Tag: awesomely unprepared

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? 

 

Anticipatory Car Park Anxiety: It’s totally a thing.

Sometimes I get anxiety about a bunch of things (some reasons that make more sense than others). But I have this one anxiety quirk that has never left me. And I want to know if I’m the only one who deals with it…

I get anxious about where I’m going to park when I arrive somewhere. 

Like, for real.

If I am not familiar with the venue or area, I spend way too long worried about where my car will be situated. Like, my heart will actually race at the thought of it sometimes.

I will spend ages before I leave home, googling maps and wondering if it’s parallel street parking, whether there’s enough car spaces in the nearest car park and how much longer it will take me to get to my destination, if I have to account for finding a car space. I worry about where/when I’m allowed to park. What side of the road the parking is on and whether it is easy to access. I worry about how busy the area will be. WHAT IF I CAN’T FIND A SPOT AND EVERYTHING GOES TO HELL IN A HANDBASKET (what does that even mean). What the rules are for each car park: how long I’m allowed to park there for, whether it requires a ticket to be paid for, blah blah.

Because, despite my seemingly rebellious nature, I am a nervous, over thinking chook of a person when it comes to the idea of actually breaking any rules.

Yes. I am ridiculous.

This week, the Little Mister started kindy. I swear I spent so much time worrying about where I would need to park each day. I beat myself up for days for not remembering to ask anyone about this simple every day logistical thing ahead of time – I mean, I knew just about every other thing (trust me). His school has several car parks and I knew nothing of the rules. It was a little bit hilarious just how relieved I was when I got there (after scrolling through pages and pages of online official school documents to find a map) and realised that there were LOTS of places to park at drop off and pick up time. LOTS. And the ‘kiss and drop’ portion of the car park was clearly marked so I would not risk confusing it for a place to park in (we can’t do kiss and drop for kindy kids – obviously best to walk them in and out).

You would not believe how ecstatic I was. After finding my parking spot, I just knew the whole day would go well. Because my car had a spot.

It’s almost like I associate an easy parking experience with turning up somewhere feeling poised and confident and not flustered. Like it determines how well a meeting or an event will go. It’s like an extension of my social anxiety (which is a funny thing for a fairly outgoing person to have).

But like with any other anxiety I experience, it would do me good to remember that everything turns out OK in the end and is RARELY worst case scenario stuff. I haven’t been through anything I haven’t survived or learned from, right?

I mean, do you actually know anyone who couldn’t find a parking spot and that fact alone wrecked their whole entire lives/perception of themselves FOREVER? I mean, I’m sure there are rare exceptional circumstances in which this has probably certainly happened, but what are the odds? Come on, Kez. Get it together.

I am such a freak. Or am I?

Do you get anxious about weird things? Spill!!! 

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?? 

I’ve moved…kind of.

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Hey, everybody. It’s been quite the week for this little old blog here. Guess what?!

We’re self hosted now, y’all. If you have no idea what I’m on about, don’t worry. That kind of makes two of us. Trust me. I have learnt some things this week, I tell ya.

Basically, it means this space is all mine now. ALL MINE. Mu ha ha. Who knows what further mischief I can get up to now?

I hope it’s not too much trouble to ask you all to make sure that you are subscribing to…

http://awesomelyunprepared.com 

and that the links you have for me are all up to date!

Wouldn’t want you to miss anything (I’m sort of secretly scared I’ll somehow screw this up and all of my lovely people will disappear)!

Because you really are lovely people. And I truly am feeling awesomely unprepared now haha.

I’ll be tinkering away for a little while before I really feel like I’ve truly made this space into a home, so I hope you can bear with me. I’ll be blogging away as usual, don’t you worry 🙂

Yay!

Lots of love,

Kez xoxo

Starting day care for the first time – the what ifs and the possibilities.

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The Little Mister starts day care for the first time this week and while I’ve been excited at the thought of free time (ha – let’s see how long that lasts with the possibility of casual work and all the tasks that pile up each week), I am starting to get really nervous! Despite the fact that he is SO ready and I know he’s going to thoroughly enjoy being the little social butterfly that he is, I am still freaking out a little….because I’m me.

