Loving Your Life When It’s a Mess

The last year and a half for us has presented truly challenging and unpleasant circumstances – which guys, happens to us all, am I right?  Like when I step back and take an overview of what our lives look like right now, I see smashed up Humpty Dumpty egg pieces fallen on the ground.

Relate?  Looks impossible doesn’t it.

And it’s really easy in those times to hate it (which actually, it’s OK to hate it) but I have never been one to be down about something and stay down about it, and I never want to be.  Because, what would you do if I said you can love it.  You can love the balls off your messy life and you can soar through your mess like a boss even when it hurts.

It’s possible…

How?

… BE THANKFUL …

And I have to say this is my favourite lesson I have learnt of all.

In the midst of a lot of hard, and let’s just say crappy stuff last year – when it actually felt like we had nothing,  I began to slowly look around me and at our lives and really, really realize what we have.  How blessed we are.  What amazing things we behold.  I could start listing them off and I can honestly say, it would be an enormously long list.  Yes, even when I wanted nothing more than to be removed from our goings on and set into a much nicer, lighter place, realizing what we have, and walking around every day, thanking God for all that we have, changed my perspective massively.  Like even when your girl’s third birthday cake was a pile of mashed banana with a candle in it…I learnt to celebrate HER LIFE without the extras (that do make it nice by the way) but I realized that there is something quite special about being stripped of everything and being left bare and raw, and simply left with what really matters… BE THANKFUL …

… BE VULNERABLE …

When your life is a bit of a mess, it’s really hard to speak up and authentically share with others.  But you were not meant to stand alone in anything, and having the strength and support of other’s loving arms around you, not just helps you get through, but helps you to keep a steady mind and a positive outlook.  And let’s not forget the all important shoulder to weep on and saturate with nose boogers…we all need that person.

… MAKE PLANS …

Everyone’s life messes look different and vary in time periods…of course!  But please don’t ever stop dreaming.  As long as there is breath in your lungs, you have a hope for your future.  I believe everyone has dreams, and while some may be crushed or completely destroyed by circumstances, it’s not the end.  Sometimes the end of one dream, is the beginning of another.  Yes, even if it wasn’t in your plan.  Life has a way of surprising us sometimes, and I am a massive believer in good things coming out of rotten situations.  Nothing is ever impossible.  So dream and make plans…because you cannot go anywhere if you’re not moving.

… LAUGH …

Ok, let’s not belittle the fact that when you’re a bit smashed, you may just need a big cry or yell or punch up session.  But it doesn’t help any to continually stay in that place.  It’s so important to laugh and not lose your humour amongst the mess.  Many do and it makes me sad.  It’s easy to not feel like laughing but when you do, it’s releasing and uplifting, and don’t get me started on the brilliant hormones it releases into your body and soul!

… PRAISE …

So this may not apply to us all, but I believe in God who is Love and bigger than any mess I face.  I was so challenged starting last year about praising God when I didn’t feel like it one bit.  Because sometimes it felt like He had forgotten all about us – and although I know He hadn’t, it felt like it, our situation felt like it, and sometimes feelings have a way of taking over and taking us on a trip to rock bottom.  I mean, we were there, but honestly, the one thing that helped us in a major way was praise.  Because God is good.  and He always is.  So every time I was disheartened, or frustrated, or completely distraught, I forced myself to praise God and it did amazing things.  Because suddenly my eyes were fixed on God – the one who holds my life and my future and who is bigger than anything I’m going through – and they were off my circumstances and crappy life mess.

Even though right now, things are still pretty messy, and we have some big decisions to make…I’m super glad that I default to these things now.  Ok, life, you look like a giant corn turd right now, but I’m ok with that, because I will learn, I will grow, I will move from strength to strength and I will rest in God who holds my future, even my tomorrow.  And that sits pretty well with me, because at the end of this…we’re not going to just be OK, we’re going to be victorious.

So can I please assure you that your life is not like Humpty Dumpty – who, poor egg – couldn’t be put back together when he fell.  Your life may feel broken and messy and fallen apart, but the truth of the matter, is that it absolutely is possible for your life to be healed and whole, even if right now, you’re smashed into pieces, scattered on the ground.  Your life and circumstances will be mended – because it’s not left up to the King’s horses and King’s men…it’s left up to the King Himself.

