Category: just some thoughts

5 things you should know about me.

Oh, boy. The US election has definitely kept me glued to my television in a ‘watching a train wreck’ kind of way. It’s kind of hard not to lose some faith in humanity over this – even from as far away as Australia.

The support for Donald Trump’s campaign has shocked and saddened me. It’s one thing to be disgusted by that awful, ugly man. It’s another thing to realise just how many people are willing to support him, despite his overt sexism, racism and every other kind of bigoted display imaginable.

In light of this (and other crap that has happened on our home soil too), I’ve decided to make some declarations about myself. So there’s absolutely no confusion. You don’t have to agree, but you don’t have to keep reading either. I just want you to know what I’m about and I won’t be shy about letting you know what I believe in. I think it’s important you know where I’m coming from (if you’re a regular follower you probably already had a hunch about these things)…

I am fighting the urge to type, “because duh” under each heading, but I’ll try to explain…

I believe in marriage equality

I believe (and know) whole heartedly that our sexuality is not a choice. We are who we are and we will love who we will love. Some of us have more fluid sexual identity or preference than others.

I honestly do not see how someone loving somebody else of the same gender affects my life for the worst. Because it doesn’t. No more than  Mr and Mrs Joe Bloggs from down the road’s marriage affects me.

I will always sign a petition to make it legal in Australia. I will always let my gay friends (and anyone else LGBTQ) know that I am with them on this, wholeheartedly – even if they don’t want to get married, they deserve the choice. To not even be given a choice is just horrible in this day and age. What is that saying to those who are coming to terms with their homosexuality? That they’re not valid as people? Holy shit. We can do better than that.

I am against racism (whether you admit you’re racist or not).

I am against the vilifying of entire racial groups, based on the actions/stereotypes of a few. I don’t care if you start your sentences with “I’m not racist, but…” or whether you belong to the KKK. Racism is racism.

I think that we benefit so much from learning about our differences. Just think about all of the inventions we use every day, the words in the English language we take for granted, the food we enjoy every day in Australia. If we benefit from these things, it would be ridiculously hypocritical to condemn entire races and cultures.

We shouldn’t hide behind ignorance. We should try to learn more all the time.

Don’t even get me started on what I think of people who insult people just for the way they look or what cultural clothing they are wearing.

I dream of a world where casual racism is no longer acceptable and where white privilege isn’t so glaring. We have a way to go.

I am a feminist.

Yep. The ‘F’ word. I am out and proud about that one! It’s about equality (as all of today’s facts about me are). Women are still subjected to sexism – both ugly and violent, and insidious and subtle, every damn day.

We’re pushing back and we’re fighting hard to create change. There are men who do not want to change the status quo because they don’t want to share their privilege or be shown up by a woman. It’s sad and it’s disgusting. As humans, we should not try to diminish another in order to feel better about ourselves, and yet we do it all the time when it comes to gender.

We as women have even been taught to oppress ourselves. Just look at all the ‘mummy wars’ on the internet. It’s horrendous. We don’t even know we’re doing it.

I am trying my hardest to teach my son to be the change we all need to see in this world. Imagine if we all taught the next generation how to treat each other with love and respect, instead of letting arseholes divide us?

I don’t care what religion you belong to as long as you’re an awesome human being and you have integrity.

While I think of myself as a pretty spiritual person, I don’t think I’m overly religious. In fact, sometimes I can feel pretty rebellious about it. It’s not anything against your God or other deities. It’s more about the ickiness of when a few corrupt, but powerful, people use the vulnerabilities of others to push their own agendas. I like to think of myself as a free agent. I’m on the side of good people. I don’t care what religion you identify as belonging to, if you believe in love (as a verb), acceptance and you have integrity. i.e. you’re not a hypocritical, closed minded dumb arse.

I believe human rights are more important than ‘free’ hate speech.

If you use ‘free speech’ as an excuse to say hateful things, we may not get along very well. I don’t mind us having a whole bunch of differences, but if your views seek to oppress another person or group of people, then I cannot be on your side and you should know that I believe that with the power of ‘free’ speech, comes responsibility. Be wise in your choices.

You’re either a good person who cares about others or you’re not. If you’re not, it is my free choice to not listen. So enjoy that freedom of speech, but don’t expect your trolling comments to be published on my blog or argued with on my Facebook page. That’s MY choice. It goes both ways.


Glad I got that off my chest.

What should I know about you? 

#MumLife: Labels or Love?

Being a mum/primary caregiver of children can be fucking hard. And I am not even talking about the day in, day out shenanigans that come with just the child care and juggling of everything. I’m talking about the fact that there are big personalities and the publicising of our lives and social media blah blah. I am pretty pissed off that we keep finding new ways to keep up with the ‘mummy wars’. I am pissed off that it’s still even a thing! I mean, COME ON.

Everyone is so quick to label themselves and each other. Talking shit about how they’re not judging, but…BUT WHAT? Come on. We all judge. Let’s not pretend it isn’t human nature. But what we do with that judgement is what matters. Is it not just enough to agree to disagree? Unfollow? Stop watching? Or do we have to hate read everything and set our followers onto someone else’s followers, with torches and pitchforks every time we’re offended?

Do we have to call ourselves a *insert any trendy name here for a collective of people* and feel like we’re in the clique and exclude others because it makes us feel more important and exclusive?

I am calling bullshit. I am calling bullshit on all the labels. I am sick of the fucking labels. Are you a slack mum? A helicopter mum? A free range mum? A fit mum? A sweary mum? A classy mum? A snobby mum? An Alpha mum? A tiger mum? A don’t give a fuck mum? An anxious mum? A make everything from scratch mum? A pre-packaged everything mum? A Kmart mum? An Etsy mum? A working mum? A stay at home mum? An attachment mum? A…queen? Sigh.

Do you get to be proud of your label or should you be ashamed? It’s just exhausting. Bloody exhausting.

I can be every mum at any given moment on any given day. And I am deciding  right now that I will reject all these ridiculous labels. Because at some point in time, I have been just about all of them. It’s called being a REAL mum. And that’s not a label because I’m not going to tell you how to be one or what it means to be one. I am just telling you to live your life, keep it real – your version of what’s real, not what some Facebook Idol has told you is real – honour yourself and keep on trucking. Or take a break. I don’t care. You know what you need, right? You’ll find your tribe and hopefully your kids won’t be scarred for life. Isn’t that all we can hope for?

