Why I wouldn’t mind being an 80’s mum…

 

Hey 2016 mums, hold on to your almond milk lattes and cacao protein balls…this will really freak you out.

Here is a picture of my 80’s mum.  It was taken with an actual camera. To see this photo she had to first finish the film, take it to the shops to be developed, wait up to a week and then go back to see that 20 of the 24 pictures had a dirty finger blocking the lens and that her children weren’t even looking at the camera.

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You also won’t believe it but she didn’t take this photo of herself. Long, long ago mums didn’t need to take photos of themselves being mums and doing mum things. Apparently it was very possible to look after your kids and not tell every Sue, Sharon and Tracy about it. Kind visitors would offer to take pictures for you if they believed what you were doing was worthy of taking a photo. Unbelievable…..I know. How did she know she was doing a good job as a mum if there was no one there to ‘like’ and comment on her post workout photo? Taken whilst balancing her kids on her size 6 hip and removing gluten free, dairy free, vegan friendly, sugar free, organic substitute muffins from the oven? How did she keep going without reading ego stroking comments like ‘wow…you really are a supermom!’ or ‘You look amazing’.

And OMG what is mum wearing? Where is her ‘active wear’? No Lorna Jane here. Good mums don’t sit down during the day to play with their own kids? They go to the gym. Good mums also drop the older kids off at school, then take the remaining children to as many activities as they can in 5 hours. Apparently children very much enjoy going to places where other adults play with your kids for you. No, don’t be fooled – the 2 year old’s you see being dragged into Kindygym and gymnastics kicking and screaming actually really love it and they’ll be photos on Instagram later to prove it.

Hang on….Is that a disposable nappy I can see peaking over the top of my non-branded kids clothing? Why aren’t I wearing a 100% hemp/bamboo blend recyclable and reusable nappy? This must be the reason I have issues as an adult. And check out the daggy surrounds. Where is the abstract art? Designer rug? And on trend colour palette?

You get my point right. This week I could literally vomit at what I have seen and heard coming from the mouths and social media accounts of 2016 mums. Admittedly I can log off. I know being on social media has inadvertently overexposed me to a whole group of what can only be described as ‘asshole mums, but let’s face it they are everywhere. I guess I’ve just been trying hard to hide from them since 2010.

Don’t get me wrong – I have also had my crack at making  ‘clean muffins’ and I also take my kids to activities and post on social media, but please stop me when I begin think that I am the most amazing mum in the world because of it. Truth be told- some days I take my kids to activities because I can’t cope at home all day. I make muffins because I know it will waste an hour of the day and keep the boys from hitting each other over the head. I don’t do things for ‘likes’. This morning I got caught at school drop off dragging my screaming son from our car and allowing him to fall on to the grass in a heap to teach him a lesson. Yep….great mum! Will I be posting photos of myself and screaming son on Instagram with captions such as ‘love of my life’ while we gaze into each other’s eyes today? No, no and more no! Of course he is the love of my life, but today he was a little poo.

This week one of my ‘mum activities’ after school drop off was taking our broken laptop in for repairs in with 3 year old in tow. I handed the crumpled, used Aldi bag containing my laptop over the counter proudly exclaiming ‘all the cords are in there’ (secretly thinking how organized I was). After spending a second looking through the bag the repair guy replies ‘yeah I think there’s even some underwear in there too’. Shock, horror – sitting in the bag peering up at me were a pair of my dirty knickers that must have fallen inside in the weeks that the bag has been sitting in my wardrobe. Yep great mum……

Life is not perfect despite some people’s attempts to fool everyone on Facebook.

I guess my angry little point is, when did we become so needy and reliant on gaining other peoples approval in order to measure and compare our worth as a mum? Why are some going to absolute extremes to portray a ‘perfect mum’ profile? Or casting the net further – why do some people make up completely false online lives for themselves, and then you’re face to face and don’t recognize them?  The sane amongst us are not buying it…we should be reading between the lines. Get real. It is often those who spend the most time talking about how great life is….who are trying hardest to convince themselves.

