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.

Post 95

Post 95.

I mentioned in my last post that I am an introvert, however I have done some research and I am actually an ambivert.

a person who has a balance of extrovert and introvert features in their personality.

A couple of weeks ago I went out for dinner with some mums from school. There was 8 of us and I chatted and laughed and would’ve stayed out longer, if I didn’t have to take kids to cricket at 7.00am the next morning. At 7.00am the next morning I sat on my fold out camp chair under a tree and watched my boy play cricket, this was after I had said a quick hello to the team parents and paid the weekly fee for the end of year party.

The difference is the mums that I went to dinner with I have got to know over a long period of time. I have slowly and at my own comfortable pace got to know them and love them. The lady that I talk about in my blog all the time as my bestie, literally had to force herself on me to actually get me to open up and chat to her. I am glad she persisted otherwise I wouldn’t have my lovely friend.

The mums in the cricket team I have only met this season and am not comfortable just inserting myself in their conversation.

See once I get to know people, I am very extroverted and happy to hold a conversation and hang out. My core group of family and friends, I absolutely love to death. I find stimulating, deep and meaning conversation one of life’s biggest joys. I do however like to spend time on my own, and find it draining and stressful if I have a particularly busy week with social engagements. I get nervous and anxious meeting new people or people that I haven’t seen for a while. If I am going to a party or event where I don’t know many people, I always want to cancel. I don’t though. Part of the reason that I started this blog was to try and open myself up a bit more. The #sistertribe posts that are on the blog, are another way of me being a bit more extroverted. I find them extremely stressful, the interview and the writing but also rewarding.

 

I found a few other characteristics of an ambivert below:

  1. When you’re out in the world, you’re probably not going to be starting conversations with strangers.
  2. When a topic of interest comes up in conversation, you’re more than happy to talk in great detail about it. But as soon as that’s done, you’ll happily sit listening to the conversation without saying another word.
  3. Spending too much time with other people can be exhausting.
  4. Your calm, controlled professional self feels like a very different person to the one your friends see.
  5. Small talk is something that annoys you, because while you can do it, there are instances when it feels a bit insincere.
  6. Some weekends, you just need to spend some time hanging out on your own. And some of the best weekends of your life have been when you didn’t go home for three days.
  7. You’re known to be quite intuitive and good at picking up signals that other people can miss.
  8. Often, you just find yourself observing what’s happening around you.

Post 75

Post 75

It’s not even summer yet and it is hot. Baking hot, my clean sheets were dry and baked on the clothes line, before I was able to hang the next load of washing out. I love when I can feel the sun burning your skin when you walk outside, when the brown grass crackles and spikes into my bare feet, when the temperature is still cool inside our Queenslander home, but I can see the heat out in the yard.

I was in the baking sun, walking on my own piece of the land in bare feet that kept getting spiked with grass, gum nuts, leaves and bark. I watered the plants in our new garden that were wilting in the heat, it is next to the stairs at the front of our house and I wanted into look pretty so we filled it with a combination of plants and flowers from both of our families. There are geraniums from my grandma and papa, there are more geraniums from my husband’s aunt and uncle, and there is a frangipani tree that was my great-grandmothers on my father’s side, hydrangeas from me to my husband and a hydrangea that mum gifted my husband for his birthday. In other parts of our garden, I have a jade plant from my great-grandmother on mum’s side. I have a king orchid from my great-grandfather on dad’s side of the family. I have bromeliads from a lady that I work with.  Every time l look at these plants I think of the people they are associated with.

I was given some advice on families today when I chatted to a 102 year old lady. She is a tiny lady in stature, but has a big spirit. She is completely independently mobile and her mind as sharp as a tack. I asked her what her secret to living so long is. She laughed and said she gets asked this question all the time. She told me hard work and a loving family.

Day 64

Day 64.

Feelin’ the love today.

 

Mum, I missed you yesterday! Are you staying home tonight?

Morning babe, please tell me you’re not working tonight!

Mum can you please pick me up from school today? I love when you are at school in the afternoon.

My bestie shared my feature blog post for askingmums (read about it here) website, on our school closed group Facebook page and there were heart felt, thoughtful comments from parents of the school about my writing.

There has been increased traffic on the blog this week.

And I have been included in an Instagram group of women from all over the world. The purpose of the group is to encourage and support each other.

