Monday, 12 March 2018

No Good Actor!


Last night I received two handmade cards. One from Little Miss the other from The Baby.

Little Miss wrote, Mummy, I love you very very much, love Little Miss.

The Baby can write her name, mummy, daddy and her boyfriend’s name (she refuses to learn to write Little Miss).  So, she drew a pretty picture, wrote Mummy, The Baby and drew, cut out and coloured four sweets (two for her, two for me).

Before presenting them to me, I could hear them whispering in the hall,  ‘She is going to cry, they will be what she calls ’tears of joy’  they then started arguing over which card I will cry harder for.

When presented with the first card, I genuinely tear with emotion. As I read through the card, I realized what the two were arguing about in the hall, and while incredibly moved with The Baby’s beautiful card – I forced myself to turn on the tears for her card in an attempt to have them match the first round of tears. I failed. Miserably.

The Baby, dissatisfied with quantity and quality of waterworks (she cant write but she can count!) yelled with accusation ‘You cried more when you opened Little Miss’ card’

‘No!’  I protested, ‘ Not true’ I love your card equally!  I even managed to push a few tears out.

She stormed out unconvinced. 

I no actor. 


Friday, 9 March 2018

International Women's Day. Or Women's every day.

Since my last blog – my sensitivities towards gender equality are heightened.  My little girl is invited to a boy’s birthday party – she is the only girl. She plays with the boys.

For some time I battled with the idea that something was up.  When I asked what the girls do during recess  – she replied with ‘they’re boring, they sit and talk about clothes, boys, who they will marry’  I was left astounded. They’re 7! 

It’s with great relief that Ms. 7 prefers to run, play, shout, climb trees, playfight, be a superhero or a monster.

Yesterday’s celebration of the international women's day made me question. We celebrate women, adult women. There are business women’s networking talks, we celebrate female heroes, we celebrate organisations that support EEO.  But…. what messages we sharing with little girls to help them get through each and every day?

Are we telling them to burn the plastic tea set and climb a tree? That it is ok to be, feel and act differently, because that is what being an individual is all about?

I pondered this all day yesterday and when I got home from work and raised it with my girls, The Baby (now four) replied ‘but every day is our day. Don’t you tell us that we choose to have a good day, or a great day…it’s how we choose to tackle it?’


Job done, for today.

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

The sisterhood in practice: Mothers fight back!

I am a proud member of a closed Facebook mothers group entitled Foreign Mothers & Mothers to Be in Athens. This is a group of women I have met, many only online who have become my sisters. They are my ‘go to group’ for answers, support, advice, and laughs. 

We celebrated a coup today (not the sudden, violent, and illegal seizure of power from a government type by an instance of successfully achieving something difficult). And I am proud. Very proud. Not for the group – but for what we have achieved for our children… 

Since distributing the below statement today to the press in Greece and since agreeing to bombard retailer websites, schools and registering complaints online over the last two weeks, many retailers have removed what we have considered to be inappropriate images of young girls in fancy dress. 



Mothers in Athens come together to put an end to the sexualisation of little girls

Apokries in Greece should be a special time filled with fun, laughter, and of course food.  As the festivities peak, the tempers of some mothers have reached boiling point. 

In the search for appropriate aged costumes for their children, many are outraged having witnessed images of children modelling provocative, inappropriate costumes on a range of Greek retailer websites, catalogues, and in stores selling costumes.  

While trying not to spoil the fun of Apokries, a closed Facebook group entitled ‘Foreign Mothers & Mothers to Be in Athens’ (FMIA) have come together to put an end to the gross sexualisation of children, particularly young girls. 

‘My daughter was given a brochure from school.  The girls’ costumes are modelled by 10-year old’s wearing stripper shoes (no joke!) and the costumes are equally inappropriate. Shocked!!!!!’ said an FMIA member.

Images of young girls, wearing stilettos, showing midriffs, and posing provocatively appear on websites project messages such as ‘That's right, Little Girl! You, too, can dream of being a sex object!’ said another group member.   

To shut down the practice, FMIA has contacted retailers, schools that have distributed catalogues, Safeline, and Facebook.   Some retailers have responded positively by removing the offensive photos. 