I have wobbly bits, but I exercise and try to better my diet. Other times I know life is too short to not eat the cake or to cry over my flab. I have given my kid toast for dinner. I have spent hours slaving over a delicious, healthy something or other I found on Pinterest. I have had anxiety. I have melted down. But I have also had my shit together so rock solid that no-one better cross me. I’ve been that forgetful mum at school – whoops, did we leave the library book at home? Forget that permission slip for that thing? I’ve also been that organised mum who breezes in with it all sorted. I’ve slept well. I’ve slept badly. I’ve worked and I’ve stayed at home. I’ve even worked from home. I’ve breastfed, bottle fed, fed everything from a package because I was overwhelmed, I’ve made everything from scratch because I had the time and energy. I’ve pushed my kid to do better and I’ve let him roam free and get his creativity on. I’ve let him watch screens and I’ve told him he’s had enough. I’ve worn lovely put together outfits to the school gate, and I’ve slumped in wearing active wear when everyone knows I’m not going to do anything active because who am I kidding, I just wanted to wear the comfy clothes. I’ve been sweary, but I’ve also been restrained when appropriate. I’ve been a fierce mama bear and I’ve also let him fight his own battles. I’ve sent my kid to school with a fancy bento lunch box…filled with whatever was left in the fridge because as if I’m going to the bloody supermarket AGAIN this week. I’ve been hungover, parenting from the couch on the occasional Sunday when I could actually be bothered going out. I’ve been ridiculously responsible. I’ve been obsessed with inspirational quotes, I’ve laughed at the terrible ones. I’ve dressed like a tragic grungy teen and I’ve dressed like a dork. I can laugh at myself, but you better not be bullying anyone else. I’ve felt mum guilt and I’ve felt mum guilt about not feeling any damn mum guilt. I’ve said yes to things I wish I hadn’t said yes to, and no when I wished I’d said yes. I’ve been that annoying bitch with the highlight reel on Instagram. I’ve confided in my followers, warts and all when it got too much.

At the end of the day, I don’t fit into anyone’s stupid boxes. I take what I like from my favourite social media entities and I quietly leave them alone when I don’t agree. I am mine.

I am real. I am me. I am made up of so many different influences I’ve stumbled across along the way. I am made up of what I brought to the table too. Because that’s just as good.

I wrote this post because I want every other mum out there who doesn’t fit into a label or a gang or a box or a social media movement to know that I don’t either and that’s OK.

I believe in critical thinking – being able to recognise what’s good and what might not be serving me. I have always maintained that my social media and my blog will always be a safe place. I’m not going to tell you who to be, although I will be assertive when I think something is just objectively, morally fucked up.

If you’re trying your damnedest (is that even a word – who cares) to teach your kids to be considerate, kind and inclusive, resilient and emotionally intelligent (something the internet could do with more of), then I am so down with that and I don’t care how you get there. Because we wouldn’t be ‘mummies’ without our kids (who we love to death). But we are also so much more than that and that’s pretty rad.

Mummy wars can fuck off.

The longest winter.

I am cold. I am tired. I am getting really GRUMPY.

Usually, winter makes me feel sluggish and ‘down’ at worst. But now I’m starting to feel some kind of rage. Like I am actually mad that this is still happening. Like every chilly breeze that hits me through my supposedly warm layers of clothing is a personal insult and I am not coping! I obviously could not survive in a colder climate.

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I know spring never usually kicks in properly until October, but OMG I am so done. This past winter has been colder than usual and it started in April, I swear. Not cool, nature, not cool! Actually, too cool.

Is it too much to ask for just 2 days in a row of reliable sunshine ever? Is it too much to ask for a few days in a row without rain? Even just some blue sky. BLUE SKY. PLEASE. GRRRR.

And could our night time minimum temperatures just be above 10 degrees Celsius? Could our day time temperatures reach anywhere above 20 degrees on the regular? Seriously. I’m not asking much.

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I crave the type of weather where I can dress for the day with confidence that I will be comfortable. Not have to account for several layers of warmth, worry about whether I need an umbrella or rainproof clothing, overthink my footwear choices, check the weather forecast every freakin’ day.

I am sick of being scared of the shade. Because the shade is fucking freezing. Anything under cover might be dry, but then you freeze. Not. Fair.

I miss incidental exercise. Taking the Little Mister out for a bike ride, walking to the corner shops regularly, taking the dogs down to the beach (we often still do that through the winter but right now I am TOO MAD). The stuff I can do when I can’t get alone time to spend on my treadmill.

I am sick of everyone being sick. It’s been the worst winter on record in my little family and I am so done! FUCK OFF, GERMS!

I keep praying that I’ll look at the 7 day weather forecast and see some kind of light at the end of the tunnel, but it never ends! THIS WINTER NEVER ENDS.

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Worst part is, it’s probably going to be a sudden summer (you know – to make up for lost time) and we’ll all be sweltering overnight and feeling really ripped off that we didn’t get an enjoyable spring.

Every season has its positives, but every season has to come to an end before I end up in a straitjacket somewhere. Seriously.

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Are your moods also affected by the weather? Have a guilt free rant in the comments section if you like! 

3 things that have creeped me out.

Do any particular things give you the creeps? For some people it’s clowns, for others it’s the fear that if you accidentally drive/park over a snake, it might wrap itself around the undercarriage of your car and kill you later at another location. You know, standard stuff. Seriously, the snake thing. The fear is real. Oh, that just freaks me out? Never mind…

But you get the kinds of things I’m talking about. Some are more rational than others.

Here are three things that have creeped me out recently (I’ll count them down from least creepy to most creepy like one of those horrible TV shows that count down things like the Top 20 Celebrity Meltdowns and other such topics)…

3. When there is a spider in your car and then you lose it.

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SOURCE

No joke. I had just been listening to a person calling into my fave radio station about having a major freak out because a spider appeared on her sun visor, and then it happened to me. Sure, it was a fairly small spider, but it was the kind that looked kind of meaty and threatening anyhow. Like it was one day going to grow into a bigger spider and what if it had an army of baby spiders I couldn’t see? So I tried to play it cool, grabbed a tissue (while totally concentrating on the road), went to squish it, and it did that thing. You know the thing. Where it gets scared and lets out a bit of web and starts swinging all over the place, so you freak out and throw your tissue away and the spider disappears and you have no idea where it is.

