Beth's Blog

Pieces of me (lyrics)

by Beth Stansfield


I had been in contact with a Mother at church, on and off, for about a year. She had a daughter who volunteered during the church services to be at the children's art table .. keeping the children occupied. This young lady was the epitome of kindness and patience as she helped the children, my daughter included.

One day, the Mother contacted me to say that her daughter had died. She had gone to bed, gone to sleep as usual and did not wake up the next day. The daughter who died was young - 26. Her life was only just getting going.

I was surprised at how this news affected me.... we were not incredibly close (I didn't even know her birthday). Yet, I just stopped. Everything stopped. I couldn't shake the thought that a 26 year old had gone to sleep and never woke up.

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Gone (lyrics)

By Beth Stansfield


It’s Monday morning, twenty past four. Just like every Monday, every week - The thick dark is cut by a tiny iPhone torch, as he lights his way to our bed. He leans over, gives me a kiss goodbye and is gone.

An hour later, I wake. My heart sinks as waves of loneliness crash over me. I am left alone to be a sole parent, again. I pick up the missing pieces of their absent Dad and do it all…… He’s not there to make decisions, he’s not there to execute, he’s not there to follow through, he’s not there for the consequences. He’s gone. My husband, my best friend, my partner for life, my confidant … is now a distant voice on the end of a phone for 10 minutes a day. He’s gone. I'm alone. I'm lonely.

The light on your phone shines your way out the door

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KIS Lesson 81: Naps

If you put a child to bed for an afternoon rest, and she does not sleep, it means she does not need a sleep THAT day at THAT time.

It does NOT mean that afternoon sleeps are no longer required. Ever.

KIS Lesson 80: Cycles

Listen to your (and your child’s body) and respond accordingly. Stop scheduling eating & sleeping to a clock. Work around your child’s natural cycles. Go with THEIR flow & it will save you heartache.

When your child is hungry – feed her. If she comes home from school, famished, why not simply give her a dinner-sized afternoon tea? It’s what her body wants. She can eat a small snack of fruit or vegetable, later, at “dinner time”.

Having said that - Who says we have to regimentally eat dinner at 6pm every night? That’s not going to work for a child who is heading to bed at 6:30 to 7pm.

When your child is tired – put her to bed. Keeping her out of bed so your partner can “see her and play with her” when he gets home is nonsense. You will have an over-tired child who is then getting stimulated further with chatting and playing with her Dad.

Good luck putting her to bed and then to sleep!

KIS Lesson 79: Over-tired

Over-tired children are extremely difficult to get to sleep. They reach a hyper-energetic over-reacting state.

Do EVERYTHING you can to cut them off at the pass and get them to bed before they are over-tired.

KIS Lesson 78: Babies

Expect to be completely sleep deprived for AT LEAST the first 3 months. You will be a zombie.

Accept it and set your household up to logistically deal with this – before the baby pops out.

KIS Lesson 77: Comfort

15 year olds don’t walk the streets with blankies, dummies, stuffed toys etc. Children will easily and happily let go of their comforting item when they are ready.

A little suggestion ... a small “throwing in the bin” or “giving to the poor children” event to provide closure ... Done.

When you try to take it before they are ready, it’s heartache for both of you.

Why take the hard path?

KIS Lesson 76: Refusing to eat a cooked dinner

You’ve cooked up a lovely meal with a variety of ingredients and flavours. Your child refuses to eat it. In fact, she will not even try it.

So what do you do?

  • Exert your authority and force the issue? Have tears, anger, frustration, negative emotion – every night you try to force her to eat something she does not want to eat? All in the name of “She has to learn” or “teach her a lesson” to eat what is put in front of her. This creates a neurologically scripted negative response to dinner time.


  • Acknowledge her autonomy: Give her a plate of fresh fruit, vegetables, seeds and nuts. She inhales it like a vacuum and it took 5 minutes to prepare.

Which is quicker, easier and develops a happier child in the long term?

