When I was asked to be a part of ‘We are the face of motherhood: A series on Postpartum Depression‘ organised by the amazing Jamie from Mommy in Flats I panicked a little. It was a no-brainer really, of course I will always say a big fat yes to raising awareness and ending the stigma surrounding postpartum/postnatal depression and anxiety but I got a little nervous that I wouldn’t have much to say because I realised suddenly that things were good. Things were finally feeling really, really good. In fact, I considered that perhaps I had bested the beast once and for all, and that I wouldn’t be lost in the darkness again. Ha! Life loves to remind me that when you have kids you don’t get to be in control of something like that, so after a while of living in blissful ignorance I got the sharp reminder that I needed and out came my post.
Love is perfectly rapping a completely inappropriate Eminem song from your teen years, totally in sync.
Love is letting your partner have the only towel left after you were too lazy to do a load or three of laundry.
Love is not asking where that receipt came from.
Love is sharing a smirk when a song with a private memory comes on.
Love is offering to change the baby’s nappy. The baby who is being reintroduced to lactose, and really probably shouldn’t be.
Love is going out into the thundering storm to save the pram from running away because you know your partner would sob if it was lost. It’s practically an extension of you at this point.
Love is cooking salmon for your partner even though you hate the smell and the taste, and you have no idea how to cook the little pink blob.
Love is having inside jokes that would sound absolutely ludicrous to everyone else.
Love is not pointing out how terribly mismatched the kids outfits are, because your partner is so proud of their styling efforts.
Love is accepting your partners family as your own, genuinely loving them and considering them just as important as the family you were born into.
Love is understanding that some days (most days) your partner makes zero sense. Their crying makes no sense. Their anger makes no sense. Their brain makes no sense. That’s ok, you’ll help them make sense of it.
Love is listening to ‘The Sound of Silence’ on repeat because it makes your partner smile. Even if it is making you want to shove something sharp and pointy into your brain just to get a break from hearing it.
Love is getting up in the middle of the night to hang the washing out because you know if your partner doesn’t have their ‘sucky-innny things’ clean and dry and ready to work hard holding in all those rolls they may just lay in bed in the foetal position and refuse to be seen by the general public.
Love is when your partner climbs into bed and snuggles into you and you do everything in your power to ignore your brain screaming ‘I just don’t want to be touched anymore today, I’m all touched out!’
Love is not pointing out that the number on the scales is going up, and instead making some smooth remark about it needing new batteries.
Love is telling your partner you’re totally into the sexy bald look and genuinely growing to love it, because you love them.
Love is letting your partner squeeze that huge zit on your back because you know they’re some sort of freak who finds pus fascinating.
Love is having late night showers in the dark together, no funny business, no talking, just enjoying the quiet and each other’s company.
Love is holding hands while you walk through the mall, reminding each other that you have a lifeline, an anchor. Even though your mind might be shaking with anxiety over how you’re possibly going to afford the new school shoes that are needed, you know you’re not in it alone.
Love is not always romantic walks on the beach, or long, latenight phone calls from under the doona where your parents won’t hear you.
Love is not always flowers, and chocolates, and jewellery.
Love is not always a handwritten note, sometimes it’s typed.
This weekend marked a new experience for me – my very first ‘Staycation’. For those who aren’t familiar with the term it quite simply means you have a vacation but you stay close to the home.
When you’re a parent sometimes you just need to check out of reality and escape to a place of bliss and relaxation. Going away isn’t always an option so why not take advantage of what your home town has to offer?
My staycation was spent primarily at the Vibe Hotel near Canberra Airport and I spent my time with one of my very favourite people, my best friend Bec. Now let me preface this post by saying that I was not sponsored by anyone or anything mentioned (totally my loss!) everything I say is my honest opinion.