Others have removed the ratings from their site preventing many from commenting and complaining.  The Greek media has covered the issue, but not enough has been done to stop this inappropriate practice.

As a collective group and voice, the FMIA group have stated ‘This is not the future we want for our children.  We want our children to grow up to be empowered, strong, confident individuals that respect and value each other as equals, not as sex objects.’ 

Advertising companies, photographers, parents of child models, retailers and parents that allow their children to be influenced by advertising practices need to take responsibility.  This is a problem that affects the future of our children. 

About Apokries
The tradition of Apokries started so that the Christian people could celebrate and indulge before the great 40-day Lent of Easter.  It lasts for three weeks before this period of fasting begins. Each part of Greece has its own customs and traditions during Apokries. People dress in masquerade, play games and jokes, have a huge parade, and throw sweets to the observers. 

About Foreign Mothers & Mothers to Be in Athens’ (FMIA) – Facebook group
Is a closed Facebook for mothers and mothers to be, living in Athens, Greece to exchange advice, experiences and support.








Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Calm

Today I heard a saying to describe somebody that does nothing, who is lazy.  The saying is in Greek, but easily translatable. 

They say ‘he/ she is flying a kite’   The hand action for flying a kite often accompanies the saying.  I couldn’t help but giggle.

The individual my friends were referring to often is also described as an employee ‘scratching themselves’– another saying that means, doing nothing.

It’s a funny description but an awful perception to have of someone. Or is it I wonder?  I turned to look at this individual who seemed relatively content, happy, relaxed.

My two ‘rays of light’ combined with juggling a fulltime job I like (though at times mundane), additional consulting work, play dates, attempts to exercise, cook and clean house leaves me with little time for kite flying.

I have forgotten what it’s like. Would I think more creatively, or would my mind be blank, empty, rested? Would I be more passionate or less?

One thing is for certain – it would not be exhausted. This kite flying and scratching deal doesn’t sound too bad.  

To me, I hear, see, feel and breathe calm.

What about you?


Friday, 2 February 2018

Another year and its only the beginning

Another year passed and then another - and here we are.

An accomplishment in reflection. The recent years have been a very bumpy uncomfortable ride. I haven't had the luxury 4WD to navigate my way through it smoothly. My beat up little car that stalls and rolls backward on hills, that sounds perpetually out of breath is just that. Out of breath.

Throughout the hardship - and I mean American TV soap opera drama I have looked at my two little rays of light. 

The two little beings that breathe air into my lungs, who make me throw back my head and laugh wholeheartedly and who make me forget all my woes and remind me that life is for adventure, cuddles, giggles, and love and I am thankful and finally inspired.

I am back. Not in full, but in part. Peeping out and waving madly around the army of boring routine, work, bills, stress and consistent ball juggling.  Can you see me? If no, never mind. I am writing for a tiny little audience this time..me. My public declaration to myself, I can do it. It's for me.  I enjoy the process, it gives me a break. It makes me think, feel, celebrate, laugh and reflect. It's my version of visiting health spa and why not?

If anyone wants to come along for the ride, it's free, untargeted and hopefully fun. 

Stay tuned..or not. Your call.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Winners are grinners

Last night Mr Lucky and I had programming fall out.  The girls quietly moved into the toy room adjacent to the lounge-room and played quietly.

A live political debate was on last night, inconveniently at the same time that 'I am Cait' was on TV.

I won't go into detail as to who wanted to watch what.

It goes without saying that I wanted to watch the more important, intellectually challenging, 'I must watch this to be better informed, it affects everyone globally' program.

We began our own intellectual debate, introducing valid arguments such as... 'I am ironing in front of the TV now, please help me get through unprecedented and painful experience by allowing my brain to be simultaneously stimulated' to 'but I haven't had a moments peace today... the girls are happily entertaining themselves and do not need constant supervision - let me have just a little down time'

Strong, valid, emotive arguments.  We are both Sagittarians, you know what happens when fire plays with fire.

The baby, then waddled into the lounge room, holding on tightly to the laptop.  She handed it over and said - 'Watch it' and waddled away with what I suspect was a look of disgust on her face.

