The O’Donnell Sisters Guide to Mama’s Survival

The O’Donnell Sisters Guide to Mama’s Survival

The O'Donnell Sister's Guide To Mama's Survival

How has your day been Mama?

Right now, you might have your magnificent offspring on your hip while talking on the phone- stepping over blocks and shooing the dog away from lunchtime spills on the floor. Between ubering, cheffing, counseling, diplomatic rationalizing and smashing the glass ceiling you may well be wiping wee off a toilet seat and mentally preparing a list of everything you NEED to do while pondering Marie Kondo and realising how many things are just NOT sparking your joy… Welcome, you are not alone!

According to research by Griffith University, many women struggle with being time poor and the demands of being a mother, the requirements of being an employee and “getting it all done.” No kidding. I mean, really? “IT ALL” is a broad term to throw into inverted commas people. C’mon already. We are amazing, we are warriors- tell us something we don’t know! But let’s be serious. It can be so hard.

Mother guilt can be heavier than a bag of bricks.

The old phrase “a woman’s work is never done” could not be more ‘en pointe in our western–i-can-do-it-all-because-bras-were-burned-for-me world. Life is busy. Busy women doing many things with as little mistakes as we can manage because the world is watching right?

So, as busy mums how do we lessen the burden and start living our best life? What is this magic that will give us more energy and propel us out of the world of Mombie and into the land of the living and being present?

Now we could sit here and tell you like everyone else to meditate the proverbial out of yourself, however, let’s keep it real. We are modern women with modern needs, and sometimes it’s the little things that put a smile on your face.

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1. DITCH THE GUILT

We are living in a time where women are waving the feminist flag with one hand and holding the washing basket in the other. The load on the mother has increased to include basically EVERYTHING! Working, childcare, home duties, meal prep, bikini waxes or if you are liberated- not- corporate takeovers, Bachelor Degrees in OMG I AM A MOTHER NOW WHEN AM I GOING TO SLEEP AGAIN- to hang on, I love this, this is WORTHY.  Oh and worming the dog.- don’t forget that. Are you Vegan and gluten intolerant or maybe your child has allergies? Put the whiskey down, its ok, we have more… point is- GUILT is too heavy an emotion, it holds a heavy vibration that will zap the energy you are already lacking. So give it a miss and send it on its way. Good vibes Mama, more of this in your life will do nicely.

2: Hire a cleaner!

Good thing I mentioned ditching the guilt first right?!  

Regardless of who does what in your abode, stats from Macquarie University tell us that in Australia 86% of women do the majority of the housework. Would you like some gender inequality with your smashed avo?

Hiring a cleaner may sound like a luxury for some- however, hiring a cleaner even once a fortnight to do the tasks you hate or don’t have time to do (insert scrubbing bathroom grout, the laundry pile, cleaning the oven) is a winner.  By outsourcing, you are giving yourself time to do less obligatory tasks and allow more meaningful moments. Take time for yourself, make memories with your kids (the fun ones!) and the job still gets done. Can’t afford it? Try and work it into your budget by ditching the lattes and takeouts- substituting things in your budget to make life easier may become your next best trick. $35 every two weeks for an hour of those jobs might be a life-changer.


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3. Organisation time

There is no way we can remember everything. Keep an electronic diary on your smartphone with alerts and reminders. Keeping track of events, library day, bills, appointments, due payments. It’s like having a free PA that reminds us of the important stuff. Have you checked out Google Personal Assistant? If not.. do this today!  If you make time to check your phone once a day, you won’t find yourself red-faced in the school car park- it is not Crazy Hair Day and your child is walking around the playground looking like Johnny Rotten.

4. Learn to say NO.

You don’t have to explain yourself to anybody. No is a lovely word when it is used in the right context and when it comes to you Mama, saying No sometimes can be your saving grace. It might be no to catching up, no to attending something, a party, or a favor. You and your children come first. There is a time in adulthood when we need to conserve our energy for the important things. Those moments are when we bravely decide to sidestep the “have to’s” and permit ourselves to opt out. And if you pause and think about it- who deserves the best of you? You. What you take from one bucket you give to another.

Everyone else can wait, and if they don’t understand that it might be time to rethink who your tribe is.

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5. Take 10 minutes.

When the kids are asleep, or entertained, take ten. Go outside, put your feet on the grass- adorn your head with headphones playing soothing music and thank yourself for being you. Yoga Nidra meditation is really awesome too. Or….if you wanted to you could put on your old Doc Martins and smash out some interpretive dance to Four Non-Blondes. Your own silent disco. Cool doesn’t have a used by date in your loungeroom.

We will leave you with our parting gift of advice: NETFLIX. Gorging pure escapism for the sake of sanity. We are talking Outlander, no limits, no judgment. Soulfood. Mr. Grey is a thing of the past- we’re talking kilts, rolling hills,  a thick Scottish accent, and a sporran. Did someone just say “Sassenach?”

