My Top 3 Favourite Blog Posts of 2015!

top posts 2015It’s a tradition in our family to pick our Top 3 favourite things – Top 3 favourite holidays, Top 3 favourite dinners, Top 3 favourite movies and so on. So it seems only natural that here on Mummy2mum I’m going to follow in that tradition and pick my Top 3 favourite blog posts of 2015.

When I sat down to write this today, I thought it would be quick and easy, but what’s the fun in taking the easy option?

While reflecting upon the year that’s been, three words jump out at me:

Challenge, change and choice.

I love to find themes that connect things, so I’ve chosen my top three posts that reflect these themes. I hope you enjoy.

Challenge

The year began with challenge.

Welcoming in the New Year surrounded by good friends was a greater blessing than we knew, because for one of our dearest friends, it was to be his last.

Like a thief in the night, brain cancer stole a little more of him every day. We said goodbye in March, and these were my words for him: You.

Change

This blog was born of change.

A deep, yearning to hold on to that maternal connection between a mother and child.  The change from dependence to independence was accelerating at a pace I just didn’t know how to keep up with and it frightened me.

The theme of change is central to many of my posts, but none articulates it more beautifully than this: The Narrative of Motherhood: Letting Go Whilst Holding On.

Choice

The beauty of choice, the agony of indecision.

It’s a constant dilemma, but as a Gemini I’ve always lived like this; torn between many possible futures, all of which sound exciting! This year I tried to do a bit of everything; teaching, writing,  training, parenting, nursing, cooking, entertaining, networking, business building and counselling. By spreading myself too thinly I was rarely present in the moment, always thinking about the next thing.

A return to the girl I was in 1988 helped remind me of the woman I want to be in 2016: Where Love Grows.

My Affirmation For 2016

Thank you to the many followers, readers and supporters of Mummy2mum during my inaugural year of writing. It has been a wonderful experience that has opened many new doors.

In 2016 I am making the choice to be present in the moment, to seek adventure and take risks and to live life with passion and purpose. I hope you’ll join me.

Wishing you a fun filled New Year!

 

Mapping 16 Years of Change

Do you ever wonder where those extra KGs came from?  I remember a time when I felt great, could fit into a size 10 and wore a bikini, but it’s hard to pin-point when that actually changed.

I often blame pregnancy and think its been all down hill from there in terms of my fluctuating weight. But recently I had a bit of a shock when I created a time line mapping my weight over 16 years!

I was intrigued to see how it panned out historically, and understand what triggers (if any) I could find to explain why I’ve been battling with the scales for all this time. The time line was based on photos, feelings, memorable events (eg my wedding) and  some actual data (old Weight Watchers log books).

weight loss over time

Charting Life’s Changes

When I look at my weight historically, I can see that pregnancy was a huge factor that contributed to my early weight increases, but other peaks in my weight gain occurred around moments of disruption, such as an international move, miscarriage and relationship stress.

It’s easy to see the link between stress and weight gain, but I hadn’t considered the impact my partying had on my weight!! When we moved to Oz in 2005 we set about making friends and having big social gatherings. Each time we moved, (3 interstate & 1 international) we had to start over, and each time the partying begun again with a whole new set of people!

By 2008 you can see I was 10 Kg heavier than when I left the UK!! Much of that is as a result of living in the extremes of life; either having a really good time partying or having a really bad time missing family! Before I created this timeline I would never have realized that my current weight gain stems from this, I was still blaming pregnancy!!

Creating the timeline has been an inspiring activity, as it’s put my current achievements into perspective. I can see a long-term downward trend forming and this has helped to pop some of my negativity bubbles!

Popping The Negativity Bubbles

When I first began my 6 week challenge back in August I was giving myself a hard time about believing I could do it. I was habitually telling myself that I was incapable of change because I’d been stuck at the same weight for as long as I could remember. Well, this timeline certainly cleared that one up; I’ve been all sorts of weights and rarely the same weight!!

