Thursday, September 14, 2017

Being an ally to a child with anxiety

Do any of you follow Lucy on her Lulastic and the Hippyshake blog? I bet some you do! It's pretty cool over there. Well, Lucy has started up a website (and a movement!) called Parent Allies. 
I wrote a thing for it. I checked with my son before confirming I would do it. He contributed the last section. It's pretty important stuff. You might like to have a read, or forward the link to a friend or family member? 
Lucy just got a message from someone who read it and her words just made my day. That's the ultimate - to share our story and what we've learnt so that others walking similar paths may benefit. 
Messages like that are why I do what I do. xx

Here's the link:
How to be an ally to a child with anxiety

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Marriage in Australia - vote yes for love

I was in Sydney for work last week. The UK office made a wee (understandable) mistake in booking the hotel so it was an hour’s walk into the office every morning. It was a welcome bit of exercise and fresh air in days full of meetings and air conditioning. They were good meetings, with fabulous people and for a great cause. But still, airconditioned buildings. NZ has been grey and wet for months so even glances of the Australian blue sky were welcome.
On my walks into the city I talked with people at lights, got to look around, drank in the different bird sounds and smells. The topic I heard discussed most was the upcoming postal vote to legalise gay marriage. (Which on further investigation is the Australian government spending $122 million on a survey on the topic.) It is astonishing to me that this is even an issue. In my world, love is just love. Gender constructs come in later. I am queer and I suppose that helps my understanding but I have to wonder, do these people opposing gay marriage not know anyone gay? I find that hard to believe. How do you face up to your postman, boss, colleague, friend or family member and tell them you don’t think they should be allowed to get married?
Overhearing snippets of discussion about gay marriage from different people as I moved around Sydney I had to wonder what year we’re living in. I marvel that legalising gay marriage is even a question. Intimate same sex relationships have been around for gazillions of years – shouldn’t marriage just be marriage? Not allowing people to marry who they love is one of those periods in history humans will look back on and be amazed by. Can we just do the right thing and get on arresting climate change and working out how not to shoot each other please?

Thursday, September 7, 2017

What I realised in Sydney

After the first day of walking to the office and to meetings in the city my feet really hurt. Three days  of epic city walking I have massive blisters on the soles of my feet. I realised something. I spend most of my time barefoot. I work from home most of the time and go into the city for meetings and events and the occasional blast in an inner city office, but most of the time I am either barefoot or in gumboots. 
I walk a lot. My son and I walk the dog on our beach most days…but the ground is somewhat forgiving. Sand and soil kind of shock absorb and give way a bit under your weight. Concrete and cobblestones not so much.

So yeah. It’s a combination of distance covered, hard surfaces and well, actually wearing shoes for 12-hour chunks nonstop. Sigh. Country cousin come to the city. And ow. And UGLY! I don’t get the ‘unsightly bulge’ thing…except this one…one foot looks alien. Before you ask, no. No close up photos. I wouldn’t do that to you!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

A real life honest dating profile

My neighbour has been online dating like a beast. Not that I'm looking but she’s been egging me on to do the same but I just can’t do it. Besides, if I were wrote an honest dating profile it might look like this:

                                   Ageing feminist seeks maverick cohort
I am a writer with a wicked sense of humour who loves long walks on the beach and sedate bike rides. On Saturdays I might be found at the farmers' market with friends, at a protest or rally, giving a workshop, working in the garden, making bread, sewing or writing.

When I asked friends what words popped up when they thought of me they said: generous, courageous, deep-listener, wanderer, resourceful, thinker, intelligent, grounded, natural, kind and wholehearted. (So far, so good, right?)

I am an introvert with extrovert leanings. I love a party and can be the life of it, but mostly will be having an intense conversation with one person in a corner. After a busy conference, festival or giving a workshop, I may need to stare at a blank wall for 24 hours to recover.
I am older than I look and come with a warning. I wear makeup and shave my underarms, legs and bikini line but didn’t for twenty years and could revert to the aforementioned makeup-less and hairy state at any moment. You need to be cool with that. Ideally you’d be attracted to me, not my body hair, or lack of it.

Hopefully you won’t freak out when I hand over my reusable cup for takeaway coffee or pack my groceries in cloth shopping bags. Perhaps you have your own? That would be cute. We could match.

Due to the lottery that is genetics, I am on the slender side of curvy but it’s not from strenuous exercise. I’m not a fan. I have an active lifestyle, enjoy going on walks and do yoga but won’t be accompanying you on 12 mile runs or training for any marathons. I am equally ambivalent about activewear.

My friends also called me stylish. I get that from my Nana, who never left the house without her pearls and lipstick. For years I have sourced my clothes from op shops, trademe or make them myself because I don’t want to be part of a throw-away fashion world and frankly, buying new is both boring and out of my price range. Ethical is where the future is at. Call me an early adopter. Oh yes...and you won’t mind about the four boxes that contain my fabric stash under the bed. Or late night frantic sewing sessions that involve loud music and swearing. You might even be a compulsive creative yourself?

In my work life, I am a kick ass professional in the not-for-profit world. Or a social change agent, depending on whose asking. That means I work that ass off for a modest wage. I sleep well at night and love my work but I won’t be booking any overseas holidays this winter.

Oh. And I come as a package deal. I have an awesome son. Who is homeschooled. Oh, I can hear people scattering! But wait. There’s more. And did I mention the little dog, toothless ancient rescue cat, the ducks and the rabbit? If you are attached to your laptop cord or phone charger, don’t leave it lying around, one of us will chew it.

Yeah. Get more cats you say? Maybe so. I was just getting started.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

School holidays rantypants

My son and I were talking about different parenting styles today. The conversation grew out of overhearing two mamas at the mall. Their kids were all within earshot while they commiserated about how hard the school holidays were and how they couldn’t wait for the little monsters to go back to school. Jed couldn’t believe they said that in front of their children. Me neither.

I asked him how he would feel if he overheard his parent saying how you couldn’t wait for the school holidays to be over etc. He said he would be looking to be adopted. With a twinkle in his eye. Later that day a friend pointed out that there are loads of articles around with titles like How to survive the school holidays and What to do with the terrors for two weeks. I hadn’t even noticed.

I understand that the change in routine and extra noise, mess and expectation of giving the kids a good time can be hard. It’s challenging to take time off work and/or organise playdates for days on end. I really get that. Kids have a way of knowing where all our buttons are and in the process of getting their needs met or expressing discontent, they know how to push them. Repeatedly. And with vigour. And this parenting milarky is not a walk in the park, I get that. It’s freaking hard work at times.

But I also get that kids want to feel connected with their parents and look forward to the holidays and having more time with their families and friends. I imagine it must be hard for many kids to hear that mama or papa is gutted that they’ll be around. I have seen little lit up faces darken and fall on hearing comments like we overheard. It just makes me feel sad. I mean, adults wouldn’t talk to other adults like that. Well, not in front of them. Why do adults do it to kids?

I am big on being honest. Kids are bullshit radars, if I am smiling and saying ‘yay holidays’ but inside am thinking ‘holy crap, this is going to be 2 weeks of hell’ my kid is going to be onto me. There’s an internal shift that needs to happen there. I’m not saying we can’t download our woes with our pals or turn to wine or chocolate – those are all good things. I just want to put out a plea to be a bit more mindful about how to take care of all our hearts. Especially those little ones.

It makes me glad that Lucy of Lulastic and the Hippyshake blog has launched the Parent Allies website. You can check it out HERE. Yay for Lucy!