Sum it up. Send it off. Bring it on.

2018 already started out differently to every other year I have lived: I wrote a list of goals. I titled this list, ‘Stuff I’d like to get done’, so that I didn’t get caught up in the high expectations the word ‘Goal” can put on certain people (I’m a certain person). The list covered all basic areas of a normal life: health, marriage, motherhood and personal.

I didn’t tick all the boxes or kick all the “goals” (insert cringe at the G word). Lucky for me, the list is malleable, because a certain person (I’m a certain person) listed things that were definitely achievable…over a long period of time. The list is not on a timeline, more a lifeline. The chances are I’ll add to it more than I tick things off. Maybe the items will change altogether as I change.

In saying all of that, this year has undoubtedly been my best year yet on a personal level. I had my second child, a daughter, and with that a second opportunity to experience a new type of love. This love was not an overpowering, mind-altering love from the moment she exited my body, (I have actually had birth described to me this way), no, for me love is not instantaneous it is developed. Every day, with each smile and cry we are building our love (I’m currently at the stage of love where I go a bit goo goo gah gah. It’s embarrassing).

Next up I committed to starting my bachelor degree which has taken up space in my mind that regret has always inhabited (I wish I’d gone straight in after high school…. I think). Studying at this level has forced me to find more time (without the use of time travel), and encouraged me to aim a little higher than average. Studying again is much easier now that it’s in something I actually appreciate. I’m not studying to build a career or make more money; I’m doing it to better myself and to build my knowledge and skills in something I enjoy, writing.

Then work happened. Returning to work this year was an unexpected opportunity that I couldn’t pass up. Landing a job back in the mining industry in a role I have been interested in for some time has been positive in many ways. It provided my husband with an opportunity to be a stay at home dad while I transitioned back into the workforce. Spending quality time with Hazel and being the full-time homemaker has instilled in him a new appreciation for the role of the full-time carer and also how lucky we are to have the opportunity to spend more time at home with our children. Work life has added a new structure to our busy lives, but most importantly has given me new confidence. Deciding to leave the workforce to become a stay at home mum can be daunting; I wondered if I would ever work in a comparable capacity again or have the opportunity to feel important outside of my children’s peripherals. The answer is yes. I can. I am. I do.

Bonus round. Since having a baby, studying and returning to work, I wondered how I would find time to drop the baby weight and get to a place physically that felt right for me. Admittedly my happy place has changed. My body is shaped differently after baby number two and my view of what I see and feel is attractive has changed. I started back at the gym, running, and eating a structured diet, hoping to lose weight. I did. I am. What I gained, however, was an entirely new lifestyle. It’s not just my body that has changed, increasing my confidence, but the choices I’m making towards food and alcohol. Seeing results is a huge motivator for me, for most I imagine. With the help of my husband, I’ve reached my goal weight, I feel strong and healthy. I run now, daily and actually enjoy it (sounds gross). I relish my dearly loved wine and eggs benedict on weekends (not together, mostly). I’ve always tried to do things the quick and easy way, really all I needed was consistency (doesn’t run in my family). I feel fucking awesome!

This year I’ve had to step outside my comfort zone. I’ve had to apply myself. I’ve had to try. All things my High School teachers said I should do if I want to achieve great things (insert eye roll).

For the last few years, my new year resolution has been to be a better version of myself. I’ve fallen short, a lot.

2018 put a rocket up my backside and with that, I welcome 2019 with fireworks.

2019 will have me celebrating seven years of blissful marriage with the love of my life; my study buddy, my personal trainer, my yogi, my therapist, my forever up when I feel as though I might be forever down.

2019 will see my big little boy Orlando start Kindergarten and my baby Hazel start daycare.

2019 will hopefully see me run further, study smarter, work less, love more.

2019 will be a test of consistency with a dash of increased bravery.

2019 will see more writing.

2019 will be welcomed with wine.

Happy new year to those of you that like, share and follow my creative writing journey and wine antics.

May your wines be without flies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feel The Heat

She lays awake all night with a baby burning up in her arms.

She sleeps in the shower with a hot coffee in her hands.

She runs along hot coals in the race to beat the clock.

She is on fire.

Mum On The Shelf

“I Love you, Mum. You’re beautiful.”

Orlando Thompson (My Son)

It has been seven weeks since I last read my son a bedtime story. My three-year-old son, my first born, has put me in the time out corner since returning to the workforce. I’m copping a lot of “ I’m not talking to you, I’m talking to dad”, or “I don’t want you to read me a book, I want dad.”

In the beginning, I thought it was a bonus: a few nights off of having to read every single page now that “one, two miss a few” no longer flies. I was catching a break after a long day to just sit while Daddy took over the bedtime routine.

