Tuesday, 30 April 2013
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
I just read about the longest-running longitudinal study into human development. The Harvard Grant Study started in 1938 and followed 268 Harvard graduates for 68 years. And it is one of those crazy moments where you watch someone else's life flash before you, but more than crazy it is absolute gold. It is like finding proof of God, when with that amount of data is collected, over that period of time, the findings prove that if the men had a warm relationship with their mother and a happy marriage, their lives were not only happier and healthier but also more financially successfully. It basically shoots "the nature vs nurture" argument squarely in the head too.
Wow! just wow!
Wow because I am a Mum to two toddler boys, wow because I know a man that didn't get on with his Mum and wow, I suddenly feel really terrified.
I know this is all a good thing, because I am determined to love my boys and maintain a warm relationship with them, but life doesn't always work that way and people sometimes get it wrong.
The good news for Mums struggling with their relationships with their sons is this though, the study also found that happiness can be found later in life, by things like finding the right spouse, a health scare or finding a new community, like three examples from the study did.
Christopher Croke wrote in The Australian, "The journeys of the Grant Study men show that most people's lives are more authentically stories of growth and change than they are tales of demographic or genetic destiny."
Scott Stossel wrote in The Atlantic, "Vaillant’s key takeaway, in his own words: “The seventy-five years and twenty million dollars expended on the Grant Study points … to a straightforward five-word conclusion: ‘Happiness is love. Full stop.’ ”
It seems apt to end hAPpyRIL with that final note. Loving others is the most powerful and fulfilling thing we can do in this life.
Love your family, love your friends, love the humans you've never met,
but most of all LOVE your children.
Wednesday, 18 January 2012
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
When I was a child-free, busy career-woman waking up to the sprinkling of rain on a weekend was kind of romantic and the perfect excuse to stay in bed longer. The worst that could happen is a picnic or BBQ would need to be moved undercover, but to be honest I wasn’t really rolling in picnic invitations. In fact most weekends I was suffering from at least a minor hangover, so really the world could have frozen over outside and as long as I had a doona I’d be happy.
Then two tenacious little wriggly things changed all that when they found their way through the perils of my uterean landscape into ovum heaven. Rain on a weekend now means only one thing and it is no longer a nice warm lie in, it in no way resembles a snuggle as you drift between hazy consciousness and la-la-land, and it causes worse brain damage than any amount of alcohol consumption. ‘IT’ is the INDOOR PLAY CENTRE.
Three simple words that in isolation are all quite innocuous, they could even be seen as quite positive, but when combined in this particular order contain the power to strike fear into the hearts of the brave, reduce the stoic to cowering messes of tears and transform the cool, calm and collected to hot, bothered and berserk.
Funnily enough the truth of this doesn’t prevent desperate parents from once again venturing into the fray at the slightest hint of rain. For some reason the last memory of play-centre insanity is overshadowed by the more recent hell raised by two trapped banshees, I mean boys, in the space formerly recognised as the home. Which, after a morning of rain, is easily mistaken for a small landfill site. And letting them loose in a ball-filled pit of despair seems like the better option to living in a tip for a day…until you arrive.
The noise itself, something akin to the screams of a thousand cats being strangled, would send any normal person running in the opposite direction, but to a parent on a rainy day, they stay the course, wildly hanging on to the hope that this time, despite blood pouring from their ears, it will be fun for all.
It really isn’t until you are through the door and you lose sight of one child in the multi-level tunnels, nets and padded shapes and the other disappears under a rainbow of germ-infested plastic balls that the horror returns and you realise the error of your ways. By then it is too late to retreat as your hell, is your children’s idea of the most fun they have ever had in their whole life.
On this particular morning I looked jealously at parents sitting at tables, relaxed with coffees, smug in the knowledge they can leave there over-four year old to fend for themselves, which is code for my child is now big enough to run into, push over, throw balls at everyone else’s children. Conversely I removed my shoes and ran around on padded vinyl, batting big kids out of the way and diverting incoming missiles as my 16 month old giggled his way through mazes and ball pits. My only consolation was knowing my hubby was currently squeezing himself through a wobbling, netted tunnel three levels above the ground in an effort to keep sight of our 2 year old, who was about to disappear into a mess of mangled bodies hurtling themselves down a 30ft slide on hessian bags.
|Don't be fooled by the pretty colours and cute monkeys...this is HELL on earth.|
There is always an island of respite with a sign above it stating, “under fours only”. Again a glimmer of hope returns as you drag your child towards the single level, fenced in, near empty toddler area, and almost hysterically sell-in the excitement of what is obviously the most boring area in the centre, even a dirty cup off the floor is more captivating, because god-forbid you could be allowed to relax for more than 5 seconds. Their sudden possession by the spirit of hell drawing them back to the rampaging levels of mayhem drives you back through the gate to hell again. And you watch as they head, giggling for certain injury.
