Friday, 9 October 2015

Almost almost famous

So one day, many many years ago, (or three years ago for anyone who always needs specifics) I wrote this post about what I had originally wanted for this website. I complained that the blog was three months old, and that people needed to start recognising my obvious talents already. Well three years have passed since I started this home away from home, and while many things have changed over that time, the change I hadn't even seen coming has been my attitude towards getting noticed. Which made a series of events which happened this week, and my reaction to said events all the more surprising. Allow me to elaborate.

So on Monday morning I was enjoying a peaceful coffee with mum, Miss K was safely dumped on handed over to the capable staff at her kindergarten for the day and I was enjoying the unseasonably warm day (I loves me an El Nino weather pattern.) My phone pinged to let me know I had received an email, so I reached over to it and opened my email app. Had I realised what awaited me at the other end of that notification sound, I would have put my phone on the floor and taken to it with a well placed foot. (OK not really, I can't survive without my phone)

I had received an email from a gentleman advising he wanted to discuss my blog for ABC 7:30 and asking for my mobile number. Now normally I don't hand my phone number out willy nilly to total strangers, but I was feeling good in my warm spot on the couch, so I figured what was the harm. At the time I didn't really pay attention to where he was from, because ABC 7:30 made no sense to me, so I just assumed it was another website I'd just not heard about. I've never really had my finger on the pulse of what's popular. The next thing I knew, I had a voicemail message telling me that he wanted to interview me for the 7:30 Report on channel ABC. For any of my wonderful non-Australian readers (and for any Aussies who don't really watch ABC because art shows and documentaries are not your cup of tea) the 7:30 Report is a national current affairs program which runs nightly on TV. Despite the fact that I stopped watching ABC when they swapped most of their kids programs to a dedicated second channel, I still recognised the name of the program when he mentioned it in the message, and immediately began to freak out. Mum saw the slack jawed look on my face as I hung up my phone, and immediately began to think I'd just received a message that someone was dead. So when I told her what the message really was, her face mirrored mine. If we were at a carnival I'm sure people would have started dropping balls in our mouth in order to try to win a poorly made stuffed animal. (I'll just leave that mental image right there for you.)

Eventually I got over my initial shock and called the guy back. We ended up chatting for about twenty minutes about this blog, and the blogging culture in Australia as a whole. At the end of the interview he told me he wanted to interview me on camera for a report they were going to run on mum blogs in Australia, and while I thought his report was probably several years too late, given the mum blogging craze really reached its peak quite some time ago I agreed to allow him to send a crew over to my house. We ended our conversation and then reality hit me. At some stage during the week (I didn't get proper confirmation of dates or times until the next day) a crew were going to descend on my house, filled with its mountain of rubbish we haven't gotten around to taking to the rubbish tip yet, and mail piles full of letters dating back possibly two years, inhabited by a slightly overweight single mum with terrible teeth, and expect to film something that Australians would actually want to watch. I don't know if there is a person in the world capable of that level of magic. They wanted to film me and Miss K interacting as part of some action shots as well, and the thought crossed my mind to just make her do the entire interview on my behalf, given she is never at a loss for words, and she knows she is the most fabulous person in the world, but I figured they probably wouldn't think that idea was as awesome as I did. So I set about panicking.

I spent the next three days trying to clean the house, while trying not to laugh, cry and throw up all at the same time. I called family members, I went to my blogging friends, I even got on Google trying to find something to calm my ever increasing nerves. I made note of the fact that you shouldn't wear red, black or white on television, as none of those colours are flattering apparently. I also found out that you should wear blue because it's the best colour for creating a healthy looking complexion. This caused a new panic for me because I own a total of one blue t-shirt and it is covered in permanent ink. Not exactly the image I wanted to convey as a blogger/mum who has her shit together in her own mind but nowhere else. Thanks to Google I also discovered there is no diet or exercise plan that helps you lose the equivalent of a small child from your behind in three days (thanks scientists).  I was contacted by the producer who was actually going to be running the circus, and I'm sure he immediately regretted contacting me when the barrage of questions came, especially the one where I admitted that I do not actually own a single item of make up at all. (I am sure that by admitting that fact on such a public forum I am now going to lose my female card any day now.) He did his best to reassure me, and was kind enough not to laugh at my increasing mania.

