Germs suck!

They do! They suck the life out of you in more ways than one.

They make us stress about hygiene, and fill our homes with all sorts of expensive toxic chemicals designed to make the manufacturers very rich, because it’s not just ONE product you absolutely have to buy for fear of being a bad parent/housewife, it’s FIFTY.

Something for inside the fridge, something for outside the fridge, something for in the dishwasher, something for the toilet, something for stainless steel, something to make wood all shiny, something to make plastic look shiny, something for each type of flooring, something for the lounge, something for the walls, something for the shower, something so we don’t have to clean the shower at all, something for soap scum, something for washing dishes, something for washing clothes, something for really dirty clothes, something to make our clothes look brand new even when they’ve been washed a million times… Arrghhhhhhh!

It’s enough to make us sick!

That’s the other reason why germs suck. I have been as sick as a bloody dog. Ultimately it was a throat infection, which doesn’t sound like much, but during the course of my illness I suffered every possible symptom of an upper respiratory infection that there is to possibly suffer:

Headache, earache, ringing ears, popping ears, neck ache, tender glands, sore throat, painful throat, runny nose, cough, muscle aches, fever, chills, lethargy, loss of appetite, tiredness, difficulty sleeping…

And side effects of the antibiotics. (I will not discuss those!)

All while trying to be mum. Shock horror, my boys made themselves jam sandwiches for dinner… TWICE!

They will survive. I have survived. I live to fight another day. Just!

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A few weeks ago I introduced the Force of Five.

The idea being, ANYONE can find five minutes, and five minutes can eventually lead to more.

Which, although not capable of leading to recovery in itself, may lead to a better feeling of “I can cope”, and give you a little headspace to deal with other things.

So what other things can you do in five minutes? (N.B. these are five minutes EACH, therefore, you only need to pick one!)

Put a load of washing on*
Check the mailbox and enjoy the fresh air while doing so.
Wipe round the bathroom sink.
Pick some flowers from the garden.
Fill a plastic shopping bag with rubbish from around the house.
Make yourself a cuppa and drink it.
Go to the toilet in peace (of course you’ve all put locks on your doors by now, right?)
Fill the kitchen sink with dishes to soak*
Get dressed to your shoes.
Empty some of the science experiments out of the fridge.

*will require a follow up FIVE later

Notice they are not ALL housework things. Some are nurturing things, JUST FOR YOU. It is important to look after yourself. Even the housework things are there to make you feel better.

What things can you think of?

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Anger and Empowerment (or, Why I Hate The Media)

Nine Network Logo (2008 - present) Nine Network

Image via Wikipedia

This is a quick “unplanned” blog post, but I just HAD to talk about this, or I may explode more than I already have!

Got up bright and early this morning. It’s sunday morning, the kids are up, nice family time.

Turn on Weekend Today on Channel Nine.

On comes the 9am news report.

No attempt to respect privacy, or audience at home that are watching, no joke, an 18 month old little girl, unconscious, covered in blood, being wheeled on gurney into waiting ambulance. Not a one-off inadvertent shot, but THREE separate shots at different stages of loading the kid into the ambulance. She is uncovered from mid torso up. Anyone who knows her would surely be able to recognise her. (Story Online “Toddler survives being thrown from car” – note the footage on this page may be different to what I saw. I do NOT wish to risk seeing this again!)

Parents have been rushed to hospital in serious conditions too. Greatly doubt they could possibly give consent in that condition! It is also likely criminal charges may be involved, as police are investigating. Am thinking of the whole “names cannot be released due to legal reasons” also because of child involved. How is this essential for the public to see?

I know it’s not just me.

But this is wrong on so many levels.

I ranted on Facebook.

I thought about it more.

I have cried about this. The thought of that poor little girl in such an awful and vulnerable position, on national TV for everyone to see. Thank god my kids DIDN’T see. I can’t get the image out of my head. I don’t shock easily. This shocked me. Mainly the fact it’s a CHILD.

Eventually I went to Free TV Australia and lodged a formal complaint, including the sections of the broadcasting code I feel have been breached. I have also been told this footage was shown at 6pm too.

Even more glad I complained. Cannot believe they are STILL showing it!!

