Being a young mum sucks.
No, not because I miss out on partying with my friends. Or because I’ll probably never get to buy a house. Not even because at the age of 28 I have more bags under my eyes than a strand bags store.
I hate being a young Mum because of other people. Yup, I know, how general can I be.
I have been told that “it must be hard as a single mum”, oh I’m not a single mum, “oh, and you’re still with the father!” What the actual fuck. And also, who cares?
I’ve been asked if I’m jealous of my peers. Are they jealous of me? “Nah, I mean cause they can do stuff!” Yup so can I! – an actual conversation I had with another parent.
“And where do you work”… “oh you have an actual job!” Prey tell, random judger… what is a real job.
“Do you feel like your kids are going to miss out?” On what? Their inheritance? I don’t get it, I’m a great mum.
I have even been told (by a non parent I should add) “nah but you’re not a real mum!” I mean, I’m the only mum my kids will even have so yeah I am pretty real.
I mean, I could go on… but here’s the deal. I was 23 when I had my son. I am a great mum, I am not perfect you know, I’m a human and all. I’m 28 now. I have a 5 year old and a 1 year old. They, along with my hubby are my absolute world.
Please, please don’t take the credit away from me because I decided to have kids at a younger age. It actually really hurts, and I’m a tough cookie. There are a lot of mums, younger and less tough than me that are getting the same comments.
I know, because I’ve heard them.
The actual mothering part of being a young mum is awesome. My kids are my best friends. It’s honestly the most fun I’ve had since I was a kid. Sure, it’s not all the matching gum boots I thought it’d be… but I love it. I wouldn’t change a thing.
Well one thing.
I’d change the way people perceive young mums.
So, have I changed your perception?
I am a feminist. And no, I do not hate men.
No, not because I have a husband or son. But because I love men, they’re awesome.
But I’m still a feminist. Because I love women too.
I’m a feminist because today, on International Women’s Day 2017- I have seen posts all over social media from offended men.
Yup. Men. Offended. About a day that celebrates women.
I am also a feminist because being a woman is fucking hard enough without trying to prove myself because of my gender.
Let me tell you a bit about myself.
I had my first child at 23. My husband was deployed my entire pregnancy, which was hard on both of us. But he was present for the birth, so yay!
I went back to work when my son was 1.5 years old- after completing my university degree as a stay at home Mum. It was hard, but worth it. I got a lot of questions about how I’ll cope being away from him all day. The answer is, I was fine. He was fine.
We both struggled with how much my hubby was away. You see, he was away a lot. He liked to talk about how much he missed his son, although he was barely asked. He was often told, “you’re a great Dad” simply because of the amount he talked about his son.
He is a great Dad!
On the flip side, my abilities as a parent were often questioned because I was away from my son a lot. You know, I was working 8:30-4 everyday (whilst his Dad was away for 6 months at a time).
We even saw a social worker (female) who acknowledged that my son had abandonment issues. Yup. It often happens when the mother goes back to work.
Get fucked. He was fine when I worked five days a week. It’s when his father was deployed that he fell apart.
I am a feminist because women and men both deserve to have careers, and be parents, and not feel guilty about either.
Fast forward three years and not enough has changed.
I had my second child at 27. I went back to work when she was 12 months old.
I now work part time.
Okay, maybe it’s a bit better. But it’s still not good enough.
I am a feminist because I am constantly told that I am lucky to have a flexible workplace.
I am a feminist because I am constantly told that I am lucky to have a husband that supports my career.
Look I don’t take what I have for granted, but I should be the rule- not the exception.
I am a feminist because I believe in the crazy notion that both my son and daughter will grow up to have equal opportunities in education, in the home and in the work place. Without question. Without doubt. Without pay inequality!!
I am a feminist because we have come a far way, but we still have a long way to go.
I am a feminist and I will #BeBoldforChange.
The day I found out my second child was going to be a girl was a massive mix of emotions.
But then I got super excited. A girl! My girl. Someone to craft with, to dress in pink, a calm child…
Yeah okay stepford wife!
The reality is a bit different. Okay she’s only 14 months but she is not this placid little thing I was promised.
And that’s the thing, 95% of people who found out I was having a girl assured me, “girls are much easier… far calmer as toddlers!”
I call bullshit.
Sure, she’s different to her brother. Easier? Maybe… But calm is not in the list of words I would use to describe her.