2. When you catch your husband looking at ‘realistic’ baby dolls on Gumtree and it seems hilarious at the time but you know you’re going to have nightmares later.

Yes. It happened. I threw a few images and videos onto my snapchat that night and let me tell you, some of those dolls were just creepy. Creepier than Chucky. I swear. One little boy baby doll was staring into my soul. OMG.

Anyway, here’s one of the funnier ones. Complete with me giggling like an idiot.

Yep. A baby gorilla/monkey/some kind of primate which I am shit at identifying, doll, dressed like a human baby. I think its eyes were saying, “Heeelp me. Heeeeelp me”.

Anyhow, once all the laughs were done with, I went to bed. And had nightmares about rooms full of creepy dolls.

*shudders*

I mean, I’m happy for you if fake doll babies float your boat or bring you comfort (I’ve seen the documentaries), but I am certainly (obviously) not one of those people!!!

1. Men with ‘Yellow Fever’ (especially the ones who know where you live).

Yes. This list escalated quickly.

The first incident was a while ago. Mr Unprepared organised for a tradesman to come around and give us a quote on the exterior of the house (I won’t say what the job was as I feel a stupid, twisted need to protect HIS identity). He came along and looked at the wall. And looked at me. And spoke down to me.

Then after he’d finished giving the quote, he insisted on coming into the house and sitting on the couch to show me images of his other work on his tablet because the light outside was ‘too bright’. As our couch is right inside the front door and my phone was in my hand, I let him. Even though it was fucking odd and inappropriate and I should have said no (I am totally the kind of girl who would get murdered for being polite – must work on this).

He opened his images on his iPad and a lot of them were of young (i.e. much much younger than him) women from Asia – if I’d hazard a guess I’d say Thailand or even the Phillipines. He scrolled through all of them to get to pictures of his work. By then I was super creeped out (as a youngish Korean woman). Dude, have your personal life, but that’s super unprofesh!

Then, recently, a guy came to buy a mini guitar amp I’d handed to Mr Unprepared to sell on Gumtree. Luckily I never met him, but Mr Unprepared told me how the guy let him know he’d stalked his Facebook page and saw me in his profile pic. He had noticed that I am Asian and wanted to know if I was from Thailand because he had a Thai girlfriend and he then went on about how amazing it is to go to Thailand and pick a girlfriend.

Because “All the girls…” (like they’re all interchangeable and who they are doesn’t matter – OMG)

YUCK YUCK YUCK.

Why do people share these things? And why do they think they’re in some kind of club with my husband (who does NOT have yellow fever) and think they can talk that way about women with him? Eww.

I have nothing against those who genuinely fall in love with someone who just happens to be from another race or country and go on to have beautiful, healthy relationships for the right reasons (obviously). It’s the misogynistic, racist (yes racist) guys who creep me out. The part that is the most disturbing is that they seem to think that once they’ve been involved with one Asian woman, they have some kind of ownership over the rest of us or treat us with some kind of familiarity that is waaaaay inappropriate. The entitlement to talk to me or think I’m going to want to be in their company is gross. It’s that entitlement that makes them cross all sorts of lines – I know because I’ve been to the local pubs on a Friday night enough times during my adult life.

When these morons think they know you based on a picture, it’s creepy. And when they know where you live – even worse. YUCK YUCK YUCK.

And when they’re just buying something from you, but go to the trouble to stalk your Facebook…OFF THE SCALE.

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I do realise that two out of three things on this list involve Gumtree. Interesting coincidence…haha.

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Anyway, tell me…what the hell creeps you out? 

 

How to apologise properly.

Hey, you know when a ‘celebrity’ or somebody in the public eye (do I need to mention a certain Collingwood Football club president?) kind of fucks up? They might make their employer/s look bad or offend a large segment of the population. And then there comes the seemingly forced apology.

We roll our eyes in frustration, as they ‘apologise’. We feel like they’re only apologising to save their job or their PR image. Because someone told them to. We are reminded of when children are forced to apologise for doing something naughty and they don’t want to, so they spit the words out sarcastically or spend their apology making time still talking about why the thing they did was not that bad or was someone else’s fault.

Yuck, right?

Well, I have thought a lot about what makes a good apology. Because we all screw up or put our foot in it sometimes. But it’s only truly forgivable if we really nail the apology and make solid resolutions to do better in that area moving forward.

So here are my tips for making a good apology (whether you are a normal human being or a bumbling idiot with a high profile)…

Be sincere.

This might be the hardest part. But you have got to mean it. Dig deep, swallow your pride, tap into some empathy and mean it. People see through false platitudes from a mile away. Do not try that sickening lip service bullshit and expect it to be swallowed. It’s insulting.

Take accountability.

Tell the other person/people what it is you did wrong. Own it. Do not say, “I’m sorry IF I upset you.” If??? You did, or you wouldn’t be in this mess in the first place. Do not put the accountability back onto the person/people you offended. Do not say, “I’m really sorry that you got upset at me.”

Because that’s like saying, “I’m not really sorry for what you think I said/did (which quite honestly I am not completely happy to cop to). I am sorry you called me on it and quite frankly maybe everyone was overreacting”.

Do not say, “I’m sorry, but…”

Don’t try to justify the thing you said/did while apologising. The ‘but’ cancels it out.

“I’m sorry but it was just a joke…”

“I’m sorry, but to be fair…”

You know the kind of thing I’m talking about.

Also, do not underestimate the use of the word, “I”. Don’t be all, “So I’m really sorry that happened to you.”

No. You should be really sorry YOU did that to the other person. It can be tempting to distance yourself from that thing you’re probably embarrassed you did, but I promise it won’t go down as well as using the word, “I” in your sentences.

Show that you understand the impact of what you did to hurt/offend someone.

Tell someone that you know why what you did was wrong and the damage/impact it caused or potentially could cause.

“I’m sorry that I joked about being violent towards a woman. It is not something to joke about. It was a damaging comment to make and a lot of people are looking to me as a public figure. I could have used my voice to speak out against the problem but I ended up being a part of the problem.”

Show genuine remorse. Not for being caught or called out. Remorse for what you did to hurt/offend someone else.

State what you will do differently moving forward. 

An apology tends to lose its credibility if the person does the same kind of thing over and over. You should mention a genuine plan or intention to do differently so you won’t have to apologise for similar screw ups ever again. How will you prevent this happening again?

Make sure you mean it, though or you could find yourself red faced again in the future!