When we arrived we were greeted warmly by the reception staff and they were quick to get us checked in. Thank goodness, we were obviously exhausted after our long journey (a 20 minute drive)! We were presented with two room key cards, a bottle of wine, and our parking ticket (parking was an extra $14 which is a bit of a bummer when you’re already paying for the room, but that was a tiny tiny negative that would soon be well and truly outweighed by the positive).
After we finished checking-in we took a moment to fully appreciate the stunning architecture and interior design work that surrounded us. I don’t think a hotel has ever blown me away quite like Vibe did. I mean, I have a sore neck from looking up in awe for so long!
We may have gone a little crazy with the camera, but we were power-hungry with no children demanding that we ‘take a photo of me mummy’. That, and everything was so incredible that we just wanted to soak it up and make those memories.
The first thing we did when we entered our room was run around like giddy teenagers. There were selfies, bed-dives, and toilet breaks without a single child handing us toilet paper. The room was incredible. The beds were inviting and super comfortable, the shower head could convince me to leave my husband and run away with it, and the view of the airport was awesome – and we did not hear a single airplane the whole time we were there so the sound-proofing worked perfectly!
I will say though, as beautiful as the bathroom was, the half-wall made it a little awkward at times. My friend isn’t obligated to put up with my post-childbirth, post-weightloss, melted-human candle body like my husband is. I’m sure she saw more than she bargained for.
After the reality of being alone (read: child and husband free) had sunk in we got changed and made our way to the gym. Oh my giddy aunt, I would spend all my time in the gym if it was that one. For the most part we had it to ourselves, and we took advantage of it, trying out all the machines, enjoying the view, and taking even more selfies because there were skinny mirrors everywhere. No Target mirrors at Vibe!
After we were finished doing the grown-up thing by working out we took the obvious next steps – showered, changed, and stuffed our faces with burgers at Treehouse. And I mean stuffed, they were huge. And delicious. It’s one of those meals that make me wish I could temporarily reverse the gastric sleeve surgery because it was just so delicious that I wanted to keep eating it! I don’t think Bec was hating the wine either, considering how quickly two glasses went down!
When we had sufficiently stuffed our faces (no really, I got the hiccups because I ate too much), we made our way back to Vibe and stopped in at the incredible bar on the ground floor. A knowledgeable, friendly, and extremely helpful gentleman by the name Pawan served us, and while Pawan and Bec talked wine I succeeded in downing the first of (too) many perfectly mixed vodka and OJ’s – my first drink in four years (thanks to pregnancy and breastfeeding)!
We honestly had absolutely no bad experiences when it came to customer service at Vibe. The staff were all super friendly, and efficient, and they knew what they were talking about. Even the room-service staff that delivered more drinks and a scrumptious Affetatti Plate to us later in the evening, a young lady who I affectionately nicknamed ‘Non-Steve’ (I was three drinks in, sorry!) was so lovely that I wish I had grabbed her real name! She was fantastic! We just can’t fault anyone!
The rest of the night was spent in our room where each of us were treated to a luxurious massage with the smooth sound of Michael Buble in the background, and then we channelled Shrek in our avocado and oat face masks. We even threw in some drunk yoga for kicks! Add-in a good old fashioned D&M and our evening was complete, and absolutely perfect.
The next morning after a quiet coffee in bed we ventured down to the buffet and let the amazing food wash away all the fuzzy feeling from too many drinks.
I sat and contemplated the incredible healing that the weekend had performed. Every parent deserves a break from the norm. A time to reflect, and relax, and rejuvenate. A time to act like a teenager with no responsibilities, a time to drink a little too much, a time to talk about the things that really matter, and a time to completely switch off.
A time to truly be themselves, and to have that be enough, because they don’t need to be what anyone else needs them to be.
A luxury resort in a faraway land may not always be an option, but luxury can be found close to home, so try a staycation and melt away in the moments.
I’m the kind of person that likes to ugly cry over YouTube videos of pregnancy announcements, gender reveals, adoptions, soldiers returning home, and people coming out.