And yep, she loves craft- and by craft I mean sitting at her table with ONE SPECIFIC PEN and a piece of paper ripping the absolute crap out of it with the tip. And heaven forbid she drops said pen…
She is rough. She is a force. She knows what she wants and she screams if she doesn’t get it. And I don’t mean cry, I mean high-pitched-short-burst screams!
She wears pink, sure. In her cycle of three outfits per day due to mud, pens and poop, pink tends to get a rotation. But I’ve long given up trying to ‘pretty’ her up. She needs play clothes, because heaven forbid her attire restrict her desire to play all.the.time!
Watching her develop into a little human is just amazing. My eyes are so wider the second time around. She is really going to be a force- much like O.
And whilst it would be far easier to have a placid little thing who is just content with whatever I decide to do… I wouldn’t change a hair on her head.
Easy/schmeasy I don’t want a perfect little lady I want my kids to leave their stamp on the world.
And boy, do they leave quite the impression everywhere they go!
Like many 5 year olds around Australia, O had his first full week at primary school this week.
The excitement of last week had subsided and it was time for serious business.
And boy, is it a roller coaster.
Monday started off with us being stuck behind TWO trams and getting to his class room right on 9AM. It ended with me picking him up and him telling me that his grade 2 buddy wasn’t his friend anymore but he had a new buddy. He also had a blood nose and a split lip somewhere in there, and he tried to keep a brave face but before bedtime he told me Mum I know I’m supposed to make the most of it but I just don’t know if I can.
He slept in our bed that night!
Tuesday- his teacher clarified that he got a new buddy because O and his former buddy (M) we’re playing too much during class. They were, in fact, too good of friends. Phew. It ended with him making lots of new friends and generally feeling pretty good about himself.
Wednesday we were super early, and he didn’t want to get out of the car before his class was open. I don’t want the kids to see me be too early Mum. He got to go to his Grandads house after school, where his best mate (and uncle) Ned lives. He was pretty impressed entirely exhausted but happy with the day.
Thursday, his last day of the week, his teacher had yard duty in the morning. This totally threw him and me off as he couldn’t go in his class room until 9. But his old buddy (M) arrived and they hung around so O insisted I leave. He had after school care, and didn’t want to leave when his Dad picked him up. Poor James. Sometime throughout the day he traded his favourite Pokemon card for whatever reason. Tears ensued. Eventually we were able to focus on the fact that he had just finished his FIRST EVER week at school.
Today, he went to his Babcia’s and kicked me out before I could even scabb a coffee!
Schoolie kids, ey?
One things for certain, his little sister (yeah okay, and mum) miss the absolute shit out of him. Immy spends half her day standing at the door saying Ob-ba-ba. And I’m right there next to her (in spirit I’m more likely to be on my perch in the lounge room).
He’s doing well. Really well. It’s a bigger change for all of us than I anticipated, but change is as good as a holiday. And damn I need a holiday!
Tonight, O and I witnessed history in the making. We attended the inaugural women’s AFL match at Princess Park, and it.was.amazing!
I was quite the tomboy growing up. In fact, when I was 8 years old I broke my arm playing football. I didn’t play much after that.
I always felt like I could either be sporty or feminine. As if being good at sport took away from my feminity. As if that even mattered.
Tonight, as I looked out on the field at those women kicking absolute arse on that field and knowing that my children will grow up with this being normal.
I am so happy. Tonight was a huge step forward towards true equality in society. We’ve got a ways to go, and I feel like this post wouldn’t be complete without at least mentioning the indiscretion in wages.
But tonight was special, and we got to be a part of it.
I remember the day you were born like it was yesterday. You came into this world the way you live, with a big dramatic entrance.
That day, I became more than just a Mum. Whilst I’d always thought I was selfless, I never realised how truly selfless I could be.
Running on empty but still chasing after you.
Boy, what a journey we’ve been on. Four states, six houses, five daycares, three jobs, five cars, hundreds of road trips… through everything it was you and me.
It was always you and me.
And then Dad came home, and Immy was born. And I miss us, but I can see that you don’t. Sometimes you ask for alone time with your Mum, but mostly you just love people… you have that beautiful heart of yours out on your sleeve.
And tomorrow, you start school.
I feel proud. We did it. As a Navy family, all I wanted was stability for you before you’ve started school. And we’ve got it. You can spend your last day in the same school that you spend your first day, no civilian family can understand what a luxury that is!
