Stay in your lane!

Stay in your lane! A warning given to someone who interferes in our personal affairs. Not bad advice, when you consider the damage premature problem solving can do to a relationship or affect the course of a life path.

5 Things to remember:

1. Intervention is often regarded as, interference.

2. We make a judgement call, about someone else’s life – based on our opinion and values.

3. You will never really understand the situation in its totality.

4. Every storm comes, to pass.

5. Your involvement will have a greater impact, if and when it is asked for!

The silent presence of a good friend or companion, is often the best support when we go through a rough patch.

Source: Stay in your lane!

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Parenting Stress

There are simply no words which can explain the stress a parent goes through about the well-being of their children.

Apart from the usual concerns that parents may have – such as their health, schooling, and the cost of raising children in an ever changing and demanding society – there are some inexplicable concerns which lack coherent articulation. These will sound like the ramblings of a lunatic, if one even attempts to explain to any person, yet they are directly linked to our own deep hidden fears. These unspoken fears take a larger toll on our parental well-being then the ability to provide in a child’s basic human needs.

Is this fear irrational? Is it fuelled by the norms and standards of the modern generation? Such fears remain irrational for as long as we do not dig into ourselves to find its source. And, yes it will be fuelled by outside factors – if we continue to look outside and try and measure ourselves by what others are doing or saying. Our solution lies within. Yes, we make the ultimate decision about what is right, moral or acceptable in our opinion. That is our greatest privilege, as parents – the ability to make decisions on our children’s behalf. It may not always carry the consent of those outside our family structure, but it has to be good enough to raise respectable, responsible and law-abiding individuals.

Mistakes will always be an integral part of the process but, I refuse to expect any parent to crucify themselves to meet the approval of society, whilst sacrificing their children in order to fit into systems set by some unknown individuals with cookie-cutter-syndrome!

Five ways to beat parental stress:

1. Talk to someone – spouse, friend, religious leader. Open and honest dialogue about what bothers us, gives better insight into the depth of our concerns. With the right support, it is possible for us to meet our fear head-on and hopefully gain the knowledge of identifying the triggers and obtaining skills to deal with it.

2. Reach out to your child. This can be very easy or extremely difficult, depending on the relationship one has with the child or their age.

3. Meet your child where they are; our reasoning power is far greater than that of a child – and their childlike reasoning capacity might just open your eyes to who they really are.

4. Take time to acknowledge your mistakes and forgive yourself for placing undue pressure on yourself.

5. Make time for fun and laughter!

Source: Parenting Stress

5 truths social media tells about you

                              

Social media has a subtle way of exposing a number of truths about its users. We are constantly bombarded with adverts and posts which often underestimates our ability to discern between truth and utter nonsense! The greatest revelation is that which we reveal in our personal capacity.

What are most personal things our posts shout out to the world?

1. Our level of stupidity. We click ‘Amen’ and ‘Yes, I believe’ when requested to boost posts – which promise to get us a one-way ticket to hell – and pictures, which were clearly photoshopped.

2. Our need for approval. We post pictures which are sometimes clearly from the need to be approved; to create the illusion of being the “It-person”.

3. The depth of dysfunction in our personal relationships or our level of loneliness. We spend our time posting about how bad partners can be; trolling others and revealing information which should have been kept as ‘personal’.

4. Our inability to distinguish between truth and fiction; fact and nonsense. We share things and agree to things that we have not bothered to research – sometimes it is something as simple as, verifying the date! Any well constructed sentence suddenly earns the right to be a quote and so many of them are misspelt – but we do not care to look deeper, we just hit the share button!

5. Our fear of individualism. We follow the superficial trends – by adding captions and promoting campaigns riddled with pictures from unrelated events. We lose who we are – for the sake of likes and shares.

Am I only talking about others? Not at all, I speak from experience and can really be grateful for the many network interruptions which have stopped many a senseless action from my side!

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5 best moments of the day

Life can be hectic and our focus tends to be more on doing then appreciating the moment!

The 5 best moments of the day:

1. The moment you open your eyes, has to be the best of every single day of your life!

2. Realising that you have everything you need and cannot recall any of the things you have always wanted.

3. The blanket of silence in your home, when everyone for some odd, reason decide to be quiet!

4. Being at peace with who you are and appreciating the many strides you took to get there.

5. The decision to give a difficult option another try.

5 Survival tips for parents

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We are a special breed, in a position of responsibility very few have the guts for… accept, acknowledge and celebrate the fact that we are parents.

It is sad, that parents are of the most highly criticised individuals on earth.

How can we get through and over this need for surviving in the quest to raise our children and families?

1. Do your best and remind yourself, that whatever you are doing – is to the best of your ability.

2. Look within and not without. The pictures painted by our friends, colleagues and social media; is way less than perfect. We all have as many misses as hits!

3. The good values that you impart to your children are based on your world view and will seldom meet the approval of the masses. The virtue of respect is the most important and should be emphasized.

