Barren.

May 20, 2012

Now here’s another post that has been hard to write. It’s funny that when I discuss people I know and love, it becomes difficult to ensure I get it right – to respect them.

I feel a little ashamed about my last post – carrying on about the difficulties of motherhood – when there are SOOO many women who would give anything and everything (and financially, they generally do) to be able to have a baby.

A very close and dear friend of mine, is in a horrible, heart-wrenching, never-ending roundabout – desperately trying to fall pregnant and it’s getting towards the end of ‘trying’ through IVF…and she’s so very, very sad.

She used the word barren.

It’s such a confronting word – like a slap – and it pained me to hear her say it about herself, with such anguish. I didn’t know how to console her. How could I? When I know that if I were in her place, I’d be devastated…just like she is.

My friend is not someone who ‘left it too late’ – although she is 40+ – she just met the perfect, love of her life in her mid-30s. They are a beautiful couple who are so blessed to have found each other; it’s such a cruel irony that they seem unable to conceive and take that natural next step.

In her place, I’d be wallowing in a murky sea of, “Why?” As she put it, on paper everything looks right – but it just isn’t happening and in this day and age of advanced technology – they can’t tell her why.

To add salt to the wound – she is friends with a couple (two males) who have two children, through surrogacy. They are close and my friend is not only delighted for them but is also God Mother to one of the children – but the surrogacy door is closed for her because here in NSW, it’s a criminal act (as of last November) to pay someone to have your child:

“It will impose penalties of two years’ jail, a $110,000 fine, or both on parents who pay for a surrogate here or abroad to carry their child.” *

…unless my friend moves to Victoria – where it’s legal. So we are a divided nation on the topic of surrogacy, it seems.

And what does the future hold for women in this situation? Well, they see a bleak and lonely one – one where they can’t pass on their lessons on life to their child, wrapped in unconditional love. Worse still, they wonder whether they’ll be enough for their partner – not being able to ‘give’ them a child.

Question #45: Are there any of you out there who can bestow some wisdom and support on this matter?

I’ve known quite a few women throughout my life, who have found pregnancy – such a natural and seemingly easy thing to do – skip past them. They’ve had to go through the pain of seeing their period arrive, over and over again, and get that sinking feeling – a hole where hope was bubbling only a moment ago. I felt that stomach plummet sensation twice – once before each one of my girls decided to join me. Each time I thought, “Oh no.”

But if I multiply those two nothing moments in my life, by the countless times these women see their period arrive, before they decide to try IVF and suffer egg extractions, needles, pills…and STILL see their period arrive…well, I can’t know what sort of grief that brings – but I did hear it in my friend’s voice.

It’s an understatement to say that I feel fickle and ungrateful, complaining about my children…simply being children. I know that many women would swap with me in a heartbeat.

My heart goes out to all the women who experience these soul-destroying months.

… and I send out my deepest love to you, dear friend.

Deep Breath.

x

* http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/diet-and-fitness/how-what-nicole-kidman-has-done-will-soon-be-a-crime-in-nsw-20110118-19v10.html

Mothers’ Day.

May 13, 2012

Here’s to you.

Here’s to Us.

To the lives and households we run;

To the families we are raising – teaching – guiding…

…the same families who drive us insane!

1. FOOD – We think about what everyone will eat – all. the. time.

  • What needs to be done:  *Write shopping list, *Do shopping, *Put away shopping, *Cook, *Bear 2.7 questions an hour from children about what they can eat, *Organise food for meals and snacks whenever outside the home…etc.

2. APPEARANCES – We worry about the state of our family’s clothing and general grooming issues.

  • What needs to be done: * Remind children to put dirty clothes IN the basket *Soak clothes, *Wash clothes, *Hang clothes, *Bring in clothes off the line, *Iron clothes, *Take clothes to corresponding rooms, *Go shopping for clothes, *Shower/Bath routines, *Hair Brushing, *Finger and Toe nail appearances…etc.

3. CHILDREN – 24/7.

  • What needs to be done: *Remember…EVERYTHING, *Continually Repeat All Instructions/Statements…over and over again, *School Matters – Sign notes + know what days Library Day/Sports’ Uniform Day fall on, *Coordinate dropping off and picking up from Day Care/School, *Organise Holiday activities and playdates *Doctors’ appointments, *Sickness…etc. etc. etc.

