Sunday, February 23, 2014

For Charlotte - Engaging Our Social Responsibility

IMAGE : PINTEREST.COM | For Charlotte Dawson

Yesterday the news broke that a well known Australian TV personality had taken her own life as a result of depression. Reports suggest that although she was predisposed to the condition to a degree, her depression had often been fuelled by cruel and vile taunts on social media in recent years, prompting a previously unsuccessful attempt at her own life in 2012.  While I didn't know Charlotte Dawson personally and didn't pay much attention to her public achievements, I took notice when Twitter erupted against her a couple of years ago and witnessed the very public, downwards spiral she suffered and subsequently fought hard to overcome. Today, I have a pang of sadness for someone I never met and a strange sense of social responsibility for her fragile state given the social media cesspool we've all been happily swimming in and tolerating over the past few years.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Gripping Too Tight (And Other Nonsense)

IMAGE : THE MOTHER LOAD | Gripping Too Tight And Other Nonsense

Righto - I think I have a problem. Actually, I KNOW I have a problem and it's much more about me than her but nonetheless, here it is.

Remember I said that Miss A was positively brimming with excitement at the prospect of commencing her first year of school?  Well the enthusiasm seems to have evaporated somewhat and my obsessive, everything-must-be-perfect personality is having trouble dealing. I'm not having trouble in a shouty, impatient mother kinda way (I reserve that part of my personality for other precious moments like when it takes what seems like ten minutes to climb into the car and fasten a godforsaken seat belt) but in a begging, "oh please please love school, it's so much fun" kinda way.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

'Having It All' - A Society Standard Gone Wrong?

New title for me - gym junkie. Look at me go!

Actually, no not really - I'm lying. I'm there by the skin of my teeth and if ANYONE was to utter the sentence "Free for a coffee?" at school drop off, the gym would be ditched quicker than Kim Kardashian's ex-husband. Nonetheless, I was there this morning and as I clumsily did my fifteen minute Cliff Young-esque shuffle, I was drawn to a segment on Mornings featuring a panel of guests including the lovely and wise Lisa Wilkinson. I always tend to agree with EVERYTHING Lisa says and even though she was muted by the gym's annoyingly loud 80's megamix (granted, agreement with Ms. Wilkinson was a little more challenging without sound) today was no exception.

The crux of the segment seemed to be about how Jennifer Aniston is portrayed by the media to be downtrodden and sad because although she is defined as 'successful', she hasn't yet fulfilled some society-assumed standard goal of having children and therefore she has supposedly failed to reach the top of the 'having it all' pyramid.  This got me (and the panel) thinking:

How do we really know Jen's own personal definition of 'having it all'

How do we as women personally define 'having it all' for ourselves?

What IS the 'all', and more importantly, WHY does it seem to be the pinnacle of living your best life? 

My immediate thought while watching the segment, was that everyone's definition of 'having it all' is different so why does the media in particular seem to have one set of definitions for us to aim for, especially as women?  As Lisa so wisely put it, the 'having it all' standard is like an "albatross around women's necks". I dare say the successful career, the bikini body, money, a happy relationship and kids probably doesn't apply to as many people as the average gossip mag would suggest. Surely we're all aiming for different things in different stages of our lives? Some women might be perfectly happy to be on their own, without children. Some might prefer to live a simple life where possessions are an unnecessary burden.  God forbid, perhaps some of us are aiming for more spiritual fulfilment, or even for the fulfilment of others? I'll admit that in my twenties, my definition of 'having it all' was sometimes about appearance and often a little materialistic - hard to admit but there it is. Nowadays however, 'having it all' for me is simply about health and happiness - not just for myself, but also for the people I love. I don't need the bikini body to feel fulfilled, I simply need enough money to cover the essentials, and my family balance takes precedence over the success of my career, without exception.

In the somewhat shallow assumption that we're all aiming for the same 'having it all' criteria, while watching the segment I immediately gave thought to women around the world, and the lunacy of the expression 'having it all' in countries where people are focusing less on their bikini body and more upon the day to day survival of their children or themselves. I mean really - if I was to discuss my own societal definition of 'having it all' with a mother living her life in the Congo or Syria for instance, my priorities over hers would seem utterly ridiculous wouldn't they? With that in mind then, what would the world standard of 'having it all' for women be?

