Today I lied to my three year old.

Today, Ollie’s class at daycare were having a superhero disco. I don’t know who was more excited. We got the memo on Monday and spent a majority of the afternoon going through all of his costumes and deciding which would be most fitting for the day. We decided on a full head to toe Batman costume. It was old and it was working quite a bit of pilling but it was what he wanted to wear so I wasn’t going to argue.

As we were getting ready this morning, Ollie told me he didn’t want to dress up. I told him ‘don’t be silly baby, EVERY ONE will be dressed up, I promise.’ The words were falling out of my mouth before I even had the chance to think about what I was saying.

He agreed to wear the Batman costume and INSISTED we found a mask to match (I’m sure he has about four of them hidden in this house somewhere). We FINALLY found one of the four (why didn’t we do this at the beginning of the week) but of course, this one was broken. Not wearing a mask apparently wasn’t an option so I spent the next half an hour searching for new elastic and reattaching it for him.

We arrived at daycare and as I pulled into the car park, I caught a glimpse of some kids playing outside. Guess how many were in costume? NONE!

Instant guilt rushed through me. I double checked the memo to make sure I hadn’t got the days wrong. Today was definitely the right day! I thought about making something up to Ollie and telling him he could take it off if he wanted but by this stage I had already convinced him that today was going to be the best day ever. ‘ALL of your friends will be dressed up and you’re going to have SO much fun!!’ Why, why, why did I tell him that?

There was no turning back.

We open the door to his classroom. Ollie took one look at his class mates and stopped in his tracks. There was one little girl dressed as a lady bug and the rest were all in regular clothes. He looked up at me with almost tears in his eyes. It was obvious he was embarrassed (how does a three year old even know this feeling?). I felt horrible.

I tried to convince him that it was okay. That he was the coolest kid in class that day (and every day). That it doesn’t matter about anyone else. As long as HE is happy and feels GOOD and has FUN.. He wasn’t buying it.

We took his costume off and he sat down to have morning tea with the other kids. He didn’t smile. He barely looked at me. He just sat there and ate his morning tea.

I gave him a big kiss and told him that I will leave his costume in his bag just in case he changes his mind later. I wanted to tell him I was sorry. Sorry for lying. Sorry for embarrassing him and for making a promise I couldn’t keep.

I closed the door behind me and left that day feeling guilty. Why did I tell him these things? Why did I rely on the accountability of other parents? Maybe they had a busy morning and forgot that it was dress up day today. Maybe they didn’t get the memo. Maybe they didn’t have a costume at all. All valid reasons. Valid reasons that I should have considered BEFORE I made a promise to my son.

I’ve been thinking about Ollie all day. Have I lost his trust? Or has he forgotten all about the promise I couldn’t keep?

I wonder why it is that at such a young age, he already is so worried about those around him. Why did it matter what any one else was wearing this morning? Why couldn’t he make the decision that this was his FAVOURITE costume and he was going to wear it no matter what.

I’m not sure what to take away from this experience. Is it that I shouldn’t rely on anyone else for my own (or my kids’) happiness? Or is it that I should be doing a better job at trying to convince my children that it is totally fine to be themselves and no one else’s opinion matters. Or both?

Maybe I’m just being dramatic. Maybe I am too hard on myself as a mother. Maybe the lesson here is that us mothers need to gives ourselves a little slack. Shit happens and sometimes promises get broken (whether we like it or not) but these littles of ours are going to love us regardless.

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Gender stereotyping toys – Let’s CUT THE CRAP!

If I ever have a girl, I will be throwing every one of our boys toys in the bin, I will get rid of every ninja turtle DVD, every piece of Lego and there is no way she will ever be allowed to kick a football… I don’t want her to turn into a LESBIAN.

I’m sorry but is that not the most ridiculously messed up statement you have ever heard in your entire life?

Now do you understand how stupid you sound when you say boys can’t play with ‘girl’s toys’?

Baby dolls. Play kitchens. ‘Girly’ dressups.

‘I don’t want my son to end up being gay’.

Because we all know that teaching a young boy to be gentle and show love and nurture a baby (whether it be real or a DOLL) at a young age will most definitely have him grow up to be sexually attracted to other men. OBVIOUSLY.

Okay, let’s CUT THE CRAP.

