Aiming low to achieve high.

Parenting & Musings

The last post was a month or so ago, so I reckon if I tell myself to just aim for the goal of publishing one post per month, I could actually achieve it, and thereby get rid of those “I feel bad because I’m not writing as many blog posts and feel really lazy which makes me feel even worse so I’m just not in the mood to write at the moment and what’s another week of not writing when I haven’t written in such a long time” feelings. Know what I mean? You writers who only write when inspiration takes you but secretly want to be wanting to write all the time will empathise.

Aim low, exceed expectations and repeat until you get to the ideal frequency of writing. Which is all the damned time more than once a month. Good plan, DM.

I have so many so called great ideas for posts that pop into my head, but by the time I come to actually logging in to WordPress and click on “new post”, I experience blogger’s block. Is there such a term? Can I claim rights on that term? No. Not according to google. See, if I had been writing with greater frequency I could have been the first one. Does that it even matter?

So, onto life update. Amazing M has been exactly that and more (much much more) these summer holidays. Summer break is quite long in Europe, six weeks to be precise and I have one and a half glorious weeks left to entertain my little angel at little cost to my equanimity and mental health. If you could only see my additions on my Vivino app, you’d understand the secret to my inner peace. For those of you who don’t know what kind of app that is, it’s one for wine. WINE. The more M whines (which currently amounts to eleventeen hundred minutes of the day) the more DM wines. Not to worry, friends. I drink in the evening when she’s in bed and it’s usually not more than a couple of (big) glasses. And people who see her on play dates and catch ups: she’s only showing you her cuteness. It can be another story at home or at the shops with mama. Parents will relate.

As much as I whine about M’s whining, I’m also re-falling in love with my little Mona (har har). Her inquisitiveness and intelligence when it doesn’t annoy just astounds me. Can I give you an example? No, another one of those great ideas to put in a blog moments sucked into the black hole of procrastination. That and the lovely glass of red I’m currently enjoying. Who’s got time to remember stuff when you’re just so in the moment of savouring a Sangiovese? But when you get a chance to converse with M, you’ll understand what I mean.  And her sense of humour… Sarcastic and cheeky just like papa. She’s slowly developing wit which is her mother’s domain. Or at least I like to think I’m somewhat witty*. The past month has been long so you gotta give me that one.

Till the next one!

*in reality it could be mistaken for corny. But right now I’ll go with wit.

 

 

 

 

 

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How I feel about my sister’s success.

Parenting & Musings, Relationships

I’ve got an amazing younger sister. She is kind, generous, funny, clever as hell, beautiful and all you could ask for in a sister. She also has a very successful business.

sister

You said you wanted to fly and now I’m making it happen. source

What I’ve noticed in the the past few years is that people assume that because I’m the older one, I should be more successful than her. Or that I must begrudge her success as the work I’ve done since having Amazing M is quite measly financially in comparison. Funny that but also perverse.

It’s probably got to do with the fact that society has become more competitive and the rush to financial and social success is the only measure of true success and happiness. And somehow, because I was afforded a few extra years, I should have accumulated more coinage than my baby sister. Well, I don’t like and I don’t buy it. Everyone has their own lives and stories. One’s success is subjective. What’s an extraordinary achievement for me could be your tragedy.

Truth be told, I feel nothing but pride for my little sis. Her success and happiness is my success and happiness. Is there a trace of the green monster? Not a sliver. Envy? Nope. Sorry to disappoint you but I’m one of those annoying people who don’t feel jealousy or envy. Sometimes I yearn for certain skills that others possess, such as incredible public speaking skills, or very occasionally, psychopathic arseholeness when dealing with some people in the service industry in Germany (and annoying neighbours who tell you that they don’t like seeing your bicycle parked on the sidewalk. Seriously?!). But the latter skill isn’t really a necessity, as I would feel awful for the rest of the week and I just don’t have time that shizzle.

My own financial success right now is not at the level I am aiming for. But where I am right now works for me. Money is not the primary goal. Enjoyment in my work, balancing work with family life and having the time and energy to be there for Amazing M and Mr B is what I want.

Snippets of a successful summer.

