Tag: Blog Every Day in May Challenge

I remember and smile.

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When I try to think of something that someone has told me about myself that I’ll never forget, it’s surprising that it isn’t a positive (or even accurate) comment that springs to mind. Don’t get me wrong, I have had many memorable things said to me that have made me feel loved, appreciated and recognised for my strengths (or gently for my weaknesses). However, sometimes it takes that very ‘special’ someone (I don’t know if I’m being sarcastic or not) to reeeeally get under your skin.

When I was in my early 20s I was feeling a bit lost. I had realised that the teaching degree I’d been working for wasn’t working out and I had to make a choice. Get out and figure out what I really wanted to do or keep going and feel that discontentment every day that you feel when you know you’ve made the wrong choice for yourself.

I got out.

I figured I’d stop and earn some money, while I decided what I really wanted. I’d get some life experience. Maybe have the gap year I’d never had. It sounded wonderful, but I really was floundering. It wasn’t so glamourous. I had little confidence in myself and went for jobs below my abilities. After the most bizarre exchange during a job interview for a second hand jewellery sales position (the employer used a not so subtle but still legal way of telling me that because I was Asian I was likely to be shy and incompetent at selling just like the previous salesperson who WENT BACK TO SINGAPORE WITH HER BOYFRIEND), I decided that I should maybe just settle for a cashier’s job at a local supermarket. Now, I’m no snob. It seemed good enough. It was a job that I could leave at work when I came home and I just had to be friendly, scan the food and pack it nicely. I’d make some money and it would be easy. I could still have fun and be young during my self imposed, delayed, gap year.

Problem was I dealt with racial discrimination (from customers). Several Chinese customers (not all) thought I was Chinese and tried to take advantage of me (expecting special treatment). A portion of the “white” customers thought of me as a walking Asian stereotype (some being very rude about it). My manager at one point, when querying why I didn’t recognise a particularly exotic Chinese vegetable, told me that she thought I had lots of stir fries at home. WTF? I enjoyed the company of my check out colleagues immensely though, and they really did get me through it (most of them students looking to make a bit of money while they studied). Because I wasn’t studying at the time, I felt like people looked down on me. This didn’t help my confidence at all. I also had a FIFO de facto partner (now known as my non FIFO husband) at the time. I was lonely without him and it was a confusing time. I hated working when he was home and I admit there was a crazy co-dependency thing going on (we were young and had a lot to learn). This got me down and I felt unmotivated and lacked the ability to stand up for myself.

I was selected for what I call a “sideways” promotion. I would do a more highly regarded job (with more responsibility) but for the same pay. I was finally going to be in an office again (where a lot of my previous work experience lay). I would count the day’s takings (no small task) and I would handle the invoices for the bakery orders etc. At the time a lady arrived from another store. She was there to help our store because a recent audit had proved us to be struggling. She was basically there to get us back on track. She was the lady who was supposed to train me…

I had NO idea what was going on. She was spread thin all over the place trying to be the fixer of all things. I was starting a new position and didn’t fully understand what the job entailed. One day I made a small mistake in recording the day’s takings and she stormed in, looked at what I’d done and said, “What the hell is this? Didn’t you listen during your training?? UGH. WHO TRAINED YOU??”

It was awkward when I squeaked out, “Um…you are my trainer… and you haven’t trained me…”

On the daily, she would yell at me. One time I cried. I had reached my limits. She was mental and it was making me mental. I was not strong enough to deal with it (don’t worry – I got strong later in this story). She saw me cry, said I was silly, gave me a hug (!) and took me to the bottle store and bought me a can of bourbon. She sent me home with it as if she was my best friend. It was a confusing time!

I decided it was best if I returned to the shop floor before my trial period was up (well within both my rights and those of my employers). I wasn’t there to deal with everyone’s problems – certainly not this lady’s. There were other staff members who preferred the check outs – why couldn’t I? I didn’t want to climb the ladder. I knew I would end up back at uni – I had a future bigger than this. The management didn’t like this. They thought I was a slacker. They didn’t realise my ambitions. They thought I had no other prospects and treated me as such.

Eventually I realised that I needed to get moving on my bigger future. I signed up to become a volunteer phone counsellor and the training clashed with all of my work hours. With my husband’s support, I decided to resign. I could look for work later that would suit me better.

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The last work related thing I was to turn up to was the Christmas party. I had made good friends working there and I felt that it was the right thing to do. I asked my husband to come (partners were welcome) because I might need moral support. He had heard all about my boss by now.

We were talking (the boss zeroed in on me like we were BFFs) about my future plans – beyond the phone counselling (a stepping stone that would count in my favour later) I was planning on studying counselling at university the next year. And do you know what she said? Of course you don’t…

She said in a smug voice, “Kez will never get to uni. She’ll just chat away on the check outs forever.” 

TO MY PARTNER.

Who does that???

Her ignorant and insulting comments stuck with me. They motivated me like never before. I was going to live my dreams (even if I had become confused along the way) and people like her would just stay bitter and angry in the same place forever. She was talking to herself more than she was to me – I’m sure of it.

