one hour

I’ve been given an hour. One hour. One whole hour.

Half of it has already gone.

I made a cup of tea, checked my email, chopped some potatoes for dinner, and wandered around a bit nervously trying to choose what to do next. Then I sat down here at my very neat and clean #konmaried desk.

While I’m here with everyone around my head often drifts off to far away places, imagining all the things I would do if I just had five minutes.

Now I’ve got an hour and suddenly I’m here alone, overwhelmed with the prospect of what to do first. So there will be no photo accompanying this post. I don’t have time to find one.

I’m a little high on sugar having just got back from a birthday party, so that is not helping with the decision making process.

Sugar, caffeine and exhaustion… what was I saying about evaluating our diet in my last post? Someone, please remind me, quick!

That is all, I have to go and stare at a wall for a few minutes before my next task. Bye for now.

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that overwhelmed feeling

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It’s day four of being at home with two sick kids (luckily Pearl has avoided it so far). They have that deep throaty cough that keeps you awake at night and makes your voice croaky. KB worked late the last two nights (home 8.30pm) and leaves around 7.15/7.30am in the mornings so the days at home alone feel long. I’ve had to miss out on a gathering at a friend’s house I was looking forward to and cancel my pregnant sister and aunty with her baby coming over this morning which I was so looking forward to. (Very small and minor complaints in comparison to world wide events of late, I know.) Yesterday we spent the entire morning at the hospital for some check ups for baby (she’s had a little heart murmur since birth, but is absolutely fine) and when we returned home a little frazzled and burnt out, our darling Pixie didn’t want to have her day sleep (cue exasperated emoji x 1000). I spent about an hour returning her to her bedroom to no avail.

Eventually I gave up and let them both play in my room on my bed (found all sorts of treats under my doona when I went to bed myself last night…). Knowing I had the evening ahead of me (and wanted to be in front of the TV by 7.30pm for The Bachelor Australia semi final!!! #guilty) I decided to do early baths and try to instil some sort of calm into our afternoon. I made little oat pockets in hankies and let them pour milk mixed with a few drops of lavender into a deep, warm bath. I desperately wanted to get in myself and lock the door of the bathroom (with them on the other side)… despite my efforts, come 5pm Pixie was bouncing off the walls. When she is tired she morphs into this strange kind of hysteria. Her giggles become high pitched and her face draws a curtain over itself, she looks at you when you speak but doesn’t seem to hear the words. She wouldn’t eat her dinner and she has also figured out that I am relatively powerless while I’m feeding Pearl. So she looks me in the eye as she picks things up she’s not meant to touch, as she gets down from the table when she’s meant to be eating her dinner, as she pulls my wallet out of my bag and begins to empty its contents all over the floor, as she tips her cup of water into her dinner or puts her entire fist into her food, as she pulls Nell’s hair… or all of the above.

I was so beyond my limits by 6pm that I pretended it was 7pm and put them both to bed. Luckily for me our clock ran out of batteries yesterday morning so my clever Nell was unable to see through my nasty little trick.

On days like these it really makes me question our Western way of life. Since having babies this set up has always felt very unnatural to me. When my family are visiting (and often stay for full days at a time because we just can’t get enough of each other) it feels full and whole and right. We always joke about buying houses all in a row, we call it “our commune”. But for me it actually just sounds perfect. One of my little sisters is about to have a baby and even though she only lives a 20 minute drive away, it seems too far. All the rules that we impose on ourselves, when you really think about it, life in our culture is just one big game. We have made all the rules (working 9-5, living isolated in silos and away from our families, do this, don’t do that, etc) but now we seem absolutely trapped by them.

Well, at the very least, I do. Do you?

the flowers and so on

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Spring has officially arrived in the Southern Hemisphere. Over the past year we have done a little bit of work here and there in our garden and although there is a lot more to be done (and we generally have no idea what we are doing) I was amazed at the variety of flowers that bloomed to announce the beginning of the new season. I love Winter, but the last few weeks always seem to drag a little. Everyone seems to have a sunnier disposition all of a sudden now there is some colour in our days.

It always takes me a while to shake off the darkness of Winter. I thrash through my wardrobe wondering what to wear when the sun comes out and warms the air. I keep putting nourishing yet heavy stews on the meal plan, unsure of what to do with those fresh leafy greens that arrive in my veggie box. (While we adjust our favourite go-to meal is currently a tray of roast vegetables, raw greens, a handful of seeds and a blob of hommus. It has enough possibilities to suit the whole family in one form or another.)

