Author Archives: Listen Sookie

{Stuff, Things and Me…}

There are a few events in my life I’m not overly proud of. The time I broke the TV (and can I please just reiterate once again because I know he reads this, I was not aiming for the TV with the candlesticks. I was aiming for the wall, thus why I do not play sports.) The time I flashed someone in the dorms at Uni, informing my friend at a 21st I was just off to have a little spew so I could come back and continue drinking and that one time I yelled at a prostitute in Kings Cross. To be fair, she yelled at me first.

Anyhoo.

Of course there’s plenty more cringy moments since I became a parent, and it’s usually because I’ve been pushed to the brink aka 4pm. And look I’m sure there’s some sort of psychology behind parental outbursts that can be related to the complete and utter lack of control that one experiences when dealing with one or more small people. This year though, it’s become abundantly clear to me, that my frustration builds to bursting based on one thing.

Fucking Clutter.

Yeah I swore and no, I’m not sorry. Because clutter is deserved of a swear, so beastly it is. You see, most people who know me well, know that I do not do clutter. I hate stuff, truly, I hate it. Remember that scene in Friends where Monica goes to the ex girlfriend’s house to ask if she can clean up? Well, I get that. In high school I used to clean other kid’s desks out for them. I like order and I like organising and being organised. You know sometimes I secretly watch Hoarders: Buried Alive and eat chocolate; gleefully gasping at the dead cats buried under 20 years worth of newspapers and bike parts. Both repulsive and compelling, that show is my secret passion.

But of course, you know what the antithesis to order and calm is don’t you? That’s right, kids. Kids facking love stuff. They are the clutter women in Labyrinth embodied. The more clutter the better.  My children would legit cover themselves in stuff if they could and what’s worse is they bloody know if you remove stuff. Before Christmas I did some sort of stealth operation clean up of the rooms and spirited the bags of crap out to the garage under the cover of darkness. Next morning I’ve got Addison all up in my grills demanding to know where her collection of cut off My Little Pony hair is. I just, I don’t know where to go with that.

Anyway, a little while back I added one of those not so proud moments to my list when I lost my shit at a basket full of roads and kicked it so hard it broke into a thousand and forty two pieces. Which was so ridiculous as it just made the whole situation worse because I then had to clean up the basket and the toys. This all happened as we were trying to leave the house on time and the kids had pulled toys out and were refusing to pack up and well yeah, in Addison’s words, “Daddy; Mummy went cray cray at the aqua basket, said 3 rude words and now we have to go to Kmart.

2017 has been a year of monumental growth and positive change for me and it’s now time to stretch that out over the ones I love. So in 2018 I am making the pledge to return to form, in the organising sense. To restore calm and create the kind of breathing space we all need in our home.

Pre kids I used to write e books and articles for several websites on organising. I used the techniques in my work and home spaces back then, why not now? So what am I going to do? Well as we count down the last days of 2017 my plan is to remove all visible, unused stuff. Today I basically put the timer on for 15 minutes and collected whatever I deemed useless. I’ll do the same several times over the next few days. I wouldn’t fall for the trick of deep decluttering at this point; especially if you’ve got some level 5 hoarding situation happening. Last time I tried to completely clean out the kitchen I got one hour in and sank to the floor hyperventilating, surrounded by piles of plates and saucepans. It was dramatic and exhausting. Just remove visible stuff and don’t put it in the boot and drive around for 8 months with it. Take it to charity, gift it to friends, sell it or chuck it. My mantra from way back, briefly forgotten but always important….The best way to let go of crap; is to let go of crap.

Tomorrow I’m going to clean bins, change sheets and sort the fridge and pantry. (I recently found a bottle of Dijon mustard in there from 2011. This is a concern considering we spent most of 2011 living in Los Angeles.) NYE I’ll do the last of the washing and tidy up. I want to step into 2018 ready.

I have my cheap but cute diary for keeping track of the chaos, and plan on continuing my Stepford wife routine of cleaning days. It works for me, it may not for you but I was getting too overwhelmed by not having a schedule in place. Like meal planning, it takes some effort to get going, but pays off. Pinterest is your friend when it comes to this sort of malarkey and if I get some time I’ll pull out and post the routines/lists I’ve made.

My biggest plan for 2018 though is to greatly reduce my consumption. Firstly of cheezels and second of all the stuff we don’t need. You know what I mean right? Plastic toys at the checkout, clothes you’ll never wear, homewares you don’t really need…basically landfill. I don’t want to do it anymore. I don’t need to do it anymore. For me, I was buying (and eating) to fill a need. A need which cannot be filled by stuff and things, by mindless consumption. That need is no longer there but the fallout remains in the form of stuff and my thighs. And so, it’s time to take out the trash.

The best way to let go of crap; is to let go of crap.

Angels and LOL Demons…

5 more sleeps till Christmas. 5 more sleeps till our annual viewing of National Lampoons. 5 more sleeps till it’s over for another year.

The kids are exceptionally insane currently. Buoyed by a constant stream of gifted sugar and the commercial aspect of old mate Jesus’ birth; they have whipped themselves into some sort of Tasmanian devil frenzy that involves a lot of very early wake ups and jumping off couches. I sold some baby items last week and a lovely young lady came by to pick something up. Pregnant with her first child, she stumbled into what can only be described as apocalyptic chaos. There was yelling, crying and someone screeching about being stepped on. Phoenix decided he wanted to show her some Paw Patrol toys and thrust Chase right into her retina whilst yelling, “CHASE IS ON THE CASE!” Repeatedly. Addison started rubbing the poor woman’s stomach like she was a genie and Hendrix just stumbled around yelling. I have never had someone give me money that easily before. As she ran out the door I could smell the waft of the my kid will be different stench coming off of her. We all think the same.

