Category: just some thoughts

The reasons I will be voting ‘yes’ to marriage equality.

I originally posted a version of this on my Facebook page, but I thought I’d share it here on the blog too…

Fellow Aussies, please please please vote in this upcoming plebiscite for marriage equality (especially if you want to say ‘yes’). It sucks and we shouldn’t be wasting our money and our time and be told to use snail mail when quite frankly a lot of us younger folk hate it, but we can’t boycott it. We just can’t. Because even though this isn’t even binding, we need to make a very clear statement to the ‘no’ campaigners and to our government. That anything less than equality is bullshit and we as a people will not accept it.

There are some bigoted people out there. Some people who are hateful and small minded. These people will probably never change their minds. We need to rise above them – cancel out their votes. We might not get through to them but we need to have conversations with our loved ones – ask them their intentions, their reasoning, explain ours. Because for every extreme bigot out there, there are some well meaning people who might not have thought it through or who despite being otherwise quite lovely people, may be planning on voting ‘no’ out of fear or due to a misguided loyalty to a religious/family background that if they are really honest, they do not themselves completely live by any longer but are scared to step out of line with.

I feel like those are the people we need to try to reach. We all think we feel confident that most of Australia will support marriage equality, but we can’t be complacent. I have heard so many people tell me recently that they thought for sure that their partners, parents, siblings or friends would vote yes, only to have a conversation with them and find out that they had assumed incorrectly. This is a non compulsory vote, so the loudest voices will win. I want love to win. Not fear or complacency or hate.

The reasons I will be voting for equality are:

1. Think of the children! Think of your children. Who might they be one day? Maybe you might not believe that them being gay would be ideal, but if you would love them no matter what and never want them to feel like second class citizens if they ever came out to you, then vote yes. Do it for them and for every other gorgeous child out there who will grow up LGBTQI – they don’t choose their sexuality, they are born that way. How would we feel years down the track knowing we voted against our own children? Or our dear friends’ children who we adore and have known forever?

2. My friends. My amazing friends. A lot of them are not heterosexual. I grew up with these people, attended uni with these people, have cared about these people for most of my life (often long before their ‘coming out’). I can’t stand the idea that I can swan about with my wedding ring on and make jokes about married life, while they don’t even get a choice. Sure, not all of my gay or bi friends want to get married but FFS they deserve the right to choose. How can you look these people in the eye if you snuck off to the mailbox and voted against them having equal rights?? Or if you didn’t stand up for them by bothering to put that shit in an envelope and send it off? You’re no friend. I know that seems harsh, but seriously!

3. Plain empathy and a passion for social justice. I am not queer but I have experienced discrimination. Racism (both overt and casual). Sexism. Being treated as just a little less. Being talked to loudly and slowly and like I’m stupid. Hearing my race or my gender being referred to in ways that are designed to let me know I’m ‘less than’. Internalising that as a young person and starting to believe it. That feels like SHIT. And I don’t want anyone to feel like that about the things that make them them. The things they cannot change. As a society, we need to do better than that. For everyone.

4. Love is always better than fear or hate. ALWAYS. So if more people in our nation are allowed to express that love with a fabulous celebration and commitment to each other, then why the hell should we stand in their way? Our world could do with more of that.

5. The legalities. I want gay people to have the EXACT same legal rights as straight people. I mean come on. It’s just awful that in this day and age, that’s not happened yet. It’s not rocket science.

I don’t claim to have every single fact on the matter but what I won’t do is make up fake statistics or abuse anyone for their opinions. What I will do is speak on the things I do know: love, equality, understanding, empathy, friendship, family.

Everyone deserves that much.

Please vote. Please vote yes.

x

{From the Vault} We can’t control everything and I’m OK with that.

I wrote this post in 2014 and it sat in my drafts folder until now – the Little Mister was 2 years old. The first sentence kind of makes me laugh because I know it wasn’t always that easy (still isn’t!), but I still agree that we need to shake off the pressure we are made to feel because we can’t control everything. Life is messy. Kids will do what they will do – they’re their own crazy little people. Especially toddlers! We can provide them with the best environment to grow and thrive but sometimes it doesn’t quite go to plan. That doesn’t mean we’ve done a bad job x

I know I’m nuts, but I really do love the unpredictability of having a small child. It’s not for everyone, but I love that when I wake up in the morning I have no idea what the day may bring. I can make plans, but they might be abandoned. I can have no plans, but suddenly something unexpected (and hopefully pleasant but not always) comes along. It can be frustrating and even boring at times – not to mention exhausting – but somehow this stay at home mum life seems to suit me. Just like any paid job I’ve ever had, there are drawbacks and there are absolute perks.

Again, with me still sounding like an absolute nutjob, I really do find it liberating when plans go awry. It’s like the universe is giving me permission to just throw my hands up in the air and say, “Oh, f*ck it! You want me to just go with the flow, universe? I’ll show you how to go with the f*cking flow!”

I think I really do embody my blog’s title. I like to think that if I am unprepared for the situations life throws at me, at least I can be awesome at it 😉

I don’t always succeed (cue crying and eating a pile of hot chips the size of my head), but it’s my life’s motto these days. It’s what gets me through.

I’ll put up a fight when something goes off track (sometimes you do need that fire inside you), but I think I also know that there are occasions when I just need to step back and realise I’m so not in control of everything and that’s just gonna have to be OK for now.

May as well laugh about it (if appropriate – in most cases it is) and think of it as blog material!