We’re sending him once a week (with the possibility of twice by the end of the year), to help him prepare for 3 full days a week of 4 year old kindy at school next year. We didn’t want to just chuck him in the deep end.

So what silly things have got me all tied up in knots? Let me allow you to view my ridiculous stream of thoughts – uncensored in all their irrational glory…

What if the other kids are assholes?

What if my kid acts like one? He can be pretty bossy and sometimes when he’s tired…well…

What if him being an only child somehow makes him seem more immature than the other kids his age? What if he’s slower to understand some stuff and gets punished for being naughty when he simply doesn’t get it yet? What if they forget how young he is and expect too much (he looks older than he is)?

What if toilet training doesn’t progress OR GETS WORSE?

Selfishly (what? It’s not all about me?), what if I start to think I’m failing at this mum stuff because this is the first time I am open to being judged for what I put in a lunchbox, what my kid wears, how far along he is in his development etc? I mean, hello, I’ve read the crazy Facebook stories people tell (which are in no way related to the centre we are sending our child – don’t kick us out haha).

What if he just gets sick all the time?

OH HOLY SH*T.

BUT…

…then I think…what if he has an AWESOME TIME?

What if he makes lots of friends who make him feel loved and accepted?

What if he makes progress with things like toilet training and giving up a dummy for sleep time, because he can see how it’s done with the influence of the other children?

What if this compensates well for the social skills he might need sharpening up on, being an only child at this point? What if he benefits from having more authority figures he isn’t related to and lifts to meet their expectations?

What if I finally get to look after myself during his time at day care with all those appointments I keep putting off? What if I get the opportunity to do a little work? What if I stop feeling guilty and just GET STUFF DONE?

What if the Little Mister gets nicely tired out and less restless and demanding at home?

What if he gets really ready for school, meaning less nerves for all of us by the time his first day rolls around next year?

What if his immune system gets even stronger?

Oh yes. All these what-ifs.

Truth is, I have no idea what to think or expect because we haven’t gone through it yet! I could be so far off base with half of my what-if scenarios and all you seasoned school/day care mummies are probably looking at me with that “oh bless her – she knows nothing” facial expression haha.

I know I’m doing the right thing and I know that the place we’re sending him seems just lovely and the right fit for our family – I felt such relief when we did a walk-through, the other kids were friendly and not fussed by the Little Mister’s presence, and the staff were so great both in person and in their reliability/accessibility with each point of contact. I know that my charming, sociable kid isn’t perfect, but he is good and he is kind. He has his own learning journey to go on! I know that I am not a big believer of wanting to keep him all to myself forever (oh hell no haha). I want him to get out there into the world with confidence and this is the first tiny step. I want him to socialise well and get ready to learn in a safe place.

Also? Damn, it’s just one day a week. Settle the f*ck down.

So there’s the overthink-everything Kez and then there’s the Kez who has finished writing this blog post (it’s therapy OK?). The Kez who, despite writing about herself in the third person right now (how did that happen?), is quite sane and level headed and knows that on the day everything will be OK. We can deal with whatever gets thrown at us and much more likely than not, the Little Mister benefit greatly from his day care experience. I don’t regret the decision at all and I am actually excited for him (and me – in all honesty)!

You know. No biggie.

😉

How did you feel before sending your child to day care/pre-kindy for the first time?

How I feel about packing for a holiday.

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I honestly think that the one (flying) holiday related task that I dread the most is the packing process. I always hated it, but now we have a toddler. Too young to do it himself, apparently. Also, he’s not much use in carting his own things around either. Lame haha.

But seriously, I have the same issues/thoughts/nightmares every single time. Which isn’t many times. So that’s probably a part of it. I am probably not experienced enough to have a regular go-to packing routine. I have tried googling blogs with packing advice before, but to be honest, they made me feel stabby. I resent those people with their amazing organisational packing skills. I just bug my mum with questions and various anxieties 5 times a day instead. I’m sure she loves it.

