Monday, 20 February 2017

Hello Monday

hello new job A couple of weeks ago, someone from Steve's old workplace contacted him with a job offer. His offer wasn't the best, so Steve knocked it back and went on his merry way. Then the guy got back to him a few days later with a better offer, one Steve couldn't really say no to. It's come just as things have got weird where Steve is now, and our family feels like it's disintegrating because life is just juggling money and working long hours and never getting ahead with life. Better hours (4 on, 4 off again), better sleep (night shift), and regular routines we're all used to (instead of work this Saturday, not next, might be home at 4 or 6) should see us return to centre (and because we're actually ok money-wise, after a tight few months, the extra money is a bonus that might even get saved!)

hello new routines New jobs mean new routines. We never quite moved away from dinner at 5pm, so that won't be too much of a struggle, but having Steve home regularly again will take some getting used to for everyone. And Gus won't be happy he can't sleep in our bedroom all day any more. But we're all open to the changes, and prepared to work together to make it work for us.

hello party planning Natalie is ten next month. She hasn't had a birthday party since she started school, so this year we're planning a sleepover party. Planning who's coming and cleaning bedrooms is this week's priority, and figuring out gluten- and egg-free foods for one of the guests that isn't too far from what everyone else is eating.

hello super-cool collaboration As part of my plan-the-blog-for-2017 class last year, I hit on the idea of running a challenge, but I couldn't figure out what it should be about. Every time I looked at what I wanted to do for myself and this space, it popped up, with no answer. Until last week, when it came to me. But the more I pondered, the more I realised that I couldn't really do it on my own, because I didn't have a clue what I was talking about from an expert point of view. So I reached out to someone who is an expert, and asked if she wanted to work with me on it, and she said yes! I'm still on a high about it this week, and super-excited to move forward, but also super-scared to fail. And now that it's not just me working on it, I just want to run away and hide from it. Keep me accountable, will you?

hello Monday, a new start every week

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Tuesday, 14 February 2017

How to remember your value

I have always struggled with feeling confident in myself. People are often surprised when they hear me say that, perhaps because I've been one of those lucky introverts who has thrived in the online world where I can pretend to be confident because no one is looking at me. (Can you answer the phone? If I know who is on the other end, I can't answer it; caller ID is not my friend!)

And while this lack of confidence doesn't make itself known to the world at large, it is crippling in it's ability to lay me out, when all I want to do is shine. I couldn't even tell you what the voices in my head are saying, I don't hear them any more, because it is so deeply ingrained in my being that I am not that I can set myself into a tail spin without even opening my mouth.

Sophie is bringing me things from the garden (seeds, fruits, weeds or such), while I stare at a blank page. I'm in the "any excuse" phase of being shit scared to write, because what if trolls comment, or somebody hates it, who am I to think that I can do that? I mean, I've been blogging for 9 years, I've seen bloggers go and I've seen bloggers grow, what do I know, why can't I grow? These noises plague me so much that I forget to just write, I make excuses for not getting things done, it's only my goals that I'm missing, it's only me that I'm letting down, what does it matter? Then I look at that grubby little face that's bringing me weeds, and I remember that I'm telling my story for her, whether it's through photos of her growing up or tips and tricks I've learnt on my parenting journey or foods that get inhaled in 5.3 seconds. I don't actually want to be that big blogger, I just want to inspire the 40-something mum who finds herself living toddlers again, the mum struggling with teen behaviour, the mum cooking chicken nuggets and sausages every night because kids are fussy. #iamenough #tellthestory #catestory #catescup #longwinded #inmybackyard #olw_growth
A photo posted by Cate (@purplecrazymum) on

Take blogging for example. I've been at it for 9 years now. I love writing, and preserving my story, our story. Toni and I joke all the time why aren't we big like that blogger who's been blogging for five minutes?, after all, we've been at this gig a long time. But I realised last week that I've been chasing the wrong dream, someone else's dream. And once I realised that, the rest of my struggles melted away (well, not quite, sitting at the computer without a child on my back is still difficult) But it wasn't until I started to ramble and actually voiced the words that were caught up inside me that I could see that I had value, that I was important in my blogging journey.

So, while I'm emotionally hungover (my new favouritist term in the world) and struggling with feeling right, how do I remember that I have value?

By focusing on the things that I can control, and reminding myself, as I try to remind the kids on a daily basis, that the only person who's actions I can control are mine. Because while it's really easy to say the words, and compare myself to someone else's journey, actually doing something to change that response is probably the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. I'm the excuse-slayer, remember?

But if just saying the words to yourself "I am enough" isn't enough, how about these ideas

1 - create a list of all the valuable things you do

I'm obsessed with lists at the moment. Maybe it's my bullet journal finally rubbing off on me, but if I'm thinking something over, the easiest way to see it outside of my head is in a list. And the second I finish writing this, I'll be creating a list of all the valuable things I do, and reminding myself often of them.

