Can't believe valentine’s day is almost here. Am I excited? No, not really. Is that due to being single? I don’t think so, I think that excitement left me during my twenties. I believe love should be shown all year round not just on this specific day and I do not mean receiving cards and gifts every day. Love is about the little things not the big gestures and expensive gifts.
Many think and complain that valentine’s day is a money making scheme and yes I agree but one could also argue Christmas and Easter is the same. It is lovely to have this one day, sure, but imagine all the disappointments that go with it. ‘My boyfriend forgot’ or ‘he failed to book the restaurant’ or ‘all he gave me was a card’ these are typical complaints that I have heard over the last few decades. Ladies!!!! Why should he be the one to do everything? Love works both ways so why do many women typically see Valentine’s Day as the man’s duty to express his love for the woman in his life.
Have you ever wondered how this day became Valentine’s Day? I have and until now never really looked into it. Well! History does not provide us with a clear answer to this question but this is what I discovered:
Many people believe that it all started during the times of the pre-Roman empire. Now wait for it…….. goats and dogs were sacrificed at an altar as an offering. Then people were covered in the blood, which was then cleaned off with wool soaked in milk. Oh, it gets better, then they feasted on the animals and once their tummies were full, they took the skins of these poor animals and ran around naked while whipping people with them. Classy!!!!
Believe it or not? It even gets better than that. They then had what I can only describe as a lottery; during the festival, the men picked names of women out of a jar and copulated with them throughout the remainder of the festival. Seriously people!!!
You will be happy to here, it doesn’t stop there, and then came the Catholic Church, do I hear the applauds? Who clearly were not into the whole sacrificing of animals, bathing in blood, running around in your birthday suit and the sex thing, so Pope Gelasius decided in his wisdom to start a new holiday, paganism had to go!!!
He was hoping to make people forget or at the very least and I quote “Stop smackin’ bitches with dead animals“ Now, this is where it becomes a little more complicated. There were two men named Valentine who were killed, I believe a year apart, and died as martyrs. The Roman emperor at the time was executing so many Christians the chances were pretty good that the Pope could use two men called Valentine and thus outlawed the ”smackin’ bitches with dead animals” actually called the festival of Lupercalia. It then became known as St Valentine’s Day.
A very quick background on the two Valentine men. The first was a priest and he was executed for conducting marriages between Christians and then you have another story that the second was executed for conducting marriages between soldiers and their intended spouses as Emperor Claudius II felt that men made better soldiers when they were single. The truth, so many men named Valentine existed, I think even a Pope was named Valentine. In fact, many believe it was based on one man. What is the true story? Who knows? The Catholic Church simply chose this man turned him into a saint and voila!!! St Valentine’s Day came about to eventually smack us in the face and indeed make a whole in our pockets.
In the middle ages the Normans continued the pagan tradition calling it, Galatin’s Day, as they still wanted to get their s**t on. Nice!!! I guess they didn’t want to give up the whole orgy thing.
Finally, the day evolved into romantic love.
The first known written romantic words were used by King Richard II’s engagement to Anne of Bohemia. Chaucer wrote the poem and I have translated an extract.
For this was on St. Valentine’s Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate.
This is when Valentine’s Day became associated with love. Now, if you read the extract from the poem above, it was believed by many that the birds mating season was around February 14th. Who knew!!!! They were not far wrong though. I guess mating was associated with love.
There are also more examples of love letters sent during this time, which I will not go into, who needs another history lesson?
So, what can I say? I bet you will never see Valentine’s Day the same way again.
Even as I write this, mental pictures of nakedness, whippings with animal skins and sex are polluting my mind. I am trying very hard to include the presenting of flowers and chocolates and I have to say, it really does not fit the scene.
Therefore, when you think chocolates, flowers and that romantic meal out, try to forget the whipping, the blood, the martyrdom and the sex. Okay, okay you can remember the sex with the one you love only!!! Remember people it is not a lottery.
All jokes aside, Valentine’s Day can however be a romantic time of year, if we forget the commercialism and ignore the whole orgy thing. Valentine’s Day should be every day of the year and not just on the 14th February. This does not entail spending money. It really is the little things that you do for each other, expressions of love can simply be a kind word or a kiss and a cuddle and if your partner does not appreciate these little gestures and expects you to spend money, then I’m sorry to say people!!! You’re with the wrong person.
