Women’s Day revisited

 

I grew up in a country where ‘women’s day’ was marked by presents, chocolate, flowers and dining out. Women would get together and make restaurant reservations or attend female-only house parties. I couldn’t wait to become a woman, too so I could take part in this exciting fun day which mostly involved alcohol. Looking back now I really wonder how many, if any, women then even knew what the day was really about.

Nowadays, people have many different ideas about what women’s day is all about. Reading posts, articles, tweets and Facebook updates this morning really opened my eyes to the perceptual diversity of this day. Out of touch celebrities are trying hard to persuade the world that stripping is somehow artistic, that feeling empowered as a woman means posting naked selfies on social media. Apparently, naked pregnancy shoots are the norm.

Other posts were rants on how to hate men because…well, just because and also women are better, obviously! Angry women who use ‘feminism’ to post about sexual liberation, the Madonna hatred monologues and the hypocritical liberal feminism, which supports that we should sell sexy lingerie to seven-year-old girls because children need “sexual choices.” Right.

But going back to the International Women’s Day, I also read some posts on helping women abroad to have access to education, medicine, equality in work and more choices and opportunities. I fully support that and I think that all of us should try to stay up-to-date and informed on those issues and contribute financially or in any other way when they can.

However, today, more than any other day I felt really sad reading all these updates and seeing the chocolate-themed pictures. What we should do today and every day is to acknowledge issues faced by women closer to home. We all know of a woman who is a victim of abuse.

RELATED ARTICLE: “Speak Up!” 

Whether it’s physical, mental, emotional or even psychological. This woman, along with thousands of others mostly suffers in silence. She might not have the right skills or knowledge in order to change the situation she is in. She is probably not financially independent and has nowhere to go. She might be frightened of her abusive partner or even family member. She is most likely scared of the stigma around abuse. She feels ashamed and staying silent is a much safer option than the alternative.

You could be this woman. Maybe you are still haunted by parental abuse or you are a victim of workplace bullying. Perhaps you are an unhappy wife, fed up, beaten up, worn down, exhausted. Maybe you feel unappreciated and you have settled.

I have met many unhappy and abused women. Also men but that’s for another article. These women don’t speak out. The support around them is very limited if any. The majority of these women are also caring moms who unfortunately raise daughters who are learning that being a silent victim of any kind of mistreatment is something that has to stay secret – it’s something that they should be ashamed of.

WORTH READING:  “Reader’s story: Break the chains of abuse” 

I think that today should also be about the happiness that all women deserve and should pursue. It should be about the emotional liberation of women.  It should be about making domestic violence and abuse education a compulsory subject in all schools. As parents, we should acquire the necessary skills and knowledge to teach our daughters to learn to love themselves – which will lead them to better choices in life.

Teach them that body image is not about weight but health. Teach them to feel confident, strong and empowered and not always victimized. Teach them to speak up when others mistreat them or they witness abuse of any kind. Teach them to not hate men or other women but fight for equal rights and opportunities in life for everyone.

WORTH READING: “Reader’s story: In bed with abuse” 

We should teach our sons that it’s ok to clean, cook,  and equally contribute to the household. Teach them how they should also fight for women’s rights to a better quality of life. Teach them to become good fathers, who will raise emotionally healthy children and will respect and love their mother.

There are women around me who will spend a couple of hours today celebrating out with friends only to come back to their miserable, unhappy reality tomorrow. Rather than tweeting, sharing quotes and eating chocolate, do something more important today – be there for a woman who needs you.

Till next time x




Ik ben…

There is nothing wrong with princesses  – they are beautiful, are with Prince Charming and most importantly… they are filthy rich. However, I feel so relieved that for this year’s carnival dress-up my daughters decided to NOT get yet another princess costume.

It was enjoyable watching them scroll through many pages of costume pictures and finally choose the ones they wanted – Mega Minty, a Dutch superhero and Rainbow Dash, the colourful pony. Carnival in The Netherlands is a totally different experience than the one I am used to, in my homeland Greece. Here, the carnival is serious business –  both for adults and children, a week long event and even the schools are out.

It was really nice to see a band playing music at my children’s school today and everyone being so cheerful and carefree.

For a few moments or days, at least pretending to be someone else can be so refreshing 😉

Till next time xxx and Happy Carnival!

 




Crying moms; are children assholes?