KIS Lesson 75: Golden Rules

(1) Always have the ability to earn enough to support yourself (and your children), in the lifestyle you value. Maybe – just maybe – your husband will die or your marriage will break up. Consider upskilling (or remaining skilled) to be a risk mitigation strategy, much like life insurance.

(2) Know who you are, what is important to you and never compromise on those foundations.

(3) Enjoy spending time by yourself

(4) Personal growth moves you from dependence to independence to inter-dependence. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

(5) Strive for better, not perfection.

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KIS Lesson 74: Can you keep a secret?

Some people can. Some people can’t.

It’s ok to be friends with someone who can’t keep a secret. Simple: Don’t tell them anything you want kept a secret and your friendship will be a-ok!

The downside: they’re not going to be one of your closest, inner-sanctum buddies.

Perhaps - they will be for awhile. Then, when you get sick of them betraying your trust and blabbing your secrets – over and over - you’ll probably start walking away … very slowly…

KIS Lesson 73: Values

I choose to be friends with people who hold the same values as me.

I don’t care if that person is starting in their career or 10 years in.

I don’t care how much they earn or if they gave it all up to be a full-time house husband.

I don’t care if they wear “reefers” every day or that they don’t dress in "smart casual" to dinner parties.

I don’t care if they drink red wine from the wrong glass.

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KIS Lesson 72: Age gap

When you know in your heart that the age gap between the two of you bothers you, it’s best to be honest and tell him.

Probably - you know in your head that an age gap is irrelevant.

Perhaps -in your past or in your future, you will date someone with an equivalent age gap.

Nonetheless, right here, right now, it is an issue.

What really matters is whether you are at the same stage in your life. When dating someone who is at a different stage, it feels weird … like you’re being dragged back to your late teens or being pulled forward into your late 30’s. Each time you feel in an uncomfortable situation, the age gap screams to be the problem.

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KIS Lesson 71: Cold

When you feel someone is turning cold on you – they are not returning your calls, not texting back, sound distant when they do bother to grace you with their attention – muster every single ounce of strength to not contact them again.

Do not seek a resolution.

Do not seek an answer or an explanation. There is none.

If he had any courage or sense of consideration, he would have spoken with you already and not be playing these immature communication games.

KIS Lesson 70: Smarter

If you’re dating someone and you feel you are the brains of the operation … walk away.

It doesn’t matter if that feeling is accurate or fair. You feel it. There is inequality.


KIS Lesson 69: Postcode

You can change your postcode.

You can change your job.

You can change your salary.

You can change from living in a share house to living by yourself.

… but if you always do what you’ve always done – you’ll always get what you’ve always got.

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KIS Lesson 68: A long time

Just because you have been friends for a long time, doesn’t mean it has to continue. Duration is not enough for a friendship.

Yes, you both know much about each other and have done many things together. That’s all in the past.

What is happening today?

Do you share interests, today? Or just memories of the glory days?

What do you talk about?

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KIS Lesson 67: Choice

You can’t choose the family you were born into or raised by.

However, if you are an adult in a democratic country - you have chosen the other things in your life. You can choose to remove them, particularly friends:

  • The racist / sexist / closed-minded / facebook feeds from people you have connected yourself with as a “friend”
  • Other parents you meet in the school drop-off who leave a bad taste in your mouth or a negative twitch in your eye
  • Going to someone’s house who has starkly different values that you do not want your daughter exposed to
  • Having children over “to play” at your house who bring a parent with condescending overtones

… these choices are yours.

KIS Lesson 66: Be a good friend

There’s a guy in your life. He is a good friend. A very good friend. As he has floated in and out of relationships, so have you. You don’t seem to both be single at the same time, ever. You genuinely care about him and are a positive version of yourself when you are with him.

There’s a part of you that thinks if the timing was right, you could both be together – in a romantic way – and have a wonderful life together.

Timing is a fickle thing. Sometimes the timing is never right and never will be right.

