Showing posts with label mindset. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mindset. Show all posts

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Overcoming The 5 Big Advantages of Being a Single Parent

In my News Feed yesterday, there was a blog post called The Five Big Advantages of Being a Single Parent. And as someone with a fair bit of experience of being a single parent, and an equal amount of experience team parenting, I can say, those five big advantages really are all they're cracked up to be.

I was damn happy as a single parent. I had the control, baby. If you think there's an adjustment period going from team parenting to single parenting, it ain't nuthin compared to the adjustment period going the other way. The adjustment period into singledom lasted.. ummm... oh about a month, while I got used to the idea that everything was on my shoulders. While the frustration of being stuck in one place while the kids slept eased, and a more forward-planning brain grew. And while I accepted that me-time had turned into we-time and there wasn't a lot I could do about it.

I went from being stark-raving bonkers at going it alone, to fairly proficient - kinda like when you first start out fitness training: something that half killed you at the beginning, is a walk in the park after a few weeks' practice.

I didn't bother dating. Possibly that was a mix of having no time for it and being a bit scared that I could be wasting my precious little free time on someone who may or may not be a jerk... OK, I think I'll just fess up and say I enjoyed my single parenthood and I didn't want to share. Nup. It was mine and I'm selfish. An introvert, and uncomfortable with change.

But sometimes, even when you're actively trying to avoid it, love comes along, grabs you by the ankle and proves itself impossible to shake off. That's what happened to me and I'm not sure I've forgiven him for it yet, but I love him just the same.

He's not a back-seat dad either, which would have made it easier for me to transition, and he won't do as he's told!

Neither will I. Head-butt much? Sure, I often want to stick his head up his . . . wait, no, we're both just as much entitled to our autonomy as the other.

So now, "1) Guess who makes all the decisions." Does not have the same answer as it did before, and was a bit of a hard pill to swallow. I genuinely prefer being the top cheese, and I wouldn't be being honest if I didn't mention that I struggle daily to not be completely unilateral. Ahh well, at least I still get to decide what's for dinner every night. Sigh... almost every night then.

"2) Guess how often I argue about money." Yup, that was another thing that I loved. It sorta ties in with number 1 too, because if I made all the decisions, I'd be making all the money decisions too, and we wouldn't be having this conversation. Alas, I must negotiate and compromise. I'd much rather have a kiddy tantrum and get my way, but fair's fair, and if Mr. Me did that I'd probably have a cry and feel very sorry for myself (rightly so!) and being a hypocrite isn't my favourite.

"3) Guess whose kid gets to learn more responsibility." Well, actually, no. When I was single, aside from the kids being younger and less capable, I honestly didn't have the time for them to have more responsibility. Asking them to do something or have responsibility over something was just ten times more work, first convincing them to do it to begin with, then getting it done to the standard you're accustomed? ... Let's just say, if it takes 15 minutes to do a load of dishes by yourself, it takes 45 minutes and 20 extra blood pressure units to do it with a seven year old and a ten year old. Now we can tag-team that sort of thing, and there's more energy to go around for helping kids keep their responsibilities instead of just doing it for them.

"4) Guess who gets all of dad’s (or mom’s) bonding time." That was a bit of a learning curve, especially for my eldest, who honestly thought she was the queen and I was her lady in waiting. She rightfully felt as though I was being stolen from her. I say rightfully because she'd just never had to share before and it was new and painful. Of course all the time wasn't stolen from her, it just felt that way, I'm sure. Eventually, both kids figured out that there was actually more bonding time to be had through doubling the parents.

"5) Guess who doesn’t have to deal with the drama." True. And possibly that was why I initially didn't want to be in a relationship at all. But when you give up the drama, you also give up the companionship. When you give up the give, you give up the take. When you're by yourself, there's only one person to blame, true, and so you just get on with it, but when you're by yourself there's no one whose knowing glance you can share when things are going your way either. No one to hold you up when you think you're about to fall. There's a synergy about playing for a team, so much greater than one plus one. And knowing that simply makes the drama much less of a drama.

I didn't get to write this blog post yesterday as I wanted to. You see, it was our anniversary and there was more good to be had celebrating that together. But it was good to think about and know what I would write; it gave me a lovely perspective on our relationship in a lovely timely manner.

Happy Anniversary, Babe. xx

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ring photo credit

Friday, 12 October 2012

So You Think Your Child Is A Nazi...

Nobody wins a war.

Yes there'll be one side who will be stronger eventually, and they can dominate, take over, enforce their will on the other side, but no one actually wins. There will be casualties on both sides.

