Trying To Make A Change

Reading the news is so depressing. Understanding the politics at work is so depressing. Understanding the politics in my country is so depressing. It makes you feel helpless. It makes you feel controlled. It makes you feel selfish. It makes you feel guilty.

Someone recently told me they have a friend who lives in a rural area of their country, refuses to read any media, and just wants to live his life, away from media stories, politics, and all the Trump stories of the World.  Great for his mental health, but what about his conscious. Can you really ignore that niggling feeling of your duty as a citizen?

But what can we do! I hear you cry. Well little old me cannot do very much to help those in poorer countries who need so much assistance with the global challenges of today. I wish I was a doctor who could fly out to these places and really be able to help these people directly. But I’m not. And I’m not sure I am able to be that selfless even if I was one.

Every single person is unique. Every single person has been given a different gift. No two people have the same personality traits with the same life experiences. Saying that, I believe every person has something to give. I recently watched a video on giving charity in a non-financial way. It was amazing how taking small steps to change how we treat other, is one tiny step to making the World a better place.

With the onset of technology making us care less for one another and become more self-absorbed, it is scary to see what World we are leaving for our little ones. We may not be able to house an orphan in Gambia or provide medical aid for those in Syria. But we can contribute in a small way in our own little lives to make us nicer to each other.

You have been placed in a certain role in life. Whether that be a teacher, an accountant, a salesperson, or a housewife! You weren’t placed there by accident. There was a purpose that you need to fulfil in that role in order to contribute to the World. It may not be obvious at first but it may be something as simple as starting up an initiative in your workplace to create a culture that donates to charity. Or setting some time aside for you and your children to pack some food bags for domestic workers. Or using your institution or contacts to help others less fortunate than you in education or careers. Or helping out at your child’s school to educate others or talk about your career. The list is endless. It’s about doing things that are selfless to give back to the World.

The benefits when you really get going is amazing. It creates a purpose every day and helps you understand your little place in the World. It keeps you humble when you understand how small you are, in a World full of so many unfortunate incidents and situations. It may be only a small contribution, but if that small step can encourage others to do the same, things can change bit by bit. In my book, that is better than just sitting back and accepting that’s just the way the World works.

 

 

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Friends who are good for you

I remember something someone told me a while back and it was “you don’t need to play in the pool to get wet”. The idea was that if you hang around bad people long enough, then their mannerisms, views, and opinions can rub off on you.  If your relationship with certain people is centred around complaining about work, complaining about spouses, complaining about family – then this is a negative relationship.

I went to a lot of mummy groups when LO was very little and as useful as they were to forge amazing friendships and build an invaluable support network (especially through the crazy sleep-deprived months at the beginning!), it was also a huge breeding ground for whinging moany old bats who bad-mouthed their spouses for not doing enough, or moaning about work, or even their baby!

Now, I’m all for having a good whinge. I’m pretty sure I could win medals for having a good ol’ moan. But being older, I can see the negative effects it has if friendships are built on this. I like having a moan when I’m stressed and we come up with solutions. But I do feel a difference if the friendship does not bring about any solutions, and we just moan together. I walk away feeling a lot more stressed and this isn’t good for me or the other person.

I now feel strong enough to either change my ways and look after my mental health by trying to be positive. Or to simply walk away. I even downloaded an app which makes me reflect on 3 good things each day.  This has honestly helped me be a bit more grateful and focus on working solutions to help others when someone needs a moan.

There’s still a lot I need to develop on this, but realising I need to change first is a great step, and the second is being strong enough make changes, not just occasionally, but every time.

Why I grey-scaled my phone

So… Should be working… Am finding every way u can to procrastinate… Happy to do anything other than work… Even though my phone is set to loud… I press my screen to check my phone. The bubbly bright colours light up, and I get excited… But then let out a deep sigh… No updates, no conversations, no change. Well that’s probably because I had only checked it 5 minutes before.

I have this habit of checking my phone, not even waiting for anything in particular. Just the high my brain receives I guess.

