'm about to look up what it says about me... holding my breath and hoping it doesn't say "SAD LOSER". It probably says "TIRED AND BORING"... I'm pretty sure it isn't creative and hopeful and adventurous...

Google led me here


-You’re enthusiastic
-You don’t like fixed schedules
-You’re opinionated but open-minded
-You’re selective in your choice of friends
-You like to convince others
-You like to be noticed

I guess it's fairly accurate. It kinda sounds like the grown up version of the first lippie which says

-You’re creative
-You’re energetic
-You’re optimistic and enthusiastic
-You chatter a lot
-You like people to notice you
-You’re helpful
-You fall in love easily
-You don’t like to stick to schedules but you really need them

 Perhaps I'm OK with that.

What does your lipstick say about you?
I love reading your comments, thanks for stopping by :)