Love Letter to my Sons

Wow. I can’t believe it’s been so long since I posted last. Things have been busy, crazy, fun, hectic and I have been busy, crazy, fun, hectic. We’ve had major milestones happen in our lives, we moved across country, Ty started Grade 1, Hayden was born, we bought a house. Like I said, busy, crazy, fun, hectic. I have dearly missed my writing, but haven’t found the time or the inspiration to write anything meaningful. This past year has been an amazing journey of self discovery, realisation, reflection, love, pain, joy and peace. I am sure that going forward I will relate all our adventures and the lessons we learned from them, but I wanted to open the floor with a letter to my beautiful boys. All the past year’s life lessons have been so important for me, for us, and these are the things I want my boys to know as they enter adulthood so that hopefully they will be able to cope with it better than I did. So here goes, forgive me if it’s a little rough around the edges, I am quite rusty!

My dear, sweet Ty and Haydi,

You both have brought such immense joy and love into my life. I cannot even begin to explain. I know you think I am annoying and that I nag, question, hug and smooch you too much. But I see you both as my little spiritual advisors and I just want to glean as much knowledge and love from you as I possibly can. Without the two of you, I would never have learnt to look within for the answers I craved so deeply. Whenever you have stood up to me or questioned my actions it has made me stop and examine my motivations and intentions. I have learnt so much from the both of you, and these are the things I want you to know and remember when you are making your way through this beautiful, wonderful, mostly confusing thing called life:

1. Love yourself first.

I spent a good part of my young adult life bending over backwards to accomodate people; “friends”, family, co-workers. I thought that if I made everyone else happy and feel loved, important and valued that they would automatically do the same for me. Boy was I wrong. While it’s obviously good to make your most beloved feel this way, don’t spread yourself too thin because all that you will feel is disappointment and hurt when your love and generosity becomes the expected norm and people turn on you when you can no longer give it. This happens when you have exhausted all your reserves of love on undeserving people that you have none left for yourself. So as hard as you try, you just can’t anymore. People won’t understand this, because you have always been about them. Be about you. Not in a narcissistic way. In a self love way. You cannot, truly, love others properly until you love yourself. And this requires making time for yourself and not saying yes to everyone all the time.

2. It is all you.

When you feel like the world is against you, it’s so easy to blame other people/outside conditions for your problems. We never want to admit that it is due to a fault of our own or our way of thinking that things have gone wrong in our lives. This was a tough pill for me to swallow, but now that I have, my life is so much happier and filled with love and light because I know that it is up to ME to make it that way. It sounds cliché, but it is so true, it’s not what happens to you that’s important. It’s how you deal with it emotionally that makes it what it is. You can take everything to heart, and cry about the unfairness of it all at night, OR you can accept it for what it is and find a way to make it work for you. The same goes for when things go right in your life. Don’t give luck the credit. It is all you! Where you are in your life at any given moment is due to your past actions. Life is not random. Everything you do (or don’t do) today affects your tomorrow. Remember that. And take responsibility for your life. The good, the bad and the ugly.

3. Practise patience. 

Following on from the above, learn to accept the things you cannot change, about people, about work, about that annoying rattle in the car that you can’t seem to find. See them for what they are and move on. You will find more happiness in the freedom that comes with this realisation and acceptance than any quick fix you try to employ to make your external conditions more bearable. Every time.

4. Make TRUE friends.

TRUE friends are people that speak to your soul. They hold a mirror up to you so that you can see yourself for who you truly are. Even during your worst times. They are people who love you for the right reasons, and will be there for you without expecting anything in return. People who don’t constantly demand your attention, but are so thankful when they get it. TRUE friends are those that feel like you’ve known them forever, just after you’ve met them. When someone says “After everything I’ve done for you”, their motivations were not pure and true. The kind of person who constantly wants affirmation for their good deeds, is not the kind of person you want in your corner, believe me. Because when push comes to shove, there will always be a bigger and better cause for them to support for the glory of it. You are no one’s charity case. Except mine <— On that note, you are always welcome home if you have run out of money and are living on two minute noodles. I will never judge you or ridicule you for coming home for a good cooked meal or to do your washing. It will be an honour to know that I am still needed in your life, even if it’s only for silly things.

5. Your mind is your most powerful weapon.

Against hurt. Against anger. Against pride. For love. For happiness. For peace. Use it for good, your own good, not others’ evil.

