I Am Not Super And That’s Ok

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As a female from the moment we come into this world we are told we can be and do anything. That we must fight for our equality in this world and we must assert ourselves as strong, competent, multi-tasking and able females. That we are the Queen of our own jungle, a lioness and the world must hear us roar.

Then some of us become mothers and we feel the need to up our womanly super powers. To juggle motherhood along with every other thing we could want to achieve in our lives. To chase the next dream, cross the finish line of the race and to tick the goals off our life check list. There are affirmations all over social media and we share inspiring quotes between us. It is a firm message that we can and must conquer the world and we can do it all with a baby on our tit and another on our hip.

I am guilty of overloading. I am guilty of not being strong enough to say no. I am guilty of trooping on and not asking for help despite feeling crushed by the weight of my commitments. I worry that admitting I am not coping will open me up to be viewed as weak. That people will realise I am not made of stone, I am not super, I am not juggling motherhood and life with ease. I read one of those glorious meme’s the other day that said ‘We are all losing our shit, some of us are just better at hiding it than others’ and I thought A-FREAKEN-MEN!

I think most women whether they are mothers or not can relate to the pressure to succeed. The pressure to prove ourselves and to have our shit under control but I want to chuck it out there that it is ok and perfectly normal to fail at ‘adulting’ every now and again, and to take refuge in a pillow fort. Not only is it normal but it is deliciously therapeutic. Take a long bath with those fancy ass Lush bath bombs, eat the whole king size block of chocolate, drink all the wine and throw yourself a big old pity party. Then get back to it.

Learn your limits. Assert yourself and your ability to say no. Don’t feel ashamed of saying no. It’s a powerful word and you need no excuses. Once you have mastered the art of using the big N-O life tends to take a turn. I’ll be honest, it’s hard as hell at first to just say no without following it with rambling justifications but the truth is you don’t need to do that. So repeat after me – no, No, NO! Let’s all be a little self-indulgent now and again and not feel a damn bit guilty about it.

While I will continue to raise my own little females with the positive affirmations of being able to conquer the world, I will also teach them the importance of putting themselves first. I will carefully guide them through the need to be selfish every now and again and that there is no weakness in asking for help. It takes great strength to admit so. They are indeed beautiful lionesses but they don’t need to be alone in their jungle. Support networks are crucial and if there is one kingdom I want them to build, it is that one.

Last week almost broke me and if admitting this helps someone else realise they need to call a time out and look after themselves then that hideous selfie was worth it. Call on your support systems, admit you need them and make sure they bring the wine!

 

Mel x

 

I Was The Perfect Mother Before I Had Children

I was going to do it all. Drug free all natural birth. Breast is best. Cloth nappies over disposables. All organic produce as first foods. Playgroups, music classes, anything that would kick start their educational journey. Mother Madonna, you’re looking at her. That was the plan anyway.

Reality is it didn’t go to plan from the start. Both pregnancies were hard. I was sick, I went into preterm labour, I was a high risk case. I had to birth at the hospital. I had to have the steroids after going into labour preterm. With Trilly I had to stay in hospital for 8 days while they made efforts to keep her in there. It was a success and I baked her for a few more weeks. Both births were long and tedious, I demanded an epidural after 30 hrs of labour and no one can tell me I didn’t deserve it. It was heavenly. The epidural with Trilly only worked down one side but there was no way in hell I was risking doing it again and it not working at all. Drug free and natural it was not but the end result was still the same, I have two healthy daughters and I am here too.

All through my pregnancies people would tell me what a good cow I’d be. I mean of course I would, I had gigantor boobs! Obviously they would work fabulously right? Both girls I persevered, I saw the lactation consultants, I fed through tears and bleeding nipples, I gave it all I could. And mostly off only one side because only one side worked! I was defeated. I had a broken gigantor boob. I felt broken. At 6 weeks both girls went on to formula. The change in them instant. They were finally being fed properly. It broke my heart and I felt a failure but it was best for us.

As for the whole organic produce and lean meat diet I planned to feed them when the time came as hard as I damn tried Trilly blantantly refused to eat any food. Miss has always been a see food, eat food type of kid but Trilly still survives mainly on yoghurt and ham sandwiches. We encourage her to try new food, to just taste it please but the arguments are exhausting and believe it or not she’s healthy. I will often feed her up on a banana before bedtime because I can’t believe she survives on so little. She’s growing and thriving though and isn’t that the main thing?