I feel like in this day and age, new parents are told they can control everything. In fact, not only can we supposedly control everything, we are told we’d better bloody be in charge of everything or else we’re going to be judged! We’re told we can control everything from the way our pregnancy plays out, to how we give birth, to breastfeeding perfectly (something not all of us can do), making our babies sleep perfectly for 12 hours straight, to how smart our child is going to be and what their interests will be.

We’re told that if we do all of the ‘right’ things, we can totally achieve the desired outcome.

*cough* BULLSH-T *cough*

There are parents out there who can do everything ‘right’ and still face challenges a lot of us wouldn’t even be able to fathom. There are parents who don’t do anything right and yet, somehow against all odds, their children survive and succeed! Explain that, control freaks! Explain that!

We can give ourselves and our children all the best opportunities possible, but at the end of the day there are so many factors that can be out of our hands.

I feel like as parents, we need to refuse to buy into this controlling mentality and to be careful not to use it as a tool to make other people feel inadequate. There’s a difference between friendly advice that may or may not work, and judging someone: “Oh, life is harder for them because they didn’t do x, y or z”.

There is a difference between giving our children security, boundaries and discipline, and simply micromanaging every step they take until they have no confidence left to try something on their own and figure out that it’s OK to make mistakes or do something wrong and that they’re strong enough to recover and move on.

We get the hand we’re dealt and the only thing we can really control is how we respond. Sometimes that’s fucking hard to do, but it can be kind of empowering to figure out how to go with the flow and do our best with what we have. And if we’re really lucky we might have a really amazing support network around us to help make it easier. Let’s be that for each other.

{From the Vault} Where do you draw the line?

As I continue the ‘From the Vault’ series (where I FINALLY publish long forgotten blog post drafts), I bring to you a post I wrote in January 2014. I don’t think I had the courage to hit publish on this one because I felt that it could be perceived as shaming other parents who do things differently to me. Honestly, it was not coming from a place of judgement. I just wanted to explain why I have rarely made my son’s face public and how I’ve personally chosen to go about things. The thing is, we’re all really still exploring what it means to have a social media/blogging ‘digital footprint’ and what it means for our children. There are many ways to go about sharing our lives.

Whatever you are comfortable with is your own line in the sand, and I think a majority of parents who post photos of their children publicly have thought deeply about what is in their best interests. We’re all just doing what we hope works best for us.

I know my stance on the issue isn’t the most locked down or perfectly protected system, nor is it the most relaxed. I just hope I’ve hit the right balance for my family and my son.  

As a blogger and as a parent who is nuts for uses social media, I am always asking myself – where should I draw the line when it comes to the way I treat/use my child’s online identity? That sounds icky just to type it – “my child’s online identity”. Whether I like it or not, he has one and he has had one almost since birth. With the sharing of that first hospital photo and birth announcement, it began! For some, it begins before their child is born – ultrasound photos of a 13 week foetus!

It’s a sign of the times. I could be really hardcore about it and leave no digital footprint, no evidence of my son’s existence, because let’s face it, he cannot consent to each image or anecdote that is out there in the world. But I’m not. And I am far from being alone. I can only draw my imaginary (but nonetheless important) line in the sand. Everyone’s line is a little different from another person’s, but I think most of us would agree there needs to be one.

There are so many reasons for this and I think they boil down to these:

  • Your child’s future embarrassment
  • A need to protect your child from predators and those who do not have good intentions
  • To teach your child by example

OK, so the ’embarrassment’ factor is a tough one to draw a line on. Kids are cute and unintentionally funny. They will wear funny things, say funny things and do funny things almost from day 1. I know I’m guilty of privately posting photos of my son wearing funny costumes – I’ve loved every second of it! What a laugh! However, right now he’s only 1 and I hope that by the time he has an awareness of what’s really going on from an older person’s perspective that he will just see it as mum being a bit embarrassing and at least they’re just cute baby photos (ie not him humiliating himself as a tween or older).

I blog about my life with the Little Mister. I do humourous (at least I hope they are) posts on my blog’s Facebook page about his experiences. However, there is a lot that I do not publish. I won’t publicly post photos that reveal his face in intimate detail (unless it is an image that has already been made public in other approved and legitimate ways – even then I feel wary), I won’t publicly post photos of him naked or even just in a nappy. I won’t use his real name. Most of what I post about is the stuff that most toddlers and babies do at a given age. He’s very special and unique to me, but let’s face it – I’m describing thousands upon thousands of toddlers when I share my stories. In a way, I feel like I am portraying my own experiences moreso than his. It’s about how he makes me reflect on my own life and how much I am changing and growing through being a parent. At least that’s my intention. As he grows older, I will have to inspect my line in the sand again – the goal posts will no doubt keep moving.

When it comes to social media, my personal Facebook page is as private as I can make it. I regularly check that Facebook hasn’t done the dirty on me with alterations to the privacy settings and again, I do not post naked photos (bath photos etc) and rarely any videos of the Little Mister. Tagging can be a risk (it can expose your photographs to each and every friend of the friends you’ve tagged), but I try to make informed choices. It’s not a perfect world, but I do my best. No-one has the right to see my son’s naked body splashed all over the internet. No matter how perfect and innocent and little and cute he is to me right now. You don’t know who your friend of a friend of a friend is. You don’t know who might access these photos or manipulate and save them. I’m sure I’m not exactly as hard to track down as a person in witness protection (in fact I know I’m not) but I like to think I’ve made my boundaries clear.