The day before the interview, I was taking a short break cleaning up the many piles of junk which have accumulated on any and all available surfaces, when another email came through. Before I even opened it, I sensed that I already knew what it was going to be, and sure enough, it was from the original producer who I had spoken to on Monday, telling me that unfortunately they had to pull the story because there were issues with another part of it. I sat for a second waiting for the disappointment to come, but all I could feel was relief. I was relieved that I could stop cleaning, I was relieved that I didn't have to feel ashamed because I don't wear makeup, I was relieved I didn't have to worry about exactly how fat I would look on a wide screen television, and I was relieved I wasn't going to be famous. (OK I wasn't really expecting two minutes of screen time on one current affairs show to really be my ticket to the big league, but fifteen seconds of fame is still fifteen seconds of fame.)

It has occurred to me over the three years that I have been the proud owner of Searching for Sanity that what I originally thought I wanted with the fame, the recognition and the book deal, isn't actually what I want at all. What I really want is what I have right now. A forum to place all the crazy stuff that floats around in my head, and a handful of loyal (if very quiet) readers who have found this place, liked the look of all the madness, and just made themselves at home on my lumpy couch.  With fame and/or recognition comes expectations, and expectations mean work. I am just too lazy for all of that stuff, and that isn't about to change. I like that to you guys I am just words on a page, and the occasional weird picture. I like that my mum is still my biggest fan, and I can always tell when she's visited my site because it shows up in my stats that someone googled the blog name, despite the fact that if she just typed the first three letters into the address line up the top it would come straight up. So for now, and possibly forever I will remain almost famous, but as long as I have this place and you guys, that is the best thing to be, so thank you.

I know a lot of my blogger friends and possibly some of you who don't have your own websites have actually gotten past the scheduling part of getting onto TV, and have actually managed to get their mugs onto the screen, so if any of you have stories of your fifteen minutes of fame, I'd love to hear them. Let me live vicariously through you guys please, I promise I'll totally be your biggest fan.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

5 Things to Expect when your Children become independent

So today I want to talk to you guys about a tough subject, and one not a lot of parents really think about until it's too late and you're right in the thick of this new phase in your life as a parent; what to expect when your child starts asserting their own independence. No parent ever wants to admit that one day they will no longer be needed for absolutely every one of their child's many, many needs. And while we all spend many hours moaning that we can't wait for our little ones to grow up just a little bit more, easing our work load just a tiny bit, the second that day comes, we all freak out with the realization we are one day closer to being just another character in their lives instead of the hero of their story. So today I'm here to arm all you parents out there, and let you know what is coming in the days, months and years ahead of you, and hopefully better prepare you for that inevitable day.

Mess will become your new normal
Children are messy by nature. They just don't appreciate the value of a tidy room, and they act accordingly. So while they can't wait to learn to pour their own drinks, or make their own sandwiches, the process that comes with learning these skills will actually increase your work load more than if you'd just done everything yourself. The temptation to take over and prevent the messes from happening in the first place will be overwhelming, especially at first. You're going to need to bite your tongue hard and accept that this is all part of growing up. The beautiful thing about children is they always want to be helpful, so one way to combat the mess before it begins is allow them to help you clean up while they are still young. Miss K can wipe a surface like no one I know, mainly because since she was old enough to wield a cloth, that has been her job to do when I'm doing dishes. It kept her out of my hair while I was elbow deep in steaming hot water, and meant I had the cleanest cupboard doors in town. And while it hasn't prevented my bench tops from being covered with jam, butter and cordial (usually all at the same time) I know I can tell her to clean up her mess, and it will happen. 

