Hi Honey, I’m home- Forever

I opened Google this morning and it told me that there are 258 days remaining until the end of the year. Thanks Google, you’ve reminded me that all those things I have promised myself that I would get done in 2018 aren’t moving as fast as I’d like, and it’s woken me up to just how blinking fast this year is going!

So, just over 100 days into 2018 and The Wilson’s are ten months off the end of our visa! Yes ten months!! I know!! I can almost see it sitting on the horizon, sarcastically beckoning me toward it.. Bastard!! It’s insane. Ten months left until we need to vacate the country. Well… we get 12 weeks after that date to officially get out before we become illegal immigrants, but yeah, we’re on a tick, tock, tick, tock,  countdown right now.

I guess like most families who came to Australia on a 457 visa, (before Mr Turnball abolished it.. Thanks Malc!) we kind of assumed four years away from home would be enough, and we’d be ready to go home. Or, if we weren’t ready to go, we would have at least put some plans in place to stay for a while longer…. Um…. *insert tumbleweed! We have no plans as yet; we have no contingency plan if we don’t get extended and I literally have no idea what we will do or where we will go…. (I can hear some of you muttering “this woman is insane”) Truthfully, this really only came up in conversation in the car this morning with just ten months to go.. ‘What the actual @£$%’ I hear you say!

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Bells Beach

I know! It seems a little irresponsible not to plan or prepare everyone for the possible big life change ahead, however I’m still in the ‘live for the moment’ stage, ‘running around in my underwear because I’m so excited to be here’ stage; and I can’t for the life of me snap out of it. I’m telling myself “hey, it may never happen, let’s just go to the beach and not think about it” and “ah well, if it’s gonna happen we may as well make the most of life in Oz and go out for dinner… and NOT talk about it”…   therefore allowing the thought to slip to the back of my mind for a while longer; because if you don’t talk about something it doesn’t happen right?

Potentially however, we have ten months left until we need to go! Ten months until our practically native Australian kids have to move again. *Truth: Every time we stay in a hotel Monty asks “how long are we living in this house Mum?” In ten months time, we may have our passports in hand, and be heading off to pastures new.. or old, back to our friends, my girl gang, who knows?

I just took a sip of water and glanced up at my friends faces smiling down on me from the last postcard they sent from the UK! A sudden gulp! Honestly, just over three years ago, whilst we were hugging, and wailing as they were waving us off on our adventure, I remember distinctly telling everyone (myself included) “it’s not forever, it’s only four years… If that!!”

However now, sitting here, the kids at school, friends round the corner, things planned, work life thriving… it’s hard to imagine leaving Australia. It’s hard to imagine going through all those goodbyes again, only this time with our new found friends.

The uncertainty of living on a visa and not being secure in the knowledge we can stay is a huge thing. Even though I push it to the back of my mind, it’s a big deal for any expat family.

Living life as an expat is such a treat. We get to explore,  see new things, and experience new adventures; but part of me wonders whether the time has come for us to be thinking about a ‘forever home’ for our family. A place that the children can say they’re “from”… A place that we can settle, properly settle in, put pictures up on the walls without worrying about the landlords reaction, plant what we like in the garden, paint the walls whatever colour we like, and design a space for our growing family. Somewhere we can stay and know that we’ll not be moving again. Part of me thinks that maybe the children need to be more settled. Maybe we all need it, but I don’t think any of us really want it!

Having said all that, the thought of having a ‘forever home‘ terrifies me. The thought of buying a house, moving in, and thinking “right that’s it, we’re here!” makes me come over all cold. I hear people saying “oh we’ve just bought our “forever home” and before I congratulate them, all I can think is ‘you poor, poor thing”. Forever stuck in one place seems so final..