Today I was accosted at the local shopping centre by a baby photography company trying to drum up business, by offering the allure of a chance to go in the draw for your child to win you $5000 in a national cutest baby competition. This means that if you pay the small fee to get your child’s photo taken, some stranger you’ve never met will look at these photographs and decide if your child is the cutest or not. I know $5000 is a lot of money and it could buy your child so much stuff, but I don’t enter these things (online or in person). I do not want to make money off of my child’s looks. I do not need some anonymous person to tell me if my kid is cute or not. Dammit, I know he is the cutest in the world because he’s mine and I am incredibly biased and I don’t care if anyone else thinks so or not as long as I raise him to be a good human!!

Some of these photo competitions offer discounts on baby products, huge educational scholarships etc. They sound like they’re wonderful (because the prize can ultimately benefit your child), but basically these brands/companies are saying that my child can get possible opportunities for a better education (by way of financial means) if he LOOKS cute enough.

It just feels like the wrong message? I do not begrudge others for doing this – again, we all have different lines in the sand – but for me, personally, it doesn’t feel right. I share photographs with friends and loved ones, because they care about our family and I do it (relatively) privately with no intentions of world wide distribution for marketing purposes!

Does my blog following/interest suffer because I do not post lots of fun, personal photographs that would let you into my world/family on a much more visual level? Probably. That’s OK with me. That is my line in the sand.

I cannot guarantee that I will feel the same forever or that I might not make exceptions in the future (don’t want to be a big hypocrite), but I do guarantee that I will always consider the best interests of my child’s online (and therefore public) identity first and foremost. It would take a shitload of good reasons lot for me to change my mind.

How do you feel about the online presence of your child/children?

{From the Vault} Just wait until you have kids! Said no Kez ever.

I just found this post in my drafts folder – dated October, 2013 (the Little Mister was almost 2). I think it’s still relevant now – especially as I’ve experienced quite the journey with secondary infertility. I have occasionally heard the words, “At least you only have one child. I have (insert plural number here). Just wait until you experience it!” as a way of telling me that I have it easier and have no idea. Sure, I probably do have it easier in some ways – I definitely have it easier than someone who wants so badly to become a parent but cannot. But I’d also argue that the challenges I have faced have not been a cup of tea or a picnic or a walk in the park either. I know I wouldn’t wish my challenges on somebody else, that’s for sure. Both myself and every other parent/person have had our own journeys and they’re both likely to be as unique and as valid as each other’s. Someone will always seem to have it better than us and some will always have it tougher than us. It’s not up to us to judge what that’s like for them and whether they’re suffering enough. It’s not a competition. I try to keep myself in check about this all the time…  

Fellow (erm…probably female) parents…do you remember being pregnant for the first time? Do you remember feeling bone weary tired and uncomfortable sometimes (or all the time for those less lucky?). Do you remember the late pregnancy insomnia? The aching and the need for some kind of body pillow arrangement that your partner dare not disturb? Do you remember those times you told someone about how tired you were and that someone had kids and that someone kept saying, “Pfft. You just wait until you have the baby. Then you’ll know the meaning of tired.”

You know, with that tone that says clearly, “Ha! This person has no idea!” followed by an evil laugh because you know they’re secretly enjoying the idea of you suffering in the near future.

Remember every time you opened your mouth and someone would say, “Oh you just wait…”

“Oh, that’s nothing. You just wait until you have the baby…”

“Oh, you just wait until they’re crawling…”

“Oh, you just wait until they’re walking…”

“Oh, you just wait until the teething…”

“Oh, Terrible Twos? There’s Terrible Threes…”

“You just wait until you have two kids! Oh, you have two? Well, that’s nothing compared to three!”

You know what I mean. Some of you might even have a person you know in mind when you read this.

Look, these things are fine in the context of a positive conversation between friends/family members, but what I’m referring to is those who have quite the case of the snarks. That person who is competitive or condescending.

I can’t promise I won’t ever say any of the above things at some occasion (in the right moment hopefully with the right person at the right time with the right tone), but I can promise that I will never do it with the intention of making someone feel like their experiences are less valid because they’re not parenting a child yet. Or ever. I also sincerely apologise if I’ve ever unintentionally p*ssed someone off.

I’ve just never understood that attitude.

I mean, what’s their point? So they’re further ahead in the parenting game and always will be. That’s fine. Good for them. If they have any useful advice or humourous anecdotes we can relate to and feel better about, that’s really great. But what’s the point in bringing us down while we’re learning?

When you’re f*cking tired, you’re f*cking tired. When you’re struggling, you’re struggling. When you’re juggling, you’re freakin’ juggling.

When you love a child or care about children, that experience is real. Even if it’s not your own child.

I look back on my life BC (Before Child) and I think about the times I was bone tired. Did I take some freedoms for granted? Absolutely!! But were my experiences valid, real and necessary to enjoy/live through before having a child? Abso-f*cking-lutely! Imagine if we all spent our whole life leading up to having children, stopping ourselves and saying, “Oh, this pales in comparison to when I will have children.”

That would be ridiculous, yeah?

I remember staying up all night frantically finishing university assignments, feeling like my whole future rested on the success of my studies. The pressure, the stress, the late night panicked phone calls from fellow students about group assignments. I would spend weeks in a daze, just wondering when the hell I would rest and then when “holidays” arrived they were spent worrying about the rest of my life (the part that had been neglected).