There is a new mom-trend around most groups, forums, and videos, lately. I am not sure when it started but it seems to be everywhere now: exhausted, fed-up, pissed-off, unappreciated moms going viral for posting drama overloaded videos where they mostly rant about their miserable mom lives and ungrateful, difficult kids.

I get it –  I am tired too. Unless you are a Holywood celebrity mom and you have another 5-6 (plus) people looking after your children, instead of you, then are most likely an exhausted mom. If you are a working mom, you are tired. If you are a stay-at-home mom, you are tired. You start being tired (among other things) from the morning after the night before, already.

Should you shut up about it? ABSOLUTELY NOT. You should discuss it, express it, you should exchange opinions and ideas with other moms, family members and professionals about it, you should ask for help if you need it and you should find ways to deal with it for the sake of your whole family.

However, I don’t get why moms feel the need to constantly moan about motherhood – since it’s something they chose to do. Why do they feel the need to call their children ‘assholes’? –  … and that is of the nicest things I heard. Being a mom is really hard, indeed. Moms should get together and find healthy, respectful – for their children, ways to address issues, deal with problems and get the support they need.

We maybe need to learn new parenting skills or adopt new parenting styles that might work better and commit to an attachment type of raising our children and building strong relationships with them.

If I was a child, today, and my mom was a blogger, I would be so upset with her telling the whole world about all the ‘bad’ and ‘wrong’ things I did. I would not like it if she had called me an ‘asshole’ in one of her quotes on her Facebook page, or posted about that day she told me off in public. Humiliating me, embarrassing me and moaning about how bad/hard/sad her life is because am in it – would be devastating to me.

I believe that these moments with your children are sacred and private. How would you like it if your partner posted about how bad you were in bed one day, talked about your arguments, the fact that you are a bad cook, or that the house is a mess cause you couldn’t be bothered to clean or share things that are embarrassing or humiliating and definitely personal to you? Why do some parents think that it’s ok to do it with their children?

I often find myself in conversations where moms complain that their children are ungrateful, rude, dishonest, they lie, cheat, speak back to them or are difficult and even ‘horrible’. Many times I end up being the odd one out for supporting the view that children are NOT born bad. They aren’t born rude. When giving me my daughter for the first time to hold, the doctor didn’t say: ‘congratulations, it’s a girl. A dishonest and stubborn girl’.

It is, indeed, easier to blame others, – even our own children – rather than facing our mistakes and downfalls.

When our small children misbehave in any way then that is the perfect time to reflect on our parenting methods. Children learn by mimicing what we do and say. The way we treat them and each other becomes the standard which they develop with and learn from. For some parents, accepting their own flaws and embracing change is really hard.

Understandably, social norms, their own upbringing, educational background and their current relationship status affect the depth or self-reflection and openness to change and provide a ‘safe’, in every way, family environment for their children to grow in.

I was recently ‘kicked out’ of a Facebook parenting group for stating that reward is a much more effective learning method than punishment and that ‘hitting’our children is abusive. Sadly, so many parents do so and strongly believe that it’s the best way to ‘discipline’ their children.

Perhaps, it is about time governments realize the importance of investing more resources in educating new parents and parents-to-be on how to raise emotionally and psychologically healthier children.

I am a tired stay-at-home mom, often exhausted, many times dreaming of sunbathing on an island alone, sipping on martinis and being massaged… even for 10 whole minutes. I get angry, lose my temper, have no patience at times and need a time-out. I have my good and bad days, problems, health issues, worries and struggles –  like everyone else.

However… –  I chose to become a mother and since then I have made a promise to myself to try my hardest to treat my children with respect, raise them with love, parent them with mindfulness and raise them to be emotionally intelligent. I make mistakes, like every other mom and I try to fix them and not do them again. I don’t always succeed but I keep trying. I apologize to my children and when they behave badly I try to find out what we have done as parents for them to act this way.

I don’t feel the need to post daily about how ‘bad’ my children are or how ‘angry they made me feel like.  I moan about my bad days to my husband and close friends and I am grateful every day for my family. I am not living on cloud 9, I don’t pretend to be perfect or have it perfect either. But I also don’t choose to feel like a ‘victim’ mom either. 

In a world where it’s ‘trendy’ to blame others for our own problems –  be different and do something much more liberating and healthy. There is NOTHING wrong with admitting to making mistakes (and owning up to them),  –  it’s human and it’s OK! Our children deserve the best parents they can have and we can all be that.

