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Bare Minimum Living

There comes a time in life when we, by the words of Elizabeth Taylor, need to pour ourselves a drink, put on some lipstick and pull ourselves together. That time has arrived not at all. But it’s okay. Sometimes, it’s really nice to stay in jammies until 3 and accept the fact that dinner will most likely be eggs on toast. And it will not be served by a woman with lipstick on. Sometimes, it’s enough of an achievement just to be upright and we should congratulate ourselves accordingly.

Perhaps we need to let ourselves come apart before the pulling together begins. Perhaps engagements must be cancelled, friends must be apologized to, pajamas need to be donned and hair needs to go unwashed. Perhaps that is JUST what we need in order to pull ourselves together.

It’s been raining heavily here, which has been the perfect backdrop to this Life Siesta we’ve been taking. I have thanked the heavens for this gift, because rainy weather always makes me feels less guilty when I declare a stay-at-home week day. We simply can’t leave the house when it’s raining, can we? No, we most certainly can not.

While I am sincerely grateful for my life, the swinging between ecstasy and agony which naturally accompanies child-rearing is exhausting. I am cranky, tired, impatient and more than a little used up and so I have declared a strike. A family intervention. A resource pooling. The bare minimum is my family’s only goal. The problem, though, with bare minimum living is that while your hand shoots to the air and says Yes please! I’ll take it! Where do I sign?, there is another part of you – an ungraceful part – which finds bare minimum living uncomfortable. We find discomfort in being unproductive and unaccomplished. We feel chaotic when we don’t put effort into making the things around us tidy and ordered. We feel disappointed in ourselves when we see beautiful, loving, composed and successful women NOT GETTING AROUND IN THEIR PAJAMAS AND UNBRUSHED TEETH. It makes us feel bad about ourselves. It makes us feel like we are failing.

This past week has been one of those very few times in my life when I have really permitted myself to come apart. Without the “I should be’s” and the “I really should be’s” guilt which usually accompanies times of rest. The negative self-talk is what the problem is, in the end. Not the actual thing. So this week, when I’ve been in my jammies, I’ve been IN my jammies, not thinking that I should be OUT of my jammies. When I’ve been eating take-out, I’ve been DEVOURING take-out, not thinking that I should have done a grocery shop. I’ve seen pictures on Facebook of all these exciting things people are doing. I’ve followed Instagram feeds of happy little moments in freinds’ lives. I’ve watched ‘together’ people around me getting on with their business. And it’s been okay. I felt a little bad, but then I quickly forgave myself and ate two pieces of toblerone.

Also, just in case you are considering calling child protection, I’ll have you know that we did leave the house last week. On more than one occasion, even. Once to the park because, well, I’m an outstanding mum whom always thinks of fun things to do with my child. Another time to go on a shopping spree because while money can’t buy happiness, it can buy you heaps of crap from Target which, let’s be honest, is pretty much the same. FLEETING happiness, LASTING happiness, it’s all just so complicated isn’t it?

Anyway, a few moments from our week…the small things keeping me happy. Crazy-in-total-lock-down-mode-happy, but happy nonetheless.

 

The Openness of Children

As I mentioned, we visited the park this week. I was awed and jealous of the openness children have for each other — their eagerness to connect, their lack of inhibition and their desire to simply love. Ella made a new friend called Gypsy in about five minutes. Seriously, Gypsy came right over to her, stuck her face in front of Ella’s and said Hi. Ella wrapped her arms around Gypsy’s neck, kissed her on the lips and they played together for a solid twenty minutes until Gypsy’s mother called her away because she assumed Gypsy was bothering us. It was so beautiful.

 

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Making Treasure Jars

I found some jars lying around the kitchen this week, and one day when Ella was sleeping, I filled them with random things around the house which I thought might intrigue or amuse her for at LEAST five minutes. In mummy time that’s, like, an hour.

 

 

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Bits of foil for shiny prettiness, chickpeas for rattling, leaves to pick out, water with rocks for cool sound and movement, and food-coloured water with a squirt of detergent for bubble-shaking-making. It was a hit.

 

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Little tip: You might want to tape the lid shut on the coloured-water ones. Learned that the hard way.

That was about the extent of our activity this week. The rest was spent on the bed really, being just the littlest bit silly.

 

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Friday Photo Dump (pretend it’s Friday)

13 april final

shopping spree high :: couch restin’ :: rainy day stuff :: coffee trip like we are SOMEBODIES ::  medicine  ::  her, as always

These were taken using the free Instagram app and uploaded onto a collage using a photo editing program (I use Photoshop Elements). You can follow the red tent feed on Instagram here

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