Cups of Tea

I read an interesting blog the other day and it got me thinking. The main message was that you may not be everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s ok. 

It’s an interesting way to frame it. It made me think of actual tea and how my mood determines what kind of tea I’m after at that moment, and the same goes for the people I surround myself with, there’s the core group, but within the group there’s the chamomile – the person you know that will help chill you down, the fruity ice tea – the person whose always good fun even if it’s just on a summers day and the black tea – the staple go to on a daily basis. 

It made me think of those teas that you take a sip and think straight away, that ones not one for me. And we’ve all had those moments when meeting people. I guess the point of view I’d never considered before was that I may not be everyone’s cup of tea. It’s confronting. Being ok with that may be a gradual process. It’s a great prospective to have and to refer back to. 

Food for thought. 

<insert witty tea reference … nope I’ve got nothing 😂>

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The Village

I’ve often heard people say “it takes a village to raise a child” and whilst it doesn’t particularly resonate with me or even us as a family (we live far from family) in recent times I’ve experienced “a village” type of support and I’m beginning to understand. 

The first week with our second baby we were inundated with offers of help, meals and kind messages of support. Those things cannot be underestimated how much of a support they are. The comfort in knowing we could reach out for assistance if we needed it and it’d be there was so reassuring. 

In the past I’ve thought to myself I should take a dinner over or offer to help in some way, often people are reluctant to accept help, but food on the other hand .. Everyone eats! And especially nursing mothers!! The lesson I’ve learned is even if you think someone has a great support system – that you don’t need to get into the mix there are things you can do. Don’t be afraid to be the village. It turns out one or a few people can be the village to someone. It doesn’t have to be “to raise children” it can be to be an extra set of hands for the parents or some small gesture to make a parents life that bit easier. 

Forced to slow down 

It’s funny how your body forces you to slow down. Recently I was on a trip where normally I’d flit all over town doing all the things I want to do, maximizing the small window of time/freedom. This time around I’m approaching the 3rd trimester and whilst I knew I wouldn’t be able to hit it (shopping) the way I normally would, I didn’t anticipate that my body would put a holt on it. 

If there’s one thing I’ve learned surviving pregnancy it’s that if I listen to my body things usually go better than if I don’t. So this time round I feel a strange sense of peace knowing I did most of the things I planned. The rest is not that important in the big picture. 

Facebook regret

I sound like a broken record when it comes to Facebook, but I guess it’s the updates that always seem to surprise me that people think positive will come from the negative they post. 

I’ll explain… I don’t know what the average number of Facebook friends the average person has, last time I cared enough to look I had around 200. Is that high, or low? I don’t know, but what I do know is that with that number I see a fair few status updates per week. And based on what I see there are trends and there’s probably 20 odd people who based off their status alone I’ve diagnosed. 

Some people reach out for advice and its a quick way to get opinions, but what I wonder is 6 months to 1 year down the track is that person going to look back and think… Why the hell did I write that? I’m sure we’ve all had those moments from time to time, but what I’m referring to is stretchs of 3-6 months where all posts follow the same theme of “poor me”. 

We all need support from time to time, but is writing for an audience of 100+ about how challenging your life is the right option? I’m always for being my most authentic self, but I worry for these people baring their selves for a handful of likes or a few throw-away comments. If life is challenging you and you feel as though your in need of additional support would it not make sense to select your closest friends,family, your mothers group, or even a professional to talk to, or hey write a blog there would be others facing the same battles! 

Surely getting the same few likes or comments on Facebook  isn’t support enough? 

Perspective in parenting 

We made the decision in our 20’s to move countries for career and lifestyle reasons, I guess we always thought we would end up raising our family back in our home town, but fast forward to our 30’s and we realise that wasn’t the right option for us. So as we embarked on this parenthood journey we soon realised it was going to be that little bit more challenging , not being able to call on our parents and family for extra support – days with Nana instead of daycare, date nights and calling in the reinforcements when Mummy and Daddy get sick (at the same time- because you’re that lucky when your a parent!). 

The past 2 years I’ve found myself start to feel a little bit of resentment of how “easy” I think my friends have it, that they have their family’s closeby for help if they need it. But the last week I’ve had the opportunity to experience what it’s like to have that help and … I think that comes with its own challenges. I know right… Total 360. 

For instance, when we parent we get to decide how we are going to do it with minimal outside influence, opinion or eyebrow raising. We have the “creative control” -as I like to call it. We get to decide how is best to raise our child, when it’s time to toilet train, how we handle the meltdowns and    if thumb sucking is an issue or not. 