We escaped this time with only a four year jumping on our 16 month old’s head from height no less, but xrays were not required, and other than the obligatory “Damien” impersonations as we try to extract our little energy balls from their extremely fun “pinball machine”, we escaped with our lives only just. But I know I left about ten years of my life in there and if I ever consider going again I require you to smack me in the head with a large shovel.
©2012, My IdeaLife, All rights reserved
Sunday, 4 September 2011
Sunday, September 04, 2011
My Dad is one of those men who don’t speak much and I’m not sure whether that is why he is so popular or whether it is the easy confidence he exudes, but to know him is to love him. And who was I to buck a trend? The truth is I absolutely idolised him as a child in a way only a daughter can.
My poor mother was so excited to be having a girl (I have one older brother), someone she could pass on feminine knowledge and ways to, but I turned out a terrible tomboy and was often found under the car with Dad as he showed me how to change the oil or the like. If I wasn’t holding the makeshift electric light over the engine of the car, or passing him a wrench, I was standing on a wooden crate in Dad’s workshop watching him build whatever contraption was needed for that day’s project.
And if you saw this place, inconspicuously hidden under the front verandah, you’d understand why. It was literally a man cave in an epic way with every type of tool you could think of. With the twin wheel grinder and industrial sized clamp front and centre, there were draws of screws, washers, nuts and bolts; every type of spanner, wrench, hammer; and every kind of scrap material from flyscreen to soft lead sheets used to make fishing sinkers of varying sizes. We didn’t need Bunnings in those days, all we had to do was go to Dad’s workshop and whatever you needed was there.
Mum was not a fan of the workshop, it was organised chaos and more than a little bit dirty. And those are two of Mum’s mortal enemies. But I’d venture to say the workshop was just another thing that took him away from her. He was a shift worker for his contracting business and if he wasn’t working, he was fishing, playing his double bass in a ‘70s nightclub or in his dark workshop. I used to long for him to come home as there was definitely not enough Dad time for any of us, especially Mum.
So today, in a time when Mothers still play the primary role in the life of their children I wondered whether it was fair that Father’s got a day, “shouldn’t they just get an hour, it’s good enough for the earth”, I half-seriously considered. Then I thought of my Dad and how he had taught me what electricity is, how to change a tyre, how to hammer a nail so it didn’t bend, the nature of different metals, how to saw wood so the teeth don’t get caught and how to make useful things from whatever we had lying around. And I realised his ever-present patience and generosity to spend hours teaching me things that in the end inspired me to complete a degree in Industrial Design, deserved to be celebrated for longer than an hour.
Even now as I watch him with my two boys I see the same patience and imagination he shared with me, revealing itself again, and like many before them, they can’t get enough of him (only last week Crash, who’s only 11 months old, cried when I took him from his Pop!).
So despite him being around less when I was young and being much more reserved in the way he showed his love, I knew I was loved and accepted as just me, and not just accepted but adored and empowered. Thanks Dad, Happy Father’s Day.
Why does your Dad deserve to be spoilt all day long on Father’s Day?
©My IdeaLife, 2011, All rights reserved
Monday, 7 March 2011
Monday, March 07, 2011
It's amazing what a difference some sleep makes! So many mothers who have been there and done the two kids hellishly close together have kept telling me 'there is light at the end of the tunnel'. Well I think I am catching a glimpse of said light - hurrah!
My sleep deprivation deprived me of so much more than sleep. Namely the ability to see anything clearly or logically, especially the new little human being growing up so quickly in front of me. In any case I felt obliged to write again so that all those poor women expecting their second won't curl up in a ball and start rocking after reading my first post.
To you I say it has it's ups and downs and you may get a bub that happily sleeps from 11pm to 6am from 5wks like some in my mum's group have. Basically it is not as bad as I've made it sound - for some it is better, for some worse. Whatever your situation it is always more manageable on 5-6hrs sleep.
So lately my resentment has just faded and is being replaced by as strong a love as I have for my eldest. I can now see the positive side of all those negatives, even my husband made me laugh yesterday (!!!) So all is well with the world again...until the next sleep-deprived night and subsequent brain snap hits. (Suddenly that scene in 'Parenthood' about the roller coaster makes sense).