Today’s Life Lesson by Ms Oh

The Oh Waily family is currently enjoying a family holiday in a hot and sunny location.  It involves a lot of sun, swimming pool time and random acts of self-care.

Usually, in my rather self-effacing and understated way, I avoid anything that might make me look slightly silly in public.  I’m a life-long ‘sensible’ person after all and could not let the SP team down by doing anything remotely out there.

Today I learned a very simple and powerful life lesson.  The world will not stop turning if I show up at the swimming pool wearing a bikini.  Everyone will not drop their morning coffee in their laps and the small children will not exit the pool running for their Mummy’s protection.
Finally I have broken that mental barrier that says I need to have no cellulite, wobbly bits (other than those bits that are expected by general society to wobble attractively), and be somewhat bronzed.  You see, I fail pretty much on all those counts. There is definitely cellulite and childbearing has resulted in areas of remaining wobble that is not of ‘the attractive’ kind.  I would qualify for the finals of many ‘whitest person’ awards and other than a healthy spattering of freckles that are trying to merge into a bronzed one-ness, I am unlikely to ever join the healthy tan brigade.

So today’s life lesson for you all to take on board is…. don’t let some silly mental story about what ‘looks right’ stop you from enjoying something as simple as letting the sun and water wash over your body.  I promise you that the world will not stop in its tracks and the Earth will not suddenly turn out to be a flat disc on the back of a giant turtle (although that could be fun).

Be yourself, and take this attitude into everything you do in your life !

Family Meetings

PDOver this past Christmas and New Year I spent some of my quiet time reading Positive Discipline by Jane Nelsen. I was looking for more ideas on how to positively interact with the small Oh Wailys. I found a few new ideas and met some old favourites.

While the book is a bit of a mish-mash of home and classroom ideas, there is plenty to take away from one environment that would work in the other.  The key idea for me, though, was the Family Meeting.

Not long after I finished the book we decided to give it a try and see how it would work, or not, for us.  At the first meeting we wrote the ‘minutes’ down on sheets of paper and it dragged on for what seemed like an interminably long time – especially for the kids.  There was a lot of explaining about what we were going to be doing at the meetings, and setting up expectations around listening and taking turns speaking.  Then, finally, actually trying to have a meeting.  It was all a bit dry, in hindsight.

We persisted and by the third meeting, which was just myself and the kids as Mr Oh Waily was away for work, I had taken up the further idea of having a permanent record of our meetings.  I had the perfect book for the task that had sat in my stationery drawer since my last pre-kid trip to Singapore way back in 2006, an A4 blank ring bound journal.  It had been waiting for a good use and now I had one for it.

We struggled through the next few meetings, trying to get a rhythm and working on the fidgety bugs that seem to infect the kids after a fairly short while.  Now we are two months on from those first tentative steps and I have to say that our meetings flow really well, for the most part, and the kids are both participative and able to concentrate for most of the meeting now.  We have dealt with a number of problems (one of the key uses of the family meeting) that have occurred during the preceding week, and everyone has been able to have a say in possible solutions.  The kids are learning to problem solve and to come to a consensus – as that is the only allowable outcome of the problem solving.  You just keep it on the agenda if consensus cannot be reached.

It seems to have reached a point where we rarely have actual problems to solve, so the focus of the latest few meetings has been firmly on the positive sections – compliments and planning fun activities for us all to do during the next week.  We have also dealt with our chores issues through the meeting, with a fair amount of success.  It is an ongoing work in progress, but at least it is not left to fester with anyone for long periods of time.

I think we will have reached another point in the process when we come home from our holiday in April.  It will be time to add in a new aspect or two of the meetings – expressing gratitude and maybe coming up with a family motto – just to spice it up a little and keep it interesting.  I can see that the meetings will become a more positive aspect in our lives as it becomes another family tradition, just like pancake day has.  It is something that binds us together and adds memories.

I definitely recommend getting a copy of Positive Discipline and checking out some of her ideas.  There are moments of repetition, and slightly banging on the same points, but overall it was a useful read and the Family Meeting idea made the reading all worthwhile.   Check out your local library for a copy first to make sure it gels with you and your family.