I think we should encourage the media and perhaps society as a whole to choose a healthier set of guidelines when it comes to people (in particular women) living their best life, by their own standards. Perhaps 'having it all' should be more suitably defined as 'being your all' - that would sit much more comfortably with most of the women I know. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Mummy Mafia - Why It's Not All Bad

IMAGE : THE MOTHER LOAD | The Mummy Mafia - Why It's Not All Bad
Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one. ― C.S. Lewis

Last week, I read an interesting article written by Em Rusciano via Mamamia titled, 'Why I'm Not Friends With Other Mothers' and it really struck a chord with me.  In actual fact, it made me feel quite sad and sorry for her;  I'm sure that's not the reaction she was after as its tone was quite self-effacing, but it made me realise that I truly can't imagine being without the friends I've made through our school community and through my children generally. In the case of the article, I am the complete opposite to Em; these days I definitely have more girlfriends with children than without. That's kinda normal though, right?? When it comes to schoolyard friendships, apparently not.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

2014 - A Snapshot So Far

*This post looks like a baboon's bum when viewed on mobile due to images - best viewed on your desktop!*

How has your 2014 been so far? Are you getting a handle on what sort of year you're going to have yet? I've been hoping for a peaceful and steady one with plenty of happiness and a little predictability;  I'm not yet convinced it's going to be that way but gimme a few more weeks to assess and I'll get back to you (you know I will!).

I recently read a post by the fabulous Styling You who completed the list below and invited her readers to do the same, so I thought I'd give it a go. If you're into it, why not try it yourself?  Thanks also to Pip from Meet Me At Mikes for the original inspiration - it was fun and thought-provoking.

So far in 2014, I'm:

Monday, January 20, 2014

One Year On! (And Other Cliché Headings)


So this week marks one year since I shared The Mother Load Australia blog for the very first time. *insert proud, overbearing stage mother face here*.

Back then, I set myself a little writing-a-blog goal and although the sharing was the most uncomfortable bit (yes - hard to believe at this point, right?), the response has definitely been the most rewarding part of the journey. Not in my widest dreams did I imagine that people would take the time to read, comment and share with their friends, the thoughts I randomly transfer from my scrambled brain onto the page with my usual irregularity and lack of planning. I still cringe with a small sense of embarrassment when I consider the concept of having an 'audience', but that is far outweighed by the privilege of getting a response every time I write.  What a rush.

I've had such a blast writing my ramblings, meeting other bloggers, learning how to do it better and seeing the audience grow. The most fun bit for me is that The Mother Load Facebook page is heading towards 200 followers - that's nearly 200 people who are happy for me to appear in their Facebook feed on an ongoing basis which is kinda mind-blowing and awesome. Thanks to all of you for taking the time to comment, 'like' stuff and share;  I'm certain the goal would have died a long time ago without the encouragement and accountability of all of you (because half arsed, unfinished goals are also a passion of mine it seems).

Anyway, here's to the year ahead. The Mother Load Australia will continue in 2014 and my new goal is to see it evolve, continue to do it better and hopefully entertain with more ramblings of parenthood, instinct, opinion, occasional wisdom and more than a little dysfunction.

S. x

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Life B.C. - A Little Stroll Down Memory Lane

IMAGE : THE MOTHER LOAD | Life B.C - A Little Stroll Down Memory Lane

I'm a Mum of two girls and I love it. Let's be clear - I barely remember the person I was before our two junior family members entered my life; frankly, I don't really miss the person I was and I wouldn't change things for the world.  Yada yada yada.  

Having cleared that up, let it be said there's a decent sized list of stuff I miss about my life B.C. (Before Children). Call me a questionable mother for publicly listing them but dammit, sometimes a mother has to reminisce.  Remember the freedom you took for granted before children? No? Perhaps my stroll down memory lane will help jog your memory!