I read somewhere that the brain does this due to the reaction to bright colours and the excitement the brain feels, but then crashes down when it isn’t met by a new notification.

So the problem is the colour, right?

I grey scaled it. Everything is so grey and white, I feel so retro.

Images are coming out stunning, and suddenly I feel so sophisticated. Sad, I know. But running after two young kids, with bread in your hair, and white patches on all my trousers, means sophistication is a rarity.

It works. I don’t think I’m checking it as often. I kind of forget to check it if I’m honest. I think I have made a stunning new discovery…

Tried several other ways such as deleting WhatsApp, deleting Daily Mail. But maybe the core issue is the connection between the phone itself and the brain and the effects it can have. Kids are drawn to bright lights, well so are we. You only have to look at the examples around us to see.

Are any of us humble?

Is there such a thing?

I hear of people calling others as humble people if they show that certain side of themselves. But are any of us actually humble? Truly humble? Not just showing that side of us but actually humble?

I’m one of those people who love observing how people react in certain social situations. And I LOVE people watching. I like seeing how people react in difficult situations. A mother when a baby is screaming – the embarrassment, the desperation to calm the baby down, mixed with the concern as to why the baby is crying in the first place. Sounds a bit dark doesn’t it. Don’t get me wrong – I won’t just stare, I will help if it looks safe to do so… I say safe, as some women like to pretend they have everything in hand, and are pros at this… even though we are ALL making it up as we go along. But for some reason we like to pretend… pretend we have everything under control, pretend we can read our kids minds, pretend that we are living the fairy tale life…. and pretend that this is EXACTLY how we all dreamed it would be…. Excuse me, what?!

This isn’t all mums of course. These are just the ones who scowl when you offer help. Some women feel that accepting help means you are accepting the fact that you recognise that you don’t actually know it all. None of us know anything luv.

Relax yourself.

However from pregnancy all the way to teenagerhood, us mums try to one up on each other. Next time you are with a group of mums, the cycle is the same.  If you are in your first pregnancy, the mum with one kid will say something like “Enjoy the sleep while you can! Oh, I wouldn’t moan about pregnancy, it’s so much easier than what comes after! Prepare yourself!!” Then if the mum in her second pregnancy mentions an issue, the mum of 2 kids chimes in “Oh, you have NO idea what’s coming next! It’s so different, you have NO idea” This isn’t helpful. I don’t know why we do this. You weren’t even asked!! But for some reason we have to show to that person we have the trophy for being in an advanced stage to that person.

Let me give you an example.  I know a parent who every time I meet him, he HAS to mention his PhD. It just has to drop into conversation some way.

Or that mum who has to mention how tired she is from playing with her kids AALL day. Was she mentioning how tired she was? Or did she want you to pick up on the fact she spends all day with her kids.

Or that mum who says how expensive her shopping is because she ONLY buys organic ingredients… Yes Martha you only feed your kid organic, we got it. You cook everything fresh. Well done. Pat on the head.

I’m still breastfeeding my 1 year old, and my previous one was bf until he was 2… I try not to mention it to people as it’s a bit weird to just bring up. But if someone asked, I can honestly say I feel proud to say I do… but not realising how unhumble (is that a word) it can sound. Who am I trying to impress?!! And did I just try to slip it into this blog post…?!! 🙂

See I find myself even doing this. It’s human nature. You are lying to yourself if think you don’t. We have to slip something in, UNASKED, to add value to ourselves. Is this right or wrong? I’m still undecided. You can dress it up how you like – encouraging others, etc. But honestly think to yourselves – is this what humble means?

 

 

 

Why do we treat them so bad?

I am lucky to live as an expat in a country where it is the norm (although definately not the norm back home) to employ help to “assist” you run your house, whether it be cleaning, kids, or most commonly both!  I know a lot of expats probably wouldn’t have the luxury of employing help back home but in this country the costs are affordable and the service is widely used.