I spent the majority of last nights ‘avoid bed because I want to have some childfree down-time’ period watching the last one. For the most part people coming out to their friends and families ended in a positive way, with unconditional love. The last one I just watched was the exact opposite and involved abuse in several forms of the word.
So if the world has failed and not met my expectations, and people are still having to specifically announce their sexual orientation if it strays from the ‘norm’, I want to declare my thoughts in regards to my children, right here, right now.
My darling child,
If you are reading this then I can only hope we have the kind of relationship that I am currently working towards building. If I’ve done my job right you won’t even need this, but I want there to be no doubt, or fear, or shame.
I need you to know that I love you. I love you for your incredible soul, for changing my life, for giving me the honour of being your mother.
I need you to know that my love for you is unconditional. It will not waver. It will not falter. It will not change.
I need you to know that the most important thing to me is that you are happy, and healthy, and that you know how incredible you are.
I need you to know that you are free. Free to love whoever, free to be whatever, free to journey wherever (but please don’t go too far for too long, I’m still your mum and I still want you close).
I need you to know that you don’t need to tell me your sexual orientation, it’s not something that requires clarification (I never told you that I’m straight #sorrynotsorry).
I need you to know that I love you. I love you with my entire being. You are a part of me. You’re a horcrux (if you don’t know what that is, kick my ass for not teaching you about Harry Potter).
Your daddy, your brothers, and I love you. We love you. But you already know this, because we tell you all the time.
I know that this letter isn’t needed, because I will spend every day of my life ensuring that you know of my unconditional love, but just in case you have any doubts there in the future, now you know. I am confident enough in my love, that I can declare it now, knowing that it won’t have changed by the time you read this.
Be yourself. Be your amazing, wonderful self. Because I know you, in your most innocent and pure form and you, my darling, are incredible.
It’s Monday, the start of an amazing, incredible, fruitful week. Right?
I have a busy week ahead, full of play groups, school runs, work, and study. I keep surprising myself by having little moments of bliss, where I realise that I’m actually enjoying my life. It has been so long since that happened I almost didn’t recognise the feeing. Things are going well, I hope I didn’t just jinx myself.
No way. It’s definitely all good, I won’t let it change. I mean, how can anything be bad when I have this little goofball for a son?
I do have one dilemma however. I’m enjoying my work in childcare so much that I’m considering changing my direction at Uni. I don’t know if I should put my writing on pause and focus on getting further in childcare (which I can see being my career, like writing, and not just a job), or if I should keep going the way I’m going and become more educated in childcare second. It’s a huge decision and I’m genuinely torn.
I love both fields equally. I’ve never felt passionate about anything, and now I have two passions. What in the world?
I never had the drive to do anything specific in school. When people asked what I wanted to be when I grew up I said ‘a mum’. Well I’ve succeeded there. I had no follow up plan. Hubby was pretty much always going to be a mechanic (though I know being a pilot would have satisfied him more), I always envied his passion and drive. Now I don’t know what to do with myself.
I feel like a leaf, floating down a river, hoping I’ll wash up on the right bank. But which bank is the right bank? Which side of the fork do I follow?
Today is a good day. Sometimes the good days feel few and far between. Perhaps that’s not the case, perhaps my brain only recognises them on the odd occasion, perhaps my mind isn’t able to celebrate all the beautiful little things in life.
That’s my brain though. Sometimes I’m a glass half full kind of girl, and other times I want to peg the glass at the wall and yell at the person that brought it to me. What a fun character, right?
I love you, but I love you for different reasons now that we are actual adults, you know, adultier adults.
I love you when you change a nappy that smells like satans breath.
I love you when your muscles glisten with sweat as you Gumption away Mr 2’s latest wall art.
I love you when you cook different meals because one has to be gluten free and you don’t want to see your little man in pain (and up screaming all night).
I love you when you let me sleep in even though your eyes are hanging out, you keep forget the kids names, and you just tried to put a bib on the cat.
I love you when you talk me down from an anxiety attack. Most would run for the hills, or tell me to harden up, but you always know how to bring me down softly.
