Supporting role.

The other day on Facebook, I read a post aimed toward the children who do not always get recognised in the end of year celebrations at school. The post went on to say, “I see you.” An emotive mental finger point to the kids trying their best but falling short of the limelight. It really made me think, not just about those kids. I mean I have one star performer as a child and another child barely able to say his name in public. I get it that some have talents not as visible. What it really made me think about was all the work that gets done in this world by people supporting someone in their life journey.

I see you.

I see you parents staying up late mending holes in favourite outfits because the “best Christmas party ever” is on tomorrow.

I see you parents baking muffins at midnight because you only just checked an email from the class teacher saying there is a ‘bring a plate’ party in the morning.

I see you spouses getting out of bed once you were totally comfortable because you forgot to hang out the laundry with work clothes in it.

I see you spouses doing all the dishes, laundry, putting the children to bed and making lunches (even when the season finale of your favourite show has started).

I see you spouses being quiet because your partner is tired, waiting to talk about the big bills until a better day and sorting out problems on your own so there isn’t more stress in your partners life.

I see you. I also have a message for you.

Dear Supporter,

Supporting is important but it is not all there is. You need to be supported too.

You deserve to have someone pick up the children because you’re still in class. You deserve to have dinner on the table when you return from work sometimes. You deserve to be someone else’s first thought. Maybe that person will get out of bed to check your work clothes or clothes for school are hanging out to dry.

Don’t wait until your supporting role is done. This world is give and take. Give what you must and take what you need.

Yours,

A Supported Supporter x

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Taking things seriously.

My exam results came back today. I can now finally let my brain calm the hell down for a month or so.

I passed everything. I am really glad, and I can actually say that now. To be honest with you I was having doubts about how last semester went. Every subject had an exam and with exams comes that uncertainty that you actually read the question correctly, studied the right thing, made sense, wrote the number of pages used correctly and all the other tiny things that make sleeping ‘post exam’ hard. Now I am through that and on the other side where I can be honest about my terror and the fact that I had considered multiple options for failure.

Option one – “I’m not even bothered, fuck it…”

Option two – Blame others for my inability to pass a certain paper.

Option three – Pretend I passed them all and change my mind about summer school, promptly picking up a paper or two.

None of these options involved me being an adult about it and I guess that is something I should think about. I will face some sort of disappointment and/or failure in the next three years. There will be something and I think I need to be honest with myself and admit that I find dealing with my faults incredibly difficult and I feel like it leads to me not taking things seriously. If I take something really seriously then I will potentially look like a fool if I fail.

No more! I am a youth mentor so I need to set a better example… “crap!” … The youth mentor thing, I said I would write about my new job ages ago and haven’t. Again it’s because, although I take my job very seriously when I am there, I don’t talk about it because it seems too good to be true and I am still learning. There is that feeling like I could fail and be let go at any moment.

I hope this has struck a cord with someone. I hope at least one of you can recognise a reluctance in yourself to tell people about your plans without minimising the importance by making jokes or announcing your potential failure before you’ve even begun. Don’t do that anymore. You’re awesome. I am awesome. If we fail it’s only because we were brave enough to try. x

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A Lesson in Defeat

I have decided to come out and admit defeat in the hopes that it inspires others to throw up there hands and holler, “Yep that’s right I bloody well quit!”.

There is so much to do in 2015 and I have no doubt 2016 will be worse. It’s going to get worse every year until we die I am sure. Now let me clarify something for you. I am not talking about big life goals. No, I am still an adult student, still enrolled at university and still going back next year. What I am admitting defeat over is, “trying to do it all”.

This blog was the first to suffer… I don’t know if you noticed, it’s not amazingly popular after all. It suffered and then it flat lined completely and I would come home after a full day juggling children, school and work to think about it briefly and collapse into a heap in bed. I am pretty sure that the only reason I never got tearful was because crying takes up precious bodily resources that are best left for breathing.

The second thing that suffered was the housework. I tried, I didn’t let bugs come in and we didn’t start using paper plates but I certainly stopped letting ‘non family’ human beings inside and I would have to stop and think before I used the downstairs toilet that the children use. My priorities became obvious health hazards and anything that would smell. I knew what needed to be cleaned but after a while I even stopped making anxiety inducing mental lists.