 The O’Donnell Sisters
One is a celebrated author, mother, and teacher, the other is the black sheep and ratbag wordsmithing her way through life with gusto. Kate O’Donnell and her sister Kirsten can often be found reminiscing and talking women’s business over a peppermint tea (Kirsten’s is often laced with Gin) and knitting. Kate knits, Kirsten does not. Mind you Kate does play a mean steel six string guitar and loves a good Xavier Rudd concert. Her big sister loves popcorn, gardening, Hemingway, quantum physics and is quite partial to a pirouette. She is not certifiably crazy but on the quiet- she thinks she might be the OA.

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Christmas was lovely, truly quiet, memorable and overwhelming. I was very very pleased and grateful to be with my family this Christmas. Honestly how lame does that sound? Pleased and Grateful, biggest understatement of the year. It was so huge in my heart I thought it would break in half the sight of my kids unwrapping their gifts. Having dinner at the table and saying grace I thought I would burst into tears. It felt like every atom in my body was grateful and split . I am being very honest, it hurt a little and it felt amazing. Everything feels a little bit different these days and I feel like I am getting used to new skin, nothing is as it was and I doubt it ever will be again.So now Christmas is fading with a very large wilting Christmas tree that has seen better days and looks like a hungover Grandpa. How would I know? I’ve seen a few of them over the Chrissy break! (Grandpas) and New Years is upon us as well as the lengthy school holidays.

The school holidays are smack bang here in my house. I have looked forward to these holidays for months. What was I thinking? Its a bit like labour with subsequent children, you forget about the pain of labour and the intensity and then you get your second contraction; what in the name of god was I thinking?

Week 3 and I don’t know what your house is like, mine is like Mortal Kombat revisited with a touch of Fight Club and Big Bang Theory, its an interesting combination. Tis the season for Verbal Annihilation; “ITS MY TURN…..MUUUUUUM!”
So I am left with a couple of options
A) I can keep them so busy they don’t even have time to whisper “water” and they fall into bed exhausted at the end of the day, whilst at the same time I wipe out my bank balance
B) put up a homemade boxing ring in the lounge room, give them some gloves, lock myself in the bedroom and drink G&Ts until their father gets home.

I’m kidding, I think its really healthy for them to debate, learn some compromising skills and battle out the details of some fair trade agreements. So far we have Gordon Gekko, Barnaby Joyce and quite possibly Margaret Thatcher in process, its going to get totes interesting… (see what I mean…im even starting to sound like them) lol

Do you ever imagine other families and think surely they must be sitting around singing kumbaya and plaiting each other’s hair? A monopoly game here has the scale to turn into a power house take down on global proportions. I sometimes look at other families and compare. Comparison, now there’s a finicky word, you can sink your teeth into that one, its very sinewy and likely to get caught in your teeth. I ponder how much of the human race’s issues come from Comparison? Gosh there’s a thesis in that!

Just the other day I heard someone over drinks talk enviably with a teency dash of sharp edge-ness “Oh they’re loaded, more money than they can sniff at.” Like it was a bad thing. It gets me thinking about everything being relative… Comparisons can always be made, its infinite, like colours having different shades. Just because my red is bright red doesn’t mean your crimson is any less red. It is still red, its just different. That person’s annual income might be more than mine, but mine will be more than the homeless man living in a shelter, and his may be higher than a child living in Toga West Africa living in squalor drinking filthy water. It goes on and on.

I have a friend who has done quite a few Army tours who has told me a lot of places he has travelled to that are on the appearance of being very poor are the happiest! The smiles are bigger, their apparently first appearance joyfulness is contagious! I know people that have very limited current financial means (which is just a polite way of saying they arent $ wealthy) and yet they are the happiest people I know. I also know folks who are ridiculously well off through good choices and hard work who are some of the most generous and loving people I know. You could on and on huh? Crazy healthy people with unhealthy attitudes compared to very unwell people with busting healthy mental attitudes that weather any storm. What is my point? Well I guess I could write thousands of comparisons and you could think of them. Where would it get us? Nowhere. Zilcho. Naught. You catch my lingo? I think I am scrambling my way to a point here somewhere…
I think if you compare yourself to others, or measure yourself against other people all the time, or care about what other people might think all the time its quite possible that you are not going to have the most accurate of measuring sticks are you? How long is a piece of string? Infinite possibilities, and while you are running that piece of string in knots in your mind and twining it around conversations you are wasting precious energy and time. Because a lot of people have a hard enough time running their own lives, what makes them an expert on you or yours? Trust me, it doesn’t cure cancer, pay your credit card bill, solve world hunger, shrink aneurysms, find lost socks or make a cup of tea.

There is the exception to the rule though, I think if someone who you REALLY trust to tell you the truth and who cares about you tells you in a delicate way that you have revolting B.O. going on, well that is possibly something to consider. Its a bit of a deal breaker. No ones likes a smelly nelly and BO permeates everything…like a bad attitude.

I am guilty of it, comparison not B.O (she armpit sniffs as she types) and the occasional neurosis that started in High school. Will they like it? Do they like me? Did I say the right thing? Was that ok? Am I ok?

