the luxury of choice…

As I write this post – primarily to get the words out of my head and give them to this page – I realise that I am so very lucky to have a choice. A choice to live where I would like to live, within financial means, a choice to speak some of my mind – my family might read this so it’s the PG version – and, in general, a choice regardless of what the circumstance might bring. Two years ago we chose to relocate to The Hunter Region of NSW. Our reasons were to be in closer proximity to family and to be on the east coast where travel north and south gets us closer to other family. For the most part this has been a wonderful decision. We have reconnected with family and they have welcomed us which has been nothing short of amazing – especially for Little Boss who loves everyone the instant they meet. The part that has been constantly challenging has been around financial stability and job security. So Mr B Badger has a great job that pays very well…and he is a full-time employee which years ago would mean a job for life. Unfortunately in this economic climate it means a job til China can make it cheaper. Yep he works in the steel industry. and come June 1 we will find out if he will be one of the “lucky” ones to keep his job or whether we will be financially unstable – again – come June 30. We are not alone and I am very aware of the fact that things could be a shitload worse for us…but stress is stress and regardless of where it comes from or what causes it, stress can be very harmful. Now I am hoping that his employers understand the tactic of holding onto the people with the right behaviours in the knowledge that work skills can be taught but who knows? I know that I am currently working in a full time job with the title of “Job Searcher” and I am not having any luck – unfortunately no amount of “you’ll find something” or “everything happens for a reason” is cutting it for me. At the end of the day I think it’s probably time for me to get my groove back and start my own business and invest myself into something that I love and believe in. It might not make me millions, but it will make me proud.

Thank you to this screen I type on for taking all my words and helping me get some clarity. And to anyone who reads this….thank you for choosing to do so and share my life. When I started this blog I did so to unburden my mind in a way that didn’t cost $$$…when I was earning money I could afford all sorts of things – counselling was one of them. Now I work through some of my head space by talking out loud to a computer and occasionally typing some words.


strange days indeed

I have been out of paid work for over four years now. I say out of paid work because, while I no longer lodge a tax return, I am still working. A bit like a 1950’s housewife I am taking care of the business of running the house and caring for the child while Mr B Badger heads off to work. So up until 2013ish I had never been out of work since I rocked up to Quigleys Deli at Killarney Vale as an over-confident 12 year old who wanted to earn some cash. That’s almost 30 years of paid work. So I have been hanging at home with my mini me and we have had amazing times that no amount of money or promising career could ever compare….if I had the chance there are many events throughout my life that I would change or do differently – the last four plus years being the exception.

Hang on maybe that time when I was throwing the ball to MrRooben and instead hit Little Boss as she was laying in her pram….or when I accidentally cut the end of her finger off while trying to trim her nails – it wasn’t that bad so don’t call the authority on me. Ok so I’ve had a few parenting fails along the way, it hasn’t all been huggy bears and unicorns.

Anyhoo Little Boss started Prep this year and will start full-time school next year so I decided to start the dreaded job search. I started by only applying for roles where my skills met the selection criteria – I don’t like having my time wasted so I figured I wouldn’t waste the recruiters time by applying for something I “might” be able to do. Now we are five weeks into the school year and I am applying for anything and everything I am remotely qualified for, hoping that somebody out there looks at my CV or cover letter and says “this looks good, let’s get her in for a chat”. Last night I got an alert from my local Bunnings warehouse to tell me they were hiring so this morning after the school drop off I got busy on my cover letter and then got online to apply only to find that the job had disappeared…nooooo I love Bunnings. I would totally rock as a Bunnings employee. So I emailed them to see what was happening and they called me – this is why I love Bunnings, it’s their culture – so the lovely lady was calling to say they had to take the ad down due to the overwhelming response .

I will persist – persistence, resilience and perseverance are pretty awesome employability skills BTW and I’ve got ’em in spades. But I had to write this post just to get it off my chest because it does get me down – I can’t lie. Mr B Badger was out of work for four months when we moved and we applied for just over 70 jobs and received a reply from only 10% of those. I know something will come up and this too, shall pass…I just need to be patient – which is a skill that I don’t seem to have much of…

to lid, or not to lid…

Five years at home with a smaller version of me….plenty of time to have a good hard look at myself.