There were plenty of other things I stopped doing. Here is a list!

  • Wearing make up everyday.
  • Wearing makeup well on the days I did wear it.
  • “Doing” my hair.
  • Watching TV.
  • Folding any sort of laundry. If it’s clean just thank your lucky stars and wear it!
  • Replying to emails, texts and messages on time.
  • Being interesting and fun.

It all seems a bit grim doesn’t it? Not a very good sell for going back to study as an adult? Well there is a lesson in this defeat though and that lesson is that it is totally ok to not cope with everything. I passed my courses. I did my best at my course work and that is what was really important to my family because otherwise this would have been an unprecedented waste of time and money.

You don’t have to have perfect control of everything. Sleeping and being nice to your children when you see them is better than a well ordered life and all the medication you have to take to keep it that way.

This year has taught me to treasure my time out. I have just spent an amazing weekend at home with my husband, no kids, lying on the couch and eating things that came out of a packet. Perfection. I have also been out and about, exploring the world and getting fit. Turns out that I was wasting precious time being perfect and keeping a lovely house.

Quit something today x enjoy life.

Phew! What a month!

It’s almost been a month since my last post. I’ve been insanely busy but it’s all been positive and a real learning curve. If you remember my last post I mentioned my new job. Well I’ve been given the opportunity to work with a couple of young people who have been in the court system and now need a bit of mentoring to try and steer them back to finding their potential. So far it’s been so difficult and I’ve loved every minute of it. I hope it continues past these two clients! I would love to keep learning from the other people in the job.

I am pretty tired writing this at the moment. I was up at 6:30am to make a berry and banana smoothie and drive to Christchurch to make sure I was able to get one of my young people up and out of bed, get the smoothie into them for breakfast and get them to the bus for camp. I succeeded and I couldn’t be happier. It’s nice to know that one little part of my day has made a decent difference for someone. She may hate the camp, she might be throwing a tantrum halfway up a mountain as I type but she is there and she is fulfilling requirements to get her life back on track.

Currently in Christchurch, and all over New Zealand we’re turning from Summer to Autumn

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I’m making sure I enjoy every last bit of sunshine! I know that soon enough I will be whinging about how itchy and disgusting you feel in a lecture after running through the rain to get to it.

As part of the busy times this month I have got myself some pretty decent grades. Goes to show that adult students can box with the rest of them.

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I think that the grades reflect the fact that I am totally aware of how much this is all costing me. I know that I need to succeed this time round and that unfortunately for me at this stage in my life I won’t get a second chance. I study, I read my required readings and I turn up to class… well except for last week when everyone in my house was spewing! Thank God for LEARN (the online University of Canterbury Moodle) so that I could catch up on most of the things I missed.

As for now I am feeling pretty blessed that my husband took my car to work tonight and took all my notes and books with him. So it is a night off from study for me! I feel calm about it because the inside of my brain looks a bit like the night my husband had to make a powerpoint presentation for his work 😉

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How on earth did the baby wipes get involved in that mess? Who knows…

🙂

Fulfillment and Self Image

I am getting older. I was taking pictures of myself and my son the other day and it really hit me that I look a lot older than even just a few years ago. The ageing process is speeding up all of a sudden.

Some of you are probably ‘facepalming’ right now and going to navigate away but let me try and engage you with where I am going with this…

Those few years ago, had I seen my face at the moment, I would have cried. I would have panicked and tried to figure out how to best restore my perceived beauty. I would have felt that things were over for me and I was all washed up. But a funny thing has happened and changed it all. I am OK with how I look, not because of some radical acceptance brought on by numerous ad campaigns trying to get us to love our skin (but secretly making us more aware of the importance of image), but because I am too busy expanding my knowledge base.

I don’t need beauty to define myself. I am studying to be a professional and I have a great job on the side mentoring young women (tell you about that next blog!). Of course I still like to do my hair and my eyebrows before I leave the house, I am not declaring a total war on vanity here. I am just declaring that the more fulfilled you are in your role in life then the less you care about how youthful or beautiful people think you are.

