I became a new mum, but I didn’t have a baby…

Last weekend I became a new mum.

But I didn’t have a baby!

My youngest daughter, and last child still living at home, left to head overseas for 7 months to perform on cruise ships.

I am so proud and so excited for her, but it hit me hard. Harder than I was expecting.

Yep, my nest is now empty, but it was for half the week anyway. It wasn’t like she was home every night and she was always busy, so I’m used to her not being physically here.

But she was always coming home at some point. Or calling to ask something, or calling to check on me and find our where I was (yes the tables do turn!).

What has hit me is that I am a new mum.

I am not the same mum I was this time last week.

I am now a mum who has raised her kids and they have left home.

Now I feel like someone who is a mother, but not a day to day mum.

I am fully aware that raising strong, independent and courageous women was always the end goal, but that doesn’t mean I am ready.

I feel more unsure of myself right now than I did the day I brought by first baby home from hospital.

I remember placing the capsule in the nursery,  looking at Scott and saying “What now?”  This is exactly how I felt on Sunday.

I held it together at the airport but when I got home to my quieter, cleaner and emptier house, I looked at the same man, 22 years later and whispered through my tears,

“What happens now?”

I feel empty. And yet my life is full.

I feel unsure of my identity. And yet, I have a life where I am Lisa, not Mum.

I feel this ache in my soul for every minute I didn’t appreciate or the minutes I thought I would have more of.

I keep wondering if I did enough. Have I sent them off with enough life skills, memories and advice?

It’s not a logical process, it’s a gut wrenching physical one. I have loved being a mum and I have been bloody good at it.

I have put a lot of thought into who and how I would be when the time came for my nest to empty out, but it didn’t prepare me for the actual event.

I won’t come home and see 16 cups, 10 plates and 9 forks on the sink (not in the dishwasher) and many bodies on the lounges.

I won’t hear arguments and singing from the bathroom, which has taken on a golden glow from the fake tan and bronzing powder.

I will no longer be called on to fetch more toilet paper, settle a dispute over clothing ownership or help with life’s big issues, like wedges or stilettos.

My washing basket will no longer be overflowing, my house will stay cleaner and I will not have to fight for the remote as much.

We will also be able to holiday on the Amalfi Coast in Italy each year with the money we are saving on sanitary products.

It’s actually sounding OK……

I did calm down (much to Scott’s relief) after an hour and a half of really ugly crying. Like U.G.L.Y.! I tried to eat an omelette to distract myself and nearly vomited. You get the picture.

Poor Scott, he probably wanted to have a quiet moment, maybe a tear and reflect on how his life would now be different (in reality, he probably just wanted to get back to his football reporting), but he was really supportive.

He walked at a steady pace around me, not making eye contact, like you would walk around a wild animal when you’re not sure if it’s going to strike. He empty bins, cleaned things and did really random chores.

When my crying had calmed to that hiccup breathing, with moderate sniffing, he approached cautiously.

“Why don’t you do some writing, do something for your blog?” Bless, he was trying to offer a distraction, trying to be positive. Did it work? You be the judge……

“I can’t write my fucking blog because I don’t have a fucking computer. That’s right everyone else has one but Paige just left, Morgan doesn’t live here anymore and you use yours all the time. So, yeah, thanks for that!”

Insert more crying here.

The following sentence proves what an amazing man my husband is and how much he has learnt by living with 3 women for many years,

“Let’s go and buy you a computer”.

The poor bastard would’ve bought a new car, moved house and I think I could’ve milked it for a new puppy.

He was desperate. There was a crazy lady in the kitchen and he wasn’t convinced she was leaving any time soon.

Soooooooo, I’m writing this on my new computer. I may have been distraught but I am not stupid!

Life is getting back into routine. I love FaceTime and I can see that my baby is doing well.

I also have my oldest daughter living about 20 mins away, so I will now put a lot of pressure on her to see me more. I will bribe her with brunch and shopping. I will cry if needed.

