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relationships

Family Life

sharing & lunch rules

May 16, 2014
lunchbox ideas

Last week my son was sent home with a disciplinary report.  I have that particular breed of children who are usually exemplary at school, or anywhere I am not, and save all of their mischief and misbehaving for when they are with me. Granted that may be a blessing that saves me some embarrassment, but sometimes it seems really unfair.

When I read the report detailing his “crime”, I was confused. He had gotten in trouble for sharing food in the cafeteria. Really? I thought sharing was a good quality we wanted to teach our children; certainly one I always taught at home.

Before I got all hot and bothered about it with his teacher I vented to a friend who is also teacher. She sighed and said, “Yeah the school has a rule about not to sharing food so they are not responsible if your kid eats something they’re not supposed to or if it was contaminated, etc.”

I get the logic behind it, but it fueled my strongly held opinion that as a society, we have completely lost our minds. We want to teach people to share, be kind and generous, but it is more important to protect and avoid liability.

How do I explain this to my nine-year-old who is upset because he got in trouble when he thought he was being kind?

I knew I should I bite my tongue and not infect them with my cynicism or make his school wrong, so I asked him if he had asked why he wasn’t supposed to share?

He said no. (That same unfair paradox again, because he wouldn’t hesitate to ask me “Why?” 46 times until he get a satisfactory answer!) 

I asked him if he really thought his school was trying to teach him that sharing is bad.

Victimized nine-year-old: “Yes.”

Chin-dropping mom: “Really?”

Reluctant nine-year-old: “Probably not.”

Inquisitive mom: “Why they would have such a rule, then?”

Smarter than he acts nine-year-old:  “Well, probably because some kids have food allergies and they don’t want them to get sick.”

Even though I know he was secretly looking for a way out of sharing is iMac with his sister, I was clear that he understood the “why” behind the sharing rule.

Personally I think that our society has hit an extremist level of fear-based and protectionist thinking but sharing that opinion with him isn’t going to do him any good. It would undermine his school and his relationship to it, and turn him all to quickly into a cynical and resigned teenager.

Maybe the way to raise our children to be successful in this crazy upside down world of ours, and even perhaps shift the direction of humanity,  is not to simply make our institutions and politicians wrong, but to teach our children to be curious and inquisitive and to not just resentfully accept the unquestioned answers. 

Have you ever had a situation when your home rule and school rules collide? 

{photo credit: Wendy Copley via photopin cc}

relationships

doing a little something for your partner

February 18, 2013
valentine's day

My girlfriend reminded me of something the other day. She reminded me of the importance of doing something a little bit extra for your partner – something they don’t expect, something that will give them an opportunity to say “thank you”.

She packed her husband’s running gear. Ok, it doesn’t sound much. But when he was already feeling rushed in the morning, a little stressed and a little overwhelmed with trying to get out the door, it was her ‘little something’ that helped. And it was this little something that he later appreciated, later acknowledged and later told her “thank you. You really helped me out”.

Sometimes the little things you do for each other can go unacknowledged. Sometimes you might miss it, and therefore there is no ‘thank you’ in the mix. And when there is no thank you, there may be a feeling of ungratefulness and unappreciated. Never a nice feeling.

Doing a little something for your partner can put a smile on their face, brighten their day, reduce their stress, empower them to do something in return, but ultimately, bring your appreciation for each other closer together.

It doesn’t have to be packing their running gear. It doesn’t have to be much. Maybe:

A little random love note on their pillow, waiting for when they go to bed.
A bunch of flowers.
A text message saying “darling, I love you. You are the best”.
An embrace of love, first kiss style when they walk home from work, and not the peck on the lips like I am often guilty of while trying to prepare dinner and everything else in between.
Packing their lunch snacks.

It doesn’t have to be much. Just a little something. Try it, you never know what may happen…..

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relationships

roses all year round

February 14, 2013
valentine's day cookies

My latest column for 3000Melbourne Magazine is out.

