Can you feel it?

April 19, 2016

I don’t know about you, but I have the distinct feeling that we are on the cusp of something. Something really big. You. Me. All of us. We are in – right now! – an incredibly significant period in human history.  

Thinkers, writers, journalists, artists, and news makers would all know this, attuned as they are to the social barometers and human events that determine the zeitgeist of the day. It is not hard to see – it’s there online, on tv, on the pages of the newspapers. It’s in the changing way we work, how we choose our priorities, the speed of things, the squeeze of things. The crunch and press of the planet telling us to slow down. We are wasting too much. Wasting what we can no longer replace. Chewing through things and spitting them out while others live in dust.

The waste!

Blinkering ourselves to what’s real. Moving further and further away from it. Everything is plastic – things, thoughts, motives, transactions, governance, relations. A mannequin world where comfort and convenience rules and the earthy, human real is a novel throw-back. A retro curiosity.

We are becoming devoid of heart.

I fear the mark of this time is of a dying patient we are fearful to look at lest we recognise the contagion – it came from us. And now, gangrenous and mortal it desperately reaches out seeking a cure. The time we are in is a tipping point. A catastrophic junction. I don’t think I am imagining it. Neither the sunniest autumn day nor the richest evening sunset can disguise it. The laughs and joys of family only make it more pronounced. We are at a point in history where to stay blinkered and do nothing would make us complicit in a patient’s death.

We can start to make choices – simple ones at first – that can leave a mark. It is ok to start small – momentum begins with a slow roll. I want to get the heart beating again. I just hope there’s time.

A hand to hold

August 2, 2015

I have lived with anxiety and depression for the best part of 25 years. Through thick and thin I have ridden the moody beast, knowing that even at the best of times it would be lurking somewhere, waiting.
When up, I would see colour and love and joy and wonder how I could ever feel bad. When up, things got done and I felt connected with people, with the world.
When down, the cliches ring true – drowning, foggy, remote, disconnected. When down, there is a sense of knowing how life should feel, how the world should look, but through depression the picture is distorted by static and loss of colour.
The cruellest blow that depression wreaks is its capacity to convince. Like a conniving parasite, it sucks any positive, hopeful thoughts and recognition from you, leaving an exhausted, depleted shell. Perhaps that’s how people with depression should describe what they suffer: “I have a parasite in my brain that feeds on positivity”. This is truly what depression is. It is not a feeling, or a mood, it is a thing that changes your mind so that you actually perceive the world differently. It deliberately isolates. It cocoons the sufferer from the world around them.
Unless you have seen life through the lens that depression wields, it is incredibly difficult to understand what it is and what it does. From the outside, someone with depression looks glum. With severe depression, it is more than glum. It is a palpable grey aura. If you know someone with this, the instinct is sometimes to avoid. Or at best, tread lightly. Some cannot be reached and many don’t bother trying. They are too far away. This is the tragedy. This is what the parasite seeks to achieve.
Many with depression can quell the beast with the strength of their convictions – faith, persistence, resilience. They are prepared for each arrival and ride it out like an upturned yacht in a raging swell. You can bunker down and live it but it is ugly and it hurts. Some will hit the storm hard and, tragically, their boat will sink. They couldn’t see the life buoys and helicopters hovering. For others, the beast requires constant unwavering attack and for this potions and pills are prescribed.
For everyone who lives with the lurking gloom, there is a need for hands. Hands to reach through the fog, Hands to wave, to hold, to feel, to catch. They need to be there all the time. Like a constant relay we need to keep our hands in the mire for when our friends might briefly look up.

This monstrous mentor.
It monopolises the mind
Smothering like a sickly blanket.
It is your only friend. It tells you.
Over
and over.
It is embracing arms
But not of the kind sort.
These are not the hands you want to hold.
Look up!
Look out!
For that brief second
A fingertip’s touch
Could see you to
The sheltered harbour.

Things that happen to us

February 14, 2015

Not too long ago, I hit the town with some wonderful, intelligent, entertaining girlfriends. Ostensibly for my birthday, it was really an excuse to get a group of married n’ mothering mates out of the house for a meal not cooked by us and a cocktail or two. Having eaten, we moved our cosy party to a bar for a bevvy. We were dressed up, hair down, feeling great and free when we experienced an intrusion that almost ruined the night and got us all thinking about the Things That Happen To Us.

