Monday, 5 December 2011

Struggling to *go gently*

Ah, my friends. Welcome to *Exhaustion Central*. I think I have finally reached the end of my tether. Or even snapped it. Mmm, heading for the hills like an untamed brumby is an enticing prospect – unbridled and free of responsibility and obligations.
Back here, I mentioned how a close friend was urging me to *go gently* in the wake of my Dad’s recent death. And over at Simone’s blog here just the other day, I touched on it again, this time in the light of advice by my doctors.

But talking the talk and walking the walk are two completely different beasts, I’m discovering. And they’re not walking in lockstep. Or even holding hands. Hmm, how did I get here?

Overdoing it with the birthday parties


Well, let’s take the obvious, for starters. Having two parties for Joshua’s 6th birthday was always going to be a challenge. I posted about the first one here. Now that was a very long post which took me hours to write and edit photos for. Seriously. Not to mention the fact that I’d actually lived through all the work described in it as well! But, that said, Joshie was delighted and that’s all Mr PB and I needed to confirm our belief we’d made the right call. Even though we were physically shattered after it.

Then we had his second party only 7 days later. Mad? Maybe. I’ve been too tired to even post about it and so much has happened on Planet Baby since then that it’s slipped off my radar. The short version? We had 18 people under 7 at our house for 2 whole hours and this time, the parents and siblings just left. Mr PB was in his element as the *Entertainer Extraordinaire*, even appearing as a magician to his enthralled audience. It was noisy, chaotic, crazy, exhausting but fabulous.
And this cake was infinitely more successful than the soccer ball!  Note: whilst inspired by the Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday Cookbook, it was entirely our own creation – much easier that way!
The number 6, a treasure island with hidden wells filled with smarties underneath the icing, an erupting volcano, Playmobil pirates and the odd dinosaur  - it was a winner, according to Joshua.

Here’s a view from the top.
The Carnival of Joshua then over, you’d think we’d have time to draw breath.

But no, siree! We’ve just had a weekend of Joshua and India attending other children’s birthday parties, not to mention Miss India turning 4 today.


After an exhausting weekend (which also involved Christmas preparations and Mr PB and I standing on our roof, chopping back branches from our neighbour’s property – let’s *so* not go there, especially as we didn’t have any proper shoes or harnesses on), Mr PB and I were up to 1 am this morning (I know!), making presents (as our finances are sooo tight at the moment, we had to make most of them) and baking the cake and slices.

We had the grandparents and great-aunts around for afternoon tea today. But just to complicate things, A Certain Father had forgotten to invite his parents so we did it all twice. All lovely, fabulous to have them there but still, two sittings with a bath in between for fractious pixies as witching hour descended. Hmm.
We had a marble cake this time, smothered with pink icing, of course. Not to mention those dratted 100s and 1000s – remember this post?!

She’s having a party for her daycare friends in a fortnight so I’ve also been hand-making the rainbow invitations and envelopes (due to cash shortage – see above). We then had to hand deliver them all over town today as we didn’t have most of their addresses and had to drop most of them off at her old and current daycare centres.
Do you think mine will look as marvellous as this?
I’ve promised her Meredy’s fabulous rainbow cake for her party since I’ve seen so many of you all having a go ☺. She can’t wait!

So with her party a fortnight away, you’d think that this weekend would be free. Er, no. It’s already booked up with work Christmas events and other birthday celebrations.

I’m hyperventilating already.

So after her party on 18 December, Christmas will be a week away. *Sigh*. Even typing that hurt!

Starting the Christmas preparations

In the midst of this, we’ve started our Christmas planning. We’re still in the middle of The Great Unpack so finding our decorations has involved a lot of ladder climbing. But our wreath, Advent Calendar and our real Christmas tree are up – a special post on that soon. So at least we’re underway.

Dealing with the crawling-to-the-end-of-the-year syndrome

We’re tired. So very, very tired. It has been a tumultuous year for us. Now the ordinary end of year tiredness is overlaid with emotional exhaustion.

I am still grieving my Dad’s death. Deeply.

Especially on a day like today when his absence is so stark. Tears are spilling down my cheeks.

Just 9 more school days to get through…

Trying to find some ‘me’ time

In an effort to boost my spirits, Mr PB has really been trying to give me time to myself as much as possible, bless him. I attended a Seeker Lover Keeper concert last week which was absolutely enchanting (post to follow). But I arrived home quite late.
And I’ve been staying up way too late blogging and flirting with Twitter.  Just trying to work out if it really is the thing for me. I’m undecided.

So where to now?

My energy reserves are finite and I need to harness them to best suit me and my health.