I say thank you to the beautiful people in my life who saw through my bullshit façade and knew I would be a wreck. Your support, messages and advice have been invaluable.

To the man who helped fill my nest (sounds weird but I’m going with it) and now gets to share it with me while it’s empty, I thank you. You are my rock and I know the group message we have added you into is confusing and foreign, but you persevere. We will even let you use the thumbs up emoji.

I’m getting used to having more free time. In fact,  I’ve got to go now.

I have Pilates, then I’m getting a mani-pedi,

I had to fit it in today because the life drawing class I’ve signed up for was overlapping with the interpretive dance group I’ve joined. I’m just trying to figure out when I can fit in “Drumming and chanting for sexual growth”.

Oh and of course the house is now empty so Scott and I are nude all the time!

Lisa XX

 

Our baby as she left to take on the world. XX

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Say what you mean.

As we charge head first, at high-speed towards the silliest of seasons, I plead with you all to please read between the lines a little bit this Christmas.

Families, old wounds, alcohol and food comas can be a disastrous mix, resulting in severely crossed lines. Add to that, families that don’t see each other very often and a rug that is filled to overflowing, with the remnants of Christmas past, that have been swept underneath, and you have got the perfect storm.

What I’m asking (begging) you to do this year is to stop and think “What do they really mean?” before you respond in a less than positive way.

For example, you turn up at your mum’s place and you are 20 minutes late. You cop the “Why are you late, everyone’s here, we are waiting on you”. You instantly get your back up, have 3 quick drinks (10.30am) and spend the rest of the day being just a little bit pissed off.

But what if……

When you got the door 20 mins late and your mum had a go at you, you stopped and you thought, “What does she really mean?”

Of course you are actually 20 mins late so she means that. But why is she reacting so badly to something that happens all the time?

What she really means is “I miss you, I’m so happy you’re here and when you are late I worry that you are not as looking forward to seeing me as I am to seeing you”.

If we stop and think before we react our reactions would be very different. You would probably have given your mum a hug, apologised for being late and had a really good day.

Or there is the grandmother who wants to cook her desert that no-one really likes. Let her cook the dessert. What it really means is-

“My mum used to make this for me at Christmas. My childhood memories are fading and this is my way of connecting with her and them.”

Have a spoonful of the desert!

It’s the present your Aunt buys you that would suit a 15 year old. You cringe every year and then throw it away when you get home. What it really means is-

“This present represents the last time I got you something that made you smile and I felt like we really connected.”

Say a gracious thank you and then donate the gift to charity, so your Aunt can make someone smile again.

I have learnt over the years that when people react negatively at first it’s usually fear based. I’ve had to stop myself from doing it with my own kids as they have grown up.

The first time my daughter came home and told me she was travelling overseas on her own, my first reaction was to try to talk her out of it, until she could find someone to travel with. But that was my own fear coming to the surface. I was proud of myself for sharing in her excitement instead and letting her know how brave I thought she was.

As a parent it is sometimes a hard thing to do, to catch yourself before you give a reaction that may bring conversation to a standstill. You want so badly to protect and yet you have to let go.

It’s bloody tough.

My eldest daughter recently moved out of home for the first time. I’ve struggled with gaining a balance between not letting her know how much I will miss her because I don’t want to dampen her experience or expressing all of the emotions at once.

I’m torn between attaching myself to her leg to stop her from walking out the door and packing up her stuff with joy as I envisage my new meditation space.

Being so conflicted made it hard to approach things in a calm and non emotional way so I went with –

“Come over and clean out your old room, it’s a pig stye and I’m sick of this stuff lying around.”

Of course what I really meant was –

“I really need to move forward and embrace the new situation. But when your room looks like you are coming home at any minute it makes me feel like I’m in limbo. Let’s clean out the space together so we can process the changes that are happening.”

She will wake up this Christmas morning in her new place, without us. We are happy for her, but still a bit sad for ourselves.

I will however not be having a go at her for not being at home on Christmas morning. Instead I am taking my own advice (for once) and letting her know that I am proud of her for being independent, I will miss her bed hair and sleepy eyes around the Christmas tree in the morning and she is always welcome to watch Love Actually and drink Bailey’s on Christmas eve.

