Tag: Fatherhood

Being Fun Parents

 


Being Fun Parents

Yesterday afternoon when I picked my daughter (5) up from school, she was upset because we are not the “fun parents”. She said that we yelled at her all the time, and that we told her off too much.

She said that she wished someone else was her parents.

I was shocked and a little upset, but to start with I didn’t show her that. I questioned her and what she meant, and we spent the 5 minute drive home chatting about it.

My heart did break.

If you follow me on Snapchat (happymumnz) you will have seen that when we got home, I changed it up a bit and we did have some fun.

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After the kids went to bed, and Chloe and I had a chat, I realised where the comments from her may have come from.

When she was sick, my Mum came over (her Gran) and she had a lot of fun with her. Just like most kids have with their Grandparents, or Aunties, or Uncles, or ANYONE outside of the immediate parental unit.

When we debriefed together at bedtime, I explained to her that we will always be parents first and friends second – and that every other parent out there is the same.

I explained that “Gran and Pa” will always be more fun than Mum and Dad.

And that’s right – Grandparents (for the most part) have done their time as parents, and it’s their time to enjoy the grandkids.

They don’t have to parent the child 24/7, so they can be the fun ones.

Of course I realise she might not understand this, but one day she will and until then I will be doing my best to encourage her to continue talking to me when she feels upset about something.

I am beyond proud of her for telling me how she felt, and I hear her loud and clear.

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It is a hard wake up call for me but one that I truly appreciate I have the opportunity to have.

Our family have a lot of fun together, but we are always parents first because it’s our job to guide our children in this world.

Yes I do yell at my kids. Yes I do tell them off. But we also laugh a lot more than both of those things and for me that is just as important. Our family is full of fun and laughter, but with guidance inbetween.

What do you think? Parents first, friends second?

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Celebrating The Dads

 


Celebrating The Dads

This sponsored post is a collaboration between myself and Noel Leeming, to celebrate Father’s Day.

My husband, Phil, is my rock. I seriously couldn’t do this parenting gig without him.

Early on after our eldest was born, we realised that I struggled big time to get back to sleep at night. So once I fed Chloe, Phil would take over and rock her to sleep and put her down. Once we introduced a bottle, he also helped feed her … this meant I got the chance to go to bed and drift off to sleep without worrying about anything.

Phil, naturally, just lies down and falls asleep – I wish I had that talent!!

For my first Mother’s Day, Phil paid for me to get special ear plugs which meant if I was having a rough day, I could go to bed at night and not hear the children crying – and he would get up to them.

When I was diagnosed with Post-Natal Depression, Phil took it upon himself to take our daughter out as much as possible – to give me a break.

He did, and still does, the main grocery shop on the weekend with the kids – to give me a break.

He used to take Chloe out for long walks, so that I could go back to bed on the weekend (if I needed it), or to catch up on things I had missed during the week (like movies LOL).

He did his best to understand and help me when I was at my lowest point before being diagnosed with Depression.

Even though Phil worked a full time job, he would often come home and cook the dinner for us.

Phil gives the kids a bath every night – that in itself deserves a medal really.

Phil bakes, cooks, cleans cars, mows lawns, fixes the house … EVERYTHING: he does it with the kids.

Phil does his best to understand that although I don’t work in a traditional 9-5 paid job, that I am still working and that at the end of the day, it’s a team effort that gets us through.

Through all the ups and downs that I have experienced, Phil has been the one constant thing in my life. He is the most kind, caring, understanding and loving husband and father I’ve ever known (of course!). I am blessed to have him as my best friend, and my children are even more blessed to have him as their Father.

Now that I have had some experience as a Mother, I can look to my own Father and realise how amazing he is too. Phil is very similar to my own Dad, and I am beyond grateful for my Dad for raising myself and my brothers and sister the way he did.

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Father’s Day is a celebration honoring fathers and celebrating fatherhood. It’s remembering that although they don’t change the toilet roll, or empty the dishwasher, that they’re still great guys.

Being a Dad is just as challenging as being a Mum – it has it’s own challenges. Fatherhood has it’s own ups and downs, and should be recognised just as much as that of the Mother.

