The G of Living Imperfectly: Generations and Guilt #atozchallenge

Whether you’re working from home because your kid is sick, you freelance or you’re still looking for a job, there’s one thing you must do during a conference call: Get your kid to shut up.

Children hate anyone who takes your attention away from them. Like the animals that can sense an impending earth-quake, children can tell when you are about to say something very important to a client. They have a superpower and they use it for evil. You must prepare. – Sh*tty Mum: The Parenting Guide For The Rest Of Us by Laurie Kilmartin, Karen Moline, Alice Ybarbo and Mary Ann Zoellner, Abrams Image 2012

Letter GIf you are a parent who is always perfect in how you deal with your children and have no tolerance for those who are not then you are going to hate this post. I suggest you look away now to avoid the stress and anxiety not to mention beads of sweat that will form above your immaculately presented upper lip once you have delved into my imperfect world. For I am about to jump into that can of worms that is perfection and parenting or as I sometimes call it, perfecting the generations.

I have been a human being for 50 years. I have been a parent for almost 20 of those years. Little did I know that almost 20 years ago, I would be given my pass to the secret code. The Mo Code. Back in 2012, I wrote about the Mo Code in a blog about how to survive a road trips with teenagers. The Mo Code is my term for things that real mothers do and say, rather than what they should say. This is in sharp contrast to the utterances of Stepford mothers or the advice given by parenting manuals and advice columns, highlighting a kind of parenting credibility gap.

From the day I first gave birth, I was thrown into a vortex of expectation, both mine and others’. Everyone wants to be perceived to be the perfect parent, or if not perfect then at least a good one. And so the Mo Code comes into play. How dare we admit that parenting is hard or that little Johnny sometimes wears the same socks for three days straight? Or that we have allowed our children to watch TV for 15 minutes whilst taking a client call? Or that we sometimes feel overwhelmed, ill-equipped, tired and stressed, namely we are not perfect parents? Most of us admit these things only to the closest of confidants and definitely behind the curtain.

And then there’s the guilt. Guilt, parenting and perfection is the great triumvirate of birthing. Those clever ad executives with their baby product clients know this and peddle all three. Everyone’s a winner, right? Well everyone except us parents. Because any satisfaction or that we may have gained from buying into this consumer perfection, quickly evaporates when the next product comes onto the market.

Really, at the end of the day the only legitimate judges of our parenting are our children and ourselves, and even then how success in parenting is defined is highly subjective.

The important thing is that we keep parenting real. We need to talk about the hardships, the pitfalls, the wins and the losses and what really works for us. And we need to do it without guilt and with humour and authenticity. In this way we will be doing a huge service notimagesFEOCU3NX only to ourselves but to future generations of parents who will carry the weight of expectation well beyond the time their baby bump has disappeared.

For this reason, a book such as Sh*tty Mum: The Parenting Guide For The Rest Of Us  is to be welcomed. Not everyone will applaud or understand as the Amazon reviews will attest. However, it brings the real covert behaviour of the Mo Code out into the open and creates a new dialogue from a most refreshing angle. As this post from Essential Kids tells us:

In fact, a recent survey by parenting website BabyCentre in the UK found that lying is widespread among mothers. The pressure on them to be ‘perfect’ led to more than half of those questioned saying they felt the need to lie about their parenting skills to make them seem like better parents to others. Nine out of ten mothers confessed to using television to keep their children quiet, while 71 per cent admitted to lying to their child to make their day easier and a fifth of those questioned said they occasionally replaced a healthy dinner with chocolate and sweets.

These statistics don’t surprise me and I suspect they would be closely replicated in Australia.

It’s a real shame that we feel the need to be pressured by perception. Parenting is a unique journey for all of us and we should be supporting each other rather than treating it and our kids as the trophies of our perfection.

I really hope that one day we can let our parenting authenticity shine though so that we can enjoy it 100% guilt free like these authors.

The F of Living Imperfectly: Flexibility and Forgiveness #atozchallenge

Keep your engagements. Nothing is ruder than to make an engagements, be it of business or pleasure, and break it. If you memory is not sufficiently retentive to keep all the engagements you make stored within it, carry a little memorandum book and enter them there. Especially keep any appointment made with a lady, for, depend on it, the fair sex forgive any other fault in good breeding, sooner than a broken engagement – Martine’s Handbook to Etiquette and Guide to True Politeness, Arthur Martine, Dick & Fitzgerald Publishers, 1866.