So, the next best thing is to simply be a good friend. A truly good friend. Be the friend to him that you would want him to be for you.

Be there for him.

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KIS Lesson 65: Psychiatrist

If the guy you have been dating for the past 6 weeks tells you that his Psychiatrist told him to not date … 6 months ago … it’s best if you walk away. The guy has issues … whether he looks like it or not … or says he does or not … or talks about it or not … just walk.

Don’t try to pare it back to a friendship. You’re only kidding yourself. You’re probably in too deep (emotionally) after 6 weeks, anyway.


He can always contact you when his Psychiatrist has given him the green light to date, again.

KIS Lesson 64: Learn the lesson

In every relationship that turns sour, the key is to learn the lesson in a mental way and DO something different each and every time in the future.

If we recognise the lesson in our head, but continue to make the same choices and do the same old things .. we will get the same outcomes. Then we kick ourselves for being back where we once were! The frustrating thing is we KNOW we put ourselves back in the same situation because we made the same choices and did the same things. This is NOT learning the lesson.

Learning the lesson means DOING something different next time. Heed the warning signals of a negative relationship and hit the “eject” button before you get in too deep.

If we keep doing the same things, we will get the same things, which will lead to the same results, which will give us another negative emotional experience!

Get on a different path.

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KIS Lesson 63: Recognise the slippery slope

What are the top 5 things that you do – that you like to do – that you do virtually day in day out (possibly week in week out for some) that make you, you?

We all have them.

When we get stressed, when we feel we are losing control of ourselves or our own time, when our life just starts the first small inklings of spiraling down a slippery slope – these are the handful of things that start to drop off. The key is that these are important to you – very , very, very important to you. Losing one of them is a sign that you are losing control of your life.

Think of it as a warning signal.

It’s a little alarm saying “Hel-loooo. This is one of your five to thrive. Why are you sacrificing one of your five to thrive? What is more important than something that is a core part of you?”

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KIS Lesson 62: Hobbies

If you want to meet people who like to do the same sorts of things as you, join clubs that do the things you like to do!

It doesn’t have to be the things you did in High School. Most likely, you are not that same person anymore – so why would you enjoy the same sorts of activities?

Team sports can be intimidating as the rest of the team may have already been playing together for many years. It can be tough to break through and into the social network. This can mean you are doing something you like to do with other people, alone. It takes time to feel that team camaraderie.

Try solo activities: rock climbing, church, toastmasters, writing clubs, hiking groups … activities where you are all doing your thing alone – but in a supportive group environment.

KIS Lesson 61: Not feeling it

Where you KNOW the guy is keen on you and you KNOW you don’t feel the same back … tread carefully. You are responsible for giving no hope and NOT leading him on in any way. Don’t go down any path that could even vaguely be construed as a “date”.

YOU are responsible for not messing with his head ... because YOU are still thinking clearly & logically – he is not. His thoughts are clouded with emotion for you.

Be honest. Be kind. Be transparent.

KIS Lesson 60: Know when you are ready

Just because a guy has given you roses and cooked you a romantic 3 course meal, doesn’t mean you have to have sex with him. Stay away from the “I think he expects ….” trap – it will send you batty.

You always have the freedom to choose how you respond to someone else’s actions.

If you’re not ready or you don’t know whether you are ready - you’re not ready. Wait. You will know when you are ready. It wont feel like the moment has been contrived or directed by a screenwriter. It will feel natural and comfortable.

KIS Lesson 59: Honesty

It’s ok to tell a guy:

“I’ve got no idea. My brain is a mess. I’m confused and I don’t know why. I thoroughly enjoy spending time with you. You are such a joy and a kind, decent guy. When we moved from friends to dating, I started feeling uncomfortable … it’s like I no longer know what to say or do around you ...”

Starting a conversation (and seeing where it goes) is a much better outcome than feeling uncomfortable, confused, breaking up with him and running in the other direction 1000 mph. Particularly when he is a solid, great guy.