The last week or so has been dominated by uni work all round. We’ve both been swamped with assessments. And with Daddy-o being away for work a bit lately, we’re falling behind. On top of a teething baby fox and a “big girl toilet’ training girl fox, come Saturday we were in dire need of delicious food. My fiancé cooked an amazing dinner on Saturday night of bbq-ed steak with French lentil and chickpea salad. For desert, to accompany the election converge I packed up study early and cooked banana cake topped by coconut icing (with help from the little ones, of course). They had to go to bed before it cooked, but we woke up to the sounds of little chairs scraping across the floor, so little hands could easier reach the goods sitting on the bench. Their initiative was rewarded with banana cake for breakfast (hey, it’s Sunday). I on the other hand left them to their cake and took my coffee back to bed along with some toasted, gluten free vegan bread (neither of these apply to my dietary preference, but to understand just how awesome this bread is, you need to understand that it doesn’t contain any of the conventional “bread” ingredients) with a huge helping of honey. You can find it here.
Today I found myself studying demographic trends in lesser developed countries and longing to be outside. Coming from someone who hisses and threatens disintegration in the sun, this is new. My email notification pinged and it’s a note from my mother in law describing her exciting Icelandic and Scotland adventures, I got a little bitterly jealous. I’m getting to the point with uni work, where instead of counting things I’d rather be doing, I’ve narrowed it down to things I’d rather not be doing, which is pretty much anything that involves torture or listening to Tony Abbot speak (which could be considered one in the same…). There are so many things I want t do, but not enough time to do the things I have to do as it is.
So in an attempt to boost my concentration and nourish my body a little better at a time when I need it to be at its best, but don’t have time to look after it the way I should; I’ve decided it’s time to start taking better care of our eats. We eat pretty well, but our babies could use a few less “treats” here and there, and when they do, I want to encourage them to be as healthy as possible. At the same time, I refuse to be too hard on myself when I have them in a healthy eating routine, only to find a grandmother stuffing gummy bears in their faces.
On Sunday I cooked Vegan samosas for dinner, they were pretty fiddly but delicious. I also made raw mint patties for desert while our beautiful baby foxes set up camp playing together in the lounge room. Having said that, I think I may need to take smaller steps with the baby foxes, who, after I made them a yummy and nutritious meal, polished off half a Cole’s meat lovers pizza… each. Ah well, small steps.
Did I mention I had the best facial of my life on Saturday? After a week at home with all three little foxes, and daddy away, I started unravelling a little towards the latter half of last week. My first major assessment of the uni session was due Friday, and a few stressful all nighters had me a little referenced out. On Saturday morning daddy and the babies dropped me off for a facial and massage. It was amazing. Everything .The music continually playing reminded me off Elizabeth Bennet running through the fields of Pemberely , and there was a huge pot of lemongrass and honey tea boiling away in the corner.
That’s a bum. Wearing home-made panties.
After dealing with, and blogging some negatives from our week, I feel I need to balance myself out a little with some of the lover-lier things from our days.
Firstly, appreciating greatness
This week has been pretty full-up, and despite the fact that all day yesterday I thought I’d lost a day; it’s only Wednesday. I was having a particularly stressful day. Putting together some uni work and trying to reason with a two year old that physics just wouldn’t appreciate her jumping on a trampoline with a cup of milk in hand (and neither would I). Then I got a message from a friend asking for some help with a bake sale. Firstly, I love baking so yippee! And secondly the proceeds of said baked goods are to go to a charity organisation her partner works for in PNG that’s aim is to discourage violence against women. We’re winning all round here. Baked goods and human rights, I’m totally in. But this really got me appreciating the efforts of this girl. Firstly, she’s a Mumma, a time restricted, busy women who dedicates her days to caring for her children as it is. But regardless of her hectic schedule she’s still taking time out for others, volunteering her efforts to help support and encourage the support of others. It doesn’t get much cooler than that.