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Why Does My Kid Smell Like a Pancake

Google.

I have to admit, I like google…a lot.  I use it…a lot.  It comes in second to my Mum because you can ask it A N Y T H I N G.  And no matter how storming outrageous your question for google is, you can guarantee that someone, somewhere has already asked the same stupid thing.  It makes you feel less stupid really doesn’t it.

So my toddler smelt like a vanilla pancake today…allll daaaay.  Every time I picked her up – it was like I was cuddling a fluffy pancake (quite nice really), and every time I opened her door after she had a nap, pancake smell wafted out.  It was so strange.

So naturally I went to bed wondering why on earth does she smell like this.  I mean, it’s bloody hot here…sweat smell, I would understand, poo, yea not really unusual.  Pancakes…it was different you know.  As I was laying in bed, the thought of googling did occur to me, just being honest.  But I wouldn’t do it because that is a really stupid question to ask google right?  Turns out it’s been asked before.  I know, because I actually did end up googling it.  Also turns out I shouldn’t have googled it, because there was some really nasty answers in there.  Like mutated, diseased answers.  Answers that, true to form of googling stupid stuff, leave you freaking out and more confused.

You know what else people have googled?  Ok, too much stuff to write in a blog, but have you ever googled, “Why does my toddler smell like fish?”  “Why do they smell like mud?” “Why does their poo smell like fish?” (Possibly because the ate fish for dinner last night…just a wild stab there).  “Why does my child lick me?”  I will not google that last question, but my child is a mother licker so please tell me if you know the answer to that. Or my favourite, “Where do lost socks go when they go missing?”  Yes Mr Google, where DO they go?

You know what, I almost feel sorry for google.

Getting overloaded with random, crappy, stupid questions every day.

Like, “Am I pregnant?”

Apparently google is a pregnancy test now too?  Pretty sure unless google had something to do with the insemination, google would clearly not know the answer to this.  But people ask this question, I know, because I googled it once.  Please don’t ask me why.  I don’t know.  Probably something to do with rash hormones and trying to self diagnose.  You know when you have every pregnancy symptom under the sun, but no positive test…It really does your head in.  Because google knows, that if you’re not pregnant than you must have some sought of awful uterine plague that is destructive and…..Wait…it must be menopause…20 years early.   You freak out.  You make plans to start your family now or complete your family now, because in a few years time it might be too late.

But we all do stupid stuff right?

Did you know that there is even a website dedicated to stupid google questions?  I kid you not guys….I know, because I googled it. Maybe even my questions have made it on there.

So here’s some advice from me.

R E L A X….Don’t do it.

Don’t google that question.  Because google knows, if you do, you will probably leave your web browser with an incurable disease, an iphone 6 that can’t bend and rubbing cow saliva on the bald patch on your head.

Xx

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When Your Little Boy Turns 5

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Our little boy turned 5 on Thursday.  Or, not so little boy anymore.  5 just feels like such a big milestone in the life of a child!  It’s like they go from little preschooler, still totally dependent on you, in to all the little kid toys that you’ve had for years – to this school aged, overflowing with testosterone, alphabet reciting, independent, grown up boy, who seems to be so quickly edging away from the shelter of your Mumma wing, and diving into his own world of growth, discovery and adventure.

The night before his birthday, he called me in to his room where he was laying in bed, and asked me to lay next to him for a while.  He snuggled in to my side and, loudly whispered about all the things that were running through his mind.  It was the sweetest and weirdest moment – laying there thinking about how 5 years ago, he was this tiny little bundle inside my belly, about to come out and meet us for the very first time, and now he’s a loud little wild, full of compassion, and love, and energy unfathomable.  A boy totally his own with the most enormous imagination I’ve ever encountered.  He suddenly went from rolling on the floor, playing with rattles and chewing his dummy, to making his superhero figurines fight each other at my feet, while they save the world and ward off evils.