Maybe I’m frightened to settle somewhere because it’s not in my nature. Maybe our family is supposed to keep moving. Maybe that’s what’s written in our stars! Maybe I’m scared to make life so static because it means long distance friendships are definitely a forever thing. It means guaranteed travelling to visit loved ones, rather than the comforting possibility of one day relocating to be closer. If we decide on a forever home, it means one way or another, we’re closing one door, and locking it tight and I don’t want to do that! I like the idea of being able to move when we want, go where we want, experience life somewhere else if we want to. I like the romantic idea that ‘one day’ we’ll go ‘home‘, but not just yet!!!

I suppose what I’m trying to say is that for this expat family and all the others out there, who maybe haven’t completely settled on a place to stay put, or signed their life away on a house because it’s in the right catchment for high school, or who don’t seem to have any life plans that include a particular location; we actually do have our forever home. We’re already living in it. Our forever home is right here, right now, and wherever we are together in the future. Our family is our forever home! It doesn’t have to be bricks and mortar, it doesn’t have to be staying in the same place for the rest of our days, we are in our forever home all the time, no matter where on the map that may be this year!! Our forever homes are dotted all over the world, wherever we want them to be, as long as we’re together.

You are my home

 

Olivia xxx

‘A ship is safe in harbour, but that’s not what ships are built for” – Unknown

 

ARE YOU AUSTRALIA’S BIGGEST (JUNIOR) LEGO FAN?

LEGOLAND Discovery Centre on are on the lookout for some mini LEGO® builders for an incredible, dream opportunity!! Yes, it could be one of your little ones…

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The search is underway to find Australia’s three biggest (yet littlest) LEGO® fans!

LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Melbourne has launched a competition to name its ‘Mini Model Builders’ for 2018.

Three little LEGO® lovers will receive the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be crowned the 2018 Mini Model Builders at LEGOLAND Discovery Centre. How awesome is that!!!!

The lucky winners will receive playground bragging rights (and a LEGO® trophy – of course!), plus some ‘bricktastic’ perks including VIP invites to preview events, exclusive one-on-one building classes with the Master Model Builder and a free birthday party hosting up to 20 of their friends OR a free school excursion for their class.

Their loot bag will also include a LEGOLAND Discovery Centre T-shirt, a personalised LEGO® badge and unlimited entry to the attraction for a year! OK OK I’m getting to the bit when I tell you how to enter your little LEGO® masters!!!

To be in the running,

Children aged between 4-12 years must create a 30 second video introducing themselves (and their most imaginative LEGO® creation) while answering two questions

1) “Why do you want to be LEGOLAND Discovery Centre’s Mini Model Builder?”

2) “What is your favourite thing about LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Melbourne?”.

EASY HEY!!!

With the help and permission of a parent or guardian, entrants must submit their video via the online entry form. Submissions will be evaluated based on creativity and enthusiasm and 36 finalists will be selected to compete in Australia’s first ‘LEGO® Masters’ event – a children’s LEGO® building competition that will be hosted at LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Melbourne on Saturday 21 April 2018*. The finalists will participate in a number of LEGO® challenges that will be judged by the attraction’s Master Model Builder and will see him eventually declare the three grand final winners as the 2018 Mini Model Builders. Love LEGO®? Apply here!

Applications will be accepted until 8th April 2018 (5pm EST) and shortlisted finalists will be contacted directly with an invitation to compete in the LEGO® Masters competition*.

For full terms and conditions, please click here!!!

 

*Note: All entrants must be available to attend the ‘LEGO® Masters’ event on Saturday 21 April to be eligible

EVERYTHING IS AWESOME!!!!


 

Ancient Oceans – Sealife Melbourne

Sealife Melbourne has a new ‘Must See’ holiday experience and we’re so excited!!

Kit Haselden Photography - www.kithaselden.com

Say a big “Hello” to this new interactive experience which allows you and the family to journey back in time, dive into Ancient Oceans and meet the pre-historic giants of the ocean. You will be taken on an adventure to discover more about the magnificent ancient creatures of the sea and get up close to some remarkable animals that have lived for millions of years. How awesome does that sound!!

