No phone

5th May 2017

 

I turned off my phone last night. I had a mixed response from the 8 people that I told. I text Mum, Dad, my sister and my best friend. I told Scott and the boys.

Scott said I won’t last until Sunday

Dad text me back “ok, love”.

My best friend sent a text within 2.5 seconds of me telling her I would not have a phone until Sunday. Why? Ok?

My sister: Why? Is everything ok? Enjoy the peace and quiet.

Scott and T went fishing this morning at 4.00am. One undersized dart was caught in the 3.5 hours, but they had a great time together.

J asked for the day off school as it was cross country, he was complaining about it and that he hates to run. When I told him that he could have the day off, only if he went fishing at 4.00am and then went to the art gallery with me at 10.00am, he had his school uniform on in record time. His brother, however, jumped at the chance to have the day off. My first thought was shit – I have to find the email address to let the school know. Our school seems to have gone digital – if that’s a thing. We now need to email when our kid has a day off, it’s annoying. Why can I just ring the office! (Which I suppose worked in my favour today as I don’t have a phone)

T and I went to the art gallery after dropping J at school. We sat for an hour and listened to the artist speak about his contribution to the installation at The Hub at Caboolture Regional Art Gallery. He spoke of the breast plate that he created and the story of his nanna that inspired it. The breast plate was made from lead, it is heavy, toxic to the nervous system and it’s cold. The other element to the piece was old fencing wire to represent his nanna’s living conditions as a young child. (read the post here)

I took my camera with me and asked permission to take some photos, it was awkward walking around with a digital camera instead of my phone. We had errands to run after the gallery and headed to the local shopping centre. I wanted to print some photos for my sister and frame them for her birthday, we were having an afternoon tea for her special day – I hadn’t wished her happy birthday yet, no phone. We got to the shop and I couldn’t print the photo of her gorgeous girls because – no phone, the photo that I wanted was tucked away on my phone in my cupboard. So we had to think so something else for her birthday, while at the shopping centre I had to get my watch battery replaced as I usually use my phone to tell the time, I tried to call my husband to find out what he wanted for dinner and I also tried to check my account balance, again no phone.

We had afternoon tea with my family celebrating my sister’s birthday and I am usually the one snapping pictures but – no phone. My family couldn’t get over how weird it was that I was not using my phone, apparently there was a back and forth texting session the night before when I had told everyone I was going phone free for a couple of days, between my mum and sisters who were concerned about me and why I would want to have no phone. I think they all think I am mad.

 

( you will notice that this has taken me a couple of days to publish – keep reading my future posts to find out why)

Help a mother out.

I know the word “tribe” is a popular term at the moment and being bashed to death. I’m 14.10 years into the raising of our boys and have always drawn on advice from my mum, my sisters, my hubby’s family, friends, teachers and principals, other mothers. It’s become very apparent over the last few days or even weeks really with the rising of the boys that I need this tribe.

Families need a clan in their lives. It’s not just when they’re babies and you know you’re tired and you need someone to hold the baby while you shower or pee, no mothers with teenagers need someone too. There’s my mum who has a subtle way of chatting or giving advice, you know she rubs their hand or I’ll see her occasionally give a cuddle and she’ll whisper something in their ear and it might not be a full on lecture or a rant but might be just a few words that really stick. The boys are comfortable in opening up to her a lot. They will tell her things that don’t tell me.  My Dad, he’s a quiet man, he doesn’t say much but has strong opinions, in saying that the boys respect him immensely and a happy to have a chat to him about anything.

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My boys loving my dad.

 

My sister posted my first born son a letter that was about life and how at 14 you don’t need to know everything, you are not expected to know exactly what you want to do in your life. Just like your Mum at 37 doesn’t know what she wants to do, but attitude is everything and to try, take every opportunity and make the most of it. For me at the moment, the letter from my sister meant everything. I balled my eyes out when I read it a few days after my son received it and asked me to read it when he was at school. We went to holiday with her, on her family property on the school holidays, and my eldest was lumped with the dishes of 11 people one night (he had other help but he kept being ridiculous, so he was left with about a quarter). He refused to stop being silly and do the job, I went and stood in the kitchen and he got worse. My brother in law walked in, stood at the bench and flicked through his phone, sending me outside to have a wine and watch the sun set with my mum, sister and cousin. The dishes were done perfectly in record time and not a single complaint. My eldest worships at my brother in law’s feet and would never want to disappoint him. My youngest sister and her family have the same comfortable relationship with my boys they will talk to them about everything. We have always lived by a “no secrets in this family” policy, the boys are comfortable sharing everything with my sisters and parents.

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My brother in law teaching the city kids about the bush.

