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 party’s over…

Four weeks ago I started work. From full-time mum to full-time employee and part-time mum. The decision to return to work was purely economical…apparently you can’t pay for things with old receipts and a Medicare Card – crazy world we live in. So I was offered a job and I took it. And I feel like ever since that day I have seen nothing but posts on facey and insty that are all about listening to your heart and doing what you love and life’s to short so follow your dream…I think those sentiments are all wonderful however they do not pay the bills. See if I truly was to choose a career path that would give me ultimate fulfillment and fill my heart with joy I would be a writer or a renovator. I write this blog and I really love it – I don’t make money from it and that’s ok. Would I like to be paid to write – ahhhh yes please! In the meantime I will continue to write and won’t give up my day job. As for renovating – if someone wants to donate about $400K to me in the hope that I flip a house for profit and can give them back some interest then please contact me now. Seriously though it is nice to think that we could all just chuck in our day jobs and follow our dreams but if we all do that then who does the jobs that people rarely dream about?  Since starting work I have had my world turned upside down. I am away from my little boss all day and only see her for a couple of hours at night. This makes her a bit of a terror – they say children crave attention and it doesn’t matter if it is good or bad as long as they get it they consider it a win. It also makes me exhausted and short on patience – which I am in fairly short supply of most days. The up shot of this is that we will be able to save some pennies and will be able to visit people we love and spend time with them. That makes it all worthwhile. So I guess in a sense we are following our dream and doing what we love in that we are going to stash some cash and then take a trip – make some memories, take lots of selfies – repeat. And if I can smuggle my laptop or tablet into our suitcase I might even be able to indulge my passion….and write about it.

Those pesky inbetweeners

Last week our little boss turned five…wow. It feels like only a few short months ago that I first started writing about the delights of visiting the obstetrician as an over 40 first timer and here we are five über fast years later. Many things have changed during this time and I have noticed that having to wait around for Little Boss to do whatever the hell she pleases has made me slow down a notch. There is no greater frustration than trying to get a child into a car or into a bath or out of a bath or dressed or undressed or into bed….you catch my drift….so you either get crazy mad or you just let it happen organically and either continually turn up late with crazy eyes or get out of bed wayyyyy earlier than usual just so all you have to worry about is motivating a fiver. I am working on just letting it happen and slowing down a bit and I like her to think she can go at her own pace. That is unless it’s pissing down and she’s taking “just one more” run around my folks lawn while I wait for her to get in the car – this will cause me to crack out the old “you’ve got five seconds….5….4….3….” we never usually get to 1 and I don’t know what is meant to happen if we do…

Anyways so last Sunday we were having the family round for a get together to celebrate her big five and I needed to get some hot-dog buns so I legged it to the shopping centre and grabbed enough rolls for a half day Bunnings Sausage Sizzle and began my fast strut back to the car….which came to a standstill when I hit the travelator and got stuck behind a lady with a trolley. See once you have positioned your trolley its locked in and doesn’t move til you get off at the end….so this lovely lady turned to me and said “sorry, I’ve blocked you in” not at all I assured her. Then while I was “blocked in” by her trolley I found out that she is 80 years old, loves living at the village across the road and feels that once you get past a certain age people – in general – are very nice to you. Which, she said, was lovely. I remarked to her that we seem to use up all our nice on the very young and the very old and had nothing left for those pesky in between years but wouldn’t it be so pleasant if kindness was commonly used in all age groups. I felt really uplifted by my encounter with this lady. We parted ways at the exit and I wished her a happy Sunday before strutting to the car to get the buns home. I have been thinking about our meeting on the travelator and have been trying to up my kindness quota…..don’t get me wrong, lots of things still push my buttons but I am working on it. I have a long way to go before I am Zen Master of my domain, for now though, if I can minimise the amount of times I mutter “for fuck sake” under my breath I will consider it a small win.

