The Joneses Don’t Deserve Your Attention.⁣⁣

Success isn’t about how your life looks to others. It’s about how it feels to you. That’s what it means to be true to yourself.

I am my biggest critic. It’s me I have to please, no one else. If I am not satisfied with anything, I will continue to work towards improvement regardless of what others think or say. It is my life after all. It is me that has to live with myself till the grave, day and day out. I have to be comfortable in my own skin before I can be any use to anyone. Same with designing your own space. You are the one who is going to live there not other people. So why should you try to impress others when it’s not even their own abode. Do what you like, follow your feelings, decorate according to your taste, design according to your needs, dress up according to your personality and live the way you see fit. As long as your not harming anyone by being yourself, who cares?

Let them judge and let them talk.

It makes me think of something I’ve read somewhere. That coins make a lot of sounds while paper money is silent or something like that. And bells ring hard because they are shallow or something along those lines. What it is that Steve Jobs said:

Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice and our time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. 

Isn’t that great?

We are all born terminal. We are all going to die sooner or later. We are living on borrowed time. Don’t you think we better spend it on experience than accumulating earthy possessions? I remember what my then friend M. said to me a long time ago. She said: “With all that money you are spending on globetrotting you could have been a millionaire by now.”  I just looked at her because I didn’t understand her point of view and I didn’t bother to explain mine because she would not understand, and I mighty glad I did what I did because with my current condition and limited situation if I did not follow my heart and invested on experience, I will not have something to remember and fall back on when the going gets tough. Those cherished memories keep me sane and I’m grateful for that. I said to myself then: I don’t want to lie on my death bed wondering about ifs and what could have been. At least now I could honestly say to myself that I’ve been there done that twice over and back. No regrets.

Oh, I know, some people are hard-set to accumulate material things for the sake of legacy. To leave to their descendants, to give them a fair start in life as my aunt used to say. Granted. But I personally believe that the best foundation you can give to your own children is the gift of one thing no one can steal and they can never lose: education. Coupled it with a decent upbringing and nuggets of wisdom here and there, proper morals and values and they will be okay. Earning and finding their place in the world has to be the fruit of their own labor, not yours. They will follow their own paths anyway no matter what we told them to do. I, for one thing, don’t want my children to live up to my expectations. I rather that they live up to theirs. I will never live through my children. I don’t want them to make my dreams come true. I want them to realize their dreams no matter how disappointing it is for me because it is their lives. As long as they are happy, I’m happy. Isn’t it what love is all about, seeing someone happy?

The bottom line is:

We have just one life, why not live it the way we see fit?

Live and let live.

So forget about image and keeping up with the Joneses because:

After the game, the king and the pawn go into the same box.

What Can I Say?

Of this I am absolutely sure: Do not reach the era of child-rearing and real jobs with a guitar case full of crushing regret for all the things you wished you’d done in your youth. I know too many people who didn’t do those things. They all end up mingy, addled, shrink-wrapped versions of the people they intended to be. – Cheryl Strayed

I didn’t want to get married and have children. I didn’t want to be a wife or a mother. Or anything domesticated. I want to be Sinbad, Scully, Stephen King, Steve McQueen, Eric The Phantom and Indiana Jones or anything in between as long as it doesn’t spell boring. I want to be John Snow, Spirit of the Cimmaron Lara Croft and Aragorn. I want to be a gypsy child in the midst of Bohemianism.

To take the world as one finds it, the bad with the good, making the best of the present moment—to laugh at Fortune alike whether she be generous or unkind—to spend freely when one has money, and to hope gaily when one has none—to fleet the time carelessly, living for love and art— for in Bohemia one may find almost every sin save that of Hypocrisy. [source: Wikipedia]

What, then, is it that makes this mystical empire of Bohemia unique, and what is the charm of its mental fairyland? It is this: there are no roads in all Bohemia! One must choose and find one’s own path, be one’s own self, live one’s own life. — Ayloh, 1902

Look where I am now!

But then again, I have lived a thousand lives others can’t even imagine in their wildest dreams. I’ve’ walked to hell and back, visited heaven and been everywhere in between. People often say I’ve been there done that when what they really meant is they know how it feels to stand at the edge of a crater but they never really experience how it is to descend to the bottom. I can honestly say I did. Countless times.

