Saturday, April 19, 2014

Hitting the wall.

I don't know if it is post race blues or what, but I have hit the wall.

I had a blast at Run for the Kids last weekend. I got to catch up with that gorgeous lady up there, hang out with my team, see so many people I love to see AND I smashed my target time by nearly 5 minutes. So much win.

And then it was the second week of school hols here, and we crammed in as much fun stuff as we could. And then it was Easter weekend and I got sick.

I'd been feeling a little bit blah for a few days, and now I have a decent dose of man-flu complete with epic whinging and moaning.

I know my body is just fighting off a virus or whatever, but geez it has gotten me down. I think not being able to run is half the problem. Or being unsure if I SHOULD run and just see if it helps but not really having the energy or the will to, and then feeling like a big sook because I'm forever telling other people to suck it up and JFDI and I can't even swallow my own medicine.

I'm full of sulking and moaning and just not much fun to be around. I am boring myself senseless with it. The problem with feeling so great and positive and optimistic most of the time, I guess, is that when you don't it is like an affront to your very being. I am offending myself by the minute.

So in the name of honesty and transparency I am sharing my big sook with you, just in case you've read all my GO TEAM YEAH US I AM AWESOME LIFE IS BRILLIANT and thought that was what every day is like for me.

It mostly is, and when it isn't I do everything I possibly can to shift back to that.

But sometimes you just have to wallow a bit.

And that is okay too.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Ever wanted to see how one of those cars that parks itself works?

You might remember I write a bit about the new Honda CR-V a while ago, and that I thought it was an awesome car except for one thing... not enough seats for my family. Sadface!

So Honda kindly asked me if I'd like to try out a new Odyssey, and I will confess I had a moment of hesitation because I immediately thought of an old school boxy van type automobile... the dead unsexy Mummy wagon.

I'm super happy I got over that, who knew a 7 seater (or 8, both options are available in the new models) could look so good? Having driven a people mover for a few years and not really loved it, I wasn't expecting to find the Odyssey terribly different.

How wrong I was.

It doesn't FEEL like a people mover to drive. The fuel economy (on petrol) is better than that of my diesel SUV which totally blew me away, and it has the guts to get up hill and over dale with ease.

It also has a really generous boot space, which was a huge issue in my old people mover.

It is a story that needs to be told in pictures really. Like these ones;

From 7 seater people mover to 4 seater luxury limo in one step. Unreal. 

The remote power doors were perfect when it was bucketing rain, the electric seat warmers a nice added bonus and the smartphone technology is a whole extra level of awesome.

But this is the bit that I loved the best.

Forgive the camera work, my 10 year old passenger gets a bit excited at times. And if you think the reverse parking is cool you should see parallel!

The Odyssey really took me by surprise. So much so that it is on our shortlist for consideration when we next upgrade our car (which won't be for a while, but it is a fun list to make anyway). I swore I would never buy a people mover again, but when people movers are as sexy and fun to drive as this one I may just live to eat my words.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

When did that happen?

My daughter turned 9 today.

She is a state away, staying with my sister and being ridiculously spoiled. Which is as it should be, especially considering the year she is having.

I miss her, and I am happy for her all at once. I guess that is going to happen more and more, as the years go by.

She was my smallest baby, and remained a petite little bald thing for the longest time. Even now she is so so tall, has such big feet but is so long and lean. She looks older than she is quite often, because of her height.

She is the only one of my children who doesn't have my blue eyes, instead she has her father's green ones. They are an amazing colour, impossible to capture in a photo. She had the darkest blue eyes as a baby and they didn't change until around her third year. She has always been full of surprises.

Because we knew she would be having this special holiday, we had a love bomb day together last week.

We had lunch at her favourite place, just this girl and her parents. It was pretty special, and not something that happens much at all in our hectic household. And then she and I went shopping for her birthday presents, having decided that at nine a girl would like to have some say in them. Being such a grown up and all.

I watched her and thought about these in between years.

She chose some toys that I would have thought too young, but that she loves. And then she insisted on some makeup (which I loved as a girl too). And I thought about the contrast, and the trickiness of these years and the ones ahead.

I have a nine year old daughter today, and I miss her and I can't wait to see her, but I know she is being treated like royalty and has loved every moment. And maybe it is just as well I can't embarrass her with my insistence that she remain my baby, just a little while longer.

She is growing up, and the years won't slow down no matter how I wish they would. I guess I'd best start catching up.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Just a Mum

Ten years ago I went to my ten year high school reunion. Yep, do the math, I'm that old.