I also adore connecting with you all and keeping up to speed with your lives.

So, in order to truly *go gently*, I think I’ll try to:

Ø     write shorter posts (I can hear you clapping, Bron!);

Ø     turn off the computer at 10.30 pm (that will be very hard); and

Ø    limit my time online (it’s high time for a *bloggy rehab* update, don’t you think?).

I hope you’ll hold me to account, as good friends do! And I promise not to change the time of my post to make it seem earlier than it really is (there – my guilty secret is out ). I’d love to hear any other ideas you clever Planetarians might have to help me crawl to the finish line this year!


  1. Miss Jane

    for different reasons:

    I SO KNOW WHERE YOU ARE COMING FROM!!!! (not shouting just eye's popping out of my head with identifying the exhaustion :)

    take 100% care and I am going to take a few lines out of your book - think I have to turn the computer off at 9.30pm, well I'm going to aim for it.

    It is an amazing thing this blogging world - we all think it's fine for someone else to take time off and take care of themselves but when it comes to us - we soldier on and don't "walk the walk".


    Have a wonderful day,

    loulou, hereiamloulou blog


  2. Biggest hugs hon! those 3 goals are my perpetual ones that I only achieve a couple of days a week. You can do it though!

    Take care of yourself and walk the walk. Well it is 10:30 here so I am going to join you in shutting off my computer (is it ok to peek at my phone one last time in bed though...)

    I'll be thinking of you.

  3. I'm so very sorry to hear that you have so recently lost your Dad.

    Sounds like you are a just so busy:( I know you are tired, this is a beautiful but exhausting time of year. From my end it looks like you are doing a perfectly marvelous job!!!! ( those parties were so lovely)

    I will be sending you lot's of loving and peaceful thoughts this Holiday season. Hoping you have a wonderful Holiday and that you find time to Relax and Breathe. Sending love your way, Barefoot Mama

  4. Oh Jane.
    I'm exhausted for you.
    I think you're doing the right thing setting some limits at this crazy time.
    Trim away any unnecessary or non-essential commitments to loosen life's choke hold.
    Allow yourself to feel all this and grieve.

    Don't worry about us - we'll be here.
    Do be kind to yourself.
    I wish I could offer you some practical, actual help (or even a coherent sentence - I'm off to bed too.)

  5. Hmmm. Well I think the fact that you are recognizing and talking about it is a step in the right direction my friend, but really I think unless you slow down and just let a few things go (I know, the perfectionist in me so struggles with this too) you're going to crash and burn and no one wants this to happen! It will be time for a Mr PB intervention! I feel for you Jane. It has been a long hard year for you, and you are always so positive and open about everything which I so admire. But you have to have a little time for yourself. No arguing back! Go very very gently. xx
    And don't forget to enter my giveaway!

  6. Live first, blog later my dear friend. To everything a season and right now, you're in a season of grief. You are beloved by the Planetarians and we won't be going anywhere whilst you take some much needed time out. If you want to blog each day, why don't you just do one photo, and a thought that you had....use it as you would twitter perhaps? As for twitter....I'd say that's a 2012 initiative. You'll get there lovely girl, going gently isn't easy. Big hugs, Meredy xo

  7. Hi Jane, gee things have been a bit manic for you. It is that crazy time of the year. I tend to avoid all that social stuff at this time of the year.
    I like the commenter above's idea just to post one image with a short message. It just might take some of the pressure off.
    Happy birthday to India. I look forward to seeing her cake. Hopefully we can catch up for a cuppa before Christmas x

  8. Hi Jane, Beautiful pictures of you and your family. Take good care of yourself and try to relax and have even a little time to yourself. Hugs to you Mimi xx

  9. Please be kind to yourself xx

  10. Love all of the party craziness going on in your house and what a wonderful mother you are putting in so much effort and love for your cherubs. Now that those adventures are over with time to cut back and chill a little more my friend. slap that go gently sign on your forehead and have it as your motto for the rest of the year. Practise saying NO to yourself and go to bed early!! It will make a huge difference to your emotions and to your health. I have been cutting back on twitter and going to bed at 9:30pm - I feel like a new woman and guess what - no body has missed me! N x

  11. Hi Jane,
    congratulations with your kids! And YES, I would start with a gently break from the computer, have been doing it myself this week, it's rather refreshing for the mind.... take care of yourself, hugs, Maureen x

  12. I'm letting the blogging
    take a back burner for
    the holiday season, and
    you should, too. Just blog
    once a week until you
    feel you aren't so zapped.
    It's important to have that
    time in the evening with
    your hubby, computer OFF,
    once the pixies are in bed.
    I treasure that time. We will
    all still be here when you return,
    sweet Jane!
    xx Suzanne

  13. Hey Sweetpea,

    I really struggled to get through all of this as I'm so zapped myself that reading about your own busyness was exhausting - what an amazing Mum you are.