The live debate was also being aired online. Debate over.  We both won.

Summer is over.  My three month sun salutations on the beach (also known as throwing myself on a sunbed at the beach) have been interrupted by the threat of cold weather.  I have become very Greek as I count the number of swims I have had over the summer, and challenge myself to have a few more before the beach club down the road shuts down for the winter.  Summer is over, it's now back to the blog.

Image: 'Retro Television' courtesy of SweetCrisis at FreeDigitalPhotos.net



Thursday, 23 April 2015

Confessions of a working mummy

Not unlike other paid and unpaid working mummies, my human fuel tank has its needle stuck somewhere between exhausted and seriously exhausted to the point of vague.

My batteries are rarely recharged.  My spark plugs like my home, need a good dusting and once over.

I often leave for work before my babies are awake and return home just before their bedtime. It is awful.

Below are ten confessions that I suspect many paid and unpaid working mums relate to - but perhaps rarely admit to:

1. The ankle biters do not take baths every night
2. I don't know if they really brush their teeth every day - despite threatening them that if they don't brush their teeth, they will fall out
3. I empower my children by giving them options:  'Brush your teeth, or they will fall out. You choose'.
4. I clean only what I can see, on the weekends
5. I iron only the ankle biters clothes because I don't want them going to nursery being the scruffy untidy kids
6. I don't iron my or Mr Lucky's clothes - we have to fight it out in the playground
7. I mix whites and and darks in the washing machine when I am seriously short of clothes
8. The only calm and quiet time is when I comb the ankle biters hair. I still remember how a brush feels when run through outdoor played / wind swept hair.  I am prepared to be late anywhere/ anytime to avoid my cherubs experiencing this
9. We have no routine. Ever. No matter how much I pretend or try to
10. The ankle biters still sleep with us and we love it and they too do

Not so bad, really, it isn't, no, of course it's not, is it???


Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Put down the gun

I suffer from PTSD. Yes, another ailment to add to my many. No, I have never thankfully been in the line of true fire, and the following does not intend to be disrespectful to anyone that has ...but being back in work environment occasionally gives me flashbacks to a work environment of a few years ago.  And the story goes like this...

I sit at my desk and feel my heart beat faster each time she walks past my office.

I wonder why, at age with years of experience under my belt I experience such a knee jerk, projectile vomit, knot in my tummy reaction when my eyes follow her as she strides by. I loathe every moment I have to interact with her.

The trenches were dug and war announced before I even had time to warm my desk chair.

This woman had her war cry entrenched in her psyche years before she joined this work battlefield. She has 'Warning, Armed Mean Person' tattooed on her forehead.

I observe her guarding the CEO's office, waiting, watching for her opportunity to pounce.

Despite my many years of experience I am ready to walk out and run back into the loving attentive arms of my cherubs who with every breath make the world a better place.

Day in day out a steady stream of soldiers enter the office, ready to do their best, ready to commit their know how, their experience, keen to present their passion, excitement and dedication - that combined moves mountains. Collectively the professional spirit here is incredibly motivating and positive but that one poacher shoots down any sense of achievement, success or empowerment.

I watch fascinated wondering how and why I allow myself to react so badly to one person, and as try as I may to focus on the many other positive, dedicated professionals I work with, that I allow this one rotten egg to kill my professional mojo.

A bully in her own right, I have had to swallow my insecurities and stand up to her a few times.  I wonder if my reaction is because this woman has little sense of teamwork, team spirit. Is it because I find her intimidating or am I simply off my game?

Having spent the last few years dedicated to encouraging cherubs to laugh, love and explore,  I wonder if I have become so Mummyfried that I have become soft? By cherubs I also include my lovely little team I have the absolute honor to lead, yes I do mean my work children as well as my own birth children.

Each morning I slap on my war paint and get ready to face battle.  I wonder if everyone else feels the same way. I suck it up and face the day determined.  I join the troops with grey, somber faces.  It would be nice if we could all put down our weapons and just played nice. Now that would be a nice ending where we all lived happily ever corporate life after.


Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Empowerment or power down?

This week I threw caution to the wind and let myself go.

