Life Love and Hiccups

Friday, 4 September 2015

Yes... Maybe... I Mean No.. I think???

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I am but my own worst enemy when it comes to saying yes when what I really mean is no.

Honestly I cannot tell you how many times this year alone, I have found myself agreeing to do something or take on something because I was too gutless to say what I really wanted to... NO.

I didn't want to offend anyone, I hate letting anyone down, I'd have felt bad if I said no...

Blah blah blah.

No matter what kind of pretty package you wrap it up in, the truth is I have always sucked at saying no and I nearly always end up kicking myself for not saying it when I had the chance.

How many times have you found yourself doing something for someone that you really did not have the time or the desire to do?

How many times have you found yourself getting ready to go out somewhere when all you really want to do is whack your PJ's on and sloth on the couch?

Or how many times have you walked away from a conversation feeling completely railroaded after your excuses were picked to bits and you found yourself saying yes or maybe when you went into the conversation with all the best intentions of saying no?


Let's just be totally clear here, I am by no means am I good at saying no.

OMG I am so far from it.

But, I am trying to get better at it ... like trying really REALLY hard.

If you are like me and have a habit of saying yes or maybe when what you really mean is a big fat no, then here are some of the strategies I have adopted to help me become more comfortable with using the N word.

1. Keep it simple. We really don't owe anyone an explanation and the problem is if we try and offer an excuse or a reason as to why we are saying no, then we just dig ourselves a hole and we are handing out an open invitation for the person we are trying to say no to, to find a solution or reason to change our answer to be a yes.

2. It doesn't have to be a 'forever no'. 
Maybe what we are being asked doesn't suit us right at this very moment in time, we can't manage it with our current schedule or it's just not what we want or need right now?

If that is the case then say it how it is - "No thank you, not right now" or "Sorry I can't at the moment" it leaves our options open for us to change our mind in future.

3. Consider a compromise if no is not really an option. Say yes, but on our terms and in a way that suits us and our time restraints.

4. Don't over think it! I am so guilty of this one because I worry about offending or what someone will think of me if I say no to them.

Chances are they will think nothing more than - "OK she said no", end of story. Don't assume there is fire when there is no smoke yada yada.

5. Buy ourselves some time with an "I'll have to get back to you kind of response". This will take the pressure off us having to try and collect our thoughts on the fly and let's face it - how many times have we said yes to something in the spur of the moment only to change our minds later?!

The key to making this one work is to make sure we get back to them before they chase us up and we find yourself on the back foot again.

6. Use email or text to respond if we are concerned that we might be talked into changing our minds if we have to say 'no' in a verbal conversation. This way we can keep our responses short and polite without the need to think on our feet and talked out of saying 'no'.

7. Don't feel guilty. Seriously guilt is one of the biggest factors when we breakdown the hows and whys of why we find ourselves over committed.

We often feel guilty about saying 'no' even when we know that there is really no other option.

We need to remember that our time is just as important as anyone else's, time is precious and guilt is expensive cargo to carry. I say we dump that guilt, say no with intention and simply move on.

How are you when it comes to saying No?
Do you nail it or do you dead set suck at it as much as I do?
Got any tips for us who struggle with saying no?



Alright, time to get your virtual party duds on and link up your favourite post from the last week with myself, Bron, Kelly (who is on a little break this week) and our lovely guest host Ellen from Potential Psychology. I have only discovered Ellen's blog in the recent months and I love the positivity she brings to the blogging community and her blog readers. Ellen challenges me to think and to nurture myself... something us mums aren't always that good at doing.

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To play along simply link up your favourite post from the past week and then if you get a chance, pop around and say hello to some of the other lovely linkers. The Weekend Rewind blog hopping party starts every Friday night at 8pm and links will close on Sunday night at midnight. Link up here or over on Bron's blog (Maxabella Loves) or Kelly's (at A Life Less Frantic ). It does not matter where you link as your link will show up in all 4 places.


Wednesday, 2 September 2015

There's Winners and Losers and Then There's *ahem* Me!

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Amongst all the craziness that has been going on of late, we made a point of taking some time on Sunday to focus on our little family of five.

Carl took our oldest to smash a couple of buckets of balls on the driving range and I allowed myself to partake in what the kids dubbed the 'Putt Putt Playoff of The Year'.

Now I know that technically, as a parent, when you participate in any activity with the kids where someone will be deemed a winner or a loser, we parents are probably supposed to graciously accept the losers title and let our beloved squids bask in their limelight...

