A Random Confusing Ramble

A Random Confusing Ramble

No matter how much we plan, hope or anticipate; life has a way of throwing a few curve balls and we just gotta go with it and be our best selves in the mix. This is easier said than done. I’ve had a hectic 2 weeks, it’s one of those times where you feel like you’ve just gone through years of storms when really it’s been 14 days. It’s one of those weeks where you just hold your head high, stay strong and go through the motions of each minute rather than each day. Sometimes we just have to take it moment by moment and that’s ok. My son was in hospital 1 week, then the next week my partner was too and that’s just a small piece of the cake… I won’t go into details because that’s not important right now.. right now I just need to write my randomness.

I know that this has affected my mental state, I’ve been wanting to write and draw but in even the slightest moment of time out – all I want to do is stay under the covers and watch Netflix.

But alas, I’m here, writing.

Th question is, what do I write about?

I guess I’ll start by what I’m thinking about. Right now, I have a whole day to myself and a gift card that was given to me by my aunty. I am in 2 minds about what to do, do I stay home, write, draw and be productive? or do I go out and get a haircut that I’ve been wanting to do for so long?

As a mum and partner/wife, we always put our kids first, what they need and what our partners need. When it comes to treating myself, I stop, I hesitate. Why the hell do I do this? I know I deserve it, I know I’m valued and I know it’s not a bad thing. So why do I sit at my desk thinking about if I should put it off or not?

It’s been a long time since I did anything like that for myself…  and I’m not talking about buying art supplies or a takeaway coffee. I mean sitting down and getting some TLC and beautifying. Lord knows I could use it haha.

I keep looking at the time. As someone with anxiety, time is important to me and I have a tendency of looking at time as if it’s running out instead of seeing how much time I have available. “It’s only 9:24 am and the day is just beginning”, most people would say.

I say OMG IT’S 9:25 NOW! I need to decide now and leave now before I run out of time, I’m not going to have time to do anything but if I leave like right now I will. 

I think I need to do 1 step at a time. Get dressed, find shoes, leave and go do my hair. It’s hard, but sometimes we need to give ourselves a kick up the butt and say GO AND DO THE NICE THING FOR YOU, THE WORLD WON’T BE IN CHAOS IF YOU DO AND YOU FUCKING DESERVE IT.

Wow, when I don’t have a topic in mind to write about, this comes out.. it actually feels good. Sometimes we have to get the stuff out of our head and onto paper, even if it makes no sense or even if it’s messy.

Jeez Louise, OK. I’m off.

Thank you for reading my completely weird, random, detached ramble. I do apologise if it was painful to read or confusing

Amy

xx

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“There Is No Such Thing As A Perfect Parent. So Just Be A Real One” Sue Atkins

“There Is No Such Thing As A Perfect Parent. So Just Be A Real One” Sue Atkins

Heya Parents!

Question: What do you guys think being a real parent means?

I personally think it’s about the people who show up, be present and really take ownership of and are committed to raising, supporting and showing unconditional love to that child. Also, a real parent is someone who struggles, who makes a mistake or who breaks down but get’s up and moves forward in love, strength and forgiveness.

Real parents are not squeaky clean or always having their shit together and have perfect homes with children who don’t kick and scream.

A perfect parent does not exist in this reality and we should stop striving to reach that perfectionism. Instead, we should stay present in our own family unit and try to be the best parent we can each day.

Don’t feel guilty if this week you can’t buy that toy your daughter’s been going on about all week. Don’t feel bad if, at the end of a long crazy day, you put your kids in front of the TV so you can have some time to yourself. Don’t get down on yourself if you can’t cook a home-made, natural, organic feast every night and some nights your kids might have Baked Beans on toast.

Be content in yourself that your daughter has all she needs and be positive that one day you will surprise her with that toy and she will love it!  Also, when you put that TV on, remind yourself that you deserve a moment’s peace while the kid’s zone out because you need it. You need to be okay with yourself so you can keep being an awesome parent and if that means having some chill time, then let it be. Lastly, Be bloody proud of yourself that you managed to be resourceful so that your children don’t have to go hungry because you got it sorted! 😀 And baked beans on toast isn’t going to kill them 😉

A real parent smiles, laughs, yells, cries and cheers. A real parent is someone that accepts that they don’t have all the answers but every day they are there, doing the best damn job as a parent that they can be.

Peace and Love

Amy

xx

It Was A Stand-Off

Hey Guys,

Keeping in with this weeks theme of FOOD. I thought I would tell you one of the stand-off’s I had with my boy about eating his dinner.

