Saturday, September 17, 2011


As I feared this poor blog has taken a bit of a hit in recent weeks. I'm going to blame working full-time, being pregnant (i.e. bloody exhausted) and wanting to spend as much time as possible with my little guy in my time off. I have to say it has been totally worth it and I've not regretted a minute of the last 6 weeks. I have however, learned that I really shouldn't commit to writing a regular, weekly Top Tip post when I there is no possible way that I could see that through. For the record, I've also abandoned my friends, husband, the dog, the garden, my hopes for a quiet life and daytime naps.

Anyway, that is all about to come to an end and I will be a lady of "leisure" (aka bored housewife) once again. I finish work on Friday. Contrary to what you might be thinking, I didn't pack it in because it got too hard, and I didn't totally screw up and get fired (unless you count getting pregnant, which is actually my husband's fault), I have simply been replaced. The school started recruiting as soon as they learned I was pregnant and happened to find a top-notch candidate immediately. Awfully convenient for them, but just plain disappointing for me. I was considered a top-notch candidate myself not so long ago... So despite completely dreading the idea of going back to work full-time, and feeling quite sick and whinging non-stop for the first couple of weeks, I went on a very long and complicated mental journey where I overcame all of those obstacles, pushed aside my doubts, battled my demons etc and came out feeling quite positive about it all. And I actually really liked it, much to my surprise. I hated having to set an alarm and I hated the screaming, clinging, soul destroying protests of my son as I tried to leave each morning, but I loved the work. I loved being needed for something more than apple juice and transport to playgroup. I loved having adult conversations all day and having something other than poo and tantrums to discuss at the end of the day. I loved having to care about what I looked like when I walked out the door, and having a reason to blow dry my hair (not that I had time for that mind you). One of the best things about working was going to the ATM at the end of the month and still having cash in the bank! Getting to know a whole new group of lovely people and awesome kids was just the icing on the cake.

I was late almost every morning and I left early every afternoon but I was driven to keep going every day by the commitments I had made; to the school, to my husband and to a career that was going nowhere very fast. I'm kind of bummed that, in the end, the school wasn't as committed to me as I was to it, but I got so much out of the experience that I'll get over it. Just like I got over the fact that I had to leave my son behind every day, that I wasn't there when he split his head open on a playdate (I was there as the Dr stitched him back up though), and that I haven't had any time for anyone or anything else lately.

I'm really not sure how I'll feel when the new school year rolls around in August 2012 and I have a 2 year old and a 6 month old baby but I am so glad that I listened to all of you who told me I could go back to work and everything would be ok. I know what I need to be doing when I do decide to go back again (or when the kitchen drives me mad) and it was worth it all just for that. For now I'm committed to getting fat, spending quality time with those I love and throwing out that damn alarm clock! And maybe, just maybe I'll have time to start writing again...

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Empire State of Mind

Ten years ago today I was 22, living by myself in a tiny flat in Canberra, and working 6 days a week. On the day the world changed forever I turned the radio on shortly after waking up and heard the news that the World Trade Centre had been hit by a plane. At that stage it was thought to be an accident. I arrived at work to find my colleagues gathered around the TV in the office, and by then it was obvious that this wasn't an accident at all. We only had the TV out because a few days earlier we had proudly watched Australian Lleyton Hewitt win the US Open: it seems like such a trivial little detail to remember but nothing about that day made sense, why should my memory of it be any different? We stood there all morning, transfixed. We went about our business in stunned silence and cried openly as we watched the twin towers fall. It felt so surreal, like we were watching a horror film. At the end of that day I called my family and close friends and told them that I loved them, and to this day, I still do it more often than I used to. We were so far away from the tragedy infolding that it was already the 12th of September where we were, but at the same time we were connected to it by a sense of profound sadness and loss, that we shared with billions around the world. We knew that for those of us who were alive on that day, nothing would ever be the same. The world as we knew it, would never be the same.

Today, as I remember the events of that awful, godless day, I'm still deeply sad. Sad for the individual losses: for those who died and the fear they must have felt, for those who lost loved ones, the children who will never know their fathers. I'm sad for what we lost as a global community, all those lives, that innocence, that sense of freedom that was replaced with shock and grief and fear. But while I'm sad, and at times a little afraid, I'm remembering with overwhelming respect and admiration those who survived. The world's most celebrated, most resilient, most amazing city and the way it picked itself up and rebuilt. Those who refused to let the bad guys win, and those who turned a horrible tragedy into inspiration to live a better life. The people who honour their lost loved ones by continuing to live one day at a time, one foot in front of the other. And each and every person who remembers exactly where they were that day. They give me hope that my son will never know a day like 9/11.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Secrets and Lies

I'm afraid, dear readers, that I have been keeping a pretty big secret for a while now, and it's been tough. I'm not good with secrets. I can keep other people's without hesitation, but my own, especially when there really aren't any consequences for blabbing, are a lot less likely to stay in the vault. It's even harder when your secret is good news. Once you've confided in one friend, it's easy to confide in a few more, and then suddenly you're announcing it to the other mums at playgroup. There were people we had to tell - a few key family members, and then of course there was the inevitable, "well, if they know, we really should tell..." I had to tell my boss, even before I told my parents, and then I felt bad that all my colleagues knew and so I shared it with a few more friends.

Like winning the lotto and not having the money in the bank yet, this unexpected piece of news didn't feel real until I told people. While I felt guilty telling virtual strangers, it was easier to tell people who weren't emotionally invested in it. If it had turned out that we'd had our numbers wrong, it would've been a lot easier to accept sympathy from the neighbours than having to deal with those closest to us, who also would've felt like they had lost something. The thing I struggled with the most was not being able to blog about it. I'm so honest here that it felt wrong, almost like I was lying by omission, to keep it off these pages. I promised my husband there would be no cyber announcement of any kind until we had told all of our family members. This of course led to a heated debate about who we each consider to be "family."

I did, despite having a very big mouth, feel quite protective about my little secret. I wanted to choose who I told and when I told them, and I hoped my close friends would hear it from me before it made its way around the grapevine. I had a few people ask me outright if I had recently had some good news. I have to admit I denied it a few times, and those closest to me here denied it on my behalf (thank you dear friends!). I did feel bad denying it and even lying about it, rolling my eyes melodramatically while exclaiming, "oh no! Definitely not!" It did get progressively harder to deny, and was made harder by the fact that I have been walking around looking like this for several weeks now...

So you see, despite my fairly recent protestations about not being ready for another baby, mother nature clearly had other plans and I am 13 weeks pregnant. We knew we'd have another one eventually, but we've got a lot going on this year, so it wasn't on the agenda at all. Once the initial shock wore off and the nausea set in, it all felt very real, and I had a serious case of deja vu - it really didn't feel like that long ago that we were in this position. The last time I fell pregnant without trying to, it didn't end well, so I really felt like this one wouldn't stick either, which is crazy I know. Until last week I felt like death, sicker than I've ever felt before. This time round it's like extreme pregnancy - I'm sicker, more tired, ferociously cranky one minute and desperately weepy the next (so, now you might understand why going back to work was so tough!). But despite all that I'm absolutely thrilled. Each week that has passed, every time I've seen my little button on an ultrasound or heard his or her heartbeat, I've done a little dance and I could not be happier. As you can imagine, 13 weeks of keeping this to myself has meant that I have a lot of things to say on the subject, but for now I just wanted to get it off my chest, finally! We're 6 months away from becoming a family of four, life is sweet, the secret's out.