Another Plebiscite Blog Post

#VoteYes
Photo by Peter Hershey on Unsplash

The Marriage Equality Postal Plebiscite is big news at the  moment. Big news. Not a day goes by, it seems, without a minimum of one news article, five blog posts, and at least a hundred heated debates on the social medias. It’s the thing that Australia is talking about.

There are plenty of people with social media platforms far greater than my own that are publishing well researched, balanced, and supportive opinion pieces on the subject. And my own views on the subject are pretty clear:

rainbow flag1
I’m not sure if I can make it any clearer than that.

So, I’m not going to jump on my soapbox, and subject any person who happens to stumble upon my blog, to a lengthy essay on my own opinions on the matter. They are pretty much the same as every other left wing, socially progressive person’s opinions anyway, which means you have probably heard them all before. I’m really not. I promise.

Instead, in light of the recent news that Pauline Hanson would like a plebiscite on whether or not to “ban the burqa“, I have decided to compile a list of very serious incredibly trivial issues that are mostly a matter of personal preference, that I would like to see polled via postal plebiscite. These are issues close to my heart*. Issues that, unlike choice in headdress, and the marriage of people who are not me, effect my day to day life in meaningful some ways:

Pineapple on pizza: Yay or Nay?

I’m loud and proud on this one: pineapple will always have a place on my pizza. From a practical perspective, chucking a few slices of Golden Circle’s finest amongst the capsicum and mushrooms allows me to mentally tick “fed kids veg AND fruit” off my list of parenting wins at meal time. Pineapple is the perfect sweetness to balance an anchovy, and the ideal accompaniment to the sauce on a BBQ chicken pizza. I’m not even sure that I know people who don’t pineapple their pizza. Do they really exist? A couple of hundred million on a plebiscite is the only way we will ever know.

pizza test
I disagree.

Diet Coke vs. Coke Zero vs. New No Sugar

I have to admit, I’m on the fence with this one. Diet Coke is essentially a small can of carbonated disappointment, however new No Sugar is mighty pleasant. And Coke Zero has been my soft drink of choice for as long as I can remember. As a sleep deprived shift working parent, I am rarely far from some form of caffeinated, carbonate, sugar free beverage. This debate has the potential to be as heated and divisive as the great “Coke vs. Pepsi” of the 20th century. The future of the nation might well depend on the outcome of this potential plebiscite.

Ford vs. Holden

Would you like your four tyres, steering wheel, air conditioning, and engine, to come with a blue ‘Ford’ badge, or a red ‘Holden’ badge? I couldn’t give two fucks, but thousands apparently could. I have vague, drunken memories of this debate causing heated verbal arguments when I was in my late teens and early twenties. I mean, I own a Holden, and I like it a lot, but I don’t actually care. I would like it just as much if it were a Ford. Or a Hyundai.

ford holden
I mean, I get it. But I don’t get it.

Should Australians call it ‘Soccer’ or ‘Football’?

This is something I would really like an answer to. If I call it ‘soccer’, purists haughtily correct me, as my colonial term for the greatest sport on earth is apparently offensive and uneducated. However, if I call it ‘football’, people seem to think I am talking about any number of other sports, all of which are called football by Australians. I’m not the only one confused, either: the club I play for is also unable to decide, and has instead been labelled ‘SFC’- as in Soccer/Football club. Could somebody please help me, I have no idea. I just want to head down on the weekend, and kick the damn ball around. Malcolm Turnbull, we need answers, and we need them now. Plebiscite postal vote, stat!

AFL or NRL- which is the true football of Australia?

Admittedly another one I don’t really care about, however I would have to vote NRL, because I vaguely understand the rules and at least know the names of the teams. Also, I got drunk on the hill at Shark Park so many times when I was in high school, so I have some loyalty to the many fans who kindly purchased 17 year old me many beers on many occasions. Thanks, guys! AFL confuses the fuck out of me. Why is the field round? Why so many goal posts? Why so many umpires? What is going on? I don’t understand. Also, on the few occasions I actually attended an AFL game under-aged, not one person bought me a VB**. Not one. Thanks for nothing. Sheesh.