Lately there is so much more focus on body image. People speaking out and saying it’s OK to be big and beautiful, saying it’s OK to be ethnic and beautiful… but still beautiful all the same. Ever thought that actually beauty never cured a disease or helped a person in need? Beauty doesn’t balance your accounts or clean your guttering in autumn. Beauty is a waste of time and the more we toot on about it, even if we’re trying to accept it in all it’s forms… It doesn’t bloody well matter folks. Not a damned bit.

Educate yourselves. Educate others. Educate your children. Help people. Help yourselves. Grow food. Grow flowers. Hike trails. Swim rivers. Buy nice things. Save your money. Travel. Laugh. Eat some cake and go for a run in the morning. Balance things out.

Someone wise once told me that the more you stare at a feature on yourself the more out of place it seems. Same goes for a narrow focus on what makes a person great. Focus on their looks and they blow out of proportion. I know a lot of ‘beautiful’ wastes of space. I know a lot of amazing people too. Those people are amazing because they inspire me and make me laugh, they challenge me and they urge me to grow. Nothing to do with ‘brow game’ or their 1950’s inspired pin up shoot posted all over Instagram.

To sum it up. I am confident I had fun when I thought I was young and beautiful and I look at my daughter and hope she is making the most of her carefree time with golden hair and milky skin but I will show her that when the sunsets on that, when we grow as people we can find a whole new beauty to the world. We can find that knowing things and sharing that knowledge in your own way is the most beautiful thing in the world.

Put down your mirror and pick up a book. Stop trying to be something you might have been but are not now. Be a new thing.

B is for boo, baking, bachelor and bouncing back…

Lot’s of things for B. Haha and I got one in my social policy class, not the optimal grade but no where near a failure either. I would like to say, “Thank God for my tutor”. I have the same tutor for two very important classes and he is just fantastic. I’ve been struggling with an essay that is due very soon and so yesterday I thought I would share my ideas on it with him. He didn’t comment at first, I could see him thinking that I was so far in the wrong direction he was going to struggle to bring me back without hurting my feelings or making me feel stupid. There was a bit of thoughtful silence, a few questions here and there and then suddenly I cracked it. I figured it out for myself. His style was so calm and non judgmental, I’m really grateful for that because I think one of the scariest things about being an adult student is being told you’re wrong or you’re not getting it. We as adults get in this groove where we just have to save face all the time and often that’s where the learning stops. I can assure you that at Canterbury University at least there are some amazing support networks.

As for my usual chaos that hopefully you’re enjoying. I was racing back to my car the other day but I had to stop and take a pic of something…

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It’s guys in a cardboard fort! There is a cardboard knight outside of it with a foam pool noodle sword!!! I have to mention that my fave part was the guy clopping coconut shells together pretending to be a horse. Uni life is great…

I then decided to do some baking for the first time in ages. Boo… fail…

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But wait! We don’t fail it this family…

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Turned those fail biscuits into a delicious base for a marshmallow slice. Eating it is making having to watch the Saturday arvo rerun of The Bachelor NZ so much better. Bloody Miss 12 and her questionable TV choices!

One more thing before I make my grand return to essay writing. Before I bounce back up on the good grades horse…

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This is how I left my printing next to the library computer I was using while I went and got more printing. Love how at university no one would even bat an eyelid at this. If I had been at the local library my controversial reading probably would have made the local hotline newsletter.

Enjoy your weekend.

Te Kupu o te Wiki – The Word of the Week

This is going to help me with my learning, I think you could also learn something too.

Christchurch City Libraries Blog

Kia ora. To celebrate Te Reo Māori we are publishing kupu (words).

Kīwaha (colloquialism)

Kei mahurangi kē koe.
You are away with the fairies.

Kupu (word)

taihoa.
hang on / wait.

Taihoa kia hoki mai a Māmā.
Wait for Mum to get back.

Maori

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School camp and remembering important things at the last minute!

Today Miss 11 went on camp. Last night we packed her things. This morning I dropped her off at school… she had left a ton of important stuff behind -_- .

Of course I lost my cool. I had to drag Mr One back to the car, load him in his car seat (back arching and all) to race home and grab her bed roll, her sunglasses and the shortbread I had spent my precious time baking for all the little monsters at camp to say they hated. By the time I got the stuff back to her I wasn’t in the best of mood for loving goodbyes. I hope she has a good time regardless.

Then I dropped Mr One off at preschool and was reminded that Quiz Night is tomorrow night, I have a team booked but I haven’t actually arranged anything. I am just as bad as Miss 11.