A video and article on Facebook appeared in my feed today on Why women need a tribe. It was a great read and an interesting video with facts and scientific research about why women thrive and are healthier when they have the love and support of their sister tribe. It made me think of the love I receive from my sister tribe. If I have learnt nothing else from this 100 day blog challenge it is how the positive words, love and encouragement from my sister tribe has kept me on track, has made me get the hell out of my comfort zone and the encouragement has made me confident and wanting to extend myself further.

This afternoon I was in the kitchen and my husband called out from wherever he was in the backyard. “Babe, I need you down here, can you come here now”. I silently muttered about how bossy he is, and got down stairs to a wine and cheese set-up on the grass, and my husband telling me how happy he was that I wasn’t going to work today.

End of day 64

The wine that I have had tonight has me feeling the love of a pounding headache already.

 

Day 48

Day 48

Travelled to Northern New South Wales today to visit Scott’s nanna. By the time we reached the farm at Coraki, my whole body was vibrating with stressed out energy. I wasn’t angry, or upset, I had  mother stress going on, where I didn’t know whether to scream or ignore them or disown them. My two had been given red/green/cola medium sized Slurpee’s when we stopped to get fuel. I think that BP laced that coloured ice with speed or some such drug. My kids were off their faces. We have a duel cab Hilux Ute, so not lots of room but usually enough. Not on this trip. They were being loud and silly and poking each other, kicking chairs, laughing hysterically about nothing.  It didn’t matter to them one bit what I said or asked or threatened them with, they thought it was hilarious and cackled about everything. As soon as we got out of the car, I made them run to the gate (about 200 meters) and back, made them skull water and not come anywhere near me until we had to go and visit nanna. They ended up climbing trees, doing laps around the yard, checking out the cows. I sat on the wide open veranda and had a cup of coffee – wanted wine but thought it was probably rude to ask.

We visisted the nursing home to see Nanna, had a tour of the farm, feed orphan baby calves, made the family smile a lot while I snapped away with the new camera, drank wine on the deck. Nearly peed my pants at some of the family stories that were told, ate home grown and killed duck with roast veg for dinner, slept in the most comfortable bed in the cutest little room in a Queenslander style cottage that has been Scott’s aunt’s family home all of her life.

 

End of day 48

Made some great family memories with the family

Dreading getting in the car with two kids again.

 

Day 41

Day 41.

Our home is devoid of boy’s voices and their presence today and I feel a bit lost. There wasn’t the frantic rush and nagging this morning to get ready for school, where is your belt, where is your tie. I was parked on the drive way watching my boy close the gate, and he had on his belt and his tie and it was 8.00am and we were already on our way to start a new school term. “I love you extra hard this morning mate, you are wearing your belt and tie and we didn’t argue about it.” “mmmmm” he says with the tiniest, tiniest of movement of lips towards a smile, he didn’t smile though.

We live in a Queenslander home, it was originally located at West End in Brisbane city and previous owners relocated it to where we are now. I always wanted to live in a Queenslander. Our house has so much character and imperfections. Whoever moved it here didn’t do a great job of getting the height to standard, because everyone except children have to duck when they walk under our house. There are small, tiny gaps between floor boards and walls where wind whistles through in the winter. None of the doors shut properly and if there you place a ball on our kitchen floor it will roll away.  Our toilet that is in the bathroom reminds me of a public toilet. There is a single floor board outside of our bedroom door that creaks when you stand on it. It is a home that makes its own music, the tin roof pops with expansion or compression in the heat and the cold. The floorboards in the lounge room echo when they are walked on. Windows without screens and trees nearby, mean that bird sounds pour through our windows, along with the occasional butcher bird that likes to sit on my kitchen bench and mozzies and sand-flies that like to feast on my family. All of these noises kept me company today with no children around.

I sat with a cuppa and eggs on toast and finished the book that my sister recommend to me the language of flowers. Don’t know if book club books are my thing, but then maybe they are because, I either hate the book or wouldn’t usually read that style or make me think a lot.  I finished this one, I loved the start and hated the middle and I yelled are you serious at the end. I thought she was a selfish bitch, who never really grew up. I know that she was an orphaned foster kid, but the people surrounding her showed her love, kindness and how to be a decent human and she learnt nothing. There was certain parts in the book that made no sense and I found very frustrating. (I won’t go into it too much don’t want to spoil it), glad I read it only because I can have an in-depth chat to my sister about it.

End of day 41

Just got called in to do an overtime shift tonight.

Want someone to pay me to write so I don’t have to work night shift.