I could have sat and stewed, bitched and complained in my own little universe, but who would have heard?? My 60 or so friends, and that’s it. What good would my ranting do? Other than raise my blood pressure, and make me more upset?

But I DID something about it, and formally complained. I feel empowered. AT least for now. I await the response! Will keep you informed.

The Force of Five

A photo from 1899 showing the use of toothbrush.

Image via Wikipedia

If you are acquainted with Flylady you will know all out her “15 minutes” thing. You do everything in 15 minute “bits” and (apparently) you don’t even notice. It IS amazing what you can achieve in only fifteen minutes! For a short time Flylady ran my life. It was the ONLY thing that kept me going through that stage of my depression. Fifteen minutes and a shiny sink and weekly home blessings and daily reminders of this and that. Getting dressed to my shoes and control journals for everything under the sun. I was like some SUPER FLY ROBOT!!

Then I hit ABSOLUTE rock bottom, and of course, it all fell apart.

So, what if you are at rock bottom, the only reason you get out of bed is to answer nature’s call or feed the kids, and the thought of DOING anything for 15 minutes is enough to make you want to hide even further under the covers?

Fifteen minutes is a LOT when you’re in that state of mind, right??

THIS is what you can do:

FIVE minutes.

But not housework, not laundry, none of that stuff.

Five minutes ON YOU!

One of the most common things to go when suffering from depression is self-care. I stopped showering. Only doing so when I ABSOLUTELY had to go out and be seen by other people. I didn’t think I was worth the effort. I also stopped brushing my teeth, needless to say, I’m still suffering the consequences years later. I really wish I had cottoned on to the force of five earlier!

So, if you have one of those “cannot face the world” days (or weeks or months or longer), just spend FIVE minutes on yourself.


Step 1. Brush your teeth. No instruction necessary, we ALL know how to do it! You don’t even have to do it for the full 3 minutes the dentists prescribe. (No corsets required either!) A bit of a swish around with the brush and toothpaste is WAY better than nothing at all. You will be thanking yourself years down the track.

Step 2. Wash your face. A clean face washer, you don’t even have to use soap, just wet it with warm water and wring it out well. If you really really hate yourself, use cold!

Step 3. Quick swish under the armpits, and another swish “downstairs”, then pop the washer in the laundry.

Step 4. Dry off if necessary.

Maybe the good feeling only lasts ten minutes. Maybe you feel like going straight back to bed, and that’s OK. At the very least, you’ve brushed our teeth, and you don’t stink to high heaven! You’ll be amazed what a difference this makes. Especially after a few days.

The beauty of this first FIVE is that you can do it in your pyjamas, or yesterday’s clothes. It takes very little effort, only five minutes (possibly even less than that) but stops things going downhill in terms of personal hygiene.

You will also find that the FIRST FIVE, can eventually lead to more.

This is the FORCE OF FIVE.

Those tiny little steps you take, to stop yourself from going right under, can eventually give you the strength to take bigger steps. Hopefully up the road to recovery.

I hope this post hasn’t sounded too preachy. I don’t have THE ANSWER. I only know that fifteen minutes was great for me, to a point. Looking back, I wish someone had said to me when my depression was at its worst, “You know, five minutes is absolutely AWESOME!” So I’m saying it now. To everyone. When you are depressed, just doing ANYTHING is an amazing achievement. Really it is.

The Teflon Coat

Extra to the previous list of ingredients is one last item you MUST have. I remember suggesting it at antenatal classes, unfortunately it has not been put into production yet.

This is the TEFLON COAT.

It has practical uses, of course. For the various bodily fluids. Smooshed up foodstuffs. But that’s not where it REALLY comes in handy.

It’s not until you become a parent that you realise how “helpful” everyone is.

Everyone being EVERYONE. Including your parents, the in-laws, other well meaning relatives, the next door neighbour, the lady at the post office, numerous shop assistants, some total stranger on the bus, and every newspaper, magazine, and media outlet you can possibly think of, including the internet (and yes, blogs).

Everyone has their two cents, and they WILL give it. You will be bombarded with “helpful” advice about absolutely every aspect of parenting you can possibly think of… often when you haven’t even asked, sometimes when you haven’t even made EYE CONTACT!

If you listen and put into practice every single piece of advice you are given, you will surely go stark raving mad. Add in the guaranteed CONFLICTING advice, and you’ll have no hope what so ever.