So here I am blogging. I should be rushing around and sorting out my life. My house is a mess from the chaos that was getting everyone organised and Miss 11 to camp on time. I have assignments pending. I have a quiz team to organise. I am also fearful I have forgotten other important things but at least not Mr One turning Mr Two! That my friends is marked on the calendar in big bold letters.

I suppose there is also the matter of Miss 11 not being able to walk Mr Six home from school. Where is my rock to crawl under? Today is going to be a long ass day…

A is for adult and awesome.

I received my first grade on a written assignment. It was an A-. You know what? Screw the minus, it’s in the A’s and A’s are good and encouraging.

In other news this week. I have found a good use of my gaps between lectures. Well I suppose I could study but it seems I study better at night, so when there is no photocopying or printing to be done, no library books to pick up then you can find me completing research project surveys and tests for $$$.

The more advanced students are doing all sorts of things to figure out all sorts of things. They are wondering about how we use online gaming, how we feel about diversity, they also (as I found out through my last survey) like to trick us into thinking things are about to happen and see whether this shapes our beliefs. As for the money part of it. They offer vouchers to the nearby mall and petrol vouchers. It isn’t highly paid but yesterday I got $10 petrol for 20 minutes of my time, sitting on my butt clicking a mouse. The thinking involved was minimal as it was mostly about my attitude on diversity on scales of 1 to 10.

The only real drawback to yesterday was that I had to enter the psychology building. Now anyone who has studied art at UC might have been in there. When you enter by Cafe 101 it’s really lovely, nice fresh paint in parts and it smells delicious like coffee and pastry. Then you turn right after the cafe and end up in a post apocalyptic zombie movie scene.

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These pictures don’t really do the place justice. You have to think, ‘no windows = no air’ and ‘what the hell is that smell?’ while looking at them. I wish I could have snapped a pic of the horrible bunker like room I had to complete the survey in. I fear the psychology students are going to end up more depressed than the masses but hey, I got my voucher and I made for the door!

I guess what I am trying to express in this post is that as an adult student you too can get A’s and you can use your worldly knowledge to think outside the box on how to make just that little bit extra cash. The younger students think that $10 or $20 vouchers aren’t enough for their time but I know that I probably would have sat in the library texting my husband while tricking myself that I was studying and not earned anything at all. It’s all about the gains people.

St Paddy’s Day, diversity and a whole different world.

My observations could just be that of a disconnected older person but I am going to give them anyway.

It was St Patrick’s day yesterday, 17th March. I’m not sure if the sudden change in weather dampened the spirits but I didn’t see one big green hat nor did I over hear any conversations about getting frightfully pissed in the evening. I did see an advertisement for the Foundry bar saying it was open for St Paddy’s celebrations however when I went into the foundry today there wasn’t really any sign of a big night at all.

That leads me to why I was in the Foundry today. There was a celebration of diversity on and there were signs up saying there was a world food market at the Foundry. FOOD. I like food… especially hot food when the wind is throwing icicles at you! At this celebration of diversity there was delicious food and a baking stall raising money for Vanuatu after cyclone Pam. I ended up buying baking because it was for a good cause but not even Mr One would eat the baking… oh well.

So what I am trying to say with my rambling is, I think the students are different now. I still see evidence of footpath vomit and outdoor couches when I am walking from my free parking in the morning but as a whole I don’t really see much of the old days. The old days the students wore weird crap, drove shit box cars and got super drunk at every available moment. I’m pretty sure I actually saw some in lectures that were still drunk from the night before.

So settle the hell down old folks! The younguns aren’t losers or lazy like you fear. They aren’t doing a lot of crazy crap that I can see. No one smokes anymore and although the energy drink consumption is high I doubt the illegal substance intake is nearly as bad. Maybe the change is because now days it is a tough road being a student. Loans are high, living costs are sky rocketing and the government is whistling in the corner with their hands firmly shoved in their pockets. I think everyone studying at the moment knows that they need to do well and that they can’t waste time.

I may be completely wrong. They could be doing all sorts of insane stuff when I’m not looking, or I may be looking in the wrong spots but I think that the stuff they are doing is insane to them and pretty damn mild to anyone who was let loose in the 90’s 😉

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