Parenting & Musings

It’s extremely warm in Germany right now. Yesterday was 44 degrees. I wanted the Universe to give me a proper summer. It’s been seven summers in Europe and it hasn’t come even close to the Aussie season of eternal sunshine. Until this week. I asked and I received so this lady ain’t complaining. Can I just say that I wouldn’t mind sweating it out here?

yao noi

We are well overdue for our yearly visit here. via sixsenses.com

Since the last time I posted, I’ve achieved a few things. The biggest achievement: Passing the frickin’ B2 German Language test. Big external whoop! The lead up to the exams was more stressful than I let on. The perfectionist in me put a bit more pressure on not just to pass, but pass with good grades. “What’s the point in just passing?”, she kept whispering at me while I was trying to learn verbs with prepositions. How rude and how very annoying. In any event, it’s done and dusted and I won’t know my final mark until next week or so. As much as I am hard on myself for not speaking super fluent German after 200 hours of classes ( I mean, come on, how can one not talk in detail about the Greek financial crisis in perfect German?!), my vast improvement in German is evident in two areas. Firstly, I can understand my husband when he converses at a silly speed of  five words a second. Secondly, I can read and enjoy novels written in German. Current read: The Girl on the Train. Addictive and makes for a very good holiday read.

Another achievement: scoring some freelance work to help people out with their conversational English. Getting paid to talk is very awesome in my book.

The next achievement isn’t completely mine. M is now able to jump into the pool unassisted! This is big progress, as when we first started swimming lessons, a lot of coaxing, bribing and seething through gritted teeth were involved in getting her away from my legs and into the pool. A few months on and she’s getting on so well in her class. While most mothers I know appear to effortlessly take their kids from one extra-curricular activity to another, I have to admit that I found it bloody hard at first. We don’t drive so the trip to the pool involves some walking, Strassenbahning, changing, showering, feeding and more traveling back home. I guess that it’s convenient that I hold the view that a lot of these baby and toddler classes are not only a bore and waste of time and money, but also benefit the child no more than if she were to stay with the parent just playing or chilling. I’ve tried a few classes but none of them really appealed to either of us. And I wasn’t going to fork out money for baby ballet when she was more interested in running around the ballet hall than in sitting down and singing silly nursery rhymes whilst having me move her limbs in all directions.

Off to enjoy post lunch home made raspberry gelato, which will take all of three minutes with my Thermie.

Happy Sunday

M is growing up.

Parenting & Musings

Sometimes when it gets a little challenging at bed-times, getting ready times and ‘Please, help me eat it’ times, I exercise the “one day she will retch at the thought of me trying to help her eat her lunch/put her pyjamas on” technique. Or the “relish it now when you can” practice. ‘Being present in the moment’ is too grand a phrase to describe the situation where I’m trying to accept the moaning and stalling tactics whilst I trying best to keep my eyeballs firmly on M lest my insane desire to let my eyes roll take me into dangerous passive aggressive territory.

But now that she’s moving towards the magical fours (I’m promised by friends, acquaintances and the internet!!!), I’m starting to really enjoy mothering more. Tantrums are, fingers crossed, getting better. Or perhaps it’s that I’m getting better at managing my temper and reactions and tactics, which involve being firm and sticking to your guns. NEVER EVER go back on your threat word. EVER. E V E R. M has the memory of an elephant and in the words of a dear friend, you just cannot negotiate with terrorists.

We have semi- decent conversations. Where we actually converse. She also calls me out when I half heartedly say, “Uh-huh” at the wrong time. “Not gooed mama”. (That’s how she pronounces good). We talk about birthday plans, Thailand and share opinions on clothing when we go window shopping. And sometimes we just walk in silence, hand in hand, enjoying what the city of Frankfurt has to offer at the Zeil: Minnie and Mickey Mouse charging a buck to have pics taken with them, buskers, beggars and junkies civilly begging for drug money. Thankfully M hasn’t started asking questions about the beggars…

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She’s such a big girl now. And her hair!!! via deliciousmother.com

And now that I’ve written about how well it’s going with us of late, there might just be another post tomorrow excusing this post.

The Orange Rhino: AKA the non yeller.

Parenting & Musings

Just over a month ago I was a yeller. It had been an awful start to the year. I was in a bad mood almost every day, was tired, annoyed and to boot, Amazing M was going through some things as well. Perhaps she picked up on my mood and was acting out but it seemed I just could not make her happy and she would not easily listen to my requests. Sleeping was one of those requests.

