Lessons in Parenting – Adjusting Expectations

I like to keep things happy and positive on the blog so when I sat down to write today, I was surprised to find my words were mostly ‘grey skies’ instead of ‘sunshine and rainbows’.

Sunshine and Rainbows

I wanted to let it all out. The broken sleep last night…the coffee with a friend that was less ‘catch up’ and more ‘catch the toddler’…knocking over the display in the T2 store, and the flat-out tantrum on the floor of the shopping centre.

Parenting is tough. As Miss Z nears two, I’m finding the challenge to be a good parent harder with each day that rolls around. I don’t know if I’m too soft or too hard. I don’t know whether I’m teaching the right behaviours to raise a good person. I don’t know if I’m doing a good job. In comparison, looking after her as a baby was easy.

I worry all the time. I wonder if her behaviour is a result of my poor parenting skills or if this is just normal for a 2-year-old finding her way in the world. I know it’s a steep learning curve but most days I feel like I’m still bumbling my way around in the dark. Feeling out of my depth stresses me out.

So, it got me thinking. What if I could adjust my expectations?

Actually…no. This isn’t a question of could. This is a statement of must. I must adjust my expectations if I am going to come out of this in one piece.

Here are three questions I’m going to ask myself to work on adjusting my expectations. You might find these helpful with your toddler and maybe even in other areas of your life.

  • If the process isn’t perfect, will it affect the outcome?

This is a question that isn’t just reserved for parenting a toddler. I’m a stickler for the rules and the process.  Always have been. I know this causes undue stress for me in many areas of my life. It’s important to evaluate whether a detour from the process will really have that great an effect on the outcome. In most cases, this is a big resounding no.

  • Look for the ‘why’?

The display in the T2 store this morning was made up of many little bright orange boxes. I’m sure Miss Z had never even seen that colour before. In the situation, I just saw the boxes tumbling to the floor and became stressed about my toddler who wants to touch everything. In retrospect, I should have taken her by the hand and talked to her about the many different colours in the store. This would have kept her occupied while my friend browsed and made her purchase.

  • Is learning taking place?

The one thing I’ve noticed about Miss Z lately is she is a little sponge. She is observant and then copies what she sees. She also has a great imagination and likes to work out for herself how things are done. She is very independent and rarely accepts help. I think I may have been looking at this all wrong. I should have seen her independence as a blessing, not a curse. Maybe I should stop and wait. Don’t rush the situation. Don’t stop the activity. Do as Miss Z and just observe for a while. Do I really need to step in when there could be learning going on?

I have taken some time today to really think about what I want for my little girl and the part I play in moulding this little human. I would love for her to grow up to be an intelligent, caring and self-sufficient woman. And you know what…if I just take a step back and let the journey unfold – maybe she’s already trying to show me these traits.

I’d love for you to share your tips on adjusting expectations in parenting or life. I need all the help I can get!

Linking up with The Multi-tasking Mummy

Birthdays are a Fresh Start!

Birthdays are a funny thing. Some people like to shout it from the rooftops and party like it’s 1999 while others would prefer to hide under the doona all day.

Best ever Birthday - Turned 28 and met my husband!

This is how I like to celebrate birthdays! This pic was taken on my 28th birthday. (And it was the day I met Mr DOT.)

I always look forward to my birthday but sometimes I think I build it up in my mind and then the reality is much different. Like last week when I turned 36.

I was up all night with my daughter, my workmates forgot my birthday, I got stuck in peak-hour traffic and I didn’t eat cake*. (WTF? A birthday without cake?) The day was over in the blink of an eye and here I am continuing my grand old march towards 40.

All that aside, I must be one of the few people in this world who look forward to that number ticking over each year. Just quietly, every year I think it’s going to be this magical day that turns me into the confident, intelligent, organised, carefree woman I’ve always wanted to be. But I wake up…and I’m still a little insecure, a lot stressy and just generally feel like I don’t have my shit together! Don’t you hate that?!

So, considering that I don’t wake up each birthday as an entirely different person – I see birthdays as a fresh start. I make lists and goals and much like the ones I make on New Year’s Day – I start to move towards them at the blistering pace of a snail. But, moving nonetheless.

This year I’m focusing on some really important aspects of my life.

Health – I’ve never been completely fit and healthy. My attention to fitness goes in spits and spurts. As time is marching on, it is becoming more and more apparent that I’ve neglected this area of my life and I don’t have youth on my side anymore.

Relationships – I want to work on being a better wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend. Through tough times I have been lucky to have support of those around me.  It’s time to pay it back.

Writing – I need to prioritise my writing. There’s only one way I’ll get better at it and that is to write more. As a finance nerd in my previous life, I’d like to try and combine the two somehow as well.

Procrastination – I am the first to complain that I don’t have enough hours in the day. But, if I added up the time I spent procrastinating (or complaining) I’d have hours of spare time on my hands.

So, there you have it. My focus for the next 12 months. Do you make goals on your birthday? How do you spend your day?

Talking about Sport

To coincide with the Women in League round this weekend, Ladies who League have put a challenge out for more women to talk about sport. I’m the sort of girl who loves a live sporting match as much as a concert and definitely more than shopping. So, here’s my experience growing up with Rugby League.

Me and Rugby League go way back.

I can recall the exact moment I started following league. It was the week of the 1994 Grand Final between Canberra and Canterbury. I was 15 years old.

I didn’t watch much sport on tv in those days but we always watched the State of Origin and Rugby League Grand Finals. For this particular Grand Final, my sport-mad brother dictated that I HAD to choose a team.