Secondly; a kindness and some cupcakes
Back to the battle of the uni work load, in which I realise it’s Monday and I haven’t finished Friday’s lecture material, and Monday’s work has already come through. Enter the panic stage, in which I continuously sigh, pull my hair back and occasionally although not intentionally resemble Munch’s ‘Scream’. However shortly after entering this phase, a friend showed up with a batch of home-baked cup cakes for my babies. Not only were they amazing, but they made for some ridiculously happy foxes. To top it off, upon leaving she produced an armful of delicious “study-food” goods to get me through the text-book filled nights this week. A small act to her, maybe. But it put me back on top for the week and got me feeling pretty blessed to be surrounded by such wonderful people.
Thirdly; some lovely mail
Enter my barely-standing completely not-waterproof mailbox. In the last week, I’ve received two pretty fantastic pieces. Firstly a postcard from a friend who has recently migrated to Cape York (the very pointy looking tip of Australia). This postcard made my day. It featured two little smiling local kids on the front, and a big long chat on the back about her bare-footed, bush living, ant eating journey thus far. It sounded amazing and it was just like talking to her in person. I got a little bit jealous of her plans to travel through the Savannah and around the Gulf to the Northern Territory, and was ridiculously happy to hear she’s enjoying her new found love of living off the land. Secondly came the delivery of my favourite magazine, addressed to the “Bohemian housewives club member” and sent to me from my very best friend, as a birthday present. Needless to say, I’m becoming very fond of our ready-for-the-heritage-list mail box. With the promise of a long-winded letter from another lovely friend on the way, I think I’d better go buy some stamps (who am I kidding, I have a draw full, just in case). It really is an art worth rekindling.
And lastly; the times they are a changin’
This week I walked outside and within a few minutes I was sneezing. Who is this weirdo? But really, I am that inhaler sucking, nerd whose skin cells rise up in warning at the sound a barking dog. The jasmine vine I planted when we moved in just a year ago is in flower. Everywhere. It smells amazing and its little buds of pink and white are making me stupid happy. All the flowers we planted over a year ago are coming into bloom. I’m ridiculously happy that my usually more so, brightly lacquered red thumb is slightly green after all. It’s even getting warm enough to play outside. Today we sat in th sun away from the computer for a while. I completed my readings for the day and had a cup of tea while baby fox kicked about with his bum in the air, cooing away. We will be doing it again tomorrow.
Today something sparked my outrage. And it was attached to the humble “hash tag”. This anger has been stirring around in me for a little while, but it tipped over as I was flicking through my usual feed of Mummy Blogs. While checking out a new post, I stumbled across a picture that featured a baby with its bum in the air and a mother pointing to his cloth nappy. I thought to myself; that’s great for that mum, she’s obviously found something that works for her and she’s happy to share it with the world (or 243 “followers”- feeling cult like? Read on). However I noticed she ‘hashtagged’ (am I saying it right?) about a dozen different things, the last of which was #disposablediaperssuck. Ok, that’s how this blogger feels. With my anger level at “slightly irritated” I continued on. But again, a few posts down there was another photo of a breastfeeding mother, (I love breastfeeding and enjoy seeing it everywhere, but I also like seeing a baby being fed-period). But this hash tag flared that fiery, bandana sporting you can’t tell me what to do demon, my children know means trouble. It read #formulasucks.
Here she goes…
Firstly let me say, I love breast feeding and even more so, I love that parents put whatever the hell they can around their child’s nether regions to prevent the spread of poop. BUT here’s my problem; with 15% of mothers in this country diagnosed with postnatal depression, and many more slipping through un treated, who the hell does any other mother think they are to shame them and tell them that what they do sucks? Especially one, running a successful blog in a position to influence.
It’s simply putting pressure on an already vulnerable group within society, whilst the “all natural parent” strokes their own organic growing ego and places themself on a pedestal of perfect parenting. This is a big thing. Both on-line and in the greater community. From “breast is best” to “disposable diapers suck” to “immunisations and autism” to “hey, here’s an el natural cure for tooth ache fashioned from sticks and stones- 30 bucks please”.
I feel it really says something terrible about our generation of parenting, when “mummy bullying” is an actual thing. What hope do we give our children in a school yard if they’re taught to point out another kid because his rice wheels aren’t gluten free?