You know, for someone who isn’t religious (I went to church once as I was promised Pizza afterwards) and what with Spouse being a non practicing Catholic; its tough to explain the significance of this celebration beyond presents, Santa and a red nosed reindeer to 3 very young kids. Addison came up to me yesterday, looked me dead in the eye and demanded to know if ‘baby cheezel was still alive and where is he?’ These are questions I’m not equipped to answer people. (Not to mention the fact my child can’t differentiate between Jesus and the tasty morsel that is the orange ring of Cheezel.) Sigh; I had so many grand plans of giving back to the community and making my children not appear to be ungrateful little blighters this Christmas. None of it has panned out. Next year then I guess.

Christmas is stressful and sometimes I wonder if I’m the only Mum out there who is at times, frustrated and flustered by the muchness of it all. It feels a bit like a pressure cooker, a pressure cooker that has to perform and purchase. To keep up with the fuckery on social media, the who can do Christmas better campaign. I won’t be elected. Mainly because for every white washed, filtered, curated Instagram family post there could be one of my lot covered in mud from outside, destroying the tree and each other. I found myself on Saturday traipsing around store after store searching for a plastic ball full of plastic crap that Addison will lose interest in within hours and Spouse will step on and invoke the demon of toy inflicted parental pain. I left empty handed and cranky with myself for buying into that crap. Bah!

Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas, I do. I love carols and lights and decorating the tree every night after they’re in bed. I love the end of year concerts and the happiness on their little faces as they exchange cards and receive gifts. I love it when they meet Santa and the joy they have as we bake treat after treat. I love reading Christmas books and doing my best as a heathen, to explain the story of Baby Jesus.  I love remembering the anticipation of it all; how as a child you could almost taste it as you counted the hours down on Christmas Eve. I love the smell of real trees, so much so that I casually sniffed one at Erina Fair today and a woman gave me a weird look. I love the decorations that have been passed down to me and will go onto my kids one day. Especially my angel, purchased in the early 80s from Franklins by my Dad and whose hair smells exactly like my childhood home and who I hold up to my nose everyday to inhale the scent of long gone lazy summer days waiting for Christmas to arrive. The truth is, without the white noise of excessive shopping, car park fights and cranky family members, Christmas is a little bit of alright by me. Maybe, with more tree sniffing and light gazing, the pressure cooker starts to deflate. Maybe, it’s all about focus.

Deep.

5 more sleeps.

5 more sniffs.

 

 

 

 

I wrote this for me…{but also for you.}

Many moons ago, when I had plenty of time and money to spare, I went to see a psychic. I don’t remember most of what he told me, I’m sure that I asked 5 run of the mill questions and that he probably gave me 5 run of the mill answers. What I actually remember is what he told me just before I walked out; that as I approached and entered the middle years of my life I would be the happiest and most at peace I’d ever been. At the time I remember scoffing at this. Middle years?! That would equate to old as fuck. How could I possible be happy about being old? My life at the time was carefree and rich with opportunity. We travelled, we partied and we slept. My career was fulfilling and our weekends were insane. I was happy; how could this not be the happiest time of my life?

But the truth is, right now, today…I am the happiest I have ever been. The psychic was right man! I am at peace with my choices, my truths and my self. I am settled but I am also open to change and what may be. I’m won’t say that youth is wasted on the young because the time before now was exactly as I wanted it to be. But within me, there has been this slow burning shift and the angst; the yearning for more; the drama of youth is gone. It’s not about having kids or our own home or all the other grown up shit. It’s my internal dialogue that has reshaped itself into something I’m really proud of. I no longer feel the need to please and prove. I am who I am. The haters do not faze me and the past is just that, passed. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not some sort of cray hard ass now. In fact, I’m softer than before; calmer. The fire that made me swirl to anger and hatred so quickly has burnt to a simmer. A controlled burn if you will. It’s there when needed, when required. I am no pushover but that rage is no longer unleashed on the reg.

We travelled recently; a much anticipated trip to Hong Kong and Disneyland. For my 37th birthday, Spouse gifted me a trip. What he doesn’t know is that he gave me so much more than that. Being there, in a fresh city, watching the world make it through another day, something woke up inside me.  I had forgotten you see, how travel awakens you. How incredibly big the world is beyond these invisible boundaries we build around ourselves and those we love. I forget how beautiful humanity can be; how exasperating but fun it is to spend so much time with the one you love; lost but not really, in a world that isn’t yours but someone elses. This shift inside of me started a while ago but it was being overseas that unfurled the final turn. I am so grateful for the gift Spouse unknowingly gave me.

You wouldn’t know it probably; you wouldn’t be able to tell; how changed I am inside. Unless you poked and prodded; I probably would appear, to be exactly as I was before. But I haven’t changed for anyone or anything, and that’s the difference isn’t it? Youth if anything, is a chameleon. You chop and change to assimilate. You change and alter to please and prove. Those days are over; for me anyway.

I wrote this for me, but also for you. To put these realisations, these truths of late into words is so empowering. Being old doesn’t feel old. I feel the same in that respect as I did 10 years ago. I feel better really. Don’t fear the changing seasons. Like Monica said, “I don’t get older; I get better!” Yes, the madness of this life still knocks the air out of my lungs every few days but I no longer flail, no longer drown in the shallows of that madness.

I can swim now.