How to Cope when you miss someone

There are instances when you see an object like a picture,

smell a familiar aroma,

hear a song,

taste a particular food or

touch an item like a soft blanket made you MISS SOMEONE SO MUCH.  Time stood still and tears rolled down your cheeks.

It was just an ordinary day doing your normal routine at home then it HIT YOU- BAM, right on your chest. You thought you were already capable of managing your emotions. Oh no. You realized you were wrong.

Years have passed. Then an item suddenly TRIGGERED something inside you. You burst into tears.

It is quite depressing when the person you suddenly remembered had already passed away. It is impossible to see him/her in person. There is nothing you can do but reminisce the memories you had together. You may

smile

cry

laugh

be annoyed with yourself especially if there were words left unsaid.

Each person copes differently when they miss someone they love.

  1. Cry and Grieve.

Some people take time to recover from a loss of a loved one. When they are caught in the moment of heartache, they give in.  Crying may not change what already has taken place but it is a good release of painful thoughts. Crying is one way of healing.

  1. Visit the cemetery with a loved one.

One approach of letting go and accepting the fact is a visit to the cemetery.  Looking at the tombstone is a reminder that the loved one is already gone and is in a better place. Lighting a candle, giving flowers and saying a prayer with family/friends are ways of showing we remember and we love them.

Photo by David Monje

one lighted candle in the dark
May you rest in peace.
  1. Do an activity which they did together when the person was still alive.

This is a make or break option. Let us say what they did together was go for a walk at the beach. The person may feel good (memories shared) or unhappy about it (can’t do it again with him/her). 

  1. Go out with family or friends.

When you feel that sadness is creeping in on you, then one choice is to go out with family or friends. Talking with a trustworthy person and having a drink at the same time release your inhibitions. The atmosphere is conducive to an honest and open communication. Whatever is bothering you at the moment is heard and another person’s point of view may change your day for the better.

Photo by Greg Raines

Two women on top of a car
Thank you for being here. I feel so much better.
  1. Pray in the church.

November 1 is All Saints Day which is a special day for Catholics. Most Catholics go to church to pray for the souls of the departed. Sometimes, missing someone takes away the belief that everything will be okay. Praying strengthens our faith that everything will be alright.  The song of Don Moen sums it up – God will make a way.

  1. Be busy with an activity that makes you happy. Divert your thinking.

Other people are good at diverting their thinking when they miss someone they love. Instead  of moping around, they will rather:

  1. Watch a show that entertains them.
  2. Improve their garden.
  3. Shop until they drop
  4. Eat out.
  5. Enjoy nature.
  6. Walk with a pet.
  7. Sing until their voice becomes hoarse.
  8. Dance like mad.
  9. Cook as if they are feeding a hundred guests.
  10. Write their thoughts.
  11. Renovate the house.
  12. Travel to a place they have never been.
  13. Read an inspirational book.
  14. Listen to a motivational speaker.
  15. Create something like art.

Photo by Vincent van Zalinge

lady bug
Appreciating the beauty of nature
  1. Enjoy the company of loved ones who are still alive.

Other folks redirect their emotions to the people surrounding them. They will make time, especially with the older family members. They will try to catch up for the lost time. It is a wake-up call for them to say their I LOVE YOUs.

Photo by Nathália Bariani

two elderly persons sitting on a bench
Do you still remember the good old days when we…?
  1. Time to reinvent oneself for the better.

Missing someone you love stirs in you the will to improve yourself.  One thing that you CAN DO is create a NEW YOU. New look ranges from losing weight, new hair color or hairstyle or change of attire. It could also be personal development like studying a new course or changing your attitude.

Photo by Miriam Miles

tortoise
No matter how slow, keep moving forward.
  1. Help someone.

Rather than focus on their own melancholy, some individuals go out and help other people who are experiencing worse. It gives them satisfaction to be of service. At the end of the day, when they suddenly feel again a pang of emptiness due to someone’s absence, there is instant joy filling their hearts because they were able to make a difference in someone’s life.

Photo by Larm Rmah 

happy children
Happy even if they do not have enough
  1. Opening oneself to opportunities to love again

It is devastating to miss the presence of the love of your life. Some were able to cope alone while others found love again. Their hearts are overflowing with love so you see them happy with someone new.

It is normal to be sad when we miss someone. For me, the feeling of unhappiness should be acknowledged. Sadness runs deep, especially if there were issues left unsettled with the person who passed away. Being consumed with regrets will do you no good.

Make time for grieving and weeping if you have to. Then, move on. Move on until you can laugh again.

It must not be a reason to be miserable all the time. There are still people around you who need your love. That is the good news.

Give more hugs and kisses to the people who matter to you. Express more love and appreciation to family and friends. All of us do not know when our time is up.

Focus on the present. You are alive  which means you have TIME to

Love

Celebrate

Sparkle

NOW.

So when Death comes knocking at your door,  your ABSENCE will be truly felt by family, friends, co-workers and even acquaintances. You are a person worth MISSING SO MUCH.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

15 Lessons I learned so far in Raising Boys

This article lists 15 Lessons I learned so far in raising three primary school-age boys. Each grey hair on my head is a remembrance for the lessons I gathered.

  1. Do not promise anything that you cannot do.

I remembered I promised my son that we will go bowling when winter comes. The winter here in Australia is June to August.  It was too cold to go to the beach or the parks so my son kept asking me WHEN ARE WE GOING?

It was a promise I kept postponing because we had school activities, sports events, a family member got sick, just plain tired and wanted to stay home. The last straw was when my son said: ” Mum, YOU PROMISED.”

My integrity was at stake. If I wouldn’t do this, my son will have TRUST ISSUES with me. It was the last day of winter 31st of August and we finally went and had a wonderful time bowling.

From then on, I seldom make promises. I realized boys have a strong memory when you give your word you will do it. They will GRILL you if you don’t deliver.

Photo by Chaiyaporn Atakampeewong

cat staring at you
Human, you made a promise to a little boy.
  1. Whatever you do to the eldest, do it as well with the other sons.

No matter what you say, it is what you do that they focus on. Example, I bought candies for my three sons. It should always be DIVIDED BY THREE. All of them looked at me opening the packet and I distributed the candies equally. The package has 12 candy packs so there was no issue. There was one that had 10. Each had 3 so who gets the last one? They were waiting who will I give it to. I told them no one. That packet is for dad and mum.

Hugs and kisses should also be given similarly. I thought that the two elder boys were not already into the hug and kiss mum thing.  However, my assumption changed when my middle son told me, “You always hug and kiss our youngest brother.”  I learned that when I give a hug or kiss to one of them, I should also do it to the other brothers too. No more complaints after that.

If you give them a chore to do, it should always be at the same time. If they play with their gadgets Saturday morning then by the afternoon all of them should be doing their chores like vacuuming the house or folding the clothes. No one should be having a free time while the other one is doing a chore. You don’t want to hear the complaint ” Why is my brother watching TV while I am folding clothes?”

Photo by Tim Gouw

candies
Okay, let’s divide these equally among you.
  1. When you say NO, mean it.

When the decision is a NO, strong resistance will come up. Asserting your parental authority is vital to show to your sons that no matter how many complaints they come up with, your decision will not change.

Saying NO was put to the test when my youngest son had a temper tantrum at the mall. We watched the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles perform on stage. He saw a child in the audience wearing a TMNT costume and I know the price of that was $25. He wanted to have that costume too and I said NO. People around us had curious stares or even judgmental looks why my child was crying so loud. I reasoned out to him we do not need it. It was a luxury for us during that time to buy that costume. No matter what I said, he kept crying. It was one of those days.

We walked all the way to the car park and his cry filled the entire shopping center. When I put his seat belt on, there was still a few tears then came silence. I looked at him and he was fast asleep. When he woke up at home, he already forgot about the costume and hugged me like nothing happened.