This plebiscite could potentially cost Australians $525 million. That is an awful lot of moolah to invest into a time waste of a vote that is non-binding, and offers no guarantee of a definitive outcome. And honestly, unless you are a person who wants to get married, but is currently legally unable to do so for no reason other than the gender of the person that you happen to love, what the hell does it have to do with you anyway?

Vote Yes.

*These are not issues close to my heart. I lied. So ner.

**I have been advised by a colleague that I would be likely served Carlton Draught at an AFL match. I would have known this, if anyone in 1998 had been willing to help a thirsty teenager out.

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The Primary Carer(s)

dinner
Dinner, and a special place set for a working mama by her daughter.

It’s 6am. I’ve just left home for a 12 hour shift, my third shift in four days. It’s a Saturday, which means the big kids have soccer. Since this is the one weekend out of five that I will be at work all day, Murphy’s law dictates that both kids will have games at the same time. At different fields. Fields so far away from each other that it is impossible to even drop Phoebe at her game before speeding off to Daniel’s game.

I’ve worked most of the week, and Joe has worked all of it. In between work, I have taken the kids to specialist appointments, social engagements, training sessions. There has been limited time for things like housework, so our dirty clothes hamper is filled to the brim. The school holidays have just ended, so we are light on groceries, too: I have been waiting for a child-free day, because three children fighting and begging for sugary snacks in Aldi is a special kind of torture.

Toys litter the house from front to back. No matter how many times I attempt to enforce a ‘toys should only be in the toy room’ rule, it never works. Phoebe’s latest art project clutters the dining table. Jared’s enduring obsession with pirates means that there are discarded pirate ships everywhere – he spent last night “sailing the seven seas”. For two kids, there are only three soccer socks. Daniel will end up wearing one of Joe’s black business socks, the heel flapping against his calf while he runs.

This is what a busy household looks like. This is three kids, two cats, two parents, two full time jobs. This is sharing the load.

sailing
The captain and his ship, sailing the seven seas.

Our life would not be possible, if both of us were not committed to sharing the parenting load equally. Sometimes it feels like it barely works when we do. A colleague asks me, ‘Who is babysitting the kids? Your husband?’ I say ‘No, my husband is not babysitting the kids. He’s parenting them.’ Because they are his responsibility, too. She laughs when I say this. ‘Yeah, but they never do as good a job, do they?’ She walks away before I can disagree.

The truth is, some things I do better than Joe. Some parts of parenting come more naturally to me, not due to my gender, but due to my personality. But Joe is better at parenting than me in plenty of areas, too.

I never considered the option that I would be the only parent who ‘parented’ in our family. It never occurred to me that men in some households really do ‘babysit’ their kids, rather than take an equal role in parenting. Before I had kids, I assumed that this was an outdated idea, or at least a rare one, in a world where more and more families have two working parents. In our house, if you are the person there, you are the person who does. If a book needs to be read, you read it. If the kids have to go to a party, you take them. If a nappy needs changing, you bloody well change it.

joe+me
Two parents. Equal responsibility.

If Joe ever had thoughts that he would not be required to parent our kids equally, he never voiced them. I doubt that he did. It has never been something that required discussion in our relationship. We have always been pretty equally balanced, so it was logical to me that our parenting roles would be, too. We are surrounded by families and friends who parent equally. It seems normal to me.

I’m lucky, apparently. Lucky, because I am not expected to go home after 12 hours of work, and cook dinner for the family. Lucky, because I am ‘allowed’ to go out socially. Lucky, because I can rely on Joe to wash dishes without being asked, or put clothes on the line, or take the kids to swimming lessons, or do their homework.

I tell them that it’s not luck. That it is the way it should be.

It’s 7pm. I’m home from work, earlier than usual, thanks to the good fortune of a 20 minute early mark, and a fabulously traffic-free motorway. There are still toys littering the floor, however the house is tidier. I can see wet clothes hanging on the line, and even more on clothes airers in the living room. The house smells like slow cooked lamb stew. Phoebe has set the table. The kids run to me, crowd me, cuddle me.