Do not apologise with the sole intent of getting something in return.

While you may believe that both parties have contributed to a crap situation, do not apologise simply so you can skip to them making theirs. Make your apology because it needs to be made. Because it’s the right thing to do. Be true to the good person you know you are/want to be.

Other people do not owe us their forgiveness but we may owe them an apology regardless.

Disclosure: I am not perfect but I wholeheartedly try to take my own advice. It can be hard to accept that we’ve screwed up sometimes, but it’s character building to take it on the chin and do better next time. Sometimes I’m a slow learner, but I keep these tips in the back of my mind and keep working at them! They really do work in making the other person feel validated and heard.

So I hope I didn’t come across too preachy, but I got the idea for the blog post (after reading about yet another public figure making a half hearted apology for saying something dumb) and went with it hoping I’m not the only one who finds these tips useful (or wishes other people would)!

Did I cover everything? Anything else you would like to add? 

5 ways I currently don’t have my shit together.

Recently, I’ve been living with the frustration of feeling like I just don’t have my shit together. It’s just been one of those years (so far). It’s only May, but I’ve been sick twice with awful lingering colds, had surgery (currently recovering from that one), become a school mum (a test of any parent’s organisational/social skills) and have had to deal with endometriosis and secondary infertility throughout it all – all of which involves times where you’re physically and mentally stretched to your limits.

When I found Kelly Exeter’s post ‘5 ways I currently don’t have my shit together’ on her blog A Life Less Frantic, I felt really relieved. If someone who has all the inspiring advice on how to get your shit together, also has times when she feels like she doesn’t have her shit together, then maybe I’m not such a big fail after all! Nothing like the comfort of feeling less alone!

Here are the 5 ways I’ve been feeling less than on top of this life thing:

I am sick of being sick/less than at my optimum physical condition, sick of thinking about it and sick of talking about it

When I’m not at my best physically, it can be very tempting to do a lot of navel gazing. I mean, I have had a lot of time to myself having a pity party about the lack of a ‘life’ I feel like I have. I don’t want to bore everyone with the details all the time, but I also feel a responsibility to tell people what’s happening if it’s affected my ability to be present/on top of things. It’s so god damn tiresome. I’m sick of it. I feel like a big, boring wet blanket. It’s not who I am and these times do not define me, but I am well aware of the fact that if it’s all that seems to be going on with me, that perception may be out there.

I try to be positive and balance out my ‘sick/lame Kez’ stories with other stuff, but then I get annoyed that I don’t always have much else to talk about when someone asks me how I am or what I’ve been up to. Maybe I’ve been a little bit depressed (not using that term lightly) and haven’t realised.

Even writing about it still gives me the irrits. Even more than the word ‘irrits’ does!

I mean, I hate how people have way worse things going on with them and yet I feel consumed by this crap. I feel embarrassed about that and a bit pathetic.

I feel stupid at the school gate

I am a really involved, loving parent, but being a school mum does not come naturally to me (does anyone/everyone/no-one feel the same?) and I feel so awkward standing around before and after school with all the mums – even though they’re all so nice and I know they’re in the same position as me (i.e. they’re standing there too)! Sometimes I feel like I’m running late so I rush in a bit flustered. Other times, I don’t know how long to chat or when to just get the eff out of there. I’m in awe of the mums who look like they’ve got it together and are wearing actual proper ‘outfits’ and not just the first thing they found in their floordrobe that seemed OKish. It’s worse when I’ve been dealing with some physical stuff and it really challenges my ability to seem ‘all there’. I still feel like a school kid scared of breaking the rules – what am I doing there as a parent?! Who let this happen??

I am shit at committing to things

This seems to have been a big side effect of the physical stuff I’ve been dealing with (as outlined above). I seem to have lost faith in being able to say yes to something that is happening in a couple of weeks’ time and know that it’s going to actually happen. It’s like I’ve decided that I should be psychic, able to account for everything that might possibly happen between now and then. Or else just give up and say no.

So I end up not participating in my life as much as I could or flaking. I hate being a flake. I hated flaky people until I became one. Actually I still hate it. Now I just get mad at myself. I cannot apologise to people enough.

In turn, this affects my social confidence and the cycle goes round and round.

I am working on this.

I never feel like a ‘put together’ woman

Thanks to my endometriosis, I have had the skin of an awkward 14 year old for a while now. It’s a bit difficult trying to feel like a grown woman, when your skin is wildly fluctuating from dry and almost flaky to oily and filled with zits.

I feel like it’s rare that I turn up somewhere and my outfit is polished and well put together, my make up/skin looking nice/normal/age appropriate. I know that sounds really shallow, but the ritual of putting my outer self together is important to me these days. My confidence is tied up in it more than I’d like to admit. Maybe it’s a control thing. I feel like I can’t control what’s happening inside of me so I have started to become obsessed with cosmetics and nice manicures and properly styled outfits.

I did not even make the connection until I literally just typed this and it spilled out of me – Aha moment!! OMG. Note to self: revisit this!

I can’t ever exercise regularly for more than maybe a week or two at a time

I am always banging on about my Kez Gets Physical mission and while I am fairly accepting of the fact that life (and emotion haha) interrupts our best efforts at exercise and nutrition sometimes, my ability to do focused exercise is very important to me. My mental health relies on it and my physical health has so much potential that I am not able to tap into right now.

No matter how much my mind is willing to keep up a consistent lifestyle of fitness and exercise, my body has refused to cooperate. I am hoping this stuff will get easier now that I have had my surgery, but you can understand my frustration, I’m sure!

The thing is, I could dwell on how awful these things are. But I am not going to do that. I refuse. I am so ready to take life by the balls (what the hell saying is that??) and push on through. I’m a fighter and I am strong. Now that I’ve identified 5 key areas where I feel like I do not have my shit together, I can do something about them. I can’t fix it all overnight but I can take some steps that will make me feel empowered when I see progress. I have to celebrate the small wins.

I feel like recovering from last week’s surgery has been a pivotal moment for me. I’m taking this chance to start afresh. I will surely experience many more stumbling blocks moving forward (that’s life), but I feel hopeful about my future and my health for the first time in a long time and I am relieved to re-learn just how resilient my spirit is.

Here’s to always remembering that nobody ever has ALL their shit together ALL the time and not worrying so much. Here’s to not forgetting to notice what we’re getting right too! Here’s to always being able to find something we CAN do, when there are so many other things we can’t.