You and the gang will come face-to-face with the living history of the oceans, including mysterious Mudskippers and phenomenal Pig-nosed Turtles. Seen one of those before?? No, me neither!!

Kit Haselden Photography - www.kithaselden.com‘Visit the Sealife Centre Melbourne and enter the magnificent underwater caves of these incredible creatures and be submerged into the ancient seas’

This exciting new display features immersive lighting projections creating animal silhouettes teamed with sub-aquatic animal sounds, engaging digital games and an awe-inspiring display featuring jaws of the pre-historic Megladon, the largest predator to have ever existed. Wow!!

Your little junior explorers will receive a map to guide them through the exhibit which encourages them to hunt for clues and collect stamps whilst learning fascinating facts about the ancient oceans. What a wonderful keepsake for them!

Kit Haselden Photography - www.kithaselden.com

After all that fun, you can put your feet up and watch the brand new 4D movie – Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs – an epic and thrilling sensory cinematic adventure in the pre-historic era of the mammoth ancient creatures.

I know where we’re headed this week!!! Happy holidays!


Experience: Ancient Oceans at Sea Life Melbourne – NEW EXHIBIT

Location: Sea Life Melbourne Corner of King Street and Flinders Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000

When: Now showing

Opening hours: Daily from 9.30am-6.00pm

Cost: Adults – from $33.60, Children – from $22.40 (Book online and save)

To find out more about Sea Life Melbourne’s new Ancient Oceans experience visit the website.

 

#sealifemelbourne #daysoutwithkids #schoolholidays #expatadventures #history #prehistoricseacreatures #teachthemwell #parentingfarfromhome #expatfamily

This Mumma is ‘Smash’ing ‘Back to School’

I know, it’s what, week three of the school holidays and we’re already thinking about getting our little darlings prepped and ready for another year! Another mammoth amount of time sitting in the classroom, reciting Haiku poetry and picking their noses. It seems as if no sooner have the holidays started we’re willing them to end.. Or is that just me?

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Bags are already packed… (kidding, it’d be rotten by February!)
  • School shoes purchased – CHECK
  • Name labels are on their way – CHECK
  • The stationary order has been delivered, opened and scattered around the house – CHECK
  • Mummy’s almost ready for a mini breakdown – CHECK

It can only mean one thing… It’s time to think about packed lunch paraphernalia!!

If you’re anything like me, you’ll be heading off soon to purchase new lunch boxes and drinks bottles before terms starts; I mean the kids couldn’t possibly start a new school year with an old lunchbox! Actually mine can’t because I made the rookie mistake (AGAIN) of buying ridiculously rubbish lunch boxes which are now disgusting inside and have broken zips so they definitely need replacing! That and we no longer think ‘Dinosaurs’ are cool! When will I learn?

Much to Mr W’s joy, that will be the last time I make that mistake! The clever clogs at Smash Enterprises have not only created some seriously eye catching designs (even I want in on these), but they’ve also come up with Blue IQ, a mould resistant lining which means when we “wipe” the insulated lunch boxes clean, they’re giving us a helping hand…. ***Cue angels singing a chorus of Hallelujah’s to all us mumma’s!….

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“Can I go back to school now mum?” – “Um, YESSS!’

The Wilson’s have been road testing some of these awesome products and I’m certain you will struggle to find anyone else making school lunch this funky, rubbish free, practical and totally kid proof!!  If that doesn’t excite you enough, the fact that they’re spill proof may just do it for you! (No more soggy sandwiches coming home uneaten! **does a little dance)

Rubbish Free Lunchbox

The Wilsons love anything that promotes “nude” (yes we do!) and we adore products that allow us to cut down on our waste! The kids are already loving packed lunches with their new lunch boxes, and I’m singing all the way to the dishwasher. Hurrah! Roll on 1st February when I’m really packing up and packing them off!

‘C’mon, say no to plastic wraps and foils and make every day a nude food day!’


