Saturday 5 July 2008

Message from your Mother

Note to new readers: Message from your Mother is a series of letters written by Lilly to her daughter which are based sometimes 'too closely' on their most recent phone calls. The letters are often written in the kind of irrational way that seems to come naturally to most mothers when it comes to the lives of their children. Whether the letters are funny or serious, you will always find a 'message'.

Well hello stranger

How are you? It seems so long since I heard from you and I know that when time is critical some things like mothers have to be bumped off the list. What with 7 billable hours a day, plus your training, networking, charity work, eating, housework, shopping, the gym and not to mention your social life, it doesn't given you much time to even sleep, does it?

Don't feel bad. I know you will contact if there is an emergency (um like this phone call about the fire). I'm always here for life's big questions. Like if Gary the gregarious, gorgeous hairdresser stuffs up your latest colour or you don't quite know what you are going to wear with your hot pink satin pumps with the emerald green bows (in fact don't ever ask me that because there really is no answer to that question). It's just that I am not that good with real emergencies particularly when your kitchen is on fire and I am 6 hours away.

I know it was because you were multi-tasking.

Cooking, applying makeup, talking on the phone, text messaging, one eye on the TV and riding your exercise bike.

I have been trying to make the best use of my time too! And there is no easy answer. It seems we all have to multi-task and risk it all going up in flames.

It all started when someone told me that you only need to spend an hour a day, every day for a year to write a book. I have always wanted to do day. So, I marked that into my daily plan.

Then there is my blog but apparently I can't spend anymore than one hour a day online otherwise I am branded a social misfit.

Then I also read that a really determined person needs to spend just half an hour a day to achieve a firm butt and flat stomach. So I have scheduled t
hat before the book writing and after the blogging because I had to prioritise and I am not sure how many firm butted authors there are out there (and everyone needs marketing leverage anyway they can get it if they are low on talent).

Then, as you know, I have been going through the whole organic diet experience. You know, trying to go back to basics and live like Hal and Liz did in the depression. Apparently I only need to spend 15 minutes a day looking after chickens and voila, I will have a fresh supply of eggs. Then, I need to spend another 30 minutes a day on the vegetable garden to produce a bountiful spread (and unfortunately another 15 minutes just to get the gardening boots on) .

So, now I am up to 4 hours already.

Now, you probably remember my IQ score. The one which showed my logic ability was almost non existent? Well, I found out that meditation for about 20 minutes a day increases the size of your brain and gives you a 30% increase in your IQ. So I had to weigh that up - what comes first the flat stomach or the bigger brain and the possibility of joining MENSA?

Then there is the whole environmental issue which is weighing heavily on us all. So I am walking more and saving on fuel. So that adds another 40-60 minutes a day.

Then, I also want to continue learning new things and doing my hobbies. So there goes another hour a day.

Then it takes me 15 minutes to write my daily schedule.

So now I am up to 6 hours.

And I haven't even added my family, business, work, friends.............not to mention your emergencies....

I feel stressed.

I need to cut my commitments down because there truly isn't enough hours in the day. I turned to my best friend....the big G.

I asked Google about what "just an hour a day" means. There are 219,000,000 web pages, all full of advice. In just one hour a day I can be fit, rich, look ten years younger, learn the flute and have a working knowledge of Spanish. Spend the hour "in selfless service" and I can change the world. Spend it listening to Bach and I can increase my mathematical abilities and radically lower my blood pressure. It now needs lowering.

All this pressure is making me panic. How to choose between learning Spanish, blogging and saving the world? Between "infusing myself with inspirational thoughts" and achieving a working knowledge of organic gardening?

Maybe I need a shorter time frame, just to fit it all in. I changed my Google search to "just 30 minutes a day". This time I got 128,000,000 web pages. In just 30 minutes a day I can make $7000 a month, become familiar with past life regression, learn to paint and be fluent in Zulu.

The shorter time frame seems a good idea. I narrow it again, to "just 10 minutes a day" and have now got 30,300 pages of advice. In just 10 minutes a day I can read Jane Austen's complete works, learn conversational Italian and become a pole dancer.

"Five minutes a day" is even better. In that time-frame I can develop a beautiful bust and become closer to God and make bread.

It comes to 65 hours a day of constant activity, not including sleep, work or eating. But I will have rock-firm abs, look younger, be fluent in six languages and have a regular supply of eggs.

That's the trouble with this sort of relentless advice. Everyone talks as if you are stupid if you don't meditate, do yoga, walk for 20 minutes and read all instructions carefully before use. You're also meant to check the batteries in your fire alarm, form meaningful relationships with your neighbours (who has time for family), make soup from scratch and save the world in Brangelina style.

If we did everything demanded of us, we'd need 300 hours in every day, would never be able to sleep or work and would still wake up every morning with this vague feeling of guilt and underachievement.