What you need is a teflon coat to let the unwanted advice just SLIDE RIGHT OFF.

Along with the bombardment of advice comes the judgements. The dirty looks you might get for breastfeeding in public, or for bottle feeding in public, or for not feeding in public, and letting your baby cry for five minutes. Feel like you can’t win either way? Don your teflon coat and you won’t feel like you should have just stayed home, or even worse, like you should go feed baby in the lav!

The teflon coat repels it all!

So this is the thing with my previous ingredients list, and indeed this whole blog:

These are ideas that worked for ME. They may not work for anyone else. If you like the sound of something, sure, give it a go, but if it doesn’t work, that’s fine. Let me know what successes and failures you have.

Even better, DON’T USE MY IDEAS, but change them, develop them, adapt them into something that works for YOU.

I found that long term development of tips, tricks and routines worked much better, and have worked better in the long term, because they were developed BY ME, FOR ME.

I learnt to take or leave advice, keep the tips and tricks that worked, forget about the things that didn’t and ignore the dirty looks and judgement from other people if I wasn’t doing it THEIR WAY.

Ultimately, they don’t matter.

Only your household and the people who live in it do.

And if anyone knows where I can get a REAL teflon coat that’s not on a frying pan, let me know!

P.S. my boys’ school shorts have teflon in them this year.. Maybe someone’s catching on!

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First Gather your Ingredients

So what do we need to make it through motherhood successfully?

Hell, most of us would be happy to make it in one piece, and as I reckon happiness IS success, that’s what we’ll be aiming for here.

Ingredients List:

A child (yeah, sorry, as much as you’d love to leave this one out, and as easy as it would make the whole business, it’s kind of compulsory!)

Ear plugs: I wore these every night for the whole of my first pregnancy. I started sleeping so lightly that the slightest sound would wake me, this is apparently to get you used to sleepless nights once baby arrives. As Kaz Cooke said, “so the way to prepare for no sleep is more no sleep?” well, like her I thought this was bullshit, so I wore earplugs and slept MUCH BETTER.

Cloth nappies (not just for the obvious): even if you go disposable all the way, cloth nappies make great burp cloths, impromptu change mats, boob overflow absorbers, just to start. I knew a bloke who always tied one around his head “cowboy style” when changing his daughter’s nappy, to keep the pong out of his nose! These mini towels gain a second wind once baby stage is over. Perfect for mopping up toilet training accidents. I’ve used them for pet accidents too! I still keep a couple around the house. They’re eight years old!

A LOCK on your bathroom/toilet door (high enough that your 4 yo can’t lock you out, of course): I’ve never understood the whole “can’t pee alone ever again” thing. I lock the door. I warn the boys when I hear them come down the hallway. They get yelled at if they so much as BREATHE on the door handle. I always pee alone!

Ziplock bags: One you get used to using these you wonder how you ever lived without them. In the kitchen (open spice packets), the lunchbox (chopped up apple, half a packet of popcorn, carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes, plastic cutlery), the handbag (lipstick, medication, anything you want to save from the deep dark depths), the bathroom (product samples), the school bag (stuff for news, lunch money), the nappy bag (baby wipes), I could go on forever! I once emptied 5 yo’s shoes into one and sent the sand back to preschool as his news for the day. I have also carried a dripping wet washer in in my handbag, for wiping hands, faces, and cooling down hot kiddies after a predicted long day. I got so many comments on how prepared I was! I LOVE ziplock bags!

Another mum or group of mums that you can let it all hang out with, especially with weetbix on your shirt: EVERYBODY needs an outlet. I use realmums I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, and many more times: they saved my life!

Clothes that don’t need ironing (enough to last a month… at least): this should need no explanation. Colours that hide baby vomit are even better. Pastel colours are perfect. It wasn’t until babies that “baby powder pink” became an essential party of my wardrobe. Serious. Save the time usually wasted ironing for more useful things like doing absolutely nothing!

A pram you can manoeuvre up and down, in and around the shops, in and out of the car, preferably with one hand: That’s right, you don’t need a swedish pram with a name you can’t pronounce, or whatever pram the latest celeb baby has been snapped by the paparazzi in. Chances are you’ll be cursing it when other half can’t collapse it, or it won’t fit in the boot, or you can’t get through the checkout at the local woolies.