I’m not perfect and I certainly don’t get it right all of the time but I am gaining a better understanding of the feelings you get when you are no longer the most important part of someone’s life. There is a delicate balancing act going on at all times between your logic and your emotions.

I will be a more understanding towards other people in my life, who may not have the words or be comfortable enough to say them.

Let’s make the effort at this crazy time of the year to say what we mean, in a thoughtful and sensitive way. Easy!!

Lisa XX

 

 

 

What is the dress code? (For an over 40, mother of 2 adult children, who doesn’t want to look like a cat loving spinster or a 17 year old pop singer?)

Cameron Diaz and I are the same age!

Random I know but it will make sense soon.

I want you to picture her and what she wears as a 43 year old woman.

I would describe her style as casual chic.

Jeans, a white shirt or a cute dress. Some nice ballet flats or a heeled boot.

Easy right?

Disclaimer – I am not delusional; although we are the same age we look absolutely nothing alike, except maybe the blonde hair.

**Cameron on the left (just in case!)

Here is my dilemma.

As the mother of 2 daughters in their late teens/early twenties,

“What do I wear?”

I don’t want to look like mutton dressed as lamb but I don’t want to look like I’m ready for the bowls club either.

Apart from being too young for this look, I can never keep white clothes clean.

When the girls and I go shopping we sometimes find that we  like the same clothes.

But who gets precedence?

Who gets to keep the item we both like?

I’ve figured out the way it works in our house.  

They tell me it looks good on me so I buy it and then I never see it because they “borrow” it for 3 years.

They’ve been bloody playing me!

I was so happy for them to tell me I looked fashionable that I didn’t even care.

I was so desperate for compliments from the young and trendy (does anyone say trendy anymore) that I let them convince me  I looked good in clothes just so they could steal them.

To their credit they will also let me know when I look completely hideous and shouldn’t be allowed out of the house.

I recently tried on a top which I thought looked O.K. Didn’t love it but thought I’d see how it looked on.

The top sat a little weird around the bust area but put it down to the old bra I was wearing.

You know the one.  

It’s the bra you can wear when you really want to be in your pyjamas but visitors pop in at the last minute so you feel the need to have a bra and lipstick on.

It doesn’t do any heavy lifting, it just meets a social rule.

As I emerged from the change room my suspicions were confirmed with comments like,

“Oh hey,  great art smock Lisa.”

“Nice mono-boob Lisa.”

Luckily these comments were from the girls and not random strangers.

Top was taken off  and never spoken of again.

I still have the bra though! It’s just too comfortable to get rid of.

I often pray to Cameron (she has become my spiritual guide even though she is still very much alive and has no idea) for advice on choosing clothes.

Can I still show cleavage? And if so how much?

I figure a glimpse of belly button makes it too much.

My legs are good so can I just wear short skirts all the time?  How short is too short?

I do know that if hair removal is required then the skirt is too short.  Der!

Is it still ok to wear my top off the shoulder with my bra strap (good bra) showing? Or will I look like a flashdance tragic?

I can remove my bra without taking my top off. Thanks lady from Flashdance. #lifeskills

Off the shoulder is so in right now, but am I too old?

Or is the fact that I have shoulders like a male triathlete a turn off?

As seen in photo above, I’ve given it a whirl and I bloody love it. I have had pyjamas made “off the shoulder” to maximise on this flattering style.

I tried on a pair of jeans recently and I thought to myself;

“These jeans are so comfortable, I could sit for hours in them without them cutting into my waist”.

What the actual fuck!

Am I 70?

When was the last time I sat for hours?

As I looked at myself in the changeroom mirror I was equal parts shocked and surprised.

These jeans had magical powers but it was an evil form of black magic.

They had taken my arse and magically repositioned it behind my knees.

I am fully aware that I am not blessed with a Kimmy K style backside but I have enough roundness to distinguish my arse from my hamstrings and lower back.