Could we all just stop and examine that disposable wearing, bottle fed, immunised child? Firstly she is fed and nourished. Her mother may have struggled endlessly with breastfeeding or she may have immediately decided it wasn’t for her. Her choice. She is clothed; her nappy may not have been hand woven from organic fibres but it keeps her clean and infection free. Way to go, mum. And lastly her parents made a conscious, scary but educated decision to give her the life-long gift, which is protection against polio. This kid’s mother- the nerve of her, seriously, how dare she. Come on guys, really?
Her Rusk sticks may have been home cooked, or they may be store bought. Either way, it sure as heck isn’t anyone’s place to shame a mother over how she cares for her child. Bullying is bullying regardless of a hash tag stuck in front.
Today I got the look. Gasp. Oh no, she didn’t!
There’s a high chance, if you’re reading this, you know the one I’m talking about. Are you a young mum, reading fragments of this as you fluster about with four other tasks and banana shmooshed in your hair? Do you sometimes leave the house in the shirt you slept in the night before? Did you not even get to sleep? If you answered yes to any of the above, then chances are you’re all too familiar with the look I’m talking about.
You’ll also know that ‘the look’ takes many forms. It’s the older mother in the park scrutinizing your decision to ride the seesaw. It’s the man behind the counter at the greengrocer, rolling his eyes as you search for change, one hand latched onto a little finger that’s determined to run for freedom. Or it’s the older lady in the waiting room shaking her head when your toddler accidently tips their drink; she pays no attention to the married women whose daughter has thrown herself on the floor. The look comes from many faces, and they all suck.
The look-er – let’s call them, doesn’t see the good. In fact they see very little. They see what they’ve already decided to see, and it’s shaped by years of narrow mindedness. They see your kid fall off the swing, but they don’t see you standing right behind her, ready to pick her up and wipe away the dirt. They see that you forgot to put his socks on, but not that you kissed every one of his little toes after his bath.
This isn’t my first time at the rodeo – I’ve gotten the look before, many times in fact, and eventually it gets wearing. I’ve noticed myself changing my mannerisms in public, or putting extra time into mine and my kids appearance in order to give off the “I vacuum under my couch and there’s a spare change of clothes in my nappy bag and a rain coat at all times” look. I sometimes feel as though when my kid swears at school it’s automatically conceived that it’s because I’m young and have tattoos, therefore I must swear in front of my kids.
What it took me a long time to realise is that there is actually a lot to learn from the look-er. First and fore mostly; I’ve learnt to never be that person. To never judge someone on a preconceived idea (i.e. young parent equals irresponsible parent) or purely on the basis of what someone else has said. And secondly; I’ve learnt that you could pull organic home-knitted, outfit matching baby mittens out of your butt; but you’ll never please everyone. It’s a bit cliché, but as long as I know that I did everything I could to make our day run smoothly; that little tantrum in the car park or the mismatched socks at the doctors isn’t going to faze me.
Sometimes, after a particularly stanky look I think; “would that person be judging me this way if I’d taken a different path and decided not to have my children young?” No, they probably wouldn’t even notice me; this is when I realise that I’m truly blessed to have put the wind up an old lady’s skirt for the day. Yes I may be out in public with my hair un brushed, and I can promise you nothing will be ironed, but I have three butt kicking children that will never consider looking at someone side-ways for being a little different. And on the plus, I can still chase after them rolling downhill, without my pelvic floor falling out (at least for a few more years-knock wood).
One of my favourite quotes at the moment is from Benjamin Law; and I think it applies perfectly to the look-er; “A sage and omnipotent being, known as ‘the internet’, once said something incredibly wise under a picture of a cat dressed like a gangster driving a pimp mobile. Haters gonna hate. And the truth is, there’s nothing you can do about it.”
On Sunday a bunch of sugar fuelled six year olds ran wild through our house. The weight restrictions on the trampoline were well and truly tested and so were my nerves when group jumping turned to cage fighting. Our little one had a lovely day. My fiancé made a “Trash Pack” cake, which was a variation of the Monster Cake from the Women’s Weekly cookbook (I can’t keep up with these fandangle rages, I’m clearly getting old), and I had coffee with some lovely Mummies while the kiddies played. Indie thoroughly enjoyed playing rough with the bigger kids and the birthday boy was spoilt rotten; complete with a brightly coloured, pom pom sporting crown his sweet little “girlfriend” made for him to wear. It was beautiful.