In my dying bed, I will not lie there and regret everything I should have done but never dare or tried because I know for a fact that compared to most, I have lived a colorful life, even though none of those are the ones I truly wanted.

Wabi-Sabi

asymmetry, roughness, simplicity, economy, austerity, modesty, intimacy.

quirky, understated, withered, unique.

interesting, fascinating, beautiful.

imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete.

In short, we are all wabi-sabi.

Wabi-sabi nurtures all that is authentic by acknowledging three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect.

How’s that for a starting point for tolerance and acceptance?

Flawed. We all are.

Respect to unpredictable limitations of imperfect reliability, limited mortality and inevitable changes.

Wisdom in natural simplicity.

Carpe Omnia

You oughta be thankful a whole heaping lot for the people and places you’re lucky you’re not.

Indeed. There is a lot to be thankful for. But_ we don’t always do that. We tend to take everything for granted and complain when it rains. Maybe because it is easy to get used to trouble-free and unchallenging existence that a little bit of change in the weather can put most people off. Especially the ones who never have to fight for survival. But it could be applied to anyone regardless of background and status in life. For example, people always say I have a nice house but to me, it is something normal, ordinary. I live in it and see it every day that I get used to its appearance that I don’t see the beauty of it anymore. Likewise with those men who are married to beautiful women and still eyeing other pretty females or even having affairs. They wake up every morning next to those pretty faces that after a time it becomes common. When the novelty is over, we quickly get used to good things and tend to take them for granted. We forget that there are so many people in the world who will gladly be in our place. Even when the media made us aware of those less fortunate, we watch them from our living rooms in a detached manner thinking, believing their fate will never hit close to home. You know… the “it could never happen to me” attitude?

Till it happens, then, suddenly our (petty) problems become the center of the world because it’s us and not somebody else. All of a sudden, the things we frown upon and disregard become important and we want, we demand that the world show compassion and understand our situations and offer us a helping hand or even bail us out.

Like I said before, happiness is not meant for me but I take pleasures in little things. Most of them don’t cost money. Whatever happened in my life, I hold myself responsible and never blame anyone. Though I severe connections with people who cross the line over and over again, I don’t hold grudges and never allow myself to be bitter and vindictive. In fact, I don’t do so much effort in that area, I just been made that way. I see the world in the eyes of a child and each day is a tabula rasa waiting to be explored and each person is innocent unless proven guilty no matter what others said about him. I don’t judge appearance, I judge character. I never lost my sense of wonder and enjoy new places and new things. I am thankful for what I have and acknowledge that compared to some, I am indeed very fortunate. I never experience jealousy or envy towards others because I believe that each and every one of us is unique in our own way. I never let bad experience dictates my frame of mind and never linger on it. I always pick myself up and move on, stronger than before. I don’t need confirmation of others of my worth and don’t need anyone to be whole and complete. I don’t crave people’s approval and don’t seek admiration. I know myself.

How about you?

Are you satisfied with your life?

If you could change a thing, what it is?

New Year’s Resolutions

Cliché? Passé?

Whatever.

I’m going to make a list this year.

What is going to be?

Let’s see…

Avoid consuming meat products.

Global warming climate change related? Absolutely! But that is not the reason why I’m doing it. Animal abuse is the propeller behind my motive. How many times I saw fragments of animal cruelty in the news and vowed not to eat meat again but time after time failed. Don’t get me wrong. I am not carnivorous by far. I preferred seafood than anything else but still… I consume meat products at least once a month. This year I will do an extra effort to ban it altogether from my menu.

Doing only the things that nourish my soul.

Done with keeping the church in the middle and duty calls. From now on, I will not be bullied/ forced/ propelled for whatever reasons to do things I don’t want to do. Yesterday I attended a Christmas brunch with people that either there because it was expected of them but clearly wanting to be somewhere else or they are there because of some obligations. A duty of commitment. That was me included. What is the point for crying out loud? I also found out that (as if I didn’t know already) whatever I do, people will never change their initial perceptions of me. Why bother then? Better stop pretending.

Concentrate on improving the quality of life and focus on personal growth and development.

My aim this year is to live the good life and practice self-care creating an environment that best suited my needs and follows the path towards not happiness but satisfaction and contentment. I want to be in touch again with my surroundings and myself, clearing the mind of unnecessary baggage and carry only those that are essentials to my being. Back to the basic is the road I wish to take which hopefully leads me to a more peaceful existence.