F Challenge LetterWe all have a film reel in our head. The reel entitled Great Expectations” seems to be the standard by which we judge success and failure, ourselves and others. Whether your reel is a comedic, tragic, dramatic or fantasy filled, it is a constantly turning and projecting. How we react when real life does not play out according to our film reel determines our resilience and adaptability.

How do you react when life’s actors fluff their lines or go off script? Are you flexible enough to change direction or do you lament the need to ad lib?  And do you blame others when they do go off script?

Inflexibility or rigidity is one of the traits of perfectionism. What can easily be glossed over as a high standard, is really a low tolerance for deviation. Both in ourselves and others. This often leads to over thinking and planning things so that deviations can be minimized.

I used to be a planner. Researching, preparing and making sure each duck was in its right place in the row well ahead of time so that it could allpretty-woman-unscripted-scene be fine tuned if necessary. Now, not so much for I have discovered that my energy is better utilised in enjoying the activity or the company and in any event, you just can’t plan for every contingency, especially if human behaviour is involved.

As Brene Brown said: “Perfectionism is not about striving for excellence or healthy striving”. “It’s… a way of thinking and feeling that says this: ‘If I look perfect, do it perfect, work perfect and live perfect, I can avoid or minimize shame, blame and judgment.’”

Forgiveness therefore plays a big part in moving away from perfectionism. We need to forgive others for their deviation, but most importantly we need to forgive ourselves for our own.

There are some great movies in which actors ad libbed only to enhance the story. Who can forget Humphrey Bogart’s most famous line in Casablanca “Here’s looking at you kid”? or the scene between Richard Gere and Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman when he shows her a diamond necklace in an open and when she reaches out to touch it he snaps the box closed on her hand? The snap and Julia’s giggle in response are all unscripted.

The world is just waiting to be discovered through unscripted moments. We just need to be flexible enough so they will find us.

 

The B of Living Imperfectly: Beauty and Belonging #atozchallenge

As the ladies and gentlemen arrive, each should be shown to a room exclusively provided for their reception; and the gentleman conducts the lady in his charge to the door of the ladies’ dressing-room, while he goes to the gentlemen’s apartment, each to prepare their toilet suitably to entering the reception-room – Martine’s Handbook to Etiquette and Guide to True Politeness, Arthur Martine, Dick & Fitzgerald Publishers, 1866.

B Challenge LetterResearch for this year’s Challenge has led me to find some great reading material. One such treasure has been  Brene Brown’s book, The Gifts of Imperfection, Let Go Of Who You Think You’re Supposed To Be And Embrace Who You Are. The title says it all, doesn’t it? If a book could be a mirror, this one would be mine right now.

In it, she describes midlife in a nutshell:

People may call what happens at midlife “a crisis”, but it is not. It’s an unravelling – a time when you feel a desperate pull to live the life you want to live, not the one you’re “supposed” to live. The unravelling is a time when you are challenged by the universe to let go of who you think you are supposed to be and to embrace who you are.”

It truly does feel like an unravelling. And after the unravelling comes the sifting, the sorting and finally the reassembled product. Perhaps it is our discontent with perfectionism that finally brings us to this point. Maybe we discover that we can truly never control perception, because by its very nature it is in the eye of the beholder. And perfection is all about perception, our own and that of others.

Which leads me into today’s topic of beauty and belonging. As Brene Brown so eloquently puts it, belonging is the innate human desire to be part of something bigger than ourselves and we so often try to acquire it by fitting in and seeking approval. However, according to Brown this is a false pretext because:

true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.

Strong words. Strong concept. Holy Guacamole!

To most of us beauty plays a central role in self-acceptance. It is the basis upon which the cosmetic, cosmetic surgery and fashion industries are built all of which sell the outward ideal of perfection. The messages start early and young, especially for women. Being physically beautiful is essential to social success and possibly even success in general. Physical beauty should be a priority, because physical beauty (or lack of) is the first thing people notice about you, it is essential to perception, it is a worthy investment. Beauty is an industry and perfection is its weapon.