Day 34

Day 34

I read motivational books, and I practice yoga, always try and find the positive, I scroll through Pinterest looking for inspiring quotes, do things like a 100 day writing challenge, to get me outside of comfort zone. But today was a profound day.  I went to my Nannas funeral today.  As I wrote in a post a few days ago, I wasn’t close to her and felt sorry for her because of the life that she could of lead and the life that she chose to have. Today I went to the funeral as a support for my Dad. As we arrived and I watched how the family interacted with each other, I was glad that among us there was no false emotional greeting. We greeted each other with polite indifference, just like when we were growing up.  That was about most honest thing that happened in in the hour and a half that we were together.

My sisters and I sat towards the back of the chapel while the rest of the family was in the first few rows. We were actually more comfortable at the back, we weren’t there under false pretences, we were there for our father. As the three of us sat and listened to the obituary and other tributes we were remembering our own memories of our Nan, completely different versions of the same memories that were being recalled. It was interesting as the rest of the congregation seemed to be doing the same thing, as I glanced at her surviving children in the first row, both had their heads bowed and seemed to be lost in their own memories of their mother. One of the tributes was from my Nans, brother. He was amazingly honest and real in his recall of his sister, saying that he didn’t know her as well as he knew his seven other sisters, and that he had to research her so that he would be able to speak at her funeral.

As my sister and I drove home with had our youngest sister on speaker phone we dissected and debriefed on the funeral. I said to my sisters, I think that has been the most motivational/ profound experience I have had. It makes me want to be a better Mother, wife, daughter, sister, and friend. It makes me want to get out and live a beautiful life, to be kind and thoughtful and get out of my comfort zone and experience life.  The motivation wasn’t because this is what my Nan did. The motivation is because I want people to be able to speak honestly about me and not have to do research to be able to pay tribute to me at the end of my journey on this earth.

End of day 34

My sister has had to leave her broken car in my yard, and drive 6 hours home in our other sister’s car. This means that she will be back in a week or so to pick up her repaired car, can’t wait to see her again.

I felt incredibly overdressed for the funeral, but was proud that I stood with my sisters and represented mum and dad in a way that said we were raised right.

Day 24

Day 24

I received a text message from my dad this morning to say that my Nan, his mum had died in hospital.

I wasn’t close to her and had no significant relationship with her. So I wasn’t overcome with heart wrenching grief when I read the text message.  I feel like an absolute bitch saying that because her blood does flow in my veins and we did spend time with her as children. But it was pleasant or memorable, it was always an effort and it was always kind of a relief to leave.

I was more worried about my dad and how he was handling the news. They didn’t have a close relationship but she was still his mum.

I feel sad though, not because I am going to miss her, but more for the residual anger, hurt and unresolved emotions and unanswered questions that are now at the forefront of the grief. And from my point of view as her granddaughter, her life won’t be celebrated genuinely from the heart by her family. It will be remembered with false bravado conducted by family that don’t know each other.

I feel sad for her and how she treated her family and the relationships that she never got to experience. She was 89 and didn’t have a good life. So it’s not like I can say “she lived a long and happy life”, because she didn’t. I obviously don’t know her side of the story or the reasoning behind the way that she treated my dad, but she wasted and completely destroyed a relationship with her eldest son, and the rest of the family.

I feel sad, because she was a very talented lady in the way of cooking, sewing, knitting, crocheting and she was a buff at history, family history and the local history of where she lived. It is such a waste that she didn’t have solid relationships, with the younger generations in her family so she could pass down all of her knowledge as the matriarch of the family.

End of day 24

Today, has taught me to continue to tell my boys how much I love them as their mother. I whispered in their ear tonight when tucking them into bed, the qualities l love about them.

Feature photo is a picture of me that my second boy took on my new camera and it was his favourite.

Day 16

Day 16

Family day today. It was my niece’s 1st birthday party, she slept through the whole thing, but we celebrated for her. The party was backwards, as she needed sleep and we all wanted to see her cut the cake, so she cut up her pepper pig cake before she went for a nap. Then we feasted on chips and homemade thermomix garlic dip, salad and bbq meat for lunch, followed by birthday cake. I got to spend time with my Grandparents, aunties, uncles, cousins, my mum and my kids. At one stage I was having a laugh at my boy who was making a comment, about how he hates to try new things, this was after my Grandma scrunched her nose up, and refused to try a warm spinach dip. My cousin then piped up, and said she also hates to try new things. I was having a good old laugh by this point and said that my Grandma has strong genes, to be passing these traits down to the grandkids.  There is such a strong feeling of connection when you are surrounded by people, who share the same basic, familial traits as yourself. As I was eating my lunch, I was watching my grandparents who I adore, and thinking it must be such an amazing feeling to look around, at a party being held for your great-granddaughter, and see that most of the people there, are there because you feel in love with the person sitting next to you.