I love you when you wash every piece of linen we own after food poisoning has taken us out.
I love you when you tell me that you think I’m beautiful even when I haven’t showered for two days and I’m wearing your ratty old shirt and granny undies that are four sizes too big.
I love you when you go in to settle the terrors for the thirty-fourth time that night.
I love you when you speak up and say ‘I just can’t go back in there, they’ve broken me’ because we’re a team, and I’ve got you.
I love you when you read to our children. I know you don’t like reading. I know it makes you feel awkward and silly. You do it for them anyway.
I love you when you play computer games with a child on each knee. I love you when you teach the boys how to play and I love you when Mr 4 comes to teach me how to land an aircraft,because that’s all you.
I love you when you perfectly lip sync the ‘Trolls’ movie. I also cringe though, sorry.
I love you when you sing and dance while you clean, like a better-version of Tom Cruise with a symmetrical face and without Scientology.
I love you when you watch something boring or gross on Netflix and I end up watching Good Mythical Morning on my phone. Then you stop watching your zombie crap because GMM is more interesting, and we realise that we should have just put it on in the first place and agree not to let you choose anymore.
I love you when you shave for work every morning because you want to look professional, even though we both know at heart you’re a bearded beast.
I love you when you discipline the children so that I don’t have to (for the twenty third time).
I love you when you recognise that even though I will only be working once a week, that doesn’t make my work any less important to me than yours is to you.
I love you when you tell me to study. Even if I do spend most of the time doodling ‘my husbands a jerk because he’s making me study’.
I love you when you talk about my grandfather. It kills me that our children didn’t get to meet him, but you did and you help me keep his memory alive.
I love you when you get home from work, tell me to go and have a rest, and brace yourself for the onslaught as three boys come flying at you from every direction and I run like I’m being chased by a mass murder.
I love you you get excited about me watching 50 Shades of Grey because you think that I’m going to come home wanting to pretend you’re Christian. Mate, it was one time.
I love you when you sleep walk. When you jump out of bed yelling at me to run because ‘they’re coming’. When you roll around the ground so ‘they’ don’t see you. When you laugh about it while I tell you of your adventures the next morning.
I love you for so many more reasons, but at least one child needs me so I have to leave it at that.
I love you. I just really, really love you. I love you so much I want to squish your cheeks and never let you go.
I love you more, but I love you differently.
I love you for the gross things, the boring things, the necessary things, the real things.
I love you for navigating your way through this ridiculous, crazy, life with me.
So I’ve just finished doing the grocery shopping and I’m sitting in the car, in the air-con but still sweating more than any lady should, and I just don’t want to move. You know?
I feel so bogged down.
Grocery shopping is bittersweet for me. Oh my lord do I love the alone time. Seriously, it’s incredible to have a couple of hours (hell yes I take my sweet time) to just be an adult. Doing an adulty thing, without the Trolls soundtrack blaring in my ears. That’s the sweet part.
The bitter part is that I have to farewell a dear friend that I quite simply do not get to spend enough time with. Money. Yes, yes I know, money is private, I shouldn’t talk about it. Eh, that’s the same thing people tell me when I talk about depression, and I haven’t stopped yet, have I?
Money is like Bigfoot in my house. You can see the signs that he was here…there are groceries, there is toilet paper, there are gigantic footprints in the snow – BUT YOU NEVER SEE HIM! Just when I think I’ve got him pinned down someone needs a specialist appointment, or the cat gets in a fight (we name her Khaleesi and it’s like an invitation for randy tomcats to come and try to put her in her place #womeninpowermate), or some breaks a shoe, or the bloody kids expect to eat again! It’s exhausting. I’m so tired of having to worry about something that is so vital.
