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{Comparisons and Values}

{Ahhh Maria}

Remember when I quit the gym and said I was never going back? Yeah, well I went back. In all fairness, the quitting of the gym was warranted due to the heinous vomiting during my last pregnancy and inability to get my BP down. So on medical advice I quit (such a good saying, so official). And then I uttered a little vow to not go back because I could walk around the block and do exercise here; blah, blah, biggety blah. The truth is, I don’t want to walk around the block. It’s a long, boring walk and I always have this panic moment halfway round as there’s still so long to go and I often need to wee and one of these kids  is usually crying by then and dear God, just take me home. It’s all very stressful. Anyway, time marched on and I spat out Hendrix and stopped spewing and suddenly I felt like maybe I wanted to start doing some sort of exercise and so my lovely friend dragged me along with her and then I loved it and BOOM, I joined the gym. Again. Active wear every day for a reason!

The truth is, I love it. Now. I love it now. And so much of it has to do with the fact that for 1 to 2 hours a few times a week I get some me time. The kids like the creche and I feel happy leaving them there. It is my self care and it has become an essential part of not just my, but our routine. It has taken me all my years of motherhood to realise the importance of this. I simply could not go on; doing and being everything for the kids and spouse without filling up my own goddamn cup. Late last year I was literally being crushed by the weight of it all. I actually collapsed just after Christmas because I simply took too much on and the toll it took on me physically was not good. No sleep, breastfeeding, 3 very young children and the ins and outs of life did me in. I knew my cup was empty and I knew something had to change. So when the opportunity presented itself I grabbed it. I understand that self care often triggers guilt and you’ll always find someone who disagrees with you taking time out from your kids. But here’s the thing; no one is giving you a medal for being ‘the best mother who stays with her children 24/7 and can keep going and going like the fucking battery bunny.‘ You probably won’t even get a cuddle for that effort. Most people, who aren’t assholes, are taking no notice of the precentages of time you are spending with your children vs the time you’re not. I truly do not give two shits who thinks what regarding my time out. I used to. I would justify it by breaking down the time I spent away and how I spend nearly all my time with them etc etc. Muttering and stammering about how they are more important than me of course and I’ll make up this time spent away with this or that. Why? Why did I do that? A flippant comment here and there from someone maybe….probably. The old, well this is motherhood spiel and motherhood means you come a distant second right?  Well you know what? You’re right, this is motherhood, my motherhood. Caring for myself is part of my story. Because when I look after me, I can look after them. I am a better mother and wife and friend and daughter and sister for giving back to myself; for not putting myself second. Burn out and frustration over nothing and everything isn’t a part of my story any longer. And it feels SO good. Of course, I have to pay for my time out and that’s absolutely fine. We haven’t accessed a lot of babysitters and the like over the years but it’s now time for us to accept the help that is being laid before us. It is hard for me to say yes to help but I am learning to do it more and I am very grateful for the many people who offer support to me. Remember, unless you’re dealing with a liar, people won’t offer if they don’t want you to accept. Look for your village, they are there. And if they’re not, my village will have you.

SO….The offshoot of the gym is that yes, I’m losing weight. And whilst its lovely, it’s not what’s really important. It’s not irrelevant is just that what matters to me more is how I feel. And I feel good you guys. I feel like me again. I feel confident and strong and sure of myself. I want to do stuff again. Like be here and wash my hair. And go out with my friends and on dates with Spouse. Yes, the overwhelm is always present but my ability to cope with it and push through is developing more every day. It’s sounds a bit lame but I needed to give myself permission to look after myself before I could take that first step back into the world as Mez, not Mum. You are not valuing yourself more than your children or your partner or your family, when you finally decide to value yourself as well. Fuck comparison and people assigning you value based on those around you, love yourself sick; the people who love you will be better for it too.

Remember, it’s your story, mother or not and every day you can write a new page if you wish.

{This Mad Life, and Us…}

In 1997 I was 16 and listening to a lot of Garbage (the band you guys) and Smashing Pumpkins, I smoked Benson and Hedges, I worked at Kmart before Kmart was cool, I wore skirts so short they’d make your eyes water; with cute t shirts and Converse lace ups and unless you counted Simon Barnacoat kissing my nose in the sixth grade I’d never kissed a boy. Of course that all changed on the evening of the 24th of May, 1997 when spouse stuck his tongue down my throat as we perched on a brick fence on Epping Rd in Lane Cove. It was, by teenage standards, a successful first date.