6. A rich life is not one filled with material wealth.

A rich life doesn’t mean status, money and power. A rich life is one filled with experience, culture, diversity, joy, love, laughter and the hard truths that hardship brings. Life is about love. Love for yourself. Compassion and empathy for others (a healthy amount – see point 1). The sound of your laughter in my home has made me rich in ways that no high paying job ever will, and I have never forgotten that.

7. Never lose your enthusiasm or childish inquisitiveness.

Approach every new experience with an unbiased mind. This is a tough one, because we are predisposed to adopt our parents’ and friends’ attitudes towards things because they are the biggest influences in our lives. Always remember that my opinions are MY OPINIONS. They are not yours. They are based on MY EXPERIENCES. Not yours. If you ask for my advice, I will give it to you. But do not let it be the basis on which you make all your decisions. Dad and I can be examples for you in certain aspects. But don’t try to emulate our lives or be like us. We want you boys to have your own lives, and your own experiences. Sometimes the unknown is scary, and most people don’t understand it and react negatively to it. Forget those people. They are small people with small minds and will just hold you back. Open eyes, open heart. Let that be your mantra.

8. Never forget that we love you (and that you love each other).

No matter what you decide to do with your life. No matter how many “mistakes” (mistakes are subjective after all) you make along the way. No matter who you love. No matter where you live. No matter how you choose to practise spirituality. If you choose spirituality at all. Our biggest hope and dream, is for you both to be happy and fulfilled, peaceful and loved. How you choose to attain these states is up to you. We will support you along the way. We may not always like it, but that is our problem remember? Don’t ever feel like you can’t come to us for help. In any aspect. If we aren’t around anymore or if we just can’t help you, don’t ever forget that you have each other. Support each other, love each other and never lose contact with each other, no matter where in the world you end up. Even if it’s only sporadic contact. Let there always be contact, and let it be loving, understanding and joyful.

I hope you managed to read all the way to here without rolling your eyes and dismissing me. If you have, I just want to finish by saying that I can’t wait to carry on with this amazing journey with you and watch you both grow into the beautiful human beings I know you will be. I am already so proud of you boys, you are my light and my love and I did not live until you came into my life.

Love you munchkins, thank you for everything.

Mom

Boys will be boys, no matter what colour their nails are

We’ve begun to raise daughters more like sons… but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters.  ~Gloria Steinem

Tyler came home from school yesterday with painted nails. Each hand and foot was a different colour, one blue, one red, one orange and one purple – one for each ninja turtle of course! I thought it was super cute and hysterical the way he was picking up his bags with that “just painted my nails and they’re still wet” hand gesture, haha, who said you can’t have girly time with boys!

demotivational_posters_teenage_mutant_ninja_turtles-s500x400-80169

Jeff however, made him take it off this morning. And to be honest, I thought he was a bit more open minded than that. When Tyler asked for the nail polish remover I knew that it couldn’t have come from him alone. He wanted to wear it until his birthday, because he’s having a ninja turtle party so he thought it would be part of his costume! What’s wrong with that?! So what if the other kids tease him? He’s MY child, he is strong willed and very confident with who he is, always has been, and he will be fine. He’s going through a phase, figuring out what makes boys and girls different. He actually told me yesterday that he wants to be a girl, after I explained to him that he may have to sacrifice his willy to become a girl he very quickly changed his mind. Not that I was trying to change his mind, I just wanted to give him all the information. He would make a beautiful girl, those eyelashes are to die for. And if that’s what he wants who am I to object? My job as a mother is not to control him. All I have to do is love him, encourage and support him in all that he wants – except of course if it involves the rape, abuse and / or murder of animals or humans. But he just wanted to know why girls have such pretty stuff and boys don’t? And it’s true, why DO girls get to play dress up and “mommy”, “teacher” and “princess”? Boys get to dress up, sure, as super heroes and cops and robbers. All very gender biased roles.

According to this pic, a girl can't even graduate!

According to this pic, a girl can’t even graduate!

The other day I was telling him that our doctor had told us that he was getting a little brother. I mentioned “she said that…” and Tyler promptly said “She? So that means she is a nurse not a doctor”. I very nearly slapped him. After explaining to him that men and women could be nurses or doctors, that it didn’t matter, I realised that it’s not really his fault. Look at all the books and posters aimed at teaching young children about occupations, women are portrayed in roles like “secretary”, “nurse”, “teacher” but all the “doctors”, “engineers” and “scientists” are men. Hmmmm. I am no bra burning feminist, but I do believe that we shouldn’t teach our children to put men and women in the same boxes that we were taught to put them in. They shouldn’t think that just because they’re male or female that they can only do certain things and pursue certain activities.