Here’s what happened.

We’ve all been there: women seated at a bar. Heeled, bejeweled, low-cut. Feeling great. Third, or maybe fourth drink of the night. Talking about crushes, comedies, embarrassments, bodies. We were thoroughly engrossed in each other’s company and sharing a laugh over a screen image. I noticed a man walk over to our corner, look out the window, and then turn around. He then appeared – intruded – into our intimate circle. He was prepared. He had a line. He persisted. We tried to give him nothing, but were fearful of getting him agitated. So we toed a line between polite and disinterested, hoping our ambivalence would bore him and he would move on. But perhaps he took our politeness as flirtation, because he kept going. Badgering us with one liners that we should have ignored, but by now he had commandeered the space. We were there for him now, not ourselves. His presence made us feel awkward, nervous, uncomfortable. Like we should leave, even though we were first there.

Eventually, he took the hint and when I said something about him being very good at annoying people he finally staggered off. By now, our bubble had truly burst. We had gone from being happily out to feeling pissed off. It got us talking about the experiences we’ve had with men and we came to the conclusion that, sometimes, men think they OWN THE SPACE AROUND US.

Think about the times you have had a man intrude on your space. We’ve all had it. Followed and flashed at. Chatted up. Been called cold, frigid, a bore for not returning advances. A slut for responding to them at all. We are told to walk down the street a certain way lest we be seen as vulnerable. Head up. Shoulders back. Heavy stride. A “man’s walk”: I own this space and you cannot enter.

There are men who see the world as their’s and women as objects within it. We do not have any true claim to independence or autonomy. If things happen to us it is because we were there, not because someone did them to us. If we are attacked it is because we were walking alone at night. If we are abused at home it is because we are too weak to leave. These arguments infer that what is inflicted upon us is our fault. Our presence in the space caused the aggression, ergo, the aggressor owns the space.

Why should a street, a home, a bar be owned by an aggressor? Why is it that we need to adapt to the aggressor’s presence, and not the other way around? Do we have to accept that there are some men who will persist in treating women as objects? Why is this still perpetuated?

When I was younger I attended Reclaim the Night marches, feeling proud but without a full grasp of what it meant for women to walk together at night without fear. To truly reclaim the space. Walking how they want. In heels. In skirts. Invulnerable. Now that I’m older and have experienced more, I need to go again. But perhaps more importantly, I need to raise my boys to respect the space women inhabit. To counter the aggression of some of their male counterparts. To help add to the number of men who see women as true equals, and not as objects.

I truly hope I can succeed.

Appreciate Now

November 5, 2014

Writing a blog is a great way to gain intellectual and therapeutic reconciliation. Identifying an issue, contemplating, and then articulating it is a healthy process which more often than not helps to exorcise the niggles. An author may go through several drafts before a suitable whinge is selected and given the treatment. This blog, for instance, was almost about the foibles of buying a new bra. It could just as easily have been about not being listened to, living out of a washing basket, or the never ending frustrations of getting out of the house with three boys in tow. But each time an issue was isolated and the contemplation commenced, something would happen to curb the progress.
Initially I blamed time. Being “back in the world” of regular daytime employment, it is easy to feel like you have disappeared. What little time you have to yourself is inevitably crammed with personal comforts – going to the gym, reading the newspaper, taking a bath, sleeping. There are categorically not enough hours in the day.
So time is a friendly alibi. But there is something else at play: I simply don’t have much to say. And that’s a good thing.
It means I have nothing to complain about. Nothing that needs dealing with. Nothing that is particularly bothering me to the point of needing to get it out. There isn’t anything that seems worth the effort, and with this comes the happy fact: Life is Good.
It has become a cliche to say “appreciate what you have”. So often it seems, it takes people to death’s door before they achieve that clarity. The awakening that occurs on the cusp of loss. Are we so hurried, so blinkered, so self absorbed to not see the detail? To stop and see not only the wood but the texture of the bark?
It may take a wading through mental fog. It may take help to see the path. But to strive to seek clarity, to truly see what you have and appreciate it, is an effort worth endeavouring.

Why I like Minecraft

August 10, 2014

Mine is a family of Minecrafters. We have it on virtually every electronic device in the house and when we aren’t playing it, we’re likely to be watching other people play it on youtube. My sons skype their cousin and play multiplayer Minecraft with her, and we play together as a family on servers and in connected worlds either through our computers or on our game console.