What’s a mother to do when she’s on the end of her tether? Yell. Man, was it god awful. Tears on her part, tears on mine, yelling from mama, screaming and I mean ear deafening screaming from M. We could have easily been a family from the Supernanny series. And it was clear that the yelling was not working for either of us. So what does DM do best in times of crisis? Google.

Type in ‘How to stop yelling at todder’ and you’ll find a link to a blog called The Orange Rhino. The blog was borne out of a mother’s resolve to not yell at her children for 365 days straight. What she said resonated with me and I immediately downloaded her book on my Kindle as well as the app to go with it a few days later.

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From the Orange Rhino App. Doesn’t apply to husbands, but really, I could do this with him, right? via deliciousmother

 

I am excited to say that I’ve reached my goal of a month of no- yelling. That’s not to say it’s been easy. There were times where I really needed to gather my strength and apply some suggested techniques such as talking in a robot voice. Not cool when out in public, but I’d say it’s quite a lot better than yelling.

I hope to continue my non-yelling approach for as long as I can. But in order for that to happen, I need to care more for myself and ensure that my cup is full. In other words, be vigilant with self care. Very vigilant.

 

 

 

Dear Daughter,

Parenting & Musings

Dear Amazing M,

I’ve wanted to write an open letter to you for a while but something would get in the way, like German homework, housework or something like a whole month of being in a really shitty mood (I’m talkin’ to you, January).

Although I wish this letter will be full of warm cliches of you being the best thing that has happened to my life and other lovely things that nice and lovely mothers would say, I have to be honest. I am your mother and if I want to raise you to be an honest human being, I must model it.

Fear not, my beautiful child. You are the best thing that has happened to me, perhaps even more so than meeting and sharing my life with your beautiful father. But god is it harder than I have ever imagined motherhood would be.  There are times I feel rapturous joy in looking at your sweet face while you sleep. There are also times I want to smack your bottom as hard as my upper body strength would allow. I would if I knew for sure that doing such a thing would result in complete subservience. Forever more. But I don’t know for sure (and logic tells me that eternal subservience from corporal punishment is not very realistic). I was smacked a lot as a kid. I don’t feel traumatised for it and I suppose it was standard Asian disciplining back in the day. But as a dear friend once told me, it’s not right for a big person to hit a little person.

I’m digressing.

There are times I crave solitude and sometimes I find myself fantasising about a life as a fearless nomad, travelling and collecting romantic adventures the world over.

better

via deliciousmother.com

But then there are times you hold me tight, telling me how much you love me and admonish me not to be sad when tears are streaming down my face from the sheer exhaustion of being a mother and recovering perfectionist. Those are the times I would not exchange my life for someone else’s.

Thank you for forgiving me for my flaws, for the times I’ve raised my voice to shame inducing levels, for the times I’ve cussed and acted in ways that are quite frankly toddler like. Please don’t banish me to the toddler room. I’m not sure I’d survive three hours in a room full of 15 two year olds.

The ease at which you forgive me encourages me to exercise more of my self compassion muscle. I’ve been working on that, you know. For my sake, your sake and for the sanity of your father, God bless him.

I’m done for now. A nice bowl of Ben and Jerry’s awaits as well as an evening of yoga, book reading and chucking out a few things.

I love you “all of it”, as you would say.

Your loving mother for eternity,

DM

p.s. please sleep through the night, again. I’d highly appreciate it.

The year of Self Compassion.

Parenting & Musings

Amazing M is sleeping on the couch, recovering from a tummy bug as I blog. Bless her heart, she was sick all of yesterday afternoon and her body is now trying to burn the bug out of her little body. The alliteration with “b” wasn’t intentional, but I kinda think it’s cute, being the English nerd I am. The past few weeks were tumultuous to say the least. I had a few little issues to work through which I don’t particularly want to go into detail but picture a sleep deprived and angry woman googling English speaking therapists in Germany. Deliciousmother was anything but.

Somehow I got myself out of that funk primarily practicing self compassion. As a recovering perfectionist, I do relapse and lose myself to the “be the bestest version of yourself” cycle which actually equates to trying to be perfect. The perfect woman, wife, daughter, mother, sister, friend and human being. It’s a recurring theme for me and a great source of stress and anxiety. Each time the big troll of perfectionism arrests my mind, I have to fight back with more self compassion. CBT techniques are great for this, for getting into the framework of being able to be kind to yourself. And before you start suggesting self-esteem work as well, I feel it’s different to self esteem which in the Western world is based on being unique/extraordinary/awesome/special and anything short of that is grounds to feel unworthy. Why is it so uncool to be normal? When did it become unacceptable and shameful to be average?

