All the way

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You know what gets me the most?

That they all grew inside me.

That for a little while, we were all the same person.

It’s a story as old as time – pregnancy, child-birth, child-rearing.

But for me it’s this huge spin out.

They were nothing but microscopic cells inside my body, and then all of a sudden they were people!!

The emotional roller coaster I have been on these past few months is catching up with me.

But these tiny humans, that I MADE (!) have these most beautiful faces.

Obviously they are asleep, and the cherub-like innocence rushes out with their breath and engulfs me.

They breathe me into their web of love.

Their oxygen is my oxygen. My blood their blood.

My father once said to me:

“All you want for your children is to reach their potential, and find partners who love and compliment them.”

He didn’t mean partners who tell us we’re pretty (that doesn’t hurt, though, Pal…)

He meant partners that suit us, that balance us. That make us better people. And he meant that I had found that in Pal.

As for potential – I MADE TINY HUMANS! IN MY BODY!!!

And I am working SO HARD to raise them to be kind and loving people in a world that often flays kindness and love from a person’s soul.

As each shred of skin is stripped from us, the raw nerves are exposed. Toughening us, teaching us that there is no currency in kindness. That love hurts.

And love does hurt, so much. So awfully and desperately and unrelentingly. Love hurts.

Especially when unconditional love is withheld.

And so I choose to break a cycle. Hoping desperately that I am not unwittingly perpetuating it.

I love my children. I love who they have been – those tiny cells.
I love who they are – these little people with big hearts and big dreams and big feelings.

I love – wholly and unconditionally – all they will ever be. I always will.

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Buyer Beware, Seller’s Temper May Flare…

With Uma on her way, I recently set about selling off all the kitchen appliances she would be replacing.

And seeing as our little regional area has a thriving Buy, Swap and Sell community on Facebook, that was my first stop for selling said appliances.

Having some success with a package deal on a couple of things, when I went to ship off the slow cooker and cake pop machine, I figured they would go better and faster if I did the same.

I was right.

Within hours of having posted, they were bought.

Sold pending pick up.

It’s a bit of a rush selling things so quickly and easily.

No postage to worry about, like eBay.

More immediate – because again, postage.

Pick up day came, and the buyer was an hour late.

Then I get a message asking which town I live in.

If you know anything about anything in Buy Swap Sell groups, you know that it is VITAL to post your location in the original post.

Which I had.

So, I reiterated my location, and gave better directions to my home.

No worries, the buyer is new to the area, her Mum knew one of the streets I had mentioned was close by.

See you soon, etc.

When they did finally get here, I sent Pal out with the items for two reasons:

1) I was in my dressing gown, on dinner duty and dealing with the feralness of children at what was now 5:30pm.

2) I was pissy they were so late, the tone in the message asking where I lived and suggesting I had told them the wrong town, and didn’t want said pissiness to affect the transaction or the New Townies’ first impression of me.

Mostly, though. Dressing gown.

Everything went well, $20 exchanged hands and off the slow cooker and cake pop maker went with their happy new owners.

Fast forward a little over two weeks.

A Facebook message pops up from the buyer. Upset that I’ve sold her broken goods, that she “brought” them with the understanding they were in good working order, and that she wasn’t “real pleased”. She’d like her money back, “thanks”.

To say I was offended is an understatement.

Firstly, the suggestion I would sell broken goods? Um, I took photos. Extensive photos of all features. Including the rubbed off indicators on the front of the slow cooker. Because I didn’t want to misrepresent my items.

The suggestion was that there was a crack in the crock pot of the slow cooker. The crock pot that has survived my house and children for 6 years. And as far as I knew had no cracks. And to make it leak, as suggested, would take more than a crack. The ceramic pot was two fingers thick.

I have a feeling it would take dropping that thing from a GREAT height to crack it.

“Burned out motor” on the cake pop maker?

It was used three times. Over a year ago. Has been in the pantry every since.

But because I am a good person, and like to give people the benefit of the doubt – whether I am afforded the same courtesy or not –  I offered the buyer her money back.

Also because for $20, although awesome and could feed my family for about, oh, an hour, it wasn’t worth digging my heels in.