Photo by Liam Welch

eye of a boy
Watch out! Tears falling soon.
  1. Be careful what you say in front of them.

Curse words. Driving can make you say swear words especially when the other driver on the road feels he/she owns the entire highway.  There was one driver that cut me  off on the road and I said ” Oh sh*t!”  My son said ” Oh sh*t!” too when he was playing with me.

I didn’t like what I heard. From then one, I tried to control my words even when I was annoyed with other drivers who were tailgating or cutting me off the road.

Words said out of anger. My sons have a nickname for me when I am furious – HULK MUM. I told them, don’t create an opportunity for me to scream at you.  They did. After I calmed down, I felt guilty because they don’t deserve that word ever. I couldn’t take it back. I said sorry after that and I explained to them why I was upset.  Even at the height of my annoyance, it is not an excuse to say offensive words.

Self-confidence. Primary school children are in the process of developing their self-esteem. They will ask questions if they can do this or they can do that.  It is a big deal for my sons when they made a mistake. They take it personally. With the help of their school teacher, my husband and I advise them that we make mistakes too but we learn from them and move on. Love and support the boys.The best gift is you sign on a wall

Photo by Dakota Corbin

  1. The presence of the father or father-figure is important.

The presence of the father in their life is necessary because they are learning to become a man. There is something about the company of dads that is so COOL.

Outdoor activities.         ” Son, this is how you kick the ball.”

”  This is how you hold the basketball.”

” Hold the bat this way.”

” Son, let’s go fishing.”

”  Let’s enjoy the outdoors and go hiking and camping!”

  Indoor activities.

” Son, this is the anime we watched when we were young, DRAGON BALL Z.”    ( They discussed  the characters on and on.)

Son: ” Dad, I can beat you in this video game!”

Dad: ” No, you won’t.”

As mums, we try to be the best that we can be. Still, we cannot teach what we don’t know. We cannot give what we don’t have.  Sometimes, conversations are better handled by dads especially when it comes to personal development: physical changes and attraction towards the opposite sex.

Photo by Filios Sazeides

father and son on a surfboard
This is how you do it, son.
  1. Spend time with them. Your presence is more important than the toy.

Even if you bought them a toy, they still want your presence. One time, I was exhausted with all the household chores. My son kept telling me to come and sit with him and play with the train set. I told him I need to lie down for 10 minutes then I can play with him.

He took the kitchen timer and timed me for 10 minutes! While I was lying down in bed, he kept reminding me at the door that I still have 8 minutes to rest. Then, he came again and told me I had still 5 minutes. I wasn’t able to rest because I had reminders by the minute!!!

My boys may not have the most expensive toy but we played board games and ball games that we laughed together, got annoyed with each other (especially Monopoly)  but still part of treasured memories looking back.

Photo by Michael Bergmann

train set
PLAY
  1. There is no one perfect strategy for raising boys.

One strategy for disciplining a child may be effective with the eldest son but may not be suitable for the middle child or the youngest one. It is up to the mum to CUSTOMIZE.

Strategy 1: Be brutally frank about it. No holds barred. The truth will wake him up.

Strategy 2: Explain it to the tiniest detail with as much time as possible. Use normal voice. Be patient when answering queries.

Strategy 3:  Compromise. If you do this, then you will get that.

  1. Listen to the boys and to older mums because it is a part of learning.

 

  1. Quotes from the boys

The boys come home from school telling me stories of what happened that day. My eldest told me, ” Mum, I heard someone said, Do not ASSUME because you are making an ASS of U and ME.”

(Second son  ) Mum, you are stress-eating again. Why are you eating ice cream again?!

(Youngest son) Mum, I have a joke. ” How did the egg cross the road?”

Answer: Splat!”

  1. Older mums than you

Older mums inform me that I have to enjoy my boys while they are still young and while they still prefer my company. There will come a time when they will have their own set of schedules, prefer the company of friends and outdoors than stay home with mum and dad.

  1. They are smarter than you think and can immediately feel that something is not right.

It is better to tell the truth. Explain it to them using age-appropriate words. When they saw me crying, I told them that mum just feels homesick. At least, they wouldn’t think of other out of this world reasons why mum is weeping.

  1. Do not be too hard on yourself.

There will be regrets along the way stabbing yourself with the question “WHY DID I DO THAT?” Sometimes, I have sleepless nights thinking, am I doing the right thing? I have a big responsibility raising young men.

My mother advised me to pray for it. “Yes Shirin, it is challenging raising children. You know now what I felt when I was raising you.  Pray for wisdom and strength.”

Photo by Olivia Snow

praying hands
PRAY
  1. READ more to learn more.

I recommend the book RAISING BOYS by Steve Biddulph. The part of the book that got stuck in my head is the topic:  words we say to our children. If the mum keep saying to her child ” YOU NAUGHTY BOY!”,  the child might think ” Yeah, my mum is right.  I am a naughty boy.” It is a self-fulfilling prophecy that he is a naughty boy and therefore create more circumstances of proving he is definitely a BAD BOY.

  1. Ask for advice.

As a mum, it is impossible to have the answers all the time. It is better to seek help from a trustworthy family, friend or even a psychologist when the issue is too personal.

  1. Teamwork is necessary between mum and dad.

If you said NO to your sons but their dad answered YES, it creates confusion with whom to follow and believe. PARENTAL AUTHORITY IS CHALLENGED.  When the question of the child is a major decision like starting a sports activity or joining a club, dad and mum should have the same answer.

Once, I heard my husband tell the boys, “Your mum will get angry at you.” I didn’t like it because I felt that I was the VILLAIN of the house and he is their best friend forever. Therefore, I told my husband about it. From then on, whenever we discipline the boys, he now says, ” Your mother and I are upset with… ” or ” We didn’t like what you did because…”

Moreover, there are times when one parent should stay cool when the other parent is becoming too emotional: mad, worried, stressed out. The cool parent should be the one talking or listening to the child when the other parent tries to calm down.

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo

couple wallking
Dad: So what do we say to the kids?
Mum: Can’t think straight. Let’s have some ice cream.
  1. No favoritism.

Encountering the questions: ” Mum, who is the most handsome?

Am I the coolest?

Isn’t it I am the BEST in playing ________ (fill in the blank)

Questions like these made me feel I was answering a MISS UNIVERSE FINAL QUESTION.

I always tell them ” I do not want to compare. All of you have your own strengths and weaknesses. Remember, Dad and I love all of you.”

Sibling rivalry is real. Having a favorite makes it even worse.

  1. Be specific with your instructions.

If you say ” CLEAN YOUR ROOM.” you will just be disappointed. Give the boys specific instructions because based on my experience, it is more effective. Consulting them and meeting halfway works. The tasks should be:

SMART : Specific Measurable Attainable Realistic Time-bound

  1. Fix your bed.
  2. Arrange the books on the bedside table.
  3. Hang your clothes.
  4. Fold the clothes and put them in the drawers.
  5. Put the dirty clothes in the hamper.
  6. Vacuum.

The tasks can be done for one hour either  Saturday or Sunday depending upon the final negotiations between parent and child.

The reason why I was able to make them help me with the chores is that I told them the TRUTH.

” Boys, I am not getting any younger. I need help with the chores.”

“If you do the chores then you can  ( REWARD) ____________ fill in the blank.

Give them options with the rewards so they will do the chore.

I am learning life’s lessons one day at a time as a parent. It will be a new ball game for me when my sons will all be teenagers or young adults. As of this moment, I am sharing with you what I found effective with raising primary school-age boys. My three sons make my life interesting and meaningful. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Photo by Matthew Sleeper

 

 

Countdown: Issues of a Teenager

teenager thinking

I was looking at my son one afternoon while he was watching tv. I realized suddenly that a few months from now, he will be a TEENAGER. Oh goodness, I am TERRIFIED. Don’t tell anyone!