Listen to my body.

In an attempt to silence the chaos in my head I tend to ignore what’s my body is telling me. I go on and on till I’m so exhausted I can’t sleep nor rest. Of all the things I want to change for the better this coming new year, this is probably the hardest to do. I am used to this kind of method, torturing myself in order to feel alive, diverting myself from the chaos in my head so I can go on not living but existing. I never face my demons, I have given them free rein, carte blanché to create havoc in my thoughts forever inhabiting the corridors and rooms of my mind. To banish them is to feel empty, alone and lost. In fact, that is assuming from my part. The truth is I don’t know how it is to be without these familiar companions for they never leave. Even in my sleep, they populated my dreams or it is more appropriate to call them nightmares because that’s what they are_ miserable monsters.

But I will try anyway. Sweep away the cobwebs, open the windows and doors, let in the light and purge the air. Get rid of the skeletons, remove the clatter clean the place thoroughly disinfect the wounds and let them heal. Stop scratching go out more and smell the flowers.

That’s it I guess. I will add more if I think of some crucial changes that have to happen in order to lighten the burden of this existence most people insist to call living.

Here’s to another year!

P.S.

I decided not to sweat the small stuff so I’m adding Don’t sweat the small stuff to the list.

Let go.

…of the things that burden me, weighing me, stopping me reaching for the light. Time to fly, time to soar, time to reach my destination. Be free, be light, be enough.

Stop living in the past. 

I always did that. One foot of mine is firmly planted in what had been, always looking back, stubbornly holding on to memories. It’s time to let go,  live in the present and forget the past. Okay, forgetting is maybe a long stretch unless I suddenly get amnesia but not live there anymore. Let bygone be bygone. A very hard thing to try since it’s really a dilemma_ you can’t go back to the past but you can’t escape it either. I will give it a shot anyway. Nothing to lose everything to gain, right?

Wish me luck.

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What My Closed Door Means

“My closed door does not mean unhealthy isolation, it means healthy preservation. It means this is a last-ditch survival mechanism to save what little parts of myself I have left before getting consumed by the outside world.” ~ Courtney Elizabeth Young

Lately, it is getting more and more difficult to be out there, with my restrictions and all. Things that I used to waltz over bother me endlessly these days. Like noises, traffics, crowds and the difficulties of finding quality anything without too many expenses, like having breathable (read: clean) air to breath. And light/photo pollution is real. Light trespass, over-illumination, glare, light clutter seriously affect everything including our health. Where I live which is not even a city nor a suburb it always seems to be dusk or dawn, it never gets dark! Especially since they have decided to build another shoe factory next to an existing one and converted the garden center into a gigantic complex of unrelated shops all in one roof. And the newly built kitchen shop next to the rotunda and believe it or not we have three fuel stations all in one street in close proximity of each other. And the traffic! 24/7 noise like a race track and we are not even next to a connecting road.

Yesterday we drove almost 500 kilometers to look for a house somewhere in the country, where it is really dark when it’s dark and I can breathe freely and there were only few cars on the road and they are not trying to run you over. The difference is enormous. The moment we’re back home, I began sneezing again and guess what, it’s 5:37 a.m. and here I am typing with traffic noise as my background music.

I can’t stand it anymore. No wonder my blood pressure is sky high and there is constant ringing in my ears. Time for a change. Drastic change. Let’s see where it brings us. I just hope that whatever change is going to happen it is for the better.

Crossing my fingers and toes.

Friday The 13th

I grew up in a very religious country full of superstitious beliefs you would not believe all the things people conjure up if you hear them. You can hardly pass an anthill without someone telling you, you ought to ask permission or excuse yourself for trespassing on a sacred place of some powerful mythical beings. Failure to do so will result in unforeseen circumstances/consequences ranging from a simple fever to_ name it, the only limit is your imagination.