When my husband comes home from work with flowers, I am instantly transformed into a more calm, peaceful and serine individual. Somehow it is the gift of giving, the feeling of ‘he thought about me’, and the love I receive in that moment. And then from that moment on, when I put the gorgeous beauties in their vase, and glance at it regularly throughout their lifespan, I am taken back to that moment of love, appreciation and serenity. And when they have an intense perfume, I am taken somewhere else entirely.

And in actual fact, we don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day. The thought of buying ridiculously expensive roses because the retailers know that for one day of the year they can put up their prices, is a turn off for both of us. And using that as the day to show love, display love, and have love… well why does it have to be that day? This day? The Valentine’s Day kind of love shouldn’t just be on that day.

Why not a random love note, or a thankyou card, or roses all year round? Sometimes receiving these things out of total surprise can be the best day of love you can get. And to me, that is what I prefer; the surprise, the thought, the random act of love and kindness. So thankyou to my darling husband who brings me roses all year round.

Do you celebrate Valentine’s day? Or are you a ‘roses all year round’ person like me?

extra note: for those of you who actually do celebrate Valentine’s Day, I hope you have a wonderful day and evening. Please don’t let my rant and raves spoil your day of love xoxo

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photo credit: Bob.Fornal via photopin cc

relationships

how i met my husband and Happy New Year

January 1, 2013

This post is sponsored by www.eharmony.com.au

The newest way to find love is online. Forget about friends introducing you, or meeting in a bar, the night club dance floor, or even at the school yard drop off zone. Now, love can be found from the comfort of your own home. And guess what, that is exactly how I found love.

I had just gone through a really tough break up, the kind of break up you don’t expect coming. It hurt. It nearly killed me. I was drowning myself in misery, sadness and grief. My friends tried their best to get me out of the hole and hook me up with other guys. Sometimes I met a nice guy, sometimes I met a total dooshbag, but most of the time the pool of men was limited. I decided to open up a whole new world of opportunities by going to the online dating world – a place where you can be asleep and still have men contact you; messages there when you wake up. Bonus!

‘What is your ideal date'; ‘what are you looking for?’… yes… I filled out all the answers.

And then I gave a search to the potential honourable bachelors in my state, and beyond. In my pyjamas most of the time. This girl was looking for love, and be dammed if she had to stop in Melbourne.

A few chats here, a few chats there… there was just one guy that stood out. He was a gemini like me and loved the colour blue, like me. Worth a chat right? He was online, I was online… we chatted. And then just like that, we discovered we shared the same birthday.

“I have never met someone who has the same birthday as me,” he said. He had to meet me.

There was no back-and-forth emails, chats and correspondence. It was straight to the point. I liked this guy already!.

Did you know that according to recent research by eharmony.com.au

eharmony Australia's 5th anniversary

I was one of those 34% of women after our first date. Yes… I messaged him! I did however wait 3 days after our date.

It was official!

eharmony Australia's 5th anniversary

I updated my status too! I think he must have used Google to find the best restaurants in town. He certainly impressed!

And our dates continued, our love blossomed. Those three little words were said.

eharmony Australia's 5th anniversary

Not via sms though! Clearly mobile love sharing via technology was not as common six years ago.

Now, 1 in 10 have found love online and nearly 1 in 4 Aussies know someone who has tried online dating. I found love. I found my soulmate. I found my best friend. I found my life partner.

Whether you are dating in Perth, Sydney or Melbourne, or the other side of the world, there is hope and love to be found online.

And p.s. He was from Melbourne.

Happy New Year everyone. Tell me, how did you meet the love of your life? Have you even tried on-line dating?

Linking up with Essentially Jess

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relationships

bringing back the spark

September 4, 2012
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Do you ever feel that stagnating feeling within your relationship? That feeling where nothing seems to be changing, the excitement is diminishing, dare I say, the love -making is on the downhill spiral, and it just feels like one day becomes the next? Relationships are hard work. They are not easy. Like a garden that needs some time, attention, love and care, so do our relationships.