Can I just take a minute to remind you all that we are in twenty fucking seventeen.

It is TOTALLY fine for our boys to be playing with baby dolls. They may be a father some day. I don’t see anything GAY about that.

It is absolutely fine for them to play in a toy kitchen. I hope to god I raise my boys to be a caring partner who helps cook for his family. Or even before then, knows how to cook for himself. I don’t see a single thing GAY about that.

And heck. If a boy wants to put a dress on and twirl around like a princess for the day because his big sisters are doing it or he saw it on TV, then I don’t see a god damn problem with it. I promise that wearing a dress for a day won’t ‘turn your son gay’.

So let’s get this crap out of our heads! It makes me sick to think that this is still a thing in this day and age. That people are so ‘worried’ that certain things may affect their child’s sexuality that they won’t let them LIVE and EXPLORE and have FUN and decide for themselves what they love and don’t love.

So I ask that you join with me and CUT THE CRAP. Let’s take a pledge to let our little boys (and girls) be whoever the hell they want to be. Let’s stop this gender stereotyping crap. Let’s lose the idea that it’s totally fine for girls to play with cars and trucks and enjoy sports but boys who want to pretend to be a dad are labelled ‘gay’. Notice the double standard?

So guys, who’s with me?

‘She’s so pretty’.

Who even needs a daughter when your boys get mistaken for girls every time you leave the house?

Every single day I consider chopping their hair off. Some days I don’t think I can bare one more person telling me ‘she’s so pretty’.

‘I love her hair’, ‘look at her curls’, ‘she has beautiful eyes’ are just a few of the comments I get from strangers. Every. Single. Day.

Most days now I just roll with it because I am so sick of constantly correcting people. Is that bad? Is it wrong of me to let 7 strangers believe my BOY is a girl for a whole 30 seconds as we pass them? I mean, obviously I would correct someone if they were spending time with them, but a total stranger.. You know the ones that stop you at the shops just to comment on your children? Do they really matter?

You may be thinking ‘why don’t you just cut it? Give them a ‘real boys’ haircut’. And don’t worry, you’re not the first person to say it but holy dooly when it really comes down to it, it is one the hardest things I have ever had to do. But I’m starting to wonder where we draw the line. How long are we going to let it grow?

On Monday at daycare, Ollie spent the entire day playing with a girl. Finally, he had made a proper friend! I stood there watching them play for a good 10 minutes before letting him know I was there and it was the sweetest thing I had ever seen. They were jumping into each other’s arms and cuddling and rolling around the floor giggling. I asked the little girl what her name was and she told me. I then said ‘do you know his name?’ And she looked at me, confused. As if to say ‘he??’… Like she thought she’d been playing with another girl the whole time.

Ollie doesn’t understand why people confuse him for a girl. He assures me that he doesn’t have girl hair. He’s a boy.. “So it must be boy hair”. But I’m starting to notice him getting frustrated when people assume he’s a girl.

I think about chopping it A LOT. I wonder if it would be the best thing to do, for all of us. Some people have even called me selfish for letting it grow. But am I really?

When I ask Ollie if he wants a hair cut (without any coaxing at all), he tells me ‘no way, never EVER!’ So how could I even try to win that argument?

A few days ago I had almost talked myself into taking him to get it cut. I posted on Instagram expecting everyone to say DON’T DO IT and well, I didn’t really get the response I was hoping for. A lot of good points were made though and everyone is right, it is just hair but it’s my baby boys hair.. That beautiful hair. Of course it will grow back but I just don’t know if I’m ready to say goodbye.

The way I see it is that when he is ready and comes to me saying ‘mummy, I want my hair cut’, then I will chuck him straight in the car and take him to chop it all off. But until that day, he can grow his hair as long as his little heart desires.

 

sign off

I solemnly swear to give you all of me.

Every day seems to be that little bit harder than the next. Every time I leave the house with the boys, I come home promising myself that I will never do it again and then I’m off doing it all over again the next day.

We had what I guess you could call an ‘eventful’ day today. We’re going camping this weekend (another one of those things I’ll probably regret by Monday) and I had a heap of things to do to get organised.