I could write a book about the stories I heard when I was growing up. My mother was an expert storyteller when it comes to these sorts of tales. She told us about flying babies, goblins, centaurs abducting children, beautiful people being kidnapped by enchanted entities making them appear dead and replacing their bodies with banana trunks. She related to us how could we become invisible by simply stealing the hat of the grim reaper and how to acquire a magic purse that contains a hundred peso bill that keeps coming back after you spend it. Imagine…

People there believe in pontianak – the spirits of women who died while pregnant/ the ghosts of stillborn children among so many supernatural creatures that eat human flesh and organs and could shift shape. They believe in witchcraft and black magic and they say it is better to stay at home on your birthday or wedding day because venturing outside is equals to courting disaster. If you hear a Gekko making sound by the door it means someone is coming. Likewise, if you drop cutlery. If you drop a spoon the visitor will be female and male if it is a fork. If you smell the acrid aroma of an extinguished candle it means death. And if you let children kiss a doll before they could talk, there is a chance that they will become mute.

For all those silly notions people believe with all their hearts, what amazes me the most is the one surrounding conception. They say when a woman is conceiving she better be careful what she says, what she eats, what she likes and so on because whatever her preferences in food, in people or words might be will affect the baby in her womb. For example: If she craves for chocolates while conceiving or takes a fancy to someone with a dark complexion, the baby will surely be dark as well when s/he is born. If a pregnant woman criticizes or laughs at people with deformity, her baby will be deformed too. If she eats soft crabs then the baby will not be able to walk and if it is lobsters or shrimps, there is a strong possibility that the color and shape of the crustacean will appear on the skin of her baby as a birthmark. Things like that. I remember being in a heated discussion while on holiday back there because I asked them if I crave for plums while conceiving would that automatically means my baby will be dark when she or he comes out? They know I am married to a Caucasian. Imagine that…

I can go on and on about those superstitions my countrymen still hang onto until this very day but I will stop here. I think you get an idea already of what I want to convey.

How about you?

Is your country has similar beliefs?

How you deal with them?

Do you believe in those notions?

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Learning To Save Myself

I get so goddamn lonely and sad and filled with regrets some days. It overwhelms me as I’m sitting on the bus; watching the golden leaves from a window; a sudden burst of realization in the middle of the night. I can’t help it and I can’t stop it. I’m alone as I’ve always been and sometimes it hurts…. but I’m learning to breathe deep through it and keep walking. I’m learning to make things nice for myself. To comfort my own heart when I wake up sad. To find small bits of friendship in a crowd full of strangers. To find a small moment of joy in a blue sky, on a trip somewhere not so far away, a long walk an early morning in December or a handwritten letter to an old friend simply saying ”I thought of you. I hope you’re well.

No one will come and save you. No one will come riding on a white horse and take all your worries away. You have to save yourself, little by little, day by day. Build yourself a home. Take care of your body. Find something to work on. Something that makes you excited, something you want to learn. Get yourself some books and learn them by heart. Get to know the author, where he grew up, what books he read himself. Take yourself out for dinner. Dress up for no one but you and simply feel nice. it’s a lovely feeling, to feel pretty. You don’t need anyone to confirm it.

I get so god damn lonely and sad and filled with regrets some days, but I’m learning to breathe deep through it and keep walking. I’m learning to make things nice for myself. Slowly building myself a home with things I like. Colors that calm me down, a plan to follow when things get dark, a few people I try to treat right. I don’t sometimes, but it’s my intent to do so. I’m learning.I’m learning to make things nice for myself. I’m learning to save myself.

I’m trying, as I always will.

― Charlotte Eriksson

Only Dead Fish Go With The Flow

If you decide to just go with the flow, you’ll end up where the flow goes, which is usually downhill, often leading to a big pile of sludge and a life of unhappiness. You’ll end up doing what everyone else is doing.

And I thought if you go with a flow you will have a peaceful life, good neighbors and lots of friends. Everyone would like you and you will be happy. Take it from me who always swim against the current- not because I am dying to be different for the sake of being different (I would never do that)  it seems the only way for me to float- it’s never easy. You know… road less taken/traveled whatever.

One Lauren Alaina sings:

You won’t make yourself a name if you follow the rules
History gets made when you’re acting a fool
So don’t hold it back and just run it
Show what you got and just own it
No, they can’t tear you apart

Don’t follow anyone
March to the rhythm of a different drum
Why do we analyze, break out, and criticize the crazy ones?

Easier said than done you might say (Me, I would never claim that for the simplest of reason: I don’t know any other way) not following the herd not having a herd mentality it means you are on your own and I believe not so many aspire to be alone, isolated and outcast even for being who you really are. Pretending is easy and like I said peacefully peaceful. Again I would never know. It’s always chaos in my head and out there is like running the gauntlet. You are lucky if you make it alive by the end of each day. Cruel world they say. I strongly disagree. It’s the people who is cruel not the world. The world is beautiful. At least the part that cruel people leave alone.