4. BED-TIME ROUTINE – Yes, it’s a dot point on its own!

  • What needs to be done: *Remind children of their expected routine – with 5 minute reminders, *Be prepared to be asked to listen to something REALLY important, at this time; every night – it goes something like this, “Muuuum?” “What.” “Can I tell you something?” “Go to bed.” “Pleeaaasse?” “What.” “Uuuuummm….”, *Have about an average of three things each child has ‘forgotten’ to do, that comes to mind at this time of the night…etc.  ._.

5. LOVE LIFE – We worry about our relationships with our partners.

  • What needs to be done: *Well, every relationship is different – you know what you do.

6. WORK – A juggling and balancing act.

  • What needs to be done: *Aaah…Juggle and Balance – whether full-time, part-time, job-sharing, casual, shift-work  – it’s another complicated job.

7. TIME FOR YOU – Few and far between.

  • What needs to be done: *Find time! Really. Get out and have time away from it all – even for a little while…I’ll babysit for you!

8. ETC. ETC. ETC. – Everything Else.

For all these areas, there is help – some mothers get more; some less – but everything is ALWAYS a part of a mum’s thoughts.

And the quality that weaves through all of us is:

Strength.

I think what we do as mothers is simply gob-smacking.

It’s the toughest gig there is – but when those windows of sun and wonderfulness bathe us…well, we understand the why; enough to keep going onwards.

I only hear stories of what’s ahead and it sounds like this ride never eases up – bring it, I say!

I salute you all.

Mothers of all ages.

All my Love.

x

This post is dedicated to my mum. Un beso grande, Mamá.

Your wisdom.

May 5, 2012

I just came in from hanging out the washing – on this magnificent day in Sydney. Clouds are starting to come over now – but that sun is yummy, when it pokes through. It’s made a weekly chore a pleasure to do; in that peace and warmth.

The best part is – my children aren’t here.

This is hard for me to write admit because I’m going through a very challenging time with my girls – especially my youngest. She’s 5.

I need your advice.

I never thought motherhood was going to be such a tough gig. I know in my heart that I couldn’t imagine a life without my girls…although on days like today, I cherish not having them around – so I can reboot.

Sometimes I feel like a great mother and I think how lucky I am – and at others, more often than not, I feel a despair and think, “What am I doing?” I hear a lot of mothers really sound like they are having such a positive and wonderful experience with their kids, and I feel like a fraud. Sometimes.

Basically, our home is one of fighting. The majority of the time, it’s the girls with each other but it always trickles down to me. They fight about everything – about who hurt whom, who took what they were playing with, who’s not letting them have a turn – everything. Hubby and I rarely fight – and if we do, it’s not in front of them – so it’s just a battle with each other…and me.

I have alone time with both girls, for about 3 hrs every afternoon. Some of the time, it’s a battle-of-wills with my youngest – who always says, “No” or “Awww?” to just about every instruction or statement I make. Now, I’ve always had a short temper – but I truly believe that I have improved over the years (it takes longer for me to get worked up) because I want to have control over it and model it to the girls.

So, I’m making the best of efforts, to be a better role model – by expressing what I need to, without anger – and positively reward their good behaviour. I do that with a spontaneous show of affection (lots of kisses), tell them I love them, say a, “That’s the way!” when they do a good gesture toward each other…I even took them to see Mirror, Mirror last week, as a treat…

…but on some days, I just reach a stage where I lose my block. It’s always verbal (shouting); we don’t smack – but when I lose it like that, I think it’s just as bad as a smack – just as damaging. I sometimes feel like I have an out-of-body experience, watching my behaviour show my daughters how to deal with tough situations –  in 3D; with Dolby Surround Sound; on an IMAX screen!

On days like these – I feel like it’s all for nothing because of the GIANT leap backwards, we just took – thanks to me.

But it’s incessant – the asking, the asking again – even though the reason was calmly given with the answer, the whingeing – when they know it might not go their way, the debate – loathing sentences that start with, “But you said…”

Let me say, that they don’t get their way – especially if they engage. But that’s the biggest problem – I don’t let up and they don’t let up. Especially my youngest; when she latches on, she’s on tight for the ride…

Every. Time. About. Anything.

It’s exhausting.

I need enlightenment from my sisters – of any age.

Question #40: Are there any wise words to impart?

I saw the name of the image below, The Wisdom Path, and loved it.

…looks like a long trip, doesn’t it?

Deep Breath

x

No question today.