I was pregnant with my second child and lived in Brisbane at the time, so I flew down for the weekend and went with my BFF. It was a weird experience, being one of very few people who weren't getting riotously pissed. At 15 weeks pregnant I was only just at that stage where you start looking pregnant and not just like you've eaten too much bread at lunch, so I was never going to be competing in the look-how-thin-and-rich-and-hot I am stakes. Which is all many reunions are really, let's face it.

Anyway I was asked by the wife of an old school mate what I did. And without second thought I replied 'I'm just a mum at home'.

She shot me down immediately, as she should have. I rapidly added that I actually ran a business from home as well, and had an 18 month old who kept me busy, missing the point entirely.

But 'just a mum' is so firmly entrenched in so many of us, and in repeating it and thinking it of ourselves we strengthen the notion that there is something very easy about choosing to be a stay-at-home parent, which further devalues the importance of raising children and minimises the role of the (primarily) women who take on that role.

I have always had a business or a blog or something going on during my at-home-with-babies years. I am grateful to my husband for working a job he doesn't really love in order to help that happen. He's backed my enterprises and I've been happy to be able to help support the family finances a little bit.

For me, it has given me an escape from the realities of being the at-home parent. I realised quite early on that I was not a person who coped well with being entirely consumed by home duties nor was I very good at it without some other focus in my life.

That is because I AM ME. Not you. Not that other lady. Just me.

I have friends who are full time homemakers and they revel in it. They love and appreciate the role they play in the home and in their own lives, and they are loved and appreciated for it.

I also have friends who have returned to full time work when their babies were very small, some out of necessity and some out of desire.

Here is what we hear about these parents: At home Mum should get an out of home job. Full time working Mum isn't spending enough time with her children. Work at home Mum ignores her kids and doesn't make enough money.

It makes no difference what we do, because we are doing it wrong. And I can't speak for anyone else but I know I have carried immense guilt over the years because I've not been working enough hours or we haven't been to the park this week or any one of a million other reasons that parents beat themselves up.

I'm not doing that any more.

I work really hard, and my business is doing really well and that is because I have earned the success I am attracting.

I am a good Mum even though I prioritise my work time when I need to. One does not detract from the other.

And choosing to focus my time on my business does not make me any less a mother than if I did not work and was a full time home maker. Just like people who are home full time are not better parents than those of us with additional responsibilities.

There is no such thing as 'just a mum'. A mum is a mum, and the centre of the universe to her children no matter whether her time is entirely theirs or not.

Let's start saying it like we believe it. Because we should.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Exacting Easter Revenge: Three steps to success.

This is a sponsored post for Energizer.

In all of our lives, there are people who are just out to make trouble. You know the ones. They fill your kids with sugar right before bedtime. They spoil them with junk food and gifts that you wouldn't choose yourself. They are just downright difficult. 

Chances are, you are even related to these people. I'm looking at you grandparents, aunties and uncles.

But Easter provides a perfect opportunity for you to exact your revenge, and I am going to tell you how. Please note this works a lot better if the person you are after has children of their own... you may need to get a little more creative if they don't.

Step 1:

Instead of purchasing delicious chocolate for the children that you just KNOW the parent is going to hide away and eat themselves (what, it is totally a thing right?) you need to go on the hunt for the noisiest most irritating battery operated toy you can possibly find.

For this plan to work best, be sure to find something that the child will absolutely love and is appropriate to their age group and interests. 

With so many battery powered toys on the market these days, this should not be too big a challenge. If the person has older children, splash out and buy them a Gameboy or something equally addictive then see if you can figure out how to set the volume to high and make it stick there.


Step 2:

This step is key to your success. You need to purchase long lasting, powerful and reliable batteries. Energizer Max will do the job perfectly. Did you know they hold power for up to 10 years and protect devices from battery leakage? Because they do. Winning.

Bonus points if you have managed to purchase a toy that requires a screwdriver to access the battery compartment, especially if you can scope out the other persons house and hide all their screwdrivers. 

Unpack the toy from its packaging and insert the Energizer Max batteries, then screw it all back together and wrap it all up in pretty paper.


Step 3:

Present the gift to the child, and insist they unwrap it right away.

Be sure to tell the revengee that you've purchased this gift especially for the child because you know how important play is, and you would hate to ruin their teeth or their appetite or their sleep habits with more chocolate. 

Watch the child unwrap their gift with glee, and let them know right away that you have already installed the batteries and they can play right away.

Then watch the revengee's face drop as they realise that they are going to be driven slowly mad by noisy toy over the coming days. Be sure to point out that you have installed the highest quality batteries possible, so they do not need to concern themselves that they might run out very quickly.


Voila. The perfect revenge, and you get to make a child happy in the process. 

Oh and if you turn up at my place with a gift wrapped present for my kids in the next few days, I am onto you. Oh yes I am.