We eat, and while Joe stacks the dishwasher, I ladle the leftovers into plastic containers. I let the kids stay up late, so that I can spend just one more hour playing with them. I am a pirate, and we are sailing the seven seas, looking for treasure. We are racing car drivers, about to win the cup. They tell me about their soccer games, show me drawings. They fight me when I ask them to tidy their toys. We read books, brush teeth, bribe them to go to bed. We sprawl on the couch together, exhausted, when they finally succumb to sleep.

sleeping
They have separate beds, proper doonas, the works, yet this is how they end up most nights.

Today, it was Joe’s turn to be the primary parent. Today, it all fell on him. It will again, on countless occasions, until our kids are grown. It will be my turn again soon.

A different kind of romantic getaway

4WD header
Canyonero!

“Hey Ris, I’ve booked a weekend away for our wedding anniversary! It’s going to be great!”

Most people who know me would agree that I am generally not the type to crave luxury in life. Rare wedding anniversary weekends away are the exception. My ideal wedding anniversary weekend away would consist of:

  • Loads of cheese (it’s dairy, so it’s good for you!)
  • At least one case of good wine (it’s fruit and it’s fermented, so all the rage for the digestive system)
  • Accommodation fancier than my camper trailer
  • A bath big enough that I can swim in it

So, it is pretty easy to understand why the next part of Joe’s message had me struggling to find my enthusiasm:

“It’s a 4WD introductory driver’s course in the middle of the bush near Canberra, we can camp in the two man hiking tent!”

A quick check of the BOM website confirmed my concerns that it would be a freaking cold weekend. I felt it was pretty safe to assume that a 4WD training facility would be lacking in the areas of luxurious bathtubs and gourmet cheese selections. But it was booked, Joe was really excited, and I’m a nice wife. Most of the time.

me and hill
Inspecting a hill. It was steeper than it looks. I swear.

We purchased our ginormous ‘first step to our extended roadtrip to Cape York’ 4WD six months ago. Taking a three month vay-cay and exploring this amazing country we live in has been a shared dream for years. We both love finding spots off the beaten track, pitching our tent, and enjoying the serenity. Our kids love the freedom, we love the experience, camping is a win win as far as family holidays go. Having at least some off road skills was something we both agreed was necessary for us to realise our future plans.

I just wasn’t sure I wanted to gain such skills on my one romantic weekend for the year.

The night before we left, I threw my standard ‘Ris-brand grown lady tantrum’. My kids were sick. I was just coming off off a block of night shifts. I had gotten minimal sleep. And I just wasn’t feeling it, dammit (petulantly stamps foot). After resentfully ferrying the kids to my parent’s house, I resentfully packed my warmest and ugliest camping clothes into a bag, and resentfully binged on pizza and chocolate. I consoled myself with the promise of early morning roadhouse bacon and eggs on the trip down.

pretty!
You guys, this place is actually really pretty. 

We were out the door and on the way by 6am. I wore my purple ugg boots into the breakfast stop roadhouse with pride. The combination of bacon, eggs, and leaving the horror that is Sydney (we have a love/hate relationship) lifted my spirits. Off the highway, down a country road, and then a dirt track, and we had arrived.

Great Divide Tours training facility is located on the outskirts of Braidwood, a scenic little town about an hour east of Canberra. As a self confessed ‘charming country town addict’, initially this was the most appealing part of the entire weekend. Most of my future planning fantasies surround me moving to a charming country town, and Braidwood possesses all the necessary small town features I require. Utterly adorable.

We were met by the trainers, ushered inside, warmed with tea, cake, and a hearty fire in the fireplace. The trainers seemed friendly, and quickly proved themselves to be knowledgeable. After a talk about diff locks, split diffs, low range, and high range, we were placed into groups and on our way, the great big world of off road driving our destination.

hills!
A variety of hills to choose from!

An hour into the practical exercises on the first day, my doubts were gone. I was having fun. I mean, I was freezing-freaking-cold, and I was still less than enthused about the two man tent. But the driving part? I was thoroughly enjoying it. By lunchtime on the first day, I was forced to admit that my misgivings had been misplaced. This introductory driver training stuff was completely rad. My initial doubt was completely replaced with Ris-brand extroverted enthusiasm. Joe was simultaneously smug and beaming.