When I walked onto campus for the first time, upon being accepted to a highly regarded university, I remembered her words and smiled. When I attended my first classes and started to understand what I was learning, I remembered and smiled. When I worked harder than ever before, with more confidence and maturity (giving me the ability to apply myself because I didn’t take my further education for granted – having experienced life away from my passions) I remembered and smiled. When I graduated, I remembered and smiled. I went on to work in a fantastic place – accepted straight off the back of a successful internship as part of my studies. I was promoted and treated well. That was a short lived position unfortunately, but it was on my terms (good terms) that I needed to leave (long sad story). I am now living in a gorgeous place (my home town), with a beautiful son and an even bigger future in front of me – family and career wise. I still look back and smile.

It is my self belief and my ambition that has got me to where I am. Where I plan to go.

Of course I was told so many beautiful, wise and encouraging things by my lecturers, tutors, fellow students, my loved ones and my friends. Those positive things spurred me along, and I will never forget those either. I’ll be forever grateful for my support networks in life. It just stuck with me that a very sad lady was so very wrong about me. That those who get you wrong, try to put you down or knock your confidence, are worth NOT listening to. A very valuable life lesson. All of my biggest detractors (I believe “playas” call them “haters”?) have created their own beds to lie in and I have been blessed with a better life, moving forwards.

So often you hear of these stories. The kid who was told they couldn’t sing a note becoming a successful singer, the one who was supposed to struggle with writing becoming a journalist or an author. The kid who had a tough start, put down from day one by their own loved ones, becoming a successful career person. There’s nothing sweeter than proving you’re more than you once appeared.

I wonder where my old boss is today. I feel genuine compassion for her. I hope she found a way to be happy so that she can make those around her happy.

 

Do you have a similar story? Please do share.

 

*Disclaimer* I have an immense respect for those who work in our supermarkets and other such retail jobs as cashiers. They are the thankless jobs and for some it is a fantastic career opportunity (even a passion or maybe much needed food on the table), while for others it is a stepping stone. I do not begrudge anyone who is doing their best or who is made happy in these career paths. My individual experience was just not so fantastic, but I recognise that for others it is just what they need, and I am not speaking for anyone else but myself. Much love. 

This post is a part of the Blog Every Day in May challenge.



How to be the perfect parent.

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Ha! Sucked you in with the title of this post, didn’t I? Truth is, there is NO SUCH THING. Somewhere along the line, SOMEBODY (who I so would not be friends with and can go eat a proverbial…) decided we should ALL try to be PERFECT PARENTS and that we should “help” everybody else become PERFECT too. Those pointed glares at the supermarket or anywhere in public, really, are TOTALLY getting the point across, right?

Sometimes I get sucked in. Sometimes I feel judged and sometimes I (silently and inconspicously) judge others. It is human nature to compare, contrast and take a position on where we feel our behaviour and the behaviour of others sits on some kind of invisible scale of life. But isn’t it getting ridiculous?

Sometimes I am being judged passive-aggressively and sometimes it’s just a feeling in my bones as someone looks over at me or asks me weird questions about the habits of my child. Sometimes I just judge myself. I start imagining what other people will think if I am seen to do this or that. The opinions of those who shouldn’t get a say in my parenting techniques, preferences or abilities can rumble around in my brain. Sometimes those ‘voices’ stop me from writing meaningful blog posts or make me feel like I can’t be who I am as a parent. Other times, I fight these brain invaders and I win (by a smidgen). Either way, I’m kind of getting over the fact that I have to fight myself in the first place.

I need to stop feeling the need to explain myself to everyone all the time.

Oh, well we have never been able to exclusively breastfeed, because…

Yeah, my toddler is acting up today, because he’s (teething/missed his sleep/sick etc)…and it’s not really like him normally…

Oh, yes. The Little Mister is eating his pre-packaged supermarket purchased baby food, only because today…

Yeah, today I did turn on the television in his presence, but only because…

I thought about cloth/bamboo nappies, but I chose disposable nappies, because…

BLAH BLAH BLAHDY BLAH.

You would think I was feeding him booze or hanging him upside down from a torture rack just for funsies.

I do have very valid, considered and educated reasons for just about every parenting choice I make. I’m learning just like everyone else who is Awesomely Unprepared for each stage of parenthood, but I’m no dumb cookie. I read, I assess, I plan, I try. I change when necessary. I think about the consequences (short and long term). However, I do NOT owe an explanation to that snooty lady at the supermarket or that frienemy who asks weird, competitive questions about my child’s development while assessing whether I’ve done something wrong or not.

Here’s news. NONE OF US ARE PERFECT PARENTS.

We make little mistakes (which we often learn from very quickly). We do what we think is best, but sometimes it misses the mark and we end up at plan B, C, or D.

Here’s more news that will blow your brain right out of your brain sockets (I’m no doctor – brain sockets may or may not be a thing). EVERYONE WILL JUDGE US NO MATTER WHAT WE CHOOSE SO WE MAY AS WELL ENJOY BEING JUDGED FOR DOING WHAT’S BEST FOR US!

Sorry for all the caps. I’m feeling a little fired up.

Breastfeed? You’re too attached to your baby – how can you live your life? And god forbid you do it in public, you awful trashy moll (eek). What? You’re STILL breastfeeding?? That’s just gross.