So what are the things that drive me crazy when packing?

I keep forgetting that there are shops in other countries that sell things. Seriously. You’d think I was headed deep into the Amazonian jungles or something. So I freak out about making sure I have every. single. freakin’. item. a. human. being. could. possibly. need. ever. Which of course is not always practical.

I get Sorting My Clothing Into Piles Rage. Like when I try to pack lots of basics that will mix and match and also be flattering, I soon realise that all the clothes I want to take end up being black. And then when I’m trying to sort through the clothes I have put into a pile for packing potential (a PPP), THEY ALL LOOK THE SAME and I want to scream because I can’t find that one black clothing item I want and WAAAAAAH.

How much is too much and how much is not enough? Seriously. Is there some kind of magical formula? Like the time you’re travelling for multiplied by the kinds of transport you are taking, divided by your age, minus your shoe size = the precise amount of underwear to pack? What? You think it’s easier than that and maybe I am just a bit dim? My brain does not agree. My brain is very special. My brain makes it complicated. My brain wants to find that absolutely perfect balance between bare minimalism (which never feels like enough – what am I? Bear Grylls?) and being that idiot at the airport being told to pay more or throw stuff out while being publicly humiliated. You know what I mean? The bare necessities + just a little bit of cushion (not an actual cushion…you know what I mean) just in case. Right? There is a chance I overanalyse this stuff. But that’s sooooo unlikely. I mean, I’m a very together person. Yeah, I couldn’t keep a straight face while typing that…moving along…

Fear of ending up on Border Security. I am generally a ‘follow all the rules all the time’ kind of person. I freak out about being a bit naughty. Like, I won’t even jay walk or enter through an exit door. I sound like so much fun to hang out with. Doesn’t mean I haven’t broken ‘the rules’ before and had an amazing time…just that…well, I don’t want to end up on that Border Security show because I packed something I shouldn’t by accident. Like some corpse of a rare protected animal species or like a bomb or something. Oh, whoops. How did they get in there?? Wait, where are you taking me???? Are those handcuffs necessary???? I’m innocent, I swear!!!

*some bogan watching Border Security from his couch in suburban Australia shakes his head and says, “It’s always the funny looking ones…”*

I once got an unimpressed frown from a customs/security lady who discovered a full sized shampoo bottle in my hand luggage. A bottle of shampoo I had accidentally left there from our last little weekend road trip months earlier. She looked at me like I was a criminal and as I was forced to throw it away in front of her, I wished I could grab it back to wash off the shame.

Sudden obsession with lists and not sleeping. Packing makes me anxious. It’s always that fear of forgetting something. There’s all the stuff you have to do before you leave home. The things you need to buy specifically for the trip. The last minute things that you can’t put in your luggage until the very last minute (like phones and make-up etc). I spend the weeks/days leading up to a trip away obsessively writing to-do lists in the hopes that writing it all down will ease my anxiety. I have lists of stuff to do for each individual day. These are part of a bigger list of things that must be done by the time we leave. There are lists of admin related things. Lists of errands grouped by category as to where I will be and how I can kill several birds with as few stones as possible. There are the lists of what I will need in my hand luggage, what will go in my larger suitcase, lists for the Little Mister, lists for Mr Unprepared. Lists I write when I can’t get to sleep at night. Lists I write as soon as I wake up. LISTS LISTS LISTS!

I am drowning in lists.

As you can see, I am just so good at this. And such a spontaneous spirit. So whimsical and carefree. I know I’ll be fine once we’re at the airport. Then my mind will be freed up for me to worry about how the Little Mister will behave on the plane…did I mention he’s started screaming for fun lately – especially when he’s bored of sitting still?

Hold me.

And then give me your international holiday packing tips…extra points if you can also give toddler related baggage tips! 

 

Parenting: a collection of near misses.