The entire weekend was focused on the concept of safe off road driving, which impressed me greatly. My general impression of 4WD up until taking part in this course was influenced by my experiences as a teenager growing up on the edge of an enormous national park. Plenty of my friends as a kid would ‘bush bash’, but things like ‘risk assessment’ were foreign concepts. For someone like me, who is known for erring on the side of caution (aka- Massive Scaredy-Cat), tearing around the bush in a poorly maintained Suzuki never really appealed. I like coming home uninjured. I enjoy not being lost in the bush overnight in freezing conditions. Call me crazy.

The training facility itself was pretty awesome, too. Acres of custom-designed obstacles, with varying degrees of difficulty, gave every participant a chance to learn at their own comfort level. I surprised myself and discovered that I was very fond of driving up and down steep things, and then surprised myself even more when I realised that I wanted to do it again. With each obstacle carefully and thoroughly walked through by the instructors, even the most apprehensive novice felt comfortable giving it a go.

down the hill
Again, it is honestly steeper than it looks. I was so proud of myself for doing it, and now it just looks poxy.

Despite losing the feeling in four out of ten of my fingers for several hours, and being forced to sleep on an air mattress while wearing two pairs of socks, gloves, and a beanie all night, Joe’s less-than-romantic take on our annual romantic weekend away turned out to be an excellent experience. We are already talking about when to do the next course. I’m already researching lift kits and diff locks.

If I were to do it again, the only thing I would change is where we slept – Joe failed to mention, until the very last minute, that there is an option to sleep in the onsite bunkhouse instead of on the grass. And, while bunks are a far cry from five stars and a giant bathtub, they a hell of a lot warmer than a damp tent.

In closing, for your reading pleasure, I leave you with a list of four wheel drive recovery items that sound incredibly inappropriate:

  • Tred Leash
  • Jack Mount
  • Lift Jack
  • Bow Shackel
  • Snatch Strap

Snatch Strap. I mean, really. Who comes up with this stuff?

This post is not a sponsored post. I just happened to really enjoy my weekend with Great Divide Tours, and wanted to share the love.

tent life
This is how cold sleeping in a tent in Braidwood looks.\

 

 

 

 

A Mother’s Day present to myself.

A PRESENT FOR
I wish it was booze, but I also don’t wish to get fired.

Well, it’s that time of year again, the time of massage vouchers, fluffy bathrobes, and homemade cards with amusing messages within. Mother’s Day, the annual day of thanking yo’ mama, is upon us again. Catalogues are abundant with ‘gift suggestions’, cafes preparing for a Sunday morning of extreme brunch trade, and children are creating heart felt messages of appreciation in schools across this great, red, dusty country.

So, you ask, what are you doing for Mother’s Day this year? What are your fantastic plans? Luxury clothing? French perfume? Lunch at a chef hatted restaurant? Something equally fantastic?

Well, no. Not quite. Instead of spending quality time with my family and children, I will be spending quality time with my coworkers. For twelve hours. Twelve. Hours. No offence to the fabulous people I work with, but this is not my favourite way to spend Mother’s Day. Nor any other Sunday, actually. I plan to compensate for this by purchasing and consuming the biggest, dirtiest, carb loaded burger of my career. With chips. The loaded variety.

hamburger-2253349_960_720
I anticipate that the burger I will consume in lieu of actual mother’s day festivity will be at least this big and greasy.

I have however decided to gift myself a Mother’s Day present of my very own. It’s something I need, which is great. But better than that, it is something that will cost me nothing. This should make my husband very happy.

I am pulling out of the competition for World’s Most Competent Mother.

Yep. I’m out. Done. Kaput.

Call me defeatist, and I will agree. Complain that I have lost my competitive spirit, that’s undeniable too. But the truth is, the damn competition is rigged. I’ll never win.