There will be frustration
This counts both for you and your child. You will cringe the first time you watch them awkwardly try to hold both a toothbrush and a tube of toothpaste at the same time and get the two to meet in the middle, and they will be confused why this isn't as easy as you make it look when you prepare their toothbrush every other night. What you both need to keep in mind while watching kids learn is that they have been watching you effortlessly do everything for the past three to four years, without knowing that once upon a time you were just as awkward and uncoordinated as they are now. I can honestly say I don't remember learning how to brush my own teeth (except that it used to drive my dad nuts that all of us kids would squeeze the toothpaste from the middle of the tube), and yet it is a skill I can do in my sleep (an essential skill for all parents I'm sure.) It helps in these circumstances to tell your kids you're good at what you do because you practiced every single day. Tell them that you sucked once upon a time too, but it gets easier. Then step back and give them the chance to practice for themselves. Of course you will most probably have to step in every now and again when their stress levels hit critical levels, but it's important to let kids experience frustration. It is part of the learning process, and makes the mastery of a new skill all the more rewarding.

Don't expect perfection
Sometimes good enough is all you're going to get from your children, and you need to learn that this is OK. While it is important to teach your kids to strive to be better, you can't expect this to come straight away. There has to be a lot of mediocre before you can be good at something, and it is vital that you don't show disappointment when your kids version of a job well done doesn't match your own. This can teach your children that they are failures straight away, and sap them of their motivation to keep trying. This of course does not mean you can't point out mistakes when they happen, it is after all your job as parent to educate your children. But you need to also point out that you recognize that your child tried their best when they do, even if it's not the same as your best. That will come with time and patience.

Learn to lose control
This is the hardest thing for any parent to do. It is our first instinct to protect our kids from all the horrible things in the world, including themselves. You're going to want to step in and keep doing everything for your child every single time you see them trying to take a step away from needing you, and I'll admit even I fail at this one still. It's a learning process for both of you, and you're both going to make mistakes along the way. But you're only hurting your child by not letting them fail something for themselves. Our biggest job as parents are forming a strong, independent and capable person that we will one day release into the wild to fend for themselves. Without all of the struggles they are going to go through over the coming years, they can't possibly reach their full potential once their lives are placed fully into their own hands. Just remember all of this pain, all of this frustration and all of this mess is ultimately for their own good, and yours too. 

You will feel sad, and this is OK
If the sight of your child putting their own dirty clothes in the laundry basked has you wanting to reach for the tissues, don't feel ashamed. It is totally normal to mourn the loss of your sweet innocent baby, as long as you also take a moment to rejoice in the new grown up child that has taken their place. I can't help but feel a little bit hurt every time Miss K tells me "No mum, I do it" as if all the help I have given her over the past four and a half years wasn't good enough. But when I do feel hurt, I just remind myself that this has been the ultimate goal all along. I know that one day I will be replaced as The One Who Does Everything  and to be honest I'm not sure what I am going to do once that day comes, and while that thought scares the absolute bejeezus out of me, that's OK too. In the meantime I promise I will continue to complain every time Miss K asks me to do a simple task for her that I have watched her do a million times before, cry a little bit to myself every time I see her growing up right before my eyes, and act like the day I become obsolete is not approaching faster every day, because I am nothing if not consistent. 

So consider yourselves educated on what is about to happen to your darling little ones. For any of my readers who have already been through any of this, especially any parents whose children have gone so far as to actually grow up and become totally independent adults, please feel free to leave a comment below and share anything I have missed. Given that I am still in the early years of Miss K's path to independence, I know that there is still so much I have to learn, so any education you guys can give is always appreciated. 

Saturday, 19 September 2015

September Fly on the Wall

So it's time once again for the September Fly on the Wall. I can't believe it's nearly the end of another year. Can someone give me Father Time's phone number please? Me and him need to have a serious talk.