Mums have been raising kids for thousands of years. You are not a super mum, superwoman or mum because you made your child hand rolled sushi for lunch and took a photo of them eating a coconut today. Nothing at all wrong with doing any of the above, but the ‘mummy –bragging’ has to stop. Stop speaking ‘out loud’ or ‘online’ about things that we don’t need to hear about. Keep it to yourself. Be humble, be helpful. Be real and be a friend to other mums who are also dealing with ‘little poos’ today. Take and post photos because you love them not because you need to be validated by strangers…because people who really know you, know that it’s all bullshit.

Our 80’s mums did it……..and they did it well. Guess what, they didn’t even need the photos prove it.

In other words…..best ‘net’ words of the week

I can’t seem to find my words lately. I know they are in there somewhere, but when the world gets messy they are usually the first casualty. So instead of my usual rants I thought I would steal the words of others. Despite loathing many of the cliche’, self promoting texts and meme’s that float through social media,  Every now and then someone will send me one that will make me genuinely belly laugh, or strongly resonate with me. These are some of the recent ones that have made the famous ‘so funny I will screenshot them’ collection.

 

Enjoy!

 

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I love this one…….I do wonder sometimes if the ‘excessive’ status updater’s are trying hardest to convince others of something they don’t quite believe themselves?

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mmmmm…..I am very guilty of this one, perhaps why I laughed so hard on reading it.

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enough said……….Sadly I am sure you could all think of someone this could apply too.

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Beautiful…not too sure if it was actually Shakespeare, but worthy all the same. The sad thing about this one is those playing the game are often too self absorbed to notice that no one else is playing any more.

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Okay I know….this one is very juvenile but I am constantly listening out for strange sounds in night, as my husband is often away working. I can soooooooo imagine this happening in my house! I am thinking I’d go with the laugh……..

 

 

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I am so SICK TO DEATH of people saying ‘everything happens for a reason’ after something has gone wrong. Yes…thankyou for stating the obvious…but sometimes shit things just happen, and not because of some divine intervention but because of sometimes people just do shitty things to each other!

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LOVE THIS ONE ……..You have officially entered parenthood when you do this at 4am on the way to the toilet. You get back into bed hopping around on one leg wondering how the bloody hell the Lego even got into your room. Usually a few choice words to go along with this one.

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Ha! Pure brilliance…………that is all.

 

 

Anyway….hope you enjoyed my ‘cheat’ post for the week. If you have any that will make me laugh…please forward:)

Have a great weekend!

 

 

 

Online safety: Your children are STILL not listening!

 

 

If you are the parent of school aged children then you need to keep reading. It is time to be honest with yourselves and take notice before your child becomes the next victim. Am I being an ‘over the top’ teacher? Probably yes, but the reality and consequence for not taking action is frightening. Read On……………………….

This week I have intervened in several situations involving students compromising their safety by sharing personal information online. In each situation the child believed they were innocently posting photos for friends when they had in fact given online predators a map and a green light to track them down.

Student 1 (Sibling of a student at our school): Using her Instagram account posted a screen shot of her online banking balance page in an attempt to show friends how much she had saved for an upcoming holiday. In doing so she had shared her account numbers, branch BSB numbers and full identification details to her closest 500 followers.  To her credit she had try to use a fading out application, but the numbers could still easily be identified. On closer investigation I was horrified to realise her account was not set to private….so she had actually shared this with every Tom, Dick  and weirdo whose favourite pastime is to troll social media sites looking at pictures of teenage girls.

Student 2: Year 12 student excitedly posted a screen shot of her newly attained drivers licence. Address, birthdate, eye colour, signature and licence number clearly visible. Whilst this account was set to private, I was still able to gain access to this picture through other ‘open’ accounts.

These girls are capable, friendly and intelligent students, imagine what the silly ones are getting up to?

I know for certain that the schools are doing their part.  As early as Year One, students are engaged in Online Safety Curriculum and conversation. Students using computers as part of a 1 to 1 program at every year level must attain a a ‘Net-passport’ That is only issued on completion of  a Net-Tiquette Program, based solely on cyber safety, bullying and privacy issues. Many schools also arrange visits from detectives working in ‘Online Crime to speak with their Year Sevens about protecting online identities. The students are always shocked when the detective arrives with a book full of personal information on our students, retrieved after only minutes of searching the names on our class lists. How easy would it be for the professional perverts who have hours a day to spend on this type of sinister research?