I am so confused, guilty and weary that I want to do precisely nothing........yes, I totally get why I don't appear on your list. Truly a smoke signal every now and then is truly ok! Then again, you tried that this week, just ring when you get the chance....


Your Mother

PS And now I have wasted 7 more minutes of your time by reading this.....and no doubt another 30 minutes while you correct my grammar.....oops sorry....


  1. Hi Lilly,
    I can totally relate. I always called it ‘brain overload.’ And as funny as it may seem– it can become a serious problem and lead to burn out. Our brain has a way of protecting itself. It just shuts down –as if to say “Data overload! Enough.”

    Only what's really important, Lilly.


  2. Hi Lilly, what a great post!
    I relate to the brain overload too, its a concern for the well-being of society as a whole.
    Gardening and growing things helps keep me earthed amongst all the madness.

    You sure kept me reading when you mentioned your best friend 'the big G'! For a split second I thought we were going to get a snippet of a sexual nature - how often long ...etc? Of course there is simply no time for such activities!!

    Take care, Tulip

    having email trouble this end.

  3. Brain overload ! Wow! I've been suffering with that for a while now and I have noticed that come a certain time of day I get extremely tired. I find turning the mobile phone off and taking the dog out for a long walk to be as good a cure as anything.

  4. Hi Lily (hi lo)

    I was going to try and leave a funny response (or an intelligent one) but having read your post, I can only breath out and admire your sense of humour, the pace of your writing, the fantasy of your imagination - I could go on and make it sound like an oscar winner on full I will...this post is a blast.


  5. Redchair - its working out the important stuff thats the annoying thing but you get better at it along the way. Brain overload is a real issue for all of us.

    Tulip - well of course we also think of the P nonstop as well which eats into our time too much. I am trying to do as you suggested but cant stop the dreams or nightmares. The Big G - well I would have to google that just to find out what it was these days.....glad you are making comments.. appreciate your senese of humor!!

    Jon- well you certainly have had your hands full in the last week and suffered form brain overload yourself it seems. Hope things are back to normal for you now. Thanks for stopping by.

  6. Henry - thanks for your comment - I rabbit on sometimes I know - but you are into magic so you understand. How cool is blogging, we get the chance to download and hope someone else finds it remotely entertaining or useful. Glad you are reading some posts - your writing talent takes my breath away.

  7. Lilly!
    I think I can help you.....

    Forget the firm butt, the 6 languages, making bread, learning the flute, learning painting, Zulu, past life regression (even tho I am totally curious about that one), yoga, meditation, or joining mensa..

    Just write that damn book! You have such a talent. I bet coming from you it could happen in 6 mos!

    Your idea of letters to your daughter is magnificent. What a fabulous gift. She should print these and make her own book to pass down generations. I can see your great great great grand daughter telling her daughter she had a wise old great x 3 grandmother who was so wise they wrote a book of her advice! heheheh

    Thank you for your kind words about my Bobby and me. I'm so blessed. You are just one more blessing brought my way.


  8. Jules - thanks for your words of encouragement and good advice. I appreciate it. I love your posts about real life and the things that matter the most. You are blessed and its just fantastic that someone is out there talking about positive, wonderful relationships!!

  9. I truly love this post. You have a humorous way of imparting your thoughts to your readers. My husband and I feel the same way when our son calls us only when he needs something. So did you email this to your daughter, and what was her reaction? I'm with Jules, go on and write your book.

  10. A priceless message Lilly - I will put it on my list to ring my mother every week and make sure the Tool man does too.

    really determined person needs to spend just half an hour a day to achieve a firm butt and flat stomach. So I have scheduled that before the book writing and after the blogging because I had to prioritise

    I hope this is ture ;)

  11. Tashabud - no, my daughter is a great girl but she has lots of incidents in her life because she lives every moment of it - I get worn out listening. She is always busy....

    Baby¬amore - you are one of those people who is always busy too. I find it hard to keep the priorties right. I am going to write a book - err, one day.

  12. You can make use of your time by applying time management technique.Trust me it really works.

  13. Bathroom vanities and April - thank for dropping by and commenting, do drop by again.

  14. Lilly thanks for visiting my blog. Your idea of letters to your daughter is wonderful. Living so far away from my mother, I too am guilty of only calling my mother when there is an emergency or I need something. Sometimes I have to sit back and find the time just to call her to say "hi mom I love you", but sometimes with the many things on our to do lists that you mentioned in this letter that does not always deam easy.

    My mother wrote letters to each and everyone of her kids while she was pregnant with us. Its such a great experience to revisit those letters once every 3-5 years and I often find my self sitting in tears as I read about my life even before I came into this world. Your daughter must really appreciate these letters!


Thanks for your comments.