Admittedly we probably exceed the average 20 hours per week “screen time” statistic, but the truth is, I don’t have a problem with this. Because I can see the appeal of the game. I enjoy building elaborate houses and roller coasters and tunnels and learning how to craft items and exploring the landscape. I love playing in survival mode and starting from scratch in a randomly generated world where I have to fend for my survival against the creatures of the night. I get excited when we download a new “mod” from the enormous community of freely available packs and test how it modifies the game, making it even better. I can get quite emotionally attached to things I have designed, and have to control my frustration when a creeper blows them up. Just as my boys do. Together we have built pyramids and castles and skyscrapers and cafes and libraries and roads and seaside shacks.

I am having a shared experience with my boys, and we are involved and engaged together. For once I am in step with something they are interested in. This may be the last time for my oldest, as he sits on the scary precipice of pre-adolesence where he will tell me less and less and disappear more and more. I am not looking forward to being out of step, and so I am relishing this time we are sharing in this computer landscape where anything is possible and battles are bloodless and relatively benign. We are building and learning and creating and exploring, and whilst we may not be outside as we sit at our screens, nor are we sitting blankly staring as a television blares out its over-loud commercialised garbage. In fact, I can’t remember when we last watched tv. The boys may have had it on in the morning last week but no one was paying any attention. They were likely watching an episode of DiamondMinecart on youtube, voiced by a young English guy I have grown accustomed to hearing amongst my own boys talk. We have brought “Dan” from the DiamondMinecart into our home, through our screens, and I’m ok with this because he doesn’t swear, he doesn’t provoke, he just talks – and talks and talks – about Minecraft.

I suppose some might say I am enabling a dangerous obsession. That it is unhealthy for the boys to be so single-minded in their interest. Well, they also like soccer and Lego and riding their scooters and going on the trampoline and visiting their Nanna and Poppa and having play dates with friends and reading Percy Jackson and doing magic tricks and playing kids Monopoly and eating cereal and looking for caterpillars. I’m not convinced that they’re unhealthy. Plus I play it too, and I feel just fine.

Call me sinner

July 26, 2014

When is a job a “real” job?

Over the past three years I have had cause to think deeply about this question, as I have undertaken different roles and have consciously and deliberately reflected on my choices: full-time stay at home mother; part-time child care worker; and more recently part-time office worker. What has struck me as intriguing, and altogether disconcerting, are the vastly different perceptions accorded each role, many of them disparaging. Perceptions accorded by close family, some friends, and – to my dismay – myself.

If I use my three years of employment experience as a litmus test of attitude, the results reflect poorly on societal priorities. They expose which of these societal values have been embedded and entrenched within my own walls, begging the question: how did they get in? My experiment has brought to the fore concepts of legitimacy and identity: economic, social, and personal, exposing for me some disappointing truths.

But let me start from the beginning.

As a full-time stay at home mother, I deliberately engaged with a household model seemingly at odds with my feminist instincts. I ventured with hope that this era should enable women to make conscious choices without fear of judgement, branding my decision a feminist take on a fifties formula. In my eyes it was a deliberate reclaiming of an identity hitherto thrust upon married women with children: my husband became the “breadwinner” and I the “homemaker”. I devised an interpretation of this to include everything to do with the children and the house. A probing question at the time from a close and respected friend raised an early doubt: why should the parameter encompass all the housework? Her educated and yet it seems rarely held view was that raising the children and attending to their needs represented a hefty enough load and the maintenance of the house and associated chores should be shared. I conceded that, whilst this arrangement might work in some partnerships, the strict delineation of responsibility between inside the house work and outside the house work was the one that would most likely work for us. My model was thenceforth consciously constructed.

And so what of my time “inside the house”?

For me, being at home full time with my boys was an era pockmarked by extremes. Highs of heart pulling delirium book-ended by lows of visceral emotion. I struggled with being economically dependent for the first time in twenty years. I grappled with an inner dialogue which erred on the side of devil’s advocate and complained that I was taken for granted. I questioned why I was not fulfilled by this work: was being there for my family and keeping the house afloat not enough, and if not, what else was needed? Was it money? Was it recognition? Did I have ambitions and desires that were hitherto unknown to me?