Love is not about money and I for one prefer a little kind gesture every day to an expensive gift once a year and then forgotten about for the remainder of the year.
However, the whole idea of Valentine’s Day is to dedicate that one day a year that reminds us of love and romance. It reminds us how to show affection to the one we love and hopefully, that is remembered throughout the year.
Happy Valentine’s Day
In last week’s article, I wrote about the gift of being a mother. However, there is also another side, a side that many of us will not voice, a side that we constantly think about and ask god to forgive us, for even thinking about it.
My life was once amazing; I had a husband an amazing job and travelled the world with no responsibility. It felt like overnight my life changed dramatically. My son was born, two years later my marriage failed, the recession hit and I lost my business.
I was left with nothing except the responsibility of my beautiful baby boy. Did I resent it yes!!! My ex-husband’s family asked many times to let them look after him until I could get back on my feet and I said no.
When I think about those dark days part of me wished I took them up on the offer. Am I being selfish, absolutely but I honestly believe I would have been better for it. My son is a lot older now and life has become simpler but when he was younger the constant playing chauffeur, the constant worrying about him, the constant daily repetition can be debilitating. Children can suck the life out of you, you lose your identity, and you forget that you are a woman. Life becomes a constant battle to keep your sanity. Every day we watch the news or pick up a newspaper and we hear or read about evil. Murder, paedophilia and children going missing etc. A day does not go by when you don’t read or hear about abuse after abuse. Why do we choose to bring children into this world? Do we not add more stress to our lives? Is it fair to them? Maybe consider those mothers who can’t cope, those who abandon their children? Motherhood is totally selfless but not all are built to be selfless.
You need to be so strong to be a mother in this world. You need to give up who you are to take on this responsibility. If I had it all to do again, knowing what I know now, would I have done it? No!!! I love my child so much and would not give him up for the world now he is here but if I knew the hardships, I would not have had him. If later in my life, I wanted to be a mother I would have adopted.
Do I resent motherhood? Yes sometimes I do. Sometimes I feel like he ended my freedom and I’ll never be free again. I can never be free from the shackles around my ankles. I am in an abyss of constant worry and guilt that I am not good enough as a mother and forever tormented by what he will be become. I have visions of so much I wanted to do with my life but cannot.
I am not saying that the world should stop reproducing all I am saying there are enough children who need a home without the need to fuel our forever longing to have one of our own.
Some pay thousands on fertility treatments, they would use a surrogate but they won’t adopt? What is that really saying? Is that a terrible thing to say to someone who cannot have children?
Give me one compelling reason to have a child that is not selfish?
I was never afraid to die before I became a mother. Now I am terrified, what will happen to my child? It is a life sentence of someone sucking you dry and you cannot walk away. So you just carry on and if you are honest with yourself, is this what you wanted? Yes, someone to love? But in this world?
You are totally responsible for another person’s welfare, physical and emotional wellbeing, one wrong sentence can wreck their lives. They are so fragile. Why does anyone want the burden of that responsibility? What do you feel for the mother of the child who was stabbed or the mother of the boy who did the stabbing? Both are slaves to their children. One failing to protect her child and the other forever blaming herself for the way her child turned out.
Why allow another human to have that level of control to constantly mind f*** you. Children do that, its voluntary enslavement. You are slaves to their emotions, slaves to their wellbeing, slaves to the daily chores, slaves to term times when they are still at school and slaves to your lack of freedom.
Yes they are cute when they are little; they have to be otherwise you wouldn’t want them. However, as they age, yes you love them but at what price to yourself? Having a child is selfish when there are so many out there, who need a home, who need love. Why have one of your own? So you can create a legacy. Because of what you believe, it will bring to you. But what are you bringing your child into? This world? Is this world the right place for your child? Look around why would you bring anyone into this hell hole? It’s just because you want someone to love? Isn’t that selfish?
So many couples today have children and as soon as they are born they are in a nursery. Why have children? Is it due to the cost of living, that two wages are necessary in order to live, to pay a mortgage to continue the same life style you enjoyed before having that baby. I was told about a couple who are in the legal profession. Their baby is four months old now and has been attending a nursery since he turned two months old. He attends 6 hours a day. What is the point? Being a parent is about sacrifice and clearly a sacrifice many are unwilling to give. So why bring that child into the world? A baby is not an accessory.