So anyway today 16 bloggers are giving you a rare and uncensored (or in my case a slightly censored) view of what it would be like if you were a fly on their wall.  Below is a list of all the bloggers participating today. Please be sure to go and visit all of them.

htttp://    Baking In A Tornado     Menopausal Mother      Never Ever Give Up Hope        Just A Little Nutty                 The Momisodes Someone Else’s Genius              Dinosaur Superhero Mommy         Cluttered Genius Eileen’s Perpetually Busy    Southern Belle Charm                  Go Mama O

Me: What do you want for dinner?
Mum: Oh God, I don't know, um...
Me: That's one of the hardest questions I ever ask. It's right up there with what's your number?
Mum: Those are always the two hardest questions anyone ever asks me.

A few weeks ago I took a day off work sick. Miss K was slightly miffed by this because it meant she wasn't going to be babysat by my big sister Sam for the afternoon. Shortly after lunch she started asking to go visit Sam.
Miss K: Go to Sam's house?
Mum: No you don't need to go today, mum's home from work, so you can stay home with her.
Miss K: Go to work mum.
Me: No I can't, I'm sick.
Miss K: No, go to work so I can go to Sam's house.

We finally had a warm weekend after what felt like an eternity of winter, so I sent Miss K to play outside. As usual, she spent the time running back and forth from the yard to the house. This happened on the second lap, and should have been a harbinger of what the rest of her play time was going to be like.
Miss K: Mum, mum
Me: What?
Mum: I'm playing outside but I'm going to run inside every five minutes and  yell at you. Did I get it right?
Miss K: Yeah.

I bought some reeeeeeally expensive rocky road at a craft market last month, and then remembered that I don't like rocky road, so it stayed in the cupboard until Miss K discovered it, then started asking to eat the zig zag road.

Miss K: Knock knock
Me: Who's there
Miss K: Lettuce
Me: Lettuce who?
Miss K: Don't cry, it's only a joke.

Number 9347 of things I never thought I'd have to say:
If you're going to pick your nose in the toilet, could you please not wipe it on the wall.

So my big sister and my niece got sick with a virus right after Miss K and I did (so I guess we know who they can blame...) but it meant that Miss K couldn't go to daycare, and she couldn't go to my sister's house as she was too unwell. Thankfully for me my baby sister Kim stepped in and played babysitter for two days so that I could still go to work. Not so thankfully, Miss K came home having learned the term FFS. (Google it if you're not sure) Apparently Kim kept saying it while trying to get Miss K in and out of the car...

Also on Kim, her and her partner Scott had to go to the funeral of the father of a friend of hers. As is customary at Australian funerals, you have to get drunk afterwards. She ended up at a stranger's house several doors down from my big sister Sam's house, and decided to wander down. I happened to be visiting Sam at the time, so I got to watch two very drunk people have very drunk conversations. These were the cleaner ones.

Scott: What's going on? Why am I seeing two of you? One is bad enough.
Kim: What are you talking about?
Scott: You've got two noses.

Sam: Scott do you want a coffee?
Scott: Yes please. (At this point Kim starts laughing)
Sam: How do you have it?
Scott: One, no, one and a half spoons of coffee and one sugar. I mean two sugars. (Kim is laughing harder by now.)
Sam: Do you have milk?
Scott: No. I mean yes. I mean no. Whatever. However you bring it to me, I'll drink it. (By this time Kim is lying on the floor with tears of laughter streaming down her face and Sam is getting very confused.)
Sam: Kim, how does Scott drink his coffee?
Kim: Scott doesn't drink coffee. He hates it.

I also discovered that night that my 11 year old niece Eliza has a sharp tongue.
Eliza (to Scott): That is a very feminine coat you're wearing.
Scott: Are you serious? I just got shot down by a kid.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Signs you may be a Practically Perfect Parent

This post is brought to you by Ski D'lite, now with 25% less sugar.

