To Work Or Not to work? Go on I dare you……..

 

Yes it is that time of year again. Unless you are one of the odd people who have placed a ‘no junk mail’ sticker on your letterbox (odd because- I personally love a good thick wad of Junk Mail) you could not have missed the mountains of back to school sales dominating the catalogues.

 

 

 

The first day back at school is fast approaching and for some parents it couldn’t come quick enough. Many have run out of interesting ideas to keep bored children entertained, the play dough is mouldy, the textas are all stubby at the tip and the blow up paddling pools have gone a little green and funky. Parents everywhere are shouting ‘What about the two hundred toys you got for Christmas?’ For others it is a sad time of the year when they lose their babies and hand them over to be cared for by strangers for perhaps the first time in their short little lives. For some it also means that they are left wondering what to do with their spare time, and whether or not it signals time to return to the workforce after the ‘childrearing’ has become more of  a part time job.

 

 

 

It is also back to work for many teachers and educators, and for myself a return to work after spending the year with my family. There are certainly mixed emotions about this. You see I am probably in a small minority of people who adore their children but also actually love what they do. For many years my job was my identity and it was what made me tick. I arrived early and left late, and enjoyed the challenges and rewards of each day. I still believe there is no greater place to work than in a room full of fresh and innocent little people. Even if I could afford to have twenty years off, I would still choose to work.

 

 

 

Then there are the financial incentives. For many, working is essential. There is no magical bank account that continues to top itself up. I have worked from 15 years of age and cannot handle the feeling of ‘not contributing’. Yes sure, I realize my contribution is raising the children, his money is your money blah bah, but at the end of the day I have always earned my own money and contributed in some way. I also love the feeling of independence that comes with earning your own income.

 

 

 

It is also time for my eldest son to spend some time with someone other than me. He is ready, and I am ready too. He doesn’t see many people besides myself and is craving that play time with his peers. He tells me he is so excited to go to Kindy. We are the best of friends but can also have the best of battles. It is like arguing with a 3 and a half year old version of my husband and a couple of days at Kindy will do him the world of good. There are lessons that can’t be taught at home and those that can only be taught and understood in the context of a room full of children. I am so excited to get back, but only for a couple of days a week this time around. I just want to dip my toes into the adult world for a bit, whilst still enjoying vegemite on toast in my undies and the musical perfection that is ‘Playschool’ for the rest of the week.

 

 

 

 

 

Then there is the obvious down side. As a worrier, I panic that someone else will be caring for my children. Strangers. Are they really qualified? There is no one who loves my children more than I do, will they hold them if they cry? My ‘little’ one is still so little, what will he think when I leave him?

 

 

 

I was never destined to be a full time stay at home mum, it was never something that I wished or longed for. I still believe it is the hardest unpaid job around. No one knows how hard you work to make it look like nothing has happened all day and the days just roll into one. Whilst I love the clothes and lipstick….I was never going to make a great 50’s housewife. As controversial as this topic is, and always will be, I would love to hear the reasons and circumstances by which mums decide upon their pathways.

 

 

 

Is job satisfaction prior to having children a deciding factor as to whether people even want to return to their jobs?

 

 

 

Is it pressure from our families? Do we follow in the footsteps of our own mothers?

 

 

 

Do we feel less ‘valuable’ to society when we tick the ‘home duties’ box?

 

 

 

Is it just a financial decision?

 

 

 

Is it generational? Most judgement I have received is from ladies nearing retirement.

 

 

 

 

 

I think it is all about the great balancing act. Some families want to live like kings and therefore must work full time to afford the lifestyle. Some want to just ‘live’ and so they work their bums off to pay the bills. Some would rather live a humble low income existence and watch their children grow, whilst the lucky ones stay at home and can still afford to live big. Whichever category we fall into, it is not our role to judge the situation of others, we choose what is right for ‘us’ and for our families.  We do not need the opinions of people who are wearing their ‘Mr Judgy Judgy Hats’.

 

 

 

Go on I dare you, What are your thoughts, should women stay at home, or return to the workforce?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Not for the ‘Clean Ones’

It’s been a while,  but after a funeral, a horse race and an assignment deadline, my time is now my own. 

I had many seriously serious and thought provoking topics to share with you, but at this moment in time I can not be bothered with anything that requires thought or editing. My eyeballs are tired, my mind is impressionable. I could even be convinced to change electricity companies by a low paid student at this point in time. Do you know that feeling when you know you need to write something but your brain is saying:

‘Sorry, I’m spent. Only nonsense lives here now, but if you come back later some crap might be home?’. In my moment of nonsense please afford me the time to share with you the contents of my second kitchen drawer. Why is she writing about a kitchen drawer you say? 

