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I Suck At Making The Facebook Pregnancy Announcement

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It’s not so much that I’m lacking the creativity, it’s just that I always think about who is going to see it.

I feel weird blabbing it on-line without looking directly into the face of the person I’m telling. I know, I blab everything else on-line, but this is different. I told most of the my friends I interact with in my day-to-day life, really early. I wanted them to know why I was flaking on meeting up with them, had barely enough energy to walk down the street and why I was repulsed by eating any food after 1 o’clock in the afternoon. But, we could talk about it. I could see their face. I knew their story.

On-line is so different. I think about everyone who sees ‘the announcement‘. How does it make them all feel? It’s a touchy subject. For most people, it’s fine, it’s great! But, there could be people out there, whose day I’m unintentionally going to ruin.

I almost feel silly for writing an entire blog post on making a pregnancy announcement on Facebook. But, I know that women actually stop looking at Facebook if they’re having a tough time in baby land. I also know that real emotions can affect you for a whole day or days, just from innocently scrolling through a newsfeed and seeing something you don’t want to see. It’s easy to say, “Just scroll on” but once you’ve seen it, that’s it.

I do know people who skip the pregnancy announcement all together and go straight for the birth announcement. I almost did that this time. While I do really love the secrecy of doing it that way, it’s hard for me to keep my mouth shut for THAT long! With my first, it was 6 months before I said it on Facebook. With the second, 5 1/2. This time, I’m half way through, but I want to start writing articles on pregnancy and it would be a little bit of a giveaway if I didn’t say it first.

And then, I have to say, it’s just awkward. Procreation is a really personal thing… you know???

Another thing that’s weird about the ‘announcement‘, whether on-line or not, is the touchy taboo we’ve created around openly speaking of pregnancy before 12 weeks. That really needs to go. It’s one thing if you WANT to keep it a secret. But, whether the pregnancy is a secret or not, it’s still something that has happened and it should be totally cool to tell people early. I told a few people, in person, around 7 weeks and they told me to get back to them when I was 12 weeks, just to make sure it was, like… you know ‘real‘….

Anyway, it’s something I’ve thought a lot about.

In case you’re wondering how I go surfing while I’m pregnant… it has something to do with me sticking my bum way up in the air while I’m paddling, so as not to squash the baby. Once I’m up and riding, it’s fine. I’ll keep going until about 6 months. Then I quit, beach myself on the sand and watch my husband catches all the waves.

 

Byron Bay Gifts: Need a unique gift for someone?

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Organic. Local. Hand Crafted. That’s what business owner, Zoe, of Byron Bay Gifts is all about. On the website, you’ll find everything from beautiful baby shower gift boxes and business hampers, to non-toxic, vegan, nail polish! The gift pack she sent me had a very cute little baby book, by a local writer. A bar of local hand made soap that smells and feels divine. And a wooden teething toy that smells so good that I’ve sniffed it quite a few times. I almost feel like trying it out myself! I love that the products she sources are from the Northern Rivers area (that’s near Byron Bay, Australia in case you’re reading this from far away). If I have to buy something for a baby showerChristmas party or to pamper a friend, or something like that… I know where I’ll be placing my oder.

Attack of the Gall Bladder! Natural Remedies for a Gall Bladder Attack

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When my daughter was 5 months old, I woke up in the middle of the night, with a strong pain in my upper abdomen. I’d never felt pain like this before. It was just near my stomach, under the sternum, where the ribs meet, and went all the way through to my back. At first, I thought it was heartburn, but it kept getting worse.

I went to the hospital, explained the pain to the doctors. They put me on some antibiotic drip, wouldn’t let me eat and in the morning, gave me an ultrasound to confirm that I had gall stones in my gall bladder. The surgeon met with me and asked me when I wanted to schedule the ‘minor‘ procedure to have my gall bladder removed. I told him that I certainly needed to do some research before they hacked a body organ out of me, especially since the pain had subsided and I had spent the day researching on my phone how to take care of gall stones. Read the rest of this entry

We’re All Weird, Deal With It

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How weird would your life seem to a stranger, if they could live a day in your shoes.

I was at the park a while ago and this was how a conversation went:

Me: “We  homeschool.

Mum at the park: “Oh, just be careful, those homeschoolers can be WEIRD!

That’s funny” I thought to myself, “I was just thinking that you’re pretty weird yourself.”

Seriously, we’re all weird.

Think of all the weird and wacky things you do every day that would seem insane to another person. Do you know the things I’m talking about? You do…

Then, there’s the weird way of thinking. The neuron pathways (the way you think) that formed in my brain, when I was a kid, have a unique pattern, that only I can make sense of. Even when you find your ‘soul mate‘, you’ll find that the person you seem to have the most in common with, also thinks differently than you, in a least a few departments. You think the way they think is ‘weird‘, but to them, it’s their reality.

Every single person is living in his or her own weird little universe, don’t think there’s any such thing as ‘normal‘.

There are 7 billion minds on this planet, meaning there are potentially 7 billion thoughts bubbling up at any given moment. The next moment, another new set of 7 billion thoughts will arise, because that’s how frequently people’s minds race from here to there.