The "winners" of a war will be the ones with the most training. Those who have been taught - had it beaten into them - how to look past the humanity of their opposition. How to ignore the suffering of their foes, or to pretend it doesn't exist at all.

In a war, you have to switch off your empathic function or you're no good. It's pointless being there if you can feel the affect you have on each and every participant you have interactions with. You could start caring that your opponent is so terrified from your last encounter that they just buckle and plead, follow your instruction and apologise for being who they were born to be. You could start caring, and then how could you finish them off? How could you win? No. In a war, you must turn off your empathic function.

In a war, you must follow orders. This is drilled into you by people with more power than you, before you even get near a battle. You learn from their example, and if you do not, you'll need more drilling until you do. There is no place on a battlefield for someone who thinks for themselves. You'll have been given your tactics for winning long ago, by those who were better at it than you, and you must know them so well that it's automatic. There will be no time to stop and think. You must turn off your creativity. You must fight your innate impulses until you have replaced them with the impulses of your superiors.

In a war, you must fight through pain. You will be damaged, that is guaranteed, so you must have the will of mind to ignore your own pain. If you take care of your own hurts, that's a weakness. A weakness in yourself and in your battalion. Your comrades require you for their own safety and you do them for yours, so if you fall back, you could be the weakest link in the chain and cause defeat. If you're fighting alone, to consider your own pain, to break, means certain death, assuming your opponent has also been well trained, and turned off their empathy.

So, to win a war, we must turn off our empathic mind, our rational and intuitive minds, our sensate function and our free will.

Once a person is trained in warfare, it's very hard to go back to being untrained. A lot of times it won't happen and the returned soldier will never regain the connection they had with loved ones. They'll spend their time yearning to be in their comfort zone - the place they were trained to be. They'll feel angry and betrayed by those they came home to, who are scared and confused by the soldier's lack of empathy and love and understanding. Their loved ones will do as the returned soldier wills, and call it respect, and convince themselves it's respect, but it will really be fear. Loved ones will understand the battles were fought on their behalf, whether they asked for or wanted it or not and will feel compelled into gratitude.

But in the end, fear, disguised as respect, and gratitude, aren't fertile soils in which to grow love. In the end, we're often left with a lonely soldier at the Veteran's Association, surrounding himself with the only people who can identify with how he thinks. A lonely soldier who goes to visit a different family member each Christmas - passed around like dishes duty.
I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.
Nobody wins a war.

And when you see your home as a war zone, the same things happen.

When you fight battles with your partner or your children, you are turning off your empathic mind, your rational and intuitive mind, your sensate function and your free will. It must be done to win the battle.

Your children, buckled and pleading, follow your instruction out of fear and apologise for being who they were born to be. You call it respect, and so will they and they'll forever confuse the two. They'll love you through duty, and because they see the sacrifice you have made on their behalf whether they asked for or wanted it or not and will feel compelled into gratitude.
I want freedom for the full expression of my personality.
But they're not fertile soils in which to grow real love. They'll grow up and move away, half way across the world, and you'll lose regular contact. And they'll fight their own wars at home as they've been taught to do. They've been trained for years, and now they know how to win with their own innocent offspring and spouse. They'll know to turn off their empathy to win. They'll flip into irrational rages against your grandchildren and they won't know why. They'll blame the kids, for being who they were born to be. Maybe later they'll feel guilty. Maybe not.

If not, the cycle continues with their grandchildren... But maybe they want for their children the freedom for the full expression of their personalities. And that can never be achieved through violence, only love, genuine respect, peaceful resistance and teaching through role modeling.
Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.
We are going to make mistakes. Our spouses are going to make mistakes. Our children are going to make mistakes. Our parents are going to make mistakes.

Imagine living in fear of making a mistake. Trying something new would be terrifying. You'd hide away so no one would know. You wouldn't be able to share your ideas or get excited about them for fear you would fail. Life would get procrastinated away as you dissociate away your anxiety and you'd live in Dr Seuss's "Waiting Place" where most people stay.

I am not at war with my family. Not any more. There have been times I thought I was. And there've been times, because of the way I have trained them, that I'm incited into battles and I feel like I must fight. Be violent. There are times when I've made mistakes, and though I resolve not to, maybe I'll make them again. I hope not. I hope I always have the strength to peacefully resist the battle-cries of others. I resolve to model peace, not violence, at all costs.

I never want to give up my capacity for empathy. I want to keep my intuition and my rationality. I want to remain self aware: to know how I got that bruise and to listen to what my body is trying to tell me when I have that headache or I can't sleep.

I will remain whole.
You must be the change you want to see in the world.

Please take the time to share this post with those you care about. The less people there are at war at home, the more whole, free, loving and happy people there will be in the world. Be the change.

Thank you.

