My New Cinderella Shoes – I’m no Princess

old-runningshoes

I know that shopping is a national past time but the older I get the less time I want to spend in shopping centres. Hence, I don’t go shopping very often and as a result my running shoes which should have lasted 100 KM probably lasted 1000. It’s not that I don’t fancy buying beautiful clothes, bags or shoes, it’s the thought of spending hours in and out of shops trying different items and paying insane amounts of money that I don’t enjoy. I feel that my time and money should be better invested in other endeavors.

But today I did venture into Westfield, went straight to Rebel Sports and bought my new running shoes. I was out of the shopping centre in 40 minutes – hooray! If you are a runner you’ll like this: Mizuno Wave Sayonara 3 – very comfy, a really lightweight shoe. And they fit perfectly-had a Cinderella moment trying them on, except I don’t think these are shoes for princesses.

My Cinderella Shoes

Cinderella’s glass slippers are shoes I’ve never wanted to fill. Actually, maybe I did as a child and in my early teens. But in recent years fairy tales, glamour and glitter have ranked very low in my hierarchy of needs.

I’m not a super hero – at least not everyday

Need a bit of super parenting strength sometimes...

Need a bit of super parenting strength sometimes…

Today I was a supermum again. I must say that I take a lot of pride in running days like today. But I should also point out that most of my days are not as effective as today and I much prefer not having to run a military operation in my house.

So this is how the day went: I got out of bed at 6:45am (later than usual) and the kids were already watching TV. I managed to get them to do 15 minutes of homework, got them ready for school well fed with scrambled eggs, toast and fried bananas. I prepared the lunchboxes, had my own breakfast (alleluia!), put the dirty dishes in the dishwasher and loaded the washing machine. We were out of the house by 8:20am and IF IT WASN’T FOR THE ROADWORK that stopped the traffic for a few minutes, I would have dropped the kids at school and caught the train at 8:36am!

I missed the train but still managed to get to the office just in time for a meeting. We got back home at 6:30pm after work and after school activities. Dinner was not very fancy, but included vegetables and some protein─so good enough─and the kids were ready for quiet time at 7:30pm. Hubby will load the dishwasher tonight. Phew!  I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot today but if I had not started blogging I’d probably still squeeze in a visit to the gym.

Dinner tonight

Managed to put together a quick yet healthy dinner

Writing about my day makes me feel like it was exhausting but because of my anxiety, I cope really well with tight schedules, deadlines and working under pressure. I can be very productive in such circumstances as they keep my mind focused. But of course I know this is not sustainable and I often feel like I’m starting to burnout.

I know that there are lots of women out there doing a superb juggling act and some are really taking it in their stride. I don’t know how they can sustain that long term. More often than not, my kids just have Weet-bix for breakfast, watch much more TV in the morning than I would like them to and the dishes just pile up in the sink. I’ve learnt to accept a good deal of chaos in my life, I cannot be supermum everyday.

Sunday blues

snoopy

‘Are we there yet?’ asked my 10-year-old for the hundredth time and I started to wonder why bother trying to encourage good habits. Why didn’t I just pack the tablets before getting in the car? A three-hour car trip didn’t sound like a big deal but I guess my kids don’t often go on long car trips so it must have felt like an eternity to them.

Although they did complain they managed to occupy themselves with kids games and a good deal of annoying quibbling. But before I got totally mental we found some snow in Oberon. I didn’t think we would have to go so far but by Sunday most of the snow had melted – we just kept driving and driving until we found a patch of snow large enough for a snow ball fight.

And it was worth it! We had fun building a snowman and throwing ice at each other. I didn’t think it was worth buying water proof gloves for one hour of snow adventure and that was a bad idea. Our gloves quickly got wet and our hands were freezing. The kids didn’t mind though. Even Snoopy enjoyed our expedition. He loves chasing balls so he went crazy trying to find the flying snow balls that mysteriously disappeared upon touching the ground.

Our snowman

We drove three hours to find a good patch of snow and it was worth it!

We probably spent one hour in Leura (always have to stop in Leura for a good cuppa) and two in Oberon. So in total six hours driving and three hours in the Blue Mountains. I was exhausted by the time we got home. The laundry basket was overflowing and the house was a mess. And today I got up at 5am to get ready to work and finish the lunch boxes. I’ll soon go to bed and the pile of dirty laundry is almost reaching the ceiling and the house is still a mess. There is always tomorrow.

snowdigging

‘I never get sick’ – Really??

When I hear sick people saying “I never get sick”─and I’ve heard this a lot this winter─ I wonder if their illness has impaired their memories. I’ve never met anyone that never got sick. I find it very hard to believe that they had never had a runny nose, hay fever, asthma, headaches, colds, stomach bugs, flue, coughs…  the list of minor illnesses is endless. Maybe because in recent times people close to me have been afflicted by serious illnesses I find it annoying hearing that less than accurate account of the truth about people’s wellbeing.

