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Carpe Diem!

Posted by Mattie on Apr 11, 2013 in Womanhood

I used to play guitar when I was in elementary school, but I quit, like most kids do. I regretted that decision for a very long time.

I always envied people who could play the guitar. I wanted to get back to it, but I was busy partying in my 20’s. Raising children in my 30’s. Driving everyone around and being supportive made me think.  Why not me?

6 months ago, I was walking through Costco and I saw this guitar for sale. It was a good deal.  I bought it. I noodled for a few months. Took some lessons on the Internet. I liked it. I never realized how much I missed it.

Spending all that money on music lessons for my children, I decided it was my turn. I started guitar lessons. Of course it’s hard work trying to find the time to practise. But, I love it.

Mothers put their heart and soul into their children. And, that is what they need. But mothers also need to care of themselves. Find what you love to do and do it. Even if it is only 15 minutes a day. Next month it will be 20. When you love to do something you will gravitate to it.

Let yourself be a person and not just a mother. I believe the happier person you are, the better mother will be. Carpe Diem.

 
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Parkinson’s Disease

Posted by Mattie on Feb 28, 2013 in Parenting, Womanhood

Today I met a couple that seem to be quite over whelmed with their life. Although, I was busy catering to my own needs, this is the sort of thing that puts my life into perspective.

I walked into the lobby of a building. I see this couple on my way to the elevator.  I hear the woman tell this man, that I assume is her husband. Don’t move, lean against the wall and wait for me. I need to move the car. She was stressed.

I look at the man and said “good morning”. He looked at me but he could not speak. I assumed that he had Parkinson’s disease. I smiled and waited for the elevator. The doors opened and I got on the elevator. He followed me in. I reminded him that he was to wait for his wife, but he had a blank look in his eyes.

I got out of the elevator, so that he would follow me out.  I then waited with him, watching over him, to make sure he did not leave the building. I waited until his wife returned.  I did not want to be nosy so I explained to her what had happened, just in case this was the first time. She was overwhelmed. He did have Parkinson’s.

I was late for my appointment, but that is OK. This couple needed help. I try to teach my children to be aware of their surroundings. Mostly for safety concerns, but sometimes for selfless wisdom.

I then went about my day, not complaining about anything. I am lucky to be healthy.

 
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A Friend to all is a Friend to None

Posted by Mattie on Jul 22, 2012 in Womanhood

I am not a techy by any means. It takes me forever to adopt technology and the Internet. Yes, I surf and research, but I don’t ride it the way many others do. I am a bystander, at best.

I started Facebook-ing (that is a new word) a few years ago and got so many requests to have friends that I had to inactivate my account. I was overwhelmed with so many people wanting to be my friend. Imagine that, so many people wanted to be my friend. An honour? Maybe not. A bit of competition mixed with horror. Maybe yes.

After having over 100 friends, some work related, some strangers, I stopped posting. I did not want everyone to know everything about me.  Where is the fun in that? It is amazing to me that people actually have 200 friends.

In fact, could it be competition? Look at me, look at my fantastic life. Look what I am doing. Could we call that bragging? Some call it sharing. I think there is a fine line here.

The horror sets in when many people don’t post anything about their lives. They only read about other people’s lives. Maybe we can call them voyeurs? They are certainly not sharing. What exactly are they doing? I have decided 30 friends and one husband is good enough for me.

Now that the paranoia is out of my system, I have activated my account. This time, I tried to control the amount of friends that I wanted. But, I did not want to insult anyone. At first I was everybody’s friend, and then discreetly unfriended them. I felt as though, I was stabbing them in the back! Now, I just don’t accept all the friend requests. Sorry, please don’t take it personally.

What made me laugh about Facebook, others, and myself is that it took me 3 months to make my husband, my husband and not my friend. Doesn’t that sound bizarre? Once I figured out, that my husband should not be my friend, (I am not even going to go there) I switched him to his rightful status, as my husband. I got so many posts congratulating me. For what? Getting married or figuring out how to use Facebook.

