Posted in Parenting

What happens when my kids find out I’m a fraud?

At the moment my children are at an age where I can comfort them, fix their problems and provide them answers … but what happens when this is no longer the case?

What happens when their problems can no longer be fixed with a tissue and a milkshake? What happens when they grow up and find out that I’m not perfect, I don’t know everything and I still don’t have life figured out?

Will they be disappointed? Or will they understand that parents, just like other people, are imperfect beings who make mistakes?

And what about the lies? Are we setting our kids up for reality or are we just setting them up to be disappointed?

When little Johnny says he wants to be a doctor when he grows up, what are we supposed to tell him? Do we encourage him and tell him he can be whatever he likes as long as he puts his mind to it or do we smile sweetly and reply “That’s nice darling, but you’re just not smart enough to be a doctor.”

By telling our children that participation is more important than winning and trying hard is more important than results, are we just setting them up to fail? What happens when they head off to embrace the big wide world on their own and they realise that society favours winners and rewards results – and as hard as they try, they may still not get what they want!

As a parent you are confronted with such conflicting ideas and advise on a daily basis and often wonder how to navigate your way through this minefield called parenting.

You want your child to never be sad or disappointed but you also know they need to develop resilience and learn strategies of how to cope in this world full of ups and downs.

It has been said that the generation I belong to (Generation X) are now finding themselves depressed and disappointed as we were told we could be anything, have everything and the world would be our oyster as long as we put in the effort. Then we grew up only to find out that this is not always the case and reality can look quite different altogether.

So, did our parents raise us wrong? Should they have told us some home truths at the age of eight and expect us to understand? Should they have told us we were ‘losers’ when we didn’t come first in a competition or win a race at school?

What is the right answer here? I, for one, am somewhat baffled and as usual don’t have the magic solution.

However, I know that, whether right or wrong, I want my children to be able to stay children for as long as possible. So, to this end, I will continue to encourage them to try hard, think big and if they grow up and life doesn’t meet their expectations I will comfort them and try to explain that I am only human and every decision I made and advise I imparted on them was always with their best interests at heart.

I hope they understand that although I may be a fraud and even a liar, I love them unconditionally and hope that their childhood will provide them with a foundation on which to grow into happy and healthy adults.

Posted in Christmas

A Christmas Letter

 

It is a tradition on my husband’s side of the family to send a ‘Christmas letter’ at the end of every year documenting the ups and downs and general goings-on of the year about to reach completion.

I have not scored highly in terms of participation of this tradition in previous years, so just by typing this I have outdone myself. However, being the ‘modern mama’ that I am, tradition will be slightly broken as I am not going to send my Christmas letter by ‘snail mail’ but instead publish it online ‘blogin style.’

The start of the year saw my first-born child start ‘big school’ as an innocent little kindergarten kid. This is a huge event in the life of a parent and, armed with my box of tissues, I was no exception.
The morning started off smoothly enough with my son excited with anticipation and later immensely pleased when he was placed in the same class as his neighbour and soon-to-be ‘girlfriend.’

However, inevitably there is always a bump in the road and this bump came to fruition when it was time for the children to meet their ‘buddies’ (older students who would look after the kindergarten kids for the first few weeks).
One by one my son’s classmates were paired off until there was one child left – my son with no buddy assigned to him!
Now this may not seem to be a disaster to some people, but to this mama bird resisting the urge to grab her baby under her wing and fly away home – it was a major calamity!
Luckily when the staff saw the matching expressions of terror on the faces of mother and son, they quickly remedied the problem and I was able to send my son on his merry way.

Travel featured on this year’s itinerary also, with a trip home to NZ to farewell the folks, who sailed off into the sunset destined for Tonga, and to say goodbye to my sister, who with partner and toddler in tow, flew off to Sweden.

We have had our share of health issues in 2013, from fractured ankles to broken teeth and hip operations to the loss of loved ones. However, with sorrow also comes joy and I have witnessed the rejoicing of many friends who have welcomed a new life into the world this year.

I have been homesick for my family and lonely for my husband, when he has been working away, but all in all – we are well, we are happy and we are grateful.

So, on that note, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and ‘ROCK ON 2014!’

Posted in Parenting

Do You Realise There’s A Person Attached To These Boobs?

Nobody can really explain what it is going to be like when you have your first baby. That’s because no experience is the same and everybody’s birth story is unique. The only advice I can give mothers about to birth for the very first time is to “expect the unexpected.”

