Category Archives: Lessons for my daughters

Lesson Three – Know your Limits

Lesson Three – Know your Limits

Lesson Three

This is something that I continue to struggle with, and I must admit, I do admire the way my sister, RG, has always managed to clearly articulate her limits.

The problem with pushing yourself beyond your limits, is that you can become frustrated and agitated towards the very people you were trying to please by extending yourself.

Having my girls has meant that I can take breaks for myself in a much more authentic and reasonable manner.

Instead of forcing myself to go out, and then needing to sit for a rest break quite frequently, I can turn these rest breaks into ways of connecting with my girls. Sometimes MJ and I go through the alphabet, other times we go through all the colours of the dresses in the shops nearby. Or we notice the colours of cars, people’s tops, or the type of pets.

Having daughters means that my failings never have to be explained. MJ doesn’t notice that I’m siting again, or that we are spending a lot of time laying on the bed reading this morning – because anytime spent together is valued.

So, I will try and translate that in to my adult life, and instead of forcing myself to go out and do something I’m not up to doing, I will have a long phone chat instead, or invite those friends over and sit and chat to them on the couch, without worrying about the state of my house. I’m sure that my friends, like my daughters, only notice my conversation and the time we are spending together.

That is something that I am learning….and, as a literary heroine of mine has put it:

“I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want. I can never train myself in all the skills I want. And why do I want? I want to live and feel all the shades, tones and variations of mental and physical experience possible in life. And I am horribly limited.”
― Sylvia Plath

from Sylvia Plath’s The Unabridged Journals (2000)

Lesson Two – Be True

Lesson Two – Be True

Lesson Two

My second lesson for my daughters is about trying to accept who you are and to honour your self above the needs of others.

As with all of the lessons that I am considering and reflecting upon, I probably should preface them with the confession that they are all works in progress. By creating the lesson, it is not a completed understanding, but a point to make about something I’ve encountered or considered in my day, in the hope that my girls can learn from my reflections and make changes to their own life faster than I’ve been able to do in mine.

Over the fifteen years or so that I was dating before I got married, I came up against many fights and arguments within my relationships, where I had to sacrifice and compromise my own needs.

In my first relationship, I exhausted myself over four years (when I should have cut it off at 4 weeks), by taking on the emotional issues and worrying about the anger of the boy I was with, instead of looking after me. I hadn’t worked out the importance of my self and spent hours and nights trying to keep him happy, and then later, trying to keep him away from me.

In a later relationship, I even considered giving up my life in Sydney with all my friends and dear family, to move to the Czech Republic where I was attempting to master the language and cultural quirks. That man struggled in saying ‘I love you’….a simple ask really, and something myself, who really wears her heart on her sleeve, needs.

Of course, it is okay to give up things that are important to you if it is for the greater good of your relationship, and will lead to a happy ever after….but if it will lead to the sickening niggling feeling that you are giving up too much – please be true to yourself!

Now, to end this lesson on a lighter note, a little story for you.

One day, when I had given up on relationships and was experiencing a tumultuous time in my family life, I met a man who took me as I was. I told him my whole story in one night – about my health issues, all my surgeries, my struggle with chronic pain, and the chaos that was occurring at home.

And, well, apparently, there is such thing as love at first sight.

We have our one year wedding anniversary coming up next month – and we have two beautiful girls!

 

Be true to yourself! Or, as one of my heroines more eloquently put it:

“The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman is seen in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides. True beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It’s the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows & the beauty of a woman only grows with passing years.”
― Audrey Hepburn

Lesson One – What are little girls made of?

Lesson One – What are little girls made of?

Lesson One 

I have tried really hard not to inflict gender stereotypes on to my daughter, MJ (two years old), allowing her to become the type of girl that she was born to be, not what I want her to be.

We send her to play soccer, she doesn’t have Barbies, she sees Daddy do the washing and cooking too, she often wears boys t-shirts and pjs (the best style for fulfilling the dinosaur need) and I try to create gender neutral play.

I have to admit that I’m pretty surprised at how quickly she has gravitated towards ‘girly’ things -such as handbags, jewellery, shopping and, more recently nail polish!

I have never given her any of these things, but she has sourced them out for herself. She found an old bag of mine that had make up in and started walking around the house telling me that she was ‘going shopping’!

She started noticing my necklace or earrings I put on each day, and asking where hers is, and her awareness of make up must have stemmed from her waiting and watching me getting ready so that we can finally get out of the house!

On a recent shopping trip where she delighted at walking past all the colourful new spring dresses released, and proudly pointed out each bright colour she recognised, her sharp eyes spotted the nail polish! Exciting, vibrant colours had been released and were on special at her eye level so that she could marvel at them herself.

I decided to indulge her and allowed her to choose two colours for us to paint our nails with. Her favourite colour is orange and she also chose blue (which happens to be mine, so that was nice of her).

I felt guilty putting off our doing our nails as I looked for free time, and the last few days I kept seeming to be running out of time!

After asking me for what unfortunately was about the twentieth time, I decided to stop absolutely everything I was doing and give her all of my attention. We had a delightful half hour painting our nails, and I allowed her to paint my toes which was a difficult task with her little fingers and my big feet, but she did a pretty good job! I was amazed at how still she was prepared to sit to let her nails dry, and how she let me do each nail carefully, although creatively stipulating that her feet be two different colours.

Lesson? Just stop and be a girl!

The washing, dinner, clothes and emails will all still be there. I know that sounds like a reworked cliche, and I am pretty sure that I know how to stop working to give my girls time. But this wasn’t about stopping to give them time…this was about putting things aside and sharing in some girls stuff together, and loving every second of it! Being proud to be a woman and let the girl out to play without worrying about anything else!

What are little girls made of?

Handbags, jewellery, shopping and nail polish that’s what my little girls are made of!