Don’t breastfeed? You’re just taking the easy option and you don’t care what’s best for your baby. It’s like feeding your baby MacDonalds every day. Didn’t you try hard enough? It’s so SAD how everyone gives up so EASILY these days.

Attend various baby activity classes? You’re doing too much. Your child is being carted here and there just so you can prove to yourself that you’re a good parent.

Don’t attend various baby activity classes? Your baby is understimulated and is going to lag in its development. You think you’ve got something better to do?

Stay at home mum? You lack ambition and your children (especially daughters) are not going to learn how to be strong and independent. You’re just sitting at home watching daytime TV and whingeing about working mums. You’re an insult to feminism.

Working mum? You’re leaving your children when you should be spending more time with them at this precious age. How can you chase your career and leave your precious offspring in childcare? What? Are you sick of being at home with the kids? Well, that’s life, love. You should have thought of that before you had them.

And the list can go on and on and on. I don’t actually believe any of the things I wrote above, by the way. I am trying to get the point across that ignorant, judgemental people (who aren’t afraid to let you know it) will find something negative to say about your parenting, regardless of the choices you make. It says more about who they are than who you are.

With the availability of social media making these opinions more and more accessible, it can become bloody unbearable! We’re all judging each other! Here’s a list of the most annoying things parents do on Facebook, here’s the top 10 reasons parents are lame and boring and vapid and should get a life (there are actual articles on these topics but I’m deliberately not posting the links). There’s even an ugly flipside where we get all angry that people don’t want children or don’t have them (there is a distinction – a painful one for some).

Everyone has their own story and 90% of the time we can walk past each other and not have a clue what that story is. We’re not qualified to judge. Who do we think we are? We think one mum is an absolute super mum who we can’t live up to, when she’s really just overdoing it, her partner and kids suffering the fall out because she too feels the pressure – crushingly so. We think another mum is taking short cuts or isn’t doing enough ‘by the book’ (and there are plenty of books), but she’s actually fighting off depression or has a circumstance in her life which she is actually rising above the best way anyone could be expected to.

Like I said before, it is human nature to have judgey thoughts. We all have them. We’d be lying if we said we didn’t. We just need to think a lot more about how we treat those thoughts. Do we internally stop ourselves and think, “Maybe I don’t know the full story. I will keep that opinion to myself. This person doesn’t need it.”? or do we think we’re all that and a bag of chips, feeling like that person’s life would be empty and directionless without our oh-so-valuable input? Do we really have to raise that eyebrow? Do we really have to give a disapproving glare? Why is it so important to us that the person we are judging should know we are judging them (while we pretend we’re not judging them if we’re confronted)?

And just because we don’t SAY anything, doesn’t make us any less guilty. That sideways glance at the shops. That stony or awkward silence when someone gives the “wrong” answer about their parenting techniques. Those raised eyebrows when someone’s toddler chucks a little tanty (they tend to do that sometimes). That over the top suggestion on how to better parent a child, disguised as friendly advice. STOP BEING SUCH F*CKING BITCHES. Didn’t anyone teach us to be better than that?! Also, it’s incredibly arrogant and self important, don’t you think??

If you read this and you recognise aspects of your behaviour, don’t get defensive and angry. Don’t rant about how I’m a horrible person. The truth hurts. Just do better. Each day is a fresh start. Put good karma out there and people will appreciate it. That’s all I hope for. It’s only what I ask of myself as well. I’m trying to work on it every day.

We need to band together and support everyone who is raising our future generations. Some people need more support than others, but what we all need is compassion, empathy and genuine help that comes from a place of love, not a place of fear, ignorance or judgement.

That’s the best lesson we can teach our children. That’s what will make us good parents and role models. We can have children who meet all the right developmental milestones on schedule, they can weigh the exact right amount for their heights and ages, they can be great at reading, writing and mathematics. They can be athletic and physically strong. They can be eating only the best organic, fresh foods in all the right portion sizes. They can be a member of every recreational club in town, play several instruments and speak different languages. But what good is that if we teach them that it’s OK to be mean to those who simply make different choices to us? What does it mean if we teach our children to only judge on the superficial? If we show them by our actions that we don’t need to be compassionate or look deeper at someone’s situation? What does it mean if we don’t teach them real people skills? Or how to get through to someone in a way that does not isolate them or make them feel small? What good is it if we teach our ‘perfect’ children that they are better than those who are less fortunate or who don’t have all the same opportunities? Something to think about.

At the end of the day, I’m not going to care so much about the superficial. We are fortunate enough in life. My husband and I will be able to provide for our children (should our blessings remain as they are today) and they will have many great opportunities to learn and grow well. However, if my child reaches out to help another child/person and if my child stands up for a child who is being bullied because they’re different… If my child shows love instead of judgement – asks, “What do you need?” not “Here’s what you’re doing wrong”. I will not care that he watched Sesame Street for a bit longer than normal. I will not care that I was unable to breastfeed exclusively. I will not think about that day when as a toddler he screamed in the shopping centre because he was tired and teething and everyone thought I was a bad parent. I will be proud.

And on that note, I’m done. Rant over.

This post is part of the Blog Every Day in May challenge. 



Catching up with Kez (that’s me).