But are the parents also keeping up their end of the Education? Seriously ask yourself Do you really know what your children are posting online? When was the last time you looked at what they were posting? When was the last time you sat down with them and had a good chat about web safety and Net-Tiquette? Or do you believe it is solely the school’s job to sort this out for you?

After seeing some truly stupid posts placed online by parents themselves, I wonder is ‘Adult –Education’ the problem? Many adults do not seem to realize that anything posted online forms part of your digital footprint or online identity, and once published is there for all to see. Most employers will now run an online search for perspective employees, so you better hope you are setting your children up for success. A prominent Queensland netballer, 25 years old, has even been through the courts recently after being blackmailed by an online stalker to whom she posted private photos to. You would imagine that by 25 years old you would have gotten the message loud and clear.

Whilst it doesn’t surprise me, it does anger me that Child Safety continues to be compromised due to a lack of education. So if you have no idea about how to get the ball rolling have a quick look at the following guidelines which apply to adults and students and are endorsed by most local authorities on the matter.

–          Never post a photo of your child wearing their school uniform. Whilst the first day of school pics are adorable this is an easy way to hand feed information to strangers. Uniforms give a lot of information away. For starters- The address and exact whereabouts of your child between 8:30am -3pm. It all amazes me when parents post these pictures and you can even read the name of the school on the shirt.

–          Do not use (or use sparingly) the ‘check in’ feature on Facebook. I have seen so many people checking into their own house, a feature which not just gives strangers your rough address but is also so helpful it provides them with map in case the weirdo can’t find you already!

–          If you must use the ‘check in’ feature do not check in at after school activities such as footy practice, ballet etc. For obvious reasons. Not only does this let everyone know where your child is, it also tells them that you are not at home, leaving you vulnerable to a whole host of other nasties.

–          Use an online alias. There is absolutely no need for you to sign up for a Social Media Account using your own name. Change it slightly or use a middle name as a surname.

–          Make sure your child’s profiles are set to PRIVATE!!!!! Obviously as a teacher I am approached by many students on social media. I am shocked by how many students still have their accounts open. Unbelievable.

–          Do not use your own photo or image for your profile picture. Even with a private setting, a google search using your name will still yield results including the photo you use as a profile picture. Choose a cartoon character, object or symbol rather than your own face. Avoid using a drunk photo from last year’s Christmas Party. Not a good look.

–          Make sure you are ‘friends’ or a ‘Follower’ of your child. If they don’t want that, then there is something wrong. This is also a great way to keep an eye on bullying and also what other children are posting of your children. Eg; your child may not post ‘wrong’ photos on their own sites, but are others doing it for them? To those that say this is an invasion of privacy, go and google ‘Carly Ryan, Adelaide’. I bet her mum only wishes she had invaded her daughter’s privacy a lot sooner, a heartbreaking story, but sadly it doesn’t stand alone.

–          Make sure you know what the following Social Media Sites are and do a search; Kick, Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Askfm, Twitter. These change every day, it is our job to keep up with them.

 I know many of you are thinking, ‘I don’t even have enough time to check my own Facebook ! How will I get around to all that?’ Well the answer must be Make the time. If you have given them the device to be online, then you need to educate them on how to ‘be online’.

  It is the same as giving them a car and allowing them to drive without a licence.

 I shall now hop down from my high horse, I think he is tired.

 

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Selfie Taker or Selfie Hater?

Selfie Taker or Selfie Hater?

Maybe it is my age letting me down here, or perhaps that I have always tried my best to avoid a camera, but I am in a total state of confusion when it comes to this narcistic ‘Selfie’ trend.