Older mums tell me that when the children are still young, the stress is physical. So true. However, when they become teenagers, the stress becomes MENTAL. Let’s reminisce the good old days of parenthood from baby to primary-school-age children.

Baby to toddler years:

Most mums looked like zombies (including me) because they were sleep deprived with all the crying and the chronic illnesses of coughs, colds or flu of the children. Those were the days when you can’t think straight.

Photo by Sabine van Straaten

sad baby
Why is mum so worried?I better not fall asleep!

Remember the temper tantrums that will test your patience as a mum? Mums’ ears are so versatile, they can withstand a high pitch scream from a preschooler. Don’t get me started with the running and following your child with hawk eyes like a stalker just to make sure the child is safe. Good luck if you have the chance to sit down and relax!

We LOVE OUR CHILDREN.  Hugs, kisses and words like I LOVE YOU MUM were truly appreciated especially if said out of the blue and not just saying sorry.

Kindergarten to Year 6:

The pram and the bag full of diapers, feeding bottles and bibs are out.

It will be the years of FIRST.

First day of school

The child deals with same age children who believe they are entitled to everything

First time to tell you that they cried in school because:

they missed you so much

have an annoying classmate

the everyday routine is gone and change is hard

a lesson is beyond his/her comprehension

they are not good in sports

they are scared

staying at home is better

Physical stress is still there but lessened because they could take care of their personal hygiene. The morning rush of preparing breakfast, putting healthy food on their lunch boxes and taking them to school become a huge part of life to mums or dads. The challenge goes up to the next level when one of the kids gets sick, the school project was forgotten at home or the child doesn’t want to go to school. I am just talking about early morning scenarios!

Photo by Les Anderson

girl staring
I have no idea what she just said.

It will be the years of TRIAL AND ERROR in terms of discipline and teaching. What works out with the eldest child may not apply with the second one and so you try other strategies.

The good news about these years is you can go out and have some fun! You can explain when they did something wrong because they could understand better the situation, unlike the toddler years. You can take them anywhere because they still prefer your company and have a blast family bonding. They can help you now with the basic chores like cleaning the house, folding the clothes and preparing the dinner table.

AND NOW…  Let us talk about the troublesome Teenage years. (13-19 years old)

Teenage years:

Listening to stories of mums raising teenagers is enough to give me a high blood pressure. It is a NAIL-BITING phenomenon every parent has to go through.

Here are some of the worrisome stories on my list:

Talking back and being disrespectful  – This is the most common one. Screaming countless swear words at your parents, throwing random things while the parent is reasoning out with you and slamming the door and keeping everyone out because the teenager hates every family member are just examples.

Keeping secrets – The child who reports to you everything becomes secretive in his/her teens. Your teenager has a boyfriend/ girlfriend or going out on a date without you knowing it.

Photo by Kristina Flour

sign of keep quiet
Sshhhh. Don’t tell my mum or dad or they will freak out!

Laziness– Cleaning one’s own bedroom becomes an epic battle between parents and teenagers.

Got pregnant– The adolescent is still childish and is having a child of her own? It is a scenario that will cause deep anguish and sleepless nights.

Photo by Jenna Norman

woman with a baby
I could have been enjoying with my friends and not stuck in here.

Got someone pregnant– The teen is still immature and now a father-to-be? Instead of pursuing a career or traveling, a responsibility is at hand.

Drugs- This is one issue that destroys dreams. If the teenager cannot overcome the addiction then it will be a cycle of rehab or even jail.

Depression– Some teenagers are way too competitive either in academics or sports or even both. When they fail, self-esteem gets affected. The feeling of not good enough emerges. They start to shut people out.

Don’t care attitude – Some teenagers don’t care about their studies or what they want to do with their life. Setting a goal is not part of their vocabulary.

Photo by Pablo Varela

teenager thinking
Why don’t they understand me? I don’t care anymore.

All-knowing and too proud– They don’t listen to advice. They think that they already know what’s best for them and their parents’ ideas suck! (quoting a teenager)

Too much alcohol  They don’t know when enough is enough.

Addicted to video games/gadgets– They don’t go out of their rooms anymore. Eating together as a family becomes a difficult task. Teenagers become more aggressive and smart-alecks when confronted with too much screen time.

Cyberbullying and bullying at school– There will be schoolmates who will say the most hurtful words, treat you like you don’t exist and post publicly things that may be humiliating on your part. It is quite upsetting when you see it in the news.

Photo by Andrew Neel

woman with a covered face
WHY ARE THEY SO MEAN TO ME?

Eating disorders– Either the teenager is not eating at all or the teen is eating too much because of insecurities.

Broken hearted -First love was a jerk or a better word – imbecile.  The teenager had a difficult time moving on with life.

Studies– The pressure and stress of submitting school requirements may affect the well-being of a teenager.

Choice of friends -The attitude of your teenager changes because of the powerful influence of his/her friends. Your words have no meaning anymore because they rather listen to their friends’ opinion on the matter.

Photo by Toa Heftiba

woman with a nose ring
What are you looking at?

Rebel-  Control- freak parents have a living nightmare when their teenager is against everything they say JUST BECAUSE. Clothes are too revealing or too shabby. The hairstyle is beyond your tolerance.

All sorts of accidents: A teenager can have accidents at home or on the road and performs mischievous thrills trying to impress the crowd which ended up in the hospital.

Photo by Andrew Pons

boy on a skateboard
I will be the coolest kid doing this!

Just plain stupidity– No matter how much words of wisdom you give, it is not a guarantee that they will not make mistakes. They will learn from their blunders but deep inside your heart, it truly hurts to see them that way.

Bodily changes and mood swings – FIGHTS ERUPT DUE TO temper caused by the monthly menstruation of the daughter and the mood triggered by hot flashes of the mum trying to adapt to menopause.  A teenager without proper guidance may end up having STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease).

TIME – They love your company and their world revolves around you when they were younger. It becomes the opposite during teenage years because they rather spend time with their friends. You rarely see them home.

Sorry if I made you anxious.

These are only some of the distressing stories every PARENT OF A TEENAGER may or may not encounter. We do not know yet what will be the new challenges a 21st-century teenager has to deal with! It will test our parenting abilities but as we go along the way, I believe we CAN DO IT.

We can be the best mum or dad for our teenager. I do not know all the answers. I am also learning life’s lessons one day at a time! What are the keywords I could leave you with?

LOVE

SUPPORT

TIME

LISTEN

TRUST

Photo by Nigel Tadyanehondo

For all the parents, carers and guardians out there responsible for teenagers, I am praying for you. May you have more love, wisdom, strength, patience and resilience. Pray for me too because raising three boys is not a piece of cake.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is something about crying

crying woman

As a mum, you sometimes catch yourself staring into space, tears kept rolling down your face. You told yourself, I am tired of being strong. This is too much for me. You don’t understand your emotions anymore. Sob. Sob. And more weeping. You are now in the moment when you just feel like CRYING.

There are countless reasons why you are angry, frustrated, sad, anxious and tired. No matter how you try to reason out with yourself with common positive self-talk:

You can get through this.

It is just temporary.

You can overcome this.

Still, after all those affirmations, you end up CRYING.

Alarm bells will be heard around the household when they see their MUM weeping. Every family member is worried. Mum, the multitasker, the tough one that balances home and work, the troubleshooter of all sorts of problems of the family is WEEPING. Oh-uh. Something is terribly wrong. Even a toddler will feel your pain and may even hug you even though the child doesn’t understand what is going on.