Which brings us to the recent phenomenon of the no makeup selfie. You may have seen invitations through Facebook or may have given one Being yourself battleyourself to post a no makeup selfie to raise funds for cancer research. Whether this concept actually raises money is still up for question as is the issue of whether it actually has merit in the eyes of cancer sufferers. Leaving both of these aside,  what I have found extraordinary about  is that posting a no makeup selfie should cause such a level of angst or be seen to be a brave thing by women.  This has been expressed in various ways including some expressing relief that they did not receive an invitation to post. Have we really come to a point where showing your true authentic self without “your face” on is that novel or indeed that newsworthy?

To belong, we need to accept ourselves first. And that means with make up and without.

Sleep, nutrition and self-love are really the only make up we need to put our best face forward. Further, none of these run or smudge.

Playing Ball at Sydney’s Field of Dreams #openingseries

The biggest weekend in Sydney’s baseball history is currently underway.

Since the announcement in June 2013 that the MLB was heading Downunder, Australia’s baseball fandom has eagerly awaited the arrival of the LA Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks to its shores and it’s finally time to play ball. The hallowed turf of the Sydney Cricket Ground has been transformed for the weekend into a baseball pitch, with 250 tonnes of San Diego clay being flown in for the occasion. Our very own field of dreams.

field of dreams

Sydney Cricket Ground tuned into a baseball field for #openingseries

It’s no secret I am a baseball tragic. How fortuitous then that the MLB chose to open its 2014 season away from North America in my hometown. As this is only the sixth time this has happened in  MLB history and the first time for Australia, there is a tremendous amount of anticipation for the event.

Each of the Diamondbacks and Dodgers play Team Australia (sometimes also known as Southern Thunder, but not by many) in a warm up clash and then it’s on to the main game Saturday night to be followed by a game on Sunday. That’s at least 36 innings of prime time A grade baseball.

Last night saw the first of the four games with Team Australia taking on the Dodgers. The above photo shows our view of the game. The Dodgers managed to win 4-2, but it was less about the score and more about the spectacle. The national anthems, the US flag flying alongside the Australian flag, a home run, the seventh inning stretch and classic baseball food. Like the nutritious meal below:

Pulled pork on lattice chips 'n' sides

Pulled pork on lattice chips ‘n’ sides

Scrumptious in a baseball helmet kind of way and almost resembling real food. None of that matters though, this is the MLB.

We sat behind the Dodgers dugout trying to spot baseball celebs like Clayton Kershaw and Don Mattingly. How close does an Aussie usually come to a $253million sports contract?  There were plenty of Dodgers fans in da house along with plenty of others dressed in their baseball kit. I am proud to say that the Boston Red Sox were proudly represented by more than a few fans in the fashion stakes (including moi) and it seemed like one big fancy dress party. As you can imagine there are usually not a whole lot of places in Australia an adult can wear their baseball kit.

It was a great night and a terrific lead in to the real deal tomorrow.

The whole event has been a long time coming for us Australian baseball fans. And when it’s all over the memories will linger and we will regale each other with stories from the great MLB opening series of 2014.

So a big thank you to the MLB, ABL (Australian Baseball League and owned by MLB), the Dodgers and the Diamondbacks for bringing the spectacle to our town. For at last Australian baseball fans can shout:

PLAY BALL!!!

Introducing the Basmati Rice Man Bag- Fashion Excellence at a Bargain Price

The Italian Stallion remarked the other day that he had not been mentioned in a blog post for a while. This surprised me as the Italian Stallion is generally quite private and has embraced social media to a far smaller degree than I have. However now that the cat is out of the family bag, I really must oblige by featuring him in this post.

The Universe must also have been listening because today it presented me with classic Italian Stallion blog fodder.

It all started with a joint trip to the supermarket for the weekly shop. This is an activity that we have shared at various points during the course of our relationship. There have also been many times when circumstances meant I did the grocery run solo. The aforementioned circumstances being when my piece of mind required it.