Last week’s article attracted many comments, that it was very one sided and yes I agree it was. Maybe when I wrote it I was particularly happy with my life and I forgot about the dark side of being a mother. As a mother, you have to filter everything that comes out of your mouth even in anger when speaking to your child. What you say to them can affect them so deeply and can stay with them for the rest of their lives. Last summer, I was angry with my son and I said ‘if I didn’t have you my life would have been so different’ how those words upset him and as soon as I said it I wished I could take it back. We all do this, what I was thinking came out of my mouth and it should not have done. A friend of mine said to her 7 year old when she refused to go to sleep ‘I wish someone would come and take you away’ this little girl cried for days thinking a stranger would take her away. We say and do things due to stress and without thinking. Is this fair on a child? No!!!
As a little girl, I was given dolls to play with and I am sure many of you were, we were being groomed to become mothers. Why do we see it as a natural course of growing up? I have given up most of my youth to bring up this child and yes at times I greatly resent it. I was unable to go out, unable to date, unable to have 5 mins of peace just for me and unable to buy the things I want. Every waking moment was about my child, every broken sleep was due to his needs.
In a world that is so dangerous and full of evil, why do we choose to bring an innocent life into it? Look outside your window, do you see children playing on the street, the way we did? No, we are afraid to allow our children out of our sight. This constant fear and worry can bring us to our knees. You constantly worry about how good a mother you are, are you doing and saying the right things to your child. Are you raising them the correct way? Is there a right or wrong answer to these questions? I believe you raise your children for the world not for yourself. One day they will be out there on their own. However, what world are you raising them for? I bring up my child to be polite and considerate to others, we do not use any negative words, we do not swear, and then I hear some mothers telling their children to shut up or swearing at them on the street. Is this right? Who is right? My child is a tad over sensitive am I raising him correctly. I do not know. The other children that are spoken to in a way I would never speak to my child, will they be able to tackle the world better than mine. Will they grow up to be stronger than mine?
I wrote about loving a child because we gave birth to them but would you not love a child that you have chosen to adopt. Of course, you would. We don’t give birth to our pets but we love and care for them as much as we do for our children, therefore why do we simply not adopt a child, why bring more into this world.
When I was at the lowest point in my life, it was my child that got me out of bed, the thought of him that kept me going. But that’s not right. Children should not be the reason to keep you going but for many they are. Children are a gift whether you have given birth to them or not. All children should be loved equally.
Just writing this I feel guilty about the way I feel at times but to hide those feelings can be wrong and can make you resent your child even more. Raising a child comes with a lifetime responsibility, are you ready for it? The heartache, the stress, the worrying, the sacrifice, the joy and the happiness.
Both articles are true and I think we as mothers should be honest in the way we feel.
What does it mean to be a mother? Most of us choose to become mothers and that choice comes with great responsibility. The children you having given birth to, are not property, it is not like buying a handbag and when you become tired of it or it becomes too old you can throw it away. That child you have given birth to, that child you chose to have is a lifetime responsibility.
Children are a gift and a gift, which should be treasured all your life. Eventually these children become adults and thus become independent but never truly independent. To you they will always be your babies and for them they will always run to you in times of need. You as a mother will give and give regardless and when they become parents only then will they understand what you have given up for them and what you have done for them.
Motherhood is also a gift and it is a gift that keeps giving. As you see your child take his or her first step, the first time you hear the word mummy, when those little arms stretch out for you, their first play at school, and their first certificate for excellence and so on. You know you did that, you are moulding them to who they will become.
I am not belittling fathers, father can play a large role in a child’s life but let’s not forget it is we as mothers that carry that child and feel every kick, every discomfort through pregnancy and the pain of child birth. The relationship we have with our child is different to that of a father. We have a connection that no father will ever understand. Most of us will go without to ensure that our child receives everything we can possibly give them. It is our pleasure to see our child thrive and knowing we have done everything in our power to ensure that they succeed, is the greatest gift of all.
My mother once said if my children do better than me in life then I have done a good job. I understood what she meant but being a mother is not a job!!! Your children are part of you, they are an extension of you. When that child is growing inside of you, it is your body that feeds them and nourishes them. How can you not see them as part of you?