During my working life I had a boss with a touch of the quirks….he would only eat sweets in multiples of two and if there was only one left in the bag he would break it in half to make it two pieces. Yes I gave him a hard time about it and always offered him the last one. So fast forward a few years and turns out that I have a touch of the quirks myself.

The under vs over toilet paper debate rages on facebook and I don’t really care about that one – since it’s only me that replaces the roll it goes on however it lands. My quirks continue to surprise me at how much they can generate a reaction and a rise in my blood pressure – I now know how TE must have felt when I left a solitary white freddo on his desk.

I first discovered my quirky behaviours while hanging out the washing…when selecting pegs I will only hang a garment or item using pegs of the same colour and I have wasted countless seconds sifting through the peg basket looking for a peg the same colour as the one already in my hand. Sometimes, if it’s too hard, I will abandon the peg I am already holding and choose another colour. Recently I have tried to break this habit and have hung the washing using mismatched pegs….this lasts only minutes and then I go back and match them up.

When I put my knives on the knife magnet all the blades must face away from the kitchen.

When I hang the clothes in the wardrobe all the coat hangers must hang over the rail not under-over and all the shirt openings must face to the left. If Mr. B Badger hangs his clothes up it sends me into a pre-menstrual rage regardless of where I am in my cycle.

My most recent addition to my growing list of quirks is putting the lids on the plastics before putting them away. Yes it takes up more room. It also means you don’t have to take a bex and a good lie down after spending time searching for the lid to your kids lunch box. I was unfamiliar with this quirk as it seems to be something I have always done….so if someone else does the generous thing and puts the plastics away I then go in afterwards and match up containers to lids.

All of these quirky little OCD behaviours –  there are more – have lead me to the conclusion that I need to get a job. Something meaty that I can sink my brain into so that peg colour, coat hanger placement and to lid or not to lid can become things that I used to focus on when that was my focus.


back in the game….

okay so its been a while between posts on barrybadger for me and things have been interesting to say the least. unfortunately hand foot and mouth disease has been making the rounds and decided to spend a while at our place. I thought little boss had managed to dodge it but on day seven of the two to seven day period for symptoms to make themselves known she got the tell tale blisters in her throat and that started a four day stint of her sleeping for only 30-40 minutes at a time. poor love she looked terrible and I am surprised my neighbors didn’t call in child services after one particularly bad night….I called in my mum who fortunately only lives around the corner and is not precious about cruising the streets in her pj’s and having her here meant I was able to sleep for a couple of hours. what a terrible virus it is. apparently it is more the discomfort of swallowing with throat blisters and not much else that babies have to deal with….the real horror of HFMD is reserved for adults unlucky enough to have a compromised immune system – which unfortunately was me due to the earlier rota-virus I had endured.  so once little boss was back to her usual cheeky self it was my turn to blister up. and did i give it a fair crack or what. when the doctors – yes there were two – are talking about you like you are not in the room and asking each other questions like “have you ever seen anything like this” and the response is “not in my 30 years of practice” its pretty hard not to scream at them “give me some fucking pain relief” yes I was tempted to swear but I had self medicated to a near catatonic state and having them discuss me like I wasn’t even there was probably more due to me not actually feeling present in my own skin. I didn’t really want to be in my own skin at that point cause it was burning, itching and incredibly painful all at the same time. it was about 11 degrees outside and I was sitting in the doctors wearing shorts a singlet and thongs – flip flops not g-strings – and covered in purple blisters….hardly surprising that they didn’t leave me in the waiting room for long. so I had to put old barry on the back-burner for a while…at least until I could move my hands and the new skin became less sensitive to allow me to type. lets hope it’s all over now and once the scars clear up I will have no reminder of it. I have included some pictures to give you an idea – they don’t    really do it justice but at least I can share it with you….sharing is caring right???Day Two HFMDhands 2hands 3hands 4