4. Keeping up with what everyone else is doing; is not only draining but also the greatest thief of souls. We lose ourselves and perspective when we attempt to follow trends.

5. Appreciate the honour of having been chosen to mould part of the future.

When love hurts…

There is nothing more debilitating than seeing someone falling victim to abuse. 

I left home determined to do a 5km walk/run, and my motivation for actually finishing was to focus on praying rather than the uphill stretches ahead. I was about to start the third mystery of the rosary -dedicated to marriages – I discovered something about prayer and exercise that just left me speechless.

I was just getting into a steady rhythm when I came across a couple in the heat of a physical fight. At first, I thought they were playing until he started dragging her back into their garage. I felt helpless, because the only other witness was clearly going to mind his own business and I was in total shock! I passed the house hoping that he wouldn’t notice that someone has actually witnessed everything; but her helpless scream made me turn back…Not entirely sure of what I was going to do. He managed to shove her into the adjoining room and was trying to lock the door. Total terror took over as I watched him pushing her back inside, as if he was fighting off a burglar!Her screaming stopped or maybe she had given up! He locked the door, closed the garage, got into his car and drove off, clearly angry.

But, what about the poor woman? 

How is she feeling(emotionally, physically & spiritually)? 

Is he going to return in a reconciliatory spirit or should she prepare herself for a continuation of the morning’s violence? 

Are all the campaigns about domestic abuse reaching actual victims or is it just politics?  

Are woman in affluent neighbourhoods as susceptible to abuse as those who live in impoverished communities?

Will intervention be interpreted as interference?

Will the police respond to an anonymous call about domestic abuse?

Hundreds of questions continue to race through my mind, but I know I should expect politically correct answers withno real help.

I was paralyzed by my inability to help someone who was clearly needed it.

My only hope is that God will bring healing into their hearts, because there will always be situations during which physical intervention can be of more harm than help. We all need some form of exercise, but even greater still we are all in need of prayer no matter the stage, situation or circumstance.

I still cannot believe what I saw; abuse is wrong for all reasonable and unreasonable reasons!

A serendipitous encounter

The longest holiday break of the year has arrived! Kids are visiting grandma and we, the parents, finally have the much needed break from ‘family life’. Mom can sleep in and dad can prepare for work at a leisurely pace.
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The sobering reality is, it is all but happening –  we have to take over the kids chores! What were their chores are now our duties; and we are to be blamed if it is not done. I can just picture myself trying to explain to my husband why the bed never got made! I do not want a throwback moment to my teenage years in my forties!

Dad’s new duties AKA son’s chores:

  • Feed the dogs
  • Clean up their mess
  • Take the rubbish out
  • Vacuum the cars
  • Clean the bathroom.

Mum’s new duties AKA daughter’s chores:

  • Do the dreaded dishes day and night
  • Dust the furniture
  • Sweep the stoep
  • Assist with laundry
  • Help with meal preparation.
I realised this when we suddenly had an increase in duties; a number of things had to be done before we could leave for work! The anti-climax of  a well deserved break from the kids turned into me having to groom our three spoilt cross breed Labradors. This immediately made me need and appreciate the many tiny ways in which our children contribute to the well-being of the family and our pets. Though, it is often done through much trial and error, they certainly bring their fair share. I cannot but swell with pride when I think about how far we have come over the past 13 years. I admire their growing independence and  watch with awe as they grow more responsible every other day, because the learning process has good and bad days. We still fight over their biggest distraction, the television, which leads them to cheating on their chores, but at least they understand that it has to be done, one way or the other!

Priceless things that kids should learn to do:

  • Make their own beds
  • Clean up their rooms
  • Wash and iron school uniforms
  • Prepare their own lunches
  • Make tea/ coffee/ warm drink
  • Prepare a simple meal.
This helps them to become responsible for their own space and to take care of their own basic needs. It is also a blessing for all those who get to share a living space with our children in future. When our children are praised by family and friends for their conduct and behaviour; we ,as their parents, certainly feel accomplished and appreciate the fact that our efforts to raise them are recognised.
Parenting is much like planting in virgin soil, you seldom know how big or small your harvest will be. All, you can do is water, fertilise and wait! And, forgive ourselves if we planted a seed out of season or the harvest does not meet our expectations. That should not keep us from continuing in our quest to build strong independent children.

Mum and dad’s holiday expectations, included the following, unattainables:

  • Long, romantic dinners
  • Sipping exotic cocktails in secluded corners of upmarket bars
  • Late night shopping
  • Relaxed evenings in front of the television
  • Unwinding from the rat race
  • Redefining ‘chill’
  • Cuddling
  • Spoiling each other with foot rubs,etc.
  • Review the past year
  • Planning for the new year.