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I was so captivated by the moment with my little boy, cherishing his loud whispers, his stories, his excitement as we lay there snuggled together.  And when I got up to go, and he asked me to stay, “just a little bit longer Mum”  I couldn’t say no.  Because suddenly, I was engulfed in this sadness that in years to come he probably won’t want me laying next to him on his bed at night, while he snuggles into me and tells me his stories.  How much longer will he want me to sing him ‘Jesus loves me’ when he goes to bed at night, and make up a silly story about pirate mice who sailed the seas.  The big sloppy kisses he begs to give me, his mud coated arms wrapped around my neck, and his cheeky bum wiggles waving at me as he passes me.  All the running races, climbing trees together, hide and seek, monster fighting, skateboarding lessons, and following our enormous map to find the hidden treasure, will soon be a memory.  All too soon, I will need to say goodbye to this little boy – my little boy – and hello to a young man, as he inevitably grows up, has new interests, even more testosterone and eventually flies the nest.

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All in a moment, I feel so excited to get to see him live his life as the warrior I know he was born to be.  I feel sad that these moments will all too soon be gone.  I feel frightened that it’s not enough time.  Enough time to build him up, let him know his uniqueness, importance and value, and the fear of failing him sometimes sneaks in.  I want to scream at him to STOP!  Stop growing so fast!  But every part of me just wants to embrace every day with him, even the things that annoy me – because they may soon be some of the things that I miss.  The time for him to fully slip out from underneath my wing, will soon be here, but right now, I’m learning to release him slowly into all he is made to be.

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To my wild little Chadd, the outrageous boy, with the biggest heart of compassion, who stole my heart, made me a Mumma, and never fails teaching me life lessons.  I love life with him and I’ll hold on to these moments with you forever.

Xx

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To The Mumma Who Lost Her Baby

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To the Mumma who lost her baby

I see you, bravely showing up, smiling despite the whirling thoughts and questions churning in your mind.  I see the love, yet grief in your eyes as you look at your friend’s little baby and you wonder what your baby would be like if they were here with you now.

I know that those thoughts will never ever stop – with you every single day – what would their voice sound like, their laugh, would they be cheeky, or sensitive, or would they remind you of yourself.  Would they love the dirt squishing between their toes as they help you in the garden, would they have a love for music or art or sport.

What would their arms around your neck feel like, or their little lips on your cheek.  You can only imagine waking in the morning to their wild bed hair in your face and their little body jumping on top of you with contagious joy that it’s a new day.  You imagine their spot at the dinner table and what they would be chatting about if they were here with you, or would they be a fierce competitor and smash you in the family game of cricket on Christmas day.

And it’s hard…it’s so hard to face the reality every day, that you cannot hold them in your arms, or sing them a bedtime song, or kiss their rosy cheeks.  And that reality slaps you even harder when it would be their birthday, or the day that they slipped away from your arms of unending love for them.

But I want you to give yourself permission to mourn, and to grieve the life that you carried, and held dreams for, and nurtured and loved with your whole entire being.  And I want you to give yourself permission to celebrate – to celebrate the life that you carried and held dreams for, and nurtured and loved with your whole entire being.  And I want you to give yourself permission to speak to those who will listen, about your grief, and celebrate with others their life.

I know you feel mis-understood and I’m sorry that not everyone gets it.  My heart hurts for you that not everyone sees your pain or understands what great and unimaginable loss you have experienced.  Because your baby cannot be replaced by another.  Your baby will always be a part of you that you will never forget.   Many times you feel so consumed by the empty whole that is left in your heart, that you wonder if it will ever heal.  Your heart matters dear Mumma.  Your hurt matters.  And while it’s so hard to see beyond the pain some days, there will come a day where your heart will be made whole again.  Not because you have forgotten or moved on.  No.  But because you’ve allowed yourself the space to grieve and to wonder, to let the tears roll down and to let yourself be raw.  It’s ok to be desperately sad.   God is holding your heart, softly healing, love flowing over.

You will always be their Mumma, they will always be your baby, and one day, may you see them again, and what a beautifully exquisite meeting that will be.