I remember the stress I’ve been through when terrible events have happened. The constant juggling – family, friends, university, work, self care, my relationship, etc. Having to say no to things. Having to feel like trying to find the right balance is a nightmare. Realising you can’t please everyone.

All of those things were real. Doing it tough when my husband lost his job – not having disposable income. That was real. Just like it’s real when a baby comes along and it costs a lot to keep them in nappies and formula and god knows what else.

And what about those who cannot, or choose not to, have children? Are we smug parents saying that none of their life is valid or complicated or real? F*ck off!

We’re all in different stages of life, making our own different decisions. All of us deserve respect for where we are. We all have our paths to follow, new things to learn. All in due time.

I feel sorry for those who will try to convince us that life is going to be horrible when pregnant or when we have children. Sure, there are some crazy times to be had (my path wasn’t exactly ‘glowing’), but those crazy times are for everyone to experience for the first time themselves (if they ever do). For all of those times, there are so many other blessings that make parenthood worth it.

Having a child has really made me learn a lot about how deep your love can be. It’s this pure, unconditional kind of love I didn’t know you could feel before I had a child. But that doesn’t mean that I didn’t know what love was beforehand. I’m just experiencing a new kind of love. When some parents say, “You can’t know what love is until you have a child”, I do get what they’re saying, but that’s not a very nice thing to say around people who don’t have a child!! They do know what love is. Sure, they might not share the experience of having your own child but that doesn’t mean that someone without children doesn’t know what unconditional love is. Or what it’s like to care for someone who will test you constantly.

We’re all running our own races, facing our own challenges. All of our journeys are just as important and as challenging as someone else’s.

Mother’s Day shout outs.

I was just going to make a little Facebook post for Mother’s Day, but realised that I have soooooo much to say. Probably a bit too much for Facebook. Which wouldn’t be out of character ?

Anyway, I’ll start with myself (what an ego – kidding – just getting it out of the way)!

I am so grateful to be a mum. When I say that, there’s a lot of weight to it. I have truly realised in the last 3 years of secondary infertility hell that being a mum is not a right. Becoming one is not a certainty for anyone. You can do all the right things (and then some) but at the end of the day it’s nothing but a crazy, lucky privilege (even if it seems to come easier for some). And for all my struggles to add to my family, I am so ridiculously grateful that I get to be called mum (probably 50,000 times a day – more on weekends and school holidays). I am so glad I get to whinge about about how hard it is and so glad I get to celebrate how amazing and heart burstingly fulfilling it is. Whatever happens from here on out, I will always be so glad that I have the Little Mister – he’s made me a mum and I am so glad he was meant to be in this world, hanging out with me and being my kid. I wouldn’t change that for ANYTHING.

Now onto my mum. My mum is amazing. She (and my dad) went through infertility struggles too. These led to the history making decision to adopt. And bam – there I was – in her arms (followed 3 years later by my bro). Well, not ‘bam’. It wasn’t easy. It was a long wait, with a lot of gruelling hoops to jump through. When you adopt, you have to actually prove you are going to be a good parent. It’s like having to earn a parenting license. Not many people have to do that. Maybe more should! But here we are. My mum is someone I have not always got along with (those teen years were a bit rocky!) but I have always been able to trust her. If she says she’s there, she’s there. If she says I need to figure something out for myself, it means she knows I’m strong enough. She’ll never tell me a white lie to make herself feel better. She’ll tell the the truth so I know I can believe her. She’s strong, assertive and confident. That inspires me. She’s also pretty effing amazing at putting outfits together and fantastic for the fashion advice! She’s been there for me emotionally, especially through the infertility stuff. She’s been there physically too. Babysitting and driving the Little Mister to school. I’m so lucky to have such a supportive network of people around me. She cries at the drop of a hat when talking about how she feels about being my mum and that makes me feel kind of special (can you IMAGINE when we went to see Lion together?!). My parents taught me that family isn’t just blood. Because of my parents, I am the compassionate people person that I am. I have no doubts about that. I love you, Mum!

My mother in law deserves a mention too. She loves the Little Mister to bits. She will never say no to being there for him or us and while I insist that we never take advantage of her, it is so nice to know she’s there in our corner. She always calls me on my birthday or checks in if Mr Unprepared is away. Thank you!

To my mums’ group. The OG MG. You have helped to shape my experience as a mum. We met on a fateful day in early 2012 (after a few weeks of trying to get the hang of leaving the house with an infant) and we’ve never failed to support each other or be there since. We have laughed, cried and stood up for each other. We’ve celebrated milestones and we’ve found out we are good drinking buddies when we can get babysitting too ? Thank you – each and every one of you. For being exactly who you are and bringing together our crazy melting pot of personalities in the most wonderful way.

Now, onto you lot.

I wish all of my fellow mums out there an amazing Mother’s Day. I hope you are pampered and loved. I hope you feel safe and happy. I hope the most important people in your life have let you know just how special you are to them.

To all of the women who dream of being a mum, but have struggled. I am so sorry. This shit is hard. I hope that one day your dream is realised. I am sorry that today might be hurting your heart. I’m thinking of you.

To the women like me, who feel their family is yet to be complete – we are so lucky to have what we have, but it’s OK to want more. Our hearts are big enough. I send all of my love to you. I hope this year is our year.

To those who no longer have their mums around. I’m sorry. I can’t imagine.

Happy Mother’s Day to those who have stepped up to parent and love children who are not biologically theirs, whether through fostering, adoption, blended family situations.