It was a day or so after his birthday and when my mum had left, she had put the leftover cake and sweets in the bottom of the fridge in perfect view for my son. This was a big mistake. Later when I told my mum the story she laughed… I truly believe she did that on purpose.

So I had cooked a really yummy dinner, all fresh ingredients with lentils, herbs, small diced veggies (so he would eat it) and some sausages cut up for him. He had had this before so I wasn’t expecting any dramas. When he saw it he said NO and demanded to have his dessert first and also that his dinner was yucky and he didn’t want to eat it yada yada yada. Right then, I started to feel the rage. In my head I was yelling OMG Child! I cook you dinner, slave away at the stove making sure you are eating healthy and this is how you play it!”
On the outside I remained calm and said, “No eat your dinner first without complaining and then you can have a treat”.

Then he replied, “No i dont like it!” (seriously child, yes you do, you’ve had it before without a hiccup so yes you do) this went back and forthe way too many times and that’s when I realised I needed to a new tactic: silence.

So I turned off the TV and we sat in silence. Me sitting at the table with his dinner and him sitting at the floor in front of the frige staring ahead holding his ground and refusing to look at me. At that point I was clearly furious but also a little amused at seeing his stern look at the fridge as if hoping his stare would magically open the fridge and serve him a plate of cake. (I should mention that when I have confrontations with the little man, sometimes it makes me laugh and I have to try really hard to keep my composure otherwise it all unravels)

I swear it felt like this night went forever, I wasn’t going to back down and neither was he. I was looking at him trying to send him telepathic messages; Come on little dude, it’s just easier to eat the damn food!

Finally he caved, mumbling and sooking as he shuffled back to the table and started to eat. After the first bite he says “mmm yummy!” and that was the end of it; tantrum child changed back into a happy child.

I sat there feeling proud and triumphant that I didn’t cave to his sugary needs but also slightly crazed and annoyed that we had to go through all of this, for him to just eat the food and realise that it was actually tasty after all!

What challenges have you faced when trying to get your kids to eat their dinner? What things have worked for you or what things have failed?

Have a sweet day!

Amy

xx

6 Things I Miss About Being Pregnant

6 Things I Miss About Being Pregnant

There are a ton of blogs about what we don’t miss about a specific subject. It’s always easier to list what we don’t like or what we don’t miss. Pregnancy seems to be one of them, you can always find blogs about what we don’t miss about pregnancy and the problems and setbacks that come with it.

Keeping my values in mind and what The Olive Tree is about, I wanted to share a list of things that I do miss about being pregnant. I’m not writing this to whinge or whine, nor am I writing this because I’m blindly ignoring the other crappy stuff that comes with pregnancy. I’m writing this to reminisce and to share the positives of this journey and to hopefully send a gentle reminder to those who are pregnant, who may be feeling bad, lonely or fed up, to cherish those authentic moments that only come to you in those 9 months. ❤

  1. The Butterflies

I remember when I first felt those little butterflies in my belly. That feeling was like no other, it was the first little movement just to let me know he’s happy and safe.

  1. No PMS!

9 whole months of no periods. That was one of the perks of being pregnant.

  1. Hearing his heartbeat

That sound on the monitor for the first time was music to my ears! It told me that my little man was safe and happy. That first sound of life is magical.

  1. Feeling him move inside me

The kicks, spins and double flips were all worth it. I mean, I had a big baby (9.4 pounds) so it was taxing on my body but I miss it! I miss that feeling. I miss feeling him kick to the beat when I listened to TOOL. I miss feeling him move when my spirits were down; that movement was a reminder of the little bundle of joy and love inside me.

  1. How strong and empowered I felt

Growing a human inside me made me feel strong. It made me feel womanly and empowering. I was doing the strongest thing my body was designed to do. Yes there were headaches, back aches, nausea, re-flux etc etc (I’m really painting a pretty picture hey?) but they were physical… they were feelings that were temporary. The feeling that remained with me was stronger than that, and that was what I would always try and focus on.

Being pregnant helped me recognise a strength in myself that I didn’t know I had.

  1. The Anticipation

I miss the anticipation of the big day. When we are in anticipation for an event, we are swimming in joy and in excitement. It’s that looking forward to the newborn cuddles, the first time they grab your finger and the first time they giggle. It’s watching them sleep and finally locking eyes with your little one after all this time… I miss that feeling.

I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed reminiscing.

Hope you all have a blissful day ❤

Amy

xx

The Olive Tree

The Olive Tree

So I wanted to write about my new venture called The Olive Tree – Create, Love, Inspire.