Till next time xxx

Some more of my thoughts on parenting…:

 




When everything is blue…

We all go through times in our lives when we feel really frustrated, let down, and sad. It happens to us at work, personal life, sports, friendships and many times, we feel disappointed with ourselves. Some disappointments disrupt our daily routine while others could change our lives. When something or someone fails to meet our set thoughts and ideas, we feel let down, sad or even betrayed.

All disappointments, no matter how big or small, come out of our expectations for how something should have been.

You feel disappointed because you might have recognized that you don’t have, didn’t get or might never get to have whatever it is you wanted.  You had expectations of your life and future and things didn’t turn out the way you had hoped they would.

The extent and severity of the disappointment we feel is determined by the level of emotions we have invested on specific outcomes or people. Love and health disappointments can really challenge and greatly influence our sense of self.

Disappointment comes with a lot of sadness. And what should you do when you feel so sad? Unfortunately, there is no magical cure or easy fix. But there are a few things you can do to speed up your healing process and help you work through these issues more effectively.

There is no easy way out of sadness…

I am afraid you will have to go through the whole process from start to finish and the more you accept that truth the faster you will feel a little bit better.

  • The first thing you should really allow yourself to do is cry. So, go ahead, there is absolutely nothing wrong with crying. Let is all out and cry as much as you need to. 
  • Another thing you should come to terms with, is the fact that right now you are not in a good place and that is normal, it happens to all of us. Feeling hurt, disappointed, betrayed, let down, or sad doesn’t make you weaker. These are all normal human feelings and there is no person on the whole planet who also hasn’t felt this way at some point.
  • If you feel like expressing this frustration and sadness physically, you can do that. Physical activity is a great way to let all this tension out so go walk, run, stay in the middle of a field and scream, kick a wall. Do (safely) what it takes to not allow your emotions to boil inside you.
  • Some people feel reluctant when it comes to confronting the person or situation that made them feel sad and disappointed. Others, though,  feel the need to do so and that probably helps them heal in more ways than one. Try to be mindful of how you express your feelings and frustration – words can really hurt. Do not be afraid of telling the person who made you sad and upset how you feel. You have the right to do so and you should. 
  • Do allow yourself time to ‘mourn’. Many times sadness and disappointment, especially when it comes to health or relationships, feel like grief. There is no easy way out of it, am afraid. Give yourself time to go through all the emotions and embrace them. The more you resist these stages of the sadness process the longer it will take you before you feel better. 
  • When the time feels right, move on. Surround yourself with positive friends and people who love you. If you are lucky enough to have a healthy, loving and encouraging support network take ‘advantage’ of that. People who care about you will never leave you on your own especially when you feel so down. They’ll help you stop dwelling on the negative experience and get up on your feet.
  • There are things you have to do. A whole life ahead of you. Many amazing experiences to still enjoy. Lots of chances to be happy, succeed, travel, achieve, evolve, be a good partner, parent and enjoy yourself and those you love. The faster you heal, the more time you will have to do all these things and more. When its the right time.. let things go and be hopeful for what comes next. 

The only way out is through the pain.

When you feel sad, hurt or disappointed – no reasoning will heal your pain. That’s right. No matter how many pieces of advice and comforting words you get to hear, they won’t be able to give you an immediate relief. Sadness can be a healthy part of life if lessons learned by it make you a stronger person. Am afraid no person on Earth is except from pain, sadness, disappointment and grief. After you give yourself the space and time to go through all the emotions then how you deal with the situation is what really matters. Ask for help if you have to. Stay hopeful. 

Till next time xxx

 




Mom doesn’t always know best and that’s ok!

Most people like the notion of ‘change’ – it sounds exciting! it is also very popular, nowadays, especially in quotes that go around social media. It is great, right? I have also written an article about it  – you can read it here. The word makes you feel hopeful and good about yourself. On an individual level, embracing change is a fancy idea that self-help, spiritual and meditation groups promote.

In motherhood groups change is frowned upon by some but really supported by most… as long as it is someone else doing it, of course. We like saying that we need to change, things need to change, only by changing habits/ideas we move forward, change leads to evolution, etc. However, in order to ‘change’ anything we need to have a clear and deep understanding of ourselves, our limitations, our current situation, our good points and be mindful of our actions.

In order to ‘change’ and become better, as far as motherhood is concerned, we need to realize the impact that our behavior and decisions have on our children. We need to get away from feelings of self pride and stubbornness and be open to face new realities and process information we didn’t know before. We have to understand how our own childhood is affecting our parenting methods.