Happy Mother’s Day to the single mamas out there. That shit is tough!! I won’t even pretend to know the half of it! You’re amazing. You’re strong. You’re doing the best you can and that is bloody good enough. Probably more than.

My thoughts are with those who have suffered the loss of a child of any age – from pregnancy to adulthood. They were so lucky to have had you as a mum – even if it wasn’t for anywhere near long enough. My heart goes out to you.

Basically, if you are a mum in your heart, I wish you the best. Not just on Mother’s Day but all of your days. No matter what your situation is, I hope you have/find joy and laughter and love.

*raises glass*

To us.

via GIPHY

Style rules that we need to break.

Recently, I have been reflecting on my own personal style. It has become apparent to me that the things I wear may have evolved since I was a teen but the essence of who I’ve always been is still alive and kicking (the recent 90s throwback trends have not helped haha). I have always loved a rock n roll tee-shirt, ripped everything, black mini skirts and bright colour in my hair (something the 12 year old me was peeved about my mum not allowing)! I have days where I feel like laying low with a casual look that blends in and I have days/nights where I want to go all out and get glammed up. Sometimes I’m super feminine. Sometimes I just want bad ass grunge.

I’m married, I just turned 33 and I have a kid who goes to a private school. While this shouldn’t factor into my daily wardrobe choices, it really really does (even when my kid and husband are nowhere to be seen).

I get scared of judgement if I go out on a bit of a limb. Obviously I am mature enough to understand what’s appropriate vs what is wildly inappropriate in certain settings, but I’m talking about personal style rather than say a person dressing like a stripper at a school function for example!!

I am constantly surprised by the old school attitudes towards women who dare to dress differently. I’ve seen women torn apart in the media for daring to look sexy – “She’s a mother now! THINK OF THE CHILDREN!”

What year is this???

Like being a parent stops you from ever being allowed to bare any hint of cleavage or to go out and have a good time while looking gorgeous, because for once you got babysitting and time to actually put an effort into your appearance!

Coupled up girlfriends have faced comments like, “If you’re dressed like that, you look like you’re out on the prowl!”

What the actual fuck? Isn’t that a slightly sneaky version of slut shaming???

Can’t a woman dress for herself in something that makes her feel gorgeous without people believing it’s an invitation for men to have a crack?

Sometimes I get scared. Do I look like “mutton dressed as lamb” if I wear that ripped tee? Is it OK for me to wear pleather? Does my hair look ridiculous with the splashes of turquoise? When will I be too old to do as I please?

I’m not actually very wild, by the way. I look quite ‘respectable’ by old school prude terms. I just have a hint of rock chick about me on good days (i.e. days where I feel confident and actually have more than 5 minutes to put myself together). But I want to be braver. I think perhaps I’m too dialled down to the point where I feel like I lose who I am and I get frustrated. I think I could get away with being dressed a little more like ‘me’, but I often don’t out of fear.

I have so many style crushes on women who break the ‘rules’. Sometimes it’s because I wish I had their style, but mostly it’s because I wish I had their courage. I wish I could just not give a fuck what people might say/think if I dare to be different.

I think it’s time to throw out the ‘rules’ based purely on a person’s age, gender, marital or parental status. We should be thinking about what fits, flatters, shows our personalities and makes us feel awesome.

I have a feeling that like me, a lot of my friends dress down when they really feel like dressing up or that they dress up when they really want to dress down. That makes me feel sad. We should dress however the hell we want and celebrate each other for it!

I love when one person has the courage to just be themselves – it makes me feel brave too. I think it’s contagious.

I hate when I feel over-dressed/under dressed and keep comparing myself to other people. I hate when people make passive aggressive remarks about someone’s choice of high heels. Or ask them “aren’t you cold in that?” when the person is perfectly comfortable. Why do we do that to each other?

A friend told me that she was told that mothers shouldn’t wear short shorts. My comment back was along the sarcastic lines of “Yeah, you have to be careful because your uterus might fall out after all that birthing of children.”

Seriously. WTF.

I hate that some men think we’re dressing just for them if we put an effort in, and that women perpetuate this myth by telling each other not to be too pretty or daring or not to show boobs AND legs at the same time – god forbid.

I say that if you look and feel good (whatever your shape or size), if you can carry off a look with an air of confidence and dignity, then fuck the rules! Rules are made to be broken! There are always exceptions!

Every memorable style icon I can think of broke the rules at one point or another. That’s how they stood out and became so admired. Let’s remember that!

Now I must go and try very hard to take my own advice.

What is your personal style? Do you feel like you’re truly able to express yourself? How do you feel about the ‘rules’? 

The selfie struggle.

Oh, yes. It’s a real first world problem, this one!

Lately, I’ve been scrolling through my Instagram posts and asking myself what I can do to make my account look a bit more appealing. Am I showing a great variety of moments from my every day life? Am I getting better at telling the stories behind the photos (and not just posting something with very little captioning that doesn’t make sense to anyone but me)? Does my profile look colourful and is it something that would make me want to delve further if I wasn’t me?

I think I’m doing OK-ish, by my small fish standards, considering I started off with sometimes only 2 likes on my very first photos and now I can get dozen/s (I told you – small fish haha). There is definitely room for improvement and I know I am my own worst critic too.

One thing I noticed that my profile is missing is more photos of me! I know that when I scroll through someone’s Instagram account, I like to see the person behind the profile – it helps me to connect with their content. Makes me feel like I know them (even though I don’t – they could be serial killers for all I know – hahaha). As I am no longer a semi-anonymous blogger, I know that I need to start showing more of myself. Let the people who find me, get to know me better.