 

The Wilson’s Reviews…..

★★★★★ “OH MUM, A LUNCHBOX I CAN DECORATE? IT’S THE BEST!!” POPPY- STICKER QUEEN – WILSONS OF OZ

★★★★ “I’M JUST LIKE A REAL ARMY MAN WITH THIS LUNCH” – MONTY- PACKED LUNCH AND PICNIC LOVER – WILSONS OF OZ

★★★★ “THIS YEAR IS GOING TO INCLUDE MY BEST LUNCHBOX CREATIONS YET ” – MRS W – WORST LUNCH CREATOR EVER – WILSONS OF OZ

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Yes, she’s kissing her lunch box! The Stick It Slimline is a hit in this house…

 Featured

Smash Lunch Box – Funky designs, detachable insulation, large capacity and the famous Sandwich Seatbelt. Available at selected Coles Supermarkets whilst stocks last – RRP $15

Nude Movers Rubbish Free Lunchbox – Eliminates the need for packaging. Three separate compartments, removable snack pods and dividers, and a ‘Sandwich Seatbelt’. Available at selected Coles supermarkets whilst stocks last RRP $12

Smash Stick it Slimline – Comes with stickers so the kids can personalise their lunch! Lined with Smash’s trademark ‘Blue IQ’ antimicrobial lining which inhibits the growth of uncontrolled bacteria, mould, and mildew. A strong durable zipper,(YAYYYY) and a soft handle for comfortable carrying. 100% free of BPA, phthalate and lead. Available at selected Coles supermarkets whilst stocks last RRP $12.50

You can find so many more Smash products at selected Coles stores whilst stocks last.

Check out the catalogue

Smash products can be purchased in these stores.

*Not all products are available at every store, so please check beforehand 

*Smash products sell out very quickly therefore some may not be available

*Not all Smash products are dishwasher recommended


 

We only review products that we love, we think are genuinely good quality and that we are comfortable recommending to our readers. All words are our own.

We hope you will love these products as much as us. 

#lunchbox #backtoschool #kids #parenting #expatmum #nudefood #reduce #reuse #smashenterprises #spillproof #school

Melbourne Zoo – Speaking for the ones without a voice!

By 9am, the car was loaded up with the kids and a picnic, and Monty had already informed us that he was most looking forward to the Lions eating his big sister. He has a talent for kickstarting a good day! We were heading to the zoo..

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Melbourne Zoo opened in 1862, is the oldest zoo in Australia and the world’s first carbon neutral zoo! I know.. Amazing right!!  It has been on our list of places to visit for a while, and last weekend we finally got there to see it in all its glory! It is a truly magnificent zoo, and the conservation work they’re doing is incredible. It’s a fantastic place for a fun day out, and to learn about a diverse range of animals and their delicate ecosystems.

“Our mission is to be the world’s leading zoo-based conservation organisation” – Melbourne Zoo 

Sometimes when you visit a zoo you get the impression that the animals are bored or unhappy. Not here! The kids agreed that they would quite like to live here as “all the creatures look so happy!!” *their bags are packed…

We had all day to explore so we handed the maps to the small people and let them decide how we were going to get round everything. They love map reading and being in charge so this worked perfectly; one map each and we were off. The zoo is split into different zones, and incredibly easy to navigate. Thank goodness.

We started at the Gorilla Forest which I was pretty pleased about. Seeing the Gorilla sitting there staring back at us, was magical. This huge magnificent creature who was almost as fascinated with us as we were with him.

Next we saw the Seal keeper presentation. Monty was so fascinated by the Wild Sea exhibition and the enormous glass tanks, he did a runner to explore some more. The rest of us had a hairy 10 minutes of thinking he’d gone all Free Willy on us and was letting the penguins out!! Thankfully Mr W had located him by the time the seal was teaching us all about the dangers of balloons for our marine friends.

