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'As a mum, there are things you must never say out loud. Unless you use the Sandwich Technique.'

As a mother, there are things that you are allowed to say out loud.

These are things like how hashtag blessed you feel. How you would do anything for your kids.  

And how at the end of a challenging day it was all worth it when you watch them all tucked up and fast asleep in their beds.  

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And then there are things that you must never ever say out loud. Ever. Especially not the truth. Not everyone can handle the truth.  

It’s just not the done thing to express the loss of identity, the obligation, stress, or the mundane and overwhelming sense of responsibility one faces.  

Unless, of course, you know how to skillfully disguise the complaint using a social etiquette tool from the business world known as ‘The Sandwich Technique’.

It’s a simple and highly effective technique of delivering unpleasant news whilst avoiding a human pufferfish response from the listener.  

It’s easy, too. Positive statements sandwich each side of the unpleasant truth, thus making it easier to digest.

A better analogy would be ‘The Burger Technique’. Because big beefy truth patties need to be wrapped in soft white buns. So that’s what we will call this technique. 

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Now, before you get too excited, please note this practice can only take place verbally. Do not, under any circumstances, try and wedge any truth burgers between even the most carefully crafted hashtag blessed positive statement buns online.  

Do not just serve up the truth burger sans bun. It will not be ok. You will not be ok.

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This is a chat-only tactic. And again, so we are clear, the burger must, I repeat, must, be wrapped in a bun, and be well cooked.

For example, imagine you had a four-year-old daughter with dictator type tendencies. Demanding your attention and all the things and yelling, screaming, and throwing herself to the floor when she doesn’t get them. You could never in a million years blurt out something like, “If she screams one more time I will kill her!” But you could say, “I love that she knows who she is and she stands up for what she thinks it right, if only she came with volume control *insert giggle here*, I am so proud to be raising an independent woman.”

Or say you had three babies under three, all still in nappies. And while you were changing a nappy your finger slipped through the wet wipe and straight into a pile of warm, light brown sh*t. You could not say “It’s disgusting. I hate it. If I have to do that again I’ll run into traffic”. Too raw.

Positive vibes only! Image: Getty.

You’d need to cook that burger some more and put it between a super soft bun: “I just know that every time I change a nappy, they are digesting all that food and their little tummies are working properly. It’s not my favorite thing to do. But it’s over before you know it and I’m just so grateful I have three healthy babies”.

Imagine that you have a teenager. And they play a lot of sport. You spend more hours in the car and on the sidelines than you do in your house. It’s never going to be ok to say, “I hate this, all I do is drive and sit and it’s boring”. But you could say, “She is so talented. And yes, we have to wake up at sunrise on the weekend and spend our Saturdays and Sundays at the cricket, it’s a big commitment but it’s so worth is when she hits a six and she looks across at us to make sure we have seen it!!”

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Consider being the mother of a large family. An organised mother. The kind that uses iCal and has the various children, their activities, birthdays, school terms, library days, birthdays, friends’ birthdays, cousins’ birthdays, grandparents birthdays, holidays and public holidays all colour coded and scheduled and easily accessed by the rest of the family. 

Pretend now that as this mother you are in the kitchen, packing the lunchboxes of the many children, keeping in mind what allergies they have, and what the rules about allergies are at the schools they attend, as well as any likes and dislikes they have. And someone pipes up with, “Hey muuuum, have we got anything on this Saturday?!”. 

When the school chaplain greets you at school with, “How is it all going Carol?” You could not reply with “It’s all fecked. I don’t know why I bother. No one looks at the calendar anyway. I’m just going to go away for a week and let them figure it out themselves!” 

You would probably get away with saying, “We are a well-oiled machine these days. Now all I have to do is get everyone into the swing of using iCal so I can free up a bit of grey matter. Still, it’s much easier now that they are all out of nappies and can do some things themselves!"

Sure, you will have to minimise your own hardships and invalidate the things you are upset about.

Like having to be everything to everyone. And all the things you are missing out on. Like nights out. A career. Being able to go to the toilet and wipe your arse without an audience. 

And it will be exhausting. Dehydrating even.

Cooking up juicy burgers in a hot kitchen is thirsty work, but the words will be out. And maybe, just maybe, if you are being listened to by someone who doesn’t turn into a pufferfish at the slightest hint of your discomfort, you might even get the reply of “enough of the fluffy stuff. This is sh*t!” 

And then, you will have found your people.

Feature Image: Getty.

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