ID-10081436Recently it has started to be joint again, and really if you want one of the secrets to a happy marriage, it is this: keep your man away from your shopping trolley. I can handle being advised of inventory control in my run through the aisles “Don’t need that, we already have five packets of it at home” and I can even handle trolley packing for the gifted and talented for the Italian Stallion would never come home with a cracked egg or squashed bread. The Italian Stallion would also never come home with melted anything for he takes the cold product from the fridge or freezer and places it immediately into the cold bag, even though it may be 10 degrees Celsius outside. Such fastidiousness is to be admired if it wasn’t so aggravating in a OCD kind of way. But I am in my zen period, so I choose to keep calm and carry on.

The Italian Stallion is also ever vigilant in the cost savings department. This is not a problem in and of itself, who doesn’t want to save money? But the favoured mechanism of the Italian Stallion is the bulk buy. Let me give you an example, not so long ago I sent the Italian Stallion out for a solo shopping trip which included some carrots that we would serve with dips for some guests. Twenty minutes later, the Italian Stallion proudly waltzes in with a 5 kilogram bag of juicing carrots.

Let me put this in context, we don’t have a juicer. Juicing carrots are usually fatter and less sweet than eating carrots. There is no way our guests could consume one kilo of carrots let alone five.

Nevertheless, the Italian Stallion was beaming.

Today’s incident involved rice. Basmati rice to be exact. Now once again, we are not big rice eaters (yet) and we have been quite content with the white long grain or short grain variety. A one kilo bag usually lasts for a month or two. Despite this a two kilo pack of Basmati rice appeared in the pantry last week. Last week we did not have one meal containing rice, whether of the Basmati variety or otherwise.

The Italian Stallion has cooking chicken korma in his sights. For this, he says, Basmati rice is best. One can only hope that the chicken gets korma’d in the next week or so, because we now have enough Basmati rice to feed a small nation.

Back to our supermarket sojourn. On entering the supermarket we saw it. Snuck into the fruit and veg department was a pallet of 5 kilo bags of Basmati rice. Out of the corner of my eye, I notice the Italian Stallion staring longingly at it. He goes over to the pile looks at the price and walks away. I inch the trolley towards the lettuce and mushrooms, thinking the Italian Stallion is behind me, following. Turning to my right, I notice the Italian Stallion once again looking the pile of Basmati rice. Trying the inventory control technique, I utter “we have a big pack at home, we don’t need it”. He agrees with me and reluctantly leaves the pile.

The latest in smart male fashion - the Basmati rice man bag

The latest in smart male fashion – the Basmati rice man bag

Making our way to the potatoes, I once again get the feeling the Italian Stallion is not with me. Sure enough he is back with the Basmati rice pile checking out the price and looking at it longingly. At this stage, I figure he needs to either buy that Basmati rice, never mind actual need, or move to Pakistan from where it originated. The later might be a bit tricky so…

I let him off the hook and say “If you want it, just buy it”.

No sooner do I utter the words, then he’s grabbing his bag of Basmati rice. He comes back triumphantly and deposits his prize in the trolley.

“What’s with all the Basmati rice?” I ask.

“Nothing, I just really liked the bag and its only $1.00 a kilo.”

Yes, dear readers, for the sake of a cloth printed bag with a zip up top, I will be eating Basmati rice for the next year. And the Italian Stallion will be sporting the latest in supermarket fashion. Lois Vuitton and Channel had better start worrying because the man bag has taken a whole new turn.

Have you ever bought something because you liked the packaging? Do you grocery shop with your spouse? if so, are you still talking to each other?

Are We Entitled To Comfort In Our Old Age?

telephoneIt is never a good sign when the landline rings before dawn. A phone call out of time brings with it the knowledge that it won’t convey good news as all of your loved ones are in the same time zone as you.

The 5am phone call started my day.

Within the hour I was frantically calling all manner of people trying to find out where they had taken my elderly mother. Information withheld because I could be any maniac (thanks to all the stalkers out there). I finally managed to track her down in the emergency room of the local hospital.

Hate this place for a whole lot of reasons, none of which have to do with illness, bodily parts or fluids. Mostly because it symbolises the system in all of its glory, loss of control and loss of time. This is not a stab at Australia’s hospitals or their staff. On a comparative world scale we have little to complain about. It is just the nature of hospitals. Inside those walls, time seems to slow and miscommunication and haphazardness seem to increase.

The good news is mum is physically fine for her age.