a new kind of awake…

okay so up until recently little boss had been waking at least once a night. sometimes for a bottle, sometimes just for a cuddle and at other times due to her being to hot or cold. I had read all the information I could handle on tips for getting her to sleep through the night and weaned off the night-time feed but in the end we just decided to keep it up until she weaned herself. so we used a process of elimination on everything we could so that she was as comfortable as possible for a good nights sleep and then it happened….she slept through. I didn’t say it out loud until she had been sleeping consistently through the night for a couple of weeks – and if she wakes up tonight I will be deleting this post with her in my arms – but she has been going to sleep at about 7pm and waking between 6.30-8am every morning. brilliant, right? so I should be elated, yeah? of course I am so pleased she is finally getting the rest that she needs. when she wakes up she is happy and ready for play…not a grumple in sight. from her anyway. see almost as soon as she started sleeping through I started not sleeping. I lay awake at night and wake several times throughout the night – worrying that she is okay. sometimes if I can see on the monitor that she hasn’t moved I will go into her room to make sure she is still breathing. what can I say? irrational fear is my specialty. anxiety is my homeboy. seriously though, what am I like? I am not getting any sleep because little boss keeps waking me up then when she stops waking me up I start waking myself up to check on her – while she sleeps. will it ever end? I fear that I will be hovering in her doorway for many years to come. anyhoo the upshot of this is that I didn’t have to endure any of the recommendations to get her sleeping through. no cry it out, no stay in the room/leave the room/go back to the room, no feeding her a bottle of water when she really wants milk. none of it. just going with my gut and making sure she was ready for a good nights sleep. now maybe I need to apply the same principles to myself…oh how sweet it would be to be able to sleep like Mr B who as I type is snoring on the couch and believes little boss has been sleeping through for months.

lets hope tonight is my night to dream…

clip on koala…

it’s been that long since I have logged in to that it will not come as any surprise if even the most faithful followers have switched off – clearly I did.  yep, it’s fair to say that I lost my mojo. I took my daily list off the fridge and in doing so fell into a big rut. where the hell have I been? my normally healthy diet has gone out the window…turns out it’s cheaper to eat rubbish food than it is to buy fresh, I haven’t done any exercise in….I don’t know how long and I am starting to feel like a couple of days at work would be a blessing right now. so what’s changed? why have I turned into this pitiful picture of self loathing? who knows. what I do know is that it’s pretty damn hard to get some mojo while carrying around a 13 kilo clip on koala. the authors of the wonder weeks say that as a baby or toddler prepare to make a new leap in development they experience the three c’s cranky, crying and clingy….they got it right, cause we’ve got it going on here in spades. it happens every time there is a new leap to experience but this time the clingy part is off the charts and I have the wounds on my flesh to prove it. I get excited every day awaiting the arrival of Mr B so that little boss can remove herself from me even for a brief trip to the toilet – on my own – however despite squealing with excitement at the sound of the garage door she refuses to let go of me and is just happy to enjoy her father’s company from the comfort of my chest. don’t get me wrong…I love it that she wants to be with me…it’s nice to be wanted and loved…I would just like her to share the love a little bit.

since my last post we have celebrated little boss’ first birthday, she is walking all the time and trying to bust into a run, she has five fangs and has become extremely cheeky and loves doing all the things she knows she is not allowed to do…laying on MrRoobens bed, trying to crawl out of the dog door and playing with the blinds are three of her favourites….oh and unplugging her night-light. we are taking a different approach now and ignoring her – with the exception of the night-light – in the hope that these things will eventually become boring due to the lack of reaction they garner…fingers crossed the blinds survive. she is having a crack at feeding herself with a spoon and I need to remember to buy a shower curtain for the floor. when I look back over the past year I am amazed at all the mad skills she has acquired and it comes as no surprise to me that during times of great uncertainty she wants nothing more than to cling to me – I get it – she is at a stage when she is exploring her independence and also fearful of what that brings. so I spend my days picking up toys, DVD’s, books, Tupperware and utensils as I follow her destruction from room to room and when she needs my support I am there. we have so much to look forward to on a daily basis – however tomorrow’s priority is to get the list back on the fridge to keep me honest and to fire up barrybadger every day to get out of my head for a bit…two small steps towards getting my mojo back.

thanks for sticking around.