This afternoon, after a nanna nap, because I was exhausted from being at a 1 year olds party ( I don’t party like I used to). I sat on the phone with a glass of red, chatting, to my other sister, who lives hundreds of kilometres away. She was sipping a beer while we had a 45min conversation about anything and everything.

While cooking dinner and organising children, I then had a chat to my Dad on the phone, his phone call was interrupted by an incoming call from my husband.

End of the day and I have chatted, laughed and spent time with, the majority of the people in this world that share my blood line, and that I love.

It was a good day.

End of day 16.

I found out that my Grandma is a hoon, and loves to ride on the back of motorcycles.

And I want to thank every single person that reads my blog posts. I had a HUGE response to both of my posts from yesterday. Every single like and comment, really does mean the world to me and I am incredibly grateful that people spend their precious time showing me their love. xx

Amanda Metelli

The third lady in my #mesistertribe series is Amanda Metelli.

 

Metelli and I meet at a coffee shop for our interview and were seated in booth seating, it was the perfect setting for our fun chat. This gorgeous lady, saves lives everyday as an emergency department nurse. I was fascinated by her plans to celebrate her own life and wanted to hear more about it. Because I don’t know many women, who plan for a whole year to celebrate themselves, to celebrate their achievements and their successes with the absolute most important people in their lives. As Metelli said to me “these aren’t people that are on a list, just to make a list, these are the most, the most important people in my world.”

Our tea and coffee was delivered to our table and she started telling me about her plans. I love her excitement and how animated she is in telling me all of her plans.

“I literally started planning this party on my 29th birthday. I was on a beach in Nice and I may have had a little bit of a moment, where I had a meltdown, with my Dad – of course.  Where I looked back, and thought I will be turning 30 and what have I achieved.  How can I celebrate all the things that are important?

Metelli went on to tell me that her Dad, started listing everything that his daughter had achieved.

“You have a career, you have your own mortgage, you have travelled and you have great friends.”

Although our conversation was about how she was going to celebrate her 30th birthday these achievements, and the importance of family, friends and self-discovery was the foundation.

“If I could recommended anything for anyone wanting to find themselves. Is to literally pack themselves a suitcase, get on a plane and go somewhere completely foreign. You will find out who you are and what you are willing and not willing to do.”

“Tell me all about this magnificent party that is nothing like a wedding.”

“This party going to be so far from a wedding it is not funny, it’s not a birthday bash or a dirty 30.”

“The invitation has set the tone for the party, no jeans allowed and if you wear joggers, I will kick you out”.

The room is booked, the event planner has meticulously listened to Metelli’s vision and her dream for her 30th birthday celebration, the florist has the flowers picked and the photographer is organised. One of Metelli’s talents is cake making, and I mean amazingly creative, stunning cakes. So she will be creating her own purple, black and gold masterpiece.

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Look at her cake making skills

 

 

“The event planner and the florist have been so great and so excited, I think they are excited not to be doing a wedding or a Christmas party.”

“The morning of the party, I am going to book us all in for pedicures. Because even my Grandma can come to that, the accommodation is booked, I just need to order my dress.”

“I set myself a challenge to lose my 50th kilo by my 30th birthday. I have 10 kilos to go. I’ll order the dress in the next couple of weeks.

After listening to the intricate details of the lavish party, the thought, the challenges and the goals set for this fabulous celebration. I wanted to know how she picked the guests.

“This party is not about things, it is about people, it’s about the people that mean the most to me right now at this point in my life. Who are the 30 most important people that I want to spend an extravagant night with. You know that concept of picking 30 people to have dinner with alive or dead, these are my people.”

“The way you are describing it to me, and the detail you have gone into, this party sounds more like a celebration of the people in your life than yourself.”

“It absolutely is, because if it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be me.”

“My mum and dad and my grandma and my grandpa, need to take one hundred percent accountability for the person that I am.”

“I kind of had an epiphany, I needed to define a friend and a colleague. This process was almost like a journey of self-discovery, and me defining who are the most, important people to me. The people that make an effort. I am so lucky and blessed with the people in my life, they have always been there for me, I am so grateful for all of them.”