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Au Contraire!

I’m going! Are you??

What’s Au Contraire, you ask? Au Contraire 2013: Regeneration is the 34th National Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention, and the second Au Contraire convention. It’s taking place early July in Wellington!

I have never been to a Con. It was just too hard to try and organize with small kids. But I’ve decided that they are definitely old enough this year and that if I didn’t book and start working towards making the necessary changes in order to go and feel like I wasn’t abandoning my family, I had to make the commitment NOW.

So I did it! And it felt great! Unless I manage to wrangle a trial night away from my kids before then, it will be the first time I’ve ever spent a night away from either Lauren or Natalie since their births. Yup, I am a veritable home body. There has never been a good enough reason to spend a whole night away from them. But this year I am going to be gone for three. THREE WHOLE NIGHTS and the days as well. In a totally different city.

Squeee! I’m going to a convention! I am so excited! I can’t wait to catch up with the writer friends I have met in person before, and to meet a whole bunch of people face to face for the first time. It will be so cool to finally do that. I definitely now feel like I am investing in myself, because there can be no mistaking that this weekend is for me. I’m not doing it for anyone else.

I will be there*, will you? Only another 5 months and a bit to go! And yes, I will be this excited the entire time! That’s just how I roll šŸ˜‰

*barring any sudden illnesses or disasters, of courseĀ *knocks on wood*

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Operation – me time

Something happened recently that gave me a real wake up call. Or perhaps it would be more correct to state that it made me remember all the goals and thoughts and dreams I had a few years ago. There were things I wanted to do with my life. Things I was passionate about. I’d kind of forgotten. They were shunted to the back of the wardrobe, behind the shoes I don’t wear, in the very far corner. WAY out of eyesight. The kids have been my whole life for years now. Which, as I’ve stated before, I’m good with. I adore being a Mum. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Anyways. I said yes to doing a basic counselling skills course. I said yes because I wanted to start the training necessary to volunteer with Lifeline. Because I think they provide a really valuable service. Because I love helping people, because counselling is something I am passionate about, and once upon a time, three years ago when I first inquired into it, this first step was going to let me test the waters to see whether I wanted to pursue it as a vocation. I’ll be brilliant at it, when I get around to it, which is still on the agenda.

But yesterday I backed out. Yesterday I realized that I would be spending several hours a week giving more of my time away, and while I believe it’s an amazing thing to be giving time to, I don’t even spend that long fulfilling my needs. I might get out of the house for perhaps a half hour by myself a week. To get milk. Or bread. Or something else we desperately need for the morning.

Half an hour.

Isn’t that ridiculous? I’ve relegated myself so far to the bottom of the pile of ‘important things’ in my life, that I get virtually no time to myself. And it’s been MY decision. No one has imposed this on me. No one has told me that I must be present with the children 99% of the time.

So I discussed this with my husband, and he agreed that instead of volunteering right now I should take myself out of the house for a few hours every week (to begin with). I instantly thought that this could involve Starbucks and my laptop on a Sunday. omg. I could be one of those writers… sitting in a coffee shop, sipping coffee while I write. I could be uninterrupted. I could get stuff done. Form a thought and a sentence. Paragraphs. Whole scenes without interruption.

It was amazing, this sense of freedom. The removal of the mental barrier I’d placed. I COULD go out and do things, without the kids. There was nothing stopping me. Today I went shopping and spent money on myself. It was lovely.

The human brain is a ridiculous thing at times. It really is. And sometimes, there is nothing logical about being a mother.

Anyway, all of this is to say that I am launching ‘operation – me time’. Making decisions that will feed my soul, my passions, and my creativity (while of course, still being the kind of wife and mother I want to be). Starting with a couple hours out of the house by myself in the weekends, with time off some evenings for a swim or something. Who knows, I might even go and see a movie next month! I have to start small, because then I won’t feel selfish.

Sometimes it takes an opportunity, even one you don’t follow through on, to show you a glimpse of the life you SHOULD be having. Sometimes that glimpse is all it takes to create positive change. I WILL volunteer in the future, but right now I need to go from ‘just getting by’ to ‘thriving’. Before I take on more commitments, no matter how worthwhile they are.

Why wait for the new year to create dramatic change when I can start right now?Ā Here’s to balance, and making myself a priority. Here’s to a happier, healthier person, wife and mother and all the perks and benefits that go along with that.

What do you do to feed your soul? Have you let yourself fall into a habit of ignoring your needs?