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Parenting

Break from the norm

Lately I’ve noticed myself using three certain words a heck of a lot. Now, before you close this page for fear this might be some sort of love story about the husband and I – it’s not those three words. Nor is it the three words that make up the abbreviation FFS, although I do confess to letting those slip from time to time too.

Now, bear with me here, let me give you a little example before I reveal all! Last weekend I decided to take myself and my little family (minus the husband who was at work) off to Dubai’s Ripe Market. I love nothing more than a good browse around the stalls, a strong cup of coffee and a spot of people watching while relaxing in the shade of the trees.

Did I get to do all that? Well…em…no. Here’s why…

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The day begins early. 4.30am again! So by 8am I’m ready to get out of the house. We vacate and I decide to stop for breakfast en route, only to find the breakfast place of choice doesn’t open until 9am. I arrive at the market, decamp the kiddies, queue at the park gate only to find I’ve no cash and there’s no ATM.

By the time we’ve sorted out that issue and are back at the market, Molly is starving (I forgot to pack snacks again), I’m completely frazzled and Henry decides he doesn’t want to sleep! Queue a meltdown x 2, a rapidly purchased blueberry muffin to keep the peace and one seriously stressed out mother. (At this point I’d also like to highlight that there were no pictures taken during this time of complete stress, so please excuse the fact that the images I’ve selected for this week’s tale only show the happy, shiny side!)

Yes, there was definitely no browsing, no leisurely coffee and no purchasing of little crafty things – just like I used to do!

Bingo! There they are! Those three little words – “I used to.” Yes, I’ve noticed myself bandying these around a lot lately. I used to be so much more flexible than I am now. I used to be strong enough to do X, Y and Z. Remember when I used to be under the 73kg mark? Surely, I used to have more time than this to get my crazy list of things done?

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Yes, these three little words pack a lot of punch! They have the power to make or break your mood. The power to drag you backwards and bulldoze your good intentions. The power to make you feel like you just don’t measure up to what you used to be. The power to make you look at other people who you perceive to have better bodies, less wrinkles, more time, less stress – and perhaps remind yourself of when you used to be a little more like them too.

I’m going to hold my hand up and say I’m guilty of letting these three words sometimes rule the roost!

Boom. Writing this has been a real reminder for me that while life may appear to have spiralled away from what I used to consider as ‘normal,’ it doesn’t mean that that has to be a bad thing. And let’s face it, what exactly is normal!? Motherhood for me has been one of these seismic shifts that has completely overturned my view of normal! But it’s not just parenting that can topple your finely tuned works – perhaps an illness, an injury, a change of job or even country has veered you miles away from the norm, and called upon you to completely regroup and redefine.

Yes, life is a constant learning curve. Or most of the time – more of a scribble than a curve! But geez, while I’m not saying it is easy to do, I know we should be trying to embrace the changes, rather than continuously harking back to how things used to be.

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The weekend did thankfully end on a chilled out note (as my images show!) We took Henry and Molly to the beach – Henry’s first time and he loved it! We followed it up with some sundowners, a nice take away and the latest episode of Homeland. Almost just like old times! (Except minus the inability to stay up past 9.30pm, the broken sleep and lack of a lovely lie in.)

But the irony of this whole tale is that as I was flicking through all the bendy, unwrinkled, rested people on my instagram feed that very evening, something jumped out at me. This little saying:

“Just because it used to be, doesn’t mean it has to be.”

Hell, yes. Amen to that. So here’s to moving onwards and upwards and finding your new normal. But more importantly, here’s to the ability to laugh if that ‘normal’ goes completely flipping t*ts only the very next day!

“Life is a balance of holding on and letting go.”

(Keith Urban)

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