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!

 

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Really, It’s not that hard… 

  
Since having Elsie I’ve missed about a million phone calls, forgot to push send on 100’s of texts and have been down right shit at getting in touch with friends. Actually why lie… It isn’t since Elsie, it isn’t even since Sammy, and yes there’s probably even some incredible evidence they I did this even before having kids! 
We’ve all been there… The phone rings, your hands are full and you think to yourself ‘shit…will have to call them back, have so much to say that this spare 3 seconds won’t be enough time so I’ll call back when the kids are in bed’. Problem is by the time the kids are in bed, dinner dishes are done, you’ve finished trying to think of exciting things to put in the school lunchbox ( decide you’re going to put sultanas in knowing full well your child doesn’t eat them but it looks good if the teacher has a nosey) it’s 8pm and you’ve jumped into bed. You go to put your phone on charge and while you do, get distracted by stalking Instagram accounts of perfect strangers hashtagging cool things such as #tbt and #bbg . You’re not cool enough to know what they mean so have to google #tbt and #bbg, within half hour you’ve decided that ‘mumtobikini’ is so inspirational you’ll need to follow her and 19 of her friends. Before you know it, it’s 10pm and you should be sleeping, knowing the newborn will be awake in an hour or so- and all you’ve achieved Is gaining 20 new virtual friends, some contemporary knowledge of hash tagging and a sore wrist from scrolling. You’ve decided it’s now too late to call your friends back but and tell yourself ‘ I’ll call them tomorrow. But no you won’t And so the cycle begins again. 
Today I decided to start calling people back. I’m ashamed to say one friends son was now nearly 2, and I swear he was a newborn when I last called. The second one wasn’t able to answer as her son was in hospital at that very moment. The third call I missed while feeding was my other pregnant friend calling to tell me she had whooping cough. Last month I returned a call to find out my other best friend was pregnant and I hadn’t the time to return her call. 

Today I realised that the perfect time for that chat doesn’t actually exist. It’s actually now. I thought today how one day it might be someone’s most important phone call that I miss. The one that is to tell me they have cancer, or the one that is to tell me a partner has passed away or the one that is to tell me their child is born. And here I am thinking I’m so busy that I can’t answer the phone. My aim from now is to answer the calls even if the boys are jumping on my head, screaming and making it impossible to hear.even if I’m trying to do the food shopping and Sammy is launching roast chickens and tomatoes at other shoppers. I’m going to try hard to Atleast answer – then ask if I can call them back.

As busy as I have thought myself to be, I feel like I’ve let down those that have needed me. If I was important enough for them to think about in their busy days- then they should also be as important in mine. Really… It’s not that hard. 
P.s I did say ‘try’… Could take sometime to make this transition so feel free to use mess bank if it’s not as quick a change as I intend 😂😂

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.

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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