I don’t take many photos of my son (I made a decision early on in the piece to not fully reveal his face or identity publicly online) and my dogs only know a couple of poses: “THROW MY DAMN TOY” or “BLURRY AS F*CK”. My husband is a bit social media shy. I feel awkward asking to take pics of/with my friends for public consumption unless they are bloggers too. So that leaves me most of the time. I’ve got nobody else to fall back on ?

I also need to point out that I am concerned that I have a misshapen head and I do not have a reliable Instagram spouse (and admittedly I’m picky and I feel bad bossing someone around), nor fancy equipment to help me take consistently good selfies/photos of myself.

And even if I did, I would curl up and die of embarrassment if people saw me trying to get it right in fantastic public spaces, like all the really cool bloggers do. Because we all know it can take like 50 shots to get one good one (or at least that’s true for me and my misshapen head/face)!

*awkward too loud laugh*

Also, I hate the stigma attached to the ‘selfie’ phenomena. Sure, if you’re doing a Kim K and ignoring all of your life to get constant good shotz (yes I used the ‘z’ ironically) then you may deserve a little bit of an eye roll from everyone around you, but what if you just want a couple of nice shots to prove to yourself that you were actually out on a nice day or to capture your life because nobody else will? I get frightened of people laughing at me trying to get the right angle and making that embarrassing selfie face which usually doesn’t look anything like the person’s actual candid face.

It’s always a bloody relief when I find myself out with fellow iPhone photo obsessed peeps who don’t mind taking lots of pics of everything and understand when I want to as well!

Also, I know I’m getting a bit deep here, but I think I lack confidence and do not accept my face/head etc as they are. I want to get more body (‘face’?) positive.

Some of my favourite pics of my friends are the real ones. Where they haven’t given a shit and they’ve just gone for it and had fun. I want to be more like that.

Anyway, here’s a selfie I took at a wedding recently. I liked my make up that night and felt pretty – I’d put in a lot of effort and it was a big deal because I hadn’t been out in the real world for a little while. The lighting is bad because it was night time and the quality is bad because I used Snapchat, but I’m glad I took it.

I’m going to try to take more selfies and care less what other people think while I’m looking like a dickhead pointing a camera at myself.

Anyone got any great tips on iPhone camera settings/angles/best sides/tricking people into helping you??

Back to School anxiety: mine, not his.

It’s January. That time when it sinks in that the school holidays are not as long as you thought they were and you feel that downward slide back to reality. Another school year, filled with trying to remember stuff and being on time for drop offs and pick ups and SO MANY LUNCHES to be made.

I am looking forward to the Little Mister attending pre-primary full time. I imagine the first few weeks will be full of exhausted after school meltdowns, but I am excited to be able to spread my work hours out over the week more evenly and feel a lot more productive.

The thing is, I get anxious. Anxious that he will fit in and do OK compared to the other kids. Anxious that he’ll be anxious. Anxious that I will forget a whole lot of stuff or be totally awkward in the lead up to the first day back – book lists and the dreaded uniform shop visits (I swear I can never remember what hours or days they’re open).

I know it won’t be as bad as last year. Last year I was a wreck. The Little Mister was starting kindy at the same place I went to high school. I was having all kinds of flashbacks to my time there (nothing horrendous or obviously we wouldn’t send him there – just freak outs because I felt like I was still the student trying to be on my best behaviour and not get in trouble haha). I had never sent a kid to school before. I felt like I was still a kid. How was this happening?! Sure, we’d done day care a couple of days a week in 2015, but this was a big deal!

I had missed an orientation day because I screwed up the dates (and then my husband had unexpected surgery on his toe which would have meant we couldn’t make it anyway). I’d had a couple of false starts trying to get to the uniform shop (see – I messed up their opening hours then too haha). I hadn’t submitted my online booklist order on time, so had to send Mr Unprepared out to scramble for each individual item (which made me nervous because obviously if we got the wrong stuff we’d be outcasts forever haha). I was also feeling like a hot mess for a variety of reasons that had nothing to do with the the Little Mister’s schooling. I was not on top of things. I really was not. Even reading this paragraph back tells me that I was not in the running for “Mum of the Year”.

This year, I feel a little more settled. I know the school. I know the Little Mister has come a long way since the beginning of 2016. I’ve met a bunch of really nice school mums and I know I will meet a whole bunch more. I’ve got my shit sorted on a nice calendar now, which I keep updated. I have planned the final weeks of the school holidays so that I have everything done in time.

But still, I feel nervous. Of course I don’t show the Little Mister this and I really hope he can’t tell. He gets nervous enough on his own, truth be told.

I feel bummed that it’s not all holiday fun and games right now in my head anymore (even though that kid is driving me up the wall and ultimately I will be grateful to have dropped him off that first day haha).

I feel silly for being nervous and I feel like I’m wasting these precious last weeks worrying about school stuff when there’s still fun to be had. I’ve really got to get over myself! Just tick something off the list and then go have a blast, Kez. Seriously, woman!

Just like last year, we will survive this one too. I was struggling to get my head around a whole lot of stuff in 2016 (finally beginning treatment for infertility for one and in all honesty grief – grief that my little boy was starting school already and had no siblings that I’d always hoped to give him by the time he started kindy) and I think I should be kind to myself. It was a rough and scary year from beginning to end.