It feels good when there is a trusted loved one who is available to comfort you during this time of struggle. However, what if you are alone?  This is when the mums become different. The object that you grab or hold on to while you are crying causes the difference.

When you feel that the issue at hand is beyond your control, you might get:

Box of tissues – Ah, the classic box of tissues which is an alternative to the handkerchief. The latter is an extra part of the laundry but the former is just a throwaway in the bin. Tissues are way better. Blowing your nose until it becomes red, swollen eyelids and red eyes from non-stop crying, tissues are the silent witnesses to your dilemma.

Photo by Jeremy Wong

old lady crying
Why don’t they visit me anymore?

Pillow – The pillow is the partner of the tissues because most of the time, the whining is usually done on the bed. Because no one is there to judge you, the cushion becomes the shock absorber of your tight hugs, punches and screams. Screaming on the pillow is a good free therapy.

Photo by elizabeth lies

woman under the pillows
WHY?!WHY?!WHY?! (screaming curse words)

Comfort food – My last blog discussed FOOD cravings. You might suddenly have the irresistible urge to grab an ice cream, cake, chocolate, salty food, savory food and other junk food that you can shove in your mouth.

Photo by Patrick Fore

Your mind: DO NOT eat DONUTS! You had two already. ( gets another one)

I just hope you feel good afterward. This is also one of the reasons why most middle-age mums are overweight (including me). The food becomes the friend.

Alcoholic drink – For other mums, a drink makes them feel bolder while drowning in their own misery. All I can say is drink responsibly. You need healthy organs.

Remote control – Other mums do not want the silence in the room so they get hold of a remote control to watch something on TV or a movie. Even if the movie is not heavy drama, you still cry because a spoken word or a part of the movie is related to what’s going on in your life.

Photo by Jens Kreuter

Mind-numbing tv marathon while in a bad mood

Smartphone – The smartphone has various uses for the person who has a problem.

 Photo by Rami Al-zayat

smartphone
Tapping the apps.. tap-tap tap-tap
  1. You can cry while listening to your uplifting songs, depressing songs, rock and roll songs, heavy metal or alternative music depending upon your state of mind.
  2. You can have a video chat with someone miles away while crying your heart out.
  3. You can call a trustworthy person who will patiently listen to you or not.
  4. Listen or watch a video on YouTube just to make you feel better.
  5. Listen to a podcast or news just to divert your unhappy mind.

 Sacred item – A mother who is going through a crisis takes a religious item to say a prayer for strength and guidance.  It could be a Bible, a rosary and a prayer book.

Photo by Ben White

Oh God, help me get through this.

 Paper and pen – There are countless swear words you want to say over and over while you are crying but for other mums, they prefer it in written form. They will start writing about their feelings or what they want to say to someone without offending anybody as long as that paper is burned or shredded.

 Photo by Helloquence

Dear Joe, You really bring out the WORST in me. What were you thinking?!!…

I tried this once. I read what I wrote the next day. It gave me a perspective on what was going on in my mind. It was as if I was reading another person’s letter. I made sure no one read it because I burned it.

 A glass of water – You can’t breathe anymore in the middle of your sobs so you seize a glass of water for rehydration. A half an hour of weeping is exhausting and drinking water is a must or else you get dehydrated. After a long session of crying, it feels like you went on a hike.

 Cleaning tools – Crying out of frustration is put to good use by scrubbing away the dirt in the kitchen, the bathroom, the toilet. The good news is after you finished crying, the house is immaculately clean!

Photo by Lucas Pimenta

sad woman near the bathroom sink
So frustrating… at least the bathroom is squeaky clean.

 Knife – Don’t get me wrong. I am talking about cutting the ingredients for cooking. Vent your despair by chopping, mincing and slicing the meat and vegetables on the chopping boards. Good thing, the ingredients don’t have feelings. Moreover, there is already a dinner for the family.

Photo by Mike Petrucci

Crying and cooking at the same time, I salute you.

 Sewing or knitting materials – At the end of your weeping, a creation is made like a blanket or a dress. Your hands were so busy that you didn’t realize you produced a masterpiece. Sometimes, the mind is busy thinking that you stop crying without knowing it.

Pet – The ever loyal pet dog or cat is by your side when no humans are around. Patting their fur while a tsunami of doubts and fears in your mind create a calming effect.

Photo by Jacob Ufkes

dog on the bed
I will stay with you human.

Photo by Chris Abney

pet cat with the owner
Why is my human crying again?

I have nothing against crying. It feels good to release the pent-up emotions. It is challenging being a mum but I wouldn’t exchange my place with someone else’s.

After you STOP CRYING is a game changer because you might be thinking of a plan. What are you going to do afterward? Mums may either:

  1. Do nothing about it because why bother when you cannot change it?
  2. Determined to work things out no matter what and try other options.
  3. Feel you are the victim of the situation and cry repeatedly.
  4. Change the way you think and how you feel about it because life is too short to be miserable.

If you feel that you cry more often than before then I suggest you seek help from a trustworthy family, friend or a psychologist.

Whatever you are going through now, I just hope and pray that you will surpass it and come out of it stronger and wiser. Do not be too hard on yourself. Do not bully yourself by being your worst critic. Cry and move on my dear reader. It is SUPERCALIFRAGILISTICEXPIALIDOCIOUS to be alive! it just means terrific.

Just Dance 2016

guy dancing on the street

The boys excitedly handed out a  second-hand Just Dance 2016 game to me one Sunday afternoon. We tried to play the game out of curiosity. As a mother, here are my ten thoughts about the game.

  1. It is a game that hit me with the reality about the status of my weight.

I love to dance but the moves made me feel my toned fats were too heavy. I was trying to catch my breath after a more than 3-minute song! It was the day I discovered how badly I needed to lose weight. Talking about an in denial mum!

Photo by Carlos Bretón

bear
It is time to take a stand and LOSE THIS BELLY FAT!
  1. It gave me the opportunity to play a game with the boys.

I have driven for years but the boys kept giving me advice on how to drive in a Mario Kart game.

“Keep your hands still mummy.” Of course, I always fall off the cliff in that game!

Just Dance gave me the chance to shine and receive my 3 or 4 or 5 stars just following the dance steps! I no longer hear the bits of wisdom coming from the boys this time.

  1. It is an alternative to gym exercise.

It takes dedication to go to the gym, run on the treadmill and use the gym equipment until the muscles hurt.  I had the option to sweat at the comfort of my home with Just Dance video game. Fit and healthy me soon! Fingers crossed.

  1. Learning the modern dance moves made me feel young.

It really looks cool doing those moves. So this is the kind of dance they are doing now! So what if I am doing it wrong? Dancing with the boys rubbed in me their youthful energy.

  1. I discovered new songs I like to dance to.  

Gibberish by Max

Animals by Martin Garrix

Blame by Calvin Harris featuring John Newman

I can still appreciate songs of today. My playlist is not limited anymore to the songs of my generation.

  1. It is a game that makes the boys move and dance.

I try to limit the video game time of the boys. I just see them sit around staring at the monitor or television. With this game, it is like inserting exercise in their schedule!

  1. I felt good after dancing the playlist.

I could have eaten a brownie or devouring my favorite chips. NO. I used my 30 minutes to dance. It was the right decision.Raising my heartbeat and sweating away my fats felt sensational.

Based on my experience, you must have a dance buddy to push you to dance and exercise or else, excuses will start rolling in.

  1. It is another way to do family bonding time.

Weekends come by so fast. One way of spending quality time indoors is to play this game.  It was fun teasing or challenging the boys to dance a particular song we know the steps are suited for girls. My son remarked “Seriously!” after dancing to Born this Way by Lady Gaga.