Xx

The Year I Hoped Would Never Happen

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It’s birthday week this week – Our little Squish is one.  I know, I’m finding it hard to believe it myself.  Where did the last year go?  What did we do?  Since when was it October again?  Like always, I reminisced on the last year of our lives since Aracely was born, and the only phrase swirling around in my mind, shouting louder than anything else, was, “We survived.”

And Oh, I felt awful for thinking that…but all truth be told, we survived and that is exactly how I felt about the last year.    Not to say that it wasn’t beautiful and magnificent and a joy and a delight…it was all that, but it was more.  It was rough, it was horribly sleep deprived, emotional, hard, draining, it was lonely…it was everything I never imagined it to be and everything I hoped it wouldn’t be.

And while I stand on the other side, well and alive and full of hope and strength and joy, I can’t brush off everything that happened.  I can’t push it aside and forget it, because too many others are out there going through the same thing I just came through, and too many others are doing it ALONE.

But there is a reason there is a well-known saying from ages old that states, “It takes a village.”  Not just to raise well to do children, but to rise up a Mother, a warrior, a unique individual that will soar above everything Motherhood brings.  It takes a village…of support, of love, of trustworthy humans who stand beside, and if nothing else, listen, smile with them, cry with them, console them, hold them up and then, pull them up and equip them to use all that they have been through as steps to further herself and her family…

For me the first part of the last year was endless days of crippling anxiety that would taunt me almost daily. It was week after week of barely being able to function normally, of being a wreck consistently in front of my husband and children.  It was gathering up every bit of anything I had within me to go to church on a Sunday and keep myself together because I was too afraid I would be seen as unfit to be a Mother.  It was one time driving down the highway, hoping I could crash and go into a coma so I didn’t have to endure the constant swirling in my mind.  It was wanting desperately to escape, and wanting desperately to stay.  It was countless times of driving around in the car trying to conjure up something within me to walk into the hospital and ask for help, but backing out every time, for fear that our children would be taken off me.   It was considering how to adopt out our baby girl at 3am in the morning after months and months of no sleep because, I couldn’t see a way we would get through as everything continued.  It was feeling fine for days – even weeks – alternating with feeling completely overridden. One night I went in to my other children’s bedroom while they slept, to say one last goodbye because I didn’t think I had the strength to make it, and honestly, I thought that they would be better off without me.

Now I know that reading this sounds so dramatic and out there and crazy and many other things.  Call it what you will, but it was my reality for a large part of our third baby’s first year of life.  It was savage post natal depression and anxiety, and it was all that too many other Mother’s experience, and experience alone.  And they experience it alone because as much as we don’t want to be alone in it, it’s so very hard to bowl up to someone and say everything I just wrote.

It takes a village.

When I started my blog page – Wonderlands of Grace – it was my distraction, my outlet that let me put my thoughts on paper, to refocus on the greatness in my life, it was even somewhat healing.  All along I thought that I needed more grace to parent our children, to deal with the ins and outs of the day.  Until I realized, it wasn’t them, it was me.  It was me who needed that grace, it was me walking through my own wonderland of Grace that I didn’t even realize until later through the year.  It was a year of discovering, uncovering, and keeping my whole self planted in what I knew to be truth, while the waves tried to consume me.  It was being peeled back to utter rawness, and exposing the night season to eliminate its power over me.  And I won.  Not because I fought, but because I learnt to rest, and let go and trust, in my God who I knew was roaring over me – even when I felt like He wasn’t.  It was a year of seeing beauty in the ashes, of living from a place of abandonment and intimacy on my Father’s lap, close to His heart.  It was a year I am grateful for, and year that I will use as a step to my future.

So here is something I have wanted to start since not long after our baby girl was born.  Something small – an interactive support page for all Mother’s in their fourth trimester and beyond.  It is a page where you can go and blurt and other’s can encourage.  A page free of judgement.  A page of mother’s banding together to support each other so that No one ever has to stand alone in this season of Motherhood.  A page where you can meet and greet and swap contacts and stand beside other like-minded mother’s, whether you’re in a rough season or a great season. Where you can jump on at 4am after being up all night with a screaming baby and know someone will answer you because they’ve been up too.  Where you can vent your frustrations because you’ve been stuck on the lounge feeding your newborn ALL DAY and you’re so numb, you’re not sure if you can do it anymore.  Also, any older Mother’s who have been here and done this, please jump on! We would love to have you on board to equip and encourage.  I will also begin to release a fortnightly podcast in the coming weeks (but please be patient, I’m extremely un-technological here!).  This is in the hope that for anyone who was in the same position as I was this year, will have the opportunity to find support and encouragement and not for one moment feel alone, because we are created to be Joyful Mothers of children.

