Christmas for the Elderly

I’ve been taking my kids to the nursing home I work at every Christmas Eve for many years (even before the little ones were born). They hand out chocolates and lollies and wish them all personally a Merry Christmas. It teaches them that Christmas isn’t just about them, or presents or Santa. I’m grateful that my teenagers are still happy to come along to do this together with me.

The elderly absolutely love children, seeing them makes them happy and fills them with joy.

I hope if you have any relatives or friends in a nursing home, spare a thought and maybe if you can, to pop in there personally- give them a big hug, wish them a very Merry Christmas and tell them you love them

 

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Christmas Rescue Plan

5 more sleeps til Christmas.

To many, it’s a joyous occasion and they can’t wait to spend the day opening presents with their family and their loved ones. Spending time with people they love and care about, and an opportunity to catch up with people they don’t get to see very often.

To some, it can be a very anxious time of the year. You may feel like you have to spend the day with people that are negative or are quite toxic to you and your family. Maybe some of them have made it very clear to you that they “just don’t like you”. Some of you may feel like you haven’t got a choice, you’ve got to just suck it up and play “happy families” with everyone on this one day that is meant to be happy and joyous. Some of you may have decided that this is the year you’re going to “do our own thing”.

Either way, don’t forget to protect your own sanity, your own safe space in your head. Choose what you want to do on that day, choose to make that decision where you’re not going to let certain people get to you and how you are going to react to those people.

It is not them that is going to affect your version of Christmas Day. It is YOUR reaction that will affect it. Keep calm and enjoy the day the best way you can. Come up with #myrescueplan, think about how you’re going to deal with difficult people – in a positive manner for YOU. Think about it NOW, before Christmas Day, so you don’t react in a negative way at the last minute. Or they will win, by ruining YOUR day. Protect yourself and your family. And find a way to enjoy this day.

 

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I Should Be Happy With My Body But I’m Not

I’ve seen plenty of positive body image videos and campaigns on Facebook and social media sources – enough to make me believe I should be happy with my own body.

I should. But I’m not.

Now I know I’m not overweight, nor am I obese. But my body makes me very unhappy. I feel like my mind is completely separate from my body. I’m outgoing, happy and positive with every other aspect of my life. I’m confident and strong, and there’s never a moment in my life where I’m bored. I’m constantly busy.

But when it comes to my body, I am embarrassed, I’m depressed and I hate it with a passion. I look in my full length mirror everyday and I hate what I see. I criticise just about every part of my physical self. My tummy, after 4 pregnancies, has been stretched like a shade sail over a family sized swimming pool.

I’ve told some of my friends about it and whether they’re being kind to me or if they actually do mean it, I don’t believe a word they’re saying to me when they say I still look great, or that I’m the perfect size etc etc. A few days ago a friend of mine said to me, very gently, that I’ve got serious body image issues. Yes, I know I do.

I’ve been so down with my body that at times I’ve cried to my husband, asking me why he’s still married to me. That he could be with someone so much thinner and fitter than me.

I know this may seem ridiculous to some. I know I’m UNdoing the work of many women who fight hard to tell the world that we have to accept and be happy with who we are. I know that I should be an example to everyone in my life, to show them that life is not all about your dress size.

At the moment, I can’t do it. I hate that I’ve allowed myself to get to the weight that I am now.

As a young woman, I could out-eat my two brothers. I could eat anything, whenever I wanted, and not put on an ounce. It’s a totally different story now. My metabolism has slowed down as I’ve gotten older. I still appreciate rich foods (ok, mainly KFC lol) and as an adult, I allow myself to give in to whatever I am craving at the time. The weight has now piled on.

But I want to say this. I’ve started doing something about it. If you’re happy with your body, great. If you’re not, the only way to deal with it is to do something about it. I’ve put off exercise for the last 3 years. I go through stages of going out for a run for a week, then I stop for 6 months. But this time, I’m taking charge of my own body. I’m not proud of mine right now and I want to be. I want to be happy with my body again. And it starts now.

To Pregnant Mums: The Power Of Mothers’ Groups

What do you do to prepare for a baby? You’ll think about the baby’s name, probably the colour of the nursery, disposable or cloth nappies, to breastfeed or bottle feed, or which stroller to buy (omg there’s probably about 1,734,093 of them to choose from!).

But to all pregnant mums, have you thought about what happens to your social life and what kind of support you’ll have after the birth of your baby? Maybe you’re a new mum, you haven’t got friends that have babies yet or you started later than them, or you’ve just moved into your area and you still don’t know anyone yet. Or like me, whose two older kids were nearly teenagers at the time.

