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.

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!