Let's start with spontaneity. That's officially the first thing you toss in the skip as you leave the hospital with your new bundle of joy. It never returns and you barely have time to mourn its absence. To this very day, I miss the ability to go somewhere fabulous without great consideration for a) whether appropriate behaviour from the junior attendees will be likely b) what will be required to accompany us in order to maintain said appropriate behaviour c) whether the potential for trouble outweighs the need to go out all and therefore should the plan be aborted for sanity's sake. These factors come into each and every outing decision you make. Spontaneity is awesome and if you still have it, use it! Or come around to my place and look after my kids while I use it for you. 

Another thing is eating out in a grown up, civilised manner. That's something I REALLY miss. The simple task of going somewhere nice, spending time pouring over a menu or wine list with mature, ponderous conversation and eating as slowly as biologically required, without what I'm calling 'parental indigestion'. If you have kids, you already know what I mean. 'Parental indigestion' is usually accompanied by phrases such as "sit down and eat - we're in a (bloody) restaurant" or "for the love of God, pass me four thousand napkins while I clean up the tidal wave of iced water that has just ended up destroying my Pad Thai". Yeah - that. I miss eating out without the usual knot in my stomach. 

Then there's grocery shopping. Although I was never one for pacing the aisles of Coles for hours in a leisurely fashion, there are now times I'd pay good money for the ability to do it. Lock me in there for a night - please. I'll pay for everything I eat, just give me the peace. Remember the days of doing every aisle and carefully comparing prices and specials? Remember ending up at the checkout with a trolley full of the items you chose with clear and concise precision and not peppered with random rolls of sticky tape, confectionery and cheap-arse toys that you have no memory of collecting on your journey?  I also sigh despondently at the wonderful memory of not caring who else was in the supermarket, knowing full well that back in the day, you alone would never have asked the large lady if she has a baby in her tummy, or referring loudly to the Sri Lankan Nun as "Blackface". Before kids, I was able to control how to prevent embarrassment and the dishing out of insults, as I saw fit. Those were the days.

Lastly, who remembers a visit to the Doctor before kids? Oh, I do. Sooo many things to remember and miss - how about a calm, predictable waiting room experience?! Remember not caring about whether there was a sufficient array of colouring pencils to keep your entourage entertained while you're trapped in a room with a bunch of hacking strangers for an unnecessarily lengthy period of time? Remember also not having to worry about using the term 'inside voice' in every third sentence in that same waiting room? Recently, I was lucky enough to have a four year old with me when going for my routine pap test. Yes, hooray - a pap test. I'd struck the proverbial jackpot one would say. I had meticulously booked the appointment so I could attend on my own, but naturally at the last minute the babysitting fell through and I was forced to drag Miss 4 along with me. For the love of God, if this ever happens to you, simply concede, cancel the appointment and happily pay the penalty fees in the knowledge you've avoided experiencing the highest level of parental punishment possible. I'll spare you the details but needless to say, the doctor recommended I attend again the following week for a repeat test due to her "not being certain I was relaxed enough. Really? Quelle surprise!! And who doesn't love enduring a pap test two weeks in a row?

So there's the mere beginning of the 'Life B.C'. list. I admit that conversely there's a really sizeable list detailing how much better my life is with these small people in it and how lucky I am to have been able to have them in the first place, but sometimes it feels good to remember the good old B.C. days even just for a minute!

Now excuse me while I go and wipe the smeared breakfast jam from my new, overpriced dress...

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Welcome 2014 - Are You Diving In Or Are You Treading Lightly?

IMAGE : THE MOTHER LOAD | Welcome 2014

Happy New Year! How did you ring in 2014? Did you welcome it with wide open arms, great gusto and copious amounts of champagne?  We did it small but laughed until our stomachs ached - hopefully it's a sign of things to come this year.  Quite amazingly, I made it to midnight! I learned that if you say enough times that you have no intention of getting there, you seem to have a greater chance of reaching it without realising. Miraculous. In other news, I managed to have kids in bed by 10.30pm which in itself is monumental and perhaps a little cruel on NYE but holiday exhaustion had officially set in so they were ushered to bed without a huge amount of argument. Again, miraculous.