With life’s demands only increasing, it is not surprising that some couples feel a flatness and lowness within their relationship. With the same routine continuing over and over again on a daily basis, it is important for couples to do something different every once in a while to reignite that spark, reignite the flame and feel the passion. Or how I like to say, put a little bit of extra spice back into it.

Last night hubby and I watched the silliest, yet funny movie, Amercian Reunion. I couldn’t help but laugh when we watched their bed moving to the motion of rocking their two-year old child to sleep at midnight, as opposed to anything else quite so fancy. Sound a little familiar? And so, this couple was reminded…you have to make time; you have to schedule it in. Even if it is between 1-3pm while the children are sleeping. Or maybe this is wishful thinking on my part…

So what can couples do to help bring that spark back?

  1. Take time out to spend with your partner – Make it a priority to have “date nights”. Whether it is playing a game of scrabble, Twister, going to the movies or having a meal out together, it is about spending time together and making the time to reconnect.
  2. Find regular moments to reconnect and debrief – Debrief the week’s challenges, stresses, highs and lows.
  3. Have a weekend away – yes this may be a little challenging for some but there is nothing better then escaping life’s daily demands and hybinating away for a short time
  4. Think about your passions and interests that bought you together – did you enjoy hiking, walking or have an activity that you did together? Find some time to reconnect to these original values and enjoyment.
  5. Communicate and listen – sounds easy right? But so often we talk but don’t listen. Couples need to listen with no judgment and communicate with honesty and respect.

Letting some parts of the relationship slip is easy to do when couples are juggling kids, work, family and everything else in between. Understand that reigniting the spark may take a little time. But with commitment, passion, mutual value for each other and understanding, sparks can be reignited. Because let’s be honest, we all like something new and exciting every once in a while. Whether it is a dinner date out, or a new pair of shoes, or a new outfit for a special occasion… it makes us feel a little bit more alive.

So come on , try it… what do you do to put a little extra “spice” into your relationship?

Linking up with Diary of SAHM

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relationships

How to have couple time when there is no couple time

August 14, 2012
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Between work, children, parenting and everyday life’s demands, finding the time to be with your other half some how seems to slip by the way side. So often I hear couples, especially new parents, discuss the frustration of not having enough time to be with their partner and spend that quality time they both crave.

Tired. Drained. Late night shifts. And everyone needing a little more sleep. An early night is much more enticing!

If only there were another couple of hours in the day that were there to be devoted to your couple relationship.

Only the other day hubby and I were having our “wind down debrief” while I am cooking and preparing dinner while the Little man is in his bouncer bouncing away. Ok… maybe not the couple time we used to have… but these days it is taking what we can get.

Those Saturday nights out are more of an oblivious moment in the past then what reality now brings us. But who says we have to go out to have some fun and “couple time”?

How about the wii… I have kicked his butt a few good times in tennis. Even when he claims to be the better tennis player.

Scrabble.

Reading together on the couch.

A movie… one that generally requires me to curl up into his shoulders with love and not fear!

Scrabble.

He has even attempted to cook with me too… cutting the vegetables together. You never know what you might find romance in?

And here are a few of my other creative ideas:

1. Play twister together

2. Play Monopoly together

3. Read your favourite book together on the couch or in bed

4. Make pizza

5. Tell each other what you want to achieve this year

6. Plan your next holiday

7. Give each other a massage

8. Listen to music

It does not have to be much. You don’t have to splurge big. Just a little something different every once in awhile.

How do you spend couple time when there is no couple time?

Linking up with Diary from SAHM

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relationships

I am grateful for: a little helping hand

June 2, 2012
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I saw a girlfriend yesterday who just had her third child. A little precious girl. As we sat drinking our soy latte’s, feeding babies (well I was anyway), burping and cuddling, we got to talking about motherhood, life, babies and everything else in between.