Our day began with a tantrum from Ollie at his swimming lesson this morning (because apparently after two years of LOVING it, he suddenly ‘doesn’t like swimming’). It was then followed by Alfie knocking a trolley over in Bunnings, tipping a bottle of water on the floor at the checkout, Ollie wetting his pants and Alfie throwing his snag (that I totally would have eaten) across an aisle and then rubbing his tomato sauce covered hands all over my shirt.

We then took our pup to the vet which as you can imagine with 2 kids and a 6mo Rottweiler, wasn’t the most enjoyable experience either. I’d be pretty safe to say that there wasn’t a single item left on the shelf after cyclone Alfie was done throwing everything in arms reach onto the floor.

And just in case all of that wasn’t enough for me to never want to leave the house again, I made another trip to pick up some more camping supplies. This time, Alfie’s level of destruction had multiplied by about 7 and I knew things were about to get bad so I decided to carry him as I quickly ran in and out (as opposed to letting him walk, as he usually demands).

Well, I guess you could say he wasn’t very impressed with that either. A few punches, pinches and scratches later (to me, not him I promise) and I was ready to put him down, evacuate the store and leave both boys there as if they weren’t mine. But obviously that didn’t happen because you know, abandoning your children is frowned upon.

So there I was holding my screaming, demonic 22 month old whilst trying to ask for assistance. I made the silly mistake of loosening my grip for a second and he ever so elegantly slid out of my hands and made a run for it. My usual angelic child Ollie thought this made for a hilarious game and decided to follow. Every person in that store would have heard my children screaming of laughter as they ran from me, aisle to aisle, for a good 5 minutes.

I don’t think I’ve heard the phrase ‘boy, do you have your hands full’ so much in such a short period of time in my parenting life. Because by that stage I don’t think there was a single person in that store that didn’t feel my pain. The exhaustion was clear on my face and I just wanted to be home.

Finally got my hands on the boys, dragged them to the checkout to make my purchase only for Alfie to go back into demonic tantrum mode ripping things out of my purse as I’m trying to pay, biting, screaming, punching. I apologised to the cashier as he looked at me sympathetically and was the 525th person that hour to say ‘it’s okay, you’ve clearly got your hands full’. I laughed politely (as I did the 524 times before) and said ‘yes, I sure do’ and then ran to my car on the brink of tears.

Days like today are becoming more and more common. I am an absolute hot mess 95% of the time and people are really starting to notice. I am exhausted and some days I hate myself for being such a cranky mumma who gets fed up and loses her patience with her kids.

I know I am so incredibly lucky to live the life I do… To be able to stay home with my boys and not have to work. I know some people would kill to be able to spend extra time with their kids yet I can’t help but resent those people who get to go to work every day and have some time to themselves.

I need to learn to be more grateful for the things I have. Two beautiful, healthy boys who although drive me insane, are my favourite part of this crazy world. Some days I complain and don’t know how I will get through even one more day of this chaotic life but I would never, ever give them up or want to live a single day without them.

It’s funny how perfect we can make our lives seem on social media. Up until just recently, even on some of my worst days, I would post a cute photo of the boys with the caption ‘beautiful day with my babes’ and not a single person would know any different. But secretly I was lying in bed after a shitty day thinking ‘how am I going to get up and do this all over again tomorrow’.

I hope by sharing this, I can shine some light into the real life behind the pretty little squares of IG. We all have our own battles and whether we choose to share them or not doesn’t make us any different.

Being a parent is the hardest but most rewarding thing I have ever done in my life and I solemnly swear to always tell it how it is and to give you guys all of me. The good, the bad and the ugly. And in doing so, I hope you realise that you’re not alone. That we ALL have shitty days and feel like giving up. But being the super women we are, we pick ourselves up and keep on keeping on. Because these little humans of ours are the worlds greatest gift and we would give our lives for them time and time again, if we could.

sign off

My tornado baby.

Some days I question myself and every single thing I do as a parent. Other days I’m like fuck yeah, I got this. But most days I’m just making things up as I go along and trying to convince myself that I have the slightest idea of what I’m doing.

It’s funny how we live the beginning of our lives being raised by our parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters.. And then we fall pregnant and have a baby of our own and they’re like ‘you’re on your own now’. Sure, everyone is always wanting to put their two cents in and tell you all their best tips for raising a child. But what about teaching us the basics BEFORE we bring the tiny human into the world.