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The reality of our situation is:

  • We get up at 05:00 for our morning run
  • We have only managed to go out once
  • Supper has migrated to slapdash level
  • We are too tired to concentrate for longer than 30 minutes; as a result the television is more off than on
  • We have been forced to drink water on account of the heat
  • We are avoiding the mad rush of shopping at packed malls
  • Our daily duties have mysteriously increased
  • Year end work obligations drew every spare drop of energy from us
  • Romance is still loading…
  • We collapse from exhaustion rather than unwind!

Our ‘break’ in hindsight:

Our home alone and childfree time has been a serendipitous encounter. We got to talk about our little people, laugh about their antics, celebrate their craziness, recall conversations and admit to each other that we miss them. We had time to fall inlove with our offspring and escaped the daily pressure of school, homework and exams. The future,that so often looks dim and unsure – in the rush of getting to the end of the year – suddenly appeared brighter as we reflected on what we have accomplished the past 12 months. Yes, we did not quite get to everything we were looking forward to, but it left us no poorer, maybe more appreciative of the journey – whilst realising we were never going to achieve straight A’s for our efforts; but enough to inspire us to be better; do better and dream bigger.
It has been pleasing to realise that being away from them helps us appreciate the blessings which they truly are; and that having them here with us –  makes us whole; gives us purpose and adds to our being as a couple.
It was the summer of 2016, in the most southern point of the African continent that two people, stumbled upon serendipity (the faculty or phemenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for) of parenting.
Love my life!

Unsoliticed Advice

Unsolicited advice is better left unsaid, because the one seemingly in need of it; does not really need or want  to hear it. I will give it anyway!

There certain things in life you are just going to have to:

* accept or reject.

* live with or without.

* learn through or suffer through.

* acknowledge or ignore.

* submit to or oppose vehemently.

* conclude or leave open-ended.

* applaud or criticize.

* be rained on or be deserted.

* to laugh or cry about.

* value or de-value.

* enable or disable.

The list of what you can do is endless, and the choice is yours no matter what the nature of the relationship – marital; parental; or whatever the case may be.

Fighting will –

* exhaust you.

* drain you emotionally, physically and mentally.

* steal your peace.

* rob you of your sanity.

Empower yourself

* ‘fight’ the fact and set aside the emotion.

* prayer changes your perspective.

* you cannot change another.

* find the commonalities and build on them.

* you are stronger than you know.inquiry-1815788_1280.png

Parenting Perfection Zone

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What you might regard as your best ploy, as a parent, to convince your children to do things your way rather than the hard way – can easily be judged as totally inappropriate by another!

I encounter this daily both as mom and teacher. There are certain methods that are of a universal nature and others that are so personal – it’s best not mentioned.

How do you enter the parenting perfection zone?

*Realise that NO so such place exists!

*Be kind to yourself, your mistakes are not unique – others have have erred as much as thou hast!

*Those who share their ‘success stories’ tend to edit out the ‘horrorific’ scenes.

*Your gut; though it sometimes feels hollow; is your good guide! Trust it!

*Black and white is for boring people! Grey has multiple shades… seize the opportunity. Sometimes you gotta wing it, before you win it!

*Laugh at your mistakes.

*Apologising to your child, is way easier than a sleepless night. Keeps them from telling you some day, how much they hated you for doing it!

The zone however, is reserved for those who’ve realised that to ‘err’ is normal and that perfect parents actually don’t exist!

So continue on thine path – crawl, stumble, fumble they will soon be older and hopefully recall your blunders with bursts of laughter!

 

I choose you…

I have been pondering about the reasons why married couples remain in their marriage despite the many challenges it brings their way . Is it perhaps true what our marriage counsellor said before we got married? ‘A man must choose his love; and then love his choice.’ Profound, but what does it actually mean.
I choose…

  • to come home to you everyday.
  • to listen to you retelling the same joke.
  • to listen to every crazy dream you have.
  • to dream with you.
  • to eat at your favourite restaurant.
  • to not tear up your ancient but favourite t-shirt.
  • to watch your favourite tv-channel.
  • to sit up with you, when you’re burning the midnight oil.
  • to pick your favourite treats.
  • to understand your weird taste.
  • to watch you grow older and wiser.
  • to make the bed, although you never.
  • to allow you and the children to describe my favourite music, as boring.
  • to listen to you singing in the shower(clichéd but so true!)
  • to appreciate a sunrise/sunset with you.
  • to spend time with you.
  • to jog with you.
  • to cook for and with you.
  • to remember we are on the same side.
  • to laugh with and at you!
  • to love your parents as my own.
  • to visit crazy, noisy family.
  • to plan for our future.
  • to pray for and with you.
  • to give you alone time.
  • to trust you.

The list is endless, but truth is it cuts both ways – you cannot receive something you are not prepared to give. Perfection is totally excluded, no man/woman is perfect and marriage is often the one space where our imperfections, weaknesses and shortcomings are laid bare – which makes us vulnerable to intense pain and suffering. One can only hope and pray that the choice is not ‘I choose to hurt you.’ At times one has to take the high road, despite what actually happens and choose not to retaliate in the same fashion as the person who hurt you.

Our choice must always be, I choose to love.

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