Young GIRLS out there – listen to that inner voice!

Listen to your inner voice. When things go wrong for you, when you get a dent in your car, drop things or hurt your finger: it’s a gentle nod to you that you’re not listening to that inner voice. That you have been caught up in thoughts or actions that are draining you more than giving you energy, that it’s time to stop and listen. Do something good for yourself, something that grounds you. Go for a walk in nature, be silent (NO – Facebook friends do NOT need to know, this one is for YOU), just be open to what messages your inner voice is trying to get through – you have powered through not listening, so it needs to “trip you up” in bigger and bigger ways and shout to you, as long as you’re still not listening. Meditation sounds like such a Hare Krishna thing, I know. I only tried it out last year – and it’s not that dangerous!! It’s really just forcing you to be absolutely still. What is that inner voice telling you? Are you chasing fame and others’ approval, where really you could be doing all the same things you are doing, but … More Young GIRLS out there – listen to that inner voice! »

WORKING mums – why does that combination of words even exist??

Growing up in Denmark, I was very fortunate to never think of myself as a girl a such, or what girls could or should do. Denmark is so egalitarian (seen from the other side of the globe), both men and women drop off and pick up kids, they all work, they all cook, do the washing, become prime ministers or nurses. And kids grow up as kids, not as “girls” or “boys”. It had gone so far, that I started feeling sorry for the Danish men, having no turf left to be just men, having become so understanding of their women’s needs and thoughts, not taking space to be REAL men (what is that anyway?). But at the same time I admire them highly – for within generations to have morphed into a new species of understanding humans – not just understanding women, but understanding life and what’s important. I felt SO offended when moving to Australia and learning combinations of words I had hoped to never know: Class mum, Working mum, Soccer mum… And I nearly complained to the head master when we at Mother’s Day got a pre-printed Thank you card from our daughter from school, where she … More WORKING mums – why does that combination of words even exist?? »

Washing clothes – is it that time of YEAR again?

We do 2-4 loads of washing on the weekend. That’s it. You may think we wear dirty clothes. Well no, we just dig deeper in the drawers and the kids wear the smaller size uniform they don’t really like wearing until the next sunny day. We’re also smart using layers, so you only change the small tops underneath and re-use the outer layers. And some weekends we don’t wash at all – by choice (see my prior blog!) You will also survive not having clean linen on the beds every week/month/quarter (insert your current benchmark). Believe me. And you can live a healthy life with some dirt and spots in your life. As for sports clothes: some can be worn twice (yes!), and if it’s the kids’ sports clothes piling up: teach them to put a load on themselves. Much better. Four years back or so, when colleagues on a Monday were discussing which amazing cafes or outings they had been on for Mother’s Day, I (proudly!) proclaimed that I had made it the BEST Mother’s Day ever – by getting the kids to do all the washing. They had tried it before, but this Sunday I sat on my … More Washing clothes – is it that time of YEAR again? »

Just STAY HOME one weekend – just one!

How come some people think it’s OK to say yes to an invite – and then comes the day, they drop out? I’ve seen this happen quite a lot here, and my Danish heart goes: that’s not ON! When you say yes, it’s a yes, no excuses. Even better: say NO. It’s OK – you probably know you won’t have time/energy/feel like it, so be honest up front and decline. Do you know what’s much better? PLAN for a weekend with nothing on now and then. And driving kids to this and that doesn’t count – teach them to take the bike/bus/walk or ask another parent to car pool and take turns. You don’t NEED to be at the sideline every weekend. Really. You don’t. And I’m not mean here – I enjoy watching my kids’ activities, being there to support and see how they’re doing. But don’t ever use it as an excuse. It’s your choice – and it’s OK to plan for a weekend without you there. You may have guessed my kids now have started having 2 digits in their age. But still with small kids, you would be amazed how they would enjoy watching and joining … More Just STAY HOME one weekend – just one! »

Letting go – or GO AWAY for a week or two!

Little did I know that all my (well intended) efforts to get the family to eat healthy and exercise more were in vain. I pushed, I was the example, I poked and annoyed them all. And then went away for two weeks for work. Leading up to my departure, the rest of the family was having hallucinations about a dinner plan alternating McD, Subway and pizza, NO carrots in sight (read my previous blog and you will know why), eating in front of the TV every night and on they went. Returning – with a slight fear of seeing a family with their teeth falling out, pimples all over their pale faces – I was amazed to be welcomed by the most happy bunch ever! They had had no one harrassing them, had kept a smooth flow. I realised that you can only set goals for yourself and lead with your example. But you can’t force the horse to drink. You can help them put words to what healthy means for them – and what they could fancy doing that would be fun. But don’t think YOUR world and ways are right for everyone else. Point taken. The happy ending … More Letting go – or GO AWAY for a week or two! »