So farewell, 2013.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Merry Christmas From The Mother Load Australia.....

Wishing all the lovely readers and followers of The Mother Load Australia a wonderful Christmas break and may the new year bring all that you hope for. (At this stage, I'm simply hoping for a little school holiday sanity - currently the bar is set pretty low based upon previous experience! i.e. here).

Thank you so much for supporting this little blog of mine throughout its first year in the public eye - the time you've taken to read, comment, like and share has been like a gift to me each and every time. 

For what it's worth, I'm striving towards even more dysfunction and over-sharing in 2014!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Making A List, Checking It Twice - 2014 Resolutions

IMAGE : WWW. MORGUEFILE.COM | Making A List, Checking It Twice

I've come to realise that I'm a big fan of setting goals and resolutions.

In fact, I'm SUCH a fan that often the setting of the goal gives me more satisfaction than actually reaching it (yep, I'm weird but I'm thinking that perhaps you should have realised that by now?).  So that being said, I've decided I'm going to give the whole New Years' resolution thing a bit of a run up this year. Currently, it's the first week in December and I figure that's more than enough time for me to set decent realistic resolutions that aren't made in painful shoes, with a gullet of champagne on board, five minutes before midnight clicks over into the New Year. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

One Chapter Ends, Another Begins....Ten Years Today!

IMAGE : THE MOTHER LOAD | One Chapter Ends, Another Begins

Some would argue that this post is a little self - indulgent, however I figure it's my blog and I'll post if I want to...! (Yeah - I'm so badass).

Ten years ago today, we entered that special club known as 'parenthood' for the first time. We knew NOTHING about our new role and to this day, I'm not sure that we know much more other than how awesome our kids seem to be turning out, despite our often clumsy parenting efforts.

This girl is one of the best people around and today she opens a new chapter in her life, leaving behind her baby, toddler, pre-schooler and little girl self. Happy Birthday to our big girl! May the next chapter bring you much happiness, new discoveries, many meaningful life long friendships and minimal teenage conflict with your parents.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

'Happy' World Diabetes Day (Thanks For the Memories)

So today is World Diabetes Day and although most of us will simply chalk it up as one of other 'World Days' that doesn't apply to us, it would be remiss of me not to reflect on that relatively short three month period when the disease ruled my life in the form of Gestational Diabetes (a type of diabetes brought on by, and during pregnancy). Man - that was hard! This probably sounds overly dramatic (and possibly flippant to those who suffer the disease permanently - sorry if so) but it was like being dealt a prison sentence where your entire life is suddenly ruled by needles, low GI food, blood sugar levels and a nagging fear that if you don't follow a certain set of instructions to the letter, your baby could be facing its own life-threatening issues.

No pressure.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Social Media Manners - What's Your Code Of Conduct?

IMAGE : MORGUEFILE.COM | Social Media Manners
I was reading a post on an Australian parenting forum recently, where a mother was asking for advice on what you would do if a photo of your child appeared on Facebook (or similar) without your knowledge or consent. The mother was rightly pissed off and had only found out about it when someone commented that they'd seen the picture online and remarked on how much her daughter had grown up. The photo was neither dodgy or suggestive, but her dilemma was that she felt a little violated and unsure about whether she should ask the sharing mother to take the post down. Furthermore, she was interested in what the 'rules' are regarding social media manners given her permission had not been sought. Seems like a pretty clear cut case of thoughtlessness to me but it got me thinking about online etiquette and how grey the line obviously is for some people.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Coffee With That Contraction Anyone?

IMAGE : PINTEREST.COM | Coffee With That Contraction?
So Miss Almost Ten just did the 'making babies' part of her 'Family Life' Unit today (the politically correct version of sex ed in case you're wondering). When recapping the birthing baby phase (a Strawberry Shortcake doll emerging clumsily from a large sock apparently) she nonchalantly stated with a wave of her hand, "So you just push, the babies' head appears, you rest, relax, have a cup of coffee, then push again until it comes out..."

Sorry - what? HAVE A CUP OF COFFEE???

Either I was doing it completely wrong in the delivery suite all those years ago, or the Family Life Educator needs to umm....maybe....GIVE BIRTH?!