No, self compassion/being softer on ourselves is letting go of external circumstances [such as having this AMAZING job, or 100, 000 Facebook likes, or a wardrobe filled with DESIGNER clothes, or having a ROCKING SIZE 00 body ( yes, the 00 size does actually exist…)] and giving ourselves the slack to acknowledge any personal failings or things we don’t like about ourselves with kindness and understanding. It means giving ourselves permission to be imperfect and honouring our humanness.  

So I suppose the theme for Deliciousmother in 2015 is to really zone in on the self compassion. It may sound like I’m approaching this in perfectionista Type A style, but I feel it’s something I need to develop as well as sitting comfortably with normalcy. Normal is ok, DM. You don’t have to win Nobel Prizes for literature or peace or science (though I would fancy a lit one, thanks) or get the mother of year prize. Amazing M lets you know you are the mother of someone’s lifetime each time she tells you she loves you. And that’s AWESOME.

I’m enough.

Parenting & Musings

This morning was just one of them mornings. You know the kind where everything and everyone irks you, especially your amazing kid and husband (who coincidentally just didn’t have their shizzle together). The volume of my voice reached shamefully high decibels at seven thirty in the morning. Why couldn’t M listen to me and sit down to eat the breakfast I prepared? Why couldn’t Mr B make her sit down and eat the breakfast I prepared? Why was Mr B complaining about the lack of yogurt selection in the fridge? Why couldn’t I control this anger that was spewing forth like a broken fire hydrant?? I did not like what I was projecting to the world. It was time for a breather and it was time to be kind to myself.

So I put off the housework and German homework to sweat it out in the gym. Whilst I was checking my emails, I came across this great video that was well needed by this undelicious mother. Enjoy!

 

 

Priceless quotes from Amazing M.

Parenting & Musings

In these times, and being the way I am, I feel that having just M (for now…) is just about all I can handle.  Being a mother to one is definitely not easy. Mother to two? I’m impressed. To three? You’re a hero. To more? I can recommend a very good therapist.

this is the second pic of alcohol featured on my blog... it's very good gin. via deliciousmother

this is the second pic of alcohol featured on my blog. may it not be the last… it’s very good gin. let it be known that I am a very responsible drinker.via deliciousmother

When I’m beyond fatigued and my eye muscles feel sore (from all that rolling – with eyelids closed), some funny words from M plus a strong G&T makes parenthood just a little bit more delicious.

Some of my favourite quotes, including the latest from this evening:

Thank you for get me from da kindergarten and waiting for me.

I wanna cuddle and kiss you in mama’s bed.

I love you so much.

Mama, you’re so gorgeous!

Papa has a penis and M has a bum.

Thank you for making dinner.

Thank you for making cake.

Mama, I have genitals… in my knickers!

I think the last one is better than a G&T.

 

The beginning of an end…

Parenting & Musings

Our decision for me to look after Amazing M for her first three years was a good one. For us. Let me stress to you how much this decision was affected by our personal circumstances and my desire to be her sole carer in the early years.

And let me also stress to you that there were many times I felt doing any sort of work, like, say cleaning nightclub toilets, would be better than the tedium, tantrums and Mr Tumble* involved in looking after a kid full time. But it goes without saying that I’ve had the most precious time with M. I’ve had more laughs and good tears than sad tears, and as cliched as it sounds, I think she makes me want to be a better person. Just don’t talk to me about it at that time of the month.

bag full of things on her 'things to bring' list. via deliciousmother

bag full of things on her ‘things to bring’ list. via deliciousmother

Well, those precious days of just doing whatever, whenever are officially over. Amazing M had her first day at kindergarten and she didn’t shed a single tear when I left her with her classmates. Refused to kiss me or say good-bye. Gee, thanks, M. Thank goodness you’re not old enough to realise you’ve got another 831 weeks of education before mama and papa bid you, “Auf Widersehen” at the airport for your gap year abroad.

As you so often say to me, “Ha-Ha!”

 

* This guy here. He makes my friend want to punch him in the face. Harsh, but I’d have to agree.