2 - listen to music

Like lists, I'm obsessed with Robbie Williams' new song "Love My Life" Have you listened to the words? "I am powerful, I am beautiful, I am free, I love my life" I think the kids are fed up with it already, because it is on repeat. endlessly. every. day. I've just created a playlist that I titled "inspired" and filled it with kick-arse music that will drive the kids nuts I love listening and singing to. From Katie Perry's Rise to Guy Sebastian's Don't Worry Be Happy, I'm sure to dance my way out of a funk.

3 - affirmations

I've never really understood the power of affirmations, but playing that Robbie Williams song over and over has finally explained it to me. In a fabulous piece of synchronicity, this marvellous post from Marc and Angel was shared in the One Little Word® classroom this month. Another thing to create a list for!

4 - time out for self-care

I have always prioritised doing my thing over housework, because I have always truly believed that "to have happy kids, you need a happy mother" But as we walk this path with Douglas, I've come to realise that it hasn't been as a high priority as I thought it was. I mean, my practise for One Little Word® this month is to create every day, but I've given myself all sorts of outs like "baking is creativity", "writing is creativity" (and while I believe all those things are creative, the point is I've made an excuse not to focus on just one aspect of creativity) And while self-care is more than a glass of wine and a bath, taking time for those basics is important, too.

5 - ask someone else

When I popped that post up on instagram, I didn't expect to connect with other people who were also struggling. In fact, it wasn't even the thought I had intended when I started writing! But it struck a nerve with other mums and bloggers alike, who commented and messaged and said out loud we see you. Sometimes sharing the weight with someone else really does make it seem so much less. And if you're looking for some realism, just ask your kids what they think you do all day, they'll bring you down to earth with a bang!

How do you remember your value to the world?

Linking up with Capturing Life
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Monday, 13 February 2017

Hello Monday

I was going to stop writing these posts, as part of my blog overhaul and refocusing in the new year.

I stopped writing completely, in part because of that decision.

But here is what I've relearned about this space in the last couple of weeks - I can do whatever I want in here!

By giving myself such a silly restriction, I was missing out on my main purpose for blogging, capturing memories (and my secondary purpose, writing)

So while there's still some Monday left, here's what I'm saying hello to today.

hello plastics drawer this has been on my big list of house-things-to-do for months. But the time has come to actually do it, because I have run out of space to store plastic boxes and lids so the kids have stopped putting them away started storing them on the dining table, which is creating it's own set of problems.

hello daily themes I guess this is another name for batching, but it totally makes sense to my brain. For a while now, I've used my child-free days to work on craft projects one day, and blog posts on the other. But it occurred to me recently that this could easily apply to every other aspect of my days, too. So I'm going to pay attention to the rhythms of our days this week, and try to figure out how I could theme our days, and actually make them usefully productive.

hello baking It's been really hot in our kitchen lately. It's been really hot in our entire house, thanks to the stupid heatwaves Australia has been having this summer, but our kitchen bears the brunt of the heat. Making it almost impossible to enjoy baking, or cooking of any sort. Which means we've relied on a lot of supermarket products lately, increasing our weekly grocery bill, which just isn't sustainable for us. Now that we've had a big freezer sort out (thanks to the freezer defrosting itself and getting it wrong), it's time to remember what treats the cherubs like, and get to baking some.

hello practice The February prompt for Ali Edward's One Little Word® class is to practice. Practice doing one thing every day that will help keep focus on your word. As I pondered this idea, I realised that I really wanted to focus on my creativity each day. But I was too broad with my idea, allowing every form of creativity to be a priority, until just nine days into the month I stopped. As I wondered why over the next couple of days, I realised that I wasn't focusing on any form of GROWTH of myself. I was letting writing, and baking, and sewing, and photo organising be creative, without lasering in one thing that would work towards my ultimate goal of growth in all areas. Once I realised that, it was easy to decide to focus on my writing for the month.

hello Monday, a new start every week

linking up with Denyse Whelan, All Mum Said, and One Mother Hen
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Thursday, 9 February 2017

5 things we're not doing for Valentine's Day

I have always had a love/hate relationship with Valentine's Day. As a teenager, I avidly read the special newspaper liftout full of messages, and dreamed about one of them being for me; as a young mum, I sent in one of those messages myself (with no response from my partner, we split up a few months later); now married for lots of years and overrun by cherubs, Valentine's Day has become just another day that our budget doesn't stretch to.

1 - have "special cuddles"

Did you miss the bit about lots of cherubs? There's still one languishing in our bed! Not to mention getting out of bed at stupid o'clock, and just being knackered by the time all those cherubs are finally curled up in bed. We'll save the action for the weekend.