twelves very short months ago I started my parental leave. I had no idea what to expect – I hadn’t read the book – so decided to start a blog to record my journey. when I look at the changes that have taken place in our lives over the past year I am so proud of myself for getting through it all with only some mild anxiety…Mr B might disagree but hey he is so chilled out it’s like he has a private stash of beta blockers hidden around the house. anyhoo up until very recently I was hoping to return to work a couple of days a week and then we went retro. I have resigned from my place of employment and accepted the position of stay at home mum while Mr B has accepted his role of sole provider for our family. it’s a shift in the dynamic that will be interesting, for want of a better word…why are we doing this? why wouldn’t I just go back to work two days a week? well I tell you why….I expect to be still working until I am about 75 so there will be plenty of days to work ahead of me, little boss will head off to school in a few very short years and this time in my life will never happen again so I am going to enjoy every minute of it…I may be skint, but I will be the happiest poor person you will meet. so there will be some changes at, I will be changing the look, the intent and updating more regularly and I am welcoming more followers and more comments….thanks for sticking with me to this point, I look forward to this next chapter in our lives….

finally settling in…

so tonight Mr B and I were discussing our parenthood journey so far and looking back at the first few weeks after we bought little boss home. the interesting thing is that in this age that we live in information is plentiful. we can turn to google at any time of the day or night and ask whatever question and know that it will give an answer – might not be a good one, but will definitely get a response. but in all this information overload and all the movies/docos/book/websites etc nothing can prepare you for it. I am a highly stressed person with laid back tendencies married to a seemingly unflappable guy with an addiction to planning and organising. so we are an interesting duo. when I think about the day we bought little boss home I laugh – now – but back then my stress levels were off the charts. see in the hospital it’s all pretty cruisy. you feed the baby, change the baby, feed yourself, change yourself and receive visitors – repeat. oh and if you are lucky you get a bit of sleep. the only things that change when you come home are you now have to prepare your own food – good luck and thank you belvita cereal biscuits – and you don’t have the safety net of the midwives to call on….this was the thing that impacted me the most. yes I freaked out about what she was wearing, how to get her in the capsule, was the capsule in the car right, should I sit in the back with her, why is she crying, why isn’t she crying, pull over so I can check that she is still breathing, yes she’s still breathing…sorry I am just stressed – nooooo really? where is the book that says all this stuff?? that says that all these feelings are totally normal and you are doing okay….see my besty popped round on the day we came home and she has three kids of her own so I value her input so I had a mini breakdown on her shoulder and she just said – you are doing a great job, she is perfect, relax. fast forward to seven months later and I finally have…relaxed that is. Mr B and I are finally comfortable with this whole parenting thing and actually starting to enjoy it. the stress is still there – to be honest if I wasn’t stressing about something that would make me stress so round and round we go – I still pop in and make sure she is breathing….I find this particularly amusing because I only worry about it while looking at the baby monitor, when I go to bed I don’t actually worry about it – go figure. I still stress about the consistency of her food – is it smooth enough or is it too smooth, will she choke, what if she shoves the rusk all the way down her throat, is she getting enough fluid – and on and on the list goes I am sure you get the picture, and this is relaxed. fortunately for me little boss is the most laid back of us all and she gives me hope that I can get a little bit of calm in my life….

the christmas spirit…

so it’s that time of the year again and let’s just say it brings a sense of unease….it’s 2.06am and I have ordered groceries online, comforted and fed an upset little boss, checked facebook, email and the closing price of bluescope steel shares and here I am at barry….with an uncomfortable feeling in the pit of my stomach that I can’t explain. it’s a combination of worry that I may have forgotten something important and stress over the things I need to do. ridiculous really…if I have forgotten something important, well, I can’t change that and the things I have yet to do revolve around having a presentable environment for our christmas guests. the way I stress about this sort of thing you would think it is important when really it’s not. would I like to have the guest room all decked out with matching pillows and fancy linen – sure why not – do I hope that my guests are happy to have a clean and comfortable bed to sleep in – definitely…will there be clean towels in the bath room – yes – will they be fluffy and matching – probably not….will the floors be clean before the guests arrive – yes – will it still be clean when they get here – this depends on MrRooben and his desire to dig a hole in the garden and then run sand through the house at warp speed using the walls to stop himself as he slides on the floorboards. the amusing part about all my worry is that this year I have less guests at christmas than I have ever had and yet I still feel as though I have so much to do. my besty is going to thailand. smart move sister. in all honesty I enjoy having people over and cooking, drinking and eating and I look forward to christmas morning with a childlike enthusiasm that makes Mr B shake his head. this year I will miss my father dragging out the present opening for as long as possible allowing only one person to open a present at a time and ordering breaks so that the presents last longer. we will probably do the same thing here and to ensure that our present opening goes for as long as possible I re-wrapped the gift my brother and sister-in-law sent for little boss into individual presents. australia post didn’t leave me much choice actually, by the time it had arrived it looked like it was wrapped by wolverine. I just can’t shake the feeling that I should be cleaning the blinds and washing the windows….like my guests are not stopping for lunch unless I pass the white glove test. maybe it’s that unspoken belief that as a stay at home mum I have all this time on my hands…tell that to the endless cups of cold yorkshire tea I have not had the time to drink in the past six months – and at the price we pay for yorkshire blend I have considered heating it up in the microwave. in all honesty even if I did have a spare couple of hours in the day I would much rather spend them making funny faces at little boss than washing walls. I don’t want to look back on my parental leave and think how great it was that I cleaned the house every day or explain to little boss that I missed her first word because she couldn’t shout it above the noise of the hoover. this year christmas day will hopefully be the most chilled out of all time. it is going to be forty degrees in the shade so we will be having a barby and salad and then spend the rest of the day floating around the pool – bliss. by then I will have forgotten all my worries about whether the shower glass is stain free and will just enjoy my time spent with friends and family having a laugh – mostly at ourselves….