I started Facebook-ing because I felt as though, I was missing out on something important in this virtual social circle. It didn’t take me long to figure out, that I wasn’t missing out on anything. Just wasting some of my precious time.

Although, I have to say it is a great way to keep in touch with people whom you don’t see often, because they live in another country. My husband is part of a group of childhood friends from England and they seem to have a lot of fun reminiscing.

But, if we see each other often, why don’t we actually talk to one another, instead of posting everything we do? I guess it easier to tell everyone everything, instead of individualizing our conversation and actually giving people our attention.

Signing out,
Mattie

 
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Mothers and Life Insurance

Posted by Mattie on May 2, 2011 in Motherhood

Today we had to renew our life insurance. It is the sort of thing that most people don’t want to talk about, but pretty much have to do. No one wants to be left out onto the street, right after a loved one has past away. But this is a weird conversation to have. Hey honey, how much am I worth to you? And for how long are you going to feel this way?

Even worse, what happens to our kids if something happens to both of us? This is a hard thing to think about, because none of us want to leave our kids. Sure, we can set it up, that someone we trust can take care of our kids. But, that pill, is very hard for me to swallow. I want to raise my kids. I want to be there for them. I want them to depend on me. I don’t ever want them to feel alone.

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Mothers and their lack of Time!

Posted by Mattie on Apr 29, 2011 in Motherhood, Womanhood

Everyday I think of something I want to share and never have time to write anything. Today that stops. Tomorrow I will continue. Mothers never have enough time. I wish we had a button that we could press, to stop everything around us. So that we could do anything else. I wish I had more time in a day to get things done. I wish some days could be longer, while other days shorter. I wish people would stop asking me to do things. I wish I didn’t have to live my life by a list. I wish I had more time for me.

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Parents and The Tooth Fairy

Posted by Mattie on Nov 18, 2010 in Parenting

Who invented the Tooth Fairy?

Haven’t parents got enough things to remember? The only thing the Tooth Fairy serves is an opportunity to reduce the whining of kids and their fear of pulling out a tooth. Financial motivation…don’t get me started!

Almost every time the Tooth Fairy needs to pay my kids a visit, she forgets! She is always late, always gives a different amount and always places the money in a different spot! Parents create this longstanding commitment that drives me nuts!

My kids come home and tell me all about the pixie dust that has to be in the water, next to the bed, so that blah, blah, blah…. I can’t live that way.

We tell our kids that the Tooth Fairy does not need a song and dance to come by. Sometimes she is busy and every time she has a budget. To teach my kids to be invested in superficial rituals goes against my grain.

As my parents would say, “consider yourself lucky that you got anything!”

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Mothers and Hallowe’en

Posted by Mattie on Nov 8, 2010 in Motherhood

I know, I know. Halloween was weeks ago. But I have been busy.

When I was a kid we use to plan out costumes, one maybe two days in advance. No monthly prep and no parent was ever involved. Other than making sure the costume wasn’t promiscuous. But that didn’t ‘t happen either. Once you hit the teen years. Its over, now you give out candy. Life is a circle of events, sometimes you get, and sometimes you give.

The only times I really got involved was when they were too young to do anything for themselves. Now we have a budget and they are do and decide as much as they can for themselves. Life is what you make it. The sooner they figure it out, the better for all of us.

I don’t consider Halloween a holiday, more like a North American yearly custom of breaking out of your inhibitions! Just joking. It is fun to dress up. And some people really go all out. I admire that. I like exotic face painting. But a cat or a bunny is all I can really do effectively.

My best Halloween was when I was a gypsy. I wore my mother’s patterned silky dresses and my sister was Kojak. (Google if you are younger than 40!) Now that was fun. My parents never came out with us. It was our time to enjoy. Imagine that?

Times have changed, we would never let our kids out alone. So now, we all go out, spread out, give the kids a lot of space and drink our beers when they aren’t looking!

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Mothers and Fashion

Posted by Mattie on Oct 28, 2010 in Motherhood, Womanhood

Fashion is the new health issue.