Right?

Ha!

Apparently the experts are telling us otherwise, and instead they are encouraging us to teach the kids how to be gracious losers, albeit in a safe and controlled environment.

I have to tell you that I am going to go with the experts on this one.

Hang on, before you go all eye rolly on me you need to understand that the reason I am siding with the experts on this one is not so much because of the opportunity to teach my kids some lessons in life...

nup, it's because when it comes to winning or losing I am seriously as competitive as a granny in a red light knicker sale.

I am competitive and THEY declared it a competition first!

When someone declares something a competition, my eyes widen, pupils dilate, the lips curl and the blood pumps loud in my ears. It's a primal urge that takes over and it does not matter if you are 5 or 55, there will be no leniency, I am SO TAKING YOU ON!

I like to WIN competitions.

Just ask my family what it's like to play Monopoly with me!

"SSSSSSURE you can buy that property... for a million dollars, 30% interest every time you land on it from here on in, your last piece of red licorice and a ten minute back rub".

WHAT?

That's a totally fair trade!

OK then don't even get me started on what it's like to be my team mate in Pictionary then.

So by now you kind of have an understanding of how our Putt Putt Play Off played out now right?

I never intended for it become so serious.

It was just supposed to be a bit of fun with the kids.

But once those kids laughed at me for scoring a seven on a two par easy as hole, well that was as good as a red flag to a bull because that little competitive switch was flicked and it was ON like Donkey KONG!

I was on a mission to claim the title and it wasn't until I was on that winners podium publicly declaring my victory over a couple of sweet innocent and deflated youngens that I realised that maybe I have a tendency to take it too far sometime.

My Tiger Woods style putter throwing episode over scoring a seven on a two par green should probably have been a clue.

Or the fact that I was stink eyeing a three year old in a princess dress for distracting my line of vision on the 8th hole.

At the very least my appalling display of sorelosership when after my post victory lap there was a recount and it was determined that in actual fact the kids whooped my ass and I came last and so in a last minute show of bad sportsmanship I declared 'NO Mango Weiss bars for ANYONE".

I didn't even pull down my victory photo on instagram because hellooooo that was my fifteen minutes of glory people... I wanted to tag my kids in that photo and bask in the win ... or no win as it turns out.

Now I'm gonna go all therapists couch session on you and blame my primal competitiveness on that one time in Primary school when I lost a hula hoop competition because of outside interference.

I hula hooped for a whole frigging lunch hour and was on the verge of victory and winning a week's worth of Sunny boys when a stray handball knocked me off balance and my hoop dropped to the ground.

I WAS RIPPED OFF people!

THOSE SUNNY BOYS WERE A GOOD AS MINE!!!!

Ahhh well, I guess the experts could say that I myself am a lesson for my kids... on how NOT to win... or lose.

*ahem*

Is there a prize for that?

Did I win?

Are you competitive when you are playing with your kids?
What do you think is a fair price to pay when someone needs a property to complete a set in Monopoly?

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

How to Survive a Family Road Trip

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Once upon a time I dreamed about lovely family road trips with my hubby and kids.

You know, holiday cruising up and down the coast, little detours for beach side picnics along the way and memory creating adventures as we excitedly explored lesser known places off the main road.

Picture perfect kind of stuff.

Brought to you by Nuffnang & GT Radial Tyres

I had seen my share of Brady bunch episodes where they successfully road tripped to the Grand Canyon and along the Hawaiian coastlines, all happy families, sunny smiles and glorious sing alongs, and so I knew that when the day eventually came for us to pack up the car and head off on our own little adventure, that we were in for a good time.


Only I didn’t know.

I didn’t know those Brady Bunch writers and actors LIED to us.

Our family road trips are NOTHING like theirs because they had been selling us a completely unrealistic ideal for all those years.

Where my family trips lacked in sunny smiles and glorious sing alongs, we more than made up for in back seat punch ups and tussles for the ice-cream container (aka spew bucket). And the only little detours I ever remember taking were the desperate roadside pullovers to clean up a nappy explosion or to empty the overflowing ice-cream container.

OK so I may have been pregnant with my first child when I first dreamt about family road trips. I was probably high on warm and fuzzy hormones and somehow blissfully forgot all my own childhood horror stories of sharing a back seat with my brother.

But surely not ALL road trips are that bad?