However…

I may or may not have added one or two suggestions of my own at the end of said offer of refund. Something about language choice

and accusatory tone.

And that perhaps I wasn’t particularly pleased with this transaction myself.

In the most polite way, of course…

Pal suggests we refund the $20 in five cent pieces.

Would this sour Buy, Swap and Sell groups for you?

Would you give a refund two weeks after the fact?

Would you give said refund in five cent pieces?

PND – why I speak about it, unashamedly, unabashedly, and often at length

I have been asked before (sparingly, but it happens):

Why do you blog? Why do you share? Why do you share so much? Aren’t you worried about internet crazies? Don’t you think some of those thoughts should remain private? Are you worried what your children might say if they ever read it?

All are variations on the same theme:

Why share your life, your thoughts, your children, in such a raw, honest and public way, on the internet?

There is no one answer for one blogger.

I share our lives in this format for many reasons. The least of which is for a pat on the back, for attention, or for validation.

Everytime I think about this question, my thoughts run rampant for awhile, and then it all boils down to this:

I share my journey – of motherhood, of Post-Natal Depression, of raising twins, of raising my children – because when I began writing, there was a serious lack of “real” parenting blogs out there.

There were plenty of parenting websites, forums and blogs.

But they were, in the majority, picture perfect.

And my life? Not so picture perfect. Far from.

When Daisy, Roo & Two began, in its earliest form, it was about making my best friend LAUGH. At all those perfect parenting blogs.

About reminding myself that being imperfect was not only OK, but particularly hilarious.

I also felt (and feel) that I was living quite a common, yet extreme version of parenting. At the time, I had three kids under three. I’d had three kids within 17 months.

And I wanted to read something, by someone, having the same experience as I was. And there just wasn’t much in the way of that in Australian blogging at the time.

I couldn’t find it, so I wrote it.

And then I realised other people were searching for the same thing I was when I posted this.

As for my kids – I hope they read this some day. I hope they read how much I loved them, knew them, disliked them, was confused by them. In short, I hope they read this and know that I raised them with love, humour and honesty.

Honesty is the best policy

I realised I was “not feeling right” soon after the Two turned 2. It was a combination of going away for a few days – kid and husband free, Oscar’s most recent hospitalisation and a particularly bad bout of tonsillitis that attacked all three children, one after the other, and left me prostrate on the couch underneath sick children for three weeks.

It took three trips to the doctor before we arrived at a decision to medicate. Another three trips to the gp and counsellor before we came to a diagnosis:

Delayed Reactionary Post Natal Depression – with a “touch” of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Which is just a really fancy way of saying that I didn’t notice how fucked up everything was until nearly two years after the fact, and then crumpled into a puddle of unfolded laundry on the floor that the creases could never be ironed out of.

And because I have this thing about being full and real and honest, I wrote about it here.

Because you can run all the Post Natal Depression awareness print ads, commercials and internet campaigns you like – for some reason, mothers are still ashamed of PND and judge themselves and others for falling down when we should be holding our families up.

Turns out we can’t stand strong all the time. And there’s only so many times we can claw our way back from the cliff edge.

And I am not ashamed.

I am proud I sought help. I am proud I still seek help. I am not and never will be ashamed.

I get plenty guilty, but I am not ashamed of “being depressed” – imperfect mental health is not something anyone should be ashamed of.

I remember my Aunt explaining depression to me once:

It’s like tonsillitis. Your body can’t get better until its had antibiotics. It needs intervention. When you suffer from a mental illness, in most cases your mind can’t get better until its had its antibiotics – medication. Only once there’s been physical, chemical, intervention can you begin to heal.

I’d never thought of depression and medication in that way before. Now, I know she was right.

Seeing as that’s her field of study, I’m not surprised.

Real people need to talk and write and blog and tweet and Facebook and capture their real experiences of mental illness, and women especially of their experience of Post Natal Depression.

There is still a stigma. A taboo amongst mother groups and parenting circles. In the media and social media and life in general, that anxiety and depression means you aren’t strong, that you just need to pull your socks up**, and that mothers who do fall prey to depression aren’t worthy of their children.

