Friday, 24 February 2012


What an amazing two days I have had and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity.

Tonight on my way home on the tram there was much yelling from one obscenely loud and by presumption only person with mental illness.

I watched everyone shift uncomfortably, look around and pray the person did not sit with them or come near them, lest they take out a screwdriver and fatally stab them in the neck.

The gentleman sat in the seats across from me. I smiled. He called for his mate Liam. An indigenous male late 20's but prematurely aged. The loud gentleman was talking and encouraging his mate and asking after his welfare and then began to talk to me. People look, what will I do??

I talked back as I would politely to any other stranger on the tram. Infact his world and life views were insightful. Liam however could not string too many words together, but he tried, until the lure of his bottle of personally blended vodka and apple beckoned. This upset James the loud person. He asked his mate not to drink

"Mate look around, noone drinks on the tram, you don't need to. Liam mate why would you want to do that, why can't you just participate in society. You don't need to drink, you are an awesome bloke. Just sit here and be me mate and have a yarn."

Unfortunately the alcohol won. I know Liam was really trying to push my buttons, see how uncomfortable it could make me. I don't look like a nurse, I wear no uniform, had he had known his antics  had little effect, who knows how much further he would have upped the anti.

James got off at the same stop as me. He did not want to be around Liam drinking, he did not want to attract that trouble to himself. We had a chat after, he kissed my cheek and called me the epitome of humanity and how I had made his day. That people like me come once in a lifetime and we parted ways.

I felt humbled, what a compliment and what an insightful conversation I would have missed with him if I turned my cheek like everyone else.

The next best part of my last two days was taking part in HWA 2 day workshop in Adelaide. Hearing keen and passionate people who are active in workforce reform.

That it is not the skills people have, but the attitudes and values that they bring to the workforce which are pivotal.

We also got to hear from the keynote speaker Mary O'Hagan - International Innovator, Thinker and Writer on Mental Health.

Her lived experience was touching and poignant and really common sense. However, so much common sense is lost in our modern world as we rely less on our thinking and instincts and more on technology and policy to drive our agendas. She brought care back to the consumer as a fundamentally consumer driven perspective- idealism or a much needed realism?

New Journey-Destination unknown

Thursday I was accepted into Uni. Yesterday I received the enrolment.

Not sure how I will cope with working, studying and trying to keep the house clean. Plus the never attempted task of arranging a designer to look at planning a much needed renovation.


Possibly or if not, I may end up so.

But watch this space as I have no idea where I will end up.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Grateful for a good upbringing?

As a teenager I held a lot of animosity towards my mother for the upbringing i had. She wasn't loving enough, supportive enough, anything enough! She just bought me things and bragged to her friends about my good grades. I felt like nothing more than a possession.

Fast forward and I am 18 and my mother asks me this very question "Was I a good mother?"

It may have been a loaded question that she expected me to answer with my usual well thought out diplomacy. A thinly veiled attempt to have an ego boost. She was at that time the age I am now. I shudder at the thought of having any child in double figures. Anyhow my answer was this:

"Well you were a good mother to my brother and my friends all think you are really cool and can relate well to weren't the mother I needed. I needed a mum when I was 12, I don't need one now."

I think back to that conversation and I cringe. I am a mother and I know how that would hurt. On the other side, I also know the constant pain I felt growing up with the mother I had. My father always trying to smooth things over and condone the behaviour of the woman he loved. My brother rarely suffering the viciousness of her words or punishments.

However, I also applaud myself for the honesty I showed in telling her what I felt. At the time I felt it was a gentle let down. It was the best I could do.

As a parent now I try and model the behaviour I wanted to see in my mother. Don't get me wrong, I fall down and stumble back into the autopilot mode of parenting as my mother did. That involves yelling and a lot of it. They are the days that I hate. I punish myself for those days more than anyone else in the world could ever do.

Our children are watching, always watching. Observing like little sponges they take it all in. The days I am at my worst they seem to be watching the most. I then see it reenacted in all its glory with teddies or Barbies. It saddens me, but it also inspires be a better mum.

I am not aiming for super-mum, just to be the best I can be. A parent that my girls will look up to, relate to and talk to. It only requires commitment and attention. Attention to how you feel within so that you can control your inner self before it explodes. Attention to your children when they are talking to you. Attention to the world around you so that you can see the beauty and share that with your children that exists all around us.

The below clip is from you tube and highlights well how our children pick up on things. It is heartbreaking and enlightening at the same time. It should serve as a wake up call for all adults who smoke, drink excess alcohol, binge eat, have substance abuse issues or physically or verbally mistreat their children or partners. Little ones are watching and if you wouldn't want your children doing it, why do it to yourself?

I am not the fun POLICE here either by the way. Just think though if you don't want your kids doing it, then should you. Is it really about age or lifestyle choice?

So as a child and teenager and even in my 20's I did not respect the upbringing I had. Materially I had it all, but for me inside I felt empty, hollow, unloved and unloveable.

I still struggle now, however I have learnt to accept materialism is the only way my mother can give. You take the good with the bad.

So as I continue in my journey through parenthood and life I remember to be grateful for the things I could not as a child/teenager. I remember how it felt for me so that I can empathise with my children and as a form of self regulation for me as a parent.

I am not perfect, but I am grateful. I think that is a worthy lesson in life for my kids.