I’m tired of having to stay logged into NetBank while the cashier is scanning my items so that I don’t go over the $23.47 in my account. I’m tired of having to drink crappy coffee because Moconna costs more than nappies. I’m tired of panicking when the kids ask for the odd takeaway dinner, and then I have to say no and watch their little faces drop. I’m tired of not being able to go on date nights even when someone offers to baby-sit because we can’t afford the petrol, or movie tickets, or milk for the baby-sitters coffee. I’m tired of not spoiling my husband on Christmas, or his birthday, or Valentine’s Day because we agreed early on that it just isn’t a possibility. I’m tired of having to do a walk around Woolies just to let the kids get a piece of fruit from the kids basket. I’m tired of complaining about it. I’m tired of hearing myself thinking about it. I’m just so damned tired.
Look I know there is more to life than money. I know my kids can still have a great childhood and that love is the most important thing…blah,blah,blah. That doesn’t make it easier. Sometimes all that helps is a good old fashioned whinge-rant.
I start work this week. Once a week I will Carmen the employee (my super power is excessively talking about my kids, pretending I know how to act in an adult situation, and eating without sharing). This is my first job in nearly five years and whilst I know we need the income, and I really have to do it ready or not, it’s still hard to come to terms with. Ideally I would be in Uni full-time, smashing out my Bachelor in record time and getting a job that pays a stupid amount of money, but I have kids, so nothing in life is that simple.
Little blessings they are – going to eat me out of house and home, I’ll be living in a box on the street, in a four year old bra that’s three sizes too big for me, with hair resembling Cousin Itt, and my feet will be so black it’ll look like I’m wearing shoes #fashionstatement
Thinking positive, thinking positive – I am grateful for the bottomless pits that are my sons, that cause me to spend my whole pay on food. I am grateful that I need to buy toilet paper because that means they are keeping regular. I am grateful that I have a car to get around in, and spend copious amounts of money on for ridiculous things like petrol, and rego.
Oops. I guess I’m not in a very ‘silver lining’ kind of mood. Maybe later when I’m shoving my face full of the salami I just spent this weeks rent on?
Until then, I’ll keep on searching for Bigfoot, that jerk owes me a flat white.
I just bought more expensive, healthier yoghurt pouches that I really can’t afford and I told my kids they can’t eat them.
I know, I know, you’re all like ‘uh Carmen, why did you buy them if they can’t eat them?’ Let me tell you!
It is because #biggestlittle starts pre-school on Monday and I’m already bracing myself for the lunchbox guilt.
We are a relatively healthy household. In June last year we cut out most of the basic junk from our lives (sweets, soft drink etc) and since then we’ve made additional tweaks here and there to hit that next level ‘healthy home’ – swapping regular flour for coconut or almond flour, giving sugar the flick, making spreads from scratch, actually making everything from scratch when we can.
But seeing some of the supermum lunch boxes that kids get these days has me feeling a little low.
I don’t even know why I’m panicking. Possibly (read: definitely) because of old mate anxiety. Our kids usually choose tomoatoes over lollies, they’ve never had soft drink, and they live for the free fruit basket at Woolies. There’s really not a big adjustment to be made. But that nasty little voice in my head is telling me it’s not enough.
Please don’t think that I’m sitting here all holier than thou looking down on others who choose to do things differently. No, no, no. It took us a long time to get here, and we are far from perfect. The kids still get the occasional Maccas meal and spend Christmas getting hyped up and Boxing Day crashing down. Easter still involves chocolate (and yes supermarkets, I saw you stocking the shelves with brightly coloured foil covered animals whilst the garbage trucks were still straining under the weight of scrunched up wrapping paper and empty Shopkins blind bags), and birthdays are still all about the cake.
The point I’m trying to make is that we are a healthy home and I still feel incredible pressure to provide a very specific kind of tucker for the little tacker. I’ve been Youtubing, Googling, and Pintresting my fingers off. My most used words may now be ‘lunchbox’, ‘Sugar-free’, and ‘kids’ ( kids because otherwise I get a heap of mason jar salads perfect for the office!)