 

I was driving to school a few weeks ago and my eldest boy had a history exam, I was on the phone to my best friend and she was offering him words of wisdom for his exam. Remember dates, places, and names. It was a small conversation but for me at the moment those small moments have a huge effect.

Recently my cousin has come back into my life and even though the boys haven’t seen her in years they are comfortable with her and feel comfortable chatting to her and asking advice.

It’s not even just in raising kids you need a tribe to bounce ideas off. Some of my most joyous moments are sitting having a coffee with a friend or my mum and my sister and talking about what’s going on, what they have to say and how that can change my mind set or how I look at a situation.

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Making memories as a family.

 

I refuse to let my family get bogged down in screens and social media – that actually does nothing for you socially. We need a lot of people in our lives that have deep connections with. That are respected and we are accountable to and have a deep love for. You can have lots of people in your life, but they might not mean anything, but I think that it’s important for kids to know that they don’t have to just only tell their parents everything. I want them to know if they need to have a chat to someone else, they have family (some who are not blood) to share with.

I read an article and it was 15 ways to help a new mother and I’ve been thinking about writing a blog post for 15 ways of helping mothers with teenagers because it’s not just mother’s with newborn babies that need help. However, I hate lists and glaze over at reading them if it’s too long. So here is my top 5 ways to help a mother of teenagers out.

 

  1. Suggest meeting for coffee. (Depending on the day this could progress to wine and escalate to tequila.)
  2. Don’t talk about the kids, there are billions of subjects to talk about. When a mum with teenage kids is having to deal with teenager hormones, attitude and opinions at home. Find something else to talk about when you see her or chat on the phone. Don’t mention the kids, give her a break.

 

  1. If she needs to talk about it, let her vent, let her get it all out, rant, rave. If you have useful advice share it otherwise, sit and listen. (Perhaps pass her another glass of wine.)

 

  1. Take her out. If she has teenagers she is running around after them, with sport, or work, 1 million other commitments. Take her out and do something that makes her heart happy. She will then come home refreshed and energised to love her kids.

 

  1. Don’t talk to mum at all, build up a relationship with the kid. If you are close enough to the family reach out to the kid. Send them a text saying Hi. If you are visiting sit and have a conversation with the kid.

Just mow the lawn.

I read an article this morning while on my third cup of coffee. I worked yesterday afternoon, got home at midnight and couldn’t sleep. So feel as though I was on the wines last night. My reaction to this article could be merely because I am tired and cranky.

As I started reading it, my initial thought was “good on you!”, the longer the article went the more I thought of for fuck sake woman. The article was about a woman that mow’s her own lawn.

I hope you understand that I am not mowing the lawn because someone told me to. I am not mowing because it’s my job. I mow because I am quietly making a statement.”

If you own a house, with a lawn, then it is your responsibility to keep your little piece of earth tidy and well maintained. It doesn’t matter if you are male or female.

“Mowing the lawn is, in a way, my silent protest against patriarchy—which is still alive and well no matter how many people tell you that women and men have equal rights. We are still fighting an uphill battle.”

Can everyday tasks not just be that and not a protest? I have chopped wood, I have changed a flat tyre in the middle of nowhere, on the side of a dirt road in 40 degree heat with my 30 week pregnant sister, I have fixed a broken pipe in the laundry, and I have mowed the lawn, and pitched a tent. I watched my mother, a single mother, do lots of “men’s work”. Mow the lawn, move furniture. I have talked to my sister on the phone while she was driving a bull dozer, she musters cattle, fights bush fires or builds farm fences.

“I hope the other younger girls in our neighborhood see me mowing the lawn and remember the image of a strong woman, a strong working mother, who has the power to decide which way the stripes go. I hope they see a strong woman sweating, not wearing any make-up, enjoying the satisfaction of hard work. I hope they all see me—a woman doing “men’s work” without asking for permission.”

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My hubby loves to cook dinner while I sit on the bench with a wine.

 

None of the above was done for recognition, or to show off to the neighborhood children and we certainly don’t ask for permission. All of the above jobs are just that. Everyday jobs that need to be done as part of life. When I am cold I chop wood, flat tyre change it, long grass mow it, broken pipe fix it. Our father didn’t let any of his girls apply for a drivers license before we knew how to; check the oil and water in the car, change tyres, replace wiper blades and get fuel. As young girls, we unloaded trucks full of hay, we were expected to help out in the yard, there was no “men’s work”. I say to my two all the time that if you live in this home you contribute, doesn’t matter the task just do it, and we all help. My boys wash the dishes every night, they help in the kitchen, and they know how to iron a shirt and make their bed properly. They also carry the grocery bags for me, pick flowers and arrange them in a vase. They know how to make a cup of tea as well as they know how to change the chain on a push bike.

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My two boys pick me flowers and arrange them in a vase.