By the end of my time at home, heart pulling highs not withstanding, the core of me felt crushed. I no longer knew what made me truly happy. I had lost sight of the elements needed for growth and fulfillment. I can reason that endless giving amounts to goodness, and am grateful for the opportunity to have been there so much for my boys, but giving without gratitude is damn hard. And I am not a saint.

Re-training and working in childcare buoyed my flagging esteem. I had achieved something tangible. I became helpful for other people. I was contributing to something beyond the well-being of my little family, with a daily purpose aside from my assumed obligations. I reveled in the interactions with children and rejoiced at our growing bonds (to be hugged upon arrival at work by a child genuinely happy to see you is a wondrous thing). I marveled at how profound a duty it was to feed another woman’s baby. To see a dozen toddlers safely to sleep when I struggled with my own three.

And yet, this step outside the home seemed flawed. Even before I started I was asked why I would want to work in childcare: “Haven’t you had enough of children?” “Isn’t that what you’re already doing at home anyway?” I was able to deflect these doubters by convincing them my love of children was motivation enough. But the question which stuck fast was the most brutal: “Childcare? Isn’t that sort of beneath you?” Why, because I have a university degree? Because I grew up in the eastern suburbs? Because I am relatively articulate? If caring for other people’s children is “beneath” somebody like me, then who is it suited to? What has led us to think that the role of caring for children is best left to the uneducated and inarticulate; the battlers who have limited opportunity? Why is childcare not seen as a legitimate profession?

These questions were compounded when an unexpected opportunity arose for a job in my old digs and to my third incarnation in as many years: part-time office work. Back to where I started ten years ago. Before children. Back to wearing makeup and heels and jewellery and carrying manilla folders and attending workshops and sitting in front of a computer drinking proper coffee and having meetings and giving presentations and feeling… important. More important than when feeding someone else’s baby? Yes and no. To me, there is no more profound a feeling than seeing to the needs of another mother’s child when she cannot. I certainly felt that importance. But somehow the clip-clop of my heels as I stride down the corridor to a meeting with a Professor makes me feel… legitimate. There is no other word for it. But why this legitimacy? Is it the heels, the makeup, the jewellery, the computer, the coffee, the meetings, the presentations, or the Professor?

Of course the elephant in the room is glaringly obvious: it’s the money.

Our society attributes status in monetary degrees. The more you earn, the more important you are irrespective of your career output. If sitting in a room staring at the ceiling earned me a billion dollars I’d be incredibly important. Society has deemed caring – for the young, the elderly, the disabled – not economically valuable. It may be valuable to the functioning of society, and token acknowledgement would be paid to same. But what our society really values is money.

These observations might be obvious, but what was not obvious to me was that these societal values have crept in to my own values system. My feeling of legitimacy and importance as I clip-clop down the corridor in my makeup and jewellery is attributable to the fact that I am now earning more money. Four weeks ago I was feeling the profound importance of seeing to the needs of children, and yet still struggled to pay the bills. This week I spent $100 on a bottle of perfume for myself and felt a sense of satisfaction I have not felt for years. I earned the money that enabled me to buy the perfume. I was able to treat myself and it felt good.

So my conclusions from this three year experiment? That working outside the home is good for me. That I do seek and require external legitimization. That having things to think about other than my family is healthy for my brain. That earning enough money to enable me to buy myself indulgent luxuries feels good.

But most of all I’ve learned that as a society we have got it all wrong. We should be paying carers millions and miners minimum wage. It pains me to conclude that I have bought into this status system and that I feel more self worth now that I am earning more money. This has come as a genuine shock and I wish it weren’t so. But I have to be honest with myself. I don’t think I’m materialistic, but I do like the odd luxury. I think most of us do. It’s damn hard to buck the system. And we are none of us saints.

Changing Directions

April 27, 2014

It’s been a while, but sometimes in order to see where you are going you have to stop and look back awhile at where you’ve been. Journeys are like that.

How we change, shift, turn, and reinvent. Life has a funny way of altering the tracks just as you are settling in for the ride. At no time is this more evident, I feel, than for women when they have children. Whether planned or unplanned, children intervene on a life formerly lived with sole intentions. They enforce changed priorities, and a re-imaging of a life vision. And not just once, but many times over. Each choice we make represents a fork in the road. Pregnancy, birth, care, work, education, and the minutia of daily choices we make for and because of our children is a path towards the next choice. And so, like stepping stones, they lead us in a direction for which there is no map.