Furthermore, you will encounter songs that are easy or difficult to dance with. The good news is if you keep on dancing the same song over and over with family, you will get used to it even if you have two left feet. Watching ourselves and laughing about it is time well spent.

Photo by Simon Noh 

sign: NO MUSIC,NO LIFE.

  1. We could sing while waiting for our turn to dance.

While the song is playing, the lyrics are shown at the bottom left corner of the screen.  When we are not sure what the word we heard was, we just look at the lyrics and sing our hearts out.

  1. The little technophobe in me is gradually slipping away.

Oh sure, just press x or the circle then go up.  Trying to learn how to turn on and off and reading the options was a bit too much for me. Learning how to manipulate technology is one step away from feeling obsolete.

 

My family gave me Just Dance 2017 for my birthday. Hopefully, I could dance away the food I ate during winter time. Spring is here and it is time for new beginnings and new YOU! Are you with me?

 

10 Advantages of Having a Mums’ Night Out

shadows of three women

The definitions of mums’ night out for me are the following:

⁃ going out on a Friday night with other mums in a restaurant that will offer excellent food and service while chatting to your heart’s content then go to one of the mum’s home  for wine or coffee until late night or

⁃going out on a Friday night to one of the mum’s place with a share of food or wine, then conversing late at night while  the responsible dad takes good care of the family while mum is out or hosting

The reason Friday is the best one is that even if you come home late, you still have Saturday to do the rest of the household chores and catch up with the needed rest and sleep! You still have Sunday for family time, grocery shopping and homework if there are project materials that have to be purchased.

Photo by Yutacar

glasses of wine
Let’s drink to that!

Furthermore, the mum that will drive the rest of the group will have to make the ultimate sacrifice (for some) …drinks only one shot or stay sober for the rest of the night. We are two in the group alternating this task but she does more of the driving. It is not a big deal really because we are not into drinking and the company of the mums is what we are after. We love them so much.

So here are my 10 advantages of having a mums’ night out. Better start organizing your own because YOU DESERVE IT, my friend.

  1. You can eat food that you don’t usually get to cook or prepare.

As a mum, you get tired of the usual food you prepare daily.  Your family or other people may appreciate your meals but as a mum, it is a delight to eat other people’s cooking for a change. You are dressed up for the night and ready to try a cuisine with friends.

If all the mums were happy with the food and service then it is a guarantee that they will recommend it to friends and family. They may even go back to the same diner with their family next time. Happy and satisfied mums can spread excellent feedbacks like wild-fire when they had a wonderful night out in a particular restaurant.

Photo by Paula Borowska

oysters
Eating what I don’t prepare at home
  1. Knowledge of alcohol is enhanced.

Before, I do not have the slightest idea about the different alcoholic drinks. When mums’ night out started way back in 2013, I got the chance to try various beverages from red wine, white wine, vodka, gin and cider.  It took me just a couple of sips then stop. I do not like it. Really, you might think. Yes, really.

Alanis Morissette’s song Ironic has lyrics  There’s a black fly in my Chardonnay. I got excited to try it but I didn’t like it as well. Recently, we do not drink as much as we used to. As a mum, it is a must to think of good health long-term.

  1. Friendship is strengthened.

If there is family bonding time, there is also connecting time with friends. Household chores will always be around 24/7 but your friends may not. It is easy to say no to an invitation because there are cleaning tasks, monotonous errands or even a job requirement that demands your attention.

Looking back, I don’t regret leaving the clothes that required ironing or the messy rooms that needed organizing. I appreciate the belly laughs and tears of joy about silly things with the mums.  They have your back because they made time to see you. You are not alone in the struggle.

Photo by Levi Guzman

shadows of three women
Vacuuming is better than this! Hell… no
  1. It is a FREE outlet of unexpressed emotions, insecurities, doubts and all the issues mums deal with.

As a mum, it is normal to feel confused and overwhelmed. The responsibilities and decision-making both at home and work result in STRESS. When the plan goes awry, sometimes there are things you can say to your friends but not to your spouse. The spouse may interpret it differently. Here are the close friends to save the day. After the release of all the fears stuck in your head, it felt good because the burden became light.

There is a note of warning to this. Be careful whom you trust.  Some can be good listeners and may even give good advice throughout your discussion. After you spill your guts out, the world will know your dirty secrets in minutes.

Photo by Rob Potter

diving airplane
May Day!May Day! My reputation is going down!

My point is trustworthy friends are treasures here on earth because they will not judge. They will accept you for who you really are, no pretensions. True friends will genuinely care about your well-being and will help you.

Moreover, they have the capacity to keep secrets no matter what. Close friends can be mums like you because they know what you are going through first hand. They will say in your face things YOU DON’T WANT TO HEAR. Ouch. Don’t be too sensitive about it. YOU COULD BE IN DENIAL FOR SO LONG.

  1. IT FEELS GOOD but preparation is important.

Isn’t it exciting when the mums’ night out is set?  Anything goes during conversations. It is an opportunity to unwind and enjoy the moment.  Because the night out is scheduled mostly Fridays, we tend to prepare EVERYTHING beforehand like the dinner of the family.

Do not forget to comfort the youngest child with the idea that mum will come back and she is just out with friends. The spouse should be well-informed like sleeping routines of the children and your whereabouts.

One good tip is NOT TO PROMISE the time you are going home.  As long as he receives texts that you are okay, it’s good. Keep the phone near if your spouse calls or texts you about urgent matters. The first mums’ night out will be a lesson learned but the following ones will get better.

Photo by Adi Goldstein

man lying in bed
So tired with the chores… Thank God the dads night out will be next week!

Alternatively, it could be the dads turn to have a night out in one of the dad’s home. You are just being fair. If it becomes a part of your social activity every year then you started a tradition that makes everyone feel good.

  1. You can get advice or another point of view.

An issue has nagged you for weeks. You blurted it out to the group and asked for an advice. Your close circle of friends will have a say on the matter and it is up to you to filter which ones will make sense.

All of you mums could be crying during the night out because the subject is upsetting. Occasionally,  there are breakthrough solutions for the troubled mum. All it took was a night out and she got an answer to a pressing matter.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez

Laughing woman
Hahaha! Why didn’t I think of that?

At times, a way will be made because the person you are talking to know someone who can help. Furthermore, your friend might say a keyword that will give you an idea. Finally, you can customize the choice you have made based on their ideas and yours. Listening to another mum about your issue wakes you up to a realization that “Hey, it is not a big deal after all. I need to relax. I can handle this.”

  1. You learn information mostly based from experience.

When the boys were younger, they always called me while I was driving.

Example:  Son: Mummy.

Me: Yes?

Son: Mummy… Mummy…Mummy… Mummy..

Me:  What? One mummy is enough… What do you want?

Son: I just saw a flying bird.

Seriously? There was a minimum of 5 mummy words before they told me what they had to say. I told them repeatedly that 1 mummy is enough.I told the mums about it one night out because it was driving me crazy! It turned out that I was not alone. Their children too even teenagers called them multiple times before saying their topic. HA! I thought I was the only one suffering from this. I rest my case.

In addition, information is available on the internet but if the data are proven with experience, then I try those tested methods first. You can learn a lot of general facts from mums’ night out. It could be about:

  • Raising children

Example:  As parents, do not contradict each other in front of the children. It results in confusion.

  • Recipes

Example: The secret is to add sugar. It makes the dish tasty. That’s the reason why.

  • Personal development

Example: The mum informed the group about a seminar about handling your finances.

  • Epic mistakes worth sharing (I don’t want that to happen to me!)

Example:  Read the fine print.

  • Sale, discounts and free stuff

Example: Hey! The rice is half-price this week.

  • Relationships

Example: Don’t forget your spouse. He needs your attention too. Experiment.