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I gave the Little Mister some freedom today. Thing is, give a toddler and inch and he’ll take a mile. I usually carry him through car parks and then set him down when we’re safely out of the way of any passing cars on a path or in a shopping centre. I hold his hand everywhere, because he’s a bit too curious about everything and everyone – some kids stay close and others are explorers and need stronger limits (guess which one I have). He is only 2 years and 4 months old after all.

This kid is getting heavy for me to carry and while I am pretty impressed with my newfound strength (I think my muscles have adapted with him as he’s grown – it’s a great daily weights work out), it is becoming a bit much. After a really crazy day of toddler chasing, I have been known to suffer from strained stomach muscles which does NOT feel good and upsets my gut (also not fun). Being only 5 foot tall, I am lifting a human being over half my height and I’ve been feeling it’s time to start teaching him more consciously about how to conduct himself a little more independently, which will help us both. Particularly with a rather full on overseas trip coming up where there will be strange people, places and road systems.

Today we walked together hand in hand across a zebra crossing. I knew this was within his capabilities and that I could keep him safe. He knew he was doing something new and he questioned me, looking a little wary when a car came a little closer. When we reached the doors of the shopping centre, he spotted my mum and my grandparents waiting for us. Once we were safe, I let him run excitedly to them for a big cuddle (giant cheeky grin included). Everyone gets such a kick out of that. It does tend to make you feel special.

When we entered the coffee shop, he devoured his apple and cinnamon muffin (a bit of a tradition) and then I let him out of the high chair to play at the little kids’ table that is always stocked with dried up texta markers with the lids off and colouring in books (not to mention the muffin crumbs of the children who have occupied it before him). He was free to roam around the small radius that was our table and the kids’ table. The shop wasn’t busy, so it was the perfect opportunity to let him explore new boundaries (without annoying anyone). He was very well behaved and I was feeling good that he’s reaching an age where he is starting to stay closer and is more easily occupied than say a year ago. It feels nice to let him be more independent.

Spoke too soon, Kez.

He’d had a taste of freedom. He was enjoying being a ‘big boy’. The world was his oyster.

There was a door that opened up onto the path outside (which leads to the car park). He’d ventured closer to it and just as I said, “Stay close please” he was out the door. He was enjoying the game of chasey he’d started. Mummy couldn’t get him right away – FREEEEDOM!

Thing is, like a lot of other toddlers, he enjoys a game. If you run after him, he giggles and runs faster. Only thing is, in this situation it could be fatal should a car come at the wrong moment (the driver obviously not keeping an eye out for a small child whose head wouldn’t even reach the top of their bonnet/hood). We reached an impasse, him dangerously close to the edge of the road and me knowing I had to stop him without accidentally encouraging him to run out faster. I made the instinctive decision to stop running and yell “STOP” in my most commanding tone. Something he doesn’t hear from me often. It worked and I was so relieved. It could have gone either way (in which case I feel I would have become faster than Usain Bolt). He was carried unceremoniously back inside and got a friendly little lecture from my mother, myself and his great grandparents. There was no point being mean or yelling at him because he didn’t know better. It was just our job to teach him, not scare him.

Later, I told him, “You can’t ever go outside without mummy. Cars can be fun (he loves them) but they can also hurt you if you get run over by one and we have to be very careful. Mummy would be so so sad if you got hurt by a car, so that’s why you can’t run outside where there are cars around.”

As we left the shopping centre with a couple of groceries (and my heart rate had settled a little), we crossed the zebra crossing with him strapped into a trolley. A couple of cars had stopped at a respectful and safe distance for us and the Little Mister looked a little freaked out. He said, “Car. Careful. Hurt. Sad.”

He was starting to get it. I explained that he was safe because I was with him and I am a grown up and I have had more practice at knowing how to keep safe on the road and that with practice he would be good at it too, but for now Mummy would help him.

I still don’t trust the little bugger just yet haha.

It’s so funny, because it seems like such an insignificant moment. It happens to parents all the time. Near misses. Moments that could go one (terrible and tragic) way, but more times than not (fortunately) go the other. Parenting is made up of so many of these moments. It feels like a crazy game of ‘luck’ and we just pray that we stay ‘lucky’.