Let me just say that if anyone is composed enough to sip on a latte during the crowning phase, then they deserve to be nominated for whatever warrior-woman birthing, caffeine-loving award is in existence! 

For now, I think Miss Almost Ten can remain happily deluded until the next installment.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Halloween - Did I Miss Something?

So the Halloween chatter is starting in our house. Last year, I must have ‘missed the memo’ stating that Halloween is now a festival to be officially embraced here in Australia so, like every other year of my life, I completely ignored the occasion without a second thought. Subsequently and to my surprise, I had two sour–faced, moping children who howled that it wasn't fair then spent the evening with their snivelling noses pressed up against the window watching the trick-or-treat ritual taking place in our street around them.

My second relevation was that the neighbours went all out. Cobwebs through their front garden, jack-o-lantern thingys, lights, spooks, costumes – they whole bit. (Special thanks to them for rubbing salt on the wounds by the way…)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Emotional Terrorists? Girls, Friendship and Everything In Between

IMAGE : MORGUEFILE.COM | Emotional Terrorists?
I've come to realise that as you get older, although friendships can often diminish in number, they tend to become much more meaningful and fulfilling. When you're in your teens, all going well you have a handful of great friends with whom your main aim in life is to have as much fun as possible. This usually involves experimenting in whatever peer-driven activity is on the cards irrespective of its level of propriety. In your twenties, if you have a great job, or you go to university, the people you meet here often become your 'circle'. I've worked with some awesome people in my time and still consider them to be some of my dearest (and funniest) friends who I love to reunite with as often as possible. 

In the next phase of your life if you have children, the bonds you form with new found friends from other parent groups i.e. a mother's group, kinder and school become some of the easiest, most meaningful friendships of your life due largely to your adult level of maturity and because of the common interests and challenges you share as parents.  So it's at that time once your own friendships are at their easiest and most fulfilling that you become aware of the challenges faced by your kids as they enter the same friendship phases you survived all those years ago.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Confessions Of A Failed Feeder - When 'Breast Is Best' Just Isn't

IMAGE : THE MOTHER LOAD | Confessions Of A Failed Feeder

According to various wise and experienced bloggers, a 'true blogger' is prepared at some point to reveal a very personal thing about themselves to their loyal, dedicated readers. I've read many tales from other writers who bare their soul and despite their fear of judgement, they feed their audience exactly what they've been waiting for like a pack of hungry lions. Audiences love a little personal exposure; it's why bloggers get followed because they are inviting and permitting a certain type of voyeurism. Readers love it because often they can relate; sometimes another person's tale can give them strength or perspective, or perhaps it simply gives them the sense of camaraderie or like-mindedness they've been searching for. And I guess that's why I write and why I share - I always hope to strike a chord with someone. When considering a subject, often I could get very personal about many different areas of my life but I'm always conscious of involving the stories of other players who haven't signed up to participate in my public oversharing. I could write about the ups and downs of my various family relationships as I'm sure many of us could, but in fairness it's me whose soul has (reluctantly) signed up to be laid bare, and no one else's.

So here's something a little personal. I'm sharing mainly because I would have given anything to read this story written by someone else at a certain time in my life.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Finding Your Passion - A Nine Year Old's Big Issue

It seems I have my first guest blogger. She's smart, funny, a great thinker and she's about to turn ten.  Recently, she's been a little concerned by the fact that she hasn't found her 'passion'. Its been worrying her, distracting her, causing many unwanted sighs and keeping her from sleeping soundly. Seriously, do you recall ever giving that much thought to such things when you were nine? Not me. At nine, my main stress revolved around whether the ice cream truck was going to pass by our street over the weekend or if I was going to be allowed to watch 'Countdown' on Sunday. Anyway, hallelujah, she thinks that perhaps she's found it. She really wanted to write about it (I figured that she's so often the unknowing subject of my various parenting gripes and triumphs I owed it to her!) so may I present to you, the newly passionate and freshly focused, Miss O.