The bad news is that the past couple of years, loss of confidence and living in the comfort zone have taken their toll on her quality of life.

As I sat in the emergency ward killing time with the person who birthed me, shooting the breeze and making stupid small talk, inside my soul was screaming.

The notion of “use it or lose it” becomes far more obvious in old age.

And that is what has happened for my mother. She has lost much of her dexterity, mobility and strength. This is to be expected in old age. However in this case, the loss has been accelerated and magnified by a loss of confidence, motivation and movement generally.

It kills me, it really does. Not the physical loss per se, but my mother’s desire to stay in her comfort zone. This from the person who taught me to fight, strive, push and look beyond my front fence. This from the person who used to let nothing stop her, who used to let nothing stop my father and who never said “I can’t”.

My soul was screaming because I can see that comfort and safety are now her priority.

I want to yell “What about living and a life, mum?”

“Remember when there was a world beyond your front fence?”

“Remember when I was a little girl you told me I can, if I just tried a little more?”

beyond the fence

I constantly grapple with her perceived surrender. And then feel guilty because hasn’t she earned the right to seek comfort in her old age?

I know that those in old age who continue fighting and striving tend to live longer.

But is longevity the ultimate or even a legitimate goal in your eighties? Or is comfort the highest form of achievement?

It’s a personal choice in which I have no say. It’s a personal choice that I have to accept.

Maybe it’s time to let it be. Maybe at this age, the world to the front fence is enough.

Maybe it’s time for me to get comfortable with my mother’s comfort. Maybe that would be the ultimate sign of daughterly love.

And they say parenting is hard…

Cheerio and Welcome to my Modern Day Cereal Drama

I have just finished my sixty ninth consecutive Cheerios breakfast.

Well, almost. I did break up the series one day a couple of weeks ago when I luxuriated in a breakfast of home-made fig jam. I can assure you that the maker of said fig jam did not come from this home for I wouldn’t want my image of the undomestic Goddess to be tarnished. If people know you can cook, it only creates pesky expectations even if you can only sort of cook, so better not to go there.

calm breakfast

This less than cheerful Cheeriofest started some months ago when youngest (Geekchild) proclaimed that he absolutely loves Cheerios and could I please round up some in my weekly hunting and gathering trip to the supermarket. Geekchild obtains all of his gourmet tastes from American cartoons such as the Family Guy, American Dad and the Simpsons. Thanks to Homer, Peter Griffin and whatever name the American Dad group go by we have had to try banana cream pie, buffalo wings and corn dogs.

None of these wonder foods figure on the Australian menu. And to think mindless, satirical cartoons were non-educational – ha! Judge my parenting if you must, but I’m always up for feeding (pun intended) my children’s desire to learn about other cultures and expand their taste bud horizon. And no, I don’t indulge their sweet tooth, their takeaway food tooth or give into their every whim and desire. It just so happens that I, too, have always wanted to know what in the world was banana cream pie.

Needless to say, a couple of bites in and both Geekchild’s and my curiosity and palate were satisfied. We can now tick banana cream pie off our bucket (pun intended) lists and can appreciate why it does not figure on the Australian menu.

What is this thing called breakfast?

What is this thing called breakfast?

But back to the Cheerios. It just so happens that the Cheerios request happily coincided with a visit to Costco. And there it was the beacon of Cheerios down the end of the aisle beckoning and seducing me with its corn, wheat, oats and rice, 10 vitamins and minerals and no artificial flavours. All 650 gram giant double packs of it.

Me: “Great, they’ve got it, Geekchild is really going to be impressed”

The Committee: “Two packs of 650 gram cereal is too much. Geekchild will be eating Cheerios for 120 consecutive days”

Me: “But it’s here, now. Soooooo convenient”

The Committee: “You can always get a smaller pack back at your local supermarket”

Me: “Listen Committee, when you start having to cope with the strangeness of teens eating habits, you will know that having them eat breakfast before lunchtime is a major achievement. Decision overruled”.

And so here I am some months later eating my sixty ninth consecutive bowl of semi stale Cheerios. Geekchild has had box of cheeriostwo. There’s only about 25 more to go for in one of my more particularly grey moments I bought an additional smaller box from my local supermarket thinking that Geekchild would benefit only to find that the level in the open box had not fallen in a month. You see teenagers don’t tend to tell you when their food passions wane, you are meant to pick up these vibes through subliminal mind transfer and your abilities as a parental oracle.