Follow this link to find out more! https://www.facebook.com/4thtrimestersupportandbeyond

So here’s to our little Squish.  Our beautiful, brilliant little baby daughter.  I love everything about her – her crinkled ear, her amazing, enourmous smile, her infectious laugh, and the way her nose wrinkles up when she grins, but most of all I love her heart and the way she loves people.  She has taught me so much in her first year of life and I love living life as her Mumma.

Love and Blessings all!

Felicity

Xx

 

 

Legends…Y’all are legends

 

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I sat in our doctor’s surgery today, 4 year old son next to me, fourth time we’ve been there to get rocks out of his ears.  Up until this afternoon, the worst I have felt as a Mum in this whole chapter was last week.  After spending an entire Sunday morning at the hospital waiting to get rocks out of ears, I swallowed my feelings of shame to get on with the day and go to our church baptisms.  Only for our son to fall in the pool, begin to drown and get rescued by neither me or my husband.

Worst.  Mum.  Ever.

We drove home and all I wanted was to be swallowed by the earth….or hide under a big fat rock.  That was until today…sitting at the Doctors…to be told I can’t keep bringing him back and I need to stop him doing it.  Well, hello Mr. Doctor, what do you think I’ve been doing all this time.  What exactly do you want me to do? Lock him in his bedroom for the rest of his childhood?  Tie myself to his arm so he never leaves my sight?  Because that’s very practical with two other children and a business.  Move to a concrete cell?  Wrap his face in plaster? Spend the rest of my life outside picking up the 300 trillion rocks laying outside?  I’m pretty sure I was so stunned, I just sat there in silence, blushing, listening to him scald me, and wishing with my whole, deflated heart that I could be a stuffed minion in a glass box being picked up by those metal claws and taken far, far away.

They know us at the hospital now.

They even talk about it…I found that out after I got scalded at the doctor today.  “Oh I heard that he did it last week too and you went to the hospital.”

But it’s the same at the hospital.  If they don’t remember him for the rocks when we walk in, it’s for the mince that was up his nose last year.

And I have to be honest, I’ve allowed the whole experience to take a hit on my Mummy heart, because in my mind the whole town of Forbes by now thinks that I am a terrible Mum and I have no control over our son.  Until I googled.  You do that when you need to know you’re not alone in the whole saga.  Because as a Mum nothing encourages and comforts you more than hearing that other people have shared in your same unfortunate predicaments.  Turns out there are endless stories of kids stuffing things up all sorts of bodily holes.  Popcorn kernels, beads, crayons, veggies, bullets, and of course rocks.  There’s even a youtube video on how to remove them, a wiki how instructional, and images…there is always images.  (Thank you Mr. Google. – uniting Mothers all around the world through mutual ear rock infestations).

To be honest, I didn’t even want to speak or think of this again.  Let alone write a blog about it…I was firm weeks ago that I was never writing about this.  I remember blurting out something about never doing it again and never speaking of it again to our son as we were driving away from the doctor, and then bursting out in tears.  Because there has been this overwhelming lie rolling through my head for the last little while that I suck.  That I shouldn’t even be a Mum and that if I have to take our boy back to the hospital for anything, they’re going to call docs.  (dramatic, I know)  Some days I don’t even realize I’m believing that about myself…until it’s time to go out in public and I scrape up every  ounce of Mum courage I can find, put on a brave stance and awkwardly socialize as best I can with the lie swirling around that everyone thinks I suck and my Mum licence should never have been issued.  I’ve been so afraid of other’s opinions or thoughts on what we should be doing different as parents or not doing that I was terrified to be seen or heard, and afraid of being me.  And I know I’m not the only one who’s thought that.  So here I am blurting this out, staring down the terror of being judged more, because I know I’m not the only one out there who has had the same insecurities and needs to know that despite the lies you believe and the judgements you may cop, you’ve got this.