I feel strongly that some of the pressure is good. No, seriously! Sometimes pressure is a good thing, because it makes me try harder. I strive to do better for my family.
And other times it just makes me crumble. I break, and instead of trying my hardest to adapt I retreat, sometimes literally – jumping into my bed and assuming the foetal position.
We need to find the balance. Not everyone is in the same place and that’s ok, it’s not my life, not my children, not my circus.
Of course children should eat healthy, nutritious foods, we all know that, but we shouldn’t shame those who don’t have the same mindset. We are all on our own journey. Perhaps we could gently see if someone is open to advice while being careful not to have a condescending undertone, or we could share our advice to the public in a place they can see and leave it in their hands.
My kids will have healthy lunch boxes majority of the time, but some days I just won’t have the energy to do anymore than a jam sandwich, an apple, and a biscuit and I shouldn’t have to feel guilty about that. No one should.
Strive to be healthy, cook together, make mistakes, try new things, and make sure you laugh while you do it – we’re making memories and creating lifelong connections with food here!
The Simpsons say you don’t make friends with salad, perhaps it’s time we consider that Homer may not be the incredibly sexy, intelligent, healthy role model he was so clearly designed to be.
Disclaimer, because internet – I am not saying that we should ever ignore situations where a child is actually being neglected. #commonsense #hopefullythatsobvious
I know, I know I’ve said this before, multiple times, but trust me, I’ll say it again.
Because this is important. It is an important topic. It is important that things change.
I’m not saying go and share this blog post – I’m saying go and share this message.
We need to stop using the phrase ‘boys will be boys’ as a way to shrug off rough behaviour.
We need to end the saying ‘he hit you because he likes you’ to justify why a boy may be picking on someone.
We need to cease referring to only the sport-playing males as ‘a real boys boy.’ What about the little boys who prefer science, or dancing, or art? Are they any less of a boy?
We need to quit saying ‘stop crying like a little girl’ because every body cries. It’s not a weakness. It’s an emotion.
Why are we expecting bad behaviour from boys? How are we giving them a chance when these phrases are used so callously in every day language?
I have three sons. I do not want my boys growing up thinking that the only way to be classified as a real man is to be a footy-playing, violent, emotional desert of a human. It’s simply not the case and these words can be damaging.
An amazing lady by the name of Rachael has created a shirt in honour of me along these very lines! I feel so blessed that she has done something so kind. I got a lot of comments accusing me of brushing my sons roughness off as ‘boys will be boys’. There was little said that upset me more than that.
I expect more from my children. I expect more from myself as a mother. I would never.
Anyway I’m not getting into that again #brokenrecord.
Rachael is the mind, body, and soul behind the business Zeke Unique. This new shirt is a part of her ‘Equali-Tees’ line – a line of shirts that celebrate the individual child and their likes, rather than what they are expected to like based on their gender at birth.
I can’t speak highly enough of this whole thing! I’m so proud to know Rachael. I’m so proud to now have a shirt honouring me! I’m so proud of the change she is working towards. We all need to work towards the same outcome.
Let’s celebrate our children for the unique individuals that they are!
I’d love to giveaway one of Zeke Unique’s new ‘Boys will be good humans’ t-shirts! If you’d like to win one just leave a comment either here, Facebook, or Instagram and tell me which awesome little guy in your life you’d love to see rocking this awesome shirt!
I wouldn’t hate it if you shot over to Zeke Unique and to my Facebook page and gave them a like either! 😉
And of course you’d just be mean if you didn’t share the opportunity with your mates, right? 😏
Please note – I am receiving nothing from Zeke Unique for anything I’ve said except for Rachael’s continuous support of everything I do. I genuinely love her products and just wanted to share my joy over her new addition! 😊 #pinkypromise
*Open to residents of Australia. One nomination per person please, it’s already going to be hard enough to choose as it is. Maybe I’ll make someone else do that 😂 Entries close midnight AEST Thursday 26th of January 2017. Winner will be announced Friday 27th of January 2017.