Tuesday, January 31, 2012
On the day of the operation, I felt strangely remorseful. A whole stage of our lives was about to come to an end - our baby making stage. We've got three gorgeous girls. We've had our fair share of babies and we're ready to move on to the next stage, but still I felt sadness. I wasn't sure what to do with myself when he was getting his operation, so I went and got a milkshake. In hindsight, it wasn't really fitting. I should have gone to the pub and knocked back a couple of tequilas.
As I walked along sucking on my chocolate milk, trying not to gag every time I thought about what the doctor was doing, I reminisced about what an amazing time of life having babies is. No words can describe the amazement of looking into the eyes of your newborn child. The instant connection. The overwhelming feelings of responsibility. The love.
My husband was the one who initiated discussions on getting the chop. It was a discussion he had to initiate, it's his body. I was relieved. I knew my body and my sanity couldn't do any more children. I knew we had made our family and were "done". I knew together we were making the right decision for us as individuals, as a couple and as a family. I knew we were ready to put our focus into growing together as a family, not continuing to grow the family. And anyway, we can't afford a new car, nor can we fit anymore beds in our house.
Yet, still I can't help but feel pangs of longing each time we drive past the hospital our children were born or touching my heart whenever I see a squishy baby or crying when I see the damn Huggies' ads. It's strange knowing there'll be no more pregnancy tests or listening to tiny heart beats or marvelling at scans or changing teeny, tiny nappies. It's strange thinking that's all over. We now have different challenges to face, new beginnings to look forward to, like school and sleepovers.
I suppose what it really gets down to is, I can't help feeling old. I can't help feeling that my life is rushing by too fast. I need it to slow down a bit. I'm not ready for it to pass me by.
Is your family complete? Do you feel like you're getting old? Or do I only feel old because I haven't had a good night's sleep in five years?
Saturday, January 21, 2012
Dear Unley Shopping Centre,
I will not be visiting you for a VERY LONG TIME after that spectacularly embarrassing tantrum by Miss Nearly 5. In fact, I don't think I will ever leave the house again for fear of someone recognising me. Thinking I might just order all food and clothes online from now on. It will be a whole lot easier than trying to drag a screaming, kicking child out of your lovely arcade and into the car. Clearly, I am suffering PTS - Post Tantrum Stress - as it is definitely not like me to not want to visit shopping arcades. I am wondering if I can perhaps claim for some sort of damages as I found myself resorting to drinking cask rose and eating a whole block of Rum and Raisin chocolate and am now not feeling the best.
When I entered your store yesterday with my Mum and my three children everything was joyous. When we left ashen face with me forcing my catatonic 5yo into my car, I stopped to wonder if it was somehow the shopping centre's fault, with all its shiny seats and glistening fridges stocked full of My Little Pony drink bottles. Luckily, only one of the kids was lured by the shiny stuff. Who knows what would have happened if all three simultaneously combusted?
Also, perhaps, next time could you make sure security guards come and shield us from the preying eyes of other shoppers and step in to stop "well meaning" women suggesting we buy a certain bullshit parenting book to stop the tantrums. It was pretty fucking obvious at that moment when my child was launching herself in to the bin trying to retrieve the "said milkshake" she "WANTED RIGHT NOW" that I did not want her advice. I also did not want her following me to my car while my child was trying to kick me in the head.
Anyway, it was nice while it lasted, but best I don't show my face at your establishment for a very long time, unless of course a Country Road opens and then I may lift my ban on the proviso my children are not with me and I am wearing a disguise.
Thanks for the memories,
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Last week, I got this intriguing email asking if I'd like to be in a video. This time I didn't have to take my clothes off! So, of course, I said YES! The video speaks for itself - Shit Oz Bloggers Say.
Shit Oz Bloggers Say stars Mrs Woog from Woogsworld, Eden from Edenland, Nikki from Styling You, Glow from Where's My Glow, Beth from Baby Mac and me. You can follow us on Twitter and tweet some more shit to @shtbloggerssay.
Many thanks go to Beth's husband Rob who made the video possible eg: edited it and made it all professional-like. You are a star and I'm hoping Beth has adequately thanked you in extra-special, romantic ways.
What have we missed out? What other things do Oz Bloggers say?
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
When people were flinging advice at me when I was pregnant with my first child no-one thought to tell me about the guilt. There were a lot of well-meaning tips about breast feeding, birthing, wrapping, sleeping and everything baby-related, but not one person warned me about the guilt. You know it, the guilt you feel from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep. Actually, who am I kidding? The guilt doesn't stop when you're sleeping. Even when you're dreaming you feel guilt.