The quotes are Mahatma Gandhi's

Image credit: Wikipedia

Monday, 10 September 2012

10 Ways To Bug Your Neighbour

Assuming I'm your neighbour!

If messing with your neighbours is where your heart lies, let me give you some advice from neighbours I've had through the years...

In no particular order:

Bulk buy fireworks during the week they're on sale then spread the use of them out over the year.

I used to have a golden retriever who was about as far removed from a gun-dog as you could ever imagine. He would try to sleep under us during thunderstorms and on Guyfawkes night he needed sedation. Random fireworks did not a happy camper make.

Mow your lawn at sun-up to get back at another neighbour who partied all night.

I'm neighbours with both of you! Why must I be subjected to two forms of torture?

Park your car in front of your gate so that it blocks the footpath.

Especially if you live on a busy road. Mothers with strollers and toddlers, who act like greyhound puppies on uppers, love nothing more than to meander into the middle of the road to get past your vehicle! (Public service announcement - you're welcome)

If you live in an apartment above someone else, be sure to wait until they have swept their balcony before you do your own.

That way, your special brand of dust and dead leaves will be sure to make their work a waste of time. Extra points if they have put out a clothes airer full of damp clothing.

Play your favourite porn on a continuous loop with your window open.

Because no one else must be allowed to sleep with their windows open. Nosir.

When you leave for work at 6:00am, be sure to honk your horn to get your partner's attention because you forgot your phone. Honk as you drive away, in thanks for them bringing it out for you.

Let's face it, if you're up and about then everyone else probably is too, right?

Store up your garden rubbish and mix in your old plastic paddling pool. Wait until there's a good stiff breeze in the direction of your neighbour, and their washing is on the line. Light a bonfire, drink beer and sing loudly.

At this point it's fun to listen for loud cursing and then call your friend and laugh about it.

Watch as your dog takes himself for a walk, slowing down traffic and defacing people's gardens. Don't call him back unless a car honks its horn.

Extra points if you growl at the dog as if it was his fault and not yours.

Play basketball in your driveway until 10:00pm.

Better if you start playing at 8:30pm so they just have time to get the kids to sleep and relax on the deck with a glass of wine. Nothing is more relaxing than the echoing toing! toing! toing! of the ball bouncing, interspersed with the clatterclatterclatter of the backboard whacking against the garage.

For best effect do this every night.

If your car is on its last legs anyway, don't bother repairing it. Just let the screaming of the fanbelt be an audible expression of the last nail in the coffin. Use this car often.

Oh wait, that was me... No one ever complained about that. Not to my face, anyway!

What have your neighbours done that drove you bananas?
Got any good stories?

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Photo courtesy of imagerymajestic

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

The Gym is Stalking Me!

I joined in July. It was AWESOME! Especially the buying new workout clothes part. I fully recommend that. You get to feel virtuous while procrastinating and spending money all at the same time. It's inspired, especially when you don't think too hard about what happens next.

I went religiously for a week - every day for cardio in the morning and twice in the evening for Zumba classes. It kicked my arse. I kicked it back, oh yes I did!

This is the new me, I decided. The fitness-building, weight-losing gym bunny. I still felt virtuous and was still spending money (unfortunately, membership isn't free). The best two out of three - even though if I could find someone to pay me for it, I'd be a professional procrastinator.

It's often said that school-age children have the attention span "years of age = minutes of attention" before you have to direct them back to the path they were travelling down.

Apparently, my attention span is a week.

Oh, I wombled along the side of the path for a while, going in once or twice a week. There was even that one session with a personal trainer that left me crippled for three days, which might have centered me on the path, but I was still walking wonky and fell off before long.

It's been two weeks since I've stepped foot in the gym. The procrastinating and spending money is there... not so much with the virtuous.

Now I see the gym everywhere! The swipe-in tag on my keys taunts me daily. I've filled in a form with a borrowed pen with their brand on it. Someone's dropped appointment card littered the supermarket carpark (which happens to be across the road from the place itself, but that hardly counts). The kids turned TV on after school today and the show they watched just happened to shoot a story in the skate park my gym overlooks. The mirrored glass windows practically screamed at me you should be watching this from a treadmill, not a sofa!

I almost listened, too. Almost. I mean, I had to cook dinner, right? I'd go right after dinner... and after I'd procrastinated a bit more. Maybe. After I take this call, from a number I don't know, on my cell phone...

Okay! I freakin' get it, Universe!

I now have an appointment with a personal trainer tomorrow evening and my gym's number is no longer "unknown" on my cell phone. And I promise now to again be that fitness-building, weight-losing gym bunny and feel virtuous.

But can someone please remind me in a week?

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