People’s opinions, experiences and situations change all the time. Remember that you are changing too.

If people are ‘weird‘ to the point of doing something illegal, um, yeah, that’s not good, but within the realm of legality, just remember that almost anything can go. So, next time you think someone is weird, don’t judge, put a stranger in your shoes for a day and see how ‘weird‘ we all are.

Trying to Teach a Child vs. Being a Facilitator of Learning

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When I was doing my teaching degree, we learned that ‘gone are the days of blabbing in front of a classroom of students, whose minds are empty vessels‘. The teacher needs to stop spoon-feeding information. We learned that the better roll of a teacher is to step back and let the students take charge of their learning. Facilitating learning, rather than ‘teaching‘, supposedly makes learning more authentic and more meaningful to students. The students are supposed to become more self-motivated and the learning becomes fun and self directed. It sounds awesome, right?

But, I never really ‘got‘ it. Mostly due to the sheer number of students in my classroom, along with having to meet deadlines and deal with behavior, overcrowding, underfunding and disengaged students. I often found myself standing at the front of the classroom, spewing out content. Exactly what they taught us NOT to do. Even now, at my university job, where we teach the value of being a ‘facilitator of learning‘, I find myself ‘teaching‘ way more than ‘facilitating‘. ‘Teaching‘ takes a lot of energy and makes you feel tired. Read the rest of this entry

Stop Thinking Everyone Is Judging You!

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What makes you so sure that people are sitting around thinking about you?

I saw a friend walking out of the grocery store. I was so happy to see her and we stood around to chat for a while. As we said goodbye, she said, “Oh, and please don’t judge me for using plastic shopping bags, I know how bad they are for the environment.” I was like, “REALLY?! Seriously?!” Hey, I know plastic shopping bags are bad, but I forget my re-usable ones all the time. I hadn’t even stopped once to think about the plastic bags in her shopping trolley.

I read a lot of parenting blogs and stuff on Facebook and I’ve found that the one thing people love to post, comment on and share are ‘stop judging me’ posts.

It’s ridiculous though. Think about yourself. Do you judge others? Probably. But, if you could measure the amount of time you spend thinking about your image as opposed to how much time you spend judging others. I bet you would find most of your attention is spent on you.

It’s natural human tendency, and let’s face it! We’re almost always thinking about ourselves. “Oh, what will everyone think of ME?” Most people are not sitting around judging you. No, they’re walking around with just as much self-consciousness and self-doubt as you are (well, I hope after reading this post that you’re not walking around like that anymore).

Other people are sleeping peacefully, while you’re losing sleep over something they ‘might’ be thinking about. You can’t read other people’s minds. Don’t waste the precious moments of your life trying. Also, don’t waste OTHER people’s time by complaining about what you THINK other people are thinking about… Because a lot of times what you think is happening, simply isn’t.

The “stop judging me” posts and gossip get a lot of attention, but people forget that there is a difference between using your judgement and being judgmental. The term ‘ judgement‘ is often abused these days. If you see a person say… slapping a kid. You use your judgment to draw conclusions about why you may not want to do that to your own child and why smacking may harm the physical and emotional well-being of a child. You also may use your judgement to provide solutions or sincere advice to that stressed out parent. That is not being judgmental! That is using your judgement. However, if you assume that any parent who smacks their child is a terrible person and that you are better than them, then you are being judgmental. See the difference?

Ok, what if someone really is being judgmental?

So what. Be compassionate towards judgmental people. They are on their journey. I’ve certainly passed judgment on people before, and I wasn’t even aware that I was doing it. If you see a person being judgmental, just know that they’re in the baby phase of whatever it is that they have to learn… sometimes that learning phase lasts forever, but they’re really not aware of being judgmental. I promise. Educate politely, if you feel the need. No need to get all angry about it, because adding your own anger to the issue only makes things worse. Complaining about it feels good at first, but too much complaining brings your energy down, along with everyone else that you’ve complained to.

People’s opinions and feelings change like the weather.

Don’t get angry at those judgmental people. They either don’t know, haven’t lived through your experience or they have forgotten. It’s a waste of your time and energy to even worry about it! And, most of all, remember that everyone is too busy worrying about themselves to spend much time judging you!

Whiteboard Markers That are Refillable, Recyclable and Environmentally Friendly! Auspen

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This is the pack of six with the ink refill cartridges. I can’t find the purple… it’s hiding somewhere in my house.

15% Discount! Offer good for one order per customer. Expires 31 July, 2016

Enter Discount Code GPDHHKQQ88X9

One day at work, I did something I’ve done countless times before. I wrote something on the whiteboard, realized the whiteboard marker was dying, and I chucked the whiteboard marker in the garbage. That whiteboard marker will go to a landfill, where it will sit there for the next 5,000 years…

What a waste…” I thought. I went searching for a solution, and found AusPen. AusPen is an Australian owned small business and they make awesome reusable whiteboard markers.

AusPen estimates that,

…In America alone, there are around 400,000,000 white board markers thrown out by schools, universities and other learning institutions each year?