I’m getting sidetracked again.

How about you?

Are you part of the herd?

A dead fish?

Or something else?

 

It’s Okay to want to Live a Slow & Quiet Life.

How often do you question if the life you are currently living is the life that feels most authentic to you?

One of the biggest questions I’ve mulled over the last eight months is, “What kind of life do I really want?”

As I pick through the versions of the lives I’ve lived over the last 15 years, what I keep coming back to is a life founded on simplicity. The life that resonates the most with me was a time I lived on a 50-acre vineyard and farm. My days felt like molasses—a slow, steady, and sweet flow.

It was a life of less in many ways but full of so much more richness because I was away from the busyness of life that is easy to get caught up in. I had time to experience the slow beauty of what was around me, the warm, summer breeze weaving between the apple trees, the distance cries from my flock of sheep, and green grass as it tickled my feet when I walked in it.

Back in January of 2019, I started hearing a quiet voice in the back of my head, “simplify Amanda,” but this idea was counterintuitive to everything buzzing around me. Aren’t we supposed to want it all? Aren’t we supposed to “hustle” and “work hard to play harder?”

After a series of meltdowns brought me to make an appointment with a psychiatrist, I knew that I had to make some changes because the alternative wasn’t something I could afford. My health had come to mean something so different to me after I went through cancer two years prior.

Everything inside of me knew I was living an inauthentic life. One that was out of alignment with who I truly was.

So, against what felt like the responsible thing to do, I had a long conversation with my employer and cut back my hours, as the role was causing me a lot of unnecessary stress that I just didn’t have the bandwidth or mental clarity to handle. We also realized that the role I was in wasn’t one that allowed me to flourish. As he put it, “You’re an artist, Amanda, not a Project Manager.” So, in the interim, as I was “figuring out what’s next” I created a list of tasks that I would be able to focus on as I worked on healing my body and mind and explored some of my own dreams.

My ego-mind told me a lot of stories to feed my constant worry, but my heart and my soul felt a new sense of empowerment as I leveled up my self-worth and leaned into who I really was.

I know this isn’t always possible in every work situation. I’m lucky that I’ve been able to work from home for employers who value well-being; however, at some point, every one of us has to prioritize our mental and physical health. I tend to believe that if there is a will, there is a way, and sometimes you have to ask for what you truly want and deserve.

I removed email and Facebook from my phone. Yup, you read that right. I no longer get emails or Facebook on my phone, and I periodically delete Instagram.

At some point along the road of technological advancements, we decided that being available 24-7 was okay and healthy. I’m here to tell you it absolutely is not. You are allowed to have boundaries. You do not have to be connected all the time. I stand by this through and through, and I’ve felt healthier, happier, and more in alignment ever since.

I’ve also decluttered my closets and house about 10 times, getting rid of any and everything that doesn’t feel like me and my most authentic being. If I wear the same 10 articles of clothing every week, well, so be it. Nobody really cares anyway.

I had to get really present with my goals as a small business owner, as a creative, and an artist. It’s easy to be led to believe that we should want a life full of achievements, including stuff, but what kept coming back to me over and over was this idea of a simple life with just enough to keep me feeling like myself.

So, what if all I want is a simple life? What does that really mean anyway?

I had to let go of the story I created that I had to be some big-time #bosslady or build my empire. What I realized was I don’t actually want to run an empire. I want a life doing work that feeds my soul while paying all my bills and saving for a rainy day.

I want a life that allows me to create my art and write really well.

Something that supports me in paying off my debts.

A life that allows me to live in a way that feels like me, and provide me with the means to help others too.

But mostly, what I truly want is to walk barefoot in the grass with the ones I love, free from the constant pressure to be anything other than me. This involved simplifying my current life significantly.

The greatest change in my life, however, has been my recent decision to leave the Southern California beach town where I’ve lived for the past four and a half years and move to Northern California to live in a yurt on a goat farm.

During that time, I kept hearing the quiet whispers from my soul—it had been leading me the whole time. I feel most like myself on a farm and on land surrounded by tall trees and changing seasons, and I can’t afford to not live in a way that feels most like me any longer.