    After being a 'doer' for all your life I understand how 'going gently' would be a difficult concept to master but it really is so very important and I couldn't give you better advice than to re-read Suzanne's comment above and take it to heart.

    Please know solidly that we care for you and want the very best for you, Mr PB and your precious Pixies.

    Falling over with exhaustion or running away to the hills isn't going to cut the mustard so please, please, please go into your room of your own, look at all the treasures from just a few of the people who care for you, know that you are thought of in the highest esteem, take out your art supplies, put on your favourite tunes and do something nice just for you - recharge with the intent of being well not just surviving.

    Biggest of hugs,

  14. It may be hard for you to do but you just need to stop! All the above comments are so sensible. Here's my more emotive and nutcase-like opinion....
    1. Exhaustion coupled with grief = normal feelings of depression!
    2. Continuing to push yourself beyond all sensible limits coupled with exhaustion and grief = clinical depression = the need for medication and is a much deeper hole to climb out of (speaking from experience gorgeous lady - been there, have the T shirt to show for it)
    3. What is this layer cake all about...will she really care if you just make a plain old chocky cake with icing and sprinkles???
    In conclusion (imagine overlaid soundtrack with rising need to step outside yourself for a sec and think about what you would be saying to someone in front of you that you can see is sooooooo stretched that the fraying ends are tickling your cheeks!

  15. Oh Jane, my heart goes out to you. It's so hard slowing the pace down but so needed, especially at a time like now with the festive season mere days away. You will thank yourself for going gently, believe me :) I've been so rewarded by going slowly and feel less frazzled by the day.
    Thinking of you, take care friend.


  16. Hi Jane. I love the concept of rubber time they have in the Pacific islands. They get things done, just not in the normal confines of time that our society puts on things. Stretch time for yourself, dear girl...prioritise, then work through your list slowly, thoughtfully and enjoyably, savouring the journey patiently knowing that time will work for you not against you. I was just thinking the other day that God is never pressured by time or other constraints, He has such a sense of who He is that He gets things done in His own time. Lean on Him and enjoy His time, nobody elses timetable matters. Hugz.

  17. So many wise words from very wise woman in the posts above. *Nodding* here.
    I agree with them Jane, you are a fantastic Mum to do all of the above mentioned for your children and their b'days, however you must make sure it is not at the expense of your health.
    I rarely get on the computer at night. (hubby needs it for work, which is a blessing as otherwise I too would be on here until late.)
    Sitting and reading has been my unwind time lately before bed and I am my own worst enemy when it comes to going to bed late. (still working on getting in earlier myself!)
    I like Meredy's suggestion of a photo and a few lines from your day, every now and then.
    Have you read that part in The Happiness Project yet about doing something similiar as a gratitude exercise?
    Please do be gentle with yourself and take little bits of time out to nurture yourself when you can, it really does help with your own health and happiness.
    The world will still keep turning even if you don't do a blog post.
    Remember to stop and just breath and *BE*

  18. even god had the seventh day off darling one :) le xox

    ps on a practical level give yourself a bloggie roster eg sunday post, mon tue no post read others max time limit, wed post, thur and fri read only top ten new posts from buddies, Saturday no blogging at all :) le xox

  19. Oh sweet Jane, I am tired after reading this post. You are just like one of those little pink Duracell bunnies, working away so hard at everything. I also burn the proverbial candle at both ends (which you already know) and I often endeavour to limit the evening pursuits... but it usually doesn't work, I am literally addicted to blogging :o/
    All your ideas for attempting to go a little more gently sound great... provided they can be adhered to of course. My only word of advice is something that I should do more of myself... say no once in a while. I find my need to socialise often gets in the way of down time... or 'me' time. I always end up believing that time with friends/family IS me time. When in actual fact, the two are actually exclusive.
    More of those lovely solo nights out at concerts would be good for you, I am thinking :o) xo

  20. Dear Jane,

    We will miss your long posts for sure but your schedule does seem crazy! Just do it as the French do - don't live to work but work to live

    The birthday parties seem such fun and the cakes delicious.

