Tag Archives: Self-help

Mother’s Day – a tutorial

 

Mother’s Day

Two simple words. Deep complex meaning.

Very deep and darkly complex if you’re a single mother and have to do the dishes twice as often, but the effects of which can be lessened by well thought out appreciation gifts that come with a bonus moral.

So I said to my young son matter-of-factly and as a subtle jokey reminder:

“It’s Mother’s Day soon, whatcha getting me huh nudge wink?”

“A Big Giant Hug” he casually says without looking up from destroying something on a game bound to be deemed bad parenting on his PSP.

“……………..”

“Awww. No really though.”

I’m hoping I’m successfully conveying gratitude but still letting him know that it’s also a downgrade from the chewed macaroni necklaces I have received in the past.

“It’ll be such an amazing hug it’ll be just like chocolate” he assures me without hesitation, but glances up briefly to see if such eloquence would cement my appreciation and put paid to further discussion after I had dried my eyes.

Now I know you’re all scrunching up your faces and going whaaat? That is just the cutest…” but I have parented a child for nearly 19 years and am finely tuned to the emotional manipulation tools they use. Not least of which is offering one act of affection in return for at least two decades of their daily life sustaining resources.

Also the fact that he successfully linked the day with chocolate, means he smarter than sits comfortably with me.

However, dismissing the generosity of my child, regardless of its authenticity is a sensitive issue that if handled badly could be held against me and verbally returned to me every single day for the rest of my natural life.

Don’t misunderstand me – his hugs are excellent, really good get-in-there bear hugs and I love them.

But Mothers Day comes once a year and chocolate is chocolate.

And I happen to know he has R200 in his wallet.

As back-up justification, I must point out that almost all of that R200 was originally mine. Passed on for (half) doing chores that he is never going get paid to do in the future (one can ardently hope).

Regardless, let me explain why this is not a matter of ungrateful self-indulgence on my part. It is all part of a whole range of fly-by-the-seat-of-my pants single parenting life lessons I have come up with that are designed to help my son’s avoid becoming every alternate weekend fathers. (Or *shudder* half of not every school holiday).

It’s fairly simple.

No matter what she says, a ‘Big Giant Hug’ is not a present that is going to fly with any future lady friends he may one day want to marry, or is dating over a gift giving day.  Unless of course, she lives off the grid, off subsistence farming, and makes her clothes out of the dried pelt of last night’s supper. In the likely scenario that she is not (given his penchant for hoarding cash and his intense desire to own an expensive well-fitted suit), then it will definitely not be handled well and it is just going to get him a big giant splash of cold Chardonnay to the face – that he will undoubtedly have to pay for anyway.

So a few hours later whilst queuing for a till, I casually pointed out some Turkish Delight that costs R41 and comes in shiny pink foil wrappers in a pretty soft off-white packet.  A really small price to pay for the greater good of a future marriage. (Trust me, I mean that quite literally.)

He stood there staring at it for ages before sighing and begrudgingly muttering that his brother better go halves. (Although I think his brother deserves an individual lesson, I’m just waiting for a good time to use the same line without raising suspicion.)

“You’ll thank me later” I muttered – ignoring the less than appreciative tone in which this life-defining skill was being received.

No matter what transpires on the morning of Mother’s Day though, I think I may have to find opportunities to go over this one a few more times before it properly sinks in.

Because all that is likely to happen is that they will scour the internet that morning for these to post  on my Facebook wall –

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Reasonable doubt

Today is an anniversary. It’s past exactly one year and two weeks since I last posted something here.

None of my tiny gang of followers (I felt the fleeting power of a cult leader as I typed that) has asked why or where I have been. I suspect its because they’re all living off the ‘no news is good news’ maxim, and if they ask they’ll have to think of sympathetic words to say to the horror/good fortune that has befallen/been bestowed upon me.

For example:

I fell into a pit of delusion thinking I could finish something I started.

“Where have you been? What happened with that other thing?”