 

  1. It maintains your sanity.

One time my son was talking to me about his classmate in school. I know I could hear him but the words don’t register in my mind. I was so absorbed with my own thoughts that my son finally exclaimed, “Mum, you are not listening!”

I answered him with a weary and confused “What?” He gave a heavy sigh then continued his story. I captured random words: YouTube, handball, lunch and the word hungry. On the contrary, the keywords that wake me up no matter what are:  homework, submit, buy and problem.

Photo by Aaron Andary

bulldog
I can get through THIS!

When the day becomes like this, it is time to unwind and have a mums’ night out. You are tired, stressed, sleepy and cranky. After a night out with the mums, you are ready to face the world again invigorated. It took you out of your rut.

 

  1. It is one way of taking good care of yourself.

Resentment emerges when you have to sacrifice most of the time. I know you love your family but sometimes the duty that comes with it makes you sick. Going out with other mums reminds you that it is okay to treat oneself once in a while because you love yourself too. The well-being of the mum affects the overall mood of the household. The family is not anxious because they notice that mum is cheerful and not snapping everyone’s heads off.

 Photo by Krista McPhee

relax
Do not forget it.
  1. You create memories to reminisce that will make you giggle in your lifetime.

I have a friend in the group who has her smart phone ready for documentation. The selfies she was able to capture were really good. Also, we always ask the service staff to take our photos. Most of the pictures ended up posted on Facebook while the rest are not for public consumption.

There are three memories that stand out among all the mums’ night outs:

  1. We saw an adorable baby koala passing by across the road. The driver stopped the car and we just gushed how cute the koala was. The koala successfully crossed the road.
  2. We went on a road trip after eating at a restaurant. One mum recorded our non-stop laughter in the car. In the end,  we ordered chocolate loaded sundaes at Mcdonald’s just because we wanted to.
  3. When one mum was experiencing a difficult time and all the mums set up a night-out just to be with that worried mum for encouragement and support. You will schedule a time for people you love.

Photo by Joanne Turner

2 seals lying on ice
I can’t take it anymore!
I feel you friend.

 

There you have it. Mums’ night outs are the best! Our way may be different from yours but we definitely get lots of benefits from it.  I hope you will find time to organize one because it is FABULOUS.

 

When Mothers Get Sick

capsules and tablets

As a mum getting sick is a big deal. It becomes more challenging if you are living far away from relatives and close friends. Living overseas, you have no choice but to face it head strong.

Families who have trustworthy house helpers are fortunate because there is an option for the mum to rest. There is someone who will take care of other mundane responsibilities. For others like me who live only with my family, getting sick is one roller coaster ride of emotions.

I have written 12 sure effects when the mother gets sick and relatives are not around to help.

  1. The everyday routine gets changed.

The mum suddenly becomes terribly ill. The dad has to file a leave of absence to take care of his wife and children. All the responsibilities of the mum fall on the shoulders of the dad who gets to clean, wash, iron, cook and other activities that he doesn’t usually ALL do.

baby and dad
Done cleaning! Next, poop checker time.

Cheers to you mum if you have a supportive husband or partner who willingly does the dirty work.  Schedule of friends assisting you gets changed too. You don’t have to ask because they will volunteer out of love.

  1. Mum’s whole family gets affected mentally and emotionally.

Since the beginning of the children’s consciousness, they saw their mum as smart, funny, strong wonder woman. Due to mum’s illness, the household starts to have a hard time accepting what their mum is going through. The family becomes anxious. This applies to young mums, middle-aged mums and aging mums.

During the time I was sick with the dreaded flu, I was throwing up non-stop and was taken to the emergency room. My youngest son told me, “Mum, please don’t die.”  I realized that it is essential to explain to children what is going on.

  1. The mum gets a wake-up call that she abused her body to the fullest.

I have a list of sure-fire ways that mums most often do that make them SICK.

  1. Working late
  2. Short hours of sleep or no sleep at all
  3. Eating unhealthily or not eating at all
  4. No time to rest (busy, busy, busy… Did I say we are busy?)
  5. No coping strategy for stress
  6. Resentment building up because you are too tired
  7. Taking more responsibilities than what you can handle
  8. Sleepless nights thinking about an issue
  9. Keeping all the pent-up emotions both at home and at work

If you are doing almost all the activities in the list, then you are a candidate for a future illness. We always feel that we can do it all. We tend to convince ourselves that we can get away with it.

When our body breaks down, it demands attention. As if it is screaming, “You are not that young anymore! You didn’t take good care of me. It’s payback time!”

woman in a bathtub
Too tired to care

What we are now physically is the result of how we used our bodies for many years. This is my regret. If only I could have been more physically active when I was younger,  I wouldn’t have this jiggly belly now. The good news is, it is not too late. I am starting my small manageable changes towards healthy living.

  1. The relationship of husband and wife is tested.

The vow in sickness and in health is a huge responsibility. You are not only a mum to your children but a wife for their dad. It will take open communication, determination, understanding, commitment and love for the relationship to survive. Intimacy goes to the background and companionship surfaces when the wife gets ill.

When you see the mum of your children suffering, it takes a strong-willed partner to boost her morale, to ignite hope and inspire faith to hold on. If ever you were able to surpass an illness with the help of your partner then truly, you are blessed.

couple near the river
Don’t worry. We will get through this.
  1. Maturity among children quickly develops.

When they see their father that he cannot carry out all the responsibilities, the children become mature enough to help because they understand the situation of the family.

hand washing the fork
5 minutes later: Mum, I finished washing the fork!

On the other hand, if the father is working far away, the children help their mum recover by doing the chores or help her with medication and other physical needs like going to the bathroom. Circumstances like these create well-rounded individuals because, at an early age, they learn that life is not easy.

  1. The family gets sick and the cycle repeats.

Mum came home sick. After three days, the youngest child gets sick, then the dad then the rest of the family. When all the family members already recovered from the dreaded flu, the cycle repeats and one of the children gets sick again. This is an OH MY GOSH moment.

hand with fireworks
Trying to have positive vibes when everything is not right
  1. Recovering from an illness forces the mum to have lifestyle changes for the better.

As a mum, a surgery gives you a reality check. It makes you thankful to the Lord that you have survived it. Waking up the next day gives you a feeling of hope, a brand new start and a second chance to make things right. One of them is changing your lifestyle.

Collecting your thoughts while lying in bed leads you to the conclusion that you didn’t make the right choices in your life for your body to suffer like this. The doctor tells you about diet and exercise. Ha! All of us already know the words DIET and EXERCISE.

We are just too stubborn to do the right thing. We rather eat the delicious food considered bad for us than eat the healthy ones. When the illness becomes deadly serious, that is the only time we try our best to change. Hopefully, it is not too late.

vegetable salad
Hello, salad. We meet again!

 

  1. As mum, you get the chance to sit, wait and observe. ( so rare)

Every day of our lives, we are so busy. Life becomes a blur. Waiting for your appointment, you start to notice the people sitting near you waiting for a medical check-up.

Why are they having a blood test? Why is the man using crutches? Why does the woman look so sad? Why is the man staring at the wall utterly absorbed by his own thoughts? The mum holding the crying baby looked like she hadn’t slept for days. Some people that go out of the doctor’s room looked relieved, worried and aching. Observing them made me say a prayer for myself and for their health.

The cliché HEALTH IS WEALTH is an absolute truth. It is so good to enjoy life with a healthy body than miserably sick all the time.

  1. The mental toughness of the mum is challenged.

If the illness is life threatening, you will do, try and research anything just to get you to the road of recovery.

I know mums who are struggling with this difficulty because of cancer. Every time I see this mum, I notice a peaceful aura in her. She told me that as a cancer survivor, she learned that you have to take care of yourself.  Appreciate every day and eat healthily. I ate brown rice and bitter gourd because of her. Perspective evolves.