I used to wake up in the morning and think what am I going to wear today? Is anything even washed? By the time I got the kids ready to go out the door, I pretty much still had my pyjamas on, or something that looked like it. Having worked in the fashion industry my whole professional life, I became embarrassed at how I was now representing myself.

Once my head got above water and I started to breath again. I decided that I needed to think about myself more. I needed to realise who I had become because I was no longer a career person and was now a stay at home parent. Just like food and exercise, my self-awareness had become a part of my life that I had neglected for some time now.  I know that most people don’t think that fashion is a health issue. I agree, it is not, but feeling good about you is a health issue.

After researching about the proper foods and running my heart out, I still felt lost. Sometimes I ran so hard and so far that I felt that I was trying to run away from or to something. When I finally bought a cool and functional running outfit, things started to click for me. I missed the fashion in my life. And if I missed it, maybe other mothers were in the same boat.

Getting a wardrobe together isn’t easy. Life is overwhelming enough for us, and most of us just don’t have the time nor budget to make mistakes. Hopefully, my experiences can help make your life easier. There is definitely an inner strength when you look in the mirror and feel good about yourself.

The clothes you wear reveal things about you to the public that you may or may not be aware of.  It is always important, but not detrimental, what you wear because people naturally look at you and come to some sort of conclusion. Why not take the time to make sure that you succeed in setting the impression that you want. None of us are perfect. But how can you feel good about yourself, when you walk out of your house looking dishevelled?

Yes, we have exceptions, when it becomes more important for your children to be in school on time, than getting your outfit just right. You don’t need to buy a whole new wardrobe to reinvent yourself. You don’t have to be a slave to fashion to be stylish. All you have to do is sort it out.

Think about it. What is your style? Are you yoga laid back? Are you city chic? Are you a part time professional? Or are you plain Jane, just wanting to wear new clothes. Or, perhaps just like all of us, our bodies changed and our old clothes don’t fit anymore. No shame in that. Bodies change, dispositions change and so does our lifestyle. Being a mother involves change and adaptation.

Here is how I have learned to set myself up and teach other mothers to do the same. I have limited space, yet an extensive wardrobe. It is simple and you can do it too. Organization is a key element of having control of how you look and feel.

Focus on sections of your closet at a time. It takes time to build a working wardrobe. Time to make physical changes and time to make psychological changes. If you do too much, too fast, you will be overwhelmed and turned off. Clean out the shelves first, then the hanging clothes, work in that sort of direction. Being organized is a mindset.

Let it go. Clutter brings you down, move on. Clean out your clothes. I know that you have heard it before, but just do it. Plain and simply, if it is worn out and/or does not fit properly get rid of it immediately. Give it to charity or the garbage man. Don’t be a prisoner of clutter. Stop wasting your time and energy on things that don’t work for you. Look at your new space. Now you have made room for the new you, the mother.

Identify what is missing. What do you want to wear that you don’t have? I like nice outerwear. I hate wearing my “rain” gear when it rains, but the reality of North Vancouver is that I have no choice. So I look for the best quality jacket in the most complimentary colour to add to my wardrobe. This is an investment. But that doesn’t mean we can’t spurge on some fun items, just not too many. I prefer a few great items that work for my lifestyle, so that I don’t have to spend all my morning time thinking about clothes. I have set myself up to succeed.

Edit your wardrobe consistently. Every 3-6 months when you see something you don’t like, put it aside and revisit it upon clearance time. I am not saying throw everything away. I am saying periodically think about your wardrobe and then don’t think about everyday.

Find your favourite shops. Who has time to window shop anymore? Find the stores that sell the styles that you like and have the sizes that make you look good and only visit those shops. If you are consistently not finding what your are looking for, then take it as a sign and try something new. Yes, in the beginning it takes time, but in the end, you will be happier with your purchases. Eventually you also will figure out when they put things for sale.