And as some wise friends said – keep it short, don’t make it a parent-lecture-opportunity, or a hidden parent-control-method and actually make sure the kids are involved and listened to.  Otherwise it will turn out to be the opposite of what I personally hoped for – a proactive, cohesion building tool for your family.

Small changes

Quote 2Can small changes really make all the difference?

I’m inclined to believe they can.  I’ve been doing Morning Pages for the past week – only skipping yesterday and today – and I am finding myself drawn to more creative things.  I’ve been wanting to do some sewing with Miss Oh Waily so we’ve been to Village Beads to pick up some nice wooden beads for fairy heads and very cute they are.  Yesterday, I stopped by Warehouse Stationery to check out their easels as I have been inspired by the way a couple of new-to-me blogs (Happiness is Here and An Everyday Story) use them and the universe clearly liked that idea as they were having a rare sale (according to the WS lady who served me) on easels !!

Then this morning we had a busy time out and about at the fruit & vege market in town.  Mr Oh Waily had worked through the night, only returning home at 6am, so this gave him a chance to get something approaching a regular amount of sleep.  When he did wake I was able to take a solo trip to the library.  I enjoyed every warm step of the walk, and it reminds me why I love living within a 10 minute walk of two library branches.  Very spoiled.
What this trip reinforced for me is that I’ve also been finding that I may be in recovery mode regarding my love of books and reading.
By choosing to not attend to t’other blog and it’s ongoing needs, as well as choosing a book purely to enjoy rather than review, I seem to be finding the idea of reading a lot more pleasant.  It’s a simple and obvious thing, but I had been ignoring it largely over the past year or so, with dire results to my attitude.

Perhaps it is the sunshine and the warmer days all contributing to a better mental attitude, or perhaps I’ve just finally reached a tipping point where doing small things are starting to snowball into bigger things.  In my case the small things have been a daily thirty minutes spent writing my Morning Pages, and choosing to be a part of an online community that is designed to make small, but significant changes in our lives.   Vincent is clearly correct and great things are done by the bringing together of many small things, and clearly the small steps are currently suiting my needs.

This afternoon will be spent in attending to another range of small steps – some reading, some tidying and some quiet, personal time – all designed to recharge, refresh and inspire for the coming week.

How about you?  Do you find that small changes create great results in your life?

What happened to…

…the first half of September?

So much for my plans and goals.  Good grief, all good intention and no action.

Well, to be fair there was a bit of an unexpected twist to the first week and a bit that threw pretty much everything to the four winds and which simply took priority over any self-indulgent blog posting by me.
My Dad went to hospital with gall bladder issues towards the end of last month and they finally allocated a time for surgery in early September.  So shortly after I posted all my initial thoughts on what I was going to do in September, it became clear that I was going to have to relax and change priorities.  Which is why it has been so quiet here.

Dad has since had his surgery, his recovery took longer than expected before we headed home, and naturally trying to be useful to my parents was more important than my planned goals for the month.  So the September goals have been largely put in hiatus, but not entirely.

I have re-visited Jo’s My Organized Chaos with the first of her free videos and plan to use the thought work & baby-steps from that alongside any changes I make through taking part in A Season of Change as a base for the next little while, so all my plans are not gone and forgotten.

So here are the main goals again, and many of them overlap with the other sources of motivation I’ve just mentioned. I’m going to try and see how many of them I can actually manage to do.  My aim of trying to hit all areas may have been a bit pie in the sky, but I guess that’s just par for the course with me.  Lots of lofty goals, slightly less follow-through.  Ah well, I am who I am and I just have to accept and work with that.

Here’s to hitting some goals in the last half of September and on through the rest of the year too.

Goals

  • No Spend Month
  • Nutrition.
  • Water – 1 ltr every day.
  • Exercise every day.
  • Listen to hypnosis tracks every day
  • Reading every day.
  • Photography – once a week.
  • Blogging daily.