You see, whenever I win at one part of being World’s Most Competent Mother, I seem to fail at another. Working mum, who manages to juggle a demanding work role with the demands of mothering? Well sure, until I remember that I am also the mother who forgot to pay for the end of year movie day at school last year, leaving my daughter as the only kid who didn’t get to go. And let’s not forget the countless speeches/mini projects/homework tasks that I have had the best intentions for, but never quite found the time for. I’m clearly not effortlessly combining work and parenting when I forget to tell someone to take my kid to soccer training, either.

That’s not the only area where my win becomes a loss. Volunteer to coach my son’s soccer team? Win! Realise that this means that I will never be there to watch my daughter play in her team? Lose.

pirate cakes
This is as technical as my decorating skills get. And they STILL needed a close up filtered photo. Tasted damn fine, though.

I even fail at the things I thought I would be good at. I can bake a mean cupcake, and my buttercream is to die for, but my decorating skills leave a lot to be desired. There was that time I threw two full cakes in the bin after a decorating fail, and ended up at Woolies buying sponge cakes and Betty Crocker frosting as they were closing the doors at midnight. Or the time I had grand plans for a multi tiered rainbow cake, but ended up with a cream cheese frosted rainbow landslide, and hands that were dyed purple for a week. It took an awful lot of close up photography and filtering to make that monstrosity social media worthy, let me tell you.

CAKE FAIL
The great cake fail of 2012. Bake a dolly varden, they said. It’s easy, they said. Two cakes in the bin later, I’m at Woolies as the light go off, buying marked down sponge cakes and Betty Crocker icing. The icing literally slid off the cake. Slid. Off.

I make sure that my kids are surrounded by heaps of great friends, to make up for the lack of geographically convenient cousins in their lives. Kid socialising win! But then, I drink far too much beer with said friend’s parents – which I feel is also a win, but society (and holier than thou parenting types) kinda tells me is a fail.

IRRESPONSIBLE
Girl’s weekend away fridge. The cheese is a protein, dammit. Balanced as fuck.

See, no matter how hard I try, I can’t compete. I’m just not that kind of mother. I’m the kind of mother who remembers that they forgot to buy bread at midnight, and ends up breaking into the money box to pay for lunch orders. The kind of mum who lets my kids clean their own rooms, to their own standards, because I can’t actually be fucked doing it myself, yet again, only for them to destroy them, yet again. I’m messy. I’m loud. I let them watch “scary” superhero movies. I swear. I’d prefer to read a book than clean a kitchen.

I let my kids dress themselves most of the time, too. Which means my daughter is usually  a mismatched rainbow of layers, and my eldest son generally wears shorts long after the rest of society has deemed it cool enough for jeans. My youngest son is pretty well permanently dressed as a pirate. I feel that my kids are a win for self expression and individuality, but judging by the looks I receive regularly at the local shops, they are perhaps a fail when it comes to high society. Considering my husband still wears the cargo shorts he bought before my eight year old was born, and I frequently attire myself like a teenager from the ’90s, I guess that the fail is a family bonding activity. Which pretty much makes it a win.

messy kids
Pirate. Long sleeves, mismatched shorts. Miracle that is my daughter in coordinated outfit.

See it’s pointless, really, me even entering the competition in the first place. I wasn’t actually aware that I had entered, but somewhere along the way I found that it had grown around me. And I am so far from being perfect, that I can’t see how such a competition will ever benefit me at all. Worrying so much about what others think of my parenting, caring about whether or not my children/cakes/house/drinking habits are social media appropriate, it’s too much stress for me. So I’m out.

And I couldn’t be happier about it. Happy Mother’s Day, peeps.

Below Average.

BELOW AVERAGE

Academically, I was an irritatingly capable primary school student. I was quick to read, quick to write, and by all accounts the kind of kid who just ‘got’ it. I remember being the kid who was allowed to use a ‘proper’ lined exercise book for my stories, long before the other kids in my class. I was reading books that were far too mature for my age, because the age appropriate books were far too juvenile in their complexity for me. Everybody knows ‘that’ kid.

I won the academic award for my class every year. I was picked for extension classes, ‘talented problem solver’ camps, opportunity classes, selective high schools. I was in the top band for every standardised test I was ever required to sit. I may have been extraordinarily lazy about studying, however classroom learning came pretty easily to me. It still does, actually.