Mums often forget to take good care of themselves. They consider themselves last in the priority. I only learned this lesson the hard way when I got sick. I SHOULD PRIORITIZE ME because if I will not take care of myself, the family I love will suffer too.

Do not be in a hurry to DIE.
  1. You will know who cares.

People in your life who cares will go out of their way to keep in touch, visit or help you. The ones who stay are worth keeping.

  1. As an elderly mum, giving up your independence is too difficult to accept.

You have been doing all the chores your whole life. Driving or traveling alone was not an issue. At present, your adult children are now deciding about schedules when to drive you to the market or see the doctor.

The options are: You are living with one of your sons or daughters.  There is a nurse looking after you at home. The treatment of your illness is being done at a  hospital. It is an ego-diminishing, feeling helpless activity part of life.

Sometimes, there is a clash between the elderly mother and her children. For so long, the mother makes the decisions. Now, her adult sons and daughters have more say in the matter. This applies to elderly fathers as well.

old lady crying
I miss the feeling of being needed so much.
  1. As a middle-aged mum, taking care of sickly aging parents and young children is a struggle.

This is the stressful part of being a middle-aged mum. Your parents are getting old and becoming more sickly but at the same time, your young children are taking most of your time and attention with their overall needs. It is a juggling act which the worst part is the elderly mum, you the middle-aged mum and the child are simultaneously sick. It will happen.  It is not good to endure this alone. You will need all the help that is available.

frame showing the message give thanks

Illness comes to one’s life in a time when you least expect it. Appreciate all the things that you can do now that you take for granted: sitting, standing, walking, peeing, pooping, reading, sleeping and others. Be thankful that you can all do that. Others couldn’t even sit due to a terrible disease. It is an excruciating effort just to pee.

Mothers will always sacrifice to the detriment of their health. My dear reader, please remind them to stop and relax for a while. Treat them for a time of togetherness with you while she still can. Do not wait for the moment she will get sick and spend time with her. You might not have another chance.

If you are a mum reading this, especially a single mum, my wish for you is not to forget to look after yourself. I wish you GOOD HEALTH and more JOY in your life.

Take care and share this article!

15 Sneaky Reasons why we buy things we don’t need and their Solutions

shopping

Are you one of those individuals that buy something you do not need? I have a list of 15 tricky reasons and noteworthy solutions. Be aware of it.  You might be in denial at the moment. Awareness is the first step to finding a solution.

  1. It is on sale or better yet is half-price!

This is my weakness. When I see an item that is on sale, I feel my hands have a mind of their own. My weak right hand ( not really)  reaches out for the item which at that moment I do not even need.

Example: half-priced chocolate

I tried to ignore the chocolates and came home empty-handed. After dinner, I had a craving. I opened the pantry and lo and behold, no chocolates!  I opened the can of Milo and ate one spoonful of it. To my dismay, the boys saw me and I unintentionally introduced them to the path of eating a spoonful of powdered Milo. Guilty as charged! (Mugshot front view, mugshot side view). What have I done!

If you are not a chocolate lover, maybe your weakness is:

Photo by Jeremy Wong

SHOES! Are you pumped up?!

a. half-priced shoes?

b. on sale bags?

c. slashed prices of clothes?

d. super cheap home decor?

e. all of the above?

I am truly excited for you if you have found a bargain you need. However, if you have tons of clothes in the wardrobe still with tag prices, piles of shoes almost not worn at all, branded bags in the cabinet only used twice a year, then ask yourself, do you need it now?

Solution: “Do you really need it?” Your mind says “Yes! Yes!”  Bring along a disciplined and logical friend with you so he/she can stop you from what you’re going to do. Avoid junk mail and online updates of sales at all costs. If you can.

Photo by Evelyn Mostrom

I got your back, my friend.
  1. You don’t feel good.

Have you experienced those days when the moment you wake up, everything was set to make you have a bad mood? It is mid-day and your mind was racing with the idea “Oh, I hope this day ends soon.”  The day is over and you feel lousy. The shops are still open. Ha! You were just telling yourself, “I will just look around.” Nope. Before you went home, you bought something. It felt good, right? After a few days, you convince yourself, why did I buy that?

Solution: Be mindful of what you are doing when it’s a rotten day. What is your option that will make you feel good that is free and will not bust your budget? When the day is awful, I talk to a trustworthy loved one who is willing to listen to my dramas.

Photo by Kris Atomic

Guess what happened next sis? It will blow your mind …blah blah
  1. You are bored.

You do not want to stay home so you made up your mind to go window-shopping. Oh, the shopping center is begging you to come in and look around! Suddenly, your eyes fancy that item which for the sake of buying, you buy it. The promise of just window-shopping was thrown out of the window. The end

Solution: Stay at home if you do not have a goal or list of important things to buy. Sometimes,  I already have a list and yet still end up buying items, not on the list. What more if you do not have an objective for being there? Bored? What can you do for free at home?besides the shopping center? I watch movies/episodes and eat popcorn with the family.

Watching DRAGON BALL SUPER with the boys ( episodes you have to wait weekly)

 

  1. You are competitive.

Did you see the latest branded bag of the friend of a friend? Your chest quickly felt a pang of envy while observing her bag in a party. You whispered to yourself “I can afford that too.”  On you go to the Direct Factory Outlet of the brand you desperately want to have.

Envy is such a negative feeling to have. I met people having credit card problems because of all the shoes, bags and clothes they bought all in the name of keeping up with their so-called friends.

Solution: If the feeling of envy is your trigger, you will never be happy. Release it. There is freedom to it.

  1. You want it because it is interesting.

The item is so cute. The product will be an excellent collection of yours. It will be a hot topic of your party. Only you have it among friends and acquaintances. It is a unique item to behold for many years to come (what you believe) or just days to be realistic. After a month, it will start to collect dust or will be stored in a container to be forgotten.

Photo by Kukuh Himawan Samudro

store with different items
I got to have this! It is so cute!

Solution: I know the feeling of happiness for buying it but is it worth it when it is time to see your credit card bill? For me, a novelty item is valuable if you use it every day.

  1. You buy it out of curiosity.

Food lovers will relate to this. You are not that hungry but you saw a particular food that made you curious what could be its taste. As if the food is tempting you, “ Buy me, taste me, know what I taste like.”  After 5 minutes of swallowing your saliva while staring at the food, you buy it. Good for you if you discovered food worth eating again and again. Good luck when your verdict is never again will I buy this!

Photo by Mink Mingle

Mmmm.. That looks interesting to eat.

Solution:  Do not go to the shopping center hungry. Have your meals or snacks at home and then go shopping. Otherwise, you will spend more money with food than what you actually planned to. I am a food lover and to all food lovers out there, we can do this!

  1. You feel you deserve a reward.

You have worked hard for quite some time now.  Your quick eye saw the item and decided then and there, you deserve to be compensated with all the sacrifices you have done. Even if it is not on the budget, you purchase it. Even if you are spending money way beyond what you have, you still do it because you feel you need a gift for yourself.

Photo by Jakub Gorajek

YEAH! Traveling around the world! Wow, driving our brand new car!
After 2 years: UH, OH.

Solution:  It is so much rewarding when the gift to yourself will not give you sleepless nights and anxiety throughout the year. Choose a present that will give you joy, not temporary thrill. Live within your means.

  1. You are addicted to purchasing items.

Do you have that uncontrollable urge that you have to buy something no matter what?  Do you have the overwhelming desire to click online purchases or tap on your reliable smartphone items you do not necessarily need at the time? The items you are scanning are not priorities of your budget.

Photo by Luke Porter

OMG! It is so cheap! I must have it now!

Solution: Better get some help (personal and professional) from a sensible person or else you will end up in a huge pile of debt.