Everything you do as a mother triggers an immediate feeling of inadequacy. Even when you're excelling as a parent, you feel guilty that you can't sustain it. Guilt washes over you, it ebbs and flows. It floods your thoughts. Why does no-one forewarn you? Why doesn't anyone tell you about the guilt?
Why doesn't anyone tell you about the anger and the feelings of being trapped? Why don't they tell you about being stuck in a never-ending cycle of Groundhog Day? Why don't they tell you about the boring daily tasks which chip slowly away at your inner psyche? The changing of nappies, the finding of dummies wedged under couches, the filling of milk bottles, the chasing of nude children around each night to put on their pajamas, the inability to get a good night's sleep without a small child climbing into the covers beside you, the endless scraping of dinner plates with untouched food, the tantrums, the screaming, the locking yourself in the bathroom to breathe, the getting in and out of car seats, the washing? Why does no-one tell you about the mountains of fucking washing?
Why doesn't anyone tell you about the loneliness and the judgement? The feelings of being sidelined at a mother's group, smiling at strangers willing them to include you? The endless days running after your children and not engaging in a real conversation with anyone. Why doesn't anyone tell you about those moments you just want to crawl into a ball and scream for fucks sake be quiet? Why doesn't anyone tell you about the constant questions? Why doesn't anyone tell you about the feeling that you left some of yourself behind in the birthing suite (and I'm not talking about your placenta)?
Why doesn't anyone tell you of the worry? The way your heart aches thinking about all that could hurt them. How you sometimes sit up at night and cry. How you would stop at nothing to protect them. How you feel such all-encompassing responsibility for their safety, wellbeing and happiness. The way your soul is crushed each time you hear of a child that has suffered at the hands of another. How you wish you could wrap them all up and keep them safe. All of them, every child in the world, not just your own. Why does no-one tell you of the worry?
Why doesn't anyone tell you about the love? The aching, heart filling, bone strengthening, finger tingling, mind blowing love. The love that fills you from your hair on your toes to the tips of your eyelashes. The feeling of amazement when you look into the eyes of the little person you grew inside of you. The way you watch them when they're sleeping. How you reach to hold their hand and gently touch their face. The overwhelming desire to kiss them hundreds of times over, to nibble on their pudgy fingers and stroke their hair. Why doesn't anyone tell you it is possible to love with such ferocity you weep when they smile at you in a certain way or they achieve a dream. How you wish for them the entire world and all the stars in the universe. How you're forever changed because of them. Why doesn't anyone tell you about the love? Why doesn't anyone tell you these things.
Sunday, January 8, 2012
Recently, I wrote about the pressure on women to lose weight after giving birth. I put up photos of my own jelly belly, riddled with stretch marks. My over-extended tummy looks like I'm a few months pregnant and it's been 19 months since my third child was born. The post garnered a huge reaction as many women out there feel the same way as I do. We should be proud of our bodies for growing children. Our scars should be celebrated. There is enough pressure on mothers as it is without the added expectation of eradicating all evidence human life grew inside us.
And then I saw a story which has left me equally as flabbergasted. It's the attention being given to yet another freak of nature, yes that's right, a Victoria Secret Angel. I call them freaks of nature affectionately. They are STUNNING. They have bodies deemed by mainstream media as perfect. They have legs that reach into the sky, boobs as firm as ripe melons and hair that glistens like gold. They work out 20 hours a day, have professional stylists and most probably harbour huge anxieties over their multi-million dollar earning bodies. First sign of cellulite and they'll no longer get to strut their tiny arses down the runway with huge wings attached to their perfectly defined shoulders. As any person with a high profile career, they work damn hard to reach the top of their field and even harder to stay there.
This particular "Angel", Allesandra Ambrosio, was recently discovered to have been two months pregnant with her second child when she walked in the lingerie company's latest show.
Good on her, I say. I would've had to stop at the end of the runway and throw up if it was me up there at two months pregnant. I think she looks amazing. Although, I think she would look amazing even with vomit in her hair and tiny bits of carrot in her teeth. (There's always tiny bits of carrot when you hurl). The problem I have, is not with her Amazonian self, it's with the exclamations of amazement by media commentators about how anyone who was 2 months pregnant could walk in heels with wings on their back. Ummm, women have done a whole lot more strenuous activities when pregnant. Walking isn't considered one of them.
