Orange Peel....

We were having one of those moments.

The Spring sky was piercing blue.  Kids zipped down blue slides or jumped from big green frog to big green frog.  “I can go higher than you,” children chanted at each other on the swings.   My daughter was playing with one of her favourite friends.  There was plenty to be grateful for.
“How are you?” Marjan asked.

“I’m ready to leave the kids with my husband and move to South America for a year.  I’ve had enough.  I’m over Motherhood.  I’m exhausted.  Five years of interrupted and low amounts of sleep, the kind they torture prisoners with, certainly contributes to it.  But it’s less the physical exhaustion than the emotional well used for “giving out to my children”.  It’s empty.  My soul is exhausted,” I told her.

“O my God, I’m so glad you said that,” M said. “So am I.”

Being able to share our burn out with another was therapeutic in itself.  We don’t hear others say it often enough, in fact we’d been under the illusion that we were the only ones!  But if we were experiencing it, so were a lot of others.  

We asked ourselves, “What would help alleviate the exhausted soul?  What would rejuvenate the soul, give it back its zest?  What would fill up the emotional well so we weren’t drawing on empty?

When you're giving out to others, there's got to be something to give from.  That well needs constant attention and topping up.  Otherwise, eventually, there will come a time when the well says, "Nope, got no water.  Not a bucket, not a cup, not a thimble.  Just some dry dust down here."

So we left the questions hanging that afternoon.  

We thought Orange Peel would be a way to start answering those questions, to reach out to others and share ideas and experiences about emotional rejuvenation.  

We’ve started “The List  ” and we’d love you to add your ideas to it of what do you do to fill the well? 

Then take “The Challenge”.  Let us know how it goes, we'd love to hear.  

Retail Therapy

It sounds a bit cliché (and possibly inappropriate, in the aftermath of the GFC), but it is not just (or even mainly) about spending – it’s about unadulterated, guilt free ME time. So there are rules:

i)               TIME – leave at least 2-3 hours. You don’t want to be rushing around looking for things. It’s got to be stress free.

ii)             NO KIDS - or it would hardly be therapeutic! J. Ideally they should not even be in the vicinity! (E.g.: if leaving them with dad, it’s best if they stay at home, rather than come along and dad stays with them while you shop. Somehow, it’s just not the same).

iii)            ONLY FOR YOU – if it’s ME time, it’s got to be about ME. No entering, or even LOOKING at any kids’ clothes, men’s clothes, gifts for a friend… anything that is not strictly for YOU.

iv)            SALES – not a firm rule, but I found it helps to go during the sales and/or to a factory outlet type place, just to ensure the shopping isn’t slightly tinged with guilt about the spending afterwards.

I tried it and I loved it! I got a few items for my VERY neglected wardrobe; but mostly I think I just enjoyed feeling “free”, roaming around the shops without my brain working overtime to amuse the children while I hurriedly tried something on or trying to plan the week ahead, just doing something solely for ME.                                                                                                                                         M

Pizza Gang Burns the Witching Hour

After five nights of weaning my 18 month old from boobie at night it was me experiencing the witching hour.  I was snappy and angry and there were no more clocks to throw at the wall - they were all in pieces in the bin.   I wanted a way out of those last two hours before hubby got home and I hid myself in the kitchen, looking into empty cupboards, too tired to get to the shop. 
So yesterday, in the late afternoon, my daughter invited herself to a friend’s place.  I grabbed some pizza dough from the fridge, a bottle of pessata, mozzarella cheese, black olives and my daughter’s yellow playdough rolling pin then drove the kids over. 
One kid rolled the dough, another sat on the bench.  Three more played.  The pizza took ten minutes on high.   I was smiling and talking and using my fingers to eat apple, lettuce and Feta cheese salad.  This beat the witching hour blues, in fact it elevated it to a night to remember.                                                                                                                   J

The List

What do you do to put the "zest" back into your life....?

Find a Listening Partner
Create a Gratitude List of parents/friends you love and send them a postcard telling them how much you appreciate them.
Swim through witching hour - especially good for daylight savings!
Retail Therapy
Go to the gym - if you have kids make sure it has a creche
Reading for Pleasure
Go to the movies
Gang up with a friend and have a Pizza Night
Hire a babysitter or friend and have a night out alone with your partner
Crochet or knit a little scarf or beanie
Cycling - especially in the country side.
Crafternoon - get a group of women together and make crafts
Your kids play - you play.  Next time you're in the playground go down the slide and swing hight to the sky.
Massage - schedule it late in the afternoon so you can have dinner and go to bed.
Go out for dinner with other Mums.
Dancing in the living room
Have a regular child swap arrangement and get some time out that way


Post here or email me -

The Challenge

Choose one thing from the list each week. Choose a time to do it, book it in with your partner and let your children know. There is a time slot this week that Mum is going to be filling her well. Then don't give yourself a way out.

This thing you're about to do is utterly essential, for you and flowing on from that, for your partner and children.

This is going to save you later in the week - it might be the difference between screaming at your child for making a normal mistake and having the patience to wade through it and use it as a useful experience.

Lastly, let us know how it goes, we'd love to hear.