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If you’re fairly new to this blog, there’s probably a good chance you’ve not had a chance to read ALL of my amazing archive of ridiculous posts. If you have, I don’t know whether to congratulate you (and thank you for your loyalty) or to call the authorities! STALKER!!! Don’t worry, I choose the former. I thought I’d put together a post (made up of my older posts) where you can catch up on all that is Awesomely Unprepared!

So I go by the nickname Kez. I am an Aussie 20 something year old (I can’t say that for much longer but let me hold onto it), who lives in the suburbs with my husband (been together for 10 years), my Little Mister (18 months) and our two dogs. I used to have a (now defunct) blog called So I Was Thinking… but when I found out I was pregnant, I felt like I needed a fresh start. I knew I was in for plenty of adventures in parenthood and while I didn’t want to blog just about that (huge) part of my life, I wanted to make a space where I could. I knew life would never be the same again (especially after I had to cancel the Contiki tour – doh). The blog title just came to me and I am a little in love with it, because it really is the story of my life now. I am always feeling awesomely unprepared! I welcomed everybody to my new blog in May 2011, as a relatively non anonymous blogger (scary!) and took my damn time to reveal my pregnancy (although my friends did seem to suspect something was up)!

I really loved the first trimester of pregnancy (although I was too scared to eat anything because I’d read too many books), but boy did sh*t get cray cray by the halfway point! Just when I was starting to discover a domestic goddess that had been hidden deep deep deep within, I got the rare pregnancy condition known as PUPPP (which stands for horrible f*cking rash), gestational diabetes and I waddled a lot because I was quite a big pregnant person. That put an end to my pregnancy induced baking antics quick smart. Pity. I was quite the Masterchef. OK, more like My Kitchen Rules contestant. Ooh, I just made a snobby joke about rival cooking shows (you might not understand if you’re not in Australia – apologies).

I went into labour, because of a freak infection I’d had for the two weeks prior. The Little Mister was born three weeks early – I was in the hospital less than 3 hours before he was delivered via emergency C-section!! How’s that for efficiency?! Well, it was more of a necessity. Luckily I was just lucid enough to choose a name (with Mr Unprepared’s sober help) before the Little Mister was whisked away to another hospital (he was sick too) and we were separated for the first three days of his life. It was an overwhelming time, that’s for sure.

I soon learnt a lot about parenthood. The sleep deprivation, the crazy crazy love you can feel for your child and the strength you need to withstand constant judgement and unsolicited advice from strangers (or people you wish were strangers). I know the true meaning of mess now. I’m still not so awesome at being a domestic goddess, with most efforts ending in vain anyway. I’ve learnt how to be a bit more OK with that.

I am enjoying being a stay at home mum and 18 months in, I still get amazed at how unpredictable life is, but I’m ready to just roll with the punches after the initial shock of parenthood managed to sink in!

It’s fun having a toddler (although the Terrible 2s are approaching fast – crocodile tears central). I love watching the Little Mister grow and learn. He’s a crack up and he makes me very happy. I have particularly enjoyed his attempts to emulate the adults in his life – so amusing watching him pretending to vacuum or talk on the phone. Ever want to know how you child sees you? Just wait until they’re imitating you with embarrassing precision…

I’m getting used to the fact that you have to watch your belongings like a hawk. We lost our remote control for the TV for a month, only to find it in a box filled with mismatched sock during a desperate moment! Lately we’ve had to give the Little Mister his own ‘decoy’ wallet so we don’t lose our own. It’s nuts. Parenthood isn’t a full time job. It’s an over time job. Without pay or sick leave!!!

I’ve certainly learnt to never take me-time for granted. Or travel without children. Or the ability to do things with two hands. Or a disposable income. Guys, I am SO excited because I have a hair appointment for this weekend. The first one in an obscene amount of time. Woot.

If you were to have known me for a while, you would know all about my weird thought patterns and awkward moments. You would also know about my rather unfortunate love of bad TV. Seriously. It takes all my self control to walk past all of the Kardashian related DVDs in my local supermarket every week, without buying all of them. Oh yes. I can cry during soppy reality TV moments with the best of them. Especially if they remind me of the fact that I’m adopted. Cue the ugly cry!

My blog isn’t all about parenthood. Well, not directly (although it seems to creep its way into everything I write about). It chronicles the ups and downs of my attempts to get fit and healthy. I share my love of mushy/inspirational quotes that I find on Pinterest. Yes, I’m a stay at home mum now. I like Pinterest. Goes with the territory. Who am I?! OK, so now I just totally turned you off…you’re leaving…don’t leave…

Wait, here’s a post with a picture of a hot guy at the bottom of it!

Or a picture of me. Because, you know. I’m so hot for a five foot tall, dorky gal who needs to lose 5kg 😉

All caught up now? If that was all too much and you just skimmed over the post (ain’t nobody got time for that!), then here’s my life story in 250 words 🙂

If you aren’t completely sick of me after all that, you can totally ‘like’ me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter or hide outside my bathroom window. Um, don’t do that last thing. Please.

Thank you to my readers for getting to know me at some point over the past two years or so. I feel so grateful and I love all of my blogging friends. Even the dad ones. Or the real life friends and family who are totally lurking right now and are scared to tell me! 😉

You’re awesome xx

This post is a part of the Blog Every Day in May challenge.