2 - cook a 3 course dinner for 2 (or 6)

Some nights I'm struggling to get anyone to eat, let alone a fancy-schmancy dinner for 2[6]. Steve really doesn't care about food that much, as long as it fills a hole, and he doesn't end up with complications during the night (he suffers from GORD) We'll have crumbed chicken with garlic prawns for those that like them (the girls and Steve and I), followed by cheesecake, which everyone loves.

3 - buy flowers

I love flowers! Whether it's cheap and cheerful from the supermarket, or a bouquet from the florists, who doesn't love flowers bought just for them? But I've never found somewhere suitable to display them in this house. The limited surfaces are cluttered, or out of sight, and what's the point of flowers if you can't see them?

4 - buy gifts

Natalie needs new school shoes, I haven't paid Douglas' school fees yet, the fridge door fell off. There's always something more important to spend money on. That doesn't mean we go without, it's just that we both tend to buy things as we want them and have the money available. I think parents often fall into that trap.

5 - do crafts with the kids

Pinterest has a lot to answer for! We won't be decorating the house, inside or out, or making any decorations with the kids. We won't be sending Valentine's Day treats to school (that doesn't seem to have taken off in Australia, yet), or any other "thing" that is trending at the moment.

What we will be doing is spending time together, enjoying each other's company (as much as you can on a Tuesday school night.) Maybe we'll even have a game of UNO while eating our cheesecake.

What will you be doing for Valentine's Day?
flower images from Aussie World Flowers
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Tuesday, 7 February 2017

The 9 types of friends on your list

I've been on Facebook for ten years this September. And I still have less than 200 friends on my list, because I've always tried to have actual relationships with the people on my list (well, except for the high school boyfriends, they're just there so I can sticky beak on their lives) There are long time family friends, family members, people I've met through scrabooking forums (back when forums were a thing), there's bloggers I've clicked with, and university friends and even school mum friends. But when crisis hits life, it's interesting to see how those friendships play out online.

1 - the friend who doesn't want to comment, but sends a private message. 

Whether it's because they feel unsure about how their comment will be perceived, or because they're really not offering any advice but want to offer support, I had a few of these messages over the course of the weekend. Some were from people I hadn't spoken to for years, and some were from people I'm really close to. But their support meant more than they'll ever know.

2 - the friend who was the voice of reason. 

I have some friends on my list that I don't know very well, they're just sort-of there because they're there. I enjoy what they share, I sometimes chat to them, but I don't really know much of their background story. These were the people who provided the voice of reason, and helped keep me focused on finding an answer. And I was quite surprised to learn more about them, thanks for sharing your story!

3 - the friend who's got your back. 

Sharing things on facebook can sometimes bring out the judgement in people. I knew before I posted who would judge, and I was right. But what I didn't expect was the friend who got into a scrum with Ms Judgey, and put her in her place. And Ms Judgey has been removed from my list at last.

4 - the friend who gives support from afar. 

One of the beautiful things about the internet is you can often forget just how far apart our countries really are. And I'm lucky enough to have some friends from England, America, even Spain, who have provided me support for years. They've read blog posts, sent Christmas cards, and even created scrapbook pages for me. And with every ounce of my being I can never thank them enough.

5 - the friend who is an expert. 

Blogging has brought so many different people into my life, and I've been lucky enough to connect with one person who actually has a similar family make up to us, and is also working in the field. She was also a voice of reason, but I had to point out that her support didn't go unnoticed.

6 - the friend who comments because they can. 

Like the friend who sends private messages, the friend who comments because they can doesn't really offer any advice, but lends a shoulder to cry on. When it feels as if you can't keep fighting against the world on your own, those friends remind you that you are strong enough to make it through today.

7 - the friend who's advice you're not going to take. 

This is usually a family member who has been on the receiving end of teary phone calls, and is at their wit's end trying to help you. They know you're not going to do what they suggest, but they need to get it off their chests anyway. They also go to battle with people, trying to be the voice of reason, but it backfires. And you chuckle quietly to yourself, because you know their heart is in the right place, but you ignore them anyway.

8 - the friend who makes sure you're ok the next day. 

Life usually looks a little better after a good night's sleep, so these friends don't offer advice until the next day. They want to make sure you're still comfortable with your plan of action, and that tempers haven't flared again. And by touching base when things have cooled down, they say "hey, we know things are tough, but we're here" in a way that isn't always visible online.

9 - the friend who brings wine and chocolate to your door at stupid o'clock. 

This friend blew my mind a couple of months ago, and knocked on my door with wine and chocolate. And I ugly-cried on her, and small-talked, and we went on our way back to life. But that one little action was so powerful!

All in all, it seems that I have way more friends on my list than I thought I did!

linking up with Capturing Life for IBOT.
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