CARROTS are good – but stints of CRAZINESS even better

What’s this thing with carrots? Making dinner – having some meat, some pasta and then VOILA some cold, peeled carrots, and I actually feel that I haven’t failed totally as a parent, that there is some healthy angle to the plate. Peeling a whole bag of carrots, slicing them and leaving them in a tub of water in the fridge is my personal contribution to the family health. When not peeled, they go old (except for the odd one offered to a horse or bunny) – but when ready-to-grab, magically they evaporate within days. I’m NOT good at cooking. It’s not a passion of mine. Unfortunately not my husbands either – but how we deal with that is for another day. But I do care about what we eat, and I know we are more happy when we eat good food. Carrots were my first statement. I’ve recently discovered kale – because it was our bunny’s favourite feed (and she knows quality, will always choose fresh over supermarket veggies). You never know where your inspiration will come from, right? And this is the point, I know I’m not normal. But how good is that to show your kids? That carrots … More CARROTS are good – but stints of CRAZINESS even better »

Time management to perfection – including time to relax!

Planning ahead can keep you out of most trouble. You knew, didn’t you? When you get super stressed and angry at everyone in traffic, it’s really because you left 15 minutes later than planned, right? So count backwards, and get the things you REALLY need to get done, done in time. And then DON’T start seven other things that you just thought of and may be able to pull off. Don’t be a time optimist – be a time realist, then YOU will be happier. And when you know that you get really grumpy if you don’t get any food for hours, then make sure to always have some slices of carrot or almonds/raisins in your bag. I must look like a hamster, always bringing food – and starting the morning laying out my small snacks at my desk. But uh, I tell you: it’s for the good of all of us!! Don’t use planning as an excuse to get even more stressed (and stressing others out). Some mornings my husband actually asked me to get out of there, because I was planning, managing and shooting out orders and stressing them all out. So: how to use this skill to … More Time management to perfection – including time to relax! »

No PETS allowed – well, maybe a bunny if you force me

On the subject of nature, I never had a pet. Well, my brother had a budgie and a lovely dog that became our family friend, but I never went close to the bird cage and really hated how his room smelled of old cucumber. I did walk the dog now and then (my brother paying me to do so?!!), and did confess a few sad feelings to it. But no big connection. So when our kids started asking for pets, it was a clear NO. They’re messy, needs feeding and cleaning. And I would freak out if anyone put a bird near me – and pretend to be a statue if someone’s dear cat got close to me in the couch. After long discussions, we agreed on two gold fish in a bowl. The kids lost interest after a while, one died and we donated the other to after school care’s collection. We did try having a dog for a week. A rescue dog that we checked out carefully, but as it started to settle in to the new surroundings of our home, its issues came out full force with bared teeth, biting and compulsive behaviour. So we decided to … More No PETS allowed – well, maybe a bunny if you force me »

NATURE??? No thanks, I tend to kill plants within a 20 cm radius.

I’m a city girl. Had no idea what the stuff in the supermarket looked like originally (vacuum packed slices of ham.. no real connection to a live animal, and frozen vegetables.. no idea how they would look in nature and if grown on bushes or in the ground). Did go to a farm with school once and wrote a nice essay about it. But no idea or interest in the missing link. Did have a phase with cacti (in my window sill) – because they could survive even if I didn’t look their way for weeks. And did like when our family one year got peas out of some square metres of garden patch. A neighbour once asked me to look after her pot plants. Bad move. Over watered most of them and had no idea. Nearly as bad a move as when I became au pair after only having looked after one kid for one night. Amazing what people trust you with, just because you look kind of normal and sound sensible. A school girlfriend did give me a book with easy steps to follow to look after the most popular pot plants. Did manage to keep a succulent … More NATURE??? No thanks, I tend to kill plants within a 20 cm radius. »

You can’t afford it? Well, well.. how much STUFF do you buy??

Let’s talk about the endless stuff you spend money on today that you could stop. Not only would you save money – I bet you would also save time. How good is that for a win-win? How much did you spend on takeaway, because none of you thought about dinner before it was too late? On work lunches you wander off to buy (amazing how needing lunch can surprise us every day!). On impulse bought clothes/bags/shoes that you don’t REALLY need? How much time did you spend shopping? Only great if you love Westfield more than your passion (see blog 1!). How easy is it for money to just evaporate? Get a financial advisor – we did! How boring and grown up does that sound??? Well, I know ours has saved us not only money – but arguments and sleepless nights. We had created quite an economical mess by moving to the other side of the world. Then this guy asked some key questions on goals and mindset around money. Hey, he even made me cry when asking whether we wanted to retire in Forster (no offence Forster, back then that was just the saddest thing I could imagine – … More You can’t afford it? Well, well.. how much STUFF do you buy?? »