In fact, ‘unexpected’ pretty much sums up the birth of my first child. You see, when I was pregnant I had drawn up a pretty little birth plan requesting I receive a “natural water birth un-aided by drugs.” However, despite my well-laid plans, I ended up with 3 arduous days of labour and an emergency C-section! To this end, instead of picking out music to have playing in the birthing suite and choosing inviting fragrances to have wafting around, my time would have been much better spent choosing the appropriately sized spew bucket to have beside my bed and a range of Granny Undies to wear after the birth!


Photo Credit: fashionista.com

However, the labour and birth were not the only surprises and mysteries awaiting for me in the maternity ward. Something nobody told me about was the mysterious gowns they make you wear. Sure, it looked like I had expected with the depressing colour and ties around the back – but I never knew they were magic!

Let me explain: When I was in my normal clothes plenty of people were talking to me, asking how I was doing, giving me instructions etc – but as soon as I put that gown on everything changed. Suddenly it was like I had disappeared! People were still talking, but not to me. About me, but not to me. So, after a while I figured it out. This gown was like an invisible cloak, but in the reverse. It was obvious the mid-wives and doctors could see my body parts from the neck down as they were constantly talking about contractions, dilation and conducting examinations, but for the life of me I don’t think they could see my face – no friendly smiles or pleasant conversation. Obviously whatever was covered up by the gown was still visible, but those body parts not covered must have disappeared entirely!

This feeling of invisibility carried on throughout the day and night as mid-wifes changed shifts, exchanged notes, conducted examinations and discussed what flavour curry they would be having for their tea. Luckily, my husband has super powers and could still see me, so while the nurses chatted happily amongst themselves he would be running to fetch me the spew bucket, rubbing my back and wetting my sweaty brow. There wasn’t a lot of talking from his corner either, but at least he knew there was actually a person lying on the bed – not just a collection of lady parts!

Even after I had given birth this puzzling predicament continued: Pretty much straight after my son was born, he had to be taken to the Newborn Unit as he was having difficulty breathing. I managed to give him a quick kiss but then did not see him for many hours afterwards. In the meantime, I was taken to recovery and two nurses were sent in. I was so grateful to see the nurses as I thought I might be able to get a cup of tea and something to eat as I hadn’t had anything apart from water in what seemed like forever … but no, I must have still been invisible, because instead of offering some refreshments they quickly got to work ‘milking’ me! Yes, that’s right … one on each breast expressing milk for the baby and discussing technique while I was left lying there thinking “do you realise there is a person attached to these boobs?!”

I am pleased to report that, once I got to have a shower and get rid of that awfully mysterious hospital gown, my face seemed to reappear and regain its status as an important body part once again.

I am also pleased to report that one thing I was told about having a baby could not have been more correct: “When you hold your baby in your arms for the first time, it makes it all worthwhile.”

In fact, it not only makes it worthwhile – but worth doing all over again!

Posted in Health, Life

Life Lessons Learnt From The Sofa

Recently my husband worked away from home for about a month. Initially I freaked out at the thought of being alone with the children for so long and wondered how this ‘Damsel in Distress’ was going to cope. However, my friends rallied around to ensure I was not lonely and that I retained some sense of sanity and, with their help, I got through it ok. I must admit, it was a very busy few weeks, especially considering the children were on school holidays at the time and I distinctly remember several moments where I wished I could “just put my feet up for a while.”

So, as often happens in my life, the universe delivered: Shortly after my husband returned I managed to misjudge a step outside of the house, roll my ankle and consequently end up unable to walk and destined for a few weeks with my feet up. I obviously need to be a little more concise when I put my wishes out there: I was actually imagining a scene where I was stretched out on a sun-lounger, dressed in my bikini with cocktail in hand – not on the sofa at home with an ice-pack on my ankle and a couple of Nurofen to swallow!

photo credit: ΠάνοςΤ via photopin cc

However, as much as I was not at all happy about my predicament, being forced to rest reinforced for me a few of life’s important lessons:

Life goes on

While I was staring out the window, at the television or mindlessly scrolling through my phone, I came to the realisation that the world was still spinning and life was soldiering on regardless. This was despite the fact that I was not racing around trying to fit 30 hours into a 24 hour day!

Letting go


My lovely husband had no choice but to take a week off work to organise the children, get meals and generally attend to my every need. Lucky man! He tried his best but of course he didn’t do things exactly like I do: Wet towels were left on the lounge floor; Dirty dishes were often left in that state overnight; Toys became more visible than the carpet beneath them and the outfits my daughter ended up in – don’t get me started! However, he was trying his best and due to his efforts we all got fed, the children got bathed, dressed, taken to school and put to bed and life went on. Therefore, I had to learn how to bite my tongue and let go of the reins. It definitely wasn’t easy but was a valuable lesson for me to learn that things can still get done even when they are not done my way!