I want to give you everything, but as you walk through those gates tomorrow I know that there is only so much I can do from here. You’ll start listening to your teachers, your peers… and I’ll just be noise in the background. But I feel okay, we’ve come a long way kiddo- you really struggled in your early years but boy did you just keep on keeping on.
And I’m so proud of you.
I hope you are comfortable. Of course I want you to have fun, to learn, to make friends… and I know all of that will come. But first, I just want you to feel like you belong. Because you do. We worked hard to find the perfect school for you, and it just so happens to be the same school that your beloved Daisy goes to.
So tomorrow, you become my schoolie kid. I can’t believe it. It feels like just yesterday we were dancing to giggle and hoot in our apartment in Sydney. I’m so glad you still like to dance with me, I hope you’ll always dance with me.
From the day you were born, you took everything out of every single moment. It can be challenging sometimes, but it is such a beautiful trait. Don’t worry if some people don’t like you, that’s perfectly normal, just like you won’t like everyone. You could be the juiciest mango, but there will always be someone who doesn’t like mangoes. Don’t let it change you. Sure, it might hurt, and that’s okay.
On the eve of your first day at school I want you to know that no matter what path you decide to take in life, I will always always be there for you. You can tell me anything, besides you’re terrible at lying (oh please stay terrible at lying)!
So, Mr Schoolie kid- I’ll do my best not to cry at the gate but if writing this post is anything to go by, it’s not looking good. Please continue to squeeze as much out of life as you possibly can, and I’ll promise to always be there tricking to cut off your boo boos and use you as my pillow.
I love you Oliver. You are my best buddy, and I am so excited for this new chapter in our…your life.
It was recommended by a friend of mine when I told her about my no new clothes challenge, and it really embodies a lot of what I’m trying to achieve with this challenge.
Sure, it talks about consumerism a lot which is something I think a lot of us millennials face, and I honestly don’t know if I fully believe in their motivation. But it also talks about mindful living, and ethical fashion. I found that element particularly interesting, especially when one of the interviewees says, (rough quote) “I don’t have to worry about what I wear everyday… I don’t have many clothes but all my clothes are awesome.”
So I started back at work this month after 13 months on maternity leave. A few people questioned how I would go not buying new clothes… well to be honest I purchased my self a few new work outfits at the end of 2016. But honestly, it’s easier. I don’t look at my colleagues and think oh wow, that looks heaps profesh I should get a [insert item of clothing here]. In fact, I don’t even think about it… much.
Okey, sure- it’s a challenge and the first month has had its challenges. I realised that I have a lot of shit clothes. I also own a lot of stuff that just doesn’t fit, but I bought it for ‘one day’.
But I also own a lot of amazing clothes that I forgot about or simply don’t wear because it’s too special. I’m now pretty confident those items will be on high circulation for 2017.
So here’s what I’ve been wearing this month:
- A maxi- I purchased this at the end of 2016 and I’ve worn it about 6 times and the colour is already fading. I said to my hubby just today that 2016 Cass would have purchased 3 more, probably in similar styles and definitely on the lower end of quality. I definitely wish I’d spent a bit more and gotten a higher quality version.
- A princess highway short jacket- I’ve owned this baby for about 6 years and it’s had hundred of wears. I got it on sale for about $60 and almost didn’t buy it. It’s starting to fade pretty heavily so I’m considering dying it, but otherwise it’s still in great condition.
- Birkenstocks– I’m so glad I didn’t buy cheap knock offs. In true Cass fashion I purchased two pairs (because hey, they were on sale) but damn have they paid for themselves several times over!
- The Horse watch- 2 years old and still on the same band and battery.
So here’s what I’ve learnt this month:
- Shopping is a bordem killer for me. I still find myself looking for the ASOS app or resisting the urge to pop down to Sydney Rd Brunswick to browse the shops.
- It doesn’t make me happy. The excitement of buying is nice, but it passes far before my bank account has replenished itself.
- I don’t wear about 80% of my clothes- hopefully this will change!
- My son notices how much I buy, “mum, you can go look at clothes then I’ll go look at toys!”
- But he’s also adapted VERY quickly. After just a month he no longer expects something every time I go shopping.
I can’t believe I’m only a month in, but I already feel so refreshed!
If you’re interested in joining in, please share your pics using the #patchimperfect2017challenge hashtag.
*please note that this is not a sponsored post. All clothing that I have linked to I personally recommend based on quality, ethics and fit.
** I can accept gifts as part of the challenge. If you wish to gift me clothing please contact me, but I cannot guarantee a review.