For those who are blissfully unaware, or have managed to avoid this new breed of ‘duck faced’ amateur modelling contestants, according to the ‘Urban Dictionary’, which we all know is 100 percent accurate and completely scientific, A Selfie is:

‘A picture taken of yourself that is planned to be uploaded to Facebook, Myspace or any other sort of social networking website. You can usually see the person’s arm holding out the camera in which case you can clearly tell that this person does not have any friends to take pictures of them so they resort to Myspace to find internet friends and post pictures of themselves, taken by themselves. A selfie is usually accompanied by a kissy face or the individual looking in a direction that is not towards the camera.’

 

For some freaky reason it has become social vogue to take a photo (or even ten photos) of your own head, usually looking nothing like your own ‘every day’ head but a slippery, lip glossed version of yourself, and then publishing it as many times as humanly possible on the internet. The ‘Selfie’ person then acts really overwhelmed and surprised when they receive comments from acquaintances telling them how ‘wonderful’ they look, by responding with utter stupidity.

For example:

‘You look so hot’

‘I do not, you do’

‘No, you do’

‘No you do…..’

‘Thanks babe, I love you’

‘ I love you more’

(Yes as sad as it is I actually copied this from Instagram)

Sometimes the Selfie Addict will repeat the same stupid looking face the next day, but with a different comment that will usually have nothing to do with the picture. Think big lips, stupid pouting face, enough cleavage to house a small family from Cambodia and a caption reading #myfeetaresore. Err I’m sorry, have I missed something? I can’t even see your feet?

 

Okay, so after speaking with some little people who know nothing of life before the internet, I am beginning to understand that this is the tool teenagers now use to gain an instant self-esteem boost. Apparently there is an acceptable number of ‘likes’ that you must receive in order to avoid being a ‘loser’ or god forbid the subject of an ‘ugly’ photo. It’s almost like an instant popularity poll. As troubling as it is, I can at least see the motive here. But can someone please explain why the hell grown adults jumping on board with this?

There is usually a ‘type’ that fits the ‘Selfie’ taking profile.

  1. Recently separated, back on the prowl.
  2. Just bought a new lipstick.
  3. Just lost 40kg and need to show everyone my new skinniness and receive many shocked comments about how much weight I have lost. Preferably from people I use to go to school with when I was fat.
  4. New haircut recipient
  5. Idiot
  6. Drunk Idiot
  7. Person over 60 trying to take a photo of something else but accidentally snaps their own head.
  8. Teenager
  9. 3 year old on rampage with mums Iphone, mum has not yet realised phone is missing.
  10. People without mirrors?

Some questions to ponder about the Selfie:

Why are there no ugly Selfies? Did anyone ever take a Selfie of their newly ripened pimple?

Why don’t truly hideous looking humans take Selfies?

Is a Selfie only a Selfie if someone else sees it?

Why don’t men take Selfies?

Is it a fear of being forgotten? Is the Selfie a reminder for everyone, or a cry for help? ‘I’m still here everyone, just letting you know….again, and again, and again’

So what are your thoughts? Are you a Selfie taker or a Selfie hater?

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Time for some ‘small’ changes around here

For many people the 1st of January delivers hopes and dreams of a better year to come. For some of us it evokes delusional thoughts. Like a red rag to a bull, it signals the time to make outrageous commitments to impossible and unearthly actions. Like some kind of fat, immoral and unfit super hero ( Slothman? Posturkeybum-woman?  Dranktoomuchwineandcider-woman? ) you commit to losing 203kg in 3 weeks but decide to actually start this crusade when the Christmas food runs out ( because the chocolates were a gift and it would be rude not to eat them). You decide to run a marathon when the only previous running experience you have involves running for the bus. Of course there is also those who swear that this is the year they will do something to help out humanity, because liking a Facebook page that claims to stop cat’s being turned into seat warmers if it gets 99,000 hits no longer counts.

 

I’m not here to mock the efforts of my fellow man. Yes, I am some of the above. I will also be relieved when the Chrissy chocolates are finally gone, I cannot sit by and watch them shout helplessly from the plate ‘eat me’. It is of particular annoyance when the Quality Streets have whittled down to the last crappy toffee penny’s and that unidentified brown one that no one likes, and you feel like you have to eat them just to get a clean slate. I will also try and commit to running a half marathon, which may turn into just the 10km depending on how much time I can give to training , but at least this is attainable as I already love to run. But these are silly and superficial resolutions that ultimately will not affect anyone if they are not achieved.