Asking for help

After a week off work, my husband really wanted needed to get back to his regular job. Therefore, as I have no family here, I had to take a deep breath and do something I often struggle with: ask for help! So, with the help of my wonderful friends, I was driven to appointments, my children were looked after and taken to school and everyone pitched in to get me through. My children were also a great help to me and were more than happy to help out with the chores, get themselves dressed and find their own food. This made me realise how independent they can be and how they are much more capable than I gave them credit for. I also learnt that you should not be too proud to ask for help because more often than not, people are very happy to lend a hand.

It’s ok that we’re all different

My husband is not big on talking about emotions, his or anybody else’s. So when I injured myself he was brilliant with his actions – racing to get me ice-packs and painkillers, taking care of the children and cooking us meals. However, he didn’t come and give me a big hug. He didn’t ask how I was feeling or ask how I was coping and he didn’t know how to react when I was upset.
At first, I was a bit peeved about this. His actions were practical and necessary but some of the time all I wanted was to have a cry and be given a hug. However, I realised this would be how I would be acting and he is not me. In fact, he is probably my polar opposite in many respects. So, instead of being cross with him I had to learn to be grateful for his actions and realise that this was his way of telling me he loves me and feeling sorry for me – and they say women are complicated?!

Be grateful

I consider myself to be a positive person who counts her blessings. However having to rely on others as much as I have had to the last few weeks has reinforced just how grateful I am for the people in my life:

– I am extremely grateful for my wonderful friends who have rallied around to keep up my morale and help me out. I am blessed to have found such a great support network in my adopted country.

– I am thankful to have a loving husband who is also a great father to my children and a great support to me (in his own way!)

– I am blessed to have such helpful, caring children.

– I am grateful that the angels were looking out for us the day I fell, as I was carrying my 4-year-old daughter and she survived without a scratch and my injuries could have been worse also.

photo credit: symphony of love via photopin cc

Although fracturing my ankle was not a life-changing event, it has still put things in perspective for me. It has made me realise that if I allow myself to slow down a bit I will have more time to enjoy life’s precious moments more fully, be more relaxed, happier and not miss out on what is right in front of me.

Now, that’s one awesome silver lining!

Posted in Parenting

I’ve Regressed 36 Years …. And It Ain’t Pretty!

After 36 years of feeling the earth beneath my feet, I am now back to getting around the place on all fours – and believe me it’s not nearly as cute as when I was crawling at 9 months old!

You see, yesterday was panning out to be a very relaxing Sunday. Swimming lessons were completed, Christmas lights were hung on the exterior of the house, grocery shopping was attended to and I even managed to slip over to the neighbour’s house for a coffee and a good old chin-wag.

However, when the clock struck 4pm, this relaxing day took a turn for the worse: My 4 year old daughter had just received a telling-off for throwing pebbles into the inflatable pool, so she was up in the garden shed having a sulk. Now, what I should have done here is left her to her own devices and let her come back down into the house when she was over it. But, this is not what I did. Instead, I walked up the steps, made of stone, retrieved my daughter, picked her up and started to make my way down the steps with her in my arms.

mum and child

This was a recipe for disaster: The uneven steps, combined with my well-worn thongs (I still find it hard to not write ‘jandals’ there) and the fact that I was carrying a 4 year old child downstairs was definitely not the cleverest idea I have ever had – in fact, looking back, it was bloody stupid!

Needless to say, I took the first step, went over on my ankle and sent my daughter tumbling down the stairs and landing in a heap on the pavers below.

Upon hearing the screams from both female members of the family, my husband came racing out to see what the “hell has happened.”

All I can say at this point is that somebody must have been looking over us, because my daughter survived with only very minor scrapes on her legs and I just have a sprained ankle (well that’s what I am self-diagnosing at the moment as I haven’t had any medical advice). You can’t actually see my ankle now for the swelling and bruising and I can’t, as yet, put weight on it.

When I asked my husband how I was going to get around he went to the cupboard and fetched me a cricket bat to “use as a leg.” Mmmm … I’m not sure how this was really supposed to work, so instead I have taken to crawling around on all fours instead. I can’t say I’m really enjoying going back to crawling – It feels very strange and unfortunately makes me realise just how dirty my floors are!