You see, I don’t think many of us were actually made for the hustle, “work hard to play harder” way of life as is evident with the rise of mental and physical illness in the more recent years. Despite being overly connected to a plethora of resources that are supposed to help us stay healthy, stay skinny, stay sane, and stay happy—all with the click of one of the five thousand apps on our phones—I think we’ve overcomplicated our lives and grown incredibly disconnected.

Simplifying my own life over the last eight months has made me more present to the fact that so many others are feeling called back to this way as well.

So, I’m here to give you permission. It’s okay to not want to build an empire. It’s okay to not want all the things we are told to want in order to be happy. And it’s definitely okay to be content just wanting a simple and slow way of life.

AUTHOR: AMANDA WHITWORTH

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Heart Or Brain

No. I’m only joking.

I mean shock.

Shock that the person I thought was a role model and a loving dedicated mother could say on the national TV things I would never expect to hear from her. And to think that I used to copy her style back in the 90s. She was fashion-forward, quite unique, creative and out of the box. Now, this…

She is one of the three hosts of a noontime program that centered around family life. No, I don’t follow it. Nor watch. I just know. From time to time a segment would pass through my feed and sometimes I click on it just to see what’s current from the other side of the world and the other day it’s about choices, priorities. Who is more important, a husband or children? That’s the topic. I thought it was old news. Everyone knows that children first and if push comes to shove and a mother has to choose, no second thought: children it is. A partner you can replace. Easily. But your own kids… c’mon, they are part of you, your own flesh and blood. You’ve carried each of them for nine months, take care of them till they are old enough to attend to themselves and even then, your task as a parent will never finish till you are dead and buried. How could you prioritize your partner over your children? It’s for me unthinkable.

I know there is an exception in every rule. Like if despite all your effort your child becomes so toxic to your existence that there is no other choice but to cut the umbilical cord. But that isn’t the same as choosing between your partner and your offspring. You are choosing for yourself and what is best for your well-being.

Apparently, not everyone thinks the same. At least, not that female host. Her co-hosts are on my side but she is adamant that she has to put her husband first before her children. Like I said I was shocked! And what surprised me, even more, was the fact that their guest expert on the topic was with her 100%.

Unbelievable!

It’s like saying if your partner and child are drowning or trapped in a burning building you are going to save your husband first instead of the other way around?

I can’t wrap my mind around that ridiculous idea. In my book, if someone thinks this way she doesn’t deserve to be a mother.

How about you?

What do you think?

Probably you will argue:

Always remember that once kids grow up they will leave you and you will have only each other.

Are you sure?

How would you know that he will be there forever?

On the other hand, even when worse comes to worst your children will always be your children no matter what.

No?

I am not saying neglect thy husband. Just don’t make him your priority especially when the children are young and needed you most. And when the time comes to choose. Never choose him above your children. Never. No matter what.

Agree?

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The Perfect Mother

Children are knives. They don’t mean to, but they cut. And yet we cling to them, don’t we, we clasp them until the blood flows.

My daughter always said that when the time comes she will be a better mother than I am because you see when it comes to motherhood (among so many other things) I am a failure in her eyes.

Well, she’s a mother now and her baby is four months old, so far, she didn’t manage to take care of Oona on her own yet. Every day she needs someone to be there because she cannot stand being alone with her daughter. Too demanding, too energy-consuming, too tiring too difficult too scary too everything according to her. She got a list of people (cleaning person maternity help and such not included) in her network and she shuffles their schedules to fit in hers. No questions asked. Just do what she says and everything will run smoothly. That simple. That easy.

She complains that Oona cries a lot and taking too much of her time. In fact, she said she has no life anymore. Duh (eyes rolling) you wanted a baby, suffer the consequences. In fact, Oona cries because she is making her nervous, stressing the baby (and everyone around her) with her regimented rules and schedules. Babies fall asleep when they want to, no need to force them to lie in a darkened room because you find it is time for them to disappear. In my country, we leave them to drop down whenever and wherever they please no matter how unconventional that might be. Like my father said if they fall asleep in a strange position whichever corner they choose, it means they are comfortable there so let them be.