The times we haven’t realised immediately that our child is sick enough to need medical assistance outside of our abilities as parents. The times we have watched them bounce off some furniture or leap off some stairs – all despite our best efforts to keep them safe. The moment we realise in our tired state we forgot to drain the bath the night before and while our toddler has gone nowhere near it since, the idea of what could have happened if they had. You name it, it’s happened to a well meaning, loving and competent parent somewhere. It’s a part of parenting and being human!

Today reminded me that I can know my toddler inside and out but he will still surprise me (and probably himself). I don’t want to smother him or take his freedoms (limited as they are for a 2 year old), because I believe he needs to develop a sense of self confidence, but I know I can not afford to get complacent in this parenting game.

As I sit here and look at my Little Mister safe at home playing with his toy cars (they’ve just had an epic smash and have landed under a cabinet while he lies down on his belly and reeeeaches) I am so grateful for every moment in which a ‘near miss’ has not become a terrifying hit. Parenting is hard work, y’all!

When did your heart rate last get that bit faster?

 

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It’s getting real.

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So it’s really happening. The flights were booked and paid for yesterday. This means that in roughly 3 months’ time, we are headed to both South Korea and Japan. With my parents, my brother and a two and a half year old. What could possibly go wrong? *hyperventilates*

This is really exciting and it’s a trip we have talked about doing for years, but we never managed to get our timing right as a bigger family group. You see, my brother and I were adopted (separately – 3 years apart) as babies from Korea, and despite showing little to no interest in where we were born for most of our lives (my parents tried their best but we were having none of it haha), we’ve started to become more curious about what it might be like to visit for a holiday as adults.

None of us wanted to do the journey without everybody else, so it’s been harder to organise. I feel like we’ve been talking about it forever! Except now it’s real. We figured that we should head off while my grandparents are well, I’m not planning on being pregnant (and being very careful not to be!), my brother will have a bit of time to travel and my parents…well, any excuse 😉

While we’ll more than likely see the areas we were born and that certain emotions are bound to emerge, the focus of the trip to Korea is more from a tourists’ point of view. Just like any other journey around the world, we’re curious about a culture and history different to our own. We want to check out the scenery. Get to know the big cities. Eat the food (duh).

We then chucked Japan in there, because why not? It’s somewhere my brother has already travelled (and has enjoyed) but for the rest of the group, it’s been on our “must see” lists for a fair while.

I feel a bit nervous. I’m not a naturally gifted traveller (despite usually enjoying it immensely once we head off) and I am not very experienced in overseas adventures, having missed that rite of passage while I was younger (and childless – silly Kez). I get a bit anxious and never know what to pack or how to prepare. I’m feeling the enormity of catering for a 2 year old in a country where English isn’t always used and I don’t know the lay of the land (I guess that’s the point of going and exploring). I worry about safety and transport for a small, restless child. I worry about being on the go constantly without stopping enough – about the Little Mister getting a bit feral. I worry about toilet training (we’re in early days right now). I also worry that I might feel really emotional visiting Korea. What feelings will it bring up? Will I handle them well or will I have an exhausted meltdown at an inopportune moment? I mean, I’ve spent my whole life coming to terms with my identity as a white Aussie trapped in an Asian body! What if this trip unravels my sense of security that I’ve worked so hard to achieve?

I can’t deal with all the ‘what ifs’ right now, I do know that. They are just that. What ifs. I will just have to go with the flow and see where it all takes me. Either way, it will be a fantastic learning experience. For all of us. It’s truly a once in a lifetime journey we’re going to be taking and I remind myself of that whenever I feel a bit unsure. I’d regret it so much if I didn’t go.

Now it’s time to save like crazy people for a trip we probably couldn’t really afford if we wanted to be really sensible, to plan our accommodation and ‘must see’ lists. To gather information. We really are just seizing the moment. Carpe Diem and all that sh*t. But not YOLO because…ew.