I am not one for New Year’s Resolutions, but as I go into 2015 i might go in dressed with a new coat that will not be measured by anyone else but me, trusting my own inner voice with the anticipation of a multitude of joyful moments and milestones.

Can you believe its 2015 in less than 10 hours? Man I remember wondering in 1994 what the year 2000 would be like. I honestly thought they would have a hover board by now, or Jetson cars. Thank goodness they have Flow Diverters and Apple phones huh? 2015…wow. I shall call it the year of the Concave Polygon and teach my children to hold hands and sing Kumbaya.

Have a safe and wonderful New Years Eve peeps. Be a lamp that burns brightly for all that is good and joyful, and if you can’t be joyful may the corners of your mouth tilt slightly upwards towards your ears at least a couple of times a day x

Thank you so much for your support and good wishes, reading and sharing my blog. I am really enjoying sharing with you and our ponderings. Remember you can comment below the blog if you feel like it.
Blessings to you and Yours,
Kirsten

The Day of Champions is here

Monday morning I woke up in a sweat, my heart was beating very fast. In less than 4 hours I would be in the MRI machine again.

Shortly after that a meeting would happen where I would find out if FRED was working or not. I hoped FRED hadn’t taken off to Hawaii or France for Christmas. I dearly prayed that FRED wasn’t blocking any major arteries and this aneurysm wasn’t growing. My mind was full of wasn’t hasn’t and hadn’t.
I went out the back to my nice stretch of green lawn under the fruit trees to do Yoga. I stretched out, like a cat. The sun was already out and the warmth of it on my skin made me smile. As i finished my stretches and closed my eyes for prayer/meditation I was gently reminded that I had indeed chosen the wrong words. The FRED IS working, there ARE no arteries blocked and the aneurysm IS safely shrinking. The reminder was gentle yet poignant, and again I was smiling. Humbled.

To think of something as it is already occurring, affirming it for our bodies, our minds and hearts is the first step in healing.

You can read this and call it denial. Go on, I dare you. I call it working. It has to. You see I have three children, they need me. They think I am funny and I make them laugh. Thats pretty awesome, I also wake them up at times in the middle of the night kissing them and blowing raspberries on their tummies. I know they complain about it, but I see the smile. I know they would miss my messy raspberries if I wasn’t here. So FRED you are like my new Imaginary friend, I can’t see you but I will talk to you. (I warned you last week I was nuts)

Before our stop off to the  hospital I called in to visit a dear friend of mine at the Royal Children’s Hospital.

Her little boy has been in there since April very unwell. I was blessed to be able to enter the sterile area they are keeping him safe from bugs and infections. Gowned up and masked I walked into the quiet little space of beeping machines. As I set eyes on this small boy sitting up in his chair, cables and tubes spread everywhere, pumping and signalling, my breath stopped. Everything felt stilled and my heart leaped. I was motionless for what felt like forever but was only seconds.
Before me was the most magnificent sight I had ever seen in my life. Honestly, the MOST amazing. A champion, as brave and true as Arthur about to pull the sword from the stone, as mighty as David bravely staring down Goliath was this person, small in stature but HUGE beyond belief sat this Warrior child. How could someone who was only a child be so beautifully magnificent, I have been in the presence of some pretty “important” people before, but I knew at that moment that I was in the presence of someone very very important, and powerful. A little gentleman with his manners so gorgeously intact and polite, He could not see me, as I told him I was there, he smiled. That smile was a thousand watts of brilliance. As I sat and chatted again I was gently reminded that my MRI and my battle could be fought with ease, look at this Warrior boy in front of me! If he can do this epic journey to the top of his mountain, then my small skip across a teency ravine could be done with ease.
If Mum reads this to you my little friend, I bless you and with all my heart I say thank you. Not because your body has been unwell, but because your personality and this mightiness you have inside you is contagious and brilliant. You are my hero my man. Your family is like the Incredibles seriously! The whole lot of you are super human and tenacious. I think we shall have costumes made for you what do you think?
So I toddled off to the other hospital, had my MRI and FRED looks like he is doing ok. The Aneurysm is there, but it is the same.  Its going to take a long time to tell if I am going to be ok. I know though. I am just fine. A few months ago they said I might not make it to Christmas. 

I hate to be the one to drop the bombshell but Christmas iS TOMORROW! Hello PRESENTS! I love presents, really I do.

Tomorrow morning I will get to wake up to squeals, cries of laughter and overexcited children, grandparents, uncles, Loud Christmas Carols by the Buble and puppy dogs. A big over the top tree thats terrible Kitsch and drooping with ancient decorations shall await me, underneath a silly amount of gifts (Old mum might have gone a leeeetle bit over the top this year…just sayin) – (Mortality does that to you, puts a hole in your bank balance) and hopefully a good hot cup of coffee. As I sit there, I shall send you all a prayer of blessing, thanks and gratitude. For at this special time of year, I am here. I am here! Have yourselves a Very Merry Christmas, keep safe and hug a lot of people if you can. If Christmas is hard for you this year because your special person is not here, I send you a peaceful heart and precious memories that are vivid enough to hold in your hand and heart x
Much Love to you and yours,
Kirsten
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