Well In the midst of this very stressful week. my helpful husband thought it would be an ideal time to discuss the mess in our second kitchen drawer. He who clearly has so much spare time, he can even waste minutes of it prodding through objects and complaining about the outrageous contents. His exact words muttered bravely under his breath ‘ This second drawer is burning me‘.  Well clearly it was not burning him enough to clean it up himself. I’m sure somewhere in the back benches of his male brain he believed the ‘mess’ was mine. The truth of this matter is, I am a ‘sl

ight’ hoarder. There are parts of my life that are immaculate and organized, but there are also places that just work better messy. My make up bag, my bathroom cabinet, often my wardrobe  (or as my husband calls it ‘ The Mountain’and always my second kitchen drawer, or as the rest of the world would know it the ‘junk drawer’. 

So here it is, the exact contents of my junk drawer: Of course there were also the items that were too big too fit into the top draw but I’m sure you are all familiar with these little fellas! (Oversized tongs, spatulas, egg cups-cant remember the last time I ate ‘toasted soldiers’, I believe it was 15 years ago and of course all of the other ‘ugly’ serving stuff that can never be seen by visitors as it doesn’t match your tea towels) 

Drum Roll…………………

1. Crumpled Christmas Napkin with a bit of candy cane stuck to it-  no I’m not super organized, it was from last year.

2. Broken light bulb…that is all

3. Bottle brush from when my 3 year old was a baby..My rationale is that despite it quite obviously  looking like it houses a small colony of  Ebola Virus we may need it if the new one is stolen by a rebellious and ‘lost’ neighbourhood baby.

4. A stick from an old flag. Can’t even remember why I had a flag, or what it was for. Actually would love to know my thought process the day I decided ‘That old flag stick might come in handy one day’.

5. A container that I accidentally stole from childcare. It belonged to another child, but I was too embarrassed to bring it back after believing so adamantly that it was ours. I can’t even use it, I feel like the ‘Kung Fu Panda on the side of it is judging me for my petty theft.

6. Mini Version of the book  ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ That is definitely not my fault.

7. Sample pack of Organic Rosehip Skincare. Claims to give an ‘Ageless Facelift’. This was a gift from a lady at work who felt terrible  that I had given her a gift but didn’t have one for me. Fairly certain it was from a magazine as it has those jelly glue bits on the back. Feel guilty about wanting to throw it away, as the lady on the package actually looks 20 years older than me, I don’t want to ‘catch that’.

8. Tap fitting- My husband has a lot to answer for with this inclusion. ‘ Mr I don’t put random objects in that drawer’.

9. Party Popper- Have always had a soft spot for New Years Eve. Who knows, I may get all nostalgic one afternoon when the boys are in bed.

10. Rubber band- Always handy.

11. Unidentified sharp thing- not looking for exactly what it is, I may lose a finger trying to identify it.

12. An old ‘Coles Supermarket’ magazine claiming to feed my family for less than $10 per week. Was hoping to try this at some stage but then saw the recipes. I’m sorry Curtis Stone, but having mince 7 nights in a row may cause constipation.

Well that is all. Will be back after some sleep, some cider and a restful weekend.

Happy Friday Everyone:)

P.s – Yes it is an actual photo of the drawer. Shame, Shame. 

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Noisy Neighbours

Like them or not they are there, you are stuck with them. At 6am when you think it is safe to run outside in your knickers to sneak the bins out, rest assured one of them will be there to greet your less than glamorous ‘bed head’. When your toddler is hitting you in the driveway, and you finally lose it and shout back like the psycho mums on A Current Affair, there they are again. Like annoying little fleas those pesky neighbours will be there to catch you in your moment of glory. Sometimes it is from these fleeting glimpses that opinions are formed about the people we live beside.

 

For some of you, the word pesky would not spring to mind when describing your neighbours. In many streets and neighbourhoods across the world, your fence friends have been promoted to your greatest friends. My very first neighbours from our childhood home, are just that. They have attended our weddings, collected our mail, eaten with us, loved with us and have cried with us. As our lives have taken twists and turns we still remain part of each other’s story.

 

On moving into my own little family’s first home, I too had high hopes for long lasting relationships, fun times and idle chit chat with wonderful neighbours.  Instead we got  the Canadians (x 2), Mr Jopeck the Body Corporate Rebel, Nasty Bitter Evil Widow and her resident 40 year old virgin, and our personal favourite, the Promiscuous woman next door who we have affectionately nicknamed ‘sheets’. After several failed and unreciprocated attempts at friendliness, I have given up on ever actually getting to know them, and am happy to make up our own stories.