We want our children to grow up independent but in today’s society it is harder for children to go out in the world. The cost of living has soared, the cost of renting or buying a home has become so expensive that it is out of the reach of many. Therefore, we help them as much as we can and that is part of motherhood and being a parent. After I left home, I would still run back to my mother whenever I felt the need to, I needed that comfort, her arms around me and that sense of security. As an adult the roles change slightly but her role of making me feel safe and loved did not change at that time.
I remember trying to get home on a cold winters evening. I must have been 11 or 12 years old. I waited for a bus that seemed to take a lifetime and decided to walk, it started to snow and I could no longer feel my hands, my feet and my face was numb. As I reached the top of our street, I saw my mother, who had become extremely worried, as I had not yet arrived home. She put her arms around me and suddenly I felt this warmth surge through my body. That is the warmth of love.
It is unconditional love; you will always love what you brought into the world, what you nurtured. You may not always like your children now and then but you will always love them and always do for them, even when they have children of their own.
I use to live next door to a father and son. I assumed the son contributed to the household, as he was working, but what I did not know until he told me. He paid rent to his father and contributed towards the bills. He had to buy his own food and when he told me at the end of the month, he could not wait to be paid as he was low on food, I didn’t understand this at all. In my culture, majority of parents do not charge their children to live at home. We as children contributed because we chose to and those that don’t, have not been raised properly. Sorry to offend anyone but that’s how I feel. My mother never asked, she wanted us to save as much as we could in order to buy our first home. We as her children made the decision to take over the responsibility of the bills and food shopping but this only happened when we started to work.
When we started to earn a living it was our pleasure to do for her what she had done for us. I think this way of thinking is about upbringing, the way you are brought up. The love of a mother is an amazing thing and the love you give as a mother cannot be described. The feeling of love holding your child in your arms is overwhelming. Unless you are a mother, you can never understand what it means.
Do you remember as children when you were hurt due to a fall or you cut yourself? What was the first word that came out of your mouth ‘MUM’. Admittedly, I still do that today. When I have sudden pain, I shout out for my mother even though she can’t hear me. It is natural, we as children, no matter our ages, we run to our mother’s for comfort, to kiss the pain away and truly you do feel like the pain has gone or has subsided. I know it is all psychological but that is the feeling of a mother’s comfort and a mother’s love.
My son does it all the time, he runs into my arms when he needs the warmth of my love. My 12 year old is almost 5ft 10in and trusts me when I say he still sits on my lap or lies on top of me for a cuddle. There are times I lose all blood circulation and I swear I’m going positively blue, but I know as his mother he needs this comfort and I don’t complain. If he has a nightmare, I can hear him call me even though I am asleep and I instantly awake to comfort him. I can see and feel how he is feeling, even when he tries to hide it from me. This is what motherhood is all about.
Some parents believe that when their children reaches adulthood that they should go off on their own, leave home and make their way in life, whether they are ready for it or not. I respect their beliefs but I think they are wrong. A child needs to feel ready to leave and only then will they truly succeed in life.
Their success is our success. If we push them too quickly and they fall, who will pick up the pieces? We will, is it not easier to help them until they are ready? Let them cut the apron strings, not us. I become teary just thinking about my child one day leaving home, he will no longer be in the next room but when he is ready, I will let him go and encourage him. I will also let him know I will always be here and the door is always open. I will make him understand that he will not have to face the hurdles of life on his own. His mother will always be here physically or in his heart.
We as mothers will die for our children, we will go without to ensure they are fed and clothed. Being a mother is a gift from god. Do not throw away that gift away and how you treat that gift will determine how they treat their children. Do you not think that love will produce generations after generations of love?
I have heard said ‘when they are babies your arm aches and when they grow up your heart aches’. I welcome my whole body to ache for my child. Would I give up being a mother? Not for anything in the world!!! When it is time to meet my maker, I will close my eyes in peace in the knowledge that I have prepared my child for the world, no matter how long it took me. Knowing that my love will go on and on and I was truly blessed to be given this gift from god.
Last week was a strange week for me; I grew a pair, so out of character for me. I am one of those people that like to please others. I rarely use the word NO and do things for other people with no appreciation or reciprocation. Some of you may recognise this.