The kids and I sat down and we talked about how amazing Dads can be, and how lucky they are to have such an amazing Dad in their life (they’re level of understanding about this isn’t that great, but the more we talk about it the more they’ll get it).

We talked about getting something for Phil, and went to the Noel Leeming website to check out what they had. We used their special Gifting Gizmo quiz, which helps to find the perfect gift, and here are some of the things that came up for Phil that I think you guys might like the look of too …

Just as a note, the first two we already have but we use them both ALL the time and I can highly recommend them ….

As I said above, if you need a little more inspiration – Noel Leeming has set up an online quiz to help you find the perfect gift using the:

Are you all sorted for Father’s Day?

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I have a Google Chromecast from Noel Leeming for one lucky person!!! Absolutely perfect to give as a gift this Father’s Day.

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Closes 31st August 2017. Open to New Zealand residents only – sorry everyone else!

I Am Not A Shit Parent!

 


I Am Not A Shit Parent!

This post was written in response to a Facebook post I did about how hard it is to navigate the self service checkouts at the supermarket, or Kmart, etc etc, when you have kids with you. Specifically young kids.

Whilst the majority of the comments agreed, there were a few (more than a few) saying “maybe if you disciplined your kid you wouldn’t have this problem”. Or “try parenting”. Or “if you let your kids walk all over you, they’ll turn into monsters when they grow older”. OR the best one “you’re a bad/shit parent”.

I’m not sure if you’re aware, but the way parenting is supposed to work is that you’re supposed to teach your kids the way of the world; and they’re supposed to not listen. They’re supposed to push back and test the boundaries constantly.

You’re there to keep them in line and remind them, ALL THE TIME, about the way we should be doing things.

Did you know that no two children are the same? *GASP* What Maria?! So my child who was perfect and listened to me, there isn’t a duplicate of him out there?!

NO. Children may be similar but none are the same.

I could parent both of my children exactly the same (and I do mostly) and they’d still do different things.

My 5 year old is a compliant child who, for the most part, listens to what I say. She needs to be constantly reminded (like all children) but she listens and follows instruction.

My 3 year old, however, is much more defiant. I find myself having to be harder on him because he constantly pushes back on me and what I’m asking of him.

Plus. He is only 3 f’ing years old. He’s only been alive for THREE YEARS. It’s not like he’s an adult – I’m still teaching him the ways of the world.

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If I go to the supermarket, I ALWAYS state the rules and my expectations. And I repeat them; a thousand times. Yet they still forget.

Does that make me bad? NO.

If they play up, they get warnings and then a punishment. I ALWAYS talk to them about this so they know what’s coming. They still play up: so action = consequence.

Does that make me a shit parent? Because they’re still pushing the boundaries? NO

It makes me a PARENT.

I might be an idiot for taking my kids to the supermarket, but I am NOT A SHIT PARENT.

My children are NOT undisciplined. They are children, doing what children do.

And I’m a parent, doing what I do. I’m still figuring shit out, and having comments from people perpetuating these shitty ideas that a kid misbehaving makes you a “shitty parent” really doesn’t help anyone.

I asked my Mum (who had 4 kids under 5) if we were well behaved at the supermarket, and she flat out said “YES”. Of course I gave her the “WTF MUM” look, and she said “Maria, I never took any of you to the supermarket with me until you were about 7-8 because it was too much stress”.

So by the time we went to the supermarket, we were old enough to know what was right or wrong, and had stopped pushing the boundaries like we used to do when we were toddlers.

I think my Mum is onto something and clearly I need to be doing more of the “not going to the supermarket with my kids” thing haha

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Kids misbehave all the time. As parents, we have to repeat ourselves ALL the time. It’s the cycle of things.

Kids grow up, and they learn.

Hopefully when my kids grow up, I can teach them not to be an asshole in real life AND online … LOLOL

Snapchat me yo: happymumnz

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I’m Not A Bad Mum

 


I’m Not A Bad Mum

I wake up most days raring to go.

I’m excited. I’m ready. Give me coffee and I can do anything.

“Today will be a great day” I say to myself as I prepare for my kids to wake up and come out.

And then they do just that: they wake up and come out.