The Olive Tree will include my blog where I will write about parenting, creativity, personal inspirations, and my poetry. I will also be launching my Etsy shop where you will be able to purchase handmade milestone cards, post cards, art prints for the home, illustrated recipes for children and lastly it will include illustration services.

The Olive Tree came to me as a way to bridge my creative self with my values and my life as a mum, a partner and as a flawed individual.

For as long as I can remember, my art was my way of escaping and exploring. In my younger years, my art was my bubble of make-believe worlds to help me deal with the real world and to calm the chatter in my head. As I grew into womanhood, my art’s purpose became about collaborating with other artists and exploring my practice but there was a part that continued to use it as a tool in creating a space to run to when I needed the quiet or when I didn’t want to face reality. My art has and will always be an obsession but now my purpose for creating has changed.

For a while now, I haven’t felt that need to escape and to keep the two parts of me (art life and mum life) separate. My art’s purpose has changed as I have changed and grown in this life.

The Olive Tree is about bridging that gap between my art life, family life and self-growth. It’s also about promoting a more positive, creative and loving life. We need that in these times and we need to align ourselves with our values again and this is what I want The Olive Tree to reflect.

In the coming month, you will see snippets of my new designs and products which will go up on my Etsy Shop in a months’ time and you will also hear more about my story and more detail about what The Olive Tree will entail. I will also be revealing my new logo and will aim to do some video posts (yikes! Scary!). Lastly, I will be doing a free giveaway of my new work.

I am very excited to be launching The Olive Tree and am very grateful for the support and encouraged that has been given ne to start this.

Amy

Xx

10 Things I’ve Learned Since Becoming A Parent

10 Things I’ve Learned Since Becoming A Parent

1. The Parent Coffee

It’s rare to be able to be to sit and drink an entire cup of coffee in one sitting. Being able to savour every sip, snuggled up on the couch watching Netflix is a rare find. Nowadays I make my coffee and sip it in between making lunch for everyone, getting myself ready for work, which is done in between doing everything else like dressing my little man for daycare, oh and finding his socks! I’ve come to terms with the fact I will rarely find a matching pair, but those little buggers have legs I swear! I mean the places I find them, the mind boggles me. To add to my morning list includes making his breakfast, feeding the cats, packing bags, making sure the morning toilet trip happens so there are no accidents on the way to daycare and the usual random banter and chatting answering all his questions and getting into character; “Mummy, I am Optimus Prime and you’re Bumblebee”  Needless to say my coffee becomes cold but I get to have another try in the staff room at work (Looking on the bright side yeah ? 🙂 )

2. Sleep-ins Are A Thing Of The Past

My son hasn’t worked out the whole sleep in thing yet, so our day usually starts between 6-6:30 am, and on a good day it’s around 7 am. I attempt to get up 30 minutes earlier so I can get myself organized and throw some washing on. Farewell, sweet sleep-ins ❤

3. Nighttime Obstacle Course

I admit that my house isn’t always spotless at the end of every day. I try but come one, we aren’t robots, we are beautifully flawed humans. At 3 am when my bladder calls or my son needs me (more so when he was a bub), my zombified body stumbles out of bed, trying to remember where every Hot Wheels car, truck, action figure or lego piece lies so I don’t hurt myself and wake up the house. FYI I am incredibly clumsy so this is a real challenge and I pretty much get myself in trouble everytime.

4. Stepping On Lego

Oh MY WORD does it hurt!! Honestly, it is real pain when you step on those little demons. The worst times is when you’re rushing around trying to get everything ready for work and in the middle of the night.

5. Activating Your Inner Ninja

When you become a parent, you quickly learn how to leave your baby’s room like a ninja. The mini-me in your mind is screaming “DON’T WAKE THE BABY!” While you stealthily avoid every creak in the floorboards, and every toy on the ground (especially those annoying toys that talk if you press their bellies or hands). At times this requires the army crawl and making sure you keep to the shadows. My mantra “Don’t make a sound, stay out of sight and for God sake don’t bang the door!” Shutting the door without making a sound is an art.

6. Endless Washing

It. Never. Ends. I used to think it was such a hassle when it was little old’ me. Oh, how I feel foolish now.

7. Snacks Snacks Snacks

The bottomless pit that is your child’s stomach. How does it work? Where the hell does it go?? Example, they have breakfast, minutes later ‘I’m hungry Mummy’. They have 3 meals plus morning tea and afternoon tea and yet it’s just not enough! Now when I hear my son say “I want a snack mummy” I don’t hear the words, it just becomes this familiar annoying sound that will stay on repeat until the child is fed or until I say NO MORE child! This fridge isn’t magic, I don’t have the spell that refills it when it starts to get low, I really wish I did.