What do I expect? I expect people to offer me help for nothing, to recognise when I’m feeling overwhelmed and need help. Why should I be the one to ask for help, when I do so much for them? Friendship is a two-way street. Lately, I’ve been feeling used and unappreciated. I plucked up the courage to say something and it did not go down well.
Why are people like this? They are so self-absorbed that they do not recognise the feelings of others. Sometimes I wonder are they even listening or do they pretend they are interested but don’t absorb the information.
What kind of character must a person have to be so self-absorbed? How does this happen?
Definition: Someone who is self-absorbed thinks so much about things concerning themselves that they do not notice other people or the things around them.
I’ve heard said, that self-absorbed people are self-centred, selfish and only care about their own needs. I’ve thought about this long and hard. Sometimes things happen in life which are beyond our control and when bad things happen one after another, you can’t help but be self-absorbed. However, I think if you value a person’s friendship then you need to step up and realise that this person is a human being and has limits, realise that this person also has needs and needs comfort and help.
I have read that self-centred individual are more grounded; they can give more to others and have the potential to be even more generous and to make even greater contributions. I believe this and yes I have experienced this in the past. However, I also believe that these people can be so wrapped up in their own woes they forget about their own true character. They forget how a friendship developed, a true friendship. A friendship that may have developed through mutual interests, laughter and or sadness and to forget how your friendship developed and ignore or be oblivious to the very foundation of that friendship is heart-breaking.
I am my star sign, a crab. I’m hard on the outside and soft inside. This describes me exactly but when you chip away at my hard exterior, I will eventually, break. I noticed this last week and I think I had too much on my plate and I could take no more. I realised that I am too amenable and say yes too often. I feel guilty simply saying NO! I hate hurting other people by saying ‘No’ but some people can take advantage of this.
In a friendship, both parties need to recognise that, it works both ways. I think because I have done so much, I’ve allowed the other person to depend on me and that is my mistake. It is easy to come to me first, without sitting down and thinking for themselves. I should be a sounding board, not their mother, not the decision maker. I have failed to make certain people independent; I have failed to teach them to deal with their problems. Instead, it has been so easy and quick for me to just take over and this has been my ultimate mistake. I am an enabler and this trait is my downfall.
I have been reading this amazing book called Anxious To Please by James Rapson and Craig English. I would be interested if any of you recognise the traits stated in the book.
· Apologise frequently or for things you are not responsible for
· Get preoccupied with what other people think of you
· Become unhappy when your partner isn’t happy
· Feel worried or fretful so often it seems normal
· Often not know what you want
· Constantly second-guessing yourself
Well, I recognise all of these; it was like this book was written about me. I am the ‘chronically nice’. I will not repeat everything in this book but what was interesting reading it, I realised I need to be me, my true persona or at least the persona I believe is true, to other people and I don’t mean the person who is always anxious to please. I mean the person who I am, the confident and sometimes hard individual, which only comes out when I’m pushed to the limit. Yes, the persona that will also burst into tears because I can’t control my emotions and those tears quickly dissipate until anger takes its place and when the anger is cleared, confidence rears its head. Once I have reached this stage, I suddenly have clarity and realise enough is enough and being anxious to please is not good for my health or my wellbeing. Allowing the anger and disappointment to build inside of me and bottling it up is not good for one’s health and if you do this as I do, eventually when you can take no more and everything comes out at once, you may find you have lost a friend.
We all want to be liked and loved and hence some of us feel we cannot say NO!!! Or say ‘do it yourself’ or simply ‘I’m too busy to do this for you’ but if your friends, family or partners are offended by you saying ‘no!’ once in a while, then they are not the people to be around. You are not always going to say no but there has to be a limit, a line needs to be drawn. I realised I needed to draw that line.
I need to stop being an enabler, I am struggling with the stress experienced by co-dependents and these co-dependents have become addicted to my enabling trait. This type of relationship does not lead to a healthy or satisfying friendship. The co-dependents may not realise this straight away but the relationship has become one-sided.
Do I feel guilty, yes I do but with time I will conquer this. It will make me a better person and maybe it will make other people respect me for the things I have done and will continue to do. Maybe they will learn to stand on their own two feet.
By helping myself, I will help others.