2 weeks earlier we’d met at a debutante ball. He was partnering a chick I worked with at Kmart. I saw him and knew. They weren’t together and so it didn’t take long for me to bust my way up into his face. And life. And heart. And him, mine. I would love to wind back through 20 years of us; to watch it unfold and fold and the creases and curves and indentations of our life and love. There have been ups and downs and this way and that. The thing is, Spouse and I have grown up as one. Everything one experiences in those crazy years, we experienced together. Rolling around on ovals dying from over consumption of vodka that we’d mixed with diet coke from Maccas. Riding around in buses, going to clubs when Sydney was still open at night. Schoolies week, going to University, jobs that sucked but paid for Vodka, learning to drive, moving out of home, travelling the world and living overseas. Everything I’ve done, I’ve done with him. And sometimes I want to kill him dead and I’m fairly sure he feels the same. I am complicated, like the da Vinci Code. I am really not easy to exist with and he has always taken everything I’ve thrown at him in his stride and managed to make me laugh in some of the hardest moments of my life. He has put up with ridiculous obsessions and fads. He has held me as I’ve thrown up so much I couldn’t walk. He has seen some of the worst parts of me as I’ve drowned in depression and loved me still. He has created life with me. We have woven and built, piece by piece a life worth living. And I know that whatever happens we’ve got each others backs. We aren’t perfect and I wouldn’t want us to be anyway. I want a relationship that’s real and open and honest and that, we have.

Our course, post children our relationship has changed. We can’t spend all day Sunday lying around like we used to after a long Saturday eve. We don’t spend hours talking over meals in restaurants that don’t fit prams or high chairs anymore and we find ourselves outnumbered by the lives we created. We can’t just pop over to LA these days and our conversations are often interrupted by the needs of a small person. But our relationship is not any less important that it was 20 years ago and it will still be just as important in another 20 years. (Unless he finally has enough and I end up under the lemon tree out the back.) We, just, belong together.

Happy Anniversary for tomorrow Babe, you are the macaroni to my cheese. Here’s to another 20 years of this mad life.

{On Security Lemons and being Overwhelmed…}

I am so overwhelmed by life currently.

{Let me quickly interject here though and say yes, I am of course grateful for my life and children and Netflix and all that. I am aware I have an awesome life full of awesome people and gosh darn it I wouldn’t change it for the world. I have to put this little disclaimer here though because if I don’t, invariably someone will come at me, screeching that I’m being an ungrateful bitch and that I shouldn’t be expressing my whelm.}

So now that’s out of the way, holy fuck I’m so overwhelmed. I feel like Apu, buzzing round the quick-e-mart thinking I’m a hummingbird, delirious from sleep deprivation and stress. Life is manic right now and I long for a moment of stillness. I’m on a 24/7 roster at the moment and I can barely keep up. I mean, we haven’t even watched the Riverdale season finale yet.

I never expected this pace you know? Remember when you’re pregnant and a queen at your baby shower, and you smile and nod at these silly people talking about sleep deprivation and fussy eaters and dummy fairies and remembering permission slips and readers and all this other twaddle that won’t ever affect you? Yeah. Fuck. Then suddenly you’re 3 kids deep and you haven’t slept more than 3 hours a night for months, you can’t remember the last time you washed your hair, the baby ate some very questionable broccoli from under the couch earlier, you have to be at swimming at 7.45am and your toddler is insisting on carrying a lemon around everywhere as a security item. Why, seriously WHY is there so much to do/worry about/achieve? And I’m not talking about the cleaning and cooking crap. I mean all this superfluous stuff that sucks you dry and leads to hiding in the pantry chocolate binges. Let us go back to the 80s for a second. The glorious 80s, sunshine of my life; the best decade by far and I will fight you if you disagree. I’m fairly sure that Mum, circa 1983 wasn’t worrying about half the stuff we have to. And whilst some of it, like car safety and not hitting the bottle at 8 months pregnant is good; some of this modern parenting palaver is straight shithouse. Social media, I’m side eyeing you dickhead. Lets be honest hey? We have all, from time to time, felt incredibly inadequate thanks to something we’ve seen or read online, parent or not. These pressures are bad, people. They affect you. Today after wrangling the boys into bed, Phoenix with his lemon; I opened Facebook and was greeted with an article telling me the 5 things I shouldn’t say to my kids; (said them all) and then I scroll down to another article declaring that children shouldn’t be eating birthday cake (they ate cake today and it wasn’t anyone’s birthday; within this house anyway). Sigh. Most of the time I can laugh at this white noise click bait. I can push the staged Instagram flat lays and size 2 baby bodies aside. I can roll my eyes at the bullshit sprouted by judgy fuckers. But other days I can’t. And so amongst the mess and chaos and to do lists and security lemons my overwhelm; overwhelms me more as I question my parenting, my decisions and abilities. Have I shown them enough love today? Did they eat well, drink enough water? Did I provide adequate outdoor time, should I do more school prep for Addison? Why did I eat 3 cherry ripe bars? The list goes on. Of course the easy answer would be to go to ground and flick social media, but I like people. Specifically I like my people. And on those days when you have no adult interaction, the old Facebook at least gives you some of that. I think 80s Mum would advise balance. Some days you ignore the online world and other days you don’t. Or can’t.

Apparently stress, anger and I guess overwhelm is caused by the conflict between reality and belief. Once you accept the reality, the difficulty surrounding it begins to subside. Supposedly. I might not have ever believed life would be as chaotic and busy as it is, but the reality is just that. Maybe, just maybe, at the core of all this, is the idea of just going with it. Maybe if I stop rolling around in the stress of it all, maybe it’ll be easier. Who knows?

Alternatively, there’s always wine.