So, the lesson here people is DO NOT CARRY CHILDREN DOWN THE STAIRS!
Also, it’s quite ok to leave your children to have their little tantrums for awhile without feeling like you have to run and save them.

For me, it’s definitely a lesson well learnt as I’m not keen on spending too much more of my life crawling around the house like a baby.

Have you made any stupid decisions lately when it comes to parenting?

Posted in Social Media

Facebook: I Think I Want A Divorce

divorce

A few years back when I joined Facebook, it was a nice place where I could go and catch up with what my friends were doing and check out the latest photos of their children, dogs, embarrassing moments etc.

Now, however, Facebook is big business and in order to see what my friends have posted I now have to scroll through the posts of the many pages I have LIKED (note: those which actually make it through), but also have to deal with all the SPONSORED POSTS by companies or people who have paid to get their entry into my newsfeed.

Don’t get me wrong, I can understand how Facebook is valuable, if not essential, to businesses today and I am not exempt, as I also have a Facebook page for this blog – but quite frankly I am losing my love for Facebook at a rapid pace as it is becoming more of a chore than a pleasure.

facebook

I am not only losing interest from a personal standpoint (for the reasons I mentioned above), but also from a business point of view. You see, as a small business owner, blogger etc you work hard to get those LIKES for your page, which are worth their weight in gold. However, then you find out that although people have LIKED your page this no longer guarantees your posts will even appear in their newsfeeds. In fact, the reach on my own page has mysteriously dropped by 45.5% according to my facebook insights and I have seen others complain that only one tenth of their content is getting through to their fans.

But don’t worry … Facebook has the solution: All you need to do to remedy this dilemma is to boost your posts. In other words, pay Facebook to promote your posts to ensure they reach your audience. Excuse me, but WTF!!

I complained to my husband about this the other day and he replied, “Facebook is a business after all, of course they want to make money!”

Well, I’m sorry Facebook but I would have thought with the 1.11 billion people using the site every month, that your advertising revenue would be rather healthy.

So, for me personally I think my love affair with Facebook is coming to an end and I am starting to wonder if there is an attractive new kid on the block waiting in the wings.

So, throw the ol’ gal a bone here and tell me I’m not alone in this?

Do you think Facebook’s days are numbered and a sparkly, new, attractive replacement is on the way?

I have my fingers crossed.

photo credit: SalFalko via photopin cc

Posted in Parenting

The Sin All Good Parents Commit

With Christmas only 9 weeks away, it is time to find that elusive spot for ‘Santa’s’ presents. As the children get older, a perfect spot away from their prying eyes is getting more and more difficult to find. Although anything would be an improvement on last year’s hiding place – which was an epic fail!

Let me explain: A couple of weeks out from Christmas I chose a day when both children were at pre-school to commit to Christmas shopping, and sure enough after about 4 hours traipsing around the shops I had a trolley full of boxes. I loaded these into the boot of the car and headed home.

Upon entering the garage, I noticed a wooden table with plenty of room beneath it and an old single mattress leaning up against it. “That’s it,” I thought. “The perfect spot.” I then proceeded to unpack all the boxes, place them neatly underneath the table and stand up the mattress so it was blocking the presents.

Very proud of my efforts, I continued up the stairs and made myself a well-earned cup of tea.

So, about a week after the shopping trip, everything was gearing up for Christmas day and I felt pretty relaxed as all the shopping had been attended to. It was the children’s last week of pre-school and this particular Tuesday morning we were, as usual, pressed for time. “Right, down the stairs, let’s go!” I yell to the kids and they slowly start to propel their little legs in a forward motion. I was just collecting my handbag when I heard my son yell out from the garage, “Mum, come and see what I have found!”

I didn’t have to look to know what he had found. As I walked down the stairs I was trying to think fast and come up with an explanation, but nothing was coming. I was just going to have to do what any good parent would do in this situation – LIE!

And that’s exactly what I did: “Well done son, you have found all the empty boxes,” I said with the biggest fake smile I could manage.
He looked very confused and ready to protest, so I continued on.

“You see, Mummy went and got all these empty boxes with labels on the front, so Santa would know what you wanted for Christmas.”
He now looked more intrigued than confused. I took a breath and kept on.

“So, if you and your sister are extra good for Mummy and Daddy then Santa will come and visit on Christmas Eve and fill these boxes with the toys that match.”

He was convinced, and promised to be on his best behaviour, especially now he had seen the empty boxes!

I was off the hook. Thank goodness for my lovely children who take everything I say as gospel!

kids with santa hats on

So that was one example of a time I had to lie to my children, and I don’t really like doing it.