Falling off the wagon.

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So, remember that time when I was all like, “Look at me, guys! I’m getting all fit and losing weight and stuff!” ? I was exercising like a demon – daily! I was counting my calories and my husband was joining in. It was going great guns! Throw in the passing of my beloved grandfather, Easter, a trip interstate (where you’re eating socially a lot), an injury and a few other breaks to the usual routine…well, suddenly every day becomes ‘cheat day’!

Basically, I am confessing to the fact that I have fallen off the good eating + exercise bandwagon. Hard.

I still weigh just under 3kg less than I did when I started getting fit and healthy earlier this year, but I am slowly gaining weight back. I am not exercising regularly and I have become addicted to salty, starchy and fatty foods again. Don’t even get me started on the weirdest cake cravings I had for weeks on end (which I thankfully did not often indulge).

I still have at least 5 kg to lose. At least. I need to get back into action. While I am constantly on the go, with a very active 18 month old, this is not enough if I don’t eat right or exercise more mindfully.

I need to remember how good I felt when I was living healthier. It was awesome seeing the weight drop off bit by bit. While I wasn’t aiming for fast weight loss (in fact it was very slow), it was great to know that I was keeping on top of it and that my lifestyle did not have to change much. I was just making good choices. On the occasions (about once a week) that I had a cheat day I realised that I didn’t need so much in my stomach (it seemed to have shrunk back to its normal size) and if I ate something terrible, my metabolism didn’t care so much. I’d be back on track really fast. I felt like I was living the life of a skinny person. I could eat and not gain weight after seemingly every meal. My body had a new, healthy default setting to return to. As long as I did the right thing more than I did the less right thing, my body didn’t let me down! I felt happier from all the endorphins, I had more energy and I slept well at night (it killed my insomnia).

I need to get back there. My emotions have been all over the place. I have felt less confident in some of my clothes. I am scared of returning to my scary weight. I am also very acutely aware that if I should choose to have another child in the next few years, I would like to put myself in a position where my body has somewhere good to return to!!

So I am going to take baby steps back to where I was. In hindsight, I probably was going a bit hard with the exercise in particular (I was behaving like a contender for the Biggest Loser – ). A few life hiccups and I was spectacularly derailed. Perhaps I need to ease back in, rather than go so hard that I peak early. I’ll start with my nutrition and some low impact exercise and build myself back up to where I left off.

I can totally do this.

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How do you motivate yourself to exercise and eat right?

This post is a part of the Blog Every Day in May challenge.



My favourite (recent) photo of me.

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I love photos. I love taking them and I don’t mind being in them, as long as I look alright-ish. I just think there’s no better way to collect your memories. I love capturing the most candid moments and there’s nothing better than reminiscing over happy times.

I have so many favourite photos, but this is my favourite recent photo of myself. It was taken at the music festival I attended last weekend. My best friend (and the day’s partner in crime) took it. I always feel uncomfortable asking for someone to take a photo of me, because I don’t want to seem vain, but I knew she would understand. I wanted to prove that I had gotten out and done something different from my usual daily life 🙂

For me, this photo represents me as an individual, not just a mummy or a wife. Oh, and I actually put on some lippie and did my hair!!! I actually felt a little bit attractive – something you can’t always feel when you’re dragging a toddler around (I imagine it’s not unlike wrestling a crocodile to watch).

I truly love photographs of myself where I’m with my family or my husband, but when I was looking for a photo to feature today, I realised that they weren’t my favourite pictures of me. They were my favourite photos of my loved ones!

My shirt says, “Count your blessings”. My favourite life motto. It’s something that I really have clung onto the past few weeks – life has been a roller coaster!

I hope you guys have a wonderful weekend xx

This post was a part of the Blog Every Day in May challenge. 



10 things that make me very happy.

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1. Making it through a tough day and still feeling strong. Today has been the mother of all days. Nothing particularly ridiculous has happened, but it was tiring. I forgot to pack the stroller back into the car before setting off to Toddler Jam (an hour of toddler filled chaos dancing and singing). That was fine, but the Little Mister  showed distinct signs of conjunctivitis DURING THE SESSION (and was getting grumpier by the minute) so we had to high tail it out of there. To a pharmacy. Who told us that we would need a prescription for the special eye drops because of the Little Mister’s tender age. So we headed to the doctor’s clinic. Who couldn’t fit us in until later that afternoon. Keep in mind how many times that involves putting him in a car seat and taking him out (right on nap time), plus holding him in my arms when he’s heavy and wriggling. Brought him home for a nap, which went pretty well except for the fact that he was woken by my dog barking at something. We got to the doctor’s on time (after a rushed lunch), only to have to wait 40 minutes in the waiting room. SO WRIGGLY AND GRUMPY FROM A SORE EYE. Back to the pharmacy. Then home. Still no stroller because I’m an idiot.

Despite all that, I finished the day stoked with my efforts. We’d solved the problem (or at least got treatment) and despite being physically exhausted I didn’t feel like melting down or snapping at anyone. I didn’t palm him off onto my husband (who worked late to help us enjoy date night later this week) and I didn’t even want to! I even feel like telling tomorrow to BRING. IT. ON.

