FINAL POST FOR 2020

What a year 2020 has been! I’m well and truly ready to say goodbye to this hellish year. No doubt a common sentiment among us all.

Our family has survived two lockdowns, two terms of remote school learning, toilet paper shortages and experienced a roller coaster of emotions.

My four-year-old son has lost a year of socialisation from kinder and is exhibiting antisocial behaviour. On reflection, I probably spent a disproportionate time with my daughter on her remote school learning and neglected my son. I feel an overwhelming sense of mother’s guilt over this.

My eight-year-old daughter, like all of us, has developed some unhealthy eating habits and become a mini couch potato. She might also be addicted to screen time.

My husband has dark bags under his eyes and lives with constant stress. He doesn’t say anything but I know the lockdowns have affected his mental health. It’s not easy working from home and having a four-year-old interrupt meetings and being loud in the background.

As for me, I’ve had some tough moments. My anxiety peaked at the beginning of the pandemic but seems under control now. I started career transitioning from pharmacy to education but had to defer until next year.

Overall, while we have been impacted in some way by the pandemic, I can’t really complain. We don’t know anyone who has been affected by the virus itself. We haven’t lost jobs or our home as a result of the pandemic. We can afford food and pay our bills.

When so many others haven’t been as fortunate, it’s easy for me to keep perspective. While our family faces some challenges, they aren’t insurmountable. As a family, we will deal with it together next year.

I will be off social media and won’t be posting for a few weeks. Look forward to catching up on everyone’s posts in 2021!

I wish you and your loved ones a wonderful holiday season.

MY STRUGGLE WITH SMALL TALK

Do you find it hard to partake in small talk? Does it make you feel anxious? Or do you have the gift of the gab?

There are so many factors required to have a successful conversation with another person.

  • Using exact words to effectively express your thoughts
  • Understanding body language and its nuances
  • Maintaining eye contact
  • Finding a balance between listening and speaking
  • Showing an interest in the person and what they have to say
  • Offering interesting topic threads
  • Remembering to relax
  • Smile

If you suffer from social anxiety, being thrust into situations where you must engage in conversation can be scary. It might feel easier to avoid it altogether.

So why do I force myself to engage in conversation?

I recognise that to communicate and engage with others means social interaction. It means forging new relationships and strengthening others. It means developing my sense of self and belonging.

Ultimately, I don’t want my life to be consumed by my anxiety. I won’t allow it to tear me down. Therefore, I must engage.


Butcher: “Hello there!”

Me: “Hi.”

Butcher: “How can I help? What would you like?”

Oh my God, I don’t know. Sh?t, I better hurry! Sh?t, how do you say that word ’enchiladas’?

Me: “Um. Six en-chill-a-dars please?”

Butcher: “My wife just took one of these last night and upped to Mildura.”

What? What did he just say? Am I supposed to reply? I just want to tick dinner off my list.

Me: “Oh. That’s a long way.”

Butcher: “She loves them. Drove after work last night and got there this morning.”

Okay, I think I’m supposed to say something here. Fudge if I know. Why is he telling me this? Breathe. Relax. You can do this. It’s just a conversation. Be normal.

Me: “Yeah, she must love them to drive that far.”

Did he mean she loves enchiladas? Is six enough for dinner?

Butcher: “My daughter lives up there and had her baby last night.”

How long does it take to wrap these enchiladas?! I can feel my anxiety levels rising. This conversation is hurting my mind. New baby. Ok, so remember to congratulate him.

Me: “My husband loves your enchiladas.”

Butcher: “Thanks. My wife’s already saying she wants to come back.”

You seem like a really nice dude and I’m really glad you’re chatting to me but I suck at this and I feel awkward. Please have mercy on me!

Me: “My husband loves your enchiladas.”

Fudge! That’s not what I meant to say. I forgot the congratulations.

Butcher: “Uh, thanks?”

Me: “Um, congratulations?”

Oh my gosh! He did say his daughter, right? He looks young. I hope I haven’t misheard. This conversation is going downhill. Abort! Abort!

Butcher: “It’s my third grandkid. Here you are.”

Oh thank goodness.

Me: “Thanks. Have a great day.”

I need to get out of here.

Butcher: “You haven’t paid yet.”

Me: “You too. I mean, sorry I haven’t.”

Did I just say that? How embarrassing! I hope the next butcher isn’t as talkative.


Copyright © 2019, KN J Tales and Snippets. All rights reserved.

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INNOCENT WHITE LIES

When is a lie acceptable? Are there degrees of lying? It is less of a lie if it’s a “white lie”? Or is lying just plain old lying?

What about telling your children that Santa exists? Or the Easter Bunny? Or the Tooth Fairy?

And if you choose to do so, when do you tell them the truth? That you have indeed, lied to them.

My parents didn’t give me fairy tales or half-truths. We were poor. If I got a present, they made damn sure I knew that they had scraped and saved every dollar to get me that ONE present. That one item would be a necessity – no frivolous toy, no gift wrapping, no card. There was no illusion of some old jovial fat dude climbing down a chimney in the middle of the night to place a beautifully wrapped gift under a Christmas tree. No Easter Bunny was pooping chocolate eggs on our lawns. And the Tooth Fairy? I was lucky to see the dentist.

Maybe that’s why I overcompensate as a parent. I want to give them the magic and fun that I didn’t get as a child. I want them to look back fondly at their childhood memories.

I’ll admit that a small part of me wants to conform to society norms. I don’t want my child to blurt out, “It’s a lie! Your parents are lying to you! There’s no such thing as Santa.”

I can ponder away the day trying to find reason and rhyme for my parenting choices. Inevitably, I will have to come clean about my lies.


We placed the baby tooth into a plastic bag and put it under Mandy’s pillow.

“So the Tooth Fairy will come, take my tooth and give me a coin?” Mandy queried.

I couldn’t look her in the eyes. “Yes, so I’m told.”

“What does she look like? How does she get my tooth if I’m lying on the pillow? How much money will I get? What happens with the teeth?”

Oh boy.

My brain scrambled for answers. I hadn’t recalled seeing a “How to lie effectively to your child” section in the parenting manual I received from the maternal health nurse.

“Uh, no-one has seen the Tooth Fairy, so we don’t know the mechanics or logistics,” I replied. “Also, you get ONE gold coin per tooth. That’s all I know.”

Mandy contemplated my answers for a moment.

“Mummy, do you give me presents as well as Santa or are you pretending to be Santa?”

I paused. She was at an age where her friends were probably discussing the rumours. This was the perfect opportunity to come clean, but then she’d likely to ruin it for her little brother.

“No, Mummy and Daddy give you presents as well as Santa,” I reluctantly replied.

“What about the Easter Bunny? Are you putting the eggs in the lawn for us to find?”

I felt the weight of her accusing stare. I shifted uncomfortably. Mandy would become an excellent cross-examiner one day.

“Me?” I exclaimed in feigned shock, “I don’t have time for that!”

“Hmm.” Mandy responded. She was onto me. The jig was probably up.

“If you have any further questions, ask your dad. He’s the expert,” I deflected. “Hey, let’s read a book.”

I was the Master of Deflection and Timely Distractions.

“I think I’ll ask Ally tomorrow if she thinks the Tooth Fairy is real,” Mandy casually stated. “She knows everything.”

I shuddered at the thought of things to come.

Copyright © 2019, KN J Tales and Snippets. All rights reserved.

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