I chose the Raiders AND THEY WON. This meant I was the oracle on all things Rugby League. Well, at least in my mind I was. It was also the moment that kicked-off (see what I did there!) my crush on Laurie Daley and Brett Mullins.

I even dabbled in playing football in my late teens for one season. I’ll never forget the coat-hanger tackle that laid me flat on my back in a split-second. No harm done though and I got straight back into it. It felt good to play a game I had gotten to know so well growing up.

I grew up in a league-loving small town where kids started junior rugby league at the age of six and everyone came out in force on weekends to support the senior team. For a season or two, I even played the part of medical officer and strapper for the senior team.

Time passed and I stuck with my beloved Raiders through the ‘90s but I eventually changed my allegiance to the Queensland-based teams.

After meeting my husband, I followed his lead to exclusively support the Brisbane Broncos. It made sense. Now living in Brisbane, they were our local team.

These days I’m the proud owner of a Broncos membership and we’re attempting to instil our love of league in our little girl. At 20-months-old, she is more interested in the mascots than the game, but we’re looking forward to the years ahead. I love seeing parents and their kids at the football matches.  It’s a great atmosphere and a perfect way to start family traditions and cement common interests.

SPORT TEACHES US PASSION AND

I’ve come to realise that a love of sport gives us more than just a bit of entertainment on weekends. Sport teaches us passion and perseverance. It teaches us to be dedicated to something through good times and bad. These traits go a long way in everyday life too.

Come on, put your hand up. Do you love sport?

Linking up with One Mother Hen for Open Slather.

Romantic Getaways – Footy on TV and sand in my togs

I just spent two glorious nights away at the beach with my husband…child-free!

Reflection Blog

We don’t have any family in Brisbane so our nights out together (child-free) are limited.

A few months ago, knowing our 5th Wedding Anniversary was coming up…I thought it was time to bite the bullet and ask for some help.

Nanny and Poppy arrived to take care of the little one and we headed off for our little sojourn at the Gold Coast.

We struck it lucky driving to the coast on Friday afternoon. The usual one hour drive took two and a half hours so we had plenty of time for quality conversation.

It was all soon forgotten when we checked into QT Gold Coast. It’s been over two years since we were last there and it was definitely as good as we remember.

The hardest thing about the weekend was deciding what we would do. We didn’t want to overdo it with activities as we both needed a break but we also didn’t want to waste the gorgeous weather.

So, we made a deal. We decided to do things we just don’t get to do with our little go-getter around. (Seriously..she is an energizer bunny. Always on the go.)

Here’s the highlight reel.

1st Stop…a lazy, leisurely coffee reading home magazines and some more conversation. Pretty sure I made this ‘bowl’ of coffee last an hour.

Coffee Bowl Blog

2nd Stop…a swim at the beach TOGETHER! You know how it usually is…someone gets to swim while the other paddles in the shallows with the toddler. Not this time. Both of us swimming where we couldn’t touch the sand! The weather and the water temp was perfect. (If anyone made it to Burleigh on the weekend – how clear was the water?? Amazing!)

3rd Stop…an early dinner at Miami Marketta so we could make it back to the hotel room in time for the footy. (Yes, really!!)

Marketta

It’s amazing how even just two nights can feel like a holiday.

What do you do with your kid-free time?

Making friends outside your comfort zone

My sister is a cracker. She’s generous, loyal, and can party harder than any 18-year-old. (She’s nearing 40).

So, it didn’t surprise me when she called the other day to let me know she was heading out that night. On a school night too…such a rebel!

The husband and kids were going to the rissole for dinner while she met up with a couple of friends. Her destination – the local retirement village.

What?

Yep…she was heading there with her friends, Eunice and Phillip. A cheeky English couple in their 80’s. The retirement village holds a ‘night out’ once a month for the oldies. With drinks at 1970 prices and a couple of raffles, you can’t go wrong.

It got me thinking about how my sister is bucking the trend. We often gravitate toward the same sort of people when we make new friends. We meet people and pursue connections with them when we notice we have something in common.

bFF

But how about changing things up a little? By making friends with others of a different age or ones who have different interests, we really have an opportunity to grow. We can expand our horizons, learn something new or gain a different perspective. It makes way for constructive conversation instead of our current ideas just being validated.

I was lucky enough to meet Eunice and Phillip over Easter and I can tell they enjoy my sister’s company as much as she enjoys theirs. They’re a couple of shit-stirrers too. No wonder they get along with her. (Shit-stirring is one of our family traits.)

Have you made any new friends lately? What drew you to that person?

What’s your Tonic?

There are two types of people in this world.

The first type looks at the name of this blog and their mind immediately wanders to our old friends, Tanqueray, Bombay and Hendricks.

And then there’s the other type. But we won’t talk about them because they’re not much fun.

For people that know me very well, it would be automatically assumed that this is a blog purely dedicated to Gin & Tonic. God knows I love a bucket of G&T but it wasn’t the motivator for this blog.

The idea for these ramblings came to me on a particularly bad day a few weeks ago. It was a bad day in what has been a rough 12 months. I felt that I needed to find the ‘tonic’ that would get me through the days.

Since that day, my tonic has shown itself in many different forms. Play time with LL (Little-love…my 18-month-old cheeky monkey), blue skies, laughter, and friendship.

This is my fourth attempt at blogging in two years. Blogging was always the first thing to be sacrificed as soon as the going got tough – but I’ve now realised that it is part of my tonic too. I love writing and I love the sense of community that goes along with it.

So, tell me…what was your tonic today? (And it’s definitely allowed to be the liquid kind as well)!

WHAT'S YOUR