Babies cry when they are hungry so please don’t force-feed them in the hours that you deemed right. Oona is not even allowed to hold her own bottle. Against the rules. The other day She said that Oona is under the weather and agitated. I would be too if I don’t take a bath for four days. She cannot put Oona in the bath alone. Too scary. Besides, Oona doesn’t like water. I wonder why. Probably the same reason why Oona doesn’t like to be dressed up. She squeezes her into clothes that way too small it restricts the baby’s movements. I can imagine how painful it is to wear a romper that there is no room to stretch your legs without putting pressure on your neck. She said she suspects that Oona has pain in the neck. Another duh. If you are a perfect mother, you will notice that you are squeezing your baby into clothes that don’t fit. No?

And if you are too scared to put her in the bath for whatever reason, at least freshen her up a bit, give her sponge bath, start with playfully wetting her hands and feet in lukewarm water either in a basin or under the softly trickling water from the tap. You can apply the same method to wash the hair. Hold her head under the tap but not the face or you can use a plastic cup so you can pour softly and slowly while talking to her describing what you’re doing to distract her. Do it playfully and lovingly as not to scare her. And if you are really worried you might drop the baby or something, do it if necessary in bed putting a waterproof sheet underneath the bath towel. Anything but leaves her unwashed for days!

Not sure what to do? Google it for crying out loud. For sure there are loads of materials out there to get ideas from.

During one of my visits, I had to take Oona for a walk (and Mary the dog) so my daughter could take a rest she said. It was cold, I wear a double hoodie but Oona didn’t have a cap. My daughter either forget to give it or didn’t find it necessary. I know better than to question her judgment. Any question raises about her choices is guaranteed to be met with hysterics that lead to teary arguments and finger-pointing. We had disagreement already over the cap of the perambulator. She wanted me to close it completely sealing Oona in the darkness. What is the point of walking outside if she is not allowed to see anything? A few meters from the house I opened the pram’s cap halfway, picked some yellow flowers that were bending over the fence and hang over the hood where Oona could see them. She liked it.

When we came back, my daughter commented about Oona’s sudden changed of mood. The baby looked healthier and obviously happier she said. I think to myself: Of course, she is. Any fool with half sense would know that like with anybody, babies need to go out too. To relax, not to party like my daughter seems to prefer upsetting her own structured schedules for Oona whom she claimed a hypersensitive baby therefore susceptive to too many stimuli. But that’s another of my daughter’s many amazing characteristics; putting her wants and needs first above anyone else. A modus she practices from babyhood with her brother who learned from the cradle it is best to give way than be subjected to teary confrontation. Wonderful.

She’s suffering from post-natal depression ( she said) which costing them money going to a psychiatrist (or is it psychologist?) and all. And guess whose fault is that, her being depressed, mine of course who else. Me and my ex failed to give her a proper upbringing (emotional blackmail anyone?) and all that jazz. Excuses I find. She’s 31 years old. She is married to the boy she had been chasing all her life. They now have one of the four babies she planned a long time ago to have and bring up perfectly, they have a decent house and okay relationship, man up for God’s sake! She practically living her dream. What’s the problem then?

Sometimes I suspect her of using Oona, deliberately agitating the baby and God knows what so she can justify her claim of how difficult her situation is and how brave how wonderful how good how perfect she is to withstand the ordeal of motherhood.

Look around for God’s sake! How other mothers are doing. Are they being overly dramatic? And I mean mothers who had survived a more traumatic experience in their lives than her. There is one among her circle of friends for example. Are they using their history as an excuse to cover their inadequacy?

When I gave birth to her I was barely in my twenties, alone in a foreign country where I didn’t understand nor able to speak the language, living in a tiny studio in the marginal part of the capital with little else to go on. The only view I had was an abandoned building that put fear in my soul. My drunkard thoroughly abusive husband disappeared on weekends leaving us alone with no food and locked me and my daughter outside in the middle of the winter whenever it suited him. I had to beg milk for her from the cafes in the neighborhood and ring bells of various apartments and pleaded to let us in even in the hallway so my daughter will not freeze to death. How’s that for a reason to have post-natal depression?

With all of the horrible things I had experienced, not even once I blamed anyone and feel nothing but love for my children. I never saw them as a bother, upsetting the balance of my life or costing me energy or blaming them for not having a life. Something my daughter is constantly talking about when it comes to Oona. One time, I asked her if she once looks into Oona’s eyes and feels that whatever troubles she’s having taking care of her is all worth it. She said; “I don’t have that. I don’t feel anything. I don’t enjoy motherhood, I don’t see her as all of you see her, she’s costing me too much energy and demanding all my time, I have no life anymore, yada-yada-ya.”