IMAGE : THE MOTHER LOAD | Finding Your Passion

Monday, September 23, 2013

Save Us From The 'Selfie' - When Innocent Becomes Suggestive

IMAGES : MORGUEFILE.COM | Save Us From The Selfie

It's a subject that's been playing on my mind lately, particularly as I watch my first born child heading towards her teen years like a clumsy snowball barrelling down a hill. Perhaps it's because we sat as a family and watched old videos of her as a toddler this past weekend, or simply due to the fact that her newly discovered sometimes surly teen-like attitude is belting me over the head as a reminder that my firm, motherly grasp is gently loosening. Either way, I need to give further consideration to this especially tricky subject that all parents face thanks to the wonders of technology and connectivity.  I am of course referring to the modern age artistic phenomenon of the 'selfie'. For those still living in 1980 or with their head buried in the sand (any room there for me?) a 'selfie' is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as follows:

(plural selfies)

informal, a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Saturday Thoughts From A Random Mind

While leaping around on our bed this morning, Miss A (aged five) announced out of the blue that Michael Jackson was dead (couple of years behind but whatever). We promptly confirmed this to be true (then admittedly, I began questioning the child-friendly content of our staple TV viewing, ABC Kids). When her Dad then asked who Michael Jackson was, she replied quickly and confidently:

"A cook. Michael Jackson was a chef."

Okay then.

Puts a whole new spin on the song, 'Beat It', I guess.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Fashionable Frocks and Forty...

IMAGES : WWW.WILLHOPELOVE.COM.AU | Fashionable Frocks And Forty

Not sure about you, but I find elegant after-five wear really hard to find especially now that I'm on the north side of Forty.  Once upon a time a decade ago, 'short and tight' was perfectly acceptable - nowadays however that term refers mostly to my work deadlines rather than my appropriate choice of fashion, sadly.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Doesn't Hurt To Ask....R U OK?

Doesn't Hurt to Ask - R U OK?

Today is R U OK Day. If you feel otherwise a little awkward checking in on those around you who you suspect may be struggling, today is your day to ask the big question. 

R U Ok? 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Conscience Versus Codeine...

IMAGE : MORGUEFILE.COM | Conscience Vs. Codeine
Just as I was beginning to boast about having survived winter without one cough or cold to speak of, WHAMMO. In it came to teach me a lesson that sometimes even my paranoid hand washing and love of antibacterial liquids can't protect me from an apparent tsunami of kiddie germs. Seven days in bed, two Dr's visits, drugs (not the fun kind) and plenty of drips and sniffs and I'm finally upright again. Woop! *cough, splutter*. So while in a codeine-fuelled haze (how innocent people don't get murdered thanks to this drug I don't know), I wrote a somewhat bitter and twisted piece about this damn election, why the whole thing is driving me crazy and how I have a strong desire to stick my head in the sand and wish it away.  The post provided witty, dry criticism of Kev's egocentric selfies (which I still say are maddening for what it's worth), Tony's evil and dangerous old boys' thinking, Clive's ludicrous plan to spend $200M on building a replica Titanic, and Julian's plan to rule the country from the four walls of the Ecuadorian Embassy and yet, I haven't yet been able to hit the 'publish' button. Why? Because when you boil it down, it's mean spirited. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

I Wonder How The Mothers Of Syria Slept Last Night?

I went to sleep last night feeling especially shell-shocked and shaken up by the images broadcast from the latest alleged atrocity in Syria. These days, we are so conditioned to see things that disturb us that often news pictures simply go straight to the part of our brain that holds stuff we've seen on CSI; stuff that we process as almost fictitious and fabricated with makeup and special effects. Last night though, as I watched vision of young children writhing and gasping for their last breath as victims of an alleged gas attack, it was simply too much to bear as a parent, and as a human being. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Beat Goes On - The Ultimate Gift Of Life...

IMAGE :THE MOTHER LOAD | The Best Goes On - The Ultimate Gift Of Life

Today, I'm giving a bit of thought to the notion of organ donation. I know I've discussed it briefly in the past here The Lingering Lessons From Great Ormond Street but the subject has re-presented itself this week with the sudden passing of a family member who followed through with his pledge to be an organ donor.