  1. You were deprived of the item in your childhood.

Parents who grew up in a deprived childhood will relate to this. Growing up poor, you didn’t experience the luxuries of life. Fast forward to the present and you have a family now. Your child wants a toy which triggered your emotions about your own childhood.  The toy is not in the family budget but still, you see yourself paying for it at the cashier.

Photo by Darren Bockman

toy train
I didn’t have that toy when I was young.

Solution: There is power with the word No especially with children. As a parent, I choose my battles. There were times I said yes and there were times I said no.  My son once stated, “Mum, when you say I will think about it, it means no.”  He knows me well.

  1. You want to be popular or a show-off.

Some people want to be popular and be topics of conversations. It is part of their need as an individual to bask in their glory, to be in the spotlight and display the item as their status symbol. I am happy for them if they can afford it.

Photo by NeONBRAND

man with a bike
Looking cool with my awesome bike

Solution:  Do not take the risk of going beyond what you can afford just for fame’s sake. There will always be new acquaintances who can buy better stuff than you.  Self-respect will remain popular across cultures.

  1. A friend, acquaintance or a store assistant convinced you to buy it.

Based on my experience, I do not know why the staff at the grocery store approaches me first and offers me a free taste of the food they are selling. Maybe, I have the aura of I-will-buy-anything-just-let-me-taste-it-first type of person. There are other people in the store but almost always, they approach or talk to me first rather than the other humans roaming around.

The boys had a free taste too and they always answered “Yes, we like it. Let’s buy it.” The case is closed. Give me what you are selling.

Conversations with friends and acquaintances can also trigger you buying their highly recommended purchases. They might need it in their lives but do you need it too?

Solution: Just say “ No, thank you” and move on.

  1. You got hooked on a tv ad or infomercial.

The power of sales talk conquered your views from a bystander to a buyer. Even at the comfort of your home, you might start calling on the phone and order the items from the infomercials or tv ads.

Even my sons were persuaded by it. “Mum, look at this! Buy it and you will have flat and toned abs!”

Good for you if you discovered an item that will help you in your everyday life or even your health issues. However, if it is not what you need, it might just end up still inside the package box and stored somewhere in a corner.

Solution: If you are that type of person that cannot control himself/herself buying on the spot without thinking of the consequences, turn off the tv or smart phone and do something productive to divert your thinking.

  1. You got so much extra money.

Spend. Spend.Spend. The debit card is having a workout.

Photo by Heidi Sandstrom.

shopping
So much shopping to do!

Solution: Please give me your money. I will spend it with the things I need.  Kidding aside, donating to charity or setting up a foundation to assist the less fortunate is money working for the common good.

  1. You love to hoard things.

Are you that kind of person who keeps buying things because you believe that you will need the items someday? The loved ones living with you are fed up with the things you keep buying. You don’t need them yet so you stock them somewhere you will soon forget and boxes occupy most of your home space. Good luck looking for it when you need it.

During the peak of popularity of garage sales for me way back in 2010-2011, I was a hoarder and loved buying cheap second-hand goods. I ended up having more than what I bargained for – lots of clutter.

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo

different boxes
Where did I put that item I bought? Hmm

Solution: STOP buying it. Remove the mess.  I am a work in progress with removing the clutter but I am getting there… soon or maybe in a distant future. It felt good to see more space at home. True story!

  1. You want someone you love to be happy.

“Love is an ocean of emotions entirely surrounded by expenses.” –Thomas Dewar

You know deep inside, when you buy that particular item, the person you love will be ecstatic or delighted to have it at long last. Even if you don’t need it, you will sacrifice your own needs and wants and grab the item and pay before you change your mind!

Buying an expensive but reasonable gift for someone you love is great on rare occasions and within your means. Still, it is not a guarantee that the person will appreciate it.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez

man and woman sitting on the grass
Having a belly laugh together is time well spent.

Solution: There are other ways of proving your love. The best one is giving your precious time and undivided attention to loved ones.  In addition, show love by helping with the laundry, doing the dishes, hugs, kisses, eating home-cooked meals at picnics and not looking at updates on your phone constantly while talking to them are my suggestions.

 

To sum up, if you become aware of your personal trigger, then you begin to be conscious of your actions, possibly get help or control your desire. We all purchase things for all the wrong reasons. My intention for you, my dear reader, is to take charge of your emotions and your purchases. We can handle it.

I now live on a road where they don’t deliver junk mail. Hence, no temptations for me this time.

Photo by Martin Sattler

man with a flashlight
A way will be made.

 

Alternatively, what are your own solutions that made you buy only what you need?

Leave a comment below. I love to learn from my readers.

Share this article with someone you know who loves to go shopping.

 

 

 

The advantages of choosing to be alone (for a while) in times of crisis

person walking alone in the woods

person alone at the beach

Family and friends are great especially in times of difficulties. On the other hand, there are times I choose to be alone.  Here are my thoughts about the advantages of choosing to be alone (for a while) during a crisis.

1. The silence is bliss.

When problems come like a tsunami, silence for me is a must. It can be sitting alone in the room, going for a walk in the park or sitting near the beach. The stillness calms my mind.

2. There is an option not to talk.

Concerned family and friends will come over especially when they truly feel what I am going through. Sometimes, when the issue is confusing, it is better to be quiet about it.. at first. Moreover, when the experience is too painful, words may come out which I will regret saying.

3. The internal dialogue starts kicking in.

Depending upon the dilemma, the mind will sometimes reveal the possible solutions. Well-meaning friends may offer advice but it is better when you can talk with them about your OWN ideas after being alone for a while. Depending solely on someone’s ideas may prevent the capability to think for oneself.

4. No one is judging you when you cry.

After telling everyone that I need personal space, there is the freedom to cry. There are tons of wet tissues on the bed due to bitter tears shed over a particular problem. I can win an Oscar award after the drama!

5. Praying is an activity suddenly remembered.

I am not a deeply religious person but in times of crisis, the words “Lord, Please help me.” suddenly comes out of my mouth. Then, the song of Don Moen “God will make a way” becomes a mantra.

praying hands with a cross tattoo
What am I to do?

6. It gives an opportunity to write.

Writing becomes a source of outlet for some people. It becomes free therapy because no one is judging what you are writing. All thoughts and feelings are poured out. No holds barred. Reading what you wrote gives a new perspective or even an idea in dealing with the issue.

7. Walking alone is exercise.

Some people are good problem solvers while walking. As long as they are not forgetting to stay safe, this is an advantage.

person walking alone in the woods
Huh? How did I end up here?

8. Enjoying one’s company can be explored in the privacy of one’s  room or house.

Hmmm.. it could be watching movies, funny videos on YouTube or even the episodes of a favourite show. Listening to music that perks me up or an inspirational  audio that uplifts my moods are good choices.

lady listening to music
I love rock and roll!

Singing, dancing, redecorating the bedroom,doing my manicure and pedicure, cooking and baking are also alternatives. Diverting one’s mind about the problem for a while lessens the stress.

9. It reconnects you with nature.

A lovely garden is sometimes made by someone who decided to enjoy his/her own company away from the noise of the crowd. Removing the weeds, watering the vegetables and planting a new set of flowers are activities that give peace to some. Sorry, I don’t have a green thumb but I have 4 potted plants now!

10. Visiting places not part of your routine can recharge the mind.

A road trip is another alternative for those people who love to drive. Admiring the architectural design of a building, observing the exhibits of a shop, snooping around the store you finally decided to see and appreciating natural wonders are activities that invigorate the mind because it was not part of the schedule.

lady in the shops
Hey.. what’s that?

 

However, these advantages are only good temporarily. No man is an island. Talking to someone trustworthy is still the best during a crisis.