The days that take your breath away. Blow you away and give you that amazing fuzzy feeling inside. And the challenges. The heartaches. The down days. The real shit days. The days you just want to throw the towel in.

Week three, week four, week six, week twelve… everyone has their own individual idea of when “the light” finally shines a little more. She is only in week three. She is finding it hard. Very hard. Very Very hard.

Bust so often I hear of the challenge and shame to talk about this challenge. As if it is believed people will judge or think you as someone who is weak. As if other mothers and friends will think of you differently. And I can not help but wonder what it would mean to everyone, to every new mother, second time, third-time mother if we were all just a little bit more honest in how we feel. Maybe some of that loneliness will disappear.

Felt able, open, and safe to say that “it is hard”; “i am finding this hard”, “it is the hardest thing ever”.

So this week I am grateful that I was able to offer support to my dear girlfriend. Be an ear and face to talk to and share our mothering experience. And allow her the space and time to feel safe.

Sometimes we just all need a little support.

 what are you grateful for today?

 

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relationships

pet joy and loveliness

December 1, 2011
he is not sad, promise! Just sleepy having some time out while Little E sleeps.

More and more pets are being used for therapy, assisting the needy and helping the sick feel a little more joy

More and more science is showing the benefits of having a pet.

Somehow I came across an article that discusses why and how pets boost your health and I couldn’t help but wonder is it the pet itself or the relationship and bond created, or both?

Let me introduce to my other child… child number 2 in our family…

Walter – “alter” “nugget” “buddy” or “walter boy” is our 3 year old border collie. He likes to sleep, play with other dogs, bark, go for long walks with Little E, while also having some time out and peace and quiet on other times.

Little E is just in ore of him. Can’t get enough. My biggest challenge is to teach her to respect his space.

The bond created between human and animal is totally unconditional. An animal just wants love and affection. There is no judgement.

This relationship for children can be the very best thing to encourage positive relationships, positive friendships, and emotional intelligence. This relationship can teach and encourage children about feelings and emotions in ways that is totally different to no other.

Express love, show love, be loved by another.

Reduce anxiety, help communication, provides comfort and can help with social interaction.

We all know a nana who has a little dog without fail will be out walking it each day. If you don’t have a nana like this, you certainly have seen one on the street at some stage…

Walking stick, handbag, and little doggy next to her…

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So today I am thankful for our friend Walter, Alter, Nugget and Buddy who constantly puts a smile on our face, brings a laugh and is a fantastic vacuum cleaner after each meal!

 

Do you have a pet? If so, how does it bring joy, loveliness and health to you and your family?

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relationships

accepting a little help

November 8, 2011
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Accepting help can be challenging. Sometimes tough and sometimes inconceivable.

But accepting help does not make you weak.

We all want to be able to do things on our own and hold he pride that we CAN do it on our own. We want people to see us in a positive regard of strength.

But sometimes the biggest strength is giving in a little and letting some of the barriers down.

It shows your children that seeking help is okay. Seeking assistance is okay. Acknowledging you need a helping hand somewhere along the line is okay.

I can not help recall the many successes, business owners, CEO’s, prime ministers, presidents and all people famous that have got to where they are today. No doubt, they got a little help along the way.

But why is it so hard? Who are we trying to prove? Or are there greater demons underneath?

I’ve been let down. Some people I thought I could rely on, some people have offered to help… and then…..

Why offer if you are not going to fulfil your end of the bargain?

Motherhood is a journey, a tough one, sometimes crappy, sometimes hard, sometimes lonely.

Questions, questions…

Someone I know didn’t want to be seen as “weak”. “I can do it on my own”, he says.

Permission, acceptance, Knowing….

But I know I have to ask again. I know I am no great pillar of strength all the time. I know I will burn out with out a little help.

Maybe a little extra happiness is letting a few more people in?…..