I am typing up my thesis on Romantic Realism And The Long-Term Neurological Effects of Consistent Cynical Eye-Rolling and the Darcy Syndrome of Disillusionment.

“Congratulations on the adoption of your seventh cat”

I went to Spain and stayed in an internet-free village.

“I’ve been to Spain and there is no such thing…”

I have seen so many lawyers I am now graduating with a Law Degree (watching re-runs of Suits)

“……….still?”

I finally met this amazing gu

Okay, this is what really happened.

I went in search of my real parents, Procrastination and Bad Time Management, and we have been catching up ever since.

“What?…you’re looking a little tired…are you okay?”

None of those other things happened except the last one, I have no paperwork and the only hard evidence I have is the fact that I live and breathe.  But its true. Also almost all of the one above that. No. The one above the one with a line through it.

Obviously.

Strangely enough, what did happen in my absence was that I got a couple of new followers – (to this blog, not to my commune of belief that all men are islands). Why you would want to hold out hope for someone who clearly had given up is anybody’s guess, but there they were.

The occasional e-mail guilt-reminding me that a commitment to the internet is forever.

A couple from the Americas, someone from Finland and another from Trinidad and Tobago – who one can only assume found themselves here accidentally, much like I sometimes do, and were reaching for the exit cross in the top right hand corner when their hand slipped.

Well, person from a country I can’t locate on a map without squinting and searching for ages because I don’t watch cricket, you’ve brought it back to life.

 

the lost correspondent. jason decaires-taylor sculpture

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Edward Monkton the Philosopher

I loathe self-help books. I’ve tried to read more than a few, as I am the person self help books are written for after all. “Screw it, Lets do it”…Im a sucker for punchy titles, they get me all worked up and gung-ho for about 4 pages of totally unrelatable lucky coincedences that certainly didn’t show themselves to me before my twelfth birthday. After which, my blank mind ready for the new attitude adjustment clouds over whilst I frantically scan through the rest of the book looking for the Chapter that starts with “Step 1 – Make Yourself a Cup of Coffee”. “Step 2 – Sit Right On Back Down and Drink It”. And so on, until I have successfully completed all 100 steps and can smile down on my children who are playing ‘I Spy With Absolutely No Fighting or Swearing’ in freshly cleaned pyjamas and brushed hair. And the next morning, I make 20 new friends at my new job doing what I LOVE (which obviously will become clear as day to me around chapter 6 or so, and will surprise me in a good way because it wont be just drinking wine, but a how-to point by point reference on turning that hobby into a lucrative business) which in turn will have the banks endlessly phoning me offering me credit, as opposed to the current offer of an ultimatum, due to finally reaping the rewards of following my passion. Or, none of that will matter, and I will struggle along to make ends meet but will be gloriously happy and content because happiness is not about smoked salmon salad if you can imagine your baked beans to taste like that, which is a mindful state that can be reached through meditation, if you try hard enough (I would even read this chapter twice to fully grasp these concepts). Occasionally like Paulo Coelho’s books, the subliminal sub-text is where the philosophy lies, which makes it easy to read and enjoy the story, but very difficult to relate to my own life. Except maybe the view of the sea from my bedroom window, which is supposed to blow in winds of change rather than winds of gale force hair extraction, and the rolling tides mean more to me than a more accurate weather check than SABC 3. My point is, that if those books aren’t just shameless self-promotion by the author, then there are vital chapters missing between “You are Here”and….”A Flowery Description of Where I am and Where You Want To Be”. I just don’t understand them.

Edward Monkton on the other hand, is philosopher extraordinaire, insightful, truthful and highly, highly relatable. Also, can be read, and applied in the same amount of time it takes to curse the universe for your lot in life. Honestly, he pretty much says what the others are saying, but in a couple of lines with pictures. Read these and I guarantee you a brief moment of happiness, although your baked beans will taste the same as they’re supposed to. They won’t really help with that.

See more of his greatness herewww.edwardmonkton.com/

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