I’ve been absent, I know! I can’t really make any apologies for it, it’s a good thing for me. You see, I write when I’m in a bad place, so absence is a sign of positive things.
But I had to write today. Today marks one year since I made a change. A change that has hugely impacted my life, and the lives of my family.
One year ago today I had a Sleeve Gastrectomy. This involves my very awesome surgeon cutting away around 80% of my stomach. It is Bariatric surgery, performed on people who need some help to turn things around.
Sometimes I get told I took the easy way out. I didn’t. But you know what, even if it was the easy way out, does it actually matter? Bottom line is that I was once depressed, sluggish, riddled with health problems, and just floating through life, being a ‘bare minimum mum’. I am now excited, passionate, healthy, and full of life. So, does it actually matter?
The thing is, most people that say that either don’t understand it, or have witnessed someone post-surgery not treating their Sleeve with the respect it deserves. It is not a magic genie. It is not going to fix everything. You need to work with it, treat it gently, treat it with love – you’re in for the long haul together.
Anyway, without further ado, here are my before and after photos for the general public to see for the first time ever #terrified.
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.
You know, I knew I would. It wasn’t good. It’s my first one and I just didn’t ‘get it’. I also have a thousand and one excuses about why I failed, some valid, some a bit of a stretch, but it doesn’t matter. Bottom line is, I did fail.
But it’s totally okay because it was the submission of the fist draft so I get another shot at sucking! Yaaaay #sarcasm.
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
When I hit upload on my blog post ‘We’re under attack‘ the other day I had no idea what it would turn into! It seemed that the reply threads consisted of twenty-odd positive, supportive comments and then one that suggested my children were monsters. Twenty more ‘I feel you!’ comments, and one accusing me of shrugging my children playing up as ‘boys will be boys’ (I have never, and I will never). Another twenty comments sending love, and one telling me that my children targeted the little girl and had planned an attack on her – puh-lease.
I just refuse to believe that children are nasty little schemers with a plan for world domination and pulling peoples hair. Perhaps I’m naive. Either way, I know my children, and they definitely don’t have a bunker full of targets photos and playground blueprints.
This past week I have finally stopped procrastinating.
Instead of letting my anxiety rule when I think ‘It is too hard, don’t bother, people will just laugh, you can’t do it’ I’ve decided to think ‘Who cares? You’ve got this!’
Who cares if people laugh when I rock up to the gym with my thunder thighs and bubble butt? Isn’t that what the gym was originally created for? I mean waaaay back. Back when they were about losing weight and getting fit, and not about looking the part, or having a like-worthy status update.
There are three things that have put me in the fitness frame of mind. In no particular order they are:
Before I had kids I was the boss of the house
But that title belongs to the threenager now
I used to go out with the boy acting flirty
Now I'm crawling into bed at around nine thirty
And if ever name drop, it's not in quite the same way
Cause now I brag when my blog gets shared by Pinky McKay
The washing overwhelms me and the toys are multiplying
And shopping isn't fun now that it's groceries I'm buying
I'm kissing all the boo-boo's and I'm wiping all the tears
And when they have a night terror I chase away their fears
Car drives aren't for fun these days, no more quick trips down the coast
It's like they think they win a prize if they are the one that screams the most
Wake up, no make-up, mum bun in, make them breakkie, feed the baby, chuck nappies in the bin
One wants toast, and one wants weetbix, one needs milk right now
And all I want is to find a way to get a coffee in somehow
Whenever we have the TV on it's never on for me
No, it's Wiggles, Octonauts, Play School - look through the window what do you see?
No really it's great I love my kids, I'm so lucky to be a mum
But I've gotta be honest I'd like time alone, at least while I wipe my bum
Kiss them goodnight, let out a big sigh, another day done and dusted
Sit on the couch with a coffee and relax, hear 'MUUUUM' - oh, crap I've been busted.
Someone asked the question today ‘What are your thoughts on people who get weight loss surgery?‘
The replies were mostly supportive, with a couple that were less so. I couldn’t go past this comment from a lovely lady (who gave me her permission to share this).