Within 30 seconds I can feel my heart starting to race: I’m about to yell. It’s only been 30 seconds, surely not Maria. Surely you don’t need to yell or even raise your voice so early in the morning. But I do …

Because kids are kids. They’re here to test us, to push us to our limits. They’re here to remind us we have no control …

Every day I struggle, but in no way does it make me a bad parent. I am not a bad Mum. I’m simply just struggling to deal with children, because I’m an adult and have forgotten what it’s light.

Here are some of the things I do that make me feel like a bad mum, even if I’m not:

  • I cry in front of my kids
  • I yell
  • I swear
  • I say “NO” too many times each day
  • “Stop putting that in your mouth” is a catch phrase of mine
  • My kids eat sugared treats every now-and-then
  • Some days my kids have cocktail sausages for lunch
  • Some days I turn on the TV so I can have a cup of coffee in peace, and check my Facebook
  • We eat cereal *gasp*
  • My kids probably watch too much TV
  • Our family motto is “a family that devices together, stays together” … as we all watch devices at the same time every-now-and-then
  • My kids eat Kinder Surprise Eggs
  • Sometimes my kids get McDonald’s Happy Meals
  • When my kids fight, sometimes I just say “I don’t care what you do, whoever wins wins”
  • I don’t vacuum every single day
  • I don’t wash my kids’ PJs every day

When I post about some of the things I do online, it makes me feel less alone. Suddenly I get people saying “hey I do that too” and I feel validated. Like I’m not the only one who tries their hardest but sometimes just throws their hands up and says “fine just lick the bowl” …

i have come to realise that:

  • There are parents out there who yell at their kids.
  • There are parents who haven’t tidied their house for a very long time.
  • There are parents who hate playing with play dough.
  • There are parents who do what they need to do to get through the day – even if that means giving a child a Kinder Surprise Egg
  • There are parents who are sure they’re screwing up their kids, just like I feel like I am.

So if there are other parents out there who feel and act the same as me, that means I’m not alone.

Surely that means I’m not a bad parent, right?!

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Things I Don’t Give A Sh*t About As A Mum

 


Things I Don’t Give A Sh*t About As A Mum

Completely and utterly inspired by Scary Mommy’s “8 Things I Don’t Give A Sh*t About As A Parent”. I didn’t agree with everything on the list, but it did have me giggling and made me think “what do I not give a sh*t about as a parent”. Here’s a few things I definitely don’t give a sh*t about …

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1. I don’t give a sh*t about feeding my kids healthy food all the time
Seriously, if it was that easy, I’d do it. My kids eat pretty damn well but I’m not ever going to deny them a treat. And by golly if a Kinder Surprise gets me through a shopping trip then I’m not only going to get it, I’m probably going to buy shares in the company too.

2. I don’t give a sh*t if their clothes have holes in them
A small hole in the knee of my kids’ clothes is not going to wreck the clothes. When I can see more skin than clothes, then it gets tossed.

3. I don’t give a sh*t if my house is a mess from 7am-7pm
As long as the house is clean when I go to bed and when I wake up, I don’t really care. The house rules are “clean up before you move onto the next activity”, and some days there are lots of things happening. And some days, I can’t be f’k cleaning up. Some days its quite liberating just leaving a mess – although you know it’s messy when the kids say “Whoa what happened to the house” …

4. I don’t give a sh*t about screen-time
We have a no tv rule during the week before school. But I understand after school the kids can get very very tired. Sometimes we all need to chill out – including myself! Some days I struggle to the point I want to leave the house – if putting a device in front of my child helps me to calm down for five minutes, then I’m going to do it.

5. I don’t give a sh*t about after-school activities
At this stage my kids are too young, but I can tell you without a doubt I will never pressure my kids to do activities outside of school UNLESS they specifically request it. There’s nothing worse in life than making someone do something they don’t want to do.

6. I don’t give a sh*t about having a clean car 
Seriously, my life is spent organising little people in and out of the car. If I could, at the same time, keep it clean I would. Somehow that car always ends up in a mess and I always look at it and think “why” or “how” …. and then I remember that the main goal is to never be in the car for an extended period of time with the kids – so we just usually bolt and run inside to escape from the lava monster … oh wait that’s the kids. Anyway … the car is always the last on my list of things to keep clean.