How are you? Do you have your shit together? What areas are you struggling with? 

I’m calling for a revolution: ASSUME THAT NOBODY IS PREGNANT UNLESS THEY TELL YOU OTHERWISE.

I’ve realised that there are so many things that I censor/defend myself about in my daily life, in case someone incorrectly thinks that I am knocked up. I am so good at it now that I hardly notice I’m doing it anymore. Because on those rare occasions I let my guard down, the questions start.

ARE YOU PREGNANT?

Actually, you could say just about anything to someone who really really really wants you to be pregnant (bless ’em) and all they’ll hear is “I’M PREGNANT!”

So I am standing up today and saying – NO MORE. From here on out, I will say whatever I want, whatever I’m feeling, without worrying about what people think. I have been through enough to know that even the opposite of pregnancy (i.e. that bloody hell that occurs each month or so) can produce symptoms similar to pregnancy symptoms – isn’t that evidence enough that we just do not know jack about someone else’s fertility status, based on a few reportings of out of context symptoms??

So where was I…from now on, I will let myself be bloated without trying to hide it (it’s real life y’all – I eat and I get PMS – what can ya do). I will laugh about the lengths I will go to in order to satisfy an obscure food craving because that’s who I am. A ridiculous lover of food. I will turn down that glass of wine because sometimes (haha probably rarely but still…) I really don’t feel like it and I’m sick of drinking just to avoid questions (I think my liver and overall health will thank me for it). I will go into a shop and buy gorgeous little baby clothes without looking over my shoulder for people who know me and might get the wrong idea – THEY’RE FOR MY RELATIVES’ OR FRIENDS’ KIDS FFS. I will nest because it brings me comfort when the whole secondary infertility thing is getting me down. AND I WILL TALK ABOUT IT IF I WANT TO. I will reminisce on my first pregnancy (in real life or on my blog) all I like, because it brings me comfort and life changing memories and has no bearing on my current situation.

If some pharmacy/supermarket check out operator I’ve never met before comments out loud on my purchase of ovulation tests (or other such items), I will not politely answer them like I always do (seriously – my lady balls shrink up and fail me every time). I will give the coldest look I can muster and I will say, “That. Is none of your business.”

I will then complain to management. And probably shop online – BUT I shouldn’t have to. Which is my point.

I will stop using disclaimers constantly of the “before you get excited, I am NOT pregnant…” variety on my blog. I shouldn’t have to explain myself. Just take my writing for what it is.

Because the thing is, if I was lucky enough to be pregnant I would not be revealing it just because someone is the first nosy person to ask. I would reveal it to my husband, my doctor, my beautiful firstborn son (but not until I knew the pregnancy was pretty safe), the grandparents, the great grandparents, the people in my extended family, my closest friends, the rest of the damn world, in that order! Nobody else gets to decide they’re above the order of things!

There are several compelling reasons not to ask someone if they’re pregnant:

  • They may have just experienced a loss, which they’re not ready to share with anyone. It can be hard for people to talk about.
  • It may not be the time or place and it isn’t up to you to decide if it is.
  • They may be feeling self conscious about their weight and you’ve just basically told them you’ve noticed they’re ‘fat’ (even if that’s not why you asked).
  • They may be dealing with infertility and congrats – you’ve just reminded them of the one thing they’d love the most but can’t have for now.
  • Don’t you think that if they wanted you to know, they would have told you already? See above for the ‘order of things’ – everyone has their own way they want it to go down.
  • A lot of people do not like to reveal they’re pregnant until they’re in the ‘safer’ zone of the second trimester. It would be really unfair to disrespect their wishes.
  • Some people choose to be child free and are sick of being made to feel like they are somehow lesser people because they don’t want to be pregnant or have children.
  • Other people might have decided that they’ve had enough children (yes sometimes ‘just the one’) and are sick of people implying that it’s not ‘normal’ of them to not want another, or assuming that every person wants more than one (or however many they have at that point). Or that everyone can even in fact have more than one.
  • They may not have even discussed the idea of children (or how many) with their partner yet (or may be dealing with some issues in their relationship which prevent them from trying), so why would they want to discuss it with a tipsy person at some dude’s birthday party (because those are the kinds of places that people tend to ask – are they not)?
  • Someone might be struggling with some other difficult, personal,  physical condition, completely unrelated to fertility.

I know this ‘asking everyone if they’re pregnant’ thing has been around since forever, and despite all the funny Facebook memes and blog rants, no-one seems to pay attention, BUT…

I urge you to consider these two things moving forward – the part where I call on you to help me with this revolutionary new way of thinking/behaving:

  1. Let’s not ask anyone if they’re pregnant (or speculate about them out loud behind their backs so it gets back to them). Let’s wait for them to tell us (or not tell us because we could be SO wrong and they might not even be pregnant or want to get pregnant). Repeat after me: It’s none of my business until they make it my business.
  2. Let’s talk about our NON pregnancy ‘symptoms’ openly (if we want to) and stop censoring ourselves or adding disclaimers. It’s someone else’s problem if they assume we’re pregnant. Let’s be rebels and let people make their assumptions (if they’re silly enough to). We know the truth and we’re allowed to share our truth. It shouldn’t be our problem if people are insensitive. We can call them on it, by saying simply “I am not pregnant.” and let them feel uncomfortable – not us. Repeat after me: It’s none of their business unless I want to make it their business.

I hope that by doing these two things, we can let women just get on with living their lives without being scrutinised. Non pregnant women should have nothing to feel embarrassed about and pregnant women who haven’t told you yet – that’s their choice. Respect it! Also, let’s not steal anyone’s thunder! It’s not our moment to take.

Are you in?!!

We all have moments where we suspect someone might be ‘with child’, but it’s how we deal with that curiosity (and excitement) that matters. I personally like to keep it inside my head, put it aside and wait. I’ve been wrong before and have never been more relieved that I did the right thing and kept it to myself!! I’d love if more people could do the same.

This post hasn’t been designed to shame anyone and I am certainly not passive-aggressively singling anyone out (so you can breathe out now haha). This is just something I know is an issue, not just for me but a lot of women deemed to be in their child bearing years. I just hope it inspires us to all move forward, looking out for one another 🙂

Have you ever been wrongly accused? Pressured like crazy to start/grow a family by well meaning people? Outed before you were ready to make an announcement? Have you ever accidentally accused someone and it was super awkward? I’d love to hear your stories – comment below or share this post! x

Taking Stock: March 2016

So I’ve decided  that it’s a good time to ‘take stock’ again. I do like the idea of capturing a snapshot of where I’m at throughout the year.