Cloth nappies are great but I can honestly say I didn’t do it. I didn’t realise I’d have to deal with scrapping the crap down the toilet and soaking shitty nappies. Naive I was at the reality of saving the environment and the convenience of the disposables won. I could say I’m ashamed but I honestly don’t feel any guilt on this choice.

I tried mum/baby classes. I gave them a good whirl. Trilly did gym classes from age 2 to 4 before kindy days took over. Miss and I used to hang out and even though we didn’t go to any classes that turned her into a baby genius she still developed and learned at the same rate as any other child her age. She didn’t lag behind, miss milestones or suffer from lack of stimulation on her tiny brain. Both my girls are perfectly normal. Perfectly average even. Perfectly where they should be.

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The first time Miss met Trilly
In a world full of everyone’s advice and opinions it gets confusing to find your own path. To find the right way that works for you. Your mind boggles at the options and your heart hurts from the judgements. What works for them may not work for you. They say not every child is the same so it only makes sense that not every mother is and we can not all parent our children identically.

Do what works for you, your child and your family. You will never catch me saying someone else’s way is wrong if it wasn’t right for us. We all do what we have to do to get through. Spend less time worrying about what others are doing and you will be so much more confident in your own parenting decisions. Love your child, raise a good human and make the world a better place.

As I sent Trilly off to school this week and said goodbye to my years of early parenting I can’t help but reflect on the decisions I made and the children I have raised so far. They have manners after years of ‘what do you say?’ being the first response to their questions but they still fart and belch as much as the next kid. They are children, they are fine and they are mine.

I’m going to take time to pat myself on the back because despite almost failing at every prechildren idea I had of parenting and not quite being the Mother Madonna I envisioned they are still children to be proud of and unbelievably proud of them and me I am.

Mel x

14 Reasons I Know My Life Isn’t A Movie

We spend most winter Sundays wrapped in blankets on the couch. Fire roaring, popcorn popped and watching movies as a family. It’s lazy and perfect but Hollywood has a lot to answer for with some of its unrealistic portrayals of real life so just to keep me grounded I thought I’d point out some obvious misconceptions.

14 Reasons I know my life is not a Movie

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Hobo hair will be a trend one day and I’m blazing the trail.

1. My hair is not glossy, perfectly styled or flowing in the wind – Nope, just nope. I have two hairstyles. Hobo, which requires a beanie or hat of some description to hide the knots. And top knot, used on days I can’t find a beanie or hat.

2.  Hubby and I do not go to bed at the same time, make sweet love and then sleep peacefully until morning wrapped spooning in each other’s arms – HELL NO! I go to bed earlier than hubby most nights in an attempt to fall asleep first to get at least a small amount of decent sleep before he comes to bed and wakes me with his snoring. Once woken by his snoring I then spend most the night awake thinking of how I can get away with smothering him with my pillow but not quite killing him.

3.  I do not go to bed swathed in a silk negligee. I have an old pair of trackies that hubby often tries to hide and a maternity top I’ve held on to since baby number one that I consider slumbering in style.

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I’ll take one Fairy Godmother and a dozen cleaning sparrows please.

4.  Egyptian cotton sheets?! What the hell are those?! We have the poly cotton special from The Warehouse. Maybe I should splash out?

5. Sundresses and heels while we frolic among the spring blooms and sip tea perhaps? No not me. I’ve got jeans, jandals and a takeaway coffee.

6. Not once have any freaken birds or small animals helped me with my house work!

7. I’m still waiting for my Fairy Godmother too. Lord knows I could have used her more than once already but has the bitch showed up?! NO!

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Don’t be fooled by my polished exterior. There’s two pairs of Spanx and a medieval torture contraption of a bra working over time under that well cut dress.

8.  I had my second child 5 years ago but I still cannot slink back into that pre-baby little black dress. For me to get in the little black dress it takes two pairs of spanx and a husband willing to try removing me from my beige sausage casing at the end of the night. I’ll be honest I’ve slept in it more than once when he hasn’t been up to the job.

9.  I don’t even have a reason for a little black dress because what the hell are date nights?! It takes me almost a full month of begging to find someone willing to watch our children so we can have a couple of hours free after 5pm.