8. Stains & Spills

I am so grateful for floorboards, it is so easy to wipe up the endless spilled drinks, food, paint, play doh and all that other sticky and smelly stuff that children get into or spew up. I chose my couch purely on the colour; it’s dark chocolate so it hides stains like a pro. I do clean it but I mean there’s only so much you can get out of a marker that’s inked on it. I will never understand why some parents choose the white furniture when they have babies and toddlers and even teenagers; teenage boys can be just as grubby.

9. Bathroom Audience

If you have cats, this could relate to you too. When you become a parent, closing the door is just pointless and more of irritating because you constantly hear the ‘mum, mum, where are you, open the door, are you nearly finished? I want to see, what are you doing?’ so you keep it open because 1. you need to hear what’s going on, being left alone to their own devices without an adult present is dangerous territory and 2. well I don’t want to be yelling out having to explain everything and trying to soothe my son if he starts crying because I’ve closed the door on him. Cats and little humans just want your company when you actually need alone time and bathroom time becomes a bonding experience while all dignity goes out the door.

10. Wiping Another Humans Bum

This is the one my partner suggested when I asked him. He came into our lives when my boy was almost 2 and he was thrown into the deep end of wiping butts, cleaning poop and changing nappies, just like any other parent. He definitely didn’t get a ticket out of that one. Cleaning another human behind can be scary, funny, intense, stomach-churning and just downright ugh.. but you get used to it and you learn the tricks to make this process move quickly and efficiently. It’s just part of the parcel when becoming a parent whether it’s from birth or a couple of years in. To be honest, if it’s all contained in the nappy then you have a winner; it’s a whole other level when it’s an explosion and your baby decides it’s so interesting that he must play with it.

If you relate to these 10 or have others and or stories you would like to share, please leave me a comment, 🙂

I hope you enjoyed reading and I will post again soon! x

Amy

Ajoy Art Living

 

My Parenting Values

My Parenting Values

Good Morning!

Today I want to share with you, my own parenting values. Values are so important as it shapes our parenting styles and techniques and it helps us keep us in check and understand ourselves better; when you know what you value, you are able to keep yourself from losing your way. Over time I’m sure this list will develop but for now, these are the values that I want to share with you guys. FYI, it is a long post so feel free to skim along the headings 😉

Creativity and Play

My home is a creative home, my partner and I are big creatives and we really make an effort to give our little one time and space to paint, draw, play dress-ups, build forts and play in make-believe worlds. Encouraging a child’s creative mind unleashes a rainbow of ideas, colours, shapes, critical thinking, discovering and a whole lot of “Eureka!” moments.

Humour

Embracing the funny side of life and using humour to connect with my little one is big. My partner is incredibly funny, witty and a wizard at talking in the most hilarious voices and he uses a lot of that to talk to my son to teach him about things or to make him laugh if he hurt himself. For me, I love taking on odd characters when my son comes up to talk to me about something in a funny voice. It just lifts our household up and there is nothing more beautiful than the sound of our child’s laughter, am I right?

Learning Without Looking For The A+

My partner and I came from similar and yet different upbringings. We were both raised by single mums but I was nurtured to learn and stay in school whereas my partner left school early and learned the hard way of having to teach himself a lot of basic knowledge. Even though I was more studious, I had to always work my butt off to just pass in some classes. We both are grateful for what we have learned over the years and don’t take that for granted. We want our little one to value the process of learning (however it may shape to be) and growing. It’s not about the end result of that A+ or A++… if he continues to learn and grow, then he is succeeding.

Honesty

I always tell my son, to be honest, to always say the truth even if it’s a ‘sad truth’ or an ‘i-was-wrong-truth’. In our home, we all will get it wrong at times, we all will have our sad truths to say have wrong-doings to admit, and that’s OK. I would rather my son be open and honest with me instead of hiding and lie for fear of being faced with aggression and judgment. Sometimes we may not like the things our family members say or do, but we will always love them, and that is what I hold on to when there is a sad truth to face.