At the start of each season I always spend some time consulting this book. It grounds me in the here and now and no matter what is going on in my life, it always has something to say to me. I love the recipes and find that with a quick refresh of the suggested seasonal pantry items the kitchen is in business again. I’ve had about five minutes to peruse it this season, but I have kept it out on the kitchen table so it is within grabbing distance at opportune moments. I was also given this book for my birthday back in May which I absolutely love and am happy to say Pearl has finally allowed me the chance to test out some of the recipes, many of which are perfect for the warmer weather headed our way.

Speaking of warmer weather (or lack of it) for those of you in the Northern Hemisphere who are bundling up and slowly retreating into Autumn, I am very excited to be featured in the Autumn issue of Tend Magazine, talking about creating a sense of place for our children in our homes and local landscapes. Pop over here to check it out.

I think that’s all for now, my head is a little foggy with less sleep than I would generally like, and the end of the school term in sight. I’m looking forward to KB being on long service leave and I can think of little else. FIST PUMP! Ciao.

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it was you

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I look at this photo of myself from last summer and cannot comprehend it. It was you growing inside me. I watch a video that I took of my stomach bouncing and jostling as you kicked me, and now, knowing you as I do, I just can’t understand that it was you in there, doing that.

That you were so close all that time and I didn’t even know it. That you’re here now and that you were here all that time too.

It’s been seven weeks since Pearl was born. She’s a lovely, round, squishy, smiley baby. KB has gone back to work and friends and family have (almost) all had their first cuddles. It seems that real life has continued, as usual.

But here I am, still getting to know this tiny human. Still marvelling at her sounds, her smell. Still tired and up all night and finding my way. Still feeling like it’s new, but old, all at the same time. Still wondering how all this happens, and why.

Still amazed by the fact that we made three humans.

I can’t think of where else to go with this post beyond that. I made humans. The end.

loosely on the subject of birds and naivety and mindfulness

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I like birds. I really do. Their elegance, their freedom, their delicate skeletons. So much so that when I was in Perth last year I bought a badge that stated the fact: I like birds.

I wear it a lot. But then one day, at the first meeting of a new writing group, one of the men asked me if I was a lesbian. I didn’t really understand, until he pointed at my badge.

How naive I felt? Did this handmade hipster badge have a meaning that was totally lost on me? Was I that ridiculous that I missed it? Ha! I still don’t really know, but I do genuinely like birds…

The unfortunate fact is though, I often find myself feeling rather unworldly. I hardly ever watch the news and I rarely read the newspaper. I like science fiction and teenage drama series. Sometimes I listen to classical music and pretend I can remember the composers’ names. I’m rubbish at trivia and have always been horribly nervous if ever invited to attend (rarely in this life, occasionally in past life). If I didn’t watch so much David Attenborough lord only knows how I would keep up to date with the basic facts of life and death.

Ok, so I’m exaggerating a little, but honestly, I hear of friends travelling the world, getting promotions, going to parties and networking at “events”. (It’s even worse if they have children and seem to be doing all this. Green Face.) I see people’s lives through the windows of social media while I am wiping vegemite off chins and putting on *another* load of washing and sweeping the floor again. There is little time to read or learn or extend oneself when you have smalls. Once or twice I entertained the idea of listening to intelligent podcasts as a means of furthering myself, thinking I could do that hands free while doing all the other things I do, but the closest I get to a podcast around here is listening to Beatrix Potter audiobooks. So instead I play with my succulents, I cook, I clean, I whinge occasionally a fair bit and I memorise the words of the Frozen lyrics so I can sing them to my children.

Can we have it all? It seems that some people (mothers) have really got it together. I’m content now in the delicious mundaneness of this stay at home life. I feel so incredibly lucky to be able to do it. Although it is like a military mission trying to get the kids in and out of the car just to deliver one child to kindergarten – I wouldn’t change it for anything. But there is a part of me that craves knowledge and learning, and there are things I look forward to being able to do when the girls are bigger. I think about my career and what life will look like and what I need to do to make that happen. I have phases where I find it difficult to maintain the patience it takes to be here and now and enjoy this thing I have got. It frustrates me to no end that I struggle to make peace with it, without throwing myself into the future, into the what ifs and the whens and the hows. It’s a constant battle inside my head. I look outside and wonder how other people do it. I want to grab them individually in the street and say, How do you do this thing? Take me through your day – I want to hear it, minute by minute. What do you do? 

For now I’ll peer through the shop windows, knowing there will be a time in the future that I can do it/learn it/be it/try it/have it and that when that time comes I will long for these simple days of being needed – needed so deeply and wholeheartedly. I’ll yearn for it, I know it. I need to remember this.