There’s no better feeling than the feeling of being mentally strong and knowing you’ve worked hard.

2. Sunshine and the ocean. I could never live anywhere away from the ocean and a sunny climate. When I feel lost or drained, just the sight and the smell of the ocean recharge me. I need to remember this a bit more often.

3. Sleep ins. Duh.

4. Watching the Little Mister grow. His personality cracks me up. There is no joy like watching him as he learns something new. Each day (OK so maybe only 99% of days) is honestly a celebration of SOMETHING.

5. The anticipation before a date night. Date nights are almost unheard of for my husband and I these days. We have had date days and snuggles on the couch with a nice home cooked dinner after the Little Mister has gone to bed, but it’s hard to commit to date nights. This week we’re going to watch Ahn Do’s show – The Happiest Refugee. I couldn’t be more excited. Thanks to my awesome parents, we get a whole day and night to ourselves (and only ourselves) for maybe the first time ever in 18 months. We need to somehow do this more often. I just hope the Little Mister behaves!!

6. My DVR. Seriously. You don’t even understand. It has changed parenthood. If you are able to, before you bring your first baby home, GET A DVR. When you’re up at all crazy hours, you’ll always have something awesome to watch that you chose to record. No weird home shopping network crap in the middle of the night. No missing out on your favourite shows (the ones that start at 9:30pm) because you passed out from exhaustion constantly. I can watch whatever I want whenever I want. I can save all the shows inappropriate for children and watch them by myself at night time. I can pause the TV if the Little Mister wakes up in the night and not miss any of my show/s just because he’s having a tough night. It is seriously one of the best gifts my husband has ever bought for me. I might be MONTHS behind with my favourite shows, but going at my own pace is fine 🙂

7. The Little Mister’s cuddles. Nothing makes you feel more important or loved. Especially when his face lights up and he takes a giant run up, like he hasn’t seen you in years. Even though all you did was spend 5 minutes in the kitchen. Ask my husband. The cuddles he gets when he walks in the front door after work are just priceless.

8. Music. My life has to have a soundtrack. I need to sing along badly to something. Music makes the Little Mister so happy. There just has to be music in my life. Music in my car. Live music (I remembered this last weekend).

9. Avocados. Seriously.

10. The supportive people who read my blog regularly. You are all amazing and make me feel like all this is 10 times more fun when there’s someone to share it with. In all honesty, I’d probably blab on about my crazy thoughts regardless, because a part of me just has to, but it is so nice to know that people care. I love my blog readers and I love my blogging friends. Thank you 🙂

Of course, I have so many more amazing things in my life, but I think 10 is enough for now 🙂

This post was a part of the Blog Every Day in May challenge. 



An apology.

Today we have a guest post…let’s just say my dogs have some ‘splainin’ to do. 

Dear Mum (aka Kez Unprepared) and Dad (Mr Unprepared),

We are very sorry for the latest incident which occurred overnight at our shared residence. As your first babies, we should have known better. We let ourselves get carried away and we deeply regret our actions.

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We knew we’d made a bit of a mistake when Mum and that little human you guys keep inside, found us snuggled up at the crime scene this morning. It just felt so bushy and warm. We hope you understand that direct eye contact is a little difficult at this time. We are trying to come to terms with what we have done. We were cold and we can’t help it if our instincts told us to make a nest. Sure, we have a big, spacious kennel out back but in all fairness we destroyed our bed too so we needed alternative accommodation. It’s not ALL our fault, you see. I think it would be only right for you to take some accountability here too. It does take four to tango. Not that we know what a tango is. But it sounds like something people do when they admit their dogs aren’t completely to blame for something that may or may not have allegedly happened. Our lawyer told us to say that.

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Our lawyer may or may not be a bug we weren’t fast enough to chomp on.

We know that things don’t look too good for us right now. We realise this isn’t our first offence.

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We just hope that you have a heart and that you will forgive us. And please don’t think that this was Blitz’s twisted revenge plot because you didn’t take her to the beach the other day. It totally wasn’t. We know Dad could only take one dog (Heidi) and that tiny human at one time. Something about us getting crazy at the beach? Ever since you got that tiny human, we’ve been feeling a little bit like we’ve been relegated to a life that is filled with a little less attention than usual. Look, we’re not going to throw around words like “neglect” or “RSPCA” but…let’s just say that you might want to reassess. The day is getting closer to the time when dogs learn how to use smart phones and you might want to think about what we might be capable of. That’s not a threat or anything. We’re just sayin’…no need to start getting all worried about “extortion” or “blackmail”…

Much.

Please accept our sincerest apology, because Heidi is a poor orphan dog who was found suffering in the wild (rough childhood) and Blitz is part Labrador. Well, we all know what they’re like. We can’t help it.

We would offer to pay for the damages, but we’re dogs. Dogs don’t have money. Suck it. I mean, sorry.

Kind regards,

Blitz and Heidi. YOUR FIRST PRECIOUS FUR BABIES WHO LOVED AND KNEW YOU LONG BEFORE THAT TINY HUMAN EVER CARED.

PS. The bug lawyer will be sending his bill to you shortly. Because again, dogs don’t have money. Duh.

PPS. LOVE YOU. ALWAYS.