When I had my third baby (I had a 10 year gap), I was in a new suburb, and I didn’t really know a lot of other mums in the area. A couple of weeks after the birth of my baby, I was offered to join a mother’s group, organised by the local Child Health nurse. I thought, why the hell not?

The group started with maybe 10 mums. We sat around and listened to the Child Health Nurse, who taught us all about baby stuff (it was a fantastic refresher course for me!), and at the end of each session, we would sit around and chat amongst ourselves, about our families and share our experiences with our own new precious little bubs. After the last session, we all exchanged phone numbers and addresses, hoping that we would start catching up and continue on with our new found friendships.

So our group started off from 10, down to 7, trickled down to 6, one moved states, and the other, she moved house and we sort of lost contact with her. Then it was down to us 5. Me, Krischelle, Holly, Vicki and Ange (who joined our group about 2 years later!).

We try to catch up at least once a month, maybe more often, if we can. We all come from different backgrounds (Krischelle and Ange from Australia, me from Singapore, Holly from the UK and Vicki from South Africa). We celebrate our kids’ birthdays together, host play dates in our homes or we go to the park if the weather is beautiful.

We have very different personalities (I’m the one that swears the most!) but we have one thing in common – Our children. Is that enough? Yes, I think it is. With our different personalities in our group, we bring different opinions, suggestions and ways to support each other. We laugh and cry together. We care about each other, we ask each other hard questions (we kinda got lucky that one of us is a doctor!). Whenever one of us is down, we pick each other up. That’s just how we roll. 

It is so important to have a close network of friends who have babies around the same age. It’s not so much about the kids forming lasting friendships (though that would be a bonus), but the bond and friendships that are formed between us mums that is so important.

I’m not sure how I would have survived without the support from my mother’s group (and my hubby’s support too). They have, at times, been my pillars of strength. They were there for me when I suffered the dreaded postnatal blues. Some of us have experienced the passing of a loved one, miscarriages and postnatal depression, but a phone call or a group text to say “Who wants to catch up?” is all we have to do. And the support is instantly there.

So it’s been 4 years, all of us have had our second babies (fourth for me). We are so lucky to have each other, and I am so incredibly grateful to have them in my life.

Remember, if you’re pregnant for the first time, make sure you join a mother’s group once you’ve had your baby. I can’t stress enough how important it is to have a good support network around you. Do not isolate yourself from the rest of the world. Having your husband and other family members around you, is sometimes, just not enough.

I’ve heard from some mums who have said they’ve joined mothers’ groups in the past but couldn’t seem to click with them; then this is my advise – try another one. If the next one’s no good, try another one again. At some point, you’ll find someone (or a group) that you can click with.

It’s best to also join a group with an open heart and mind, to expect – and respect – that we all have different personalities. Different personalities can be a positive thing, having different opinions, experiences and insights can be very helpful in seeing things from another person’s perspective. What can we learn from each other? What can we do to lift each other up?

Don’t forget, being in a mothers’ group does not limit you to socialising only with your babies. When the time comes, there’s also opportunities to go out with each other WITHOUT your kids. My group of mums and I have had lunches and dinners together and also much needed girls’ nights out!

“Love love love our group… I am always amazed that we come from different walks of life, our ages ranged from 21-35, and we had nothing in common except we had a baby at the same time in the same neighbourhood… but we have never judged, just always supported, encouraged, cheered and cried together… bam instant village xxx” – Krischelle

“I honestly don’t know how I’d got through hard times without you guys and totally agree and can’t stress enough how important this is.” – Holly

“Having no family support I truly see my mothers group as my primary support lifeline. Women supporting women. As loving and supportive as my husband is he’s just not a woman – he’s from Mars! I couldn’t be the mother that I am without these amazingly supportive, encouraging and strong women.Right place at the right time and now hopefully friends for ever” – Ange

“We have been so blessed with our MG- every time I mention my MG to anyone they have always been so surprised that we are still going strong and stay connected!!” – Vicki

Good luck with the birth of your baby, and I wish you all the very best!

Could we keep our daughter out of Pre-Primary one day a week next year?


So at dinner the other night, my husband Adam suddenly raised this issue which sort of knocked me around a little bit. But not in a bad way.

He said, “Next year, when (Miss 4) goes to Pre-Primary, I don’t want her to have to go to school 5 days a week. There’s no need for a child that age to have to be at school so many days a week.” That sentence, while initially shocked me, got me thinking. Does a 5 year old really need to be at school 5 days a week?