I’ve blown another myth out of the water too – the ‘I always put weight back on’ myth! I have proof that I’ve been steadily losing since 2008! That loss wasn’t significant enough to be seen on a weekly basis, and it’s only over a few years that I can see it has happened.

But you know what the most exciting thing of all is? The most recent shift…it’s been 10 years since I was my current weight and that really is something to celebrate (but not too much!)

Talking of Celebrating

The impact of those daily choices add up over time, and just like the slow increase of 10kg after arriving in Oz, now I control the choices that will see the steady decrease; and that does mean no less wine!

The choices I make on an hourly, daily and weekly basis are the little changes that will make the big differences over time. This inspires me to make every choice a good one!

(And if I have a splurge on a piece of cake, then I will make the next choice a better one!)

(As opposed to saying ‘f**k it!’ and eating ice-cream, chips and chocolate after the cake because I might as well trash the day not just the meal!)

Choices…you have the power!!

 

Lisa is participating in a Mind & Body Transformation program at Advanced Fitness.

Sign-up to mummy2mum to receive weekly posts by email & follow Lisa’s ups (and downs,)discover recipes and empower yourself to change.

 

Own The Change You Want to Achieve

strong powerful women

Often the biggest challenge I face is self-doubt.

I have so many aspirations, dreams and passions, but I doubt my ability to realize them.

Notebooks overflow with my ideas, but it is Doubt that keeps them cocooned within the pages; Doubt that whispers ‘stick to what you know’; Doubt that says ‘it’s too risky’.

I feel as if I’m teetering on the edge of a precipice, to step back is to give power to my doubts, to step off  is to believe in my own power.

The power to change.

Transformation

I’ve been embracing 6 weeks of change on my Mind & Body Transformation Challenge, and that has ignited a spark within me, the spark of self belief.

I can change when I commit with passion and purpose to my vision.

Changing my body has been a great; I’m stronger, leaner and healthier, but changing the way I think has been profoundly liberating. Through personal reflection, research and positive connections I’ve started to change the  toxic habits that were barriers to my success.

Knowing and understanding myself has enabled me to tap into something I didn’t know I had; my own innate  power! It might sound like a cliché, but you have to own the change you want, or else it doesn’t truly belong to you.

I own the change I have created.

And this week I’m about to make another change; I’m stepping off the precipice!

I have an opportunity that both excites and terrifies me; up till now I have been giving power to my doubts by doubting my power to succeed.

Today I accepted that opportunity and stopped doubting my power.

Do you experience self-doubt? What do you do to chase the doubts away?

Sign-up to follow Lisa at mummy2mum to see where this opportunity takes her next!

 

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The Narrative Of Motherhood; Letting Go Whilst Holding On

letting go while holding on to teensI’m living a contradiction as a Mother of teens; I’m letting go whilst holding on!

I know that I’m not getting the balance right because there are times when I’m holding on so tight that my children feel like a life line.

How do I even begin to let go?

Holding On

I’m holding on to the threads that I wove during my years as a Mummy. The long cuddles, the kissed fingers, the laughter and tears that have created a blanket of mothering spun from threads unique to me and my children.

As they enter the teenage years that fabric is worn thin; it’s been wrapped around their shoulders as they tossed and turned with fever, it’s cushioned them from hurtful words in the school yard and comforted them in the dark of a sleepless night.

These last few months have found me patching and repairing it, but the blanket is unravelling.  I’m desperately trying to hold it together, while my children are throwing it off, emerging from my maternal cloak of protection. Independent. Separate. Grown.

And in the silence that surrounds me, a question forms.

When did mothering become smothering?

My approach to mothering is fulfilling my need to nurture, hold and protect, but is it still serving the needs of my children?

Letting Go

My boys are becoming young men and their needs are changing.

This change was the prompt that began my blogging journey 12 months ago.

A year on and this journey has led to a defining moment.