Uncle Tobys or Nestle if you are reading this please DON’T send me any more Cheerios. I’m grateful that my modern day cereal drama is almost at an end, the finishing line is in sight.

Things I have learned from this experience: everything in moderation and there’s no use crying over stale Cheerios.

Last night, Geekchild came to me and said “this V8 juice is great mum, can you buy another five bottles?” At which point 25 bowls of Cheerios bathed in fruit/vegetable juice flashed before my eyes and I escaped to take refuge in my pantry.

The sacrifices we make for our children…

Have you ever been the victim of your child’s food fads? Are you ever concerned about their eating habits? Would you like a bowl of stale Cheerios?

10 Last Thoughts In The Dying Hours of My Fifth Decade

So, it is done and it is true what that say, life really does go on.

vintage birthdayAs the day loomed and time in its relentless pursuit marched on, the smell of my fear became more pungent. Whilst my determination to make middle age an era of opportunity and adventure is absolute there was just something about actually crossing over the great divide that I could not wrap my mind around. A moment in time, a mere second and here I am on the other side of fifty.

Whilst the great event occurred a couple of days ago, I have only now plucked up the courage to recount my thoughts during the dying moments of what has undoubtedly been my best decade. For my fourth decade was when I asked:

Hello, is it me you’re looking for?

and my forty something year old self echoed back a resounding

 

YES!!

In line with the great “one day I’ll look back on this and laugh” tradition, I penned the following in the dying hours of my forty-ninth year :

  1. Sometime overnight I’m going to cross the great abyss. Logically, I know I’ll awaken in the same bed, in the same body, but sometime during the night when the moon steals the light from the sun, time will steal from me another decade.
  2. Politicians really do write to you on your 50th birthday, on rather posh looking stationary containing a signature that was actually penned by a human. This is not to infer that politicians are human, but apparently reaching 50 is seen by some as a great achievement. I understand at 75 there will be a telegram from HRH. Chances are by that stage HRH will be a him and I suspect that the birthday greeting may come in the form of a tweet. I mean, who sends telegrams anymore?
  3. I have no need to lament the loss of perky boobs or a thin waist. I never had them during what most people would consider my heyday. My confidence and body have now finally crossed paths and whilst there’s a few things I would tweak, I’m certainly not crying over the loss of my 20′s body. In fact, I’d be crying if I still had it.50 years of awesome
  4. Is there something pre-ordained at birth about being chosen to live a counter-cyclical life? Sure, my life has proceeded down along the conventional route of birth, school, university, marriage, career, motherhood and mortgage. However, emotionally I have never felt better or more adventurous. With the boys getting older, it is now all ahead of me.
  5. Sometimes I look at people the same age as me and am overcome with the sensation that I am surrounded by old people. Not that age has anything to do it with per se, but I wonder if they look at me and feel the same. I sincerely hope not. Particularly as I’m just regaining some relevance and credibility to my teenaged progeny. Surely it’s about outlook and energy levels, people!
  6. I seem to be entering the age when it is fashionable to engage in “unwellness” contests. This shits me to tears. I can’t understand why anyone would want to compete to have the most complex health problems or the most famous specialist treating them. Since when did having a health problem become a social status symbol? Don’t get me wrong, when people talk about their health problems I will listen patiently, but I don’t see the need to raise the stakes by out “bad healthing” them. It takes me back to the days of playgroup and new mothers competing over who had the worst labour stories. Ick!
  7. Patience really is a virtue and I’m getting more virtuous as the years roll on. Another counter-cyclical trait?
  8. One of the best decisions I made was not to have a big birthday bash, but to make this a jubilee year and have lots of little jazz agecelebrations over the length of it. From celebrating with friends on different continents to high tea in the mountains, the celebrations will focus on our shared milestone of friendship not about my individual milestone of reaching 50.
  9. I’m actually younger than Michelle Obama – go figure.
  10. Zzzzzzzzzzzzz well, by then it was 10.45 pm.