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.

just like pi…

So Louann Brizendine from the University of California came up with some research that suggests that, on average, women speak three times the amount of words per day than men. Now I do love a bit of data and I am married to a man who would definitely reduce the amount of words spoken by man to about a quarter of what was found to be the magic number of 7000 words per man, per day. This leads me to wonder if the original data that Louann collected may have been skewed by mums. How many mums were in there? Sneakily pushing that average up with repeated phrases like…”have you flushed the toilet” “have you washed your hands” “are you listening to me” “eat your breakfast, lunch, dinner” or my most recent favourite “no, not just one more minute, get in the bathroom and brush your teeth” I may as well record that one and just keep pressing play.

I consider myself to be a fairly resilient person. I can usually weather the storm. I am also in complete awe and amazement at how this almost five-year old can persist in the face of adversity. We have entered a phase of the “just one mores” just one more chocolate, minute, TV show, game, drawing, book, thing to tell me – this one is almost always in the resistance period before bed. To be perfectly honest she doesn’t go to sleep til 8.30-9pm and is up again at 7am so I am all out of my just one mores and I am ready to disappear into a world of Netflix. Mr B Badger blames me – I am quite stubborn, headstrong and I will negotiate and influence to get my own way. My mother just laughs and says “oh yeah, I remember those days”  Me – well I just get sick of the sound of my own voice and will happily not talk at all once she goes to sleep. It’s not great socially but I feel that I have used up my 20000 words for the day by repeating myself ad nauseam in trying to negotiate with someone who has wayyyyy more staying power than me. Sometimes, if I am not up to the challenge, I just go with it. Ice cream for breakfast? Sure in a cup or a cone? Want your mattress on the floor cause the bed is too itchy? Move outta the way and let me make it happen. On these days my average word count would be quite manly….and then there are the pi days where I just go on and on and on repeating the same request/instruction/warning of pending injury all day long. At some point during the day I remember that I need to fight the battles worth fighting. I was recently reminded of this when, at bedtime, I was told she had “just one more thing” to tell me. OK just one more. “Mama, tomorrow, I want to have 10 hours where you just let me do what I want and you can’t say no to anything, okay?” so I said “okay, no go to sleep and get some rest. You’ve got a big day tomorrow” fortunately for me she has little concept of time.

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.

 

The real reality of home improvement…

We are about to see the end of another series of The Block. The renovation show that is more about getting tradies to do the work while you go and spend ridiculous money on fluffy stuff and then complain cause you’ve run out of money and can’t pay your trades. It’s all a fantasy and I love a good bit of escapism on my telly so I like to watch it and yell at it. I also love to renovate. We bought this house and it was filthy and in fairly average condition so it’s been painted – mostly – flooring ripped up and new flooring laid, new window coverings, security doors, garage door, ceiling fans, light fittings blah blah you get my drift. We have a tight budget and some of our ‘nice to haves’ have been put into the ‘you’ve got to be joking, how much?’ file. We would love to do so much but one of us works for money and one of us works for love – and the only time love pays the bills is in dodgy 70’s porn films. Anyhoo this weeks project is to finish what we started last week and that is to re-roof our pergola and paint the patio floor. We took the roof sheets off last week and removed 28 cup hooks from the timbers – must have been the hanging gardens of Babylon at one stage – sanded, washed and repainted the timbers ready for new roof sheets. We worked together and we didn’t end up having an argument, which is pretty amazing really. Our budget for this job is $1000. Yep that’s right, only three zeros. Will it be the super awesome outdoor area we would love? Probably not. But it will be a shelter from the weather so we can cook and eat outside while MrRooben chases his ball and Barry Big Hole practices riding her bike. We don’t have a budget for pillows and cushions and throws for our bed…we have four pillows and a doona cover my mum picked up in the recent closure of a House store – thanks mum! To be honest even if I did have spare money pillows and cushions would be last on my list. I would rather buy a coffee table or side table so I can put my drink down without MrRooben whipping it onto the floor with his broom like tail. We currently use the two small chairs that form part of an Ikea chair and table set that Barry Big Hole has in her play room – they do the trick but to be honest it would feel more of a grown up space with a coffee table. We’ll see how we go in the budget. Our guests might have to continue to play dodge the dog tail with their coffee or wine so we can plant out our neighbours instead. Turns out that at $27 our kids Ikea setting was a sound investment with multiple functions….it just won’t be appearing in Vogue Living anytime soon.