six years of sandwiches….

When will it end? Almost six years ago Little Boss entered our lives, in record time and not to the sound of David Bowie or Talking Heads as I had requested. Hey, I figured if I am not truly participating in the birth of my child I may as well enjoy some tunes – turned out that while Willy Wonka (my obstetrician for those that are new) and I shared the same number of years on the planet we did not share the same taste in tunes….anyhoo, I digress. So lives were changed and we have grown fond of each other over the last six years. Back in those early days – when Little Boss first started eating food as opposed to drinking it – I did everything I could to give her a balanced diet. A healthy mix of lean protein, good fats, whole grains and a rainbow of vegetables. I was nailing this mothering gig. Well I was nailing the food prep part – the consumption of my awesome food prep was not going so well as Little Boss would only eat orange food back then. Carrots, sweet potato and pumpkin were her top three. So I made sure she got the other stuff thrown in…..as long as it was all orange she didn’t care. That was when back before she got a mind of her own. Fast forward to 2018. Seriously I could make five different meals per meal time and they would all end up being rejected for a banana and honey sandwich or ‘just bread’….her diet has gone from orange to white. White bread, plain pasta, potato and occasionally chicken. I want to be able to say that Little Boss eats what we eat and loves it….but that is total bullshit. I try to put her up a plate of whatever we are eating and if it falls in line with her current dietary fad she will give it a crack. Otherwise she will return it to the kitchen and hold out for a butter sandwich. Old schoolers will say that if she is truly hungry she will eat whatever we put in front of her but I say – really? The reality is that if you feel like something so bad you will hold out until you get it – I know this to be true as I drunk texted Mr Badger last night (he was across the hotel room from me but we were trying to get Little Boss to sleep) asking him to get me Maccas and my last text said ‘seriously not joking…..go or die’ Actually glad he didn’t go cause auto-correct had me asking for Bug Macs…..

Anyways so it looks like we will be on this white bread, plain pasta, Hawaiian Pizza diet for a while longer. I am sooooo bored with being the sandwich lady though. I long for the day that she asked for a stir fry or a salad or even a vegetable other than carrot, corn or potato….it’s probably all my fault in the end. For six of the nine months I knew I was pregnant I think I ate mostly cobs of corn with butter and salt, toast with Vegemite and Fantales….take that developing foetus oh and here’s a few long blacks with hazelnut syrup to get you bouncing.

Thanks team – I think that through writing this post I have figured out that my frustrations with my child’s eating habits are my own fault…maybe I can blame it on those first 3 months where I had no idea I was with child….anyhoo I am off to prepare the culinary delight known as ‘cheese sandwich’ for tomorrows school lunch – you don’t get that in a cook book these days…..

Have a top week.

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Men are from Mars…..

 

Women are from….are you fucking serious? What do you mean “how do I clean the bathroom?”

Yep we are definitely wired differently. Why is it that we (women), and I am generalising here so be patient or chose another page, seem to know stuff about stuff  yet men are just chillin’ and occasionally wanting a  medal for doing some of the stuff? Now before Mr BarryBadger, my dad and the husbands of my friends and colleagues get all upset – I am generalising. I have to say though that I do hear more stories about dudes just doing their own thing while the one that doesn’t get the luxury of man-flu has to soldier on and do the rest. It’s a common theme.

The mental load.

This morning I heard it perfectly referred to as “having all these tabs open”

You hearing me sisters? You know those tabs – organise tomorrows lunches, organise tomorrows dinner, don’t forget the in-laws are coming, shit I have to get milk and bread, sew a costume for Little Boss’ Book Week, fuck I need to iron the school uniform – I hate those pleats, shit I need to iron my work clothes, pay that bill, make that call, change that appointment, get a pap smear – cause you thought you were due in 12 months but turns out you’ve been so fucking busy you are actually a year overdue, buy my kid some undies, do your kids homework, prepare amazing food for your kid, clean the house etc etc etc add your own tabs you get my drift.

Now the mental load is something we don’t share well. To be honest it’s the same as my boss telling me to “hand over” some of the work I am struggling to get to. It makes me anxious. Cause I will have to “train” the person I am handing over to. Now at work that is completely ok – purely because they are not expected to know my job AND theirs. BUT if you live and exist under the same roof as me I am going to go out on a limb and say you should probably know how shit works under that roof. So I think it could be a Mars vs WTF thing…cause for over 7 years I lived with a woman and while we weren`t intimate we are very close and have shared a bond that will not be broken but at no time did either of us have to ask how to clean the toilet, scrub the shower or put the groceries away.

Today one of my colleagues asked if I had though about meditation….ahhhh yeah I have. Usually while meditating I also think about my To Do list for the coming 24 hours while contemplating my fear of death, anxiety over living and what I am going to prepare for dinner tomorrow. Then she told me it’s best done at the start of the day rather than the end cause it actually takes quite a mental load to master….not sure if I am ready for that. To be fair in the morning I can do me getting ready, kids lunch, kids breakfast, kids getting ready for school – some days – my coffee and then off we go to work and school. I will see how I go tomorrow morning and if I can muster it I will attempt to clear my mind of all thought and do it like the Dalai Lama. Stay tuned….and don`t get shitty with me lads, take it on the chin – just like I did this afternoon when I had a bloke say to me `now that`s what I like to see, a woman doing the dishes`

 

the importance of listening

Many years ago I was fortunate enough to be given an opportunity for a massive career change. I had spent a lot of years working a business that was financially very rewarding and allowed me to travel and see new things however it was hard work and very challenging so along came this new venture and I embarked on something I truly knew nothing about. I was to slip into my hi-vis, steel caps and hard hat and learn how to operate a steel slitting line. I am not going to go into what that is here – if you are interested head to google. Anyhoo I had many trainers in my new role however one was a stand out and taught me more on how to work in this new environment that anyone else and he did it with only one word – listen. Yep, that was it. Just listen. This was a noisy bit of gear but his advice could prevent major fuck ups that would take hours to fix. By simply listening to how the machine was working, how the slits were running and how the many different parts of the machine were interacting you could hear how well it was running or not.

I think about that a lot. The power of listening. We spend a lot of our time thinking we are great listeners when we are probably just listening in order to respond. How many times are you responding to the odd “how are you?” when the person who enquired as to your well-being starts telling you about how shit their morning was too. You didn’t even have to ask them….they asked you how you were and here you are listening to them bang on.

So fast forward many years and I am back at work full-time in a great role that challenges me and working with a diverse group of people who I find easy to like. And I love listening to them. They all have a story and each of those is unique and special and I feel truly grateful for every one of those that I get to hear – even the ones that are heartbreaking, confronting and hard to comprehend – so thankful for the sharing.

Some of my best times at work happen at the coffee machine – my boss jokingly calls me Jabber Jaws and to be honest at first it really got to me – because that’s my kryptonite, throw away comments said in jest that my broad shoulders look like they can handle. I see it as a massive compliment now – whether he does or not, jury is still out. I look at the amount of people I know in such a short time, the relationships I have started and the conversations I have had are all invaluable to me. My role requires me to be able to speak to people – if I can’t do that then I am ineffective. So I will continue to take the time for a jib jab and be genuinely interested in what people have to tell me. And if I listen well, like I was taught by the great Ross McDougall, I will also be able to tell if those people are running well or if they are about to unravel. Maybe we all need to carry a big Emergency Stop button just in case.

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 Badger.com 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 barrybadger.com 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 Badger.com 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.

chchchchchanges…

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 Badger.com 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 Badger.com 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 barrybadger.com, 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….