I have a confession to make today. My name is Erin and I am a practically perfect parent. Does that sound too braggy? We're not meant to tell people we think we're awesome parents, in fact we're not even meant to think we're awesome parents. But I'm here to change that today, and I challenge you to do the same. Just to make things a little easier for you, I've included a checklist below to help you determine whether or not you are indeed a practically perfect parent.

Below is a list of habits of practically perfect parents. Lets see how many of these habits you have.

  • Let your kids stay up well past their bed time simply because it is easier than listening to them complain that they're not tired.
  • Spit polish your child's face while strapping them into their car seat because you don't notice every speck of grime until right before you take them out in public.
  • Let your children destroy their dinner by eating too many biscuits too close to dinner time (just for five minutes of peace and quiet).
  • Allow your children more than 30 minutes a week on an "electronic babysitter".
  • Believe your children when they tell you their teeth are clean, even if their toothbrush is bone dry, just this once (and every other time after this).
  • Blame any gas that you pass on your infant simply because they are too young to deny it.
  • Wash the same load of clothes three days in a row because you're too tired to unload it from the washing machine, hang it on the line, bring it back inside, fold it, put it away...Just the thought of all that activity makes you want to take a nap.
  • Refusing to punish your children by taking away their tablet/iPhone/laptop/television privileges because really, that just punishes you.
  • Step over the same toy five times a day because you're too busy with every other job you have to do today, and you'll get it on your way back, you promise.
  • Eat leftovers for more than one day in a row, because it's easier than coming up with a new meal to plan, shop for, and cook.
How many of you scored a perfect 10? I know I did, and I'm just starting to scratch the surface here. I could spend the whole day listing all the things I do which go against everything a perfect parent would do, but at the end of the day all I need to do is look at my happy, and healthy little girl, and I know despite my flaws, or perhaps because of them, I am an awesome parent. 

Research shows that only 3% of mums in Australia will give their parenting skills a 10 out of 10, but if you ask any child to rate their parent's performance, odds are they will always give their parents a perfect score.  Too often these days we let external pressures get us down. The image of the perfect parent is splashed all across our televisions, our computers, and even our play groups. The pressure this makes us put on ourselves is too much. So before you begin to beat yourself up because you follow the "five second rule" if your kid drops a chocolate on the floor, just remember the best indicator of your skills as a parent is right in front of you, and they always think you're the best parent in the world.  And that makes you a practically perfect parent. You're welcome.

Are you an Australian resident over the age of 18 who likes free stuff? Tell me in the comments below in 25 words or less what makes you a practically perfect parent, and you could win one of two vouchers for a month's supply of Ski D'lite yoghurt. 

This competition is open to Australian residents aged 18 and over. Two winners will be picked based on your answers. Competition ends Thursday 24 September 2015 at 8:00pm. Winners will be announced here and on Facebook and Twitter on 25 September 2015.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

September Use Your Words Happily Ever After?

Hello again my lovelies, it's time for another Use Your Words, the group challenge where 17 bloggers get together and swap words with each other. We each submit a group of 4 - 6 words and in return we get someone else's words, and then we have to try and build something around those words. Below is a list of all the bloggers participating this month, so that you can be sure to visit them all and share the love around.

So today my words are wall ~ tree ~ reading ~ piggy bank ~ fan and they were submitted by the lovely Eileen at Eileen's Perpetually Busy.

Today's post is a continuation from the last two Use Your Words. If you want to start from the beginning, you can find part 1 here and part 2 here

The last few hours had been a blur. She really should be more used to her life being so out of control, but it still took her breath away every time the rug was pulled out from underneath her. She'd grown complacent. That was always how it started though, with the small things. You start taking for granted the fact that they will always pick your towel up where you drop it, then they start assuming just because you didn't mind them watching the football game on telly one weekend instead of doing something together, you'll let them do it every single weekend. You both bite your tongue at first, still not willing to let the honeymoon be over, but eventually the real world comes crashing in through the wall bringing the first big argument with it.