And then there's the fixation with her belly and how no-one noticed she was pregnant. Hooray, let's all applaud her for being skinny when pregnant. Now that's something to strive for, isn't it? For many women they don't even start to look pregnant until many months into their pregnancy. Judging by her fucking amazing body to start with, I think it's a no-brainer she is ONE OF THOSE WOMEN (I'm screaming at the commentators, not you). For the other women out there, like myself, the moment your husband ejaculates you put on 5 kilos. There is no way I would be strutting in a Victoria Secret show when two months pregnant. Actually, there's no way I would be walking in a runway show full stop. I am not a model.
Every pregnancy is different, every woman has a different experience. Creating another reason for women to feel paranoid about how they look is just plain wrong.
I worry for the women who look at the "Angels" of the world and listen to the poisonous opinions of outsiders hailing those who manage to keep slim while pregnant as modern day heroes. Women who are already struggling with their own body issues. Women who work hard, some say obsessively, to stay slim. Women who feel guilt each time they eat bread or pasta. Women who are already so caught up in the cycle of thin is beautiful, that when they start to put on baby weight, feel out of control, feel anxiety and depression. They possibly may even put their own health, and that of their unborn child, at risk. They need support, not reinforcement of some bullshit ideology that to be a woman means you must at all times be looking "your best". And by best, I mean skinny.
Here's the thing though, you can not judge a pregnant woman by their weight gain or loss. Some women lose weight while pregnant, not out of fear of getting fat, but because they spend their entire pregnancies vomiting. Personally, when I was pregnant I was the opposite, I used it as an excuse to eat far too many chocolate donuts. My own weight issues meant, out of medical necessity, I was forced to monitor food portion control and test my sugar levels regularly, after being diagnosed with gestational diabetes with two, of three, of my pregnancies. This is me, a month prior to giving birth to my third child.
It's time the focus was on health, mental and physical, not appearance. The wider impact that stories about supermodels who continue to remarkably (insert scarcasm here) look like supermodels once pregnant is potentially dangerous. 2012 needs to be the year this ridiculous fixation on a woman's body is put to an end.
Rant over. What are you thoughts on the issue?
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
There's a man who collects bottles in my suburb. Every fortnight he brings a ratty bag, launches head first into our recycling bin and rummages through our discarded rubbish for bottles. He avoids eye contact and I've never seen anyone confront him, nor have I heard him talk. Warranted he is a big man, with a bald head and an unapproachable demenaour. He lives rough. Twice now I've stumbled upon him in the act and ducked behind my door. I've stood there spying through the peep hole, my heart thumping in my chest. I'm not sure who I'm protecting - him or me. I'm certain he has built up a shell around him. I, on the other hand, am not sure what to say to someone who has his head in my bin and his arse crack sticking up in the air. I want to give a him a nod, let him know I am fine with him taking our bottles. Is there some way I could make it easier for him? Would my attitude towards him change if I found out he had a sophisticated bottle collection operation and was, in fact, not living tough? Would I feel cheated? Does it make me feel more charitable by judging him to be worse off than me? Why do I hide from him?
I need to ditch my discomfort. Regardless of his personal circumstances, I am comfortable with him picking through our waste, it's just the predatory nature of the hunt. I think he's resourceful. I think entrepreneurial endeavours should be supported and celebrated. I am not going to take my bottles to the recycling depot - why not him? Everyone has to make a dollar.
Bottle collectors are not a new phenomenon, but I wonder if they are noticing a downturn in trade, like other industries? It's been a difficult 12 months for many people - high interest rates, rising unemployment, a haemorrhaging global economy and bottoming house prices. Rents are on the rise, the cost of living skyrocketing and companies are cutting costs, which in turn is, putting immense pressure on the small business sector. We've struggled financially and we are definitely not alone. Cask wine, Vegemite sandwiches, staycations and numerous mince meat meals have featured highly at our house. There's been many times we've rummaged through coin jars to afford milk and bread until the next bill was paid by a client. And the kids' Xmas money helped put petrol in the car. Resourcefulness and frugality have ruled.
This year economists are saying the share market should go up, rather than down. Interests rates will ease a little more. Housing prices should stabilise. Hopefully, retail trade improves and petrol prices edge lower. I feel like many of us have had enough of tightening our belts, of worrying where the next dollar will come from. I, for one, am running out of ingenious ways to cook with lentils.
This brings me back to The Bottle Man. He could waste his time sitting at home thinking up get rich quick schemes or making counterfeit million dollar bills, instead he braves the elements. He gets dirty, he swallows his pride and walks the streets collecting bottles. He works harder than most and for that he should be applauded, not avoided. Next time I will look him in the eye, he deserves that. And I'm going to start putting the bottles aside for him, to make his job a little easier.
How's your financial reality at the moment? Got any good mince or lentil recipes?