2017 may or may not be any better, but at least I will kind of know what to expect (probably jinxing myself right there).

Awesomely a little less unprepared, maybe?

Maybe one day, my heart won’t leap up into my throat when my child starts a new school year. Please tell me this gets easier! Lie to me if you have to!

Does anyone else get nervous like me? Am I …normal? Or a silly freak? 

 

2017.

A little while ago, I took some time to reflect on the year that was: Oh, 2016, you were a complicated beast.

Now, I would like to look forwards in time. What will 2017 have in store for me? What are my goals? What would I like to continue?

I feel like I’m going to leap into 2017 feeling awesomely unprepared (see what I did there?) and oh my goodness, if the last couple of years have taught me anything, it’s that life will never cease to surprise me.

Still, here are some things I would like to see! Whether life has other plans or not, remains to be seen!!

Goals:

Fertility

While I don’t really feel like writing about it anymore (it can be draining), it would be neglectful to not mention this: Some fertility success would be ideal! While I can’t control the outcome so I don’t feel like it’s an actual ‘goal’ so much as a dream, I do hope I can aim for being much more pro-active in the care I receive. More assertive when it comes to dealing with specialists. I spent a lot of 2016 finding my feet. I hope 2017 can be about Getting Shit Done and making sure the right people are helping me to GSD (Get Shit Done).

Finish the Lady Cave

This epic saga has dragged on for so long it’s embarrassing. I bought most of the furniture. I cleared out most of the junk from the room. I just had trouble directing the moolah towards getting new carpet (by ‘trouble’ I mean I always found other things to do/think about), and motivation towards moving the last of the heavy furniture from the room. It’s a bit crazy, how slow I’ve been at this. I’m sure you could analyse me and find some kind of deep seated emotional/psychological block that’s been holding me back! Either way, I am so ready to make this happen. A little bit of Christmas gift money and Mr Unprepared being a magical furniture removal fairy yesterday while I was out, has made me feel much more enthusiastic!

Now that I write a lot more and I work on my computer a lot, I am more than ready to have my very own blogging lair.

*evil laugh*

Support more small creative business

I know I practically live at Kmart or Cotton On or some of the bigger chain stores. Sometimes my wallet (and my time) can only stretch that far. But there’s something I really want to do. I want to spend 2017 thinking more locally too. There are so many unique things out there: clothing, gifts, etc. Stuff that would not only make my life at least 67% cooler (don’t fact check that statistic I just totally made up), but that would allow me to support those who are out there doing their small creative business thing. I have some special peeps on my wishlist. I’m going to stop talking about it and I’m going to start doing. Because some of that stuff doesn’t actually cost an arm and a leg like I used to believe! It might take a little extra planning but I think it will be well worth it!

Record my happiness more

I’ve written a lot of happy lists on this blog, but they have been quite sporadic lately. I’ve decided to participate in #100happydays to keep me creative and in a positive frame of mind. I start on January 1st, 2017. You should join me! Just register at the website and get started – you can choose your own start date too! I really hope I can stick this one out. Or at least get to 100 within the year haha.

Things I’d like to continue in 2017:

  • Living healthily and striving towards my goal weight. I did so well this year, losing 5kg. I can’t wait to smash the final 3-4 I have left to lose. It really worked well for me, using the school term as a timeline for being really disciplined. If it ain’t broke!
  • It took me until the end of the year to get my shit together, but I finally started using online calendars to organise my life. I feel so much more in control now, so there’s no way I’m going to give that up! Note to self: figure out how to stop getting reminders via email. SO ANNOYING.
  • I’ve made some social changes in 2016. I’ve really enjoyed developing friendships that make me feel good about myself (and hopefully feeling like I do the same for them). I’ve redefined some boundaries and I’ve found my tribe/s. It feels good. I feel much more secure and happy friendship wise than I have in years. I want to stay on that path.
  • Adventuring. I did so much of it this year and it saved the way I look back on 2016. We already have a trip planned for March and we’re working on an idea for July. SO EXCITING.

What do you want to see happen in 2017? Do you set goals or resolutions, or would you rather poke your eyes out with a blunt object? 

Let’s talk about my 2016.

2016 and I have had quite the relationship. If I had to make it Facebook official, I’d be selecting “it’s complicated” as our relationship status.

Because there have been aspects of it that have sucked, but if it hadn’t sucked I might not have had such a good year. Are you confused yet? Like, on the one hand, I want to say this was the worst year ever. But on the other hand, I feel like I really had some amazing break throughs and adventures. I feel like I can’t completely write it off.

Let’s start with the stuff that sucked (in the name of getting it out of the way)…

OK, so maybe it was just one thing. It really really sucked to not be able to conceive a sibling for the Little Mister. Honestly, most things that sucked about my year stemmed from this. I estimate that I had blood taken from me at least 36 times (not including that month I was completely drained of everything having blood tests almost every second day of my cycle or the extra times we needed to be sure of something or when I had my initial standard tests when we decided we needed to get help). Yep. 36 times were just the routine blood tests. Routine. I hate that fucking routine. Some of those tests may have been late 2015 but I can’t be bothered fact checking right this second. I had a lot of blood taken, OK?

I also had at least 12 internal ultrasounds (you know what ‘internal’ means). Yep. It’s a pretty all-up-in-your-bits, confronting experience. Especially when most of the time, the results show it was a waste of time.