Hahaha

Sorry. I’m not going to pull a Brady Bunch over you and lie.

I’m all about keeping real here so I am going to share with you a couple of tried and true pointers to help you SURVIVE your next family road trip.

1. Divide up the backseats into equal sections with gaffe tape and assign a section to each child. Explain to your children that under NO circumstance are any parts of their bodies allowed to cross over into another’s section … and if they do, you will accept NO responsibility for punched, pinched or bitten limbs.

2. Give each child an empty milk bottle labelled with air. Inevitably every family has at least one notorious air stealer in the group and when children start complaining about siblings breathing all their air, just tell them to suck it up and breathe some out of their ‘air’ bottle.

3. Make all occupants of the car over the age of 1 year wear thongs. Believe me; you DO NOT want anyone to get hot feet which results in the removal of shoes and consequential smelly foot odour asphyxia.

4. Play some good old fashioned family games – like ‘Who can be the quietest for the longest period of time’, ‘Counting road signs’ and my personal favourite – ‘The first person to go to sleep and stay asleep the longest wins a hundred bucks’.  They are a fun wholesome way to pass the time.

5. Whatever food you think you will need for the duration of the trip, times it by ten. Trust me; you do not want to add hungry to the tired, cranky, bored, car sick, busting to go to the toilet list.

6. If any of your children have fillings, DO NOT offer them a Minty. Just saying.

7. Leave at crackers. Better yet, put the kids to bed in the car the night before so you don’t have to move them from bed to car in the early morning. Alright, I’m half joking about that although in theory it does sounds like rather a good plan because the more your children sleep in the car, the less stressed you will be. Don’t worry about them not going to sleep at night because they have had too much sleep in the car – that’s what sneakers and running them around the block a dozen times before bedtime is for.

8. Give the kids a reward for weeing before you leave home and consider giving them a bonus reward for a number two. Inevitably they will need to go to the toilet within minutes of leaving home or as soon as you hit the highway, so that extra tinkle before you leave might give you a few extra kms before you need to make a pit stop.

9. Unless you have an unlimited supply of ice-cream buckets and car sickness tablets, don’t let your kids play their iPads in the car. I KNOW it seems like a good idea to keep them busy and all that but trust me – the puke smell only gets worse after a few hours.
 
10. Check your tyres before you leave and make sure your spare is in good condition. You really DO NOT want to be stuck in the car on the side of the highway with tired, cranky, hungry puke soiled children whilst you wait for roadside assist to arrive … because when they say they will ‘send the next available person to your assistance’, they don’t mention that the person they are sending has half a dozen other cars full of tired cranky hungry puke soiled children to assist before you.

On a more serious note – I know that all tyres typically look similar, but there really is a HUGE difference when it comes to the costs of a tyre and how they perform. Specifically - the distant they can take to stop on a wet road, which could be the difference between life and death in an accident.

My number one tip for surviving a family road trip is actually a deadly serious one – YOU MUST without question, have really good tyres on your car.

GT Radial branded tyres stopped quicker than most other tyre brands in multiple Australian CHOICE wet braking tyre tests over the past few years. Also when tested in a controlled wet braking tyre test conducted with Safe Driving Training in 2015, GT Radial tyres  stopped in a shorter distance on a Toyota Camry braking from 100kmph compared to the same car driven on  "budget" tyres and also when driven on more expensive "premium" tyres.

The GT Radial tyres stopped 11 metres shorter compared to a ‘budget’ tyre and 1 metre shorter than a more expensive ‘premium’ tyre.

Those few metres could help you avoid hitting a wild animal, pedestrian or another car on your trip.
Almost 1 million cars, vans, SUVs and 4WDs in Australia have been fitted with GT Radial tyres in the past 2 decades because not only are they the best value for money tyres in Australia, they are among the safest too.

I know getting tyres checked and replaced is one of the more boring parts of planning a road trip, but it could be the most important part of your planning. Don’t take the risk – ask your mechanic or tyre fitter to fit your car with GT Radial tyres with their Free 5 year tyre replacement guarantee.

I can’t promise you they will help with tired, cranky, hungry puke soiled children, but they could be the one thing that protects them and you on your road trip.

For more information on GT Radial Tyres you can visit their Facebook page here or check out their You Tube Channel here.

Got any other tips for Surviving Family Road Trips?

When was the last time you braved one?

Flashback to when we were brave and attempted a big road trip.. once upon a time... a long time ago.