If you’re anything like me, when you made the decision to become a parent then you did a whole lot of googling.
You read about the joys of being a parent. The first smiles, the first steps, the first words, hearing them say “I love you” for the first time.
You read about the trials of being a parent. The sleepless nights, the nappy blow outs, the tantrums, hearing them say “I hate you” for the first time.
But what you don’t read about, what no one tells you – is that it can be absolutely heartbreaking.
Your child is like a raw nerve walking around on the outside of your body, and every time they hurt, you hurt ten fold.
Every time they have a hard day, and you see the stress in their little eyes as they hold back the tears… your heart absolutely breaks and you have to keep it together and tell them it’s going to be okay.
When they fall over and scratch their knee and you watch them trying not to overreact and holding back every instinct to swoop in, when you let them get up and dust themselves off because you know that they need to decide if they need you for themselves… it’s the hardest thing.
Being a parent, it’s incredible. Most days you go to bed feeling totally fulfilled about the little humans you are sharing this life with.
But some days you find yourself up at midnight worried about an event that upset your child that day, more worried than you would ever be if that excact thing happened to you.
Because your children are your rawest nerve, and no matter how much you protect them it’s inevitable that they are going to have shitty days.
And as their parent, it’s heartbreaking to watch. Even though that we know this is a part of life, an important part of life, it doesn’t make it any easier…
So I’m super open about my struggle with anxiety – which often takes people aback.
I’m also generally a really confident person.
But I’m anxious. And I’m super awkward.
I’ve been called intriguing, mysterious and even appealing – which I kinda like.
I’ve also been called batshit crazy. I didn’t like this so much, but hey – it’s probably true.
So at the moment, my anxiety is really bad.
I am riddled with self doubt and insecurities. Sometimes I can barely even get the words out. Other times a billion words come out none of which I actually intended to say.
It’s really fucking conflicting. It’s narcissistic because everybody is talking about me. And it’s nasty, because of course they all hate me.
Everyday, I get up and I just go. I mean as a Mum of 2, with a part time job, a small business, a husband and *gasp* a social life – I don’t really have a choice. And I CAN do it. I mean, it’s really hard, but I’m high functioning which means my anxiety doesn’t stop me from doing the things I want to do – it might suck all the fun out of them – but it doesn’t stop me.
But I’m tired. I’m SO tired. My mind is so busy. My first doubt starts about .2 seconds after I wake up and ends about 3 hours after I should’ve fallen asleep.
And yeah, I could just stop. And I have. My body stops. I rest, I watch bad TV, I stalk exes on Insta… but my mind is still there, and it’s still racing.
I remember when I was a kid, pre-diagnosis and I asked my friend if they ever feel like life’s not real. They looked at me like WTF, “like you’re just kinda watching yourself,” I explained. They had no idea what I meant and laughed it off. I laughed along too. But I died a bit inside. It was the first time I realised that I wasn’t normal and that’s a really hard pill to swallow – even at 28!
So yeah, I’m not normal. I’m intriguing. I’m bat shit crazy. I have anxiety and right now I feel like I could explode at any moment whilst simultaneously falling asleep because I’m so.tired.
How’s your week going?
Yo, if any of this resonates with you you really don’t have to go through it alone. The best piece of advice I can offer you is to book an appointment with your gp, or if you really need to talk call beyond blue!
This year, I’m taking part in a No New Clothes Challenge.
For the past five months, I haven’t purchased ANY new clothes.
I even stocked up on underwear before going into this project – so I have not purchased anything.
And it’s been great. I feel so. liberated!
I love fashion, I really do. And I thought I would feel like I’m missing out. I mean fashion moves so quickly, I was buying new items every week just to catch up and I STILL felt like I had nothing to wear.
But I don’t feel like that anymore. I still feel like I can ‘keep up’ with the latests trends without having to buy them. I just mix and match what I already have, occasionally I borrow an item or two – I’ve even brought some of my hubby’s old shoes out of retirement (thanks to the use of think socks). I don’t feel left behind, in fact I feel ahead because I’m not constantly chasing my tail.
I have clothes. I have good clothes. And now they are not only on high circulation – I genuinely appreciate the clothes I have.
I feel like I enjoy fashion so much more now. I kinda feel like I’ve ‘won’ it because I’ve figured out how to make my old clothes look like new clothes and how to get over wearing the same outfit over and over again (spoiler – no one actually gives a shit).
Five months in, and I’m not even looking for the finish line. Honestly, I don’t even know if there is one anymore I am so much happier with this new groove.
One could say it has changed my entire outlook by literally changing nothing at all!
It’s so funny how leaving the defence force life behind us has changed so much… but also so little.
I know, I know that makes no sense.
Being a defence force family is all encompassing… it seriously has a say in every aspect of your life. But we worked really hard not to get caught up in that so we still had this false idea of independence.
Being a civilian family is just, well, a breath of fresh air if I’m honest. I can’t really put into words what’s it’s like to not have the constant expectation that everything’s going to change in the blink of an eye- I mean the words security and relaxed come to mind- but it’s really only a comparison someone who’s gone through it can truely understand.
But, you know, there were plenty of positives about being a defence family that I’ll miss for the rest of my life. The housing stuff, the medical stuff – sure – but mainly that sense of community. Like, it’s REALLY shit at times, but we’re all in this together.
It’s a real credit to the serving members and the families of ADF folk – despite all the trials they really have each other’s backs.
Man, it’s a sacrifice serving in the ADF. I know that the risk of physical harm is nothing compared to what it was but there are so many past and present members suffering with mental illness because of the time they served.
To them, I pay my respects.
There are so many Mums and Dads who have missed out on milestones in their children’s lives.
To them, I pay respects.
There are many sons and daughter who missed the last months of their parents lives because they were away.
To them, I pay respects.
There are so many people, all across Australia and NZ who have sacrificed so much to serve in the ADF. Members, wives, husbands, parents, children…
To them, I pay respects.
And, to all of those who made the ultimate sacrifice to stand in the place that many would not dare to stand… I pay my respects.
Lest we forget.
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!