only in the movies….

so I recently watched what to expect when you’re expecting which is based on the book by Heidi Murkoff…this is one of those films that Mr B would suffer through and then declare it as “a load of twaddle” afterwards, so I watched it on my own. and essentially I would have to agree with him. now it may just be that I am married to a man who hails from the north of england and romance doesn’t feature highly but do people actually say stuff to each other like they do on the movies?? please, if you or your significant other speak to each other in such a way let me know…and also please advise me if you do this because it comes naturally or because you think everyone does it cause that’s what they do on the movies – so it must be the norm. yes the whole conception to birth journey is amazing when you think about it but it’s also stressful, terrifying, emotional and the list goes on. they show some of this in the movie which was moderately amusing but they also show husbands and partners that look lovingly into the eyes of their woman and declare their undying love, admiration and respect. this is the bit I am wondering about. maybe I was too high on pain killers or a little confronted by the TEDS stockings and machine attached to my legs to keep the blood flowing but I don’t recall Mr B looking anything but stunned and shattered in a “what the hell just happened” kind of way…and honestly if he had cracked out any of the common hollywood style phrases I would have assumed that he had also been drugged to his eyeballs. I know if a movie were based on my relationship it certainly wouldn’t leave people with the tear in the eye kind of warm and fuzzy feeling you get from watching movie relationships because it’s essentially hard to capture on camera the subtlety behind many of our moments. we don’t hold hands, hug or do any public displays of affection – we don’t really do private displays of affection either when I think about it, it’s just not our thing. it is, however, the reason that people flock to the cinema to watch “chick flicks”. you don’t see hollywood writing wedding night scenes where you share an adjoining room with your newly acquired mother and sister-in-law or on your honeymoon on the island of mykonos you are booked into a room that has two single beds…unless its going to be a comedy as it’s not really passion inducing. now that I have been up since 1.30am and it’s now almost 3am I am beginning to think that we are the exception to all this loving behaviour that is perpetuated by film producers…while they were prepping me for my spinal block, the overly talkative nurse – obviously a technique to distract you from the environment and what it about to happen – said to Mr B “you can sit over here and hold her hand”, which on the silver screen would have been portrayed by him looking at me with reassurance in his eyes and a “you’re doing great honey” out of his mouth. how it actually played out was more like this…

nurse: “you can sit over here and hold her hand”

husband: wheels stool to sit next to wife and awkwardly takes her hand in his while looking like a stunned mullet

wife: sitting on bed, breathing deeply to keep a panic attack at bay, stares straight ahead and says “don’t touch me”

now I know what it was like to go through it and I have to say it was probably more confronting for Mr B than for myself, but now that I remember that little exchange I do think our relationship is more on the side of a comedy – sometimes even dark comedy – than romance or even rom com and I prefer it that way as it’s far more fun for us to laugh about our antics….okay little boss has finally gone back to sleep so im off to catch another hour or so of shut-eye. I welcome your thoughts on the fantasy versus reality of the movie world especially if that movie myth is your real life day to day…ni ni neville.