10.  Don’t even get me started on ‘movie mums’ perky boobs. I take my bra off and my tits droop so low they start chatting to my belly button. And the only way I can wear skinny jeans is with an oversized tee so I can hide the fact I’m still tucking my guts into them.

11. I have left plenty of shoes behind on a big night but not once has Prince Charming come knocking at my door. In fact I had to find my own damn Prince and just ended up with a mismatched shoes collection.

12. Despite my best efforts my children are not child protégées, I love them dearly and they are of course perfect to me but mathematical geniuses or budding CIA agents they are not.

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Perfectly imperfect little family of mine.

13. When we go camping we do not toast marshmallows and sing kombayah around the fire place. We bitch our tits off about who has to hand wash the grubby dishes, moan about sand in our sleeping bags and for some reason still put ourselves through it the next year.

14. Christmas is not idyllic. There’s no eggnog and Christmas carols. There are arguments over who brings what, the price limits for the presents, who buys for who and there’s always that one person that peaks too early on the booze.

In hindsight, despite its lack of Hollywood perfection, I think our lives are probably better than most movies anyway.

Mel x

A Letter To My Daughter Turning Five

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Trilly Bug : My Crazy Bug : My Baby Bug.

I remember Miss’s first day at school. I fought back tears as she entered school full of excitement. I went to the car when the 9am bell rang and cried like a baby. I watched the clock, counting down the hours until pick up time and then sat out the front of school from 2.40pm just waiting.

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Teeny tiny beginnings.

Trilly starts school next Friday and the feelings are back. Just this morning I fought back tears as I organised to bring her a birthday cake on her last day at kindy, her actual 5th birthday. However, this time I won’t let Trilly see me sad, I won’t let her realise how hard it is for me because she is excited and she deserves me to be excited for her.

It’s not about her leaving me and not having her by my side every afternoon. It’s bigger than that. It’s the realisation that she is moving on to that next step. That step that involves me having to start letting go. She is no long my baby, we are passed that now. She is becoming my independent young child. So a letter for her memory box is a birthday must.

The fight for freedom and independence started young with this one.
The fight for freedom and independence started young with this one.

Dear Trilly,

Next week you are FIVE! That is a big milestone in my mummy book. It is the start of a whole new chapter in both our lives. Me, the mother of two big school girls and you, the new big schoolgirl. A new exciting step for all of us.

I am so proud of you. Your eagerness to learn and your fierce strive for independence. Your cheeky personality and sense of humour already apparent. You are so tough, yet so gentle and kind. I have heard you stand up to other children your age as they are overly assertive with you and you do it with kindness that I don’t think I could have ever taught you. It is natural to you to assert yourself but to do it kindly.

You were once so shy, painfully shy. Uncle Hayden once babysat you for the night and you cried for so long when we left that you fell asleep on the kitchen floor. He left you for fear you’d wake up and cry again. You have grown so much and now I see you rush at kindy to sign up for saying the prayer.

Nope, she never needs help. Not even when putting on her googles.
Nope, she never needs help. Not even when putting on her googles.

Ever since you discovered you could hold a cup yourself your quest for independence has been strong. You toilet trained at 15months because you refused to let me put a nappy on you and you couldn’t figure out how to do it yourself, so knickers and the toilet were your only option. You are always wanting to help me with everything and when I say no you reply ’but how will I learn?’

You are fearless. Sometimes this worries me as you sprint towards the ocean or go full accelerator on your motorbike. You are going to learn some tough lessons about the importance of caution but these are your lessons to learn and until I am ready for you to learn them I will continue to do my best to protect you. I can’t help it, it’s my job.

I want you to remember to treat everyone as you would like to be treated. This is my biggest wish. The world needs more kindness and I know you can be it. As you go through school you will encounter some mean people, it’s inevitable but kill them with kindness. They are the ones that need it most.

She crawled at 8months but didn't walk until 14months, and then she just ran.
She crawled at 8months but didn’t walk until 14months, and then she just ran.

I cannot wait to cheer you on at school cross country, athletics days and swimming sports. I cannot wait to see both my girls on stage for the school productions and to sit proudly at prize-giving’s for you both. I can’t believe how quick our early years have flown past but I am excited for the next part of our lives.