Things had been going well over the past six months. Given they lived an hour apart they really only got to catch up on the weekends, but they alternated whose place they stayed at each weekend, and caught up the rest of the time through daily phone calls and the odd mid-week visit when work schedules permitted. Given they only spent two days a week together, the opportunities for arguments were few and far between, and they were usually fairly small grievances that were sorted out quickly with a few placatory words. This time however, things were different. The conversation had started innocently enough, they were lying in bed together, she was reading an e-book on her tablet, and he was playing poker on his,  and she asked him what he wanted to do the next weekend. He admitted he'd already made plans to catch up with his mates for footy and beers. The initial disappointment that she'd miss out on seeing him for two whole weeks quickly turned to annoyance, as she remembered she'd been invited out to catch up with her girlfriends next weekend as well, but had turned them down so that she could visit him.

She had tried her hardest to hide her frustration and disappointment, but being stoic had never been her strong suit, so he picked up immediately on her mood. Instead of comforting her as he usually did, this time he became defensive. "I haven't spent any real time with these guys in months, and I just felt like catching up with them" he said, the almost whiny tone in his voice setting her teeth on edge. Before she could stop herself, she spat out the words "Well I'm terribly sorry I've been hogging up so much of your time lately. I'll be sure to check your diary next time, just to make sure you can squeeze me in." He rolled his eyes at her. She knew she was being slightly crazy about the whole thing, and as much as she didn't want to be the crazy girlfriend right now, the words kept spewing out of her, and she quickly felt herself losing control of the whole situation.

"I'm sure the fellas will be much more valuable company than me next weekend anyway. I'm sure they won't care when you clip your toenails in the bed, nor will they care if you leave the milk carton in the fridge with just a dribble of milk in it. And hey, I'm sure they'll just love it when you burp so loud you could rattle the window panes every single night after dinner like it's some kind of damn compliment." She stopped to catch her breath, but the look of hurt on his face told her she should stop entirely. He waited for a second then started speaking very calmly. "First of all, that was one time, and I excused myself. And second of all, did you store up all of these grievances in a piggy bank to yell at me at the opportune time? Because I gotta tell you, that was a pretty big list to come up with on the fly." She thought for a second and realised she had stored all those things away, remembering every tiny detail when they happened, and the thought horrified her. Now she was just as disgusted at herself as she was at him, but it didn't seem like the time to yell at herself, so she turned her attention back to him. "I'm sorry that I notice things around me. I happen to be observant you see. Unlike others in this room, who can't even remember to turn the fan on before they shower. The bathroom turns into a rain forest any time you go in there." She knew she was clutching at straws now, but she needed something to be angry about, as angry was easier to deal with than disappointment or self loathing.

Realising she'd run out of things to yell about, but not willing to stop and admit she was being an idiot, she wrenched back the blankets and got out of bed. She started grabbing up her clothes and pulling them on. He sat in the bed with a bemused look on his face as she dressed. As she went to walk out of the room he called after her. "Where are you going?" he said pulling himself out of bed. I'm going." She replied. "Clearly I'm an inconvenience to your super busy social life, so I'll fix that problem by leaving." "Don't be stupid" he said, walking after her. "Come back to bed and we'll talk about this in the morning." She desperately wished she could turn around and walk back to him, but that meant admitting she was being dumb. It also meant admitting she cared more than she was willing to say that she was going to miss seeing him the next weekend. That thought brought a lump to her throat and she ducked her head and walked away from him, not willing to let him see her cry. "Forget about it" she called behind her. "Say hi to your friends for me" She walked out the front door, slamming it for extra effect and started walking towards the street. She spent the first few blocks willing him to chase after her, but she was alone. After twenty minutes of storming along the empty streets she stopped to catch her breath and leaned against a tree. Unable to hold it in any more she burst into tears, hating herself for throwing away the best part of her life. She sat under that tree for an hour crying before the sobs finally died down, then she was left alone with her thoughts, the only sound to be heard were the leaves rustling above her, and the footsteps on the path behind her...