And, in Australia, where I live, they estimate that the figure is about 40,000,000.

Imagine how many whiteboard markers that is if you add the rest of the world! Now, imagine a mountain of whiteboard markers that’s half a billion markers high?! Every. Year. Yikes!

These are the things about AusPen whiteboard markers that I totally love. I wish every person in every school, university or business had a pack of these. Read the rest of this entry

It Doesn’t Get Easier, Things Only Change

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ThngschangeFour years ago, I was chatting with a colleague about family life. Her husband was a fly in-fly out mine worker. Two weeks home, two weeks away. She admitted that the family was used to the schedule, but that it was still overwhelming for her when he went away.

I stupidly said, “At least your kids are older, so it must be easier.

Her kids were pre-teens and teenagers, you know, ones that could wipe their butts and weren’t asking to be carried every second and weren’t sucking on her boob all day. (That’s the phase of parenting I was going through at the moment with a 2 year old and a baby on the way).

She nicely said, “Actually…

And, went on to describe how things don’t really get easier, they only change.

Now I get it.

Yes, it does get easier in some ways.

They sleep better, need to be carried less, can speak more, etc.

But, the strain and shock of adjusting to a young child, and especially of being a new parent, morphs into something else… Something more mentally demanding. Something requiring more patience. Something more high maintenance and that is more refined.

The days when I thought I couldn’t lift another tiny human being have been replaced discussing how much and what sort of screen time is appropriate.

The days of little sleep, have been replaced with negotiating a million unreasonable and unusual requests.

We used to get by with one little walk outside a day, but now they need much more. Dance lessons, swimming, bike rides, you name it.

The days when I swear I could not wipe another butt, oh yeah.. sorry, I’m still in those days, let’s not go there.

And, over the years, MY needs have changed too!

When they were babies, I knew in my heart, I wanted to be no place but home. Now that they’re older, is this what I really want? How much of myself do I want to put back into the workforce? Is my outside-the-house-work fulfilling enough that it validates being away? And, if I am away, how much of the household and of the kid’s emotions should I be willing to sacrifice to do it? They still need me… but I need myself too.

And, do I really have an excuse to not have dinner on the table or a clean house? After all, I don’t have a baby anymore… so what do I do all day??? Can I justify my lack of ‘domestication‘ now that my kids are older. True, they’re older, but it doesn’t make it easier.

I’m sure one day it will get easier. Like really easier. Like, when they either move out, or turn 25 (arbitrary age, because that’s the age I seemed to sort myself out). But, for now, it’s not. Being a parent is a challenge, no matter how old the kids are!

Special Note: This post is not to leave new mothers feeling hopeless! If you are struggling in the early years, with physical pain, or emotional trauma, things will get better… be sure to seek the help you need.

Relationship Advice from A Great Spiritual Guru

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, founder of the Art of Living Foundation, is celibate… yet people ask him ALL the time for relationship advice. In many public talks, I’ve heard him give the following pieces of advice for couples. Of course, these are my words, not his verbatim, but this is the gist of what he’s always said.

Advice for a woman: Never step on the ego of a man. Yes, he may be acting incompetent, but don’t EVER let him know it. If you make a man feel like he’s not important, he becomes miserable. Always try to make him feel he’s doing a great job. If he is doing something really stupid, don’t ever tell him he’s hopeless. Instead, tell him in some other way to point “Oh, you do such a good job, just nobody sees it.” This point is REALLY hard for women. Yes, I know, believe me. Us women are the first ones to jump down a man’s throat when he’s not doing well at something. So, tame it ladies. Make your man feel special. He will blossom more that way. And, even if he doesn’t blossom, at least he will feel important in your eyes.

Advice for a man: Never squash the emotions of a woman. Don’t blow off her feelings. If she asks to go for a massage, to get her hair done, or to go for a silent meditation retreat because she feels like she needs to be taken care of, give her your credit card. For real. I’ve heard him say that. And, the times when my husband has supported me to do whatever I need to in order to take care of my emotional needs (could be physical to support the emotional) I really appreciate it and I become a much better wife.

Your relationship should be like railroad tracks. The tracks are not focused on each other. They run continuously, in the same direction. Work towards a common goal. If the focus in the relationship becomes too much on each other, then the relationship is doomed. Like, if the railroad tracks cross, you get a train wreck. I’ve experienced this with a relationship, where all we did was focus on each other, and man, that relationship was terrible! Did not last!

When The Parenting Labels Suck You In

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I had never really heard of attachment parenting until after my second was born. My first was already 2 1/2. Someone who knew my parenting style said, “Hey, have you heard of the attachment parenting Facebook page?” I was like, “Um… what’s attachment parenting?

I googled ‘attachment parenting‘ just to see what I was getting myself into and hey! Guess what!? I DO attachment parenting! How cool! There was a bullet point list of all the things attachment parents did and I matched every one of those dot points. Here, there’s was this whole group of parents doing the same things as me and I never even knew! I joined the group. I ‘became‘ an attachment parent… even though I had already been one for years. Read the rest of this entry