If your daughter wanted to play action cricket or touch rugby, you’d encourage her because it makes her “tougher” and it’s ok if your little girl is a bit of a tomboy because it will help her relate to her male counterparts better in later life. But why can’t a little boy paint his nails or play with dolls? Wouldn’t you prefer, especially as a mother, that he learns compassion for others and acquires an appreciation for beautiful things? Teaching boys, or allowing them, to participate in more “girly” activities is not something you should shy away from or teach them to be ashamed of. If you think it’s weird, that’s your problem and you need to deal with your insecurities. But don’t, please don’t, force your small minded opinions on your children. It’s just as bad, if not worse, than forcing your racist views on them.

It’s your job as a parent to let them explore this beautiful world, encourage them to try new things, give them new experiences that open their gorgeous little eyes to the possibilities that are out there. And if my son wants to paint his nails, by god I’ll paint them for him!

In the beginning

funny-kardashian-pictures

I’ve always wanted to have my own blog. Some place to talk about my experiences, and my reactions to them. But I’ve never had the right content to make it meaningful to anyone but myself. And if there’s one thing I hate it’s self-indulgent blogs. Of course the internet is all about self-indulgence. Just look at the Kardashians. They’ve built an entire empire utilising various social media platforms to publicise their every promotional gig, dinner date and after birth.

So I wanted to wait until the right time, until I felt like I had something meaningful. I feel like we could do with more substance in our lives. Please, don’t panic! This is NOT going to be a preachy Gwyneth Paltrow type blog. I mean come on, what does one of the most spoilt people in the world know about having to work hard for something!??!?!?! I want this to be a little page that you come to every now and again to read over a cup of coffee, for a quick escape from your daily madness. Whether it makes you laugh, cry or even if you can find something relatable in my word vomits, then I have achieved my goal.

So basically, I’m married to the man of my dreams, Jeff. I will likely often refer to him as the Jeffsta or the Jeffersonian. Coz I’m gangster like that. And we made this awesome little human called Tyler. Who I will often call “the monkey”, “Ty-Ty”, “Tyler Bear”, “It” or “STOP IT GET OFF THERE WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING!!!!!!!?????”. The above order is of course relative to the amount of affection I’m feeling towards him at any given time.

Ohana means Family

Lilo had it spot on!

Our little family has not been a conventional one. We did things backwards. After years of being told that I would probably never have children, you can imagine our great surprise when “Candice you don’t have gastro, you’re pregnant” was the diagnosis from our GP for my exhaustion, nausea and food aversion. I know right? I want this to be a space to get un-conventional advice. I feel like there is so much pressure today on women (and men), to be the best mother (father), wife (husband), employee, friend, pet-owner, driver etc all at once. It’s impossible to stay sane and immaculately put together all the time. And it is unfair on yourself to think that you can. Which brings me back to why I have started this little blog. I want others to see that just because you didn’t do it by the book, doesn’t mean it isn’t right. And just because your family doesn’t look the same as others, doesn’t mean it isn’t perfect.

I am not saying that the way we do things is right, NOT AT ALL! All I’m saying is that it has worked for us, and if you can find some small piece of advice that applies to a situation that you are in, then great! Instead of aspiring to be the model-family society says you should be, rather aspire to be the perfect family for you. If it works for you and yours, then that is all that matters. It doesn’t matter what anyone else says. Except for Child Protection Services and the law. You should totally take those guidelines seriously.

I’m sure you’re all poised and ready for my first inspiring pearls of wisdom then right??? Well, it may seem obvious, but we often forget the basics:

Love one another. Protect each other. Laugh together. 

Stuff Kids Write

This teacher seems relatively easy to please!

We tend to get so caught up in our everyday lives that we forget what brought us together in the first place. Love, safety and happiness. When you feel a little lost, focus on what you love about your partner or child (or in most cases, both) rather than what they have been doing to piss you off lately. Make them feel safe and secure. And don’t forget to laugh. There’s nothing like finding joy in the desperation on your hubby’s face when he realises you and the child have hidden all the toilet paper in the house just as he’s sat on the porcelain throne. Or snickering together at little sunshine’s crude handwriting that has turned the word “milk” into “milf”.

Anyway, I hope that this is the beginning of a long and meaningful discussion between us. I would love to hear your opinions and your stories as well. I am also learning as I go and need all the help I can get!

Chat soon!