I hate to leave it there, because there is more to this story, but it was starting to turn into a novel, so I've decided to leave the rest for next month. So if you want to know what happens next be sure to come back here next month and read the rest of the story.

Thursday, 10 September 2015


Hello my lovely readers, today I am taking a break from all the parenty goodness that makes up my crazy world to bring you an important message. Today here in Australia it is R U OK day. Today is the day to bring awareness to suicide prevention, and this is a cause that means the world to me.

In Australia every single year there are approximately 65,000 suicide attempts. 2,320 of those attempts are successful every single year. That is too many lives lost from something that is totally preventable. Suicide is one of those uncomfortable subjects we don't like to talk about, but talking about it is the only way to break down the stigma, and let people know they are not alone. The aim of R U OK day is to get the conversation started. It is as simple as asking people if they are OK. Let them know that they are heard, let them know they are not alone, and let them know that there is help out there for them.

Mental illness is still one of those subjects people don't like to talk about. I had a fight last week with my boss because she didn't believe me when I told her I have depression. It shocked her because I am able to get up every day and go to work, able to complete my tasks, and I don't look like a stereotypical depressed person. But that's the thing with mental illness. It is an invisible disease that can be easily hidden with a fake smile. You can't trust that just because someone looks "normal" on the outside that they aren't struggling on the inside.

I have lost a cousin and a brother to suicide, the 14th anniversary for my cousin's death was just last month. I watched her family's anguish when they lost her, and it changed them all forever. When my brother died 9 years ago, I thought my dad would die with him, his heart was so broken. My sister and her family are still dealing with the loss of her husbands baby brother two years after the fact. His son will never know his father because he died before his son was even born. My baby sister has lost too many friends to count to suicide over the years, and many of these happened before she was even in her twenties. Suicide affects the living just as much as the deceased, as they are left behind, wondering what they could have done to help the victim, wondering why they didn't see the warning signs, and wondering how they are going to go on without their brother or sister, without their friend, without their spouse or their parent. The anguish the victim felt is now transferred to the people they loved, and they carry it with them for the rest of their lives.

So to get the conversation going, check out R U OK today. and ask the people you love if they are OK. Remember if you are struggling with feelings of depression, there are people around to help you. For Australians, you can call Lifeline on 13 11 14. If you are in America contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on 1800 273 8225. For all other countries check out this Wikipedia list for suicide prevention contact numbers around the globe. And remember that you are not alone. You are all loved, and you are all worthwhile to somebody. If you have any thoughts on suicide prevention or mental health issues, I'd love to hear from you too, I think you're all awesome, so leave a comment below.

Friday, 28 August 2015

What Parenting Means

So the other week while working at a craft stall with a good friend of mine, we had a heavily pregnant woman come and sit down at our table to make a card. Some gentle probing later we discovered she was about a week away from popping. We decided this was a perfect time to terrorise the poor woman by telling her exactly what being a parent meant, right when it's too late for her to back out. Of course it was all in good fun, and we didn't reveal any of the real horrible truths (we like to leave some mystery for new mums). But it has been on my mind a bit since that weekend. The word parent is universal, and while customs and traditions can vary from person to person, there are some things that stay the same no matter whether you live in an igloo in Antarctica (do people really do this?) or a mansion in the Hollywood Hills. So as a handy guide for anyone who is thinking of being a parent, or for those of you who are already parents, and just want a reminder of why you're not going back for a second (or third) I present the following.