HOWEVER, why do we treat them like dogs? Yes! I said it. DOGS. I’m getting right to the point. No fannying about. Why do we think they only deserve the bare minimum because if you give them too much you are “spoiling them”… I’m sorry, what?! And in a lot of the cases, this woman is probably older than you, or even have more kids than you, and more experienced, even! But yet, we have this little niggling power trip side of us, which holds the key to how much they eat, how much they sleep, and how much they actually enjoy themselves!  for fear of spoiling them…they aren’t kids. You can’t spoil them.  They’re adults in your home who have basic human rights.  Who are we to have this hold over them, deny them days off, deny them quality food, or even their privacy! This sounds crazy, no? But isn’t this what some of us are doing?

The law of the country says we must give maids at least one day off a week. ONE DAY.  Some people feel they aren’t even entitled to that one day.  Or that the maid gets to come out to the park with the family and that constitutes as time off.  Sorry, me going out with my boss and her kids is not time-off.  Not only that, some people are even not giving the full day, and letting the maid leave at a certain time and must return at a certain time, because we must have our lie-ins, must we! That isn’t a day off at all!  How can you trust this person with your kids, and your household, if they constantly have to be switched on to be at your beck and call, with hardly any points of rest or down time?

Your maid gets paid less than you, and has the responsibility of looking after your children! Your children! The treasures that you cherish most in the world. And you reward her by not giving her the time she needs to rest, or the food she needs to eat!  I knew someone (not anymore, the cheap-ass) who would constantly buy really cheap food for their maid, but then amazing quality food for themselves and actually justified it by saying “this is what they are used to”!!!

I’m probably not talking to you but we all know someone who does this.  And when you ask them why they behave like this it’s because they’ve been burnt before by a maid that may have stolen from them, or a lazy maid, or in any way betrays their trust. I get that. I was called naive (and still am) by many people for letting my maid have the night off before her scheduled day off, or for letting her order what she likes for food, or for giving her Xmas, or New years Eve off. So giving people their basic rights is naive? MY kids are my own responsibility. If I can give her some time to relax, I will do. Especially since she has given me huge opportunities to relax every day.  The better I treat her, the more calm and patient she is with my kids, and actually the better a maid she is.  But even if she wasn’t so good, I would still give her the basic rights of a human being.  She is someone’s mother, or sister, or Aunty. How would you feel if it was your family member?  She may never complain to you, but inside she knows whether she is being treated fairly or not.  She is so close to your precious family.  So even if none of this post speaks to you, for the sake of your family; treat them well.

cough Cough COUGH!

What to do! What to do!!!! You were up all hours last night with a sick child. Coughing… coughing some more… one of those hacking coughs that make you look over and wonder if he’s struggling to breathe… whining and breathing all over you… By some amazing miracle, you don’t get sick yourself, but you are just a zombie from cuddling this poor soul.  Then he wakes up as if nothing happened. Nothing! All happy and smiling and playing…”Ready to go to school, mummy?” Sorry, WHAT?! Was I with the wrong child!?! Nope you weren’t… you aren’t dreaming either.  You breathe a sigh of relief but then he lets out that noise… that noise that makes your heart double beat for a second. That Hacking Cough That Looks Like He’s Struggling To Breathe.

Ok so technically he’s happy playing… if he’s at home, I will have to take a day off work. Then if he’s at school, other parents and teachers get peed off because he’s spreading his germs all over everyone!!!! What would you do?!

When I was a stay at home mum it was a no brainer. I would keep him at home and enjoy the extra cuddles and mayhem.  But now I hate the choices you have to make as a working mum that taking a day off because your kid is sick can make you look like a liability to bosses who aren’t so forgiving (not all, I must admit).  It sounds silly as I’m writing this, as I’m sure you are screaming at me through your screen to “put your child first!!!!”. Yes, I know, theoretically yes.  It’s so hard!!!!!

I struggle to keep up with the demands of work and the demands of school. I don’t want to be THAT mum. The one who sends their kid to school who’s coughing everywhere. The one who forgets it’s non-uniform day. The one who doesn’t sign the book… how do you keep up with everything?!!!

No excuses!!!