The day rolled on, more wonderful enclosures, stunning animals, and the weather was beautiful as we zig zagged our way around the zoo.  Our route made it pretty obvious the kids were in charge!

Before lunch we caught the Giraffe Keeper presentation which was fab. Giraffes are so graceful, and at Melbourne Zoo they seem so close. It was wonderful to see these majestic creatures. You can book a Giraffe Close Up when you visit and have a go at feeding them yourself!! I know my two would love this!

We spent about 5 hours winding our way through the animals. We saw every creature there was to see, we climbed the best climbing tree, we played on the grass, we picnicked, and the sun shone for our whole visit. It really was a perfect day out!

Highlights

The Butterfly House – the children were just bowled over that they could hold out their arms the butterflies would land on them. It was so lovely to see their little faces when their arms were full of butterflies!

The Palm Oil Supermarket- After visiting the beautiful Orang-utans we headed into the ‘supermarket,’ to learn about Palm Oil, and the devastating effect it is having on their habitat! We scanned every day items to see if they contained palm oil! This hands on, interactive display taught us so much, and it’s been talked about lots this week!

The Platypus-  This graceful, but cheeky looking creature, swimming around, really entertained us. How awesome are the Platypus?!

The Koalas – Hey, Koalas are always a bonus for us expats! They are so iconic, peacefully snoozing away in the trees. You have to look hard to find them!

The Elephants – We loved the way it felt as if we were in the jungle in Thailand when we visited the Elephants! Amazing animals! Poppy was confused as to why one of them had two trunks! She was mortified when I explained what the trunk at the back really was!

This is not a zoo created for us to stand and stare aimlessly at caged up miserable wildlife. This is a haven for saving species and teaching us all how we can make a difference, so that our children and our children’s children will know the true wonder of wildlife.

 

If we save our wild places, we will ultimately save ourselves – Steve Irwin


Don’t forget about Melbourne Zoo for the school holidays!!!

The What’s On page on the Melbourne Zoo website is full of fantastic activities coming up! *All Trolls fans need to check it out!!


FIGHTING EXTINCTION

Melbourne Zoo are a not-for-profit conservation organisation dedicated to fighting wildlife extinction. They do this through breeding and recovery programs for threatened species and by working with visitors and supporters to reduce threats facing endangered wildlife. You can get involved here!!

Opening Hours – 9am – 5pm every day of the year (Animal areas close from 4:30)

Location – Elliot Ave, Parkville, VIC 3052 Tel1300 966 784

Book Tickets Here!

 

Expat parenting when anxiety joins the party!

So the big questions on this expat mum’s mind today are: Do our children suffer from being moved around? Can mental health issues become exaggerated with life abroad? How do we, as expats deal with our emotions when we’re far from home?

Initially I thought we were giving the children a great opportunity to be immersed in a different culture; a different way of life, to experience another country; however, it is slowly becoming clear to me the longer we are away, we may have done the wrong thing. Not just because of the upheaval, or because of the country we’re in, but because parenting in difficult, emotional situations when you are far from help and home, is almost too much to bear! (Yes, it’s been a big week in the Wilson household). Sometimes you just need the familiarity of home to help you in times of need.

Frustration

You all know we love Australia, we are head over heels in love with Melbourne and we have beautiful friends here. No matter what though, expat life is not easy, and adding an anxious child into the mix means I worry that we’ve made a mistake taking her away from a stable, familiar life.

I love the Aussie competitive nature, the ballsy personalities, the ‘no holds barred’ attitude, the “if you don’t like it…TOUGH” way of dealing with things, but not when it comes to people’s emotions and especially those of my children. I can’t help but think that those personality traits that I love, become ones that I find loathsome when dealing with children struggling with anxiety.

Would I have moved abroad knowing that my child would be made to feel like a baby for being nervous or anxious?  Would I have left home only to feel alone and overly sensitive when dealing with such a fragile child? The answer is, I’m not sure I would have taken the risk.