I had surgery. A laparoscopy/hysteroscopy. It was nerve wracking. I was sick a lot through winter – so much more than usual. My immune system was so screwed up and I really think it had a lot to do with all of this.

Maintaining some of my friendships proved really difficult. It was so hard to commit to things when you knew your period would/might arrive and wreck everything (and I’m not talking ‘normal’ periods – I’m talking hellishly heavy ones) or you’d be scheduling last minute doctor appointments and scans, all dependent on what your body decided or not decided to do at any given time. Or when you were sick all the time. Or when you’d had awful news and you were feeling so down that you just needed to curl up in a ball and have a brief pity party before summoning up as much resilience as possible to be able to get back up the next day. Some people bothered to ask about it and understood and showed me they were there no matter what, some people stopped checking in. I had to make some tough decisions to allow myself to stop feeling eternally guilty or left out. Or hurt.

Look, a lot of women go through this shit (and much worse). I hope I haven’t come across as totally melodramatic. While it has been an emotionally awful time, it did just become part of a routine and I did get on with it. What choice did I have if we want what we want? I guess, after two and a half years it starts to wear thin. I hope 2017 will be kinder in this aspect of my life.

Here’s the stuff that was good…

I had friends who really pulled through for me. I also learned how to develop friendships on my own terms so I didn’t always feel like I was at everyone else’s mercy when times were tough (the FOMO was strong in this one). I had friends who took the time to announce their pregnancies to me in the most heartwarming, kind and compassionate ways. I felt honoured to be told the way I was and so thankful for their kindness. I hope if you’re reading this, you know who you are.

I found friends who stuck it out with me through the infertility stuff, who never judged when I felt down or couldn’t be there as much as I wished I could, and who comforted me even though I imagine they understandably didn’t always know what to say. You tried and you were there and I cannot thank you enough. You helped me to realise I’m a good friend still too – some things/people led me to be so damn hard on myself, but because of you I am learning to let go of that.

I finally swallowed my pride and joined some online support groups for secondary infertility. Finally, I was talking to people who had been through the exact same stuff as me. I have also found other groups with some of my blogging type friends, where I can just be me (even about the stuff that can’t be blogged).

I found strength inside myself that I never knew I had. I wish I didn’t have to exercise it so much, but I would never take it back! I even became a bad ass comic book super hero, thanks to the love of my fave arty friend, Em.

She has purple hair because I feel like you can’t not kick arse in life if you have purple hair (I dream of actually having purple hair – she’s a bit aspirational haha). Ripped jeans? Check. Lighthouse tattoo (to symbolise so many things but mostly keeping myself and my family safe but also radiating light) and a big heart tattoo, because through all of this I want to remain open hearted and be a lover of life.

Em? You are amazing. Talented. Kind. I shall hang this in my (STILL not completed) office so I can see it every day. She/me symbolises those moments when I am struggling but then I remember I am tougher than anything that is thrown at me and I get the fuck back up. It’s probably a little weird but I have genuinely imagined this ‘hero’ every time I’ve struggled – she’s been so helpful. I highly recommend getting yourself made into a comic book hero (and I’m not even usually into that stuff!)! Hey, whatever works!

I had to ditch a lot of fear and stress. I lost a few kilos (the stress weight I’d added by eating my feelings) and I started living healthier.

I became a school mum. It was nerve wracking at first and I felt awkward and like I just did not have my shit together for half the year (at least) but I made it to the end of the year with a Little Mister who has grown so much in so many ways (I love that kid so damn much). I don’t feel so scared anymore. I feel a lot more settled and I feel like myself again. I think I’ve got this (ha – we all know I’m speaking too soon).

I went on a few adventures too. I said yes to things I would have hesitated to do in the past. The best way to keep my spirits up was to change the scenery – have a little respite. Sure, I wasn’t getting pregnant, but I did not want to stop living my life. I might have felt like I was walking around with a big hole in my heart, but I filled my life with positive things – things I might not have done if I was pregnant. It was not a perfect consolation (nothing is) but it was all a wonderful distraction and a way to make the best I could out of the situation I was dealing with.

I went to Sydney, Melbourne, camping in Kalbarri, camping in Augusta, saw Josh Pyke twice, Bob Evans once and I fulfilled my teenaged dream of seeing Unwritten Law! We grabbed life by the you-know-whats and had so much amazing quality time as a couple and as a family. I said yes more but to the things I ACTUALLY wanted to do. No regrets!

My friend Alice moved to WA to be with my other friend Trent – I cannot say enough about how happy that has made me!

I had the courage/good fortune to go after a working life that makes me happy and fits in with my crazy life. I have jobs that fulfil my creative side, my love of good grammar and my ability to wear whatever the fuck I want at the office. I am grateful for the opportunities that I have been presented with. I like being a working mum (most of the time) and I am grateful that I can work flexibly, which helps me to overcome so many logistical challenges. My confidence has grown (after I had been out of the work force for a while) and I am excited to see where my professional life takes me.

What next?

I don’t know where 2017 will take me. I really hoped 2016 would bring me a baby or a pregnancy. I really thought I’d feel settled and more content. I guess I hope the same for next year (but with a few more adventures thrown in). I think I’ll be braver and I think I’ll be brighter. I do feel like 2016 shook everything up and put it back in the place it should be, all ready for next year. I just hope that fate comes to the party. I know I said that at the end of 2015 but shhhhh. I can’t help but be optimistic, even a little bit. Bring it, 2017. I hope that all of my loved ones have a good year too.

How was your 2016?