Love always and forever,

Mum x

A contagious smile
A contagious smile

Ps. In about a month’s time you are going to tell me you hate school that you don’t want to go and it’s dumb. So before we get there let’s make something clear, this is you for ATLEAST the next 10 years, I will most likely enforce that you stay at school for the next 12years. So get used to it. Suck it up Princess. You and your sister can commiserate together now. School is your future and you need it.

Thou Shall Not Compare

I love Instagram but today Instagram has given me total mum envy. Maybe, not even mum envy but just general got your crap together envy.

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Those aren’t trendsetter outfits but they sure are cute kids

My Instagram feed is full of gorgeous homes, stylish Mothers and their matching children, wardrobes full of shoes that are only attainable in my dreams and women I find inspiring. The last part of this is not my problem. The last part is why I check Instagram. It has also been a place I’ve made friendships that have grown beyond the app and this is my absolute favourite part of social media. The fact that I now say things like ‘oh, I met her on the internet’ makes me giggle a little bit but I swear to god I do meet people the old fashioned way too.

One look at my Instagram feed and you will see I am not likely to appear on the featured accounts list anytime soon. I am not stylish. My children do not wear matching outfits to me. I do not get sent free products daily and my house is not from the pages of a home decorating magazine. Shit, a win for me is to actually get dressed in the morning, check in a mirror before I walk out the door and find two clean bowls to give the girl’s breakfast. Safe to say I am not winning Mother of the Year anytime soon. The biggest downfall of my account is probably my completely average photography skills.

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My ‘Mum Uniform’ consists of jeans, top knots and sneakers

I have been far too involved in this unattainable idea of Instagram perfection that I have actually been thinking what I have is not enough, when what I have is everything. The funniest part is despite knowing Instagram is just a snippet of people’s worlds and the sole purpose of the app is the gorgeous imagery, I have been comparing myself.

I want to be that stylish mother. You know the one that effortlessly throws on an outfit and looks so in vogue you think they belong in the magazine. I am not that mother. I am not even that woman. I am the woman that will spend $50 on my child’s dress but will cringe if the dress I’m lusting over is that price. I’m a tight ass but only when it comes to me. Sometimes I convince myself that I am worth it and then I experience a week of buyers regret and contemplate taking the item back. It’s bloody awful. I cannot afford to be that stylish mother. I need new aspirations. I’m actually unsure this mother is real because I am sure behind that perfect photo and that perfect outfit, she loves a good pair of tights or fleece trackies as much as any of us.

I want to be that Mother that makes motherhood look effortless. I am not. I am that frazzled mother you avoid because she has that hint of crazy in her eyes that you don’t want to invoke. Most days I am one peanut away from a nutbar. I get through this motherhood thing by the skin of my teeth and feel like I’m completely screwing my kids up every step of the way. I’m not. They are fine. I’m just irrational. I am definitely not that effortless Mother. The effortless Mother is also probably a mythical creature because I reckon when the camera isn’t snapping she’s losing her shit as much as the rest of us.

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Let’s play spot the trend in our lounge

A few months ago I convinced myself that I ‘needed’ things for our house. I could not survive without a freaken fiddle leaf fig or a quote art print that constantly reminds me how happy our house is. I became a Kmart pilgrim because I was determined to have an Instagram worthy house. I won’t lie I love a good Kmart bargain but I didn’t need half the crap I bought. I succumbed to believing a light-box would complete my life but it’s still sitting on the window sill I put it on the day I bought it. The hexagon wall planters I insisted were necessary are now the resting place of the dried up hanging vine I planted in there and forgot to water even once. Our house is ours, we own it, that’s something to be proud of, the fact it started to look just like everyone else’s but on a much cheaper scale, not so much. So it’s out with the crap and back in with the personality.

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The Light Box, not on the window sill

I love social media. It is an extremely powerful tool. I have made friends and connected with people I would never have met otherwise. It is so helpful when trying to build a successful brand however today I decided I need to step back. Appreciate everything that we do have, be proud of all we have achieved. Celebrate the fact that despite not being that effortless and stylish Mother, I am still a good one. That my house may not be magazine worthy but it is ours. That I may not be able to afford that latest lamb wool blanket everyone is picturing but my life will go on without it. And last but not least, I DEFINITELY do not need anything else from KMART.

Mel x