It’s really going to happen and I feel awesomely unprepared. Bring it on.

Got any travel tips for South Korea or Japan? I’d love to hear your experiences x

A letter to myself BC (Before Child).

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Dear Kez Before Kids,

Future Kez here – Kez with Kid. Reporting from 2014 as a mother of a very gorgeous, active and bright 2 old. See, even as you’re reading this letter, you’re thinking, “How do you know your kid is gorgeous and bright? That’s a little bit up yourself. When I have kids, I’m not going to describe my kid like that. It’s probably just a normal sh*tty kid. You’re just one of those mothers who’s gotten sucked into thinking that your child is the best ever. Yuck.”

Well, I’ve got news for you. You will be biased as f*ck once you have your own child. I’m not kidding. You’ll know your toddler is not perfect and you’ll endeavour to keep him grounded and disciplined, but seriously? You’re going to think that your child is sooooo cute and sooooo smart – even when their answer to everything is currently “no” and spilling snacks on the floor is their favourite hobby. Just maybe keep it to yourself around certain people 😉

Here is my advice to you – stuff you don’t know right now, that you will need to learn very fast when you become me (Kez with Kid)!

You’re skinnier than you think you are

Seriously. You don’t believe me? While you’re moaning and whining and wearing clothing that covers you up, you’re missing out on the best you’ll look in a while. I know you’ll get back to something really fit looking one day with a bit of hard work (we’re still not there yet), but trust me on this one. You CAN wear a bikini. You do look cute in that outfit. You just don’t know it yet and if you don’t read this letter, you won’t realise until it’s a bit too late and you’ve got these weird love handles, faded stretch marks and a C-section scar that is not as subtle as you might expect.

Live life to the fullest and stop worrying about your looks. Your vanity will fly out the window (of the maternity ward at the hospital) quicker than you can imagine. You’ll be tired. You’ll have less time to get ready each day. It will be harder to buy clothes (trying them on is near on impossible with a toddler in tow and did you know kids cost a lot?). You’ll learn to love yourself with all the extra scars, lumps and bumps, but you’ll also realise you wished you loved yourself before those scars, lumps and bumps came into your life.

Right now you have (easier) access to any groceries you want, any time (and all the time in the world to plan great meals). You have no excuse for not eating healthier or exercising. Trust me, it will get harder. You’ll be time poor and at times you’ll be so exhausted your motivation to exercise will be much lower. The full on, heart pumping exercise you enjoy right now (Zumba at the gym and your exercise bike) will only be possible if you can have time without your little one, which is another challenge. Don’t worry, you’ll find a way around it – even if it seems sporadic and harder to plan for. Wii games and exercise DVDs (you will find a couple that aren’t completely obnoxious) will be your best friend when you can’t get out and about! x

You’re going to have a rough pregnancy riddled with mystery rashes and gestational diabetes, so enjoy your free range of movement and comfort NOW!

Don’t take simple things for granted

See what you’re doing there? You’re wandering about the house alone in a t-shirt and undies (without a small child loudly asking where your pants are). On your lazy day off, you’re home alone just wandering from the TV to the computer to the fridge. You’re getting some yummy food, preparing it (taking as long as you like – you’re in no rush), you’re eating it in peace. You’re going to the toilet when you need to (ALONE). You’re watching movies/TV shows that feature sexiness or violence or swear words – in the open area of the house. You’re napping occasionally when you need it. Later you’re going to get ready for a night out on the town. Just you, your cute little purse clutch – containing your lip gloss, phone and keys. Off you go in a big rush at the last minute! Climb in the driver’s seat of your car and zoom you’re out of there! Tomorrow, you’ll sleep in. As long as your body needs.