It is unfortunate that moms, especially, try to be perfect or want to believe they are. Motherhood doesn’t equal never making mistakes. On the contrary, is a learning process that will continue for the rest of our lives. Motherhood means creating lasting bonds with another person that are based on respect, love, understanding, effective communication, and accepting our own wrong decisions so next time we can improve and change.

Motherhood is based on trying to learn new things, explore areas we might not feel comfortable with, debating new ideas, educating ourselves, owing up to mistakes, and having an open relationship with our children that is based on honesty, humility and appreciation,  (Read: ‘Being the parent your child deserves’).

What I, unfortunately, notice with many moms is the fear of failing that stops them from actually becoming better. Many will support a wrong decision till the end as long as they don’t admit to themselves that maybe it wasn’t the right thing to do at the time. There is nothing wrong with realizing and accepting mistakes – that’s the only way towards change! 

Children are NOT born bad, liars, abusive, dishonest, unappreciative, manipulative, selfish, patronizing, vengeful and nasty. Noone is born that way. We need to take responsibility for our part in our children’s personality and character formation. Children grow up in home environments that directly affect their behavior. They are raised by adults whose own actions have a huge impact on what they project as a role model or how they should act and like. 

Everything we do and say HAS a huge effect on our children – how can young moms, especially, ignore this real fact? It might feel uncomfortable and unpleasant but we have the greatest responsibility in raising emotionally healthy children. We could be bringing up tomorrow’s abusers, narcissists, wife/husband beaters, criminals and bullies. 

Change starts from us. It is ok to make mistakes. It is ok to have made wrong decisions and believed in things you shouldn’t have. It is ok to change your mind/ideas/opinions based on new information. It is ok to apologize to your children. It is ok to forgive yourself and try again.
It is also ok to tell them that you are angry, tired, upset, annoyed at times – how you handle these feelings is what really matters! It is ok to not feel 100% all the time or super excited about motherhood – as long as you find a healthy way to deal with those times. It is ok to feel disappointed  – you just need to look into why you feel that way and where it comes from.

‘Always remember: the goal is not perfection, the goal is love. Forgive yourself for past parenting mistakes, learn new ways to deal with life’s difficulties, heal and evolve from wrong past choices and start loving yourself and your children more,’ (Always Ladies).

PS: The artists of these drawings are my daughters – I look at them every time I feel like a horrible mom. They are a good reminder of how much our children love and trusts us to be the best we can. x




Being a nice person IS a choice

I was thinking today…-  why is it so difficult for some people to stay good? Society and childhood factors are always influential but at the end of the day no-one can ever force anyone else to behave badly!  No-one can make you bitter or nasty – all that is YOUR choice!

Well, this morning, reading the news , I once again felt kinda disgusted at some people’s choices/actions/behaviors.

I thought that there are people who beat up peaceful activists who try to save the bull from horribly dying in a bullfight…there are men who beat up their women in public. There are people in the street who can’t be bothered to be nice, shop assistants who don’t even smile when interacting with customers. There are sad 16 year old bullies who target a fellow classmate and brutally abuse her.

There are bad parents who hit their children, verbally attack them and destroy everything good of their childhood. And there are other parents who don’t even realize that by being bitter, nasty, rude individuals they teach their children to also become the same.

There are ‘men’ and ‘women’ who verbally/emotionally/physically and psychologically abuse others daily! There are people who abuse animals and kill them for fun… I could go on for ever…

I feel so disappointed  about the negative people who live among us but I am also thinking: screw that! All this will NOT turn me into such a person also.  I don’t quite get how hard such choice is for others but there is NO excuse for treating people like crap and behaving in a pathetic and rotten way (your unfortunate past/childhood is not an excuse, either).

Choose to stay good; positive people with be drawn to you. Try smiling too – it’s contagious 🙂 




Women should be celebrated every day

I was reading some posts this morning in various abuse/domestic violence groups. Desperation, sadness and so much anger filled my heart. Young, beautiful women wasting the best years of their lives putting up with ‘men’, (or excuses of men), who abuse then in any manner. Women so broken and hurt that they can’t see the way out, who have no more courage left to take it even when they do see it. Women who can’t understand how amazing, precious, important and beautiful they really are; who don’t realize just how much they are worth.

There are so many women who despite loving, caring and giving to others they haven’t received the same back. Women who are not even aware that they are being abused.