I have recently reinvented myself. Again. Quitting work after Boy 3 and choosing to stay at home full time marked a shift in my stepping stones, and now I have stepped again and am back working away from the home. And a meager few weeks in and I can say I am a better person for it. With the perspective of hindsight, I can see that my experience of being at home full time – and I know this would differ profoundly from that of many other women – has been a rocky one. There are captured moments that enriched my heart and made it all seem worthwhile, but there were also hours of tears and struggle and an esteem that seemed painfully lost. It is true that parenting is largely thankless, and perhaps, for some of us, the more that is put into it the less thanks is noticeably received. You do not get praise, nor encouragement. And somehow, even though I knew I wouldn’t and was never really expecting it, the lack of it hit hard.

But now I find myself outside the home for many hours during the week working, in a way ironically, in childcare and the degrees of achievement, encouragement, praise and recognition I have received in a short time outshine the three years I have been away from paid employment. It is not the money (we all know how pitifully those in the care industry are remunerated). It is having others acknowledge me for my capabilities. I have demonstrated capabilities at home, but they are assumed capabilities: taken for granted requirements of the job. Here, in my new environment, I find my esteem gradually rebuilding, my confidence resurfacing, thanks to a sense of acknowledged achievement.

Just as a tree needs earth, water and sunshine to grow, so too perhaps some of us require more elements to flourish. Add another ingredient to the mix and see what results. It is all experimentation, after all: new steps on a path uncharted. Children can provide inspiration for the steps. They can contribute to the cycle of collapse and rebuild that evolves, ultimately, into growth. 

With another change in direction, I am reaching my branches out to the sky for air and it feels good to be growing upwards again.

Learning from the best

March 3, 2014

Every Thursday, I have the joyous and fulfilling pleasure of spending the hours between 9-3pm with two exquisite mentors. Our schedule rarely varies, although I do like to bring in new topics for them to adapt and proliferate, and at the end of each shift I leave feeling bigger and better for our confab.

As any good mentor should, my mentors help me to clarify what is important in life. They hone and simplify each matter to its finest point. They challenge, correct and humble. They show me the way but are happy to be led. Our hours together are gold: raw, nuggety, priceless. 

This is what we do:

Mentor H and I eagerly await Mentor E’s arrival, and her appearance is invariably met with literal jumps for joy. After a brief warm up session on the swings, we convene inside whereupon we each don our alter egos: her’s Batgirl/Ponygirl, his Batman/Fireboy and mine just plain Watergirl. Chasing imaginary robbers, our game play morphs into a lengthy game of hide-and-seek wherein I never get to hide. Then it’s outside for a session on the trampoline, involving two games: “Zoo keeper forgets to lock the cage” and “Queen Kong”. Suffice to say the former involves a lot of animal noise and running whilst the latter strengthens the thighs as I bounce around the springy surface as a cantankerous gorilla.

Morning tea beckons, and my mentors don their virtual toques and prepare me the finest in mock cuisine whilst I dutifully prepare their real assortment of nourishment, all the while scoffing the odd nut in preparation for the next sitting.  We eat, they indulging on a carrot or two and crackers, me delighting in fish ice-cream and egg-on-cake. Then it is back outside for our next session, this being a relative new-comer to our schedule: a re-enactment of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. For us it is two bears, sand for porridge and beach towels for beds but the design has stuck and we perform this play possibly five times over. 

The next stage in our learning is perhaps my favourite: craft. We rummage through the recycling, rejuvenating toilet rolls and bottle tops into works of art. We use petals and leaves and stickers and sticks, and when the connectable textas aren’t being shaped into guns they are drawing rainbows and monsters and jellyfish. We indulge our creativity and marvel at our works for almost an hour, before it’s time for more action. This time, I am the prisoner and they my jailers, and handcuffed they escort me to a bedroom cell. But I have some tricks up my sleeve, and each time they come to check on their prisoner, they find objects moved and mysteriously vanished from the shelves. Dolls are propped up reading books and ducks are taking baths but all the while I sit a-handcuffed in my seat. They puzzle at these oddities and I tiptoe the line between pretense and sincerity, never fully sure if they are fooled or not.

After the jailers game, it’s a sit-down Star Wars battle. Mentor E digs out the Princess Leia figurines and I set up the “goodies” while Mentor H insists on directing the dark side. Four battles later and good gets annihilated each time: that seems to be the way they like it. When pretending, at least. 