So we live in a world where everyone is afraid of offending each other.  We can’t even compliment someone without making sure we don’t offend them!!! Does this make us supportive of each other? Maybe. Does this make us disconnected from each other? Well yes in a way as everyone is treading on egg shells around each other!

However, there is one thing which gets my buffalo… why do we feel we have to justify our choices of parenthood to each other? And why do we justify with stupid reasons?

Confused? Let me give you an example.  Group of mothers ranting about their husbands, vomit, and laundry…usual. Then a mother with a newborn mentions she’s exhausted because she’s up all night rocking, feeding, crying, repeat. Mother 2 pipes up saying she did cry it out from an early age and recommends it to the new mum. Everyone is recoiling in horror and open-mouthed in shock and screaming at Mother 2! Of course none of this shows. It’s all in everyone’s head. No one says anything. No one makes a comment. No one wants to offend. Or even worse! A confrontation!!!

Mother 2 is obviously a psychic and can read our minds and begins to justify her actions. She said she had no other option.  She said she was exhausted and got depressed due to the lack of sleep.  She said she had tried other gentle methods. No one dares to ask… which methods did you try? How long did you try them for? Everyone just goes into their safe zone of peace – “Ahhh it must be ok then. She had no other choice.” Because that’s the “RIGHT THING TO DO”.

You probably expect this blog post to then go on to say how bad cry it out is. No, that’s another day. The point is WHY DO WE MAKE EXCUSES. Why do we make long-winded excuses that don’t really make sense? And even worse we actually start to believe those excuses ourselves because they have been socially acceptable because you used the word “depressed” or “can’t cope”. Before a gang come at me with pitch forks I’m not downplaying depression or baby blues. I really believe in those things. Both of these concepts are close to my heart. But do you not think some people use these concepts to make excuses for their actions which don’t relate? Is that right?

If you are depressed, take appropriate action and see a doctor. You don’t need to use that as an excuse for letting your baby cry it out.  There are people out there who are genuinely suffering with depression or baby blues.  I don’t hear them using that as an excuse for making your baby cry it out. What does it have to do with the baby? Whether you do cry it out or not is YOUR CHOICE as a parent. You did it because you have chosen to. Who cares what the reason is!!! Only you know the real reason.  But don’t tell me you exhausted all other options first and you were “LEFT WITH NO CHOICE”.

Or someone says they send their 6 month old to nursery because it it will be good for them to socialize with other kids. Sorry WHAT?! Is your 6 month old now a bubbly confident 6 MONTH OLD baby now she goes to nursery so now “it’s all worth it”. Just say the real reason or don’t justify at all!! Say you want a couple hours of peace and maybe a nap because you’ve been up exhausted all night with a colicky baby (is colic a thing? I don’t know. But we must believe in it because the doctors told us so… did you know there are remedies? We don’t need to just say a baby is difficult because he has colic and that’s why “I’m having a hard time” You are having a hard time because taking care of a baby is bloody hard!!!), and you just want to watch Eastenders without being interrupted with a scream from a cot where a baby is supposed to be sleeping but wont sleep because baby only sleeps on you.

Or the kid who watches youtube in the restaurant. “He has to watch it because that is the only way he will eat”. Hmmm think logically about that statement. It’s not the ONLY way really is it. It’s the EASIEST way. Who cares if it’s the easiest way! No one is judging you! And whoever is mummy shaming you isn’t worth it.

Why do we feel we all have to be cooing, gentle, running in the meadows mummies? Their grandmother may be, because that’s their job.  But not us. We have to do the actual taking care, we have to be the ones who have to go to work with vomit on our shoulders, smelling of breastmilk (maybe with two patches on your top?), so excuse us if we have to make decisions that may not be the angelic mummies we are supposed to be. Don’t feel like you have to justify yourself – no one is like that. No matter how they make out to be.

I’ll be the first to say I let my kid watch TV. Not because I believe “CBBCs is educational”.  Not even because I think I might have depression. But because I want to enjoy my dinner. Not that I need to justify to you of course 😉