Having survived the fall over the abyss, I’m moving forward smug in the knowledge that there’s another 10 years to go before I have to worry about another milestone birthday and that it won’t involve correspondence from a politician.

Have you ever received birthday greetings from a politician? Do you stress about milestone birthdays?

Masculinity and Women of Hard Headed Repute #zerotohero

The [lazy?] days of Summer and the Zero to Hero assignments seem to be whizzing by.

Time to don the cape, the super hero boots and the golden lasso and practice leaping off a few blog posts in a single bound.

Most of the assignments since I last checked in have involved blog tinkering including adding some widgets, Spring cleaning of the blog’s about page and side bar and honing commenting skills. However, there are a couple of assignments that require a blog post

Day 12:  write a post that builds on one of the comments you left yesterday. Don’t forget to link to the other blog!

Day 16: publish a post based on your own, personalized take on today’s Daily Prompt. The Prompt on the day being:

Do you have a reputation? What is it, and where did it come from? Is it accurate? What do you think about it?

In the interests of energy conservation, I am going to combine the two assignments in this one post.

On day 12, I commented on a wonderful post by BTG who blogs at musingsofanoldfart. The post entitled, I Am Looking for a Hard Headed Woman discussed the lyrics of the Cat Stevens’ song of the same name and gave BTG’s take on what a “hard headed woman” means to him, drawing particularly on two lines of the song:

  • one who will take me for myself
  • one who will make me do my best

and finally counting his blessings in having married a hard headed woman. It was a heartfelt post from a blogger who uses his vast knowledge of music and lyrics to shine a spotlight on the more meaningful events of a human life.

touch womanIt is extremely refreshing to see a male acknowledge his love and appreciation for a hard headed woman. I firmly believe that most men love a hard headed woman, but there is something in the ‘How Men Should Act Code” that prevents them from publicly making this admission. But have a think about it, how many families do you know where the wife/woman leads the way? She may not do it openly for a clever woman knows never to make her mate feel emasculated, but how many times is she truly the family brains trust? How many times is she the resilient one, how many times is she the one that pushes the family beyond its collective comfort zone and introduces it to novel experiences? How many times does she credit her mate with spearheading the charge?

So what does being heard headed woman mean to me?

A hard headed woman is one who is willing to make decisions – tough, easy, makes no difference, there is no inertia with a hard headed woman. She is one who is less worried about chipping a nail and more about rolling up her sleeves, one who owns the consequences of her actions and omissions, one who will defend her family no matter what, one who moves the family forward with due thought and care but who does not feel the need for ask for permission and one who knows where she is going.

She makes her mate feel central to her processes and tries to cloak her sterner stuff in feminine warmth and softness.

As the song says one who makes her mate do his best.

If I could choose to have a reputation it would be as a hard headed woman in the manner I have described. Have I achieved it? UnderestimatingThat’s impossible to answer as it is akin to asking someone to answer their own “Does my bum look big in this?” question. Just like it is difficult to see how one’s own backside looks, it is very difficult to judge one’s own reputation. To do so would necessitate holding up a mirror to one’s interactions with others and interpreting what is reflected back. A rather inaccurate process.

Thank you BTG for making the admission about hard headed women. It is hoped that more men take your lead and publicly confess to their secret appreciation for us. A hard headed woman is a perfect complement to a strong, soft hearted man. A note to you men, strong and soft heartedness are not mutually exclusive. In a woman’s eyes you can be both and perhaps the collective male psych will evolve one day to also reach that happy place.

For further reference, read The New Manhood by Steve Biddulph. Also, a must read for mothers with sons.

Come on, baby, spend Christmas with me!

After it’s debut on the WordPress blogging scene last Christmas, Company For Christmas (C4C) is back again. C4C is a blog site run by volunteer bloggers from all over this great globe spreading Christmas cheer and connection to those who may need it. Or to those who just want to hang out on Christmas Day on an island of sanity in an ocean of craziness. Last year it became a marshalling point for those who just wanted to chat or get to know other bloggers.
So come along, check it out and help out if you want to. Just let Rarasaur know if you would like to be added to the volunteer list. Last year’s experience was a real positive one with the initiative gathering momentum as Christmas was celebrated around the world.
C4C where Christmas lasts at least 36 hours!