Not in these jeans.

Comfortable denim is a trap to be avoided at all costs.

It will lull you into a false sense of security. You will imagine that this comfort makes you look relaxed and easygoing.

It doesn’t.

It makes you look arse-less and frumpy.

The stretch in the denim will change the shape of the garment within the first ten minutes of wearing it and your body shape will disappear along with it.

I once, unknowingly, made the massive error of wearing junners (jeans & runners).

When the girls saw me, thankfully according to them, before I left the house, they said “No Deal”.

Hanging a boob out and leaving the house would’ve received less of a reaction than wearing Junners.

Why are a pair of straight leg, dark denim jeans paired with some Asics not the same as a pair of 3/4 skinny jeans with a 1950’s inspired white sneaker?

Is this not technically junners?

Who makes the rules and how do I find out about them?

For now I will trust my own instincts and wear what I feel reasonably attractive in and I will be on the lookout for a sign from Cameron.

But trust me if I could, I would still be rocking the shit out of a mid drift top and a pencil skirt.

Lisa XX

For those playing along at home-

Skunners – skirt and runners   Lunners – leggings and runners

Drunners – dress and runners  Shunners – shorts and runners

 

My first bird is leaving the nest

I was reading back through my journal that I have been keeping since I had my children and it is entries like the one below that make me glad I have written consistently over the years.

Today has been a day for reflection.

My first born is moving out. I know as parents we joke about this day and the party we will have when it happens but in reality that’s not quite how it has felt today.

I am beyond proud and excited for her and I know she will be more than ok, but she will be more than ok without me.

I find in our busy lives we have little time for reflection.  With my journal I can reflect at any time and have a fantastic reference book of my own life’s experiences.

I look forward to being able to share these stories with my girls and then with their children. I know I would’ve loved a book filled with stories about me as I was growing up.

I fear that had I not kept this journal my memory would not have served me as well as I would have liked.  This is highlighted for me each week when I forget half of what I need at the supermarket.

09.11.2000

Today Morgan lost her first tooth.

It has been loose for about a week and I can’t believe it lasted as long as it did. 

The tooth fairy has just taken it from the fairy box she had placed it in and replaced it with two dollars. 

Two dollars seems so trivial an amount to place in the box for her tooth.

How can you put a price on the love and growing up and joy we have given and received from her since that tooth first came at the age of 3 months.

The sleepless nights as it formed in her gums, the red cheeks and constant drooling as it decided when to appear and the gorgeous grin with the dot of white when it finally came through.

How has one small piece enamel really made me think about my time mothering and about how fast this precious time is going?

It has been such a big month for Morgan (Not to mention the emotional turmoil for me).

She is into the 3rd week of her orientation program for primary school and she absolutely loves it.  Just to see my first-born going off to school like a little girl ready to face the world makes me want to wrap her in cotton wool like her tooth and put her away for safe keeping.

She is a full head taller than the other kids and she is just so smart that I am proud and sad at the same time.

I am so proud of how she handles situations and how she reacts with the other kids.  I wonder some days if I was that sure of myself at that age, then I remember how painfully shy I was and I am glad of her confidence.

 I try to be supportive of her and yet I just want to protect her forever from the world and anyone who would dare do the wrong thing by her.  If she is at all as worried as me about going she hides it well. 

She is excited by all she is learning as she should be, yet she asked me why the other kids didn’t all talk to her.  I asked her had she made the effort to talk to them and she just looked at me and said no but they should talk to me.

Paige is really going to miss her big sister when she is at school and I think Morgan will miss her too.  She feels so grown up being able to tell Paige all about school. 

I am looking forward though to having some one on one time with Paige and giving her a chance to develop her own personality with out her big sister monitoring her every move.  She is so funny at the moment and we are having some interesting outfit choices as she wants to dress herself more often.

Nana is convinced she has no nice clothes and that everything in her wardrobe is mismatched, but that is just the way she likes it.  She told her kinder teacher she likes to dress like the rainbow.  Who wouldn’t?