I can’t believe it. What did she expect? A walk in the park? First of all, she wanted to have a baby. So much so that when they cannot conceive the normal way they went to a lot of trouble to ensure that she gets what she wished for. Wish granted. What’s the problem then? The reality doesn’t fit in her perfect vision of how it supposed to be? Motherhood is not as easy as she thought it would be? Or the idea of her failing in her lifelong quest to do better than me terrifies her more than anything.

For the record, Oona is a sweet child in nature, calm, agreeable and happy. Only cries when it matters and not at all demanding. But like all normal babies who are in tune with their surroundings and susceptible to the moods of their mothers, Oona feels what my daughter feels and it makes her nervous, agitated and traumatized. She suffers under the constant quest for perfection, order, and control of my daughter who forces Oona to learn to roll over, lie on her belly, this and that because she finds it is about time Oona does these things. I thought: For God’s sake leave her alone. She will rollover crawl and walk in her own time. My son didn’t walk or talk till he was two and a half and turned out to be a multi-talented gifted individual. Each baby has a different pace when it comes to developing. There is no one size fits all (written or not written) rules for these kinds of things. If you are a perfect mother you ought to know that you can’t give your baby a textbook upbringing. Let them do their own thing. All in due time. And if there is indeed something wrong with your baby, no amount of forcing can change that so leave them alone.

What’s the problem then?

The problem is responsibility. My daughter cannot handle it. An aunt (and uncle) cushioned and pampered her for twenty-six years- something she never appreciates (what it is she appreciates anyway) someone devoting all their lives at her beck and call- something my daughter endlessly and shamelessly practice even now among her friends and family. I may not be the perfect mother but I don’t use and manipulate people to suit my needs. I’m afraid the trait comes from the side of my family. My mother was an expert. She thought she had everything coming. I called it Annalyn syndrome. Annalyn is my sister who unfortunately has the same character as my daughter. They love to put the blame on anyone but themselves and play the victim. Own your fucking mistakes for crying out loud and stop blaming people for your own failure. If everyone uses their imperfect background as a starting point (foundation) which to build their future, then everyone would be a criminal.

I for one have plenty of reasons from all sides but I don’t go on bothering people. I’m not saying I am better than my daughter or anyone else. I am probably worse in some areas. What I’m saying is the opposite. Don’t think you are perfect when you are clearly not. Don’t claim you’ve done it on your own and don’t need anyone when you can’t even take care of your own child and need an army just to survive a day. And appreciate the help you get and be grateful instead of acting high almighty I am better than the rest. And please decide what it is you really want to do with your life instead of jumping from one interest to the other confusing the people around you. And stop using your background and upbringing as excuses if you lost the motivation and don’t succeed.

My daughter spent 31 years of her life trying to decide what it is she really wants to do and achieve. So far she is in the middle of yet another endeavor with so many on the sides that it is unclear what is her ultimate goal and where she gonna go from there.

She said she wants to have a practice (a part of a conglomerate of experts housed in one building) giving advice to families on how to run their lives and bring up their children properly. She said she has the perfect background to do it. I told her practice with Oona first and at this moment she is the one who needs advice.

And that is another problem. My daughter cannot take advice or tips (especially from me but she will gladly pay a ridiculous amount of money to a stranger telling her what she wants to hear) on how to run her life without taking it as a grave offense and switch on to the full battle defensive mode.

I understand the difficulties of motherhood. I’ve been there, haven’t I? I know that each person has their own manner of dealing with any given situation, I understand that my daughter has some trouble coping with the responsibilities but she made the choice so snap out of it and shoulder on. There are people who are in a more desperate situation that she is right now. Millions of them. She has a supportive family, an understanding brother, willing in-laws, a patient husband, a network of helpful friends and a dream of a daughter whom I will gladly take on if given a chance. So stop being a ninny, step up to the challenge and show some respects where respect is due.

And most of all, stop the quest to be the perfect mother or perfect anything because perfect doesn’t exist. She had already a dose of reality check from every corner and had to swallow almost every word she once swears she was not going to do so learn from it instead of clinging on to her unrealistic ideals that exist only in her head.

I hope she man-up soon for the sake of Oona before it is too late.

I’m not holding my breath though.

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