The moment when my narrative of motherhood had to change, adapt and grow.

I need to write a new story.

When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.

Viktor E. Frankl

Time is relentless, and the boys are growing up. I cannot change this.

What I can change is my myself.

Transformation

The ultimate culmination of growing up is the move from dependence to independence; the transition from relying on others to relying on yourself.

As a Mother I also need to make that transition.

I can’t continue to create a sense of self based on my children.

I want to grow with my children, in love, connection and independence.  This means discovering and re-forging my own identity outside of Mum, in much the same way that they need to find their identity outside of being my child.

I need to become independent of my children.

Who am I when I’m not Mum?

I’m really not sure yet, but I know I want to find out.

 

Plunge into Change

Follow my journey to discover an identity independent of Mum by opting-in below.

 

 

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The Junctions Of Motherhood; 15 Moments That Will Change Your Parenting Journey

change doesnt care if youre readyThis week I became the mother of a 15 year old!

Excuse me a minute while I pick myself up off the floor! Did I really just write that? I thought that only happened to other people?!

When Biscuit was a baby I would meet Mum’s who said they had a 15 year old child. Child!? I would think, that’s not a child, it’s a dependent adult!  I would foolishly think –

I’ve come a long way since then (15 years to be precise!)! And I can assure my 28 year old self that I am no less a Mummy just because I’m called Mum and don’t have to wipe anyone else’s bum!

Surprising Significance

Parenting is full of surprises (beginning with the birth), and it’s those unexpected moments that are most deeply imprinted on me. Unexpected tenderness, surprise laughter, fleeting connections with my children in our chaotic schedule. These are the moments that catch me off-guard;  full of raw, unqualified emotion which leaves its mark in memories.

If 15 years of parenting has taught me anything it’s this;

Meaning is found in reflection, and moments of significance gain focus with hindsight.

Children change all the time, reshaping like wet clay, but there are moments when the clay hardens and sets; these changes form the new shape of your future together.

Junctions of Motherhood

Change represents the junction points of motherhood; the moments where your journey together will take a new direction. To plot this journey of change I map backwards; retracing my steps to a certain junction and reflecting on its significance.

Some time ago I missed a junction; the last time I carried my boy in my arms. Like the many actions of parenting I did this without thinking; holding him tight, straining with the weight of him, never realising that this was the last time I would carry him. The change in his size reached a tipping point when pitted again my strength, and suddenly Dad carried him or he had to walk.

It’s a practical progression, but when I reflect on it I see it’s significance; one phase of motherhood has drawn to a close.

Would it have made a difference if I had seen these junctions approaching? Probably, by bringing my awareness to the small moments of everyday parenting, and cherishing their fleeting nature knowing they wouldn’t last.

 So here are my 15 junctions of motherhood.

1. The day toys were off the birthday list

I never thought I’d hear this sentence leave my sons lips, but as Biscuit’s 11th birthday approached he declared ‘I’m too old for toys’! If I had known this one was coming I’d have paid more attention to the last toy I ever bought him!

2. The last kiss in public

If you’re anything like me you’ll love that little hug and kiss goodbye at school each morning. There are warning signs with this one, kissing begins to be scaled back; removed from the classroom goodbyes get briefer and briefer until suddenly its a; ‘See ya later’ over the shoulder as they stroll off with their mates. You can expect this one to start anywhere between 5 and 9 years old.

3. The day an Ikea meatball record was broken 

One of our family traditions is to visit Ikea once a year, spend huge $ on home-improvement fantasies projects, stock up on enough tea-lights to live in a cave for the next ten years going home stuffed with meatballs and chips! There is a certain amount of kudos according to how many meatballs one can consume, and we each have a ranking. This week saw an shock win in this annual tradition, Biscuit stole the title of Champion Meatball Eater from his Dad, eating a massive 23! Look out for this one at around 15 years old (and carry a vomit bag with you)!