I try not to forget lunch in amongst all the busyness, and we then ride our horses (Emma, Jack and Star) across the road to the playground. Even here our discourse will follow routine – “bombs away” on the swing and our spaceship through the seasons. Our work together is continuous and always has meaning.

We head home and are nearly finished for the day. We fill the remainder with whatever we like from the itinerary of our time – we have ample stock. 

My shift is at an end and I must alight from the cloud and emerge in my other world. The transition is frequently fraught and harried but I am always buoyed by what my mentors have given me: the freedom to play, to enjoy and to be without judgement or censure or critique. It is a lesson worth taking and an experience to cherish and I am enriched and enlightened because of it.

This unpredictable life

February 20, 2014

Life with children can be …

What a plethora of adjectives could complete the line. A multitude of descriptions that vary weekly, daily, hourly.

Blessed. Depressed. Inspiring. Deflating. A struggle.

The one word that perhaps best sums up the whole is inconsistent. No two days are ever the same. By way of an example, I will use a recent week in the life of one Happy Shambolic household.

A tiring weekend saw a sleepover turn into a blood-filled broken-nosed debacle, and Monday morning arrived to greet three sleep needy boys. They weren’t happy.

With strategies straining and sanity waning the day was declared a public holiday. Not a good habit but the only immediately viable option. Honest. Amid “never-again” and “but just for today” the boys had the time of their life. No school? It had actually worked!

Tuesday was never going to be good, so the resort was bribery. Lego goes a long way, but even it can’t stop a desperate 4 year old attempting to scale a kindy fence. Through the eyes of a tired 4 year old, does kindergarten resemble such a gulag? Two staff members and several tears later and he was inside, presumably settled with some play dough. By home time all boys were full of beans and their days were declared duly awesome.

By Wednesday, preparations were in place. Routines stuck to walls and martial law in force awaiting first signs of rebellion. But it was not to be, for lo and behold, all attitudes had turned. There was no need to gird. The order was to stand down as each boy marched into school and kindy with the confidence of a commanding officer. It can be hard to relax such tensed muscles.

Thursday’s dawn saw a relaxing of arms and with some coaxing the time frame was kept. With minimal complaints and bags packed and beds made the boys walked out the house with a swagger. A pattern began to emerge of days becoming easier, of confidence restoring, but herein lies the trap: it could all be gone by tomorrow.

Parenting keeps us on our toes. It tests our capacity for patience, resilience, adaption. The need to think on our feet is vital as we face new and unexpected challenges. Constantly. We are meant to learn as we go but there is barely time to stop and consider the successes and failures of past experience. You may occasionally find time to break from running and to just walk but you must always be on the alert. The nature of life with children is such that there rarely is time to breathe. We are all just bobbing, and attempting to gulp a lung full of air for the next wave.

Whatever it takes

December 19, 2013

Six months ago, I was the poster child for stoicism. Battle through was my war cry. Accept the struggle my mantra. I viewed the ups and downs of life as part of the exhilarating ride and grinned and bared it, even when the ups took on dizzying heights and the downs dipped to debilitating depths. The ride was exhausting, but I saw it as my lot.

My temperament is intense and serious, ergo I am partial to the extremes. Self-acceptance can be a double-edged sword: you can reconcile your foibles, but do you have to live with them? Up until recently, I would have argued that to massage, manipulate or medicate your temperamental ailments was somehow a failure. A cop out.

I am who I am, love me or loathe me.

I now know that to be, at best, naive, and at worst, self-destructive. The last few months have taught me that if you are hampered by a temperament that predisposes you to a life of struggle, even while living in optimum circumstances, you don’t have to battle through. You don’t have to accept it as your lot. And you don’t have to be a martyr to the moody cause. When the ups and downs become extreme and you have whiplash from the ride, seek help. There are ways of levelling out the bumps and easing the turbulance. You can have a smoother ride, and you are not letting anybody down by doing so.

Life is way too short to live it in struggle. For most of us, there are enough daily hazards to wade through without our own minds tripping us up. After a day negotiating family, work, life commitments the last thing you need is to lie in bed ruminating over it all. Give yourself a break. Find what works and embrace it.

Yes, it is priveleged and no, life is never perfect. But if you have at your disposal the means of making it as near to your perfection as possible, why not use them? You won’t win an award for not doing so, and you will thank yourself that you did.