I felt free, limitless, unchained and alive.

I averaged on about three mini snickers bars a day.

I breathed out and let my stomach just hang.

I challenged myself to think on my feet, I forced myself to decide within three minutes, what to wear to work each morning.

I let nature take over in the hair (facial and on head) and nail department.

I worked back - very late, concentrating on work, rather then wondering how the girls and Mr Lucky were coping without me. There was no guilt.

I let the house rest, there were no daily after work whirlwind, guerrilla style tidy up drills.

While on my lunch break, rushing to get another snickers bar, I spotted my reflection in a shop window.

This unkept, tummy hanging over belt, jeans too long for chosen shoes, helmet haired, dangerously close to having a mono brow person had gone too far.

I forgot the snickers, returned to the office with my tummy sucked in. I tied my helmet hair back after slapping on a serious amount of hair wax (I always keep a stash at work for my 'hair out of control' days).  Folded up my jeans, and stapled them so they were the appropriate length for my shoes, ensuring they no longer swept the streets clean with each step. I created a 'to wear' and a 'to do' list for the rest of the week.

The  internal emergency siren stopped wailing. Order almost returned, I still need to make an appointment to lose the mono brow, starve myself for about two years to shed the snickers related ten kilo love handles and work on bringing on a guilt attack for focusing on work and not the family.

I am almost there.

Feeling empowered, dis-empowered or powered down? I am not quite sure.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Missing in very serious and important action

Since 1 January 2015 and perhaps a little before then, I have been missing in action (MIA). Aside from close friends, Mr Lucky and the ankle biters noticing, my MIA status suggests the following state of play:

1. Every one else has started the new year with much gusto and madness and they haven't had time to notice I am missing. Let's face it,  2015 to date has been operating on warp speed - I haven't had time to notice if anyone else is missing too.
2. My stats regarding my readership or followers are incorrect - nobody reads my blog.  I don't really want to explore this further but there is an ever so slight suggestion (I really hope not) that my blogs are.... floating in dead, unread, uninteresting space in the WebSphere.

In January I submitted a public service contract role application and got the job. The job, while mostly in English, requires Greek. This, like my readership statistics is a challenge and requires some attention.

Also since January I:
  • Packed up and moved South
  • Shipped my stuff over from London that has been in storage for close to two years
  • Unpacked it all, then gave most of it away as it was no longer needed
  • Found a new school, doctor, dentist, lawyer, accountant etc
  • Registered as a freelancer so I could do the job and get paid  
  • Work a minimum of 12 hour days then come home and work off work with housework
  • Somewhere I manage to bathe the girls, shower, eat (well I always make time for that) and try to relax.
Did I mention I started work three days into our move interstate? We hadn't yet moved into our new home and were enjoying the comforts of a lovely, clean, organised hotel.

Hence my delay in blogging, and explanation as to why I am up on a school night at 3 am- finally doing what I love to do, write.


So while I am super woman coordinator of the year,  a few more things stand out:
  •  I am consistently running on empty / low energy /low attention so need to prepare 'to do' lists to stay organised 
  • This freelance short term full time contract deal is not as empowering or as fun as I thought
  • I miss my girls
  • They miss me
  • I miss writing for fun
  • I don't think any one else misses my writing but I am too tired to notice
  • I have become blonde with a badly maintained regrowth and lets leave any other hair discussion just here at this full stop.
  • I am still not tall and certainly not thin
  • I really really miss my girls and Mr Lucky
  • My girls have grown and I am missing their minute by minute development
  • I marvel at other mums who manage to breeze through it all with good hair, humour, career progression and no guilt 
  • My memory at work stinks. I have an enormous workload, no different to what I  had before the ankle biters, I don't remember names or details and have to write everything down... but I can tell you what the girls are wearing today, what they will wear and eat tomorrow.

Ms MIA Mummyfried is not juggling career and family well, I know something has to give. Between January and now - that give has been me. I am trying to initiate a search and rescue mission for me and will then try to  strike a balance.

It's on my 'to do' list. A delayed 2015 resolution to return to blogging, despite my pitiful readership and writing.

Watch this space (please!).