A sense of humour: When you’ve been weed on pooped on slobbered and spewed on, all in the first week… All you can do is laugh, or go totally insane. Best to laugh, and at least only be GOING insane!

That’s a start, what are some of yours?

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This is not a drill!

Actually it’s a test, just to make sure all this stuff links up, from my mobile, through my blog, and onto facebook.

No need to comment, unless you wanna be a smarty pants!

That is all.

Right here, right now

So this is where I am NOW.

Not really any point me trying to share strategies that worked, if I’m in the deep dark depths of depression, hardly making through each day myself. It would be like the blind leading the blind.

So here’s ME… NOW!

I’ve been a single mum for four and a half years. I’m about to return to full time study (mental health), juggling school drop offs and pick ups, dance classes (my youngest son), karate classes (my eldest son), night shift as an Aged Care Nurse, a boyfriend, and all the issues and baggage that go with that. And I like karaoke.

I live in the far western suburbs of Sydney, Australia. Yes, I started my blog on AUSTRALIA DAY. In my mind, just about anything can be classed as ‘Aussie’, as long as you get a public holiday for it! I was born in the UK, but have been a proud Aussie for almost 20 years. When you look at all the terrible things that go on around the world, we really ARE the “Lucky Country” (drought and floods included) and I wouldn’t live anywhere else in the world.

I hate doing dishes. But I do enjoy cleaning the toilet, and looking at a clean house, although I’ve been crap at keeping one.

I’m a terrible procrastinator. I tried off campus study last year. It didn’t work.

With many things I know my limits, but I’m still learning. eg. see above example!

So that’s ME.

I will say one more thing: Even though life still throws a lot of crap at me, I now consider myself to be “HAPPY”. But that’s no accident. That’s why I want to share stuff with you.

Where I come from.

No, I’m not going to talk the birds and the bees!

This is a “long story short” version of my experiences with depression and parenting, so you know where I’m coming from, and so hopefully I don’t sound like a holier than thou know it all. You know I’ve BEEN THERE!

I have been a mother for almost 8 years, the first five of that (plus a bit beforehand) I battled Antenatal Depression, Postnatal Depression, and the biggie: MAJOR Depression. Personally I think it’s ALL major, but that’s by the by. Then onto a long recovery period, but I don’t think you ever actually STOP the recovery process.

Throw in anxiety, serious relationship issues, and social issues, and I’ve been pretty much as low as a person can get.

I have had experiences with more support services than I can possibly count. Federal funded, State funded, Church funded, employee run, volunteer run. You name it, I’ve been there.

For the domestic stuff I will in time mention the following:



Busy Mother’s Companion

I will also make mention of Realmums and the Bad Mothers Club (where realmums hang out!) on numerous occasions.

Realmums is my lifeline! Realmums SAVES LIVES!

Oh, and my youngest starts school in two weeks, YIPPEEE! Not that I’m celebrating or anything.

Why Doesn’t The Weather Really Matter?

Our most favouritest “small talk” topic, from our closest friend to the checkout chick at woolies, from the teeny bopper at maccas to the mums at school…

How’s the weather?

Isn’t it hot today?

That storm was scary wasn’t it?

OMG, I’m freezing!

Why does it always rain right on 3pm? (proof  “god” is probably actually a man, maybe?)

If only we could talk about how we’re COPING with life with the same ease as we talk about the weather, right?

But I’ve noticed many of our weather terms are used in relation to our life. Depression is like a dark storm cloud, or a fog. Our children are whirling tornadoes. Arguments with our partners are like thunder and lightning, or worse, an ice storm!

We also hang out for those sunny days. We seem to feel better, energised on bright sunny days. We make hay while the sun shines.

But what if the sun never shines on the inside? What if every day is overcast? How do you get through the day?

That’s what I want to do with this blog.

No matter what your own internal climate, no matter what life is handing us, we need strategies to get through it, to weather the storm. Drawing from my own personal experiences, including lots of trial and error over the years, I’ll share some of the things that worked for me. No, my life ain’t perfect. That black cloud is still hanging on the distant horizon, and my life often resembles a natural disaster zone, but for me, for all of us…

There ARE blue skies ahead, never mind the weather!

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