But I’m also guilty as charged. I recall having that attitude in the past. Last year I clearly remember getting sick with the flue both in March and October. I got so sick I had to call the ambulance both times. When I came down with the flue in March I remember saying that “I never get sick”─surely this was just a one off event.  But in October I could not fool myself into thinking that I never get sick (this time my sickness did not impair my memory!). But I still had justify my situation: My explanation for getting sick for the second time in the year was that I had run a marathon and was also sleeping pretty poorly so by immune system was under a lot of stress.

I find that it’s silly that we have to justify our ill-heath to society and to ourselves. We all get sick! It’s part of being human. I couldn’t find official statistics about how often people get sick but one study revealed that on average people call in sick 164 days in their work life. If we assume that our work life spans 45 years, the average person gets sick 3.6 times per year. Let’s round it down to three times as some people may call in sick for other reasons as well.

We shouldn’t have to feel embarrassed and pretend that we are part of a mythological group of people that are supper-healthy-and-never-get-sick. I think that at a conscious level we all know that but we just can’t help ourselves; we want to be part of that mythical club. We forget that even the super healthy get sick. I have friends that get sick more than three times per year and others that don’t get sick every year. In both groups I note that some of them are what would qualify as super healthy; they are fit, eat well, don’t drink or smoke and get plenty of sleep.

Maybe it’s our need or desire to be in control of our lives that makes us believe that we are super healthy and immune to disease. If only we manage to get our ticket into the super healthy club we are safe and in control. The occasional flue is just a super virus that struck our immune system by surprise. More vitamin C and kale should do the trick next time… When we get sick we are no longer in control. I think that being sick reminds us that life is much more random than we would like it to be.

Illnesses also exposes our vulnerability to the world. When we get sick we become just like everybody else. We are no longer in the ‘I never get sick’ club.  When you are in the club you feel endowed with a super genetic prowess that prevents you from getting sick. Sickness reminds us that we are all ordinary human beings and as such are afflicted by ill health.

I try to look after my physical and mental health by following a relatively healthy diet (but I love sweets), exercise and meditation. I believe that this leads to better health overall but I’m not convinced that people live a life free of illnesses by controlling those elements. This article from Harvard Medical school explains that there is no conclusive study showing that we can boost our immune system and thus, not get sick.

Next time I’m coughing my lungs out in public I’ll try to be more accurate and instead mutter that I don’t get sick as often as the average population. It’s not as impactful but much closer to the truth. Or maybe I’ll just say nothing. I think this sounds better.

Kids’ books should set a good example

During the school holidays I read this book with the kids: The Terrible Two

22509955

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22509955-the-terrible-two

The story was heaps of fun, I couldn’t put the book down. The book is about two brilliant pranksters that follow the motto: “disrupt but not destroy.” Working together, they plan and execute the biggest prank their school has ever seen.  So far so good.

The problem I see is that at the end they blame the prank on the school bully. Everyone wants the bullies to learn a lesson but I think the authors could have been cleverer about it.  Simply framing the bully for a prank he had nothing to do with does not leave a very positive message in young minds.

I’lI still look out for the other book of the series but this time I’ll check how the story ends before it goes in my shopping trolley.

 

Let’s not burst our kids balloons

Adulthood is getting longer - Let children be children

Adulthood is getting longer – Let children be children

Yesterday I posted on Facebook that I wanted my kids to be kids forever. I’ve been a mother for a decade now─and have loved almost every moment of it─and when I look into future and think that in 10 years my youngest child will be finishing high school I want to stop the clock and enjoy their childhood for longer. I know I’ll continue to be a mother beyond childhood and that the next phase will be full of new discoveries, but children are such a special type of people, I’m always amazed at their wit and views of the world and the way they make sense of the crazy and hectic world around them. I want them to live in the fantastic world that they re-invent everyday for longer─ before life starts to become too serious. And I wanted to enjoy my kids in this fantastic world for longer too.

When I look around and see children doing too many afterschool activities, being pressured to excel academically and at sports I often cringe thinking that these kids are being robbed of their childhood. But at the same time, I question if I’m doing enough to give my kids the opportunities they need for future success. I see so many parents stressing out to send their kids to private schools and planning their kids’ busy schedules. I often wonder if this is really necessary.

Then today, suddenly something hit me. We are living so much longer than 50 years ago. A growing number of people are living healthy, active lives well into their eighties. If we are adding years to our adult life shouldn’t we then look at our lives are a whole and really enjoy childhood a little bit longer or at least let kids be kids without rushing them into their adult years. They will have plenty of time to be grown ups. Children born today will have comparatively more years to catch up on anything that society expects of them than their parents had.

My kids, 10 and 7, today asked me if I had any balloons they could play with. I inflated the balloons for them. The neighbours arrived and asked for balloons too. They drew faces in their balloons, gave them names and went outside to play. I thought it was magical to watch kids this age playing with balloons. I don’t want to burst their bubbles anytime soon. I hope that my boys and all children out there are allowed to enjoy their childhood for as long as they can.