Now don’t get me wrong, you won’t turn into that cow who loves to tell people without kids that their lives are sooooo easy and they have no right to whinge. You do have that right. I am not judging. You are studying hard a lot at uni and throwing your whole self into it. In between that you are working. You and Mr Unprepared go through some hardships and life throws some challenges at you that you wouldn’t wish on anyone. Life is challenging either way (kids or no kids). You’ll lose sleep over university assignments and you’ll fret over relationship/family stuff. You’re tired now and I validate that. Just so you know. I hope you’re relieved about that. I mean, we all hope we won’t be THAT person. Take comfort in knowing we are not one of them. At least I don’t think we are and we try our very best not to be.

Housework? Oh, I hear you thinking that can wait. God, you hate housework. So boring. Put it off all the time. Yuck. Well, one day, going to the supermarket alone and having time to do housework without a little person hanging off you and whining will feel about as exhilarating as a tropical holiday. No joke. So will driving in the car alone. AMAZEBALLS.

Sounds boring to you, right now, but one day you’ll look back on these weekend days off and think – WOW. I HAD IT AWESOME! None of the activities I’ve described above will be the same again for a VERY long time.

Enjoy your pre-parenting life to the fullest. Find joy in everything. Get rid of the things that make you unhealthy or unhappy. Those things won’t matter to you when you become me (Kez with Kid). You will enjoy your new life with a child enormously but it will be a different enjoyment.

You will do almost all the things you swear you won’t do as a parent

Right now you’re so optimistic. So full of great ideas and ideals. I think that’s awesome that you dream of being a wonderful parent, that you’re already thinking of things you can do to be the best parent you can be when the day comes. You’ve been watching other parents you know and weighing up the different things they do and even though you’re not prone to being an overly judgemental person, it has helped you form your own ideas of what you’d like to do and what you don’t want to do when raising your future child.

I know you want to be one of those ‘cool’ parents who doesn’t skip a beat in their social life, but did you know that your child’s nap time will quickly become the most important part of your day and come hell or high water you will not want to skip that? Which makes it difficult – especially when your future boy (yes – it’s a boy!) naps right over lunch time (from about the age of 1 onwards). Those SAHM (Stay at Home Mum) lunch dates you’re dreaming of will become almost impossible – except for those days you just don’t care anymore or the universe seems to give its blessing for (which won’t happen often)! Sometimes you’ll be just too damn tired to have a big girls’ night out. Other times you will find that plans aren’t always so child friendly and babysitting is not as ‘on tap’ as you might have once imagined (although all the grandparents are so helpful whenever they can be).

You’ll occasionally be so exhausted that TV is a tempting babysitter. You will give in. Your child will eat cake, ice cream and other ‘bad’ stuff (especially around the grandparents haha) – although, you’ll be pleased to know you will not completely abandon your will to keep him healthy. You will realise these things won’t kill him, but that moderation is important too. You’re doing an OK job!

You’ll start a blog and somehow it will become mostly about the fact that you’re a parent. Just accept it. In fact, you’ll meet a lot of other bloggers and parents through it and they will make your journey so much more enjoyable/enriched as you learn about each others’ lives and parenting stories/advice.

You’ll struggle to be on time. Yes you. Punctuality queen. You’ll find there are only two options with you. Too early or late. There is no in between. Just keep doing your best. I’m sure one day you’ll figure it out.

You’ll surpass your own expectations

Don’t worry. It’s not ALL worse than you were imagining before you got this letter from me (Kez with Kid). Sometimes you’ll surprise yourself with what you can achieve as a parent (or woman who just happens to be a parent).

After we cancelled the Contiki tour on discovery of our pregnancy (yeah – sorry – bad news I’m afraid – Europe is off – don’t cry), I thought that I would not travel on a plane until my children were like 10 years old. As someone who sadly missed the young adults’ rite of passage with drunken overseas travel tours (but luckily at least you’ll fit in a couple of trips to Thailand), I thought we were doomed, Kez Before Kids. Not so. Circumstances sent us to Tasmania twice with the Little Mister (do you like his cute blog moniker?), you make it over there once without him (and you are sorely disappointed with how sad and tired you are instead of revelling in your freedom) and right now I have a trip planned with the family to Japan and Korea! Yep! With a 2 year old! Who would have thought you would get so brave? Awesome, right?