4. The day he washed and dried his own clothes

This is one that you need to nurture; since he was 10 years old I have shown Biscuit how to work the washing machine, at first he just packed it then slowly progressed to adding detergent and setting it. But it was still a wonder and a marvel to come home and find that not only had he sorted his school uniform out, he had washed it, dried it and had even thrown a few of my lights in for good measure! You can expect to see this from 10-14 years.

5. The day I relied on him to cook for the family

A bit like the washing machine, I suggest you encourage cooking skills to develop early, and build to independence with small steps. On this occasion it was a stressful night, with Dad home late from work and me dashing off to soccer training with his brother. Someone had to feed the family, and that someone was Biscuit!  Read the soul searching this junction prompted here in Mother’s Contradiction; Nurturing Independence In Teens .

6. The nightmare that didn’t wake me

‘I had a bad dream last night.’ This matter-of-fact statement bellied a significant milestone; my boy had soothed himself back to sleep after a bad dream, and didn’t need reassurance from Mum. Teaching strategies for self-soothing after nightmares are essential foundations to achieve this one, but it happened for us about 10 years old.

7. The day that briefs were outlawed

My boys wore briefs without question until a couple of years ago, when they were outlawed overnight! A reward went out to anyone who gave information about their hiding places, existing briefs were rounded up and mercilessly destroyed. Meanwhile their successors, The Boxer Shorts, colonised the underwear draws until total domination was complete! Expect this one from age 9 -12.

8. The day the tooth-fairy was fired

After furtive glances between Biscuit and I, (keeping up appearances for his little brother’s sake), he placed the tooth under his pillow and said goodnight. Unfortunately, in the morning the tooth was still there! After one too many glasses of wine the Fairy had forgotten she was on duty! She was promptly fired! Teeth are now bought and sold in cash deals without wands or glitter!

9. The day he bankrolled me

Biscuit has an uncanny knack of being the only person in the house with cash! I have a running tally of IOUs to him, which he records in his little back book (luckily he hasn’t thought of applying interest yet!). Look out for an increase in your debts at around age 8!

10. The day I came up to his shoulder

It’s very strange hugging your child when they have to bend down to you! Obviously you should see this one coming, but in-case you’re in severe denial, expect it anywhere between 12 – 14 years.

11. The last time I put him to bed

If you’re anything like me you might not see this one coming! I take satisfaction in a job well done when I put my boys to bed; tucking them in, knowing their snug and safely deposited for the night with a kiss and a whispered ‘I love you’. It’s a bit like my clocking -off card, my job is done for another day and out comes the wine! But at 14 Biscuit decided that he’d see himself to bed! I didn’t like this one little bit, but you can’t stop the tide of independence, and after much protesting, he gets a kiss goodnight and I stay in the lounge. Expect this one anywhere from 12 -14 years.

12. The day his home work became too hard for me

I knew this one was on the cards, math has never been my forte, but now I’m officially redundant from helping with Math homework.

13. The last day he was small enough to carry in my arms

As a parent I’ve been concerned with weight and growth since the day they were born, but it never really dawned on me that my baby would literally get to big to carry!  I remember gently lifting him out of the car, careful not to wake him, and carrying him to bed, his soft face resting on my neck. This milestone comes with a warning; you never know when Your Strength V His Weight will reach the tipping point, but you’ll find your empty arms will ache with longing the day it does.

14. The day he said ‘ Mum’s got PMT, again!’

Grr! Need I say more? The annoying male habit of dismissing a grumble constructive criticism as PMT started at 14 years old! I reminded him that the female of the species is more deadly than the male, and comments like that are likely to prove it!

15. The day he locked the bathroom door

Unless we have visitors in the house, bathroom and bedroom doors remain open and unlocked, conversations continue regardless of whether we’re on the toilet or in the bath! So the first time that the bathroom door was shut (and locked) we all knew that a new chapter had begun. Privacy, a need never previously considered, is now a norm.

Acknowledgements

Quote from www.livelifehappy.com