If we lived closeby sure there would be benefits, but what I’ve learned this week is it’s all about perspective. We all have challenges when raising our kids and it seems that no one really has it any easier than anyone else, we all have our own family dynamics to contend with. 

I’m that person..

Having a child changes you, no matter what you say. 

Before having a child my views on child raising one were so different to the reality. I was that person who said “my kid isn’t going to watch the wiggles”, “my kid isn’t going to eat packet food”, “I’m not going to be one of those parents who only talks about their kid” – fast forward 2 years and I’m sitting at work waiting for my hubby to send videos of our little one rocking out at the wiggles concert, or mid getting ready for school and her favourite wiggles song will come one and we’ll stop what we’re doing and run around the family room singing and dancing. The thing is as much as The Wiggles are/were annoying to childless people, I’m sure there are equal numbers of people who the show has saved their sanity – giving a parent 10 minutes of peace in amongst their crazy day at home with kids. And let’s not forget the JOY the music brings to our little people. That stuff is priceless. Seeing our little people know the actions to the songs and how excited they are for their favourite song – trying to sing along. That is what it’s all about. 

Walking around the supermarket the other day I looked into my trolley and realised I’m now the person I used to judge. My trolley was laden with all sorts of kid friendly food, lots of ready to go meal options and snacks. Don’t get me wrong I’m not talking junk food. I’m talking hearty meals that I can take out of the freezer and have hot in 4 minutes. My maternity leave self would never have allowed it. My full time working mum self knows we need to cut some corners. 

“I’m not going to be one of those mums who only talks about her kid” … Lol here I am doing a mommy blog. You know what, these little people are incredible. And the joy they give – why wouldn’t a parent want to talk about them non-stop, oh and show hundreds of pics of them too! 

It’s funny to look back and reflect on how much our perspective shifts after becomming parents and how life is all about the little things we find joy in. 

Doing some good 

A few days ago I had a great chat with a friend,  I came out of it inspired to do good. 

My friend is one of those beautiful, selfless, giving types, the type of people we should aspire to be. She’s currently balancing family life, work and studying to be a social worker. 😇 right!

We had been talking about the state of the education system in the country which we grew up in, which turned into talk about the stark differences between those who have, and those who have not. Sometimes as I’m going about being a parent I start to feel guilty for what my child has. Because there are kids out there that don’t have warm winter clothing, school lunch, let alone swimming lessons.

My friend told me how she tries to do things where she can, for instance packing a little bit extra in her daughters lunchbox for another girl who didn’t have much in her school lunch, or collecting spare clothing to give to people who need it. 

It’s so easy for us to get wrapped up in our own existence without sparing a thought for those in our communities who might’ve fallen on tough times. Normally I’d send bags of clothing to charity, and I know that helps these organisations provide support to people who need it. But this time around I’m going to reach out to my local online mothers group and see if the winter clothes my daughters grown out of could help another Mum. 

Are there small things you could do to help out people in your community? 

Those friends

Ive been writing a lot recently about friends and friendship, I guess after you become a parent your life changes so much and your connections with people matter more. 

Today I was thinking about how grateful I am for those friends who make it easy for us to be that ‘that same person’ I was pre-child. I’ll explain …

I’m talking about those friends who suggest a catch up, offer to come to you and come with their arms bearing gifts of cake, coffee, or food of any description! Or the friends who offer to meet you at a playground so your little people can play and you can both follow them around chatting at the same time. Or those friends who know you have a babysitter and clear their schedule so you can all go out together, but don’t get upset when you call it a night at midnight because in 5-6 hours you’ll be up to a toddler and you better hope your in the mindset to cut their toast into the right shapes! 

These are the people who make spending time with them a joy and refil your tank when your running on empty. These are the people who when their time comes to become parents or parents again I will remember. I’ll remember to take moments to check in on them, I’ll remember what it was like to have a small baby, or a crawling baby or a wild toddler. I’ll remember and endevour to make their life that little bit easier by doing small things that will have positive effects on their day. 

These are the friendships and connections which I will nurture and be grateful for. 
Image cred: quotesvalley.com

Having Grace 

For the last few months I’ve thought our friends were having a baby girl. I don’t know what led me to that conclusion, but that’s what I thought. 

On her posts of buying baby clothes Id write “have fun buying pink!” After 3 boys I thought shopping in the girls section would be an exciting change. I didn’t notice the comments went unliked. 

Today they announce their 4th little boys arrival… It wasn’t the sonographers error. Somehow from the posts and comments on facebook Id got the idea their baby was a girl. 

Tonight I felt so terrible about my assumption I apologised to the new mum. My apology was met with such grace. She laughed and said they only have boys! Gosh I was relieved, while still a little bit mortified.