You’ll grow some muscles. Yes. In your arms. You will be carrying a 16kg toddler in no time. Without even really thinking about it! Who would have ever thought the girl who couldn’t even do one chin up can do such a thing?! You’ll find it hard with a chubby newborn, but you won’t believe how fast your strength will grow with him. This will do great things for your confidence and you will dare to try more things because of this newfound strength. Also? You’ll be able to carry like 15 bags of groceries into the house in one go. Like a boss.

Sure, your life will never be the same and certain freedoms you took for granted will be limited, but the really cool thing? You won’t grieve for those things for very long or very often. You’ll laugh about them more than anything. You will learn to say no to things that aren’t best for you or your family and you will go through a lot that will teach you to love yourself and to be more assertive – something I know you struggle with right now. Also, you’ll be surrounded by supportive people – several of who will be in the same life stages as you – so you won’t feel like you’ve given up too much. You’ll just adapt to a new lifestyle – it’s healthier (apart from the sleep deprivation and occasional comfort food).You’ll be ready to be a mum when you start trying for a baby. It’s OK. You’ll be satisfied that you’re ready to give some things up in order to gain something really new and special.

Also? Your kid will sleep well (for a baby that is)! He’ll have a ridiculous sense of humour from the get go (so you’ll know for sure he’s yours). He’ll be caring and very sociable. He will have a smile that will melt you. He will be very healthy (just disregard the first couple of days of his life – he’ll bounce back better than you). WOOHOO! Now that’s something to look forward to!

Now go and enjoy your skinniness and your ability to use both hands at once! I urge you! 🙂

Love from Kez with Kid.

xoxo

Quarantined.

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This is Kez. Reporting to you from the danger zone. What is the danger zone? The danger zone is that place you exist in where you’ve just recovered from a nasty bout of gastro (probably triggered from some dodgy food which you have sworn off forever and ever and ever and ever), your husband has just come down with the same thing and your toddler is the last (little) man standing.

Yes. That’s right. The DANGER ZONE.

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This is the first time an outbreak has spread throughout our household since the Little Mister was born (or even really since I can remember living with Mr Unprepared). I feel…*pathetic drum roll* AWESOMELY UNPREPARED.

And I am cleaning ALL THE THINGS.

While surviving on Hydralyte and willpower.

All I know is that I would never wish the last few nights on the Little Mister and I am determined that we somehow perform a minor miracle and save him the pain. Am I in denial? Probably. I won’t rest for the next couple of days waiting to see if we have left the danger zone with toddler intact!

So it was me. I ate something gross for lunch on Friday (celebrating the end of a long week) and I put us in the danger zone later that evening (and into the early hours – worst night ever). It was classic Kez not listening to her intuition. A little voice said, “Should you eat this? Something doesn’t feel right.”

But then a bigger voice went, “NOM NOM NOM EAT IT ALL”.

In the words of my sympathetic friend (who is safely living in another state and can in no way blame any contagious illnesses on me ever), “I hate the big voice.”

I spent all weekend on the couch (or in bed) watching teen movies (from when I was a teen) and episodes of Sex and the City back to back, while losing weight without doing any organised exercise. Toddler and husband free. Sounds heavenly? Yeah, not so much. Quarantine sucks. And the guilts every time the Little Mister was kept away from me? Awwwwwww 🙁

Because I was so well quarantined, I felt that the Little Mister would be safe. Now I’m not so sure. Mr Unprepared is now the dude on the couch who the Little Mister waves hello to from a distance (and disturbingly refers to him as “gone” when he’s just sleeping haha). I’m feeling nervous, everybody.

Positive thinking. All the positive thinking. And Dettol.

Also, to all those who know us in our every day lives and socialise with us, I promise 100% we won’t turn up anywhere until we are well and truly clear of the danger zone – hope to be back in the real world soon! 

NOW GIVE ME ALL OF YOUR SURVIVAL ADVICE!!!! xx