Tonight I chose to redirect my thoughts to the truth of what really is.  Because the fact is, that I can never allow what I think other people think about me – be it true or not –  dictate how I see myself.  Let the truth of who you really are sink into your heart for a moment, and then dwell on that instead of the fear and the lies.

I’ve never been so hard on myself since being a Mum.  We are all too often our biggest critic aren’t we.  Well, parent of child who puts stuff in their ears, or parent of child who has never…you are all bloody legends.  Here’s to the parents of children who challenge the status quo, who smash your ego out of the park, who push the boundaries and who stretch you beyond belief.  Here’s to the parents of children who are easy-going, who play nice, and stick to the limits.  You’re all brilliant.  You are all strong and capable.  Even if you find yourself sitting in emergency next week with your child who has stuck a trombone up their rear…you.  DO.  NOT.   SUCK.

You guys are rockin it 😀

Xx

When Parenting Gets ‘Rocky’

This week has been exhausting. The little tribe has been sick and who knows that looking after small people is lots of work, but when they’re not well, it’s lots more work. And don’t get me wrong, I love them, I love taking care of them and nurturing, but this week was just draining.

All I wanted to do was sleep but our little baby who still feels like it’s necessary to wake who knows how many times during the night and protest sleeping still needed me, and then today, my boy decided to poke not one, not two, not even 8 – but a whole bunch of little rocks right down his ear hole. So only a few weeks after taking our toddler to the hospital for the same darn thing (her’s was only one rock 🙌) we had to bundle ourselves into the car and visit this place again to get my son’s harvest of rocks out.

I don’t know about you, but I often sit in the doctor’s room with whichever kid, and think about how I can break the details to the doctor of why we’re there to sound as normal as possible. But I’ve never felt like a great Mum any time I’ve sat there with my child and said, “He stuck a lump of mince up his nose and it’s stuck.” “She dove out of her highchair and I think she broke a bone.” “Her brother pushed her off the lounge and she landed on her head and started twitching.” “She has a rock in her ear.” “She was kicking around in the bath and inhaled the water and spent about 5 minutes on and off blue and gasping for air.” “He has a bunch of rocks in his ear.”…..

But sometimes being a Mum is just exhausting, it’s doing things everyday that are just not normal, it’s doing things that are gross (like sucking a piece of mince out of your child’s nose with your mouth) it’s getting bathed in snot and goobers, it’s sleeping sitting up nursing your baby to sleep, and wiping bottom after bottom. And no one sees you. No body sees you walking around the darkness of your house at 4am rocking your baby and desperately praying that she will go to sleep. No one sees you washing out the skid marks in your toddler’s underpants, no one sees you holding your child down so doctors can do tests, or while you sneak into their room at night and kiss them one last time before you go to sleep. And one the day is said and done and it melts into the night which is all too soon said and done itself, you’re left gathering up the energy to do it all again over and over every day. And it really is the best, it really is the hardest, it really is gross and great and disgusting and beautiful. It’s pushing yourself beyond what you can handle because you simply don’t have a choice and it’s doing absolutely everything behind the scenes.

But God sees you. He sees you in the deep of the night, in the midst of the mess. He sees you at the end of yourself, in the exhaustion, in the doubts and the stretching. He sees you when you don’t know anymore, and when you are on top of it all. He sees you behind the oily hair, the slobber stained jumper, the sleepy eyes and tears of frustration. He sees YOU. All of you. All that you are. Everything that makes you, YOU. Because even though your kids see you as a walking peace giving, food making, entertaining, snot soaking, comfort bringing milkshake, your much more than that.

You’re more than a Mum or Dad.

It’s easy to forget that.

But don’t.

Remember that next time you’re blowing through your kids mouth in front of a bunch of medical students to try and get a freaking piece of meat out of their nose. Remember that when you’re in the quiet of the night with a baby on your chest. Remember that when you look in the mirror and wonder where the old you went.

You’re an amazing, strong and capable parent raising mighty warriors who will change their world.

And that takes some hard core work!

Xx

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