Before we moved I hadn’t given our emotional well being much thought. I had assumed (naively) that the way emotions were treated would be fairly similar everywhere. I assumed that whatever happened we could deal with it together as a family. I guess I hadn’t recognised just how much my family and friends did for us; emotionally…

What I really have trouble with is the lack of compassion in everyday life. Is compassion disappearing across the world? Will our children slowly lose the ability to be compassionate if they are not receiving compassion at the time when they most need it.

My main bugbear with the lack of compassion today, is how anxiety is dealt with, and how as an expat family we are struggling to deal with it; mostly alone. Anxiety is very, very real. A lot of people assume the kid hiding in the back of the classroom is just being a baby, not pulling their weight and should be trying harder. They’re making the mornings awkward by crying at the door; not getting involved in classroom discussions because they’re lazy; they’re being difficult by not grasping what they’re being taught straight away. I’m not sure that the severity of how anxiety affects a child’s whole being, and how it can damage their health as well as their education is fully understood. It seems impossible for some to comprehend that the confident, popular child in the playground finds the thought of separating from their mother, so distressing it makes them physically sick! Like I say, it’s very, very real.

I vividly remember the headmaster at Poppy’s first primary school, coming out of the door as soon as he saw her in the morning, grabbing her tightly by the hand, a kind, warm smile on his face, leading her in to school. The tears and upset leaving me, turned into happy waves as Mr Miller took her straight to her friends. He took a small step to take a huge weight off her shoulders and eased her happily into her day, which from then on started with a smile. A small gesture with a huge impact.

All it takes is a pat on the back to say “I understand and I’m here”, a smile, a wink, or a little note in their book asking if they need more help with something, rather than a scribbled message saying they’re just not good enough. Small changes, gentle persuasion and a warm hand would make the most incredible difference to an anxious child, far from home, and it’s so easy to do.

No matter the age of an anxious person, they should never be told they are “too old” to be behaving the way they are, or to “get on with it” like everyone else. The daily struggle, battling with their demons and their insecurities would be enough to stop a grown man go to work let alone a small child face school. The fact that some children even get to school is a huge achievement. If only we could create more compassion and a deeper understanding of what so many children and adults are going through, we could go a long way to helping sufferers of anxiety realise their potential, and believe in what they can achieve.

So for us, as an expat family, maybe the experience of mixing raised emotions with expatriate life will turn out to be a great big learning curve for us all, but one thing is for sure, we will be approaching every day with compassion, together, one step at a time, wherever we are in the world.

“Living with anxiety is like being followed by a voice. It knows all your insecurities and uses them against you. It gets to the point where it’s the loudest voice in the room. The only one you can hear”- Unknown

Anxiety


 

The truth about anxiety (taken from Kids Helpline)

High levels of chronic anxiety can reduce your child’s capacity to respond appropriately or effectively to stressful situations, or even normal routine activities. A highly anxious person for example may experience constant physical feelings of panic and may seek to avoid anything that might trigger their anxiety such as:

  • being alone
  • going to school
  • talking in front of a group

Anxiety symptoms may be overlooked especially if a child is quiet and compliant. As a result, they may not receive the help and support they need, which may lead to problems with anxiety in adolescence and adulthood. Anxiety commonly co-occurs with other disorders such as depression, eating disorders, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).


The Statistics (Taken from Youth Beyond Blue)