PPS. *LICK LICK LICK* *WAG WAG WAG* (we don’t know how to not love you).

This post was part of the Blog Every Day in May challenge. 



We need to have a little chat.

PUPPP.

Nope. I didn’t just fall asleep on my keyboard. I’m talking about PUPPP. It stands for (wait for it…) pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy. Yeah. Sounds complicated. I bet most of you have never heard of the damn thing (unless you know me very well via this blog or have actually googled it). Before experiencing this horrible rash first hand, I would have heard such a crazy bunch of words beginning with P and I would have shrugged it off. I don’t really know what that is and who cares, it’s just some rash that I’ll never get (it is believed to only be experienced by an extremely small percentage of pregnant women).

Because hardly anyone suffers from this condition, it was very isolating and difficult to deal with. Each case can differ in how your body responds to the awfully itchy rash, meaning treatments that work for one person might not help another. Odds are, you might not even know what it is when you first show symptoms, if you should be unlucky enough to be a part of the unfortunately exclusive PUPPP club.

I had no idea. I resorted to googling (something I do not normally recommend) when the symptoms got too crazy and I was slow to get answers (partly my fault and partly due to inexperience of some of the doctors I saw early in the piece when my baby doctor was on holiday – of course!). I felt like I knew it was PUPPP, but waiting for an actual professional opinion/diagnosis (and treatment) was like agony.

I was only 20 weeks pregnant when it got bad. Normally women get it at the very end of their pregnancies, meaning there is not long to go before they can give birth (and more often than not be relieved of the symptoms immediately), or can be induced at full term if it’s bad enough.

Yeah. Unlucky.

800px-PUPPP-abdomenPic: Side view of a sufferer’s abdomen.

I spent weeks feeling alone. I couldn’t wear clothes that might itch, sweat or cling to my skin. Difficult in winter. I felt socially isolated and while it’s hard enough to get dressed when you’re big, it was even harder to feel pretty or human with PUPPP. I itched so badly that I was afraid I’d have a panic attack about it in public, so I rarely ventured out before treatment could arrive. Even then, the steroid cream prescribed to me by a dermatologist (who thankfully knew what he was talking about) was greasy and while it helped my rash to settle down a LOT, it gave me pimples too eventually.

I was paranoid about humidity of any kind and it was a huge mental and emotional burden. I never stopped loving the Little Mister who was growing inside of me, but I’d be kidding myself (and you) if I said that I wasn’t close to depression. Bawling my eyes out in a lukewarm bathtub half the day was no life.

Why am I going on about this?

I want everyone to know about this condition. While it may never happen to you (especially if you’re a male reader haha), I want you to know what it is and how to spot it. Just in case.

I also want you to be able to seek help ASAP if you think you may have PUPPP. I didn’t. I put it down to a little heat rash and let myself get worse. If I had sought diagnosis and treatment when it first got a bit uncomfortable, by the time I got answers (it takes a while when no-one’s sure what the hell it is – odds are they may not have dealt with a case first hand very often) I might have saved myself weeks of agony. It is much better to have a false alarm and deal with a doctor who thinks you’re being a little dramatic, than to suffer on your own for too long.

Also, I am writing this post because I want anyone who is friends/family/known to someone who has this condition, to know what it’s like to go through it. I want you to understand that it’s more than a little rash. It can cover half of a woman’s body, is unsightly (therefore embarrassing) and very very uncomfortable and itchy. Think extreme chicken pox (it was like that for me anyhow). Each woman may deal with it differently, but I want you to know how bad it can be. It’s really hard to go through it alone and part of my isolation was worrying that my friends didn’t understand. I couldn’t be at social occasions very often – each day was different and I felt awful and flaky. I worried that they believed I was letting a ‘little thing’ slow me down and that I wasn’t living my life just because I was pregnant. Maybe they thought that, maybe they didn’t. They were amazing friends through it all, but that worry was just something I carried. If I’d known they were able to access great information on PUPPP, I might not have felt so insecure.

It’s hard enough to feel attractive or like you’re living your life fully and actively when you’re quite up the duff. Add complications to that pregnancy and it can be very scary and lonely. I knew that the Little Mister was doing fine inside me – I knew I was blessed even in the rough times. I could have had worse issues (well, besides my gestational diabetes which can be dangerous if untreated). However, try telling a pregnant sufferer of PUPPP that when she can’t sleep AT ALL, feels so itchy she could scratch ALL OF HER SKIN BLOOD RAW,  and lives in a lukewarm bath, waiting for an appointment with a specialist.

I put on a brave face a lot. I wish someone had said, “Lady – I know what that is and you’re fooling no-one. Let me hug you – very gently – while I listen to you whinge about it.”

Also, stop asking a PUPPP sufferer (with scars) if she’s tried bio-oil. No over the counter treatments worked for me (or were permitted during pregnancy depending on ingredients). My skin was sensitive to greasy or oily things (ie the ointment was bad enough). Most of the people who asked me if I’d used bio-oil had never even tried it. The power of advertising, I guess. It’s horrible knowing that almost nothing works. It’s worse when everyone (who’s never heard of the damn condition) suggests treatments for you, which you know will do jacksh*t or even make it worse. You probably mean very well, but you don’t have to be an expert or give advice. A kind, listening ear (and encouragement to seek professional treatment if someone hasn’t already) is probably best.