At the moment, Kindergarten runs 5 days a fortnight. 2 days one week, then 3 days the next week. I know that the weeks that she goes to kindy 3 days, she comes home absolutely exhausted on the last day.

Next year, she would have to do 5 full days a week. Many adults go to work the same number of days and same number of hours. Does she really need to be there every day? If she went 4 days a week next year, would she be missing out on much? I mean, it’s only kindergarten.

My first reaction was hell, I’d love to have a break from her everyday. Then I realised, do I really want that break? I work 3 nights a week, which requires me to leave home as soon as she finishes school. So that means next year I only get to spend quality time with her 4 nights a week. Out of that time, I still need to spend quality time with my other three children. 2  (my teenagers) of which spends a week with me and the other week with their dad. And of course, there’s the cooking, cleaning and other chores on top of that.

What exactly will she be missing out if she misses one day of pre-primary each week? I know they teach literacy and numeracy, social skills and motor skills like painting etc. Would she be missing out on much or will she still be able to learn all of those things at home in her daily life? I do most things with her except anything to do with glitter, paint or play dough. 

According to Vittra, “In Sweden, attendance at school is compulsory for all children aged 7-16. The age when children may start school is flexible: a child can start school as a 6, 7 or 8-year-old. Compulsory school is free of charge.”, unlike school here in Australia, where it is compulsory at Pre-Primary (and voluntary charges).

Adam’s point of view comes from a place where he thinks children that age shouldn’t have to be away from home so many days a week. “It’s too much for a little child.”

I agree with him 100%. And I think we will have to head to the principal’s office to have a chat with her to discuss what the ramifications of our daughter if she misses school once a week. We will speak to her at the end of the year. I will keep you all posted with this.

What do you think? Do you think we should keep Miss 4 out of school once a week next year at Pre-primary to spend time with the family? Or do you think it’s important for her to conform with the rest of society?

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My Night Away On My Own

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All set for a relaxing evening!

In May this year, I was inspired to write my very first blog about Mothers Day, about how so many mothers wanted to spend that day relaxing on their own. No kids. I don’t understand it, your children are the reason why you’re a mother, why would you not want to be around them on such a special day?

I came across one of my old Facebook posts from a year ago. It was about my birthday and how my husband got me a hotel room for the night. He knew he wasn’t invited, this was gonna be a one-woman partaaay.

I had two babies who were 18 months apart. I was exhausted from them, I was exhausted from working at the nursing home and I needed to rest and most importantly, I needed some silence.

So, for my birthday, I asked… For me to be on my own. And I got it. Adam booked me a room at the Hyatt Regency. My mother in law asked, “Don’t you want Adam to join you? You’d enjoy it more if he was there, I can babysit the babies for you.” I answered, “How would this idea be relaxing for me? I want a room to myself so I don’t have to talk to anyone, touch anyone, be touched by anyone or to be woken up by snoring.”

We compromised a little on the day. Adam and the babies came to the room and hung out for a little while. We all had McDonalds for dinner and then they had a little bath. It was raining heavily and I could hear the raindrops hitting the window pane. How relaxing! Then the babies started crying. No, stop crying, this is meant to be relaxing for me. So I said to Adam, “Right, you three need to leave for me to really enjoy this birthday present of mine.” I walked them all back to the car, gave them kisses and sprinted back to the elevator.

First thing I did when I walked back into the room was fill the bath with very warm water and some bath bubbles. I took my clothes off and laid in there and listened to the running water from the tap. Aaaaah. Wait. I can hear the loud TV. That’s not relaxing. So I grabbed a towel, got out and turned the TV off. See, if Adam was here, he’d want to watch TV and he probably wouldn’t let me turn it off. Back in the hot bath. Aaaaaaaaah. Silence. I never realized silence could sound so beautiful. 

I then laid in bed with nothing but my bathrobe on. I was all set, I had a new book and a family size block of chocolate in bed with me. I found the room service menu, picked up the phone and ordered tomorrow’s breakfast for 7.30am.

I turned the TV back on and flicked through the channels. As I’m mindlessly watching TV with no interruptions, I sent a text to Adam to say goodnight and that I loved him. I’m pretty sure I didn’t even ask if the babies were alright! I started on my block of chocolate, with nobody asking me for a piece or more. This whole block of chocolate was MINE! All miiiiiiine!!

Wait, what? It’s 3am, and the TV is still on. Did I fall asleep? What time did I fall asleep?? I looked around me and I saw that I didn’t touch my new book and I had eaten 3/4 of the family size block of chocolate. Dare I do this? I broke off another piece of chocolate, ate it, and fell straight back to sleep again.

