Because things are never as they first seem…………………



Our neighbours having been driving us insane. By neighbours, I mean their dog. It has howled and cried like an old sick, dying man being prodded up the bum with a hot iron for the past 6 months. With probably only a handful of nights that we haven’t been woken up; the tiredness is taking its toll. We are beyond exhaustion. Between the dying dog and our daughter who is still waking up at all hours, going to bed is no longer exciting; we dread it! It is like preparing for battle. We roll over every night and hope for the best.

Every day we wake up after another ‘midnight audience with stinky old dog’ and wish terrible, evil things upon the neighbours and every day we become cowards and say nothing to them. We were certain someone else would have to complain soon enough, so not being whingers; we left it.

Today after a year and a half of living in our ‘new’ house. I decided to pay a visit to the neighbours. No, it wasn’t to be brave and complain about the dog, but to chat about the trees we would be removing from our boundary fence.

I charged up to the door, tension building like you wouldn’t believe. In my head I had constructed a picture of an evil couple who were showing disregard for the human race by allowing their 99 year old mutt to howl at the moon every night. ‘Disrespectful @#$%^&’ my husband and I had called them for months. How can’t they hear this *&%$ dog barking at all hours? Surely if they had no respect for anyone, then taking the trees down was sure to start an argument. I slung my 1 year old on my hip and marched up the driveway.

I didn’t get a chance to knock on the door, sitting outside on the porch, lighting a cigarette was a frail, broken woman. After a year and a half of living next door, this lady had no idea who I was, did not even recognize me. She was talking to and feeding the Magpies. I had to introduce myself, still on the defensive and preparing for an argument. It was then a few moments in that my anger slipped away and was replaced with sadness and guilt. After a just a minute or two my neighbour (who as it turns out is named Chrissy not   ‘ *&%$head)  had spilled her heart out to a stranger. It seems her husband had left her after 30 years of marriage; she was a broken woman and clearly struggling. She confided to a not so close neighbour, though I suspect she would’ve told anyone who would listen that she had been in and out of the mental health hospital; that she felt she had lost her life. Clearly sedated at 3:30 in the afternoon, it became clear why she could not hear her dog barking. She was so highly medicated to escape her pain that a dog barking would have faded into the backround.

Suddenly my anger was gone. There was now a face to the evil person from next door, and more than that there was now a sad, lonely woman trying to claw her way back to life.  Chrissy even mentioned how excited she was that the trees were being removed and how her summer would now be much brighter from her side of the fence. What a shame that it had taken a year and a half to make contact with someone living a few metres away from us.

The guy chopping our trees down came to interrupt our conversation and I must admit I was a little embarrassed when he asked and realised it was the first time we had met. From the outside, their house looked the same as it had a year ago when things were good for them. But behind the fence things had fallen apart.

After being shocked to recently hear of another friend separating from her husband after being together from the age of 15, I was reminded that nothing can be judged from the outside. We certainly know nothing about what goes on behind closed doors.

Recent topics of conversation have also turned to the insecurities we are all feeling as a result of following particular identities on Instagram or Facebook. Each picture, each hashtag and each story just seems to be so perfect. The houses are perfect, the children are perfect. Every second mum is an ‘entrepreneur’. Hey, if you have kids and you’re not running a business then it seems you’re a lazy ass. The one thing I know for sure, is that not once have I posted a photo of the shit things in my life. Never do we see a post of the bills on the fridge that couldn’t be paid. Never do we see a post about how shit peoples’ marriages are, never do we see a post about what they are scared of or what their child ‘can’t do’ this week, or the fat, sugar laden takeaway that we ate for dinner this week.

It’s probably time we got real and at least once a week started posting the shit things. Or better still, that we logged off the social media accounts and instead of liking someone’s posts, wonder about what they aren’t saying or having the guts to post. My bet is they’re probably sitting behind their own fence, with their own barking dog.

In keeping with the ‘keeping it real’ posting I’d like to share a picture of my grotesque front door from my not so renovated house. Because after nearly 2 years here and a year off work, we just had other shit to pay for!















Only a mother could love them……

I have so much to catch up on here in Blogsville! Why is it that for 48 weeks of the year you could be the winner of ‘Australia’s Most Boring’ then for four weeks you live like the winner of Big Brother. You attend every event known to man and see more people in a week than you have in the last 10 years? It’s been such a big month. Weddings, elections, friends, family, birthdays, uni assignments and of course work.

Despite all of this excitement, I wanted to write about the two things that made me feel human this week. Sometimes things happen around us that make us sit back, shut up and leave us speechless.

After school each day the teachers wait with the children at the pick-up area. Most teachers hate this part, and admittedly some days I do stand there thinking ‘Hurry up and get your children, the quicker you come the quicker I can get my own boys’. This week I stood at pick up with tears in my eyes, hidden under my sunglasses of course. I watched as child after child ran excitedly towards their mums and dads with those big open armed hugs that only kids can give. It was like they hadn’t seen each other for years. The parents walked in one by one, some in work uniforms after a crappy day at work. Some feeling tired, some feeling completely ‘over it’. It would not have mattered if they had left the house fighting each other in the morning, all was forgotten by home time and their mums and dads were their heroes. One particular boy had been struggling with his behaviour all day. It was fair to say he was being a little…(insert word here).  By home time I was glad he was going home to someone else’s house. Moments later I looked up and saw his mum beaming from ear to ear as he ran towards her. Just goes to show even the naughty ones have a mum who thinks the world of them. Might just remember this next time I get a tricky one.

(NB: not all teachers leave on the bell, remember I’m doing casual work. Just had to add that in, as my teacher friends would kill me for feeding the great debate on teacher working hours)

Secondly, A few weeks ago I was stunned by the death of Charlotte Dawson. I felt so strongly about the issues surrounding her death that when I sat down to write about them I couldn’t. It was in the too hard basket. Where do you start? Suicide will always evoke extreme emotions, be it anger, guilt, sadness or disbelief. I guess at the end of the day, I didn’t because whenever a celebrity is pushed into the spotlight, I am left feeling like we should be telling the stories of the people behind the lights, the everyday strugglers, the ones whose stories are never told.

This week upon returning to work the staff were informed of the tragic passing of one of our young mums. She was 34 years old and had taken her own life in the most devastating way. She left behind a husband, a darling 5 year old daughter and a beautiful 7 year old son.  It is now known that she suffered from severe depression. I write this with just love and pure sympathy – absolutely no judgement. Judgement from others will not help her beautiful children as they try to live life without their mum. I looked at her little girl yesterday as she sat listening to me read her a story. Inside I was a weak mess but she smiled back at me waiting to hear more. I wondered what was going on in this little mind, and thought how most adults in the same situation would have lay on the floor kicking and screaming. Sometimes children are there to be the teachers. This five year old showed more courage, dignity and strength than most people I have ever encountered. At the end of the day she came to collect her sticker and her face lit up with excitement, just one week after losing the most important woman in her life, even if she hadn’t yet realised it was forever. She placed the sticker on her hand then skipped out of the room.

As a mum I was rocked to the core by this story. There have been moments where I myself have questioned if I was the best mum for my boys, luckily as with most people who doubt themselves, these thoughts were fleeting and I have a fabulous network of loved ones around for when days get tough. I guess the lesson learned here is that sometimes there is nothing that can keep people with us. But just in case there is a small chance, it costs nothing to ask ‘Are you okay?’