  1. Putting yourself last. Forever, and ever, and ever.
  2. Never getting to blow out the candles on another birthday cake. And forget about unwrapping your own presents. That job now belongs to your children.
  3. Being woken up by a tennis racket to the face (seriously)
  4. Acting like you know exactly what you're doing, despite the fact that inside your head you're screaming as loud as the baby is right now.
  5. Boring all of your friends with all of the super adorable things your little one did in the few hours since you last spoke to them.
  6. Using your clothes as a tissue or napkin for someone else.
  7. Catching vomit in your hands.
  8. Eating baby foods to find out exactly why your darling one is spitting it out. (Hint, it's because it tastes like butt. You'll find this out the hard way.)
  9. Having someone new to blame any time you break wind in company. (This one only works until they learn to speak.)
  10. Having your heart explode with pride and love every time they do something new. It never gets old.
  11. Having a deep seated hatred for toys that need batteries to work.
  12. Watching the same movie twice in one day because it's their absolute favourite and they'll scream the house down if you don't let them watch it again.
  13. Ice cold feet pressed into your back when they sneak in to sleep with you at 3 in the morning. 
  14. Waking up to a little person sitting on your head, because they're hungry and you're being boring by sleeping right now.
  15. Discovering that toy makers hate you, I mean really hate you, by making you build every darn thing you ever buy for your child. It seriously took me over an hour to put Miss K's bouncer together when she was a baby. I'm not a stupid person, but that thing needed an engineering degree just to assemble four parts. And don't even get me started on her bike.
  16. Spending the day convinced that you have given birth to the spawn of Satan, only to forget every horrible thing they did that day the minute you see them sleeping like an angel.
  17. Feeling like the worst person in the world every time you have to discipline them. 
  18. Spending the first four years of their life complaining that they are so needy, only to realise that was only temporary, then spending the next few years panicking that one day your kids aren't going to need you any more. 
  19. Feeling like your heart is going to break in half every time you see them growing up right before your eyes.
  20. Being someone's super hero, simply because you were able to fix a slightly broken toy.
  21. Hating yourself the minute they realise you aren't a super hero, and are in fact (gasp) human.
  22. Being a policeman, chef, maid, clown, magician, chauffeur, referee, cheerleader, hostage negotiator, and anything else you need to be just to keep your house running.
  23. Looking at every other parent you ever see and wondering how they can possibly have it all together like that. (Little hint, they don't, they're just as confused as you are.)
  24. Hour upon hour spent worrying about things that once upon a time you never though worth your time. 
  25. Lying awake at night convinced that today was the day you screwed up your child. 
  26. Finding yourself singing the theme song to your child's latest favourite TV show, while in public.
  27. Apologizing to a million strangers because your child walks like a drunk old man, and keeps crashing into everyone they find.
  28. Feeling mortified the first time your child swears. Bonus horror if it happens in public. 
  29. Months spent carrying your sleeping child to the toilet because if you have to wash one more pee soaked sheet you are going to lose your mind.
  30. Discovering exactly how fierce you can truly be the first time someone hurts your precious little one. You're normally a placid person, but right now you could cut a b***h.
  31. Feeling a mixture of pride and revulsion the first time you realise babies are capable of farting like full grown men after a meal of baked beans.
  32. Endless games of "What is that mysterious smudge on my new shirt?"
  33. Dancing like a one legged man in a butt kicking contest all around your living room because it makes your child squeal with laughter.
  34. Feeling like you've lost a part of yourself the first time they spend a night away from home.
  35. Rediscovering the joy of jumping out at someone as they come around a corner. This one never gets old with kids around.
  36. The joy of hearing your kid tell you that you're the best mum/dad in the world. 
  37. Bony elbows, knees, backsides, all in your internal organs. You wouldn't believe something that chubby and squishable is really able to inflict immense pain with one well placed limb.
  38. Being able to heal all boo-boos with a kiss.
  39. Having to wait until your child has been kissed, cuddled and questioned before any adult will speak to you ever again. 
And finally...

  40.  Loving someone, and being loved more fiercely than you ever thought possible.
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