I feel plenty rested now and I’d like my spot back on the read team. If I’m being honest, my son is the one losing out because I’m much better at reading bedtime stories than his Dad is (so take that tiny child).

I could put it down to the fact that he is a boy and maybe he is craving extra one on one time with his Dad, I could do that. I could make myself feel better by taking myself out of the equation altogether, convincing myself this is purely a natural course in a young boys life to want to spend more time with the male figure in the house.

I am not going to do that.

I wouldn’t believe it even if I did.

That is not to say that my husband isn’t a wonderful father and blah blah blippity blah, this is about me. My son is punishing me for abandoning him and, being the clever little cookie he is (which he definitely got from his father), he has taken to revenge (which he most likely got from me) and has decided to cut me the deepest, by taking away our bedtime stories. He’s proving I’m replaceable. He is winning.

He has won.

Touche’ tiny child.

Touche’.

I know he loves me (who wouldn’t). When he looks up from what he is doing, whether it be eating dinner, playing blocks or completing another superhero mission in the backseat of the car, he always makes time to randomly stop what he is doing and say “I love you Mum”. When he sees a flower, he picks it, for me, and I don’t take those things for granted, but as he will learn, sooner rather than later, I will absolutely not accept being excluded unless it is I that is excluding myself.

So each night as the boys read their chosen bedtime story and stink the room out with their testosterone (because boys smell), I have been sitting on the couch scanning my social media (not crying into a bowl of ice-cream about the fact that my first born, my only son has forgotten I exist). I flick through posts of mothers cuddling sons, sons picking flowers for mothers, gender reveals (you know when you break up with someone and all you hear is ‘Hey there Delilah’ over and over on the radio) and I realize that the only way to get my spot back on the right side of my little boys bed, the only way to narrate to him the way all good books should be narrated (with on-point impersonations and sound effects, obviously) is to buy back his love.

In enters…Elf on the shelf.

Elf, which Orlando has decided to name, Elf (his deficiency of imagination could only be the result of a sudden lack of awesomeness at story time) has managed to score me some brownie points (yay me). I’m allowed to talk about Elf; bribe him with Elf; surprise him each day with Elf’s new “shelf” position, and guess who gets to read the Elf on shelf book each night now?

Drum roll, please…

Dad!

Dad gets to read the book!

I feel like I’ve been put on the shelf (insert tiny orchestra and cute little elves weeping).

P.S Note how I’m NOT in this picture. Yeah, exactly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Mum Mantra

 

Stop growing! I find myself saying this more and more. While the days seem long, the milestones are many, whizzing past like speed racers. My toddler claims to be a big boy that can clothe himself (no jocks, because that is hilarious), wipe his own bum (leave skiddies on jocks that he has been forced to wear), and of course, create his own meals (cheese. Just cheese).

My daughter on the other hand, my tiny baby girl stares adamantly as she tries to heave herself out of the baby chair in the shopping trolley, professing through strains and grunts that she (and this is not a direct quote because she can’t actually speak) is a big girl now and even though she can’t crawl, walk, talk or go to the toilet unassisted, is apparently old enough to sit in the big seat of the trolley.

As a mother, you hear and say the same things often: It happens overnight; They couldn’t do that yesterday; Two going on ten; and of course, the mantra for all mothers as they hold their tiny escape artists against their chest and try to smother them with kisses, stop growing!

The mantra is useless. Time continues and without any consideration for their parents, the children continue to tick off each milestone, the only hindrance to their development is we. I can admit, the first time around we put that little fella through his paces, had him standing against walls and ready to walk out the door so fast you would think we had somewhere to be. Now, the second time, if I even see the shadow of a milestone trying to Peter Pan it’s way to my daughter, bam; I pick her up and coddle her until she regresses back to infancy.

I’m not suggesting they stop growth permanently. Sure, go forth, brush your teeth, wipe your bum, make your own breakfast at 4 am so I don’t have to zombie through the dark and start my day one billion hours earlier than necessary.

All I’m asking is that in those sweet innocent moments when they cuddle into the crook of my arm and say ‘Mum, I love you forever,’ that they pretty please, with a cherry on top, stop growing.

T

If I don’t say so myself

Today I am the epitome of Fly In My Wine.

The Mother – child one at daycare getting a well-rounded education (calling his friends wee wee and poo poo), Child two fed and alive.

The Homemaker – (I jest! I’ve never made a home) perhaps house slave? I don’t like the term housewife because I did not marry a house, and while my husband may have many layers and stands tall, he is not a house. I am sure of this. I digress. I’ll stick with house slave; it has a real “Dobby the House Elf” effect, without the cuteness. I digress, again. My point is, grocery shopping done and laundry finished, pending folding, pending putting away, therefore basically, pretty much, one bottle of red away from being complete.