However, most of the time I don’t really feel like I am lying, but more like I am planting an idea in their heads in order to turn a potentially negative outcome into a positive one.
This situation arose in the weekend just been: You see, Sunday in our household is swimming day, and now that a new cafe has opened at the swimming complex, our tradition is to have coffees, muffins and milkshakes after the lessons are completed.

So, last Sunday we were sitting down waiting for our orders when my 4-year-old daughter pipes up. “I need my coffee now!”
I assure her that a milkshake is on its way for both her and her brother. A few minutes later our muffins and beverages arrive, but we are missing a milkshake.
I glance over at the cafe staff but they are more worried about impressing their male colleague than a minor detail such as their customers!

My son starts to screw up his face and begins to initiate meltdown mode as he let us know in no un-certain terms how “unfair” it is that his sister has her milkshake and he doesn’t have his.
My husband quickly retreats and heads up to the counter to remind the staff about the forgotten milkshake. He then decides to wait for it at the counter rather than join me and his temperamental son.

Time for some quick thinking again. I look directly at my son and say “Wow, you are so lucky!” Again he looks confused and definitely not believing that waiting for his shake could anyway be deemed as ‘lucky’.

I continue, “Did you know that the longer you wait for something the better it is?” He shakes his head. “That means that when you actually get your milkshake it will taste better than it ever has before,” I say, ever so patiently.

He seems convinced and when his milkshake finally arrives, he takes a sip and beams a huge smile in my direction.

“Mummy,” he explains. “This is the best milkshake I have ever tasted!”

“I told you so son.”

kids having milkshakes

Are there times you have had to lie to your children? Do you think that sometimes it is in their best interests to stretch the truth, just a little?

Posted in Life

Does Busy Trump Bored?

One of my favourite sayings goes “It’s better to be busy than bored.”

I have always whole-heartily agreed with this statement and at times when I have been crazy busy, I have consoled myself with the fact that ‘at least I’m not bored!’

But as our modern lives seem to be getting increasingly fast-paced and hectic, I am starting to re-think this theory. Is it really better to be busy? And how busy are we talking here?

If we are talking about having so much going on that you forget to drop your baby off at daycare, leave it in the car seat all day and then return to said daycare to pick the baby up, only to find that you not only forgot to drop it off in the first place, but that the little one has died (read more of this tragic story here:) – then I will take ‘bored’ any day of the week!

If we are talking about being so busy that you don’t have time to chat with a friend, visit a family member or play with your children – then it’s bored I’m choosing!

Why is it that busy now equals good? Somebody might be ultra busy running around like a roadrunner on speed, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are actually achieving anything, or doing anything to the best of their ability.

roadrunner
photo credit: chris jd via photopin cc

So, that leads us to ‘bored’. Although I have just given ‘busy’ the once over, I don’t think ‘bored’ is really the ideal state of being either. I remember a time when I was bored… I had just graduated from university and had moved home with my parents to save money, while searching for suitable employment.
My day essentially consisted of six things: A morning walk along the beach, eating, preparing lunch for my grandmother, applying for jobs, checking the mail and watching television. That was my day … and this same day continued for around 3 months. Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for having that time with my grandma and enjoyed the evening meals with the folks, but at the tender age of 18 – I was BORED!

So, where does that leave us? Obviously there are many downsides, some even fatal, to being too busy and being bored can be just as stressful. So I guess that leaves us with that thing we are always striving to achieve in our lives: BALANCE.

balance
photo credit: Viewminder via photopin cc

Oh yes, that delicate balance between work and life, fun and chores and busy and bored.

However, I wonder if this so-called balance is actually achievable? Maybe it is more realistic that we will have times in our lives when we are busier than we would like and times when we are bored and that life is actually just about managing those times as best we can and putting strategies in place to cope?

I know that when I find myself overwhelmed with everything going on I implement a few strategies such as: making lists, asking for help and trying to prioritise tasks into “must be done today jobs,” and “can wait until tomorrow jobs.”

I haven’t been bored for a long time, but next time I am I will try to appreciate the extra time to do those things I never get around to and funnily enough will try to keep ‘busy’ – go figure!

Where is your life on the spectrum of busy and bored? What strategies do you employ to manage?

Also, if there is anyone out there that has achieved perfect balance in life, please let me in on your secret!

Posted in Parenting

5 Reasons Why I Need My Husband To Come Home

My husband is currently away for work in a different state, for around a month.