7. I don’t give a sh*t about coffee groups
They were just never for me. It doesn’t make me a bad parent for not wanting to partake in them, I was just never interested. I also never took my kids to playcentre either… *gasp*

8. I don’t give a sh*t about my kids not making their own lunches
I actually secretly love making the kids’ lunches. If they willingly want to do it, then great. Otherwise I LOVE DOING IT.

9. I don’t give a sh*t if my kids don’t have a bath every day
Some days as a Mum, I really do struggle. Bath time can be difficult with fights, so some days I just don’t do it. Do I care? Nope.

10. I don’t give a sh*t what other parents do
As long as their kids are fed and happy, IDGAF what anyone else does.

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Activities With Kids: The Reality


Activities With Kids: The Reality

Picture this: it’s raining. You have a young child and you’re at your wits end as to what to do with them. So you start trawling through the internet for “things to do with young kids”.

You stumble across Pinterest and before you know it you’ve got the flour, and food colouring out to make some play dough.

You start getting excited. You give your child a toy to play with and say “Do you want to play with play dough” and they look at you like “Oh heck yes I do Mum it’ll be so much fun!”.

You mix that shit together and start thinking about all the time you’ll have to yourself once your kid starts playing with it. Fifteen minutes peace to enjoy a coffee while they sit there amused.

Mid-way through mixing the play dough together, you realise you’re missing half of the ingredients. Oh well … you don’t care because your kid won’t know the difference. Who needs cream of tartar anyway!?

Your child has now moved on from the toy you’ve given them and is now at your feet telling you to hurry up. Or screaming. Or both. So you start saying “I’ll be finished soon, just give me a minute”. And you start stirring and mixing faster. Flour is now on your face and pants.

Finally the dough’s mixed, and you can almost smell the coffee brewing. Your phone is charged – a coffee AND checking Facebook at the same time. BRING IT ON!

You add the food colouring to the play dough and before you realise what you’re doing your hands are in mixing it together. A thought suddenly crosses your mind “does food colouring stain your hands?” … Oh well just keep going.

It is at this moment your child screams “I NEED A DRINK OR I’M GOING TO DIE”. So you take your food-coloured hands and try to get them a drink. Then you go back to mixing it all together.

YES in case you are wondering, food colouring does stain your hands. As you tip out the coloured play dough, you look at your hands and think “hmm kind of looking a little red but who cares” – the prospect of coffee and Facebook is keeping you going. You’ve got this Mumma – your kid is going to LOVE you for this!

You roll the play dough into a nice ball, and continue making other colours; because you think to yourself “my kid will LOVE playing with four colours – red, green, yellow and blue”. And you think of the amazing photo that you’ll show to your friends about that time you made play dough and had so much fun!

You check the instructions and it says “Takes 10 minutes to make” but so far because of a screaming child who leave you alone for five seconds, it has taken you 20 and you haven’t even finished yet.

Finally, three colours later you realise that red, green, yellow and blue have turned your hands into this green / brown Hulk-like mess. It’s actually kind of horrific and you’re rethinking the whole “just keep mixing it with my hands” thing.

BUT you now have four beautiful colours of play dough in front of you. You click the button on the kettle on, to start heating up the water.

You get a plate out and put the play dough on it and put it on the table. WAIT! What about cookie cutters and a rolling pin? Gees what kind of Mum am I to forget these?!

So you pull apart half of your kitchen trying to find the star-shaped cookie cutter, and your massive wooden rolling pin.

What should have taken 10 minutes, has now taken 30 minutes. And because it’s taken so long, you’ve had to make your child lunch, which has added an extra 15 minutes to the mix.

So 45 minutes later, you finally have the activity set up.

Voila my child, you enjoy your play dough while I sip my hot coffee and check Facebook. But quick I need to take a photo!

Your child sits and stares at the play dough. They poke it. They smell it. They lick it. In between this you take an epic “check out what I put together for my kid” picture. Sweet, I can upload this to Facebook while I drink my coffee.

At this point you haven’t even started your coffee, let alone open up the Facebook app. Filter added to your epic photo … you’re about to push “publish” to Facebook when your kid gets down from the table and say “I’m bored”.