I was lucky. My symptoms disappeared IMMEDIATELY once the Little Mister had vacated my body. While I had a whole lot of other issues, that was thankfully not one of them. However, the scars and the mental effects stayed for a while. I didn’t want to see another greasy, oily ointment again. I had scars on my chest, which meant I couldn’t dress nicely over summer, without feeling like I was an acne ridden teen with chest pimples (no-one wants to see those). I was sensitive to heat, mentally and physically. It took a YEAR before I felt like I could bare my upper chest without a big ol’ necklace or high neckline to hide behind. Progress can be slow.

I am very fortunate to have a very healthy, hilarious and good natured 18 month old today, who has no idea of the hell he put me through during pregnancy! I intend to let him know during his teenage years, though 😉 In all seriousness, that (him being in my life happy and healthy) is what matters most and what got me through a tough time. PUPPP is not something I would wish on my worst enemy. It felt worse than the diabetes and worse than the infection that brought on my labour. It was worse than dealing with the healing from a C-section. Itching is seriously a form of torture. Some people handle it better than others and I will be the first to admit that I was not handling it, despite my best efforts.

There is help and support out there, but it’s important to start looking early. I’m not trying to scare anyone. I’m just trying to bring awareness to it.

I found a dermatologist who dealt with a lot of pregnancy cases. I highly recommend you seek out an experienced specialist and get the ball rolling with referrals etc fast. Also, know that it isn’t your fault. We are all quick to judge these days. It’s easy to believe that a woman having a tough pregnancy must just be a Negative Nancy or probably did something to cause her condition, because it makes us feel like we have control over our own circumstances, but during pregnancy all bets are off. You can do your best and still have some hurdles to deal with. Don’t let ignorant people bring you down.

Pregnancy is stressful enough.

So please, my hope is that if you have read this you will be a proactive sufferer, in order to make your time as a beautiful (you still are) pregnant woman a little easier. If you hear of a friend or relative having this condition, I hope that you will now know just how severe it can be and treat them with the extra love and care they deserve. A great support network can make the difference between a surviving some tough times, and depression.

Feel free to share this post and PLEASE do not be in denial. No-one wants to know about the crap things that can happen when you’re pregnant, but information is power and might save you a lot of suffering (I speak from experience).

Love and light,

Kez xo

If you have experienced this, please contact me or leave a comment – I would love for you to share your stories.

This post is a part of the Blog Every Day in May challenge.



The thing I’m most afraid of.

Last night, I was trying to gather some thoughts together for today’s blog post. I wanted to list my greatest fears and I was not exactly coming up with much. All I could think of is my fear of spiders. Especially the ones with the big, bulbous, black bodies and hairy legs. Oh, holy sh*t they freak me out. I can’t even bring myself to show you guys a picture of exactly what I mean, because that would involve finding a picture and looking at the picture. I can’t even.

I thought about how I have a fear of being rejected or misrepresented. I get really angsty when someone has got me all wrong or wants to smear my good name. Or even threaten to. I’m generally a pretty good person and the idea of someone either not recognising that or being willing to paint me as a not so good person does freak me out. I mean, I’m not a perfect person, but I’m not a bad person with ill intent. If something’s true, I’ll cop to it even if it hurts like hell. I just won’t stand for being misjudged or misunderstood. However, I don’t know if I’d strictly call this a fear so much as insecurity. I think there’s a slight difference.

I then thought that perhaps I have a fear of writing this blog post because it could get pretty deep and revealing pretty fast. So do I have a fear of being vulnerable? Of people judging me for my deepest feelings? Perhaps.

Could I just write a funny post about being scared of the Little Mister not napping enough or the weird dream I told my husband about (he may tell you he was under duress), where we found people living in our roof space, but it was OK in the end because we sent them away in a minivan? You know, to avoid writing about my truest fears?

I decided to ask my husband what he thought my biggest fears are. I thought I’d get a joke answer back, to be honest. But what he said rang very true.

“I think your biggest fear would be losing the Little Mister.”

Yep. There it is.

It’s the one place that I cannot let my mind fully go to. It is just too hard to comprehend. The pain would be so awful. The broken dreams too heartbreaking. To suddenly have the best thing in your whole wide world taken from you. Gut wrenching wouldn’t even cover it. I know that you grieve and you never get over it, but that hopefully with love and support you learn to accept it and live with it – people have to do it all the time – but I just hope and pray that I never ever have to know this pain.

I can’t even type any more about this, because I am lucky enough today to not have to go there and I choose not to because of my fear.

In saying that, I don’t let this fear rule me. I look after the Little Mister and I try to protect him as best I can, but I don’t want to be paranoid or always thinking something bad is going to happen (if you do, please ask somebody for help).

I feel so blessed that despite having fears that range from the silly (spiders) to the deep and truly scary (losing the Little Mister), I do not have to live in fear daily. I think fear is a very natural part of life – a certain amount can be healthy, but I am so glad that my fears do not cripple me or stop me from living my life. I don’t want to be scared of things that have not happened yet.

It’s hard work being brave, isn’t it?

What are you most afraid of? 

This post is a part of the Blog Every Day in May challenge.