I feel so powerless and furious when I read stories of bruised women, living in fear, scared for themselves and their children’s safety. I am so upset that some ‘men’ think in their tiny brains that they have the right to humiliate, belittle, manipulate, swear at, control and hit ANYONE! I am even more upset at all the people who are aware that abuse is taking place in a relationship/household – they might even witness it  – and they do nothing about it.

Abuse is NOT a matter that concerns only the abusive and abused. It concerns all of us! It concerns our society as a whole, our children, our friends and family and our future. Men and women MUST stand up to it and help each other stop it once and for all.

I feel devastated for all the women, of any age and cultural background who are alone; who have noone to talk to and ask for help.

Today is the International Women’s Day and is not a happy day for thousands of women across the world. Today we should all celebrate every single woman everywhere, (Read: ‘Be Fabulous, you Earned it’),  – our moms, wives, sisters, cousins, friends –  not typing sad smileys under pictures of bruised, depressed faces.

Let’s finally put an end to so much violence against women, let’s not mourn any more victims of domestic abuse, let’s educate ourselves and others, spread awareness, offer support and advice and Speak Up !

“You have what it takes to be a victorious, independent, fearless woman.”

– Tyra Banks




A rare star is born

On the 2nd of March of 2010, at 10.10 in the morning a very very special girl came to the world, my daughter Sofia. They say that when you have children your life can never be the same again – I say: good! Your life should’t be the same again and you have to make it so it isn’t. You need to create a better life for your children to grow in!  You are obliged to become a better person, evolve, keep learning, expand, heal from your past, and do your best in being the parent your child deserves.

Of course all this is overwhelming and only comes into realization once two new little hands hold your finger and two tiny eyes look at you – that’s when it hit me. The 38 weeks of pregnancy and all that comes with it (good and bad), the almost 9 hours of labor and a c-section meant so little, really, compared to the moment that I came face to face with an authentic miracle of life which I would be responsible for appreciating, nourishing, honoring and shaping.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

For the last 6 years, (that have gone by so so so fast), Sofia has showed me that children have the greatest courage. While adults complain about minor daily problems, stress about relationship breakups and are drawing in money worries – children stare life in the face. Sofia has taught me that being brave and strong comes from within and that you can get up again no matter how many times you fall.

Sofia has always been a smiley, energetic, happy, kind, loving, giving, sensitive (yes, being sensitive is a positive trait), good hearted,  bubbly blonde little girl and having a rare condition called ‘Aniridia’ hasn’t changed that. What it has done, though, is proving to all of us that the greatest inspiration comes from the smallest things. It has also given us the opportunity to get to know some really great and supportive people.

My perfectly rare girl lovesssss dancing and horse riding. learning new things, making friends, Batman, running all the way back from school and cooking with mommy.

She is my hero xxxx 

 

Support important research on Aniridia to help Sofia and all the children like her 🙂 thank you. 




Not the last dance

Great loss for the music world today  – David Bowie has died at the age of 69. I frankly believe that his death has saddened most of us if not all, each for their own reasons. I am not familiar with his life,  all his achievements, details of his amazing career and definitely not knowledgeable of all his albums.

However, I feel extremely sad today because for me, David Bowie defined one of the most amazing moments of my life, when ‘Under Pressure’ played on a River Thames boat ride where I viewed Big Ben for the first time. He was also the biggest part of my childhood  – growing up watching ‘The Labyrinth’ some one hundred times.

I know that for millions of people he was a well respected musician and human being. I am really sorry I never got a chance to see him live but I am glad I grew up with his musical influence  which I got to love and respect.

One thing is for sure – his talent, contribution to the world and extraordinary work will never die. Rest in peace David Bowie, your memory lives on xxx

“The truth is of course is that there is no journey. We are arriving and departing all at the same time.” – David Bowie 

 




Hello!

Helloooo ! 🙂 I am very excited to be starting my own blog. The huge success we had we alwaysladies.com made me realize that people need more articles they can relate to, in real life. I was happily surprised to see many male readers, too, visiting our site and that inspired me even more in creating something more personal. There is a lot of ‘scientific’ information out there on parenting, relationships, psychology and so on which end up being simply confusing and overwhelming, at best.

I hope that here, you will find realistic and understandable approaches and thoughts to matters that concern women, men and moms that will inspire you, motivate you and encourage you.

Keep smiling!