I remember giving birth to Ollie.. just hours after he was born.. a 21 year old new mum, shoved into the maternity ward at 7pm, told visitors must leave and next minute the lights were out. I sat for a good half hour thinking to myself what the heck do I do now? Do I feed him? How do I know if he’s hungry? Burping? Nappy changes? I had a good half hour FREAK OUT before I decided to ask for help. I called the midwife and she told me ‘just give him a feed, make sure you burp him and change his nappy, then put him back to bed’ and before I knew it she was on her way out the door. ‘Ummm, excuse me… But HOW do I do all of that!?’

Yes, I went to the pre-baby parenting classes. I read every baby book at my local library. But none of that comes even close to preparing you for the real deal!

I’m so lucky I didn’t have any early issues with breastfeeding because I definitely didn’t feel like I had much help or support in that area and I realise now why so many mums give up so early on. Because 1. Breastfeeding is fucking hard and 2. The support isn’t there. Not everyone is so keen to ask for help. And if it’s not offered, some people will just continue on without it, not even realising that it’s available.

That’s my one biggest piece of advice for any new mum. ASK FOR HELP!! Swallow your pride and ask every single damn question you can think of while you’re in the hospital and have professionals there to help you. Because in two days, you’ll be sent on your way wondering what the heck do I do now? And you’ll probably continue asking yourself that question for the rest of your life.

Unfortunately, babies don’t come with handbooks and there’s no file you can illegally download when you get home. You have no choice but to make it up as you go along and pray you get something right.

I’m going to assume I’ve gone right somewhere. My kids are still alive and healthy and they’re both pretty darn smart. They have beautiful manners (most of the time) and they’re full of so much love (well Ollie is anyway). This would definitely have to be a ‘fuck yeah’ moment.

Then I’ll have a day where absolutely nothing goes right. I take them out to a restaurant and one child is resembling a demonic entity as he fights with all his might to avoid having to sit in the highchair (can you guess who?) And the other is crying that he’s too tired and wants to go home. The night also includes numerous punches, pinches and head butts from the demon child, the other one rubbing an octopus he found in a seafood salad against his face saying ‘I love my new friend’ and asking if he can bring it home to keep as a pet and then there’s me, wondering who the heck allowed me to have kids?

I went home that night really questioning myself. Not about the octopus, I think I handled that pretty well… I wasn’t even going to bother with the fight of telling Ollie he couldn’t bring it home but we managed to convince him that if he flushes Octi the octopus down the toilet, he’ll be reunited with his mummy and daddy. Parenting win right?

So I guess that was a ‘fuck yeah’ within a ‘wtf am I doing’ moment. Because I was so, so exhausted after my night with Alfie that I just couldn’t stop asking myself where the hell did I go wrong. And what if he’s like this forever?

I get it, kids are crazy and there’s all that talk about ‘the terrible twos’ but nothing prepared me for this. Ollie was an absolute angel compared to Alfie. This kid has some serious issues. I can’t help but wonder if it was something I did. Did I bring him up differently? Is it because he was the second child and I wasn’t giving him as much attention? Or is this just a phase (one hell of a long phase) that he will grow out of? Let’s hope for the latter because if this is the terrible twos, I DO NOT want to even think about what he’ll be like as a ‘threenager’.

I guess there’s not much I can do though right? I could try to mold him into this perfect little quiet boy so that my life is that little bit easier but I think we all know that ain’t gonna happen and is it really what I’d want? He is his own little person and this behaviour is one big reminder that everyone is different. No baby or child is the same and we all handle things differently. I’ve just got to take a deep breath and embrace him. All of him. He is my boy, I created this crazy little bundle of chaos and I love every bit of him.

sign off

I am mum. Therefore, I am super.

Have you ever told yourself you were going for a ‘natural makeup look’ and before you knew it you’ve used every single shade in your $19.99 Chi Chi eye shadow pallet and attempted contouring without owning a single contour product? Cause same.

I don’t know if you could call it over-confidence because self confidence is definitely something I’m lacking but I have this tendency to see a professional doing something and think ‘how hard could it be?’  Cue EPIC fail.