March 24, 2012

This is a quick post to let you all know that I’m still here…

A saddish day today – no hits. Not one.

Oh well…*shaking it off with a smile*

It has been a busy, busy, busy week – the usual running around for the family – volunteered yesterday morning to do some mail drop-offs; of my school’s flyers for Open Day tomorrow – got bad food poisoning yesterday afternoon – yucky, vomitty sick for a few hours – went to work today; on an excursion – back to school to ready my Drama Room for Open Day – came home to do the drop-offs I couldn’t do yesterday, with the girls – did two loads of washing – cleaned the pool (got chlorine on my good, black work pants and bleached them….well, that’ll teach me – D’oh!) and cleaned up the kitchen…

Why so much work, you ask? Well, it gets better.

My favourite part of today, was packing my bag because after attending Open Day for a few hours tomorrow, I’m off to the Blue Mountains for the weekend for some serious R & R; a mini-break, as Bridget Jones would say. This is the backyard:

Just what the doctor ordered. *you should see my grin*

Make sure you all make room to do something for yourself this weekend – That’s an order!

x

PS I have something to discuss with you (as usual! *wink*) after the weekend, so stay tuned…

What a weekend of mixed emotions I just had. Two unique experiences with myself and some of the women who were around me, which I’ll cover over two postings.

First up – The Silly Female Conundrum

I actually got to go to a party on Saturday Night. A 30th party. With my husband. And NO children! Yipeeeeeee!

The dress code was formalish, so we had to dress up. Cocktail dress was on standby.

There was one hurdle in my bid to look faaabulous…well, a small hurdle.

About ten days ago, I was with my year group (Yr 11) on our camp. We were hiking down a very steep ‘trail’ (if you could call it that), in the bush of the Blue Mountains – when I proceeded to sprain my ankle – stacked it – and fell like a sack of potatoes onto my front. It was a tad embarrassing in front of the kids. *Awkwaaaard* They were great, actually – but I reckon that my friends, however, would have CACKED, if they were there. It was not graceful. I have a giggle when I picture how I must have looked.

Joking aside, I did hurt my ankle, quite a bit. It’s now starting to dawn on me, that in my increasingly aging body *cough, cough*, injuries will take longer to heal – as this one is.

So on this night of glamour, I took off the strapping the physio had put on it, so that I could wear some sort of footwear that didn’t include thongs. The bummer was that I couldn’t wear heels – I had to wear flats with my cocktail dress. Noice.

What’s the big deal, right? Well, yes – it wasn’t a big deal at all – there was just that silly part of me that just thought, “Bum.”

OK, so all is good on the shoe front…well, as good as it can be – it looked a teeny weird – but, oh well – I get started on the hair and makeup.

“Why isn’t my hair sitting properly? Every time I do it, it sits right, why isn’t it sitting right now? I know, I’ll give it just a teeny sprinkle of hair spray. Yep, that’ll do the trick.”

We’re running late. I hurry things up. I survey the finished product – “Yes….yes….wait – why’s my hair gone flat? Bloody hairspray!”

Too late, we have to go.

Finally we’re in the car and on our way! Wooo Hooooo!! Just one final face check and I’ll be sweet. *Look in mirror*  “Oh maaan – why did it not cross my mind to check my eyebrows before we left??”

You know that I’ve got another couple of ‘observations’ – but you well and truly get the idea. *Hanging my head in shame*

When we arrived, I scanned the room for the dear friend I was mainly going to see. I saw her and she was looking stunning (as usual) and I kept commenting to my hubby – what a gorgeous girl she is. Her smile lights up the room – just beautiful. When I told her I thought she looked great, she said, “Thanks, BUT…..”

And there she added her personal flaws.

Question #21: Why, oh why, do we do this to ourselves?

I honestly don’t notice other people’s ‘flaws’ because I see something brighter that overshadows everything; something deeper. That’s how I feel about all my women friends.

And I’m sure my friends feel the same with me. So if that’s true…why do we do it?

At the end of the day – with my unshaped eyebrows and gammy foot – I scrubbed up alright (and so did Hubby). All that silliness for what?

Yes, there’s that word again.

I was extremely grateful for my first male comment – expressing an opinion about how off-putting the word ‘feminist’ can be – especially to male. I want to include males in the conversation (and encourage them to join). The comment got me thinking about how our perceptions influence everything we experience in life. After all, your perceptions and perspective become your reality.

So, what is feminism?