I posted a photo of Pearl on instagram the other day and a comment about the washing. A friend replied: “I know I sound repetitive but BEST DAYS OF YOUR LIFE.” It’s good to get that reminder, because I have a feeling she is absolutely right.

life in the fast lane

Guys, it’s been a while. I’m not going to launch into apologies though because I’d therefore be setting a terrible precedent and would likely have to begin posts that way every time given my lack of consistency here. Let’s just all acknowledge my blogging has become very sporadical, and then none of us will be disappointed. I’ve also got weird things going on with photos on the blog which I haven’t had time to investigate so many apologies there.

Moving on. I don’t even know where to start really, so much has been happening lately, hence my disappearance from this space. Mothers who work: please come to my aid. I am falling to pieces in my new life. Don’t laugh, but I really don’t think I’m cut out for employment. Do you hear me? Seriously, working and parenting and maintaing some semblance of a life of my own – um, slightly unrealistic people!!! Whoever put this idea into my head that I could do it all, please stand up now so that I can have someone to blame other than myself (and possibly throw something [soft] at you)… and my husband… who really would like to get out of the line of fire right now (sorry KB).

Basically I’ve got my knickers in a knot and they have become rather tight. Most of you know I’m not terribly organised… and that was when I was a stay at home mum. Now I’m a working mum and my life is a complete shambles. It is literally raining down around me in the form of dirty laundry, upset children and unmade beds… all my cooking, sewing, whole foods, meal planning, tidying, being-on-top-of-things, hanging out at the park, going with the flow, wearing thongs (flip flops) type lifestyle is currently ground to a complete halt.

I spent two hours last night washing dishes, and the house is still a mess.

I put on three loads of washing today and still had to step over laundry to get to my lounge room tonight.

I mopped the floor last night at 8.30pm (on a Saturday night… joy) and today it is covered in muck.

The girls and I went down into the backyard this morning for the first time in over a month, and it was – quite literally – a jungle. There were a number of dandelions which were taller than Birdie… she’s four and a half. (I pulled them out?)

Even when I do make an effort, life seems to overcome me.

When I think of the term ‘working mother’ I think of a lady with her hair pulled back (neatly), wearing a black (or navy) blazer, smart shoes and a crisp shirt or blouse of some description. She gets home to a house with tiles, and most likely a foyer or entrance area where shoes, coats and keys are neatly and minimally placed. She has planned her meals for the week and she has one of those island bench thingys (cleared and clean) in the middle of her (tiled) kitchen. The children wear clean clothes (possibly ironed) and have places to put their various things. A place for everything and everything in its place. Is this what you think of?

I asked my Mum the other day, “Do you think I’m dirty?” She laughed and said no, but there was a slight hesitation and I’m fairly confident she was lying.

I’ve noticed most motherly type blogs give advice on how to do things and get things right. I fear I am continually leaning in the opposite direction, begging for help and advice myself. Nevertheless, in my heart of hearts I know that there are other messy, disorganised mothers out there who tirelessly blame their creativity (ha!) and fun loving natures (ha!) for their lack of coordination in the home, and that they are still brilliant mothers. If I can’t become the mum in the blazer with the kitchen island, I only wish I knew how to sit more comfortably amongst the dirty washing in my moth eaten t-shirt.

Any words of advice, commiseration or camaraderie would be warmly accepted.

the time has come

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“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes—and ships—and sealing-wax—
Of cabbages—and kings—
And why the sea is boiling hot—
And whether pigs have wings.”

This is my last Sunday on maternity leave. I’ve been stuck in a bit of a vortex of my own making, swirling around with all my thoughts and nasty talk and uncomfortable emotions. It’s a familiar little place, but one that makes me squint my eyes and feel a bit cross to be in.

I went out for dinner on Friday night with a bunch of women (both mothers and non-mothers) working in my sector and left feeling really pumped (thanks guys). Then last night I tossed and turned until after midnight, wishing for my life to go back to maternity-leave-normal. To wake up this morning knowing I had a full week, month, year, ahead of being a stay at home mum.

This has basically been the theme of my last six weeks, since I was offered this new job. I was beside myself with excitement for about… two minutes… and then began my slow downward spiral into absolute panic. And back again and around and around and here and there and back to the start again. It’s been a blessing to have the time to get babysitting sorted (the last piece of the puzzle came together just this Thursday gone when Birdie was offered a childcare place on the one day I needed – after being on the waiting list since January – PHEW!) and it has also given me some lessons in positive self talk – and many an opportunity to practice. But now I’m ready to stop flailing around, and get into my new part-time-work life.

So here I go. Round two Back To Work. Action.

*pic above is of my three lovely mother’s group friends, walking ahead of me along a little coastal track on our first girls’ weekend away together a few weekends ago.