  • Around one in 35 young Australians aged 4-17 experience a depressive disorder.
    Breakdown: 2.8% of Australians aged 4-17 have experienced an affective disorder.  This is equivalent to 112,000 young people.
  • One in 20 (5%) of young people aged 12-17 years had experienced a major depressive disorder between 2013-14.  
  • One in fourteen young Australians (6.9%) aged 4-17 experienced an anxiety disorder in 2015. This is equivalent to approximately 278,000 young people.
    Breakdown: 6.9% of Australians aged 4-17 experienced an anxiety disorder in 2015. This is equivalent to 278,000 young people.
  • One in four young Australians currently has a mental health condition.
    Breakdown: 26.4% of Australians aged 16 to 24 currently have experienced a mental health disorder in the last 12 months.5This figure includes young people with a substance use disorder. This is equivalent to 750,000 young people today.
  • Suicide is the biggest killer of young Australians and accounts for the deaths of more young people than car accidents.
    Breakdown: 324 Australians (10.5 per 100,000) aged 15-24 dying by suicide in 2012. This compares to 198 (6.4 per 100,000) who died in car accidents (the second highest killer).
  • Evidence suggests three in four adult mental health conditions emerge by age 24 and half by age 14
    Breakdown: Half of all lifetime cases of mental health disorders start by age 14 years and three fourths by age 24 years.

Where to go for help 

**Your GP should always be your first point of call…

UK

No Panic: 0844 9674848 Youth Helpline 0330 606 1174 (for 13 to 20 year olds open Mon to Thurs 4pm-6pm)
Helpline for anxiety disorders, panic attacks etc. Provides advice, counselling, listening, befriending and can make referrals. Local self help groups and produces leaflets, audio and video cassettes.

OCD Action: 0845 390 6232.  Information and support for Obsessive Compulsive Disorders (OCDs) and related disorders including Body Dismorphic Disorder (BDD), Skin Picking (CSP), Trichotillomania (TTM) – compulsive hair pulling.

TOP UK (Triumph Over Phobia)The OCD and Phobia Charity: 01225 571740
UK registered charity which aims to help sufferers of phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder and other related anxiety to overcome their fears and become ex sufferers, run a network of self help therapy groups.

Australia

Headspace : 1800 650 890

Free online and telephone service that supports young people aged between 12 and 25 and their families going through a tough time.

Kids Helpline :1800 55 1800

A free, private and confidential, telephone and online counselling service specifically for young people aged between 5 and 25.

Useful Websites

  • www.calmclinic.com – information relating to anxiety, panic disorder, stress and depression
  • www.dailystrength.org – Online community support for anxiety, mental health, and health related conditions.
  • www.haveigotaproblem.com – free resource for mental health and addiction issues created and run by the Tasha Foundation.
  • www.healthyplace.com – Information and support for those suffering from anxiety (American site).
  • www.menheal.org.uk
    A website for all men who suffer from depression or anxiety from all round the world.
  • www.nomorepanic.co.uk – Information for sufferers of panic, anxiety, phobias and ocds. Includes chat room and message boards. Also information relating to insomnia.
  • www.patient.info – Self help guides under Mental Health leaflets on panic attacks, phobias,anxiety,stress, obsessional compulsive disorders, relaxation exercises.
  • www.stressbubbles.com – struggling with depression, anxiety, mental health, some great healing tips from someone who has suffered with these issues herself.

What feels like the end is often the beginning! 

Monty came downstairs three times this evening after I’d put him to bed, he never does that. It wouldn’t have been so annoying had we still been living in our single storey house in Sydney! The stairs kill me… Twice is bad enough but 3 times up and down, after a long day, with a tummy full of curry and rice! I was not a happy mumma that’s for certain! As I tucked him in AGAIN, furiously patting the covers down, almost burying him alive in the duvet, he looked up at my cross face and sweetly asked if I would lay with him! “I just want to lie next to you mummy” he said very softly, making a space for me. An enormous pang of guilt hit me; the “I don’t hug you enough,” the “oh my god he’s going to school in 3 weeks,” then the “oh my god I’m a dreadful mother”, then I had the “I just don’t play with you as much as I should”…. So I snuggled down and lay with him. I lay there looking at his face, he’s still so little, yet I expect so much of him. As I lay there beside my boy, listening to his breaths getting deeper as he was nodding off, completely contented, I began to think about how our lives are about to change. Not just a small change, we don’t do small changes!! In three weeks time he starts school. I feel a huge wave of anxiety come across me. A selfish kind of anxiety, a real worry; not for him but for me.