 

 I mentioned in my last blog, I want to make some big changes around our house and in our lives. I think by December I felt exhausted. Despite 2013 delivering me some of my most precious moments in life, it also handed me my worst. I was tired of the year and felt a real need for change. Not so much physical change, but a mental one. I want to start the New Year fresh and try to hold onto to some of that ‘January’ enthusiasm and positivity well into the year……well, at least June, or maybe this is too optimistic.

 

By February when most have returned to work and the daily grind begins to rear its ugly head, it becomes easy to slip back into our negative and unappreciative ways. Some events of last year made me sit up and appreciate. In those moments of clarity, nothing was more important than having people around me. The material world faded away and I was left feeling like more time should be spent working on ‘us’ and not the objects around us. I want to bottle this feeling and carry it with me, just to open the lid now and then and remember how I felt in my ‘shitty’ moments when I forget and lose my way. So that is what I want to do this year. I want to work on making life simple, stripping back our day to day lives, back to the core of what makes us happy, and that is family, love and the simple things in life.

 

Here’s what I am thinking:

 

I want my husband and I to save our ‘best’ for each other, not for complete strangers or for people at work. Let me explain. You know when you bump into someone accidentally and without seeing who it was you bumped, you provide a fabulously heartfelt apology? And then after realizing it was your husband or brother you say ‘ohh’ almost to say’ if I knew it was you I wouldn’t have bothered’. We tend to use our best manners, give our best compliments and allocate more patience to those who mean least to us, than we do for those closest to us.

 

I want our house to have less luxuries during ordinary time. I want my children to be excited by a trip to get ice cream, not expectant. This really hit home on a recent trip out to a Christmas show where we offered our son an ice-cream and he politely turned it down. I was left thinking ‘what is wrong with this kid? There were plenty of other children brimming with excitement at choosing their flavours and my son was here not even wanting one. It was because it wasn’t special anymore, ice-cream has become an everyday luxury for many children these days. Not by fault of their own, but by fault of their parents comfortable circumstances. I was particularly moved by a mother who had taken her children to the same show and had packed a picnic, and her two small children were quite content eating bananas and drinking cordial. I wondered if she was a single mum who had saved for months to take her children to a show that we decided to attend at the last minute. How lucky we are.

 

 

I want us to be more ‘present’. Instead of being behind a camera lens every time there is a memorable moment, how about actually seeing it through our own eyes and making a real memory? I am sick of being out and about and seeing parents watching their children grown up through their Iphone camera. In the line-up to see Santa this year I even saw a mother who was shouting so hard at her children to look at the camera, she hadn’t even realised that they weren’t really enjoying themselves at all, the smallest was bawling her eyes out. The mother kept persisting and I’m sure she would’ve posted the sensational picture online with some caring and loving hashtag about how nice the day was with her children. In reality they had a crap time being yelled at so mum could take a great picture for Facebook.

 

This leads me to another Iphone related resolution. There is no need to constantly check our phones to see who has made contact with us in the 2 seconds since we last looked. Our children do not need to look up to show us the tower they have just proudly built, and have to wait in line for us to check our Twitter accounts. Should they be coming second place to our fake online lives? Could we just wait until they aren’t in the room or have gone to bed? I’m sure if there is a major world event, we will find out in good time. It makes me sad to watch kids looking up to see if mum and dad were watching them swing themselves on the playground like ‘big boys’ for the first time only to see mum and dad staring like zombies at a plastic screen that appears to be constantly attached to their hand. This surely sends our kids the message that this plastic thing is more important to them. So whilst I cannot promise not to check my phone during the day, I do want to try and make sure that If I am missing out on a moment with my boys, that it is for something worthy. Give them their moments, there will come a day where they won’t ask us to look anymore.

 

I want to try and get out for a few more social drinks every now and then. I don’t want to look at others with envy when I hear they have been out socializing. Sometimes you need to find out for yourself that you would rather be at home and that the hangover isn’t worth it.