 

Let’s start with the Canadians. They were excitable, friendly young students attending the local university. They presented themselves unexpectedly at my screen door one day while I was vacuuming in my undies (yes I seem to do a lot in my undies) After the initial embarrassment I let them in and we had a cuppa and a chat. Though young and worlds apart, they were lovely and definitely wave worthy. That was until one crazy wild night one of them left her bedroom window wide open and treated us all to an Oscar winning performance with her boyfriend as the best supporting actor. At first I thought it was a cat fight, but when a male cat answered back in a Canadian accent we knew we were in for a long night. I could never look at her in the same way again. Luckily they moved shortly after as I did fear years of avoiding eye contact.

 

Next it was ‘Sheets’. Shortly after moving in we noticed this woman had a large number of male visitors. Sometimes they would miss each other by a matter of minutes. It was after one particularly ‘busy’ weekend that we came home to find her bedroom sheets hung to dry over the front fence, of course we made our own conclusions. Hence the name sheets. For all we know she was just doing a bit of washing, but our story was far more exciting.

 

Mr Jopeck is an older gentlemen who lives three doors down with his much younger asian bride. For all we know they could have been childhood sweethearts who had met in Sydney, but after walking past the window on several occasions and catching sight of Mrs Jopeck giving him a foot massage we have decided that the massage was perhaps part of the arrangement. Both fabulous neighbours. It just so happens Mr Jopeck enjoys a fighting the good fight with the Body Corporate, who are constantly trying to take him to court for placing vulgar looking homemade structures on his balcony.

 

Then there is Nasty Bitter Evil Widow and her resident 40 year old virgin daughter. I had not even met these two little characters until we were looking after my brother’s dog for a few weeks at Christmas time. The dog had only been at the house for a week when we received a hand written letter saying”

 

Your dog is making my life a noisy nightmare!’

 

I was willing to let this ride, but there was something about the aggression of the included Exclamation Mark that saw me marching down to their house for a confrontation. Despite the dog never being left outside apparently our dog was making her daughter’s life a noisy nightmare. Her daughter would be in her late forties, never married and still living at home. She did have a boyfriend for a little while, but last we heard her chasing him down the driveway shouting at him for calling her fat and looking at the boobs of the skinny ladies at the beach. One would suggest that perhaps if she stopped writing nasty notes and being horrible that she might be living with her boyfriend instead of her mum.

The one danger in allocating people private nicknames is that one day you are bound to let it slip out at the wrong time. We nicknamed my father in laws friend ‘Burgundy John’ because every time we saw him had had treated himself to a home colouring hair treatment which always developed into a pinkish burgundy colour. He thought he looked fabulous and that it made him look years younger. His opinion is probably all that mattered, but a 60 year old man walking around with pink hair cannot go un-nicknamed. The only problem was after years of calling him ‘Burgundy’ behind his back, we became too comfortable and had even forgotten what his actual name was. We had a major slip up one afternoon and addressed him as ‘Burgundy’ to his face. After some initial confusion and major backtracking, we managed to weasel our way out of it.

Last night we became those ‘Noisy Neighbours’ for the second time this year. Before you let your imagination’s run wild, our ‘noise’ was accidental and most unexpected. We had a knock at the door at 3:30am asking us to turn our music off. In our dazed and confused slumber, we were informed that our garage door was left open and the radio had been blasting throughout our little neighbourhood after turning on via a timer.

 So as I sit here and type someone close by is most definitely referring to us with our own nasty little nickname.   I would be quite happy if it was something along the lines of those ‘Noisy People from number 16’. But something tells me it may have more to do with showing my saggy bum a few too many times!

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Here’s to the red and another car up my bottom!

Today has been long…very long. My brain if compared to a food would right now would be comparable to an omelette and not a very tasty one,  and all I have done is look after children all day. It was one of those great days where you don’t leave the house. I get very excited about these types of days. I have enjoyed every minute of walking around in my dirty stay at home mother’s tights or ‘leggins’ as they call them here in Australia. You can buy two pairs for $15. The dirty black ones that after their 421st wash are now looking slightly greyish with a hint of a holey crutch starting to develop…and I don’t mean they were blessed by the local priest. I am still undecided on whether these should be allowed to be worn as ‘actual pants’ when not in your own home? Maybe just for pregnant people.

Anyway, I have never been so relieved to sit down, in the peace and quiet. I just poured my first glass of red, lowered myself lazily onto the couch….then sit on top of another pile of pointy, cold and sharp matchbox cars that have been hidden under the cushion by my son. It is a quick reminder………..that I have two boys!

Though It does make me wonder…..what do mums and dads with little girls sit on at night time?