In three weeks time, we’ll both be taking on new roles again. (As if emigrating, three house moves, and now an interstate move aren’t enough for one 4 year old!!) Monty will be a school boy, and I’ll be…. Gosh, who will I be??? For the past 9 years I’ve been the ‘stay at home mum’, looking after who ever’s at home; apart from myself of course. Playing games, washing up, reading stories, ironing, going to toddler groups, hoovering glitter out of every possible nook and cranny. In 9 short years I’ve become an expert in creating meals that no one wants to eat, I’ve mastered the art of avoiding tantrums and meltdowns with clever negotiating. I’ve become highly trained in wiping faces & bottoms, clearing up spills and even worse. I’m a dab hand with a train set, a warrior with a nerf gun and I can completely dismantle and rebuild most if not ALL transformers. I know the name of every ninja turtle, all of Peppa Pig’s mates and the paw patrol pups. My god I sing the theme tune to Barbie’s  ‘Life in the dream house’ while I’m ironing. So you see my dilemma.

 

 


What’s going to become of me when the bell rings and both my children are in school?

Who will I be? What will I do? It may sound dramatic but I think I may have lost my identity a little, maybe even morphed into some kind of freaky adult child.

I’ve always been happy being at home with the children, and we were lucky that I could be. I’d always dreamt about being at home full time with my babies, and I would do it all again in a heartbeat. (Not literally of course!)

It’s just now, 9 years down the road, in another new city, I am being forced to think about me! Just me! What do I want to do? Where do I want to go? It may sound crazy, but it’s not something I’ve really thought about in a very long time. And to be honest it’s terrifying!

Don’t get me wrong, there are so many things I could easily fill my time with! Reading magazines, having coffee with friends, more coffee, then lunch before pick up. I could go to Pilates, yoga, painting classes, bike riding, horse riding, surfing lessons, scuba diving…. The list is endless, but maybe I need a “job”.  A job that I get paid for, and I get a lunch break with. A job that stops at 5pm sharp. A job that’s just mine, that I don’t have to share, something just for me. That’s where the problem lies. I haven’t set foot in an office for years, my brain is like a soggy egg; and that mixed with admin would be a disaster. I’m not sure I’d be very good at dealing with customers so maybe working in a shop wouldn’t be ideal. I can’t cut hair, or paint nails.. I’d love to be a nurse but I’m too old, I’d love to run a florist but I know nothing about flowers! I can’t take x-rays, I can’t fix cars, I’m not too good at knitting, sewing or fixing things in general.

So, where’s my local “stay at home mum self help group?” Who looks out for us as we head off into the big wide world with a very light handbag and not a snotty tissue in sight? Who’s going to point me in the direction of a coffee shop with no play area? Who’s going to advise me that my face is “too red” or my bum looks “too wobbly in that skirt!?”

As the start of term draws near, the realisation that I’m going to be all alone for most of the week is quite overwhelming. I know they annoy the heck out of me, but jeez they keep me busy, they make me laugh, and they always manage to show me what’s really important in life. They are literally my everything, and that’s all about to become very different for me.

So tomorrow night when the kids are playing up at bedtime, I won’t swear, instead, I’ll take a deep breath, tuck them in again and remind myself that this is all about to change. I will linger a little longer, as I know, in a few weeks time I will be tucking them in, ready to rest before a day of school. They’ll be off together, in their matching uniforms, brother and sister out in the wild alone, without me, and I will be watching them, knowing that it’s the end of an era in the lives of “The Wilson’s”.  One thing I know for sure, whatever becomes of me,  is that when that bell goes at the end of the day, I will be there waiting for them. I’ll be waiting for them to run out to Mumma; at least for a little while longer.
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Some changes look negative on the surface, but you’ll soon realise that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge – Eckhart Tolle