We, the two children and I, are nearly 2 weeks in and the novelty is starting to wear off. Things are going slightly haywire around here, and we need hubby home – and this is why:

1) The fish tank is leaking
I know this doesn’t fall into the disaster category but there are several reasons why I need the man of the house around for this one:

– The tank is full of water (obviously) and heavy, meaning little ol’ weakling mummy can’t lift it. Sure, I could spend many precious minutes emptying the water with a bowl, into a bucket (or something like that) but that sounds awfully tedious.

– If I do in fact do the above and then proceed to re-house the fish in a glass salad bowl or something, I am afraid of the meltdown I may encounter from my children if little fishy doesn’t survive the transition.

Solution: Wrap fish tank with my bath towel and play dumb. Good strategy? Yes, I thought so too!

2) I need to hear the ‘D’ word

With no ‘Daddy’ in the house the word on constant repeat around here is of course ‘Mummy’. I love my two little darlings and devote myself completely to their needs and wants, but that word is starting to grate on me like nails down the blackboard. In fact, the next time I hear the ‘M’ word I think I might have to throttle something! Look out Goldie – I’m starting to hear a phrase in my head featuring two birds and a stone!
Hang on – what about the potential meltdown? Ok, good point ….. you’re safe for now fish-breath!

small_4694899147
photo credit: Benson Kua via photopin cc

3) Mummy’s no Nigella Lawson

As much as I love a good chicken salad and the kids enjoy their sausages, after a week’s worth I’m afraid we are going to lose our love of food entirely and potentially fade away – God forbid! We really could do with our resident chef, a.k.a. Daddy, returning to the kitchen!

4) Mummy needs her sidekick back for this circus

As it is school holidays, meaning Missy Moo’s preschool is shut also, Mummy is number one entertainer around here. I think I’m doing a pretty good job at keeping the children amused and I know I’m doing well at spending the hard-earned cash by Daddy dearest, but Mummy is getting tired, actually not tired … knackered – and the entertainment skills are slackening. Sure, Daddy isn’t always so hot when it comes to entertaining either, but even when he is dozing on the couch the kids reckon he makes a fantastic jumping pillow!

5) My children would like to keep their heads

I class myself as a pretty patient person, and mother, but today I must have had a personality transplant, because my fuse was definitely somewhat shorter than usual. The poor children didn’t know what had happened. Suddenly cool, calm and collected Mummy spent the day ‘snapping their heads off’. Bring back daddy … mummy needs a breather!

the family

I know this kind of situation is the norm for many families with partners and husbands doing FIFO type jobs. How do you handle things at home? Is your goldfish safe?

Posted in Entertainment, Health

Suffering In Silence

Last night I was getting my weekly fix of the new Australian drama ‘Wonderland‘ on Channel Ten. Usually I can watch this show, sip my tea and let my brain take a little break from its overactive nature … however last night it got me thinking.

You see, one of the female characters cheated on her husband and then confessed her dirty deed to him.

Colette's confession
Colette’s confession

After the confession, she immediately told a friend and lent on her for support. Her husband, on the other hand, didn’t tell a soul and tried to deal with his feelings alone.

Why don’t men talk about their feelings? Why do they suffer in silence?

I understand that men often react differently to stressful situations than women and I realise they need to go into their ‘man caves’ to figure stuff out. However, I don’t see how this is an effective strategy and I believe that it would be better if they could find a way to share their worries and burdens rather than keeping them bottled up.

man in cave
photo credit: Nhoj Leunamme == Jhon Emmanuel via photopin cc

There are certain notions in our society about how men are supposed to behave: They are supposed to be successful, in control at all times and keep their feelings in check. However ideas such as these can be extremely detrimental to the male psyche and may lead to depression, then, if the depression is left unchecked, it can be fatal. In fact, “In Australia, men account for 80 per cent of deaths by suicide” (Better Health Channel).

I try to allow my husband space to sort things out in his own mind before probing him too much about his emotions. However, sometimes it is hard to understand what is going on with him if he doesn’t share this information with me.

I also try to allow my son room to express his feelings and am conscious of not invalidating his comments about his emotions. However, I do worry that as he gets older he will learn that, as a male, he is supposed to ‘toughen up’, not be a ‘wuss’ and just ‘get over it’.

As I am neither a male nor a psychologist, I don’t have all the answers here; but maybe some of you out there have some ideas?

Why do men suffer in silence?

Do you think this is changing and the men of today are getting better at talking about their emotions?

How do we teach our sons to talk about their feelings and not be too proud to ask for help?