Family Connection

Family time or what my son calls ‘home days’ is super important for me and my family. It helps my partner and I stay in perspective and brings us back down to what our son craves. He just wants our love and our attention (easier said than done at times I know). The other night I was exhausted, I laid down on my bed while my partner was on the bed working on his laptop and my son comes up lies down between us and told my partner to put his laptop down and cuddle. He said, “you always disappoint me when you work”. That was heart-breaking to hear. It was only a few words but man it was heavy. He is too little to understand that we need to work and can’t always play and cuddle but he isn’t too little to know that family connection and affection matters so much. That right there was such a special moment for both of us and a big reminder of our value of family connection

Some ‘Me’ Time

When I say ‘me’ time, I mean individual time. I need my ‘Mumma time’ and my partner needs his time and my son even needs his own down time. Having a bit of that in the routine can calm down emotions, centre ourselves, regroup and re-energize. It’s important for my son to learn to be content in his own company and to have that time. It isn’t selfish or mean, it’s important for a family unit to have their independence; a lot can be learned in being present in the company of your own mind.

Commitment

Commitment is such a heavy word and one that I have always hold close to my heart. With my parenting, I believe its important for my son to learn how to commit to something and see it through, to stick to your word and learn how to jump the hurdles instead of walking away when the path gets rough. The joy of coming out the other side, whether it’s learning a new skill like swimming or riding your bike is not measurable. it’s too wonderful for words.

Listening

Listening is a big one! Genuinely listening to each other helps us value each other more and understand each other so our family grows stronger healthier and happier. We need to listen to understand and/or empathize, not just to reply.

Humility

None of us are saints, we get it wrong sometimes, we all hurt each other sometimes. It’s important to teach my little one that saying ‘sorry’ and owning his mistakes shows strength and courage. As a mum, partner, artist and individual, I am still learning and sometimes I do the wrong thing or say the wrong thing and by saying ‘mummy is sorry’ and asking to be forgiven, shows my little one that we are all on the same team playing this life game and that Mummy’s don’t get the get-out-of-jail-free card.

Discipline To Teach

I don’t discipline to punish. I value discipline as a way to teach, learn and grow. It doesn’t mean that I don’t believe in consequences. I most certainly do. I just believe that there needs to be something to learn from it, otherwise, there is no growth, only pain, anger, confusion, and resentment.

Faith

I have always had my faith in God and I want to share that with my son. I want to teach him that he can have his own unique relationship with God, if he wishes, and that he never is alone. My partner is an atheist so this has made for some heated discussions but at the end of the day, if there is love, respect, and acceptance of each other, then there is room for diversity, for faith and for knowledge.

Acceptance

Accepting everyone’s imperfections, differences, pet peeves and ways of doing things helps keep a home healthy, happy and strong. I want to teach my son that there are some things we can change and control and some things we can’t and the sooner we can accept that, the closer we are to having peace of mind.

Celebrating Milestones

From every birthday, Mother’s Day. Father’s Day, to my son learning to count to 50 and to spell his name, I love to celebrate. Whether it’s a simple hooray and a cuddle or a party, it’s so important to me that I teach my son to acknowledge achievements and milestones, to honour it and feel proud.

Gratitude

Learning gratitude starts in the home. Being grateful for the food in our bellies, for the person who cooked it and for the person who shopped for it. We may not have a lot but we have a roof over our heads, my son is always fed and has what he needs. We may not be ‘rich’ in the conventional term of the word, but we are very rich in spirit and in our family connection and that is something to be grateful for.

Responsibility

I believe that a positive way of teaching my child the importance of responsibility comes down to my own mindset about it. If I am complaining about what I must do, what’s expected of me and getting angry about it all, my son will be learning to connect responsibility to something negative, and it will make it hard for me to teach him about it. Giving my son little responsibilities teaches him independence and helps his development. At the moment, my son always wants to help with the cooking so I get him to look after little things that I know is safe and that he can do. I also I get him to be responsible for putting away his toys at pack up time when I’m cleaning (sometimes this is a challenge!)

Trust

My family needs to trust each other, I need to be able to trust my partner and vica versa and my son needs to be able to trust us. When there is trust, we can be more honest, open and show our emotions and scars. In our home, it’s important that we feel safe to be our authentic selves without fear of judgment or ridicule and to trust that we all have each other’s backs.

Routine With A Side Of Spontaneity

Children need routine, I need routine (especially as I am a mum with anxiety) but it’s also healthy to keep things flexible and splash some spontaneity in our weeks to keep us on our toes.  Routine helps the house run more smoothly and keeps my headspace in check as well as my sons as he knows what to expect but I also want him to learn that it’s ok to wing it from time to time 😉

Sorry for the long post, I hope you guys enjoyed reading it or just skimming the headings 😊 Feel free to leave a comment and share your own values as a parent.

Until next time, I hope your days are magical and your nights are dreamy

Amy

Ajoy Art Living

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