I never for one minute thought that being a mother could fill me with so many conflicting emotions, I am so joyously proud and in love with my girls but, like a mother in the jungle should any predator try to get near my young and hurt them, I will tear them limb from limb.

Everything I wrote in 2000 still resonates with me today.

Do yourself a massive favor and keep a journal or just note things down over the years. You will never regret having these memories to look back on.

Go and take on the world my gorgeous girl.

Lisa XX

 

Endings and beginnings

Today feels like the end something and it’s not the weekend.

It feels like the end of a passage of time or the end of a process.

This ending had brought with it a blue kind of day that just felt a little flat and lacking in energy.

I’m not sad, merely tuning into the ebb and flow that I am feeling around me.

What I am focussing on, is that after each ending comes a new beginning.

I am excited to see what this new beginning brings with it.

I will be aware of any changes and on the lookout for any new opportunities.

As I end this day with sleep I am grateful for the chance to reflect, the chance to be present and the opportunity to see what the future brings.

Lisa X

 

 

 

The value of not being busy.

I was lucky enough last week to travel overseas with my husband while he worked.

My daily routine played out like that of a biggest loser contestant.

I woke, ate breakfast, worked out, showered, rested, ate, swam, had a nap then let the afternoon stretch out to dinner.

Of course the contestants on the show probably don’t pepper their day with G&T’s or restaurant food, but you get the idea.

My routine was deliciously devoid of responsibility, thinking about others and being haunted from day break by that question……”What’s for dinner?”

I don’t know about you but that question has me close to losing mind every time it’s asked. How the hell do I know? It’s 7am, eat your frigging toast and be quiet. OK…. and breathe.

I must admit that it took me the first 2 days to lose the guilt.

The guilt of the busy.

The guilt of not filling every moment of the day doing things predominately for other people.

The guilt of associating relaxing and re-energising with being lazy.

Reminding myself that it was ok to sit and breath. Letting the thoughts just pass on by and not having to focus on one in particular.

To blink and realise that you just spent 10 minutes staring at a flower and you have no recollection of the time or thoughts that passed through your mind.

Have you ever had to ask yourself the question, “What do I like to do?”

It was equal parts liberating and terrifying. I caught myself narrating my actions and  judging myself on the usefulness and productivity level of what I was choosing to do.

The key to me relaxing I have discovered is to shut sown the negative mental voice. That voice that judges, makes you doubt and tells you that what you’re doing isn’t good enough.

Take that voice and tell it to shut the f*&k up!

Once that voice was drowned out with positive affirmations, mediation chants and gratitude my holiday improved dramatically.

By positive affirmations I mean-

“Yes Lisa have that beer while you sit near the pool. It’s really hot and you will sweat it out anyway.”

“You deserve another massage”.

“You will never see these people again so don’t worry about the strays on your bikini line.”

My mediation chant ran along the lines of-

“I am a calm and spiritual being. I am relaxed and content.”

This chant was closely followed by,

“A mango daiquiri is 80% fruit, fruit is good for you, you are healthy.”

Gratitude became easier as I sat near the pool, sipping my beverage of choice-

“I am grateful that those noisy kids are not mine.”

“I am grateful for the time I have alone to order my thoughts, breath deeply and reflect.”

“I am grateful for the secret lining in my bathers that keeps all my lady business in position and looking sleek.”

By about 3pm in the afternoon a gorgeous man would join me at the pool and buy me a drink. He was lovely. We would talk, laugh and share details of our day. He asked me every night to have dinner with him. I accepted of course.

How lucky was I? Time to ponder life, a daily workout and the attention of a gorgeous man. Life is good.

 

I am back at work now, back to reality but my holiday has done me wonders. I am more aware of where I am spending my energy. Choices will be made that won’t make everyone happy but they will be right for me.

The negative internal dialogue is still being shut down and over ridden with kind, positive and encouraging thoughts.

The one thing that still manages to make me flip my shit is the dinner question at breakfast! But I’m working on it.

Lisa X