Here’s what I’m currently…

Making : No real plans for the weekend. I mean, I’ll be open to spontaneous fun if the opportunities arise, but I am really enjoying the fact that it’s a long weekend and there is currently nothing super important on our plate. Nothing we HAVE to do. Everything will be on our terms. That’s kind of lovely.
Cooking : I hope I will be at some point. I do like to get my ‘bake’ on. That sounds drug related, but no. I am just addicted to thinking about food. The cupboard might get a little bare as we streeeeetch to pay day, but I think/hope I can create some interesting things.
Drinking : I’ve been enjoying cider lately. I’d like to rediscover wine. But to be honest, not a lot of drinking has been going on lately – a good thing. I am trying to drink more water. My skin is dry and I need the feeling of cleansing my body.
Reading: No books at the moment (unless you count the Little Mister’s bedtime stories). But I have been trying to chip away at my favourite blogs. I have SO much catching up to do!
Wanting: To feel peaceful. I’ve felt fairly good in the past couple of days, but I have certainly been tested mentally and emotionally lately. I’m working on it!
Looking: At the soft light coming through the blinds as the sun rises. I’m kind of excited that it’s autumn. While I’m a summer girl, I think autumn is my favourite season.
Playing: With my Periscope app. I’ve been broadcasting for about 5 minutes a day. It’s not the most scintillating stuff but I’m having fun building my confidence at being recorded and talking to a camera. It’s also nice to document my life day by day (even if the broadcasts delete themselves after 24 hours). You can watch me embarrass myself if you like (you can access it on my Twitter timeline or on the app). Then 2 people might be watching haha.
Deciding: To be positive. To try not to dwell on the things I don’t have and remember the things I do have.
Wishing: That my dreams for my family come true.
Enjoying: Just sitting here. Being still.
Waiting: For Mr Unprepared to get home from his early morning bike ride. He has promised to look after the Little Mister this morning when he wakes – yay.
Liking: The quiet.
Wondering: If I’ll ever figure out what to watch next on Netflix. I keep thinking, “Nope. Can’t watch that – must wait for Mr Unprepared.” or I just can’t make up my mind because I think I have to be in the perfect mood for the perfect show/movie. This makes me sound like I have too much time on my hands, but quite honestly I don’t (I think it’s the pressure of having to optimise my viewing time), so you can see why this is a problem haha.
Loving: My friends. They’re so supportive and it’s nice. I used to not let myself be vulnerable or show when I wasn’t OK. I was missing out. They are more than fair-weather friends and I am so grateful.
Pondering: On where life will take me. Like, what’s the grand plan?
Considering: Overhauling the Little Mister’s old nursery. Making it into a pretty spare room. Oops. Haven’t told Mr Unprepared about that one yet haha. Look, it’s optimistic. I haven’t even made much headway on my home office reno yet. One step at a time!
Buying: Something I can’t go public with yet because I want to surprise someone and I don’t know if they read this blog. Ooh!
Watching: Trophy Kids doco on Netflix made me angry last night. The parents on there were horrible. There I said it. The way they pushed their children so hard to excel in various sports, literally pretending it was God’s plan when it was really their own agenda, made me feel horrible inside. THEY’RE CHILDREN. I am not usually one to judge other people’s parenting decisions, but I admit this one made me feel icky. 
Hoping:
Everything works out. 
Marvelling: At how I’ve managed to survive the week and the Little Mister doesn’t have to go back to kindy for aaaaages thanks to the long weekend – less drop offs and pick ups – yay!
Cringing: At Donald Trump. Need I say more. 
Needing: Self care. 
Questioning: What the hell it is I’m supposed to learn from secondary infertility. Because I believe everything happens for a reason, but I admit I’m struggling to know what the hell that reason could possibly be. Trying not to dwell on those ‘it’s not fair’ thoughts.
Smelling: My morning breath probably!
Wearing: My nightie. Because typing in bed. Winning.
Following: the posting of this blog post, I might try to go back to sleep!
Noticing: That Mr Unprepared is home and he’s always noisy!
Knowing: I’m going to be OK. I’m stronger than I often give myself credit for.
Thinking: is overrated.
Admiring: People who don’t give a fuck about what other people think. In a good way.
Sorting: My home office out. Painfully slowly. 
Getting: Sleepy again. That tends to happen by about 6:30am when I’m woken at 4:30am (happens quite regularly around here).
Bookmarking: Stuff on Facebook I never get around to reading/watching! I only just started using the ‘save this link’ function thingy. It’s good for when you don’t have time to read something but you don’t want to lose it in your feed.
Coveting: Liquid lipstick and new lip liners. There’s something about nice lippie to warm up an autumn/winter look, so that’s my goal. Nice lip stuff for the winter.
Disliking: People who are dicks. Because duh.
Opening: My heart. Because sometimes it can be tempting to shut everything down when times are hard, but I don’t want to do that.
Giggling: At Ross Noble (a hilarious comedian) the other night was just what I needed!
Feeling: Calm. This is good.
Snacking: On everything I can get my hands on because PMS.
Helping: All the time. Because mum. Wife.
Hearing: Crows making their crow noises (‘crowing’??) outside.

So…what are you doing right now? Besides reading my blog (thank you!)? x

I’m not ready (to be a school mum)!

OK, so technically I am ready in the sense that all of the booklist items have been procured and the Little Mister’s uniform is ready and all I have to do is put his name on everything. I learned about being prepared nice and early because BC (Before Child) I worked in a stationery and school supplies store and the stress the ‘last minute’ parents put themselves through was SO not worth it (and it made them into horrible monsters).

But mentally ready? Not. At. All.

As for the Little Mister – he seems nervous but glad to be a ‘big kid’ at ‘big school’ soon (we’re talking kindy for 4 year olds). He asks me questions about it all the time and he sounds so adorably naive and he thinks anything that is remotely grown up will be on offer at kindy. Like maybe he can use knives there and drink from glass tumblers and stuff. Because grown up. But he also asks if he’ll still get nap time and toys to play with.

He is also mourning the end of his time at day care – it’s started to sink in that he’s never going back (even though I started preparing him before Christmas last year). We run into his little day care buddies all the time in this small world we live in. He cries about missing one particular boy he used to play with a lot. He also misses his favourite teacher.