Well today there was no time for failure and I guess the phrase ‘fake it til you make it’ could be applied here because hey, I left the house and no one told me I looked like a dump truck so I think that was a win. Either that or I’ve got shit, dishonest friends.

But let’s back track a little…

So there I was attempting my ‘natural look’ and next minute my hair had been curled, I’m wearing three layers of full coverage foundation, a $110 playsuit (dont worry guys I got it on sale for $30) and I’m a pair of platform heels away from giving the majority of the Brisbane night scene attendees a run for their money. All of this might I add, while my kids were rotating between screaming at my feet, ripping each other’s hair out and trying to do front flips off my couch.

Some may call me super mum for looking half presentable  (or maybe like a dump truck – I’m still not sure) and having both kids ready and out of the house by 8am but I’m leaning more towards borderline neglect because we all know it’s near impossible to get all that shit done whilst giving your kids the attention they’re so desperately demanding. I’m sorry Ollie, no I dont know where the toy that you had in your hand FIVE minutes ago has gone. I also don’t want to drop everything I’m doing to search for something that’s probably exactly where you threw it when you decided that another of your seven billion toys was of more interest.

And, I’m off track again – get used to that.

We’re all dressed, I’ve made the boys some sandwiches to eat while we’re out (because like hell am I buying them food only for them to have one bite and tell me they’re not hungry) and we’re walking out the door. Alfie has a spoilt rich kids birthday party worth of toys in hand and I don’t even care because FOR ONCE we are out of the house at a reasonable hour.. and only 15 minutes later than planned. This is actually a big deal guys. I was pretty impressed with myself.

Whilst in ‘Super mum’ mode, I had this great idea to sit in with the kids at Gloria Jeans. I also forgot it was 8:30am and got sucked into buying them a choc chip cookie & ginger bread man (really not used to being out of the house so early), so sugar for breakfast it was.

Our experience at GJs included Ollie almost being squashed by the electric sliding doors (don’t ask), an old man shaking his head in disgust while Alfie ate choc chip crumbs off the floor (I’m pretty sure they were his crumbs already so it’s not so bad right?… like 89% sure) and every person in the store almost being toppled over with coffee in hand as both tornado kids ran riot.

So far I think I had totally aced this early morning super mum gig.

Coffee was downed and we were ready for an adventure with the lovely mamma behind @thatmumwifetravel.life and her two little babes.

The drive out to Rocksberg was pleasant. Alfie fell asleep (it’s tiring getting up at 5am isn’t it mate?) and Ollie questioned the origin of every animal species in the entire of existence.

We found a cute little spot by a running stream and instantly questioned our sanity. Trying to snap a ‘super mum – I’ve got my shit together, just happily chilling on a rock in the middle of a creek’ photo with 4 under 4 running loose was harder than we originally anticipated. I don’t think there was a decent photo of either of us mammas that didn’t include a toddler head in the corner or little fingers in front of the lens but thank God for the crop tool.

Bec had this crazy idea to climb the rocks up stream and that’s when shit got real. There we both were with an 11kg babe on our hip, gripping a three year old’s hand, whilst trying to navigate slippery rocks as we traveled upstream towards what I must admit were some cute little waterfalls. As much as I was thinking the entire time that this was the worst idea ever (soz Bec), it was totally worth it…. For all of 5 minutes until it occurred to us that we had left all of our stuff (phone, wallet, keys) back down on the side of the creek, totally out of view. So off we went, back down stream – to safety.

No amounts of full coverage foundation could have hidden the fact that by this stage, I was a total hot mess. We were all dripping in sweat and my super mum label was wearing thinner by the minute, more so when I realised that I’d forgotten to pack a water bottle for the boys, pushing things even closer to neglect.

But like I reminded Ollie as he was crying for water… ‘you’ll be right mate’ and he totally was. Maybe I’m not so bad of a mum after all.

Yes, I may have let my 20 month old jump head first off a rock into the water one too many times. Maybe the sandwiches I made sat in the sun a little too long resulting in them turning soggy and not gaining master Kruize’s approval. And then there’s that no water sitch. But ignoring all the negatives, I’m gonna slap that super mum label right back on my chest and wear it proud because guess what, being a mum is pretty damn super. Shit happens and sometimes our kids almost die of dehydration (joke) but we got this!

sign off