1. the doctrine advocating social, political and all other rights of women equal to those of men.

2. an organised movement for the attainment of such rights for women.

That doesn’t sound so bad, does it?
So why is there such a negative connection to this movement?

The more important question is:

Question #19: Why is there STILL a movement?

I digress.

Maybe the negativity towards feminism is due to that common stereotype of angry, male-hating, bra burning females with hairy armpits. As much as I kind of understand not having to wear a bra (wouldn’t that be nice? Without the ‘girls’ quickly heading south and resting on our stomachs?) or shaving one’s legs and armpits, I think the key word there is angry. That’s what turns people off, I suppose.

But why shouldn’t there be anger, when it’s a question of equal rights?

Equal…not be judged on how similar we are, or should be, to males – but equal.
Equally needed. Equally valued. The yin to the yang.

I am a warrior for BALANCE.

Yes, I’m a [recent] feminist – I started to see. What I see is a world in trouble; tipping badly out of balance.

Yes, I feel a sting of anger towards the unequal place that females hold in our world.

My goal is to use a steady, but strong voice, hoping females join me in exercising their intelligence, to start shifting the current paradigm. I want to use this blog to make females – and males – aware of the saturation of images and stereotypes (in our ‘developed’ world) as well as the horrors inflicted on females in other parts of the world – due solely on their (our) gender.

All adults need to truly teach their daughters and sons – our future – how to navigate through the objectification and violence against females.

We need to empower girls in a diversity of ways – looks and weight being the least important – her mind being the most important.

Our boys and young males are in real danger as well – following a more misogynistic view of women due to the same images and stereotypes splashed everywhere they look. And now, on average, boys are starting to watch violent porn at 11 years of age.
Boys need to be taught to see it as abhorrent to see and treat females in the way they are currently; as anything less than equal.

I do not fight for me. I fight for any human being that is suffering injustice – it just so happens that statistically females are the predominant victims worldwide.

As a female, are you equal in EVERY aspect in your life? If you are, can you say the same for others? How can those sisters be helped? What about the way in which females are being portrayed in popular culture?

Bitch – Nag – Dumb – Useless – Slut – Fickle – Vain – Objectified Sex Kittens.

It’s easy to make females feel down about themselves by labelling them and keeping them in their place.

Question #20: What place do you hold?

I DO NOT hate males. I believe they are important and pivotal in creating a shift of perspective and change in our world – but they are currently running the joint…their way.

One gender in control = inequality.

We need BALANCE to make things right and just. Females ‘ruling the world’ would pose an equally, problematic existence.

50/50 should be the equation of males to females in any room on this planet, making a decision for their people. Nothing more; nothing less.

It’s the only way.

So, that’s the type of feminist I am – a calm and steady warrior, using her voice to get some balance in this wonderful, but absurd world.

Deep Breath

x

Am I on the right track?

February 21, 2012

Howdy all.

It’s been a few days since I last posted…where I used the scary word, ‘feminist’ in the title.

I was really hoping that this post would stir some reactions – anything really; a smiley face or a brief sentence telling me I’m off my rocker! But alas, it was not meant to be. For three days, I began to entertain serious doubt about what I was doing – was anyone reading?

On the fourth day, today, I got a comment – which brightened my somewhat gloomy disposition a lot. *Some hope*

I’m very new to all this, so it’s probably just due to the fact that I’m a newbie and that people don’t catch on to blogs until later – if they ever do.

But I have to say that I thought I would get more comments – albeit small ones – about the issues I’ve been raising.

Question #18: Are women afraid to voice their thoughts, in case someone may judge?

I understand the teeny prick of anxiety that comes with ‘putting things out there’ – believe me. Even some of the people I know are strangely silent about saying anything to me.

And that’s OK. Really. It’s just that I’m not sure what my fellow sisters are thinking about stuff going on in the world today, and more importantly, if they’re happy with the way things are at the moment – well, from my small perspective, anyhow. *shrug*

I truly believe we have incredible, intelligent, compassionate and inspirational qualities – which emanates a strength that can bring change. But only when we start to use our voice.

I’m willing to admit, though, that maybe it’s MY voice that’s not quite reaching you all the way I’d hoped – but hey, there’s nothing much I can do about that; so I shall continue onwards and upwards!

So, is ‘feminist’ a scary word? I don’t think so – just a wonderful sisterhood – who laugh, love and hold the world together, when they can.

With lots of love to you all. x