We’ve had little chats where I’ve told him that while it can be sad to leave a place and people that we love and know so well, as we grow up we have a chance to have new adventures and learn new things and make new friends we might love just as much. I’ve promised him that it’s OK. That as grown up as he is becoming, he is still my little kid and I will always be there for him to help guide him and explain how things work. He’s not on his own. Not yet!

All the while, I’m running a parallel shit scared commentary in my own head.

What if I’m a big fail of a school mum? What if I’m that mum that forgets stuff all the time (I seriously struggled with a couple of kindy preparation related things last year – probably me being in denial – and it really knocked my confidence)? What if I hate having to be so much more organised? Pressure’s on to get my act together! What if I am not the ideal ‘private school mum’? What if I just look like a hot bogan mess at school drop offs and pick ups and everyone else is wearing the latest active wear or corporate outfits or on point ‘mum’ clothes? What if a lot of the other mums are much more ‘proper’ than I am? I don’t even really know where to park my car. Not even kidding. I mean, there are several car parks but I have no idea which ones are for who. I never asked. HOLD ME.

Not to mention that being an ex (high school) student of that same school, I get crazy flashbacks walking in there all the time. I feel like I’m still the student. Like at any moment, I’m about to break a rule about how to wear my uniform or realise I haven’t done my homework in time or will somehow offend a teacher and get in trouble! I actually had a pretty great time there. I made great friends and the sense of community was strong. It was also a quality education that I was given. Which is why we picked the place for the Little Mister. But still. PTSD much? Haha.

How am I allowed to have a kid and send it to school? I’M NOT EVEN A GROWN UP YET AND I’M 31.

TELL ME. HOW?

I worry about whether he’ll get in trouble – not because he’s a bad kid, but because he can get a bit too excited about things. He’s very…exuberant (and strong minded). I just try to remind myself that he’s only 4. They’ll understand this. They’ll guide him. I’m sure of it. I hope?

Don’t even get me started on the first day I have to leave him there. In his little uniform. Waaaaaaaah.

Don’t get me wrong – he’ll be fine. Me? Who knows. My mum sent me a message the other day, regarding this. She told me to buy a box of tissues and used a wine glass emoji.

*gulp*

I mean, we both did fine with the day care drop off thing last year, but this just feels so much more emotional! Why is that?!

Is anyone else going to be school mum/dad for the first time this year? Have you got some experience under your belt – got any advice or reassurance to offer?? 

What feminism means to me as a parent: #endviolenceagainstwomen

I find that the older I get (and perhaps the older my son gets), the more feisty I become when it comes to gender equality. Basically, my inner feminist doesn’t let a thing get by her. I am a feminist. I want equality between genders. I feel that the bits we were born with shouldn’t be used to confine us. I look at the absolute scourge of domestic violence in our country and I just know in my heart of hearts and my brain of brains (ha – brain of brains – what a writer!) that the key to creating change and preventing the spread across generations, is to change the culture of sexism that we seem reluctant to address, and raise our children to be champions of equality and compassion for others. To break down stereotypes about gender and talk to/about each other with respect.

Here’s what feminism means to me as a parent…

Boys can be raised as feminists too. 

There is often the misconception that males cannot be feminists. WRONG! You don’t have to be a woman to be a feminist. You can champion the rights of women, whatever gender you identify as. In fact, it’s essential that both genders do this for progress to be made. I want to raise my son to fight against gender based injustices (or any social injustice really). If he has a female partner when he grows up, I want him to champion her rights and treat her with the same respect he’d expect for himself. If he is ever blessed with a daughter, I want him to raise her to believe she is more than an object or someone who is required to toe a certain line only because she’s female. If he has a son, I hope he will continue the work I am trying to do with him. I won’t tolerate archaic, sexist stereotypes and I won’t enable him so much that he equates females with existing only to cater to his needs.

Now I know that makes it sound like I am preaching to him every day and have him picketing on a front line at the tender age of 4. That’s not so. We can role model good behaviour in so many more subtle and every day ways.

Which brings me to my next point…

Parents can be powerful role models – what we say and what we do makes a difference.

How we talk around our children has such an impact. If we’re heard talking non stop about a girl’s/woman’s appearance (when it has no relevance to the discussion that we should be having), we are reducing her to nothing more. When we devalue the role of a stay at home parent. When we say that a woman is not there for her children enough because she works full time, without batting an eye lid about men who do the same. When we behave like a woman should feel guilty for every second she spends out of her child’s sight, while her husband/male partner can take time out and everyone champions his right to. When we turn a blind eye to domestic violence or sexist, abusive language instead of standing up against it and saying it has no place in our society.

When we say that a man must be ‘gay’ (used as an insult) because he doesn’t care about cars or sports. When we use derogative names for men who we don’t like, such as ‘pussy’ or ‘throwing like a girl’. When we say that something is not ‘ladylike’. When we talk about boy’s toys or girly things. When we roll our eyes and say, “Ugh. Typical man.”

When we tell a boy to ‘man up’ because he’s crying. When we tell a grown man to ‘man up’ because he’s ‘pussywhipped’. When men feel pressured to act like having a female partner they actually love and care about and respect equally is weird and should not be tolerated in social situations.

When we excuse our son’s behaviour as ‘Oh he’s just being a boy – boys will be boys’.

When we call a girl/woman a ‘troublemaker’ or ‘bossy bitch’ (and sadly MUCH MUCH WORSE) if she stands up for herself, but a man is considered ‘powerful’ or ‘commanding’ for doing the same thing.

When we laugh at dads who say they aren’t letting their daughters out of the house until they’re 30. When we talk about girls/young women as if their sexuality doesn’t belong to them, but to their fathers or other men in their lives (am I the only one who finds that creepy?). When we talk about women in the headlines who are attacked as though they brought it on themselves for being in the wrong place at the wrong time or by provoking someone, and say nothing about how the male offender was 100% responsible for their despicable actions.

When we write disgusting things online, of a sexual or threatening gender based nature…while we raise children and have partners who are listening to what we say every day.

It can be hard to push back against years of conditioning, but I am trying all the time to watch how I speak to my son, and how I speak about gender when I am in his presence.

Not embracing feminism doesn’t just confine women to a narrow stereotype and expectation of behaviour, but it hurts men/boys too.