I woke up at 7am. I walked over to the window, pulled the curtains apart and looked out at the grey skies. So it didn’t turn out to be this “one-woman partaaaay” I had envisioned (I’m not even sure what I expected). Did I enjoy this hotel room? Was it worth the money? Did it live up to the expectations of having time on my own? Yes, yes and a resounding yes. I hopped back into bed to watch the morning news. Nobody’s asking me for a bottle of milk or breakfast. No one is crying or whining about something. Apart from Karl’s voice on The Today Show, the room was silent.

The door bell rings and the hotel waiter has my breakfast.

“Gooooooood morning! Where would you like your breakfast Ma’am?” 

I stood by the door and stared at him for a few seconds. I fantasized dancing around the room (like Sister Maria in the Sound of Music) and bursting into song, “Aaaaaaaanywhere! Surpriiiiise me!” 

And again the waiter asked, “Ma’am? Your breakfast? Where would you like it?” 

I quickly blinked my eyes back to reality, Oh sorry, um, on the bed please, thank you.”

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“Aaaaaaaanywhere! Surpriiiiiise me!”


A full cooked breakfast in bed. Sausages, mushrooms, eggs, grilled tomato, bacon and 3 thick cut slices of white bread with a slab of cold pure butter on a little dish. They even put an assortment of little jars of jams!! I didn’t have to cook it and yet it’s sitting on my bed. Just for me. I start digging in. It’s just me, Karl and Lisa from The Today Show.

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“I didn’t have to cook it and yet it’s sitting on my bed.”

That was the single most relaxing night/morning I’ve ever had. That was a year ago. Would I ask for the same experience again for my next birthday? Probably not. Not while this experience is still so fresh in my mind. Maybe again when I’ve forgotten what it’s like? Whenever I tell this story to my friends, I’d always say I’ll never forget how beautiful the sound of silence, sounded. 

I highly recommend this to all mums out there who feel burnt out, tired and exhausted from the demands of everyday life. Yeah yeah yeah, you still love your husband and your kids. But you just want some time on your own to recharge. And sleep on a King size bed, with clean and fresh, ironed sheets. That’s what I had and I’ll never forget it. Or when I do eventually forget, then maybe it’s time to do it again. (I might even allow Adam to join me this time, wink wink.)

 

 

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To My 2 Sons


Dear Sons,

  1. When a woman says no to sex, please respect that. You have no right to convince her to change her mind. No means no.
  2. Be kind to her.
  3. Be respectful to her.
  4. Don’t ever call her nasty names like “bitch”, “slut” and “whore”. In fact, don’t call any woman those names. 
  5. You shouldn’t have to shower her with money and gifts all the time, because if that’s all she asks for, then maybe she should find someone else who thinks that’s all it takes to have her.
  6. You know the saying “Bros before ho’s”? Yeah, that advice only applies to immature fools. Stand by your woman.
  7. Not all women are nice. If she’s not nice, walk away from her. But be a gentleman about it. Your happiness is important too.
  8. Never hit a woman. Ever.
  9. Never emotionally blackmail a woman.
  10. Never use money to control her.
  11. You can have lazy days. But don’t be a lazy person. 
  12. Treat her as your equal. You both bring your own strengths and weaknesses into a relationship.
  13. Don’t cheat on your woman. If you don’t love her anymore, at least respect her by breaking it off before seeing someone else.
  14. You see how your dad/stepdad treats me? Treat your woman like that. EXACTLY like that.
  15. I don’t care if your new girlfriend says she’s on the Pill. Use condoms. Protect each other.
  16. If you go to your girlfriend’s house, look for her parents and greet them. It’s called RESPECT.
  17. If you want to marry your woman, go to her parents first, and ask for their permission.
  18. I’ve raised you to do your chores. So don’t expect your woman to do it all.
  19. Make decisions together. 
  20. When you have children, be affectionate to their mother. Show them how much you appreciate and love her. Your children will learn from your actions and treat her the same. And in time, they will treat their other halves the same.
  21. If she is a stay at home mum, remember that her job is just as hard, if not harder, than yours. When you come home, she’s gonna want to talk. Let her talk, listen to her. 
  22. Cook occasionally. If you can’t cook, offer to buy take-out once in a while.
  23. Organize a date night (or lunch) with her regularly. Without the children. Hold her hand from across the table.
  24. When she’s had a child, her body will change. Respect it, her body went through unimaginable things to bring another human being into this world.
  25. Remember, when you’ve got your own family, your woman must now take first place. I’ll be here to support you, to love you unconditionally, but I will be stepping back from my role and let you be the man I’ve raised you to be.