The Student – one assignment away from completing my first unit and smashed out two weeks of study in one day. (This is taking a narcissistic turn, I see that. I’m ok with it.)

The Drinker – usually my favourite role of all. In all honesty, the household has been taking it easy on the Vino’s (my husband and I that is. Obviously the children don’t deserve the fruits of our labour. By fruit I mean grapes. By grapes I mean wine. They are not allowed wine.) But today, since I’m obviously killing it at life, I’m celebrating with my longtime love, Cabernet Sauvignon, I call him Cab Sav for short, cause we’re tight.

The Writer – today I wrote a bunch of stuff, and look, I wrote this too. The Writer is my most desired role, the one I wish I could drown my time in. The one I wish I could stay up late with, wake up early with, nap during the day with, but alas if I put the Writer first, something else must then be sacrificed (actually I could probably ditch House slave?).

My point is it’s important to acknowledge the days when you feel exceptionally “on it”. For those are the days you can draw on when you feel as though you’ve not hit that mark or you’ve let a few (no doubt unimportant) things slide. You can dig into the overflowing well of awesomeness that you are, pick yourself up (and your kids, and the toys, the clothes, the avocado that’s dried to the floor from last nights dinner and most likely your general lack of desire to exist) and move on!

Cheers to that!

T

P.S I forgot Wife -I kissed my husband before he left for work this morning and I’m even considering cooking dinner tonight. “Considering”. Lets not over do it.

Book Review – Work.Strife.Balance by Mia Freedman

 

All day yesterday I told myself that once the kids were asleep I would go straight to bed and finish reading Work, Strife Balance, by Mia Freedman. With only ninety pages to go and the desire to finally finish a book and loan it to the next in line, the kids went to bed and I, in true procrastinating fashion, turned on Netflix to watch the last twenty minutes of the last episode of the last season of a crappy TV show. But in my defence, I had told myself I would finish that also, and who am I to get in the way of my own goals? So with one goal down (look at me kicking goals) and one goal to go, I climbed into bed and lasted about twenty pages before my eyelids won. (Note to self it is very hard to read through one squinting eye).

Take two – My only objective this morning was to finish the book. I sat on the patio, sipped my tea and read non-stop. Be the book good or bad, it was really nice just to sit silently in the warm morning sun and read.

I’m the first to admit that any book that looks remotely like it might be found in the “Self Help” aisle, I run screaming to the fiction section and hide in-between pages of made up stories. But my mum begged me to read this particular book and so it was either read it or keep dodging her calls. And I’m so glad I did. (Read it that is…not dodge my mums calls).

Work. Strife. Balance is, in simplest of descriptions, about all of Freedman’s failings in the many roles that make up a woman’s life: work, motherhood, love and how ‘Balance is bullshit’ as she puts it. It is clear that her goal is to open herself up to her readers in an attempt to help women feel empowered by their own faults and failings. That despite her image in the media, she is not without her own undoing’s and even a chapter written by her very own son, divulges her inadequacies as a mother. Unfortunately we are a species that gets off on hearing other peoples ruinations, but in this case the feeling is relatable and empowering with moments of a raised clenched fist symbolising unity and solidarity.

There were moments when I thought to myself, ‘I know all this, that’s obvious’, etc. etc., but sometimes hearing what we already know, expressed in a different tone or through a new anecdote, can rejuvenate our perspectives and recharge our inner wisdom.

The chapters she writes to her sons and daughter are funny, scary and true. Honestly the idea of raising a girl has always been up there with one of my biggest fears. But in just thirty-four brief lessons to her daughter, Freedman has nailed the big stuff.

On finishing this book I didn’t take in a big breath and think, ‘Wow, that was amazing.’ rarely do I do that but I do absolutely recommend it. From the moment I started reading this book, I have been talking about it. I’ve had countless conversations with my husband and friends about raising boys vs girls, the porn industry, Feminism, retuning to work and the dreaded question that makes my uterus’s ears prick up “Are you done?”

Work. Strife. Balance jumpstarted conversations and as an aspiring writer it is my opinion that if you are talking about what you are reading, then it is good writing and it is worth reading.

T

 

 

 

Crust

She always served herself the crust; that flimsy last piece of the loaf, thinned at the edges, a hole poked through the middle from roughhousing. She watched her children tear into the warm abundant toast, crumbs spluttering from their tiny chewing mouths, eating from the inside out, nothing but the firm edges that once framed their breakfast left lying on the plate; the crust. Meanwhile her piece disintegrated before even reaching her tongue, dry remnants replicating the same sustenance as last nights sleep.