You look at your coffee and your almost published Facebook post and you think *sigh* “I almost had it … I almost had that moment” …. then you look at your kitchen and it looks like World War 3 happened and you think “never again”.

You jump online and just buy some Play Doh from The Warehouse because there’s no way you’re doing that again.

Reality: it doesn’t matter how much sweat and tears you put into an activity, your kid probably won’t want to play with it anyway. In the time it takes you to set the activity up, your child probably changed their mind.

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The Newborn Phase Almost Killed Me


© Can Stock Photo / kadmy


The Newborn Phase Almost Killed Me

I wasn’t prepared for it; not in a million years The newborn phase seriously almost killed me.

My kids are a bit older now, but they still don’t sleep through the night. Which prompted me to reminisce about the good ol’ newborn phase. Cute little babies, fresh into this world – AAAH SO CUTE right?!

ONLY WHEN THEY’RE SLEEPING.

Here are some things that I struggled with during the newborn phase:

  1. Not having an instant bond with my first born
  2. Not knowing if I would ever sleep for 15 minutes at a time ever again
  3. The sudden reality that my life would never ever be the same
  4. Never fully having a deep sleep because my senses were tuned to everything baby
  5. Never finishing a cup of tea or coffee
  6. My new body
  7. The huge responsibility that was being a parent
  8. The new emotions that came with being a parent
  9. Depression
  10. Breastfeeding
  11. Our relationship (mine and Phil’s)
  12. Did I mention sleeping?
  13. Not knowing what I was doing as a parent
  14. Was that a hungry cry, or a tired cry?
  15. Trusting my instincts

Now that my kids are a little older, and they don’t sleep through the night, I am a little wiser. I do know that everything changes. I know that one minute they can wake up, and the next they can have a solid 12 hour sleep.

They’re unpredictable creatures, but they’re always changing.

All I can say is thank goodness they eventually grow out of the waking up part. Or at least just grow up and can deal with it by themselves.

I know that makes me sound selfish, but I am a much better parent when I’ve had sleep!

Parenting Truth: Mufti Days


© Can Stock Photo / yayayoyo


Parenting Truth: Mufti Days

Do you know what scares the shit out of me?

Mufti days.

Yep. Those one or two days a year where the kid doesn’t wear their school uniform.

Chloe had her first one the other day and I seriously panicked. What if I got the date wrong?

WHAT IF I GOT THE DATE WRONG!?!?!?????

Seriously, that’s it. That’s all I was worried about.

I worried so much about it, I almost made myself sick. I double and triple checked the school notification. And even then I didn’t trust myself – so I took her school uniform along with me in the car.

The sense of relief I felt when I saw other children wearing mufti, was overwhelming.

THANK THE LORD I GOT THE DATE RIGHT!

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Realistic Valentine’s Day Gifts For Parents


Realistic Valentine’s Day Gifts For Parents

Valentine’s Day in New Zealand and Australia isn’t as big a deal as it is in America; and I know a lot of people feel like “you shouldn’t need one day of the year to show your partner appreciation, it should be all the time”. However I kind of love Valentine’s Day.

I don’t care it’s a commercial day, where everything seems more expensive for the week before it. For me it’s the thought behind it. Like Mother’s Day, or Father’s Day; it’s about appreciating your partner or celebrating your love for someone else.

Especially as parents – when we can get very consumed in our lives as Mother and Father. Sometimes it takes that one day a year to do something; and that’s ok.

HOWEVER, because we are parents, we often don’t have time to sort something out. Parenting is busy. Parenting is hectic. Parenting is all-consuming. So I have put together some ideas on how to do Valentine’s Day when you have kids. These are must-have Valentine’s Day gifts for parents:

  • A sleep in and breakfast in bed (while someone else looks after the kids)
  • A voucher to Kmart, or Bunnings, or their favourite store PLUS someone else look after the kids so they can go and spend the voucher, and have time alone
  • Flowers, a coffee and a trashy magazine – and time to enjoy all three ALONE
  • A bottle of wine, chocolate and an uninterrupted Netflix binge session
  • Whoever doesn’t normally make dinner, MAKE DINNER; and let your partner enjoy a beer or wine while you do it
  • When the kids go to bed, order takeaways and sit together watching a movie you love
  • A whole day off parenting – plan a day where the kids go to a Grandparents house, and enjoy the day together
  • Take the day off work and help your partner out at home (if Valentine’s Day falls on a weekday)
  • Have a “Partner’s Choice” Day – meaning your partner chooses what to do and what you do ALL day
  • Someone do all the house chores for the day (preferably the person who doesn’t usually do it)

Solo parent on Valentine’s Day? Then how about a little self-love (not in the dodgy way … well if you want to you can LOLOL). Just because you’re not in a relationship doesn’t mean you can’t appreciate yourself and all that you do:

  • Put the kids to bed and enjoy a glass of wine watching your favourite show
  • Treat yourself to a meal you wouldn’t usually eat
  • Buy yourself flowers and chocolates
  • Buy your favourite flavoured ice cream and eat it all yourself
  • Book the kids in with their grandparents and have a “day off” (if that’s possible)
  • You can also celebrate with your kids as well: make a special breakfast, enjoy an outing together, or simply snuggle up and watch a movie.

Overall, Valentine’s Day is about celebrating those you love. You love yourself, you love your partner, you love your kids; it doesn’t matter who you celebrate with, it’s just nice to do it.

Valentine’s Day also doesn’t have to be expensive, and in reality I would always prefer time to myself over flowers. A gesture will always mean more than a gift.

But as you all know, you can also never go wrong with a bottle of wine and a Kmart voucher 😂

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Consumed By Emotions


© Can Stock Photo / dragon_fang


CONSUMED BY EMOTIONS

Last week I had a meltdown. A toddler sized meltdown: My emotions got the better of me, and before I knew it I was consumed with rage.

One of my depression symptoms is anger. An uncontrollable, disgustingly overpowering, anger.

It starts small, and before I realise it, it has consumed my entire being: I cannot see out of it.

The night in question was on a weekend; I was cooking dinner, and the kids were being kids. It wasn’t their fault, but my brain suddenly decided it wasn’t ok with the constant questions and the never-ending fighting. It suddenly decided that the constant “Mum Mum Mum Mum” and screaming at each other was not ok.

So I started getting mad; I started to raise my voice.

Phil asked me if I was ok: RED RAG TO A BULL. I got even madder.

Suddenly the kids came into the kitchen and had a massive fight with each other; and it tipped me over.

I yelled. Too loudly; and it wasn’t nice.

I then turned around, left the room, and dramatically slammed the door as I left. I walked into our bedroom, also slammed the door; shut the curtains and lay down in the bed. I covered myself with blankets and a pillow.

I wanted to scream.

I did scream – into a pillow.

I lay there and thought terrible things about myself: “I’m not worthy of being a mother”, “You’re a horrible person”, “Might as well get in the car and leave”, “The family would be better off without you”.

My husband came in after five minutes to check on how I was, but I was stuck. I was stuck in my emotions and I couldn’t get out of them.

I tried to calm down before he came in, but I couldn’t. So when he came in, and he uttered the words “you don’t have to come out if you don’t want to”, I took offence.

“Why doesn’t he want me to come out?!”

I really couldn’t see a way out of the emotion, so I just went further into it: I sometimes imagine this is what a toddler is like when they have a tantrum: they get so consumed by their emotions that they can’t see a way out of it.

Not only couldn’t I see a way out of it, but I was suddenly too proud to leave the bedroom and face everyone. Proud and embarrassed. So I didn’t: at least not for 30 minutes.

After that I started to calm down: Phil came back in to check on me (he really is wonderful), we had a chat, and then I came out.

When I got into the lounge, Chloe burst into tears and said “why did you leave?!” – which made me sad, guilty, overwhelmed … all of the emotions.

I’m ok now, but I remember that feeling of being stuck in my emotion so badly. I wanted to get out of it, but I felt trapped. I felt like I wasn’t in control and I had no idea what to do.

Not only was I trapped, but I was also embarrassed that I’d gone that far; and then suddenly too proud to come out and admit it.

Have you guys ever felt like that?

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