  21. No wonder you are exhausted!!! You have been so busy! But I know that feeling! My kids have birthdays in the last weeks of school term although I very meany did only one party each (you are a amazing to pull it all off!)it was a huge effort. You need to have a rest, take things slowly for a bit! My advice (don't expect deep here) put the kids to bed early, pour a glass of wine and put your feet up!!!! (I think I will take my own advice too!) Otherwise Christmas will finish you!! x

  22. Oh! I forgot to say how much I LOVE the cakes!!! x

  23. Wow, what a hectic schedule...I can see why you are so exhausted. I'm tired just reading it! : ) The idea of "go gently", is soothing in itself. Yes, go gently indeed.
    Kim x

  24. Take care of you Jane - remember you are the only one who do!!
    Lots of love and thoughts from Me

  25. A bit of a delayed response but yes, you deserve and need to take a bit of down time -there is a lot going on in your world at the moment! I love the way you put it. Gently. Sums up a lot! And I love your cake (although for the record, I really did think the soccer ball was great too!)

  26. Oh my! I am overwhelmed by your collective and individual kindness here, you fabulous Planetarians. There are way too many comments to address individually but please know that I have read and treasured every single one.

    Here are just a few of my responses:

    @Loulou You're spot on there, Lovely. Given all you're going through now, that sounds just the ticket for you, too.

    @Shar Thankyou for acknowledging that I'm still grieving. So many people seem to forget and assume that time is healing everything. It may but not yet.

    @Amanda You have a huge heart, my favourite-bloggy-friend-over-the-ditch ☺.

    @Meredy You are such a blessing to me. Thankyou for these preceptive comments which have given me much food for thought.

    @Naomi So glad to see you're walking the walk, Gorgeous. Good for you!

    @Suzanne I am definitely thinking about doing that - needs must!

    @Felicity You know what I think. I'm so glad to have you in my corner.

    @Lib You're such a sweetheart. Thankyou. Yep, I'm still on my anti-depressants so that's why this is all doubly important for me.

    @Carol You legend - thanks for reminding me about the Indonesian phrase 'jam karet' I learnt at uni. It's a brilliant concept and just what I need to embrace now. Fabulous.

    @Kat Yep, Meredy's on the money. Expect shorter posts from now on! And yes, writing a gratitude journal is probably just what I need to do right now.

    @Le Yes, am thinking of working out a proper schedule.

    @Julie Goodness, you're a mind-reader! I've told Mr PB I just have to say 'no' to most things this weekend. I may even have to stay in bed for a while. I need time out and peace.

    @Tiff Thanks, Lovely - off to buy a nice crisp riesling now!

    J x

  27. Oh sweet girl I worry about you. You have such a huge capacity to do, matched by a loving heart & a high intellect. But life isn't a race, the kids couldn't give rats if their birthday cake comes from Woolies & you adjourn to the Party Room @ Maccas to celebrate. Keep it simple, be ruthless & make it your ambition to be the most chilled out Mum in town. Repeat every day 'Perfection is evil & must be destroyed'. Chuck the younger kids into day care one day a week & don't go home. See if the local courts need a volunteer to guide people through the process. Your brain needs some adult time, don't worry, the kids will manage for a day without you. Have a Bloggie vacation over the holidays for at least 3 weeks, we will be around when you come back promise.
    Millie xx

  28. Oh Mills, you're such a gem. Thanks so much for your compassion, caring and thoughts. Will email you. J x

  29. Millie said it all Jane and manages to put a smile on your face at the same time I'm sure... It all sounds completely frantic at yours... I do hope you find some time to relax and just stop. Really stop.

    I haven't had time to blog because I've been busy doing jigsaw puzzles, reading entire books in one day and colouring Christmas posters with the girls. The garden is getting overgrown with weeds and needs a good mow... but I've got a serious case of the go slows so it'll have to wait. Priorities! We are off to town to shop and have a sushi lunch today. Perhaps you just need to escape to the country for a bit! gxoxo

  30. Georgie, I'm so delighted you have your priorities right, my friend. Yes, stopping is now my aim. J x

  31. Oh Jane, I've only just read this post of yours now (has been a frantic few weeks, well months in our household since little Sophie's arrival). I do hope you are taking some more time out for yourself to relax and 'just be'. So hard with little ones and easier said than done but so very important as I've come to realise lately. You can't do everything and be there for everyone. I think taking a slight step back from your blogging 'duties' is wise - I have a much smaller blogroll these days and while there are still blogs I hate to miss a post on and comment on like yours, I've conceded that I can't read every post of everyone's and I myself can't post asoften as I'd like, at least for now. Big hugs xx

  32. Oh Sweetheart, I'm so pleased to hear this. Life first and blogging second. That should be our mantra for 2012, don't you think?! J x


Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, you gorgeous soul. You've just made my day! J x

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