You have happy healthy children. What have you got to be depressed about? Huh? HUH????**

Stigma works in perpetual motion – it requires no external energy source. Once set in motion, it continues of its own accord. Going on and on until an external force stops it.

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And the only external force available is real people.

The more real people talk about their real experiences, the more this stigma shifts. Every individual who is taught that mental health isn’t a matter of willpower and is in fact an actual health issue, is one less person perpetuating the stigma.

That’s why I blog. That’s why I share what I share, how I share it.

That’s why I’m honest, why I “over-share”.

I am an external force.

**Things actual people have said to my actual face. In actual real life. Because they are actually ignorant assholes.

To be less of an ignorant asshole, or if you feel you need some help with anxiety or depression, a great place to start is BeyondBlue.

Get Help Australia:

Suicide Call Back Service (National) – 1300 659 467
(Up to six 50-minute telephone counselling sessions for people who are suicidal, caring for someone who is suicidal or bereaved by suicide. 7 days a week 10am – 8:30pm.)Help/Information Lines* beyondblue info line (National) – 1300 22 4636
* Lifeline (National) – 13 11 14
* Just Ask Rural Mental Health Information & Referral Line (National) – 1300 13 11 14
* SANE Australia Helpline (National) – 1800 187 263
* Suicide Helpline (VIC) – 1300 651 251
* Mensline (National) – 1300 789 978
* Australian Psychological Society Referral Line (National) 1800 333 497
* Mental Health Information Service (NSW) – 1300 794 991
* Kids Helpline (National) – 1800 551 800

My kids don’t think I’m a person, or “Parents Have Feelings Too”

I was putting Oscar to sleep last night, and as he was just about asleep I tried to extricate myself from the  simultaneous death grip he had around my left leg, my right arm and my neck (Yes. I am serious).

He quickly tightened his hold on my neck – to almost choking point, in fact:

“Where you going?”

“Mummy needs the toilet. I’ll be right back.”

Oscar only clamped on to my arm and leg tighter:

“No.”

“Darling, I need to wee.”

“No. You stay here.”

And as my bladder began to scream at me, and he drifted further into sleep, he loosened his chinese-burn hold on my arm. I slowly slid it out of his embrace and tucked it behind my back.

Lest he reach out and try to grab it again.

Osky, Mummy’s gotta wee.”

He mumbled, emphatically (which I now know is possible):

“No. Mummies not need wee!”

And despite the fact he’s followed me to the toilet – uncountable times – and witnessed my bladder and bowel movements, he was sure.

Mummy’s not need wee.

Or at least, we don’t ever need to go. We have untold control over the whole world – and that encompasses our bodily functions, don’t you know?

I consider my kids pretty emotionally intelligent beings.

They are the first to ask after a person if they seem down – the first to feed off a person if they are up.

They read people’s energy like masters of chakra.

But me? I’m their MUM.

And although they understand that I do, in fact, feel:

(“Mummy, you sad?”

Yes. A little bit.”

“Cos we naughty?”

Not naughty... But that was very silly, OK?”

Kisses and hugs abound:

“OK Mum. You not be sad enn-ee-more? OK? OOOOKAAAY?”)

I wonder if they know that I have feelings? Both physical and emotional.

I can’t remember how old I was when I realised my parents had real feelings.

I do remember once, at the age of about 8 (maybe 7?) realising I had hurt my father’s feelings quite momentously.

I farewelled my stepfather “Daddy” at the weekend drop off and the look on my father’s face was the stuff of nightmares.

still feel guilty, now at age 30, such was the realisation that not only did my Dad have feelings, but that I could effect them in such a way.

Dad hasn’t ever mentioned it again – because I was a child and the situation was not of my making. I’m sure I’m forgiven, just as I forgive my children when they tell me I’ve got a “big bottom!”.

But that sudden knowing my Dad was a person? That was both shocking and guilt-inducing enough that I think of it more and more often as my children leave the toddler years behind.

My kids are now 5 and 4 (X 2), and I wonder – how long until they realise I am a person?

Because seriously, I need to wee.

When did you first realise your parents were people too?

Do your kids use chinese burn death grips to ensure you don’t leave them at night?

Do you need to wee?