 

Finally, I want to spend more time worrying about people who also make it their job to worry about me. Someone once told me it is time to let go a little when ‘They are a priority in your life, but you are an afterthought in theirs’. Such true words. You can’t force people to care as much as you do about things in life, but you can certainly be less disappointed when it happens. The people who will sit by my side and hold my hand in the end are the people I want to appreciate this year.

 

 

 

So this is what I want us to try this year. I say try, because of course we aren’t perfect and a few falls are necessary on the way to actual change. Even if we can do a little bit of each of these, it will be an improvement. What are your resolutions for 2014?

 

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I Hoard People

Today I was scrolling through my phone contacts and came across ‘Barry’. Who the hell is Barry? Not only did this Barry make it to an actual named position on my contacts list, but his importance in my life at one time or another even warranted some additional information, as on further inspection,  he was actually listed ‘Barry from the Eastend’.

 For a while now, I have felt the need to ‘hoard’ people. Some people hoard magazines or tupperware containers, some keyrings and old video collections (even though they no longer own a VCR) Me, I hoard people. For a long time now I have felt the need to remain in contact with every person I have ever made friends or acquaintance with, including many people from my teenage years. Actually, if I’m really honest…If I were to have met them again for the first time I would hate them. Maybe I don’t even like them now? But for some reason I feel the need to continue the friendship.

I guess I figure, ‘It’s only a phone call one every few months’. But no, I think I’ve had enough. I wonder would happen if I just didn’t call anymore? Maybe they too are sitting there thinking, ‘I wish this weirdo would just piss off and leave me alone, I’m not sure why she still rings me?’ Or maybe that is my paranoia speaking, see even in my imagination I have people speaking about me.

Yes some people have disappeared off the radar, but that is because they were better at the ‘ Yearly friend stocktake’ than I am. They have no shame in just ‘not contacting’ people once their relevance and usefulness has expired.  

What is this Yearly stocktake I speak of? Well it was actually my brother who introduced me to this idea. It’s exactly the same process as the Myer Stocktake sale, but it applies to people not products. Once a year he will actively ‘cull’ his friends. It is a ruthless act that I have been so envious of in the past. I would cringe at the thought of bumping into the ‘Culled’ friend and having to explain that I just didn’t think we were gaining anything from keeping this friendship thing going. As a ‘non-facebook user, it is not as easy as just deleting a friend. For me it would involve the conscious act of ignoring all contact and / or no longer initiating it. 

See my brother’s idea was actually a true testament to his honesty. He was sick and tired of people hanging around on Facebook and in real life, who offered little or nothing to the friendship, besides pissing everyone off with updates about their dinner or other other attention seeking topics. NEWSFLASH: No one else feels that your child is the ‘most beautiful thing they have ever seen’ In fact, many of us who are not related to your child are actually questioning the paternity, and secretly comparing it’s likeness to a cat.

I am sick of pretending to be impressed by your new gluten free, dairy free, taste free, commune inspired lifestyle that is unfortunately the complete opposite of mine.

 I am not excited by your homemade seats. I wish I could be, but see by the time you have purchased the materials to make your recycled products, it was cheaper to go to Ikea.  I really hate that you want everyone to respect your dog like it is a person. I love dogs too but if I had to kill you or your dog, it would be your dog and I can’t apologise for that. Worst of all, please don’t pretend to make future plans to see me just to fill in space on the text message. We both know it will not be happening, and I’m beginning to feel like the child with the imaginary friend for going along with it.

So maybe it is me who is the fraud. Maybe by remaining in contact or accepting these false gestures of friendship, I am being dishonest. When is it time to call it a day? I’ve realised that there is no shame in acknowledging that you no longer have anything in common. Maybe it is time for a Stocktake? But being a little on the cowardly side…I might ease myself into this with a ‘silent stocktake’.

 

NB- Barry was some man I had contacted a few times in regards to a holiday rental. His house was rubbish but I didn’t have the heart to tell him we didn’t want it. I kept his number in my phone so I would know it was him if he called, and I I’m ashamed to say if he had of, I would have ignored it.Imagefriends