Dads are not just babysitters (or paedophiles). 

My husband is a parent – not a babysitter. It is expected that if both of us are present and able, he must pull his weight just as I must. If he does the housework, he does not get a medal. Same goes for me. If I am not around, he covers me and vice versa. He is not ‘babysitting’ to do me a very special, exceptional favour. He is doing his job as a dad and doing it well. If I feel that perhaps the scales have been tipped a bit too far on my side with child caring duties (it happens), we talk about it and work towards restoring the balance. Just as we would if things went too far the other way. I do not just pick up the slack and let him get away with it until it just becomes the norm. Yeah, he really does not get a free ride around here haha.

I know that his relationship with the Little Mister is going to thrive and I am glad. I refuse to talk about men as babysitting their children. I refuse to insult them by acting like they’ve just found the cure for cancer when all they did was have their kid for a half a day or changed a nappy or put them to sleep. I will celebrate the men who are a proactive part of their children’s lives just as much as I celebrate amazing mums who do great things. I just won’t celebrate them MORE for doing the SAME thing a woman does for her children.

On the flipside, I also think it’s obvious we need to stop believing that every dad at the park is a paedophile. Mr Unprepared once got stared down by a woman because he took our (then) 2 year old to the park and dared to play with him and show a reasonable level of affection – a kiss on the chubby cheek. Another time, a dad we know entered a parenting room at a department store to change the dirty nappy of his very young daughter. He talked to her lovingly, wiped her clean and gave her a clean nappy – things a mum does all the time without anyone looking twice. He got dirty looks. Thinking that men who spend time nurturing and playing with their children must be freaks (or worse sexual offenders) is disgusting. It shows that we expect so little of men as fathers that anyone who actually does the right thing must have an ulterior motive? Yuck.

See what I mean about sexism harming men too?

No one gender holds the monopoly on a colour or a type of toy.

Isn’t it crazy how much power we give a couple of colours? That’s all they are. Colours. Yet some parents shrink away in fear or become enraged if their child picks up the ‘wrong’ one. I LOVE seeing little girls in blue, playing with trucks in the dirt. I think it’s great when boys want to play with baby dolls and prams (we are raising future dads – yay). What I don’t understand is why all of those things are PINK and there’s this societal ‘rule’ that it means those things are JUST FOR GIRLS. Pink is just a colour. Blue is just a colour. JUST A COLOUR.

If my son wanted to wear pink and was passionate about toys that are aggressively marketed to girls, I would let him have them. Would I feel concerned that the world isn’t ready for that? Yes. But I couldn’t crush his spirit. How would that bring change to this world and teach him that who he is and what he likes is great?

Basic life skills should be taught to all children.

Long before the Little Mister leaves my home, I will be teaching him a bunch of life skills to prepare him for life in the real world. It’s my job (and his dad’s). He won’t just know how to change a tyre or mow the lawn or use a screwdriver (insert stereotypically ‘manly’ duties here) etc. He will learn how to cook. How to iron. How to use the washing machine and dryer. He will probably have to be shipped off to my mum’s to learn how to sew (haha – I’m a big fail). He will know how to do ALL the things he needs to know to keep a home running. Same would go for if I had a daughter. She would learn ALL aspects of home keeping. Now that’s not saying that the kids will be interested or motivated in every single area, but I would like to prepare my child for an adulthood where he can survive on his own or he can bring his strengths to complement another person’s so they can live with an equal partnership around the house. There’ll be no, “Oh that’s the wife’s job” just because she’s female. And vice versa with “the husband”. For example, there are several so called ‘manly’ tasks in my skill set, even if I admittedly do not enjoy them or have to do them as often. Also, my husband is great with an iron and can cook and has no problem fixing Mt Fold-or-hang-more for me. He doesn’t always do them either, but we cover each other and the division of tasks is not based on gender. It’s based on who has the time/energy or what works best for our household routine. It plays to both our strengths and weaknesses (and what we like doing more haha). We try to complement each other. I hope the Little Mister will notice this as he grows up.

I hope that this will mean that no-one will get out of here with a sexist sense of entitlement or expectation of what should happen in a household.

BOTH genders should be raised to express their feelings healthily without violence (or threats of violence). 

In my family, violence will NEVER be the answer. To anything. Not on the playground between boys – not even if someone attacked them first. Not in our home. Not when a child is being naughty. Not between adults. Not between girls. No-one will threaten anyone with physical violence. Not online. Not even when they talk about awful people who do horrible things (“someone should break his legs for what he’s done” etc). Because logic says that violence/emotional abuse as a means to discipline or control somebody (adult or child) is idiotic. Sorry. I’ve said it. You’ve got no moral high ground when you resort to that. We can’t teach our children that we need to physically hurt or emotionally damage someone else when they ‘just aren’t getting it’ or we’re ‘having a bad day’. Using violence to ‘solve’ violence just logically seems like a stupid idea. For example, how can we raise our hands to our children, threaten to smack them to keep them in line and then expect them to abhor threats or physically controlling tactics when they are older?

And yes, I know a lot of people were smacked as children and turned out OK, but it doesn’t mean it’s a great idea. It just doesn’t make much sense to me moving forward knowing what we know now – times change.

If children grow up being told that violence or physical bullying is OK in many situations – especially as something boys/men are normally expected to partake in so that they are considered tough or ‘manly’ (for example on the playground or if a fight breaks out on a sporting field), then they will fall back on that when challenged and will lack the emotional tools to resolve conflict in a healthy way.

We can pledge to never turn a blind eye if our children show bullying behaviours. Not to be THAT parent who is in denial and thinks their child is an angel while red flags fly everywhere. We can hold ourselves and our children accountable. It can be a great learning/teaching opportunity for all.

Children of both genders should be taught that they are amazing and worthy of respect – that their unique talents and strengths should be treasured. That EVERY person deserves to feel safe – emotionally and physically. That violence is not acceptable to inflict on another and it is not something that they should accept if it happens to them. We should teach them to resolve conflict in healthy and respectful ways.

We all need to raise caring people by being caring people. Because nobody with an intact sense of empathy for others would even think to hurt somebody else so viciously as we know happens with all forms of domestic/family/online abuse.

I feel really hopeful because we all have this opportunity to start a revolution in our thinking and being – to improve our culture, with a new generation. It can start with us. I feel an absolute sense of responsibility in being a part of change for the better. I hope you will join me. 

#endviolenceagainstwomen