I have been doing this for years and have now stared teaching my daughters. When you go to the shops, try many things, but only buy the one thing you like most that you need. Don’t buy three of four items, just because they are on sale. Save that money for indulgence. When you really like a sweater, but it is not on sale yet. Love your clothes and they will be good to you.

A wardrobe does not have to be a prison sentence. Find the colours that work for you. And play around with combinations. Buy few cheap trendy items for fun.  An expensive item must have quality, flexibility and be flattering, no exceptions.  Buy all year round items that work with seasonal items like long sleeve T’s, a great pair of jeans. Take the time to get the fit right. You are worth it.

Having control over your identity and changing your persona based on your priorities and moods is empowering. No one needs a lot of clothes. A great wardrobe is made with variety. Wearing the same thing twice is not a sin. The challenge is to wear the same thing differently. If you find something that you like, keep it and use it. Don’t save it. I believe there is agelessness with reinventing yourself. Do it in stages and don’t try to do it in one day. Embrace it.

Think of a wardrobe as an investment in your image and well-being. It is not about what people think of you nor being better than anyone else. It is about how you feel about yourself. Don’t try to be perfect. We don’t use the word perfect in our family, because that concept does not exist and therefore, impossible to live up to. Good enough works for us.

One of the best seeds that I can plant in my children is that they should always try always to be good to themselves. Hopefully, when I allow myself some indulgence, they can learn about self-esteem.

For more fashion tips go to my fashion blog; www.mattiealamode.com

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Mothers and Exercise Class

Posted by Mattie on Oct 27, 2010 in Womanhood

I am about to complain about another mother, so if that is going to bother you, move on to the next post. I will not be using times, dates, location nor names.

Here goes,

There is this lady in my exercise class and she has been driving me crazy for months! She is older probably 60 with older kids, who are in high school or older. Not that it should make a difference, but her age does.

Here is why…I have had the same “spot” in this class for about 2 years. Position is important as you don’t want to hit some one with your weights and you don’t want to get hit in the head either.

My position is in front of the door. For two reasons; 1) because I like to leave the class early and don’t want to manage through the crowd. And 2) because I don’t want to be in front of a mirror. I find looking at myself in the mirror when I exercise is distracting for many psychological reasons. And, I like to be either in the zone or daydream.

Anyway, this lady cannot keep up to the class. She is always off step, which means that she is about to hit me at any time. Plus she is always between the instructor and me so I keep missing the changes.

She is older so I give her that. But why exactly does she need to position herself so close to me before the class starts, when we all know you need arm and leg room. Sometimes I think she does it on purpose. Doesn’t she understand personal space????

Some people need to be close to people. Well I don’t have those needs. I need to exercise without her limbs in my way. We have had some words but she insists in standing in my shadow. She won’t move.

Now I think that she does it to get my goat. Hence this post. At least, I have had my say and can let it go.

Why not move from my spot? Because I was there first!

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Mothers and A Fever

Posted by Mattie on Oct 25, 2010 in Motherhood

Two weeks ago I had a 100-degree fever for 2 days. It threw me for a loop so I haven’t written since then. It took me this long to get back into the blog groove.

When my kids have a fever I have to stop everything that I am doing and take care of their needs. That is the choice I made when I decided to have kids. When my husband has a fever the world comes to an end. Was that a choice that I also made?

Fevers suck! I felt so tired and delirious, trudging through my day. Pick up this kid, drop off that one. Soccer photos and birthday parties, I need to get to bed. Being polite is so hard when I feel sick and tired. But for real this time.

Can’t you tell with my glossy eyes? I am not my usual miserable self. I have an excuse this time.

Mothers don’t really catch a break. We don’t get weekends off, or sick leave. We have to negotiate our day off. I wish I could call my family and leave them a voice mail. I am not coming in today. I will call you when I am feeling better. Don’t call me.

But that will never happen. I rest and I do a chore. I rest and then I do another chore. If I am lucky, I can get out of the bedtime routine and get to bed early. Hopefully I will be contagious and no one will want to be near me!

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