Socially, I was a bit shit. Actually, socially I was a lot shit. I struggled to make friends, struggled to keep friends, struggled to relate to my peers. I remember being five years old, and sitting outside the canteen, alone on a bench because nobody would play with me. A first grade student took pity on me, and played with me every so often at recess and lunch (thanks, Brooke!). Unlike the academics, the social aspects of school did not come easily to me.

It was pretty well universally assumed that my first born would be exactly like me. She was quick to talk, an early walker. She asked the most amazing and interesting questions, had a fantastic imagination. To this day, the things that kid comes up with blows my mind. And, unlike her old mum, she possessed an amazing ability to adapt socially, make friends, relate to other kids. I was excited for her when she started school.

The first few weeks were golden. The kid loved school. She made friends, firm ones, the friends that people who have friends keep with them for the duration. She was the well behaved kid, the sweet kid. The kid who put her hand up to help the teachers. The one who chased them down and said goodbye to them as she left the playground.

And then, the home readers came home. And the sight words. The basic maths. The public speaking tasks. She struggled with all of it. Really struggled. And I came down to earth, smashing full force into the realisation that my poor kid was finding it really hard.

Our first parent-teacher interview was horrendous. She was struggling. She was not meeting the mandated milestones. She was not fitting the mould. Words like ‘dyslexia’, ‘learning support’, and ‘assessed’ were spoken, as potential issues with my little girl. I was 8 months pregnant, and I barely held it together. I sat in my car after the interview, and cried. My heart was broken.

It was my fault, I was sure of it. I didn’t read her enough books. I didn’t spend enough time working on her writing. I worked too much. I missed the signs. I had failed my kid, my amazing, unique, precious little girl. I was a shit mum.

Every interaction with the school became an emotional ordeal. I booked frequent meetings with the teachers, to check up on her progress. And every time, when I was met with depressing news and disappointed eyes, I went to my car and cried. I quickly learned to dread the things I had previously looked forward to with excitement – report cards, reading challenges, public speaking competitions. No longer were they exciting experiences for my daughter to take part in. They became, in my mind, more things that my poor kid would struggle with. More quiet conversations about benchmarks and milestones.

We worked hard with my daughter, my husband and I. I created ‘sight word’ games, a whole box of them, and played them with her at every opportunity. We took home extra home readers, and read every single one of those dreadfully boring books a thousand times. I bought every additional resource I could think of. My husband created a sight word app for her tablet. I consulted developmental professionals, both formally and informally. Slowly, she progressed. I made a big deal of every progression, every improvement. Every new level was celebrated.

By second grade, it all seemed to start coming together. She was below average, sure, but only just. And, more importantly, she was progressing at a reasonable speed. Finally, things started to become a tiny bit easier. She was still the kid who struggled, sure. But the struggle was less concerning. The labeling of my daughter as a potential academic catastrophe ceased.

The stress continues for me, however. She’s in third grade this year. Naplan year. A standardised test, not for the benefit of the student. A test for the benefit of the government. In a world that is increasingly turning away from standardised testing as an accurate depiction of a child’s performance, subjecting a kid who has barely left the negative academic labels behind to a standardised test seems cruel to me. I don’t want her to do it. I already know what the results will be – below par. An inaccurate description of my dynamic, crazy, fun, little person. A standardised lie, impersonally printed on a crappy piece of paper.

There are other things, too. When your kid is average, or worse, below average, it is depressingly rare for a school to celebrate their achievements. There is no award at presentation day for ‘Consistently Not Quite Good Enough’. And, while she does try very hard, and is actually far more diligent with school work than I had ever been, she is still not progressing fast enough and impressively enough for even that to be recognised. Merit certificates for having a cheerful disposition only exist in Kindergarten. It really hurts when your kid asks you why she never gets awards. At eight years old, my daughter is already starting to believe the lies – that she is not smart or capable enough.

The fact that she is apparently below average, but not below enough for it to be a diagnosed problem concerns me constantly. They don’t offer much in the way of official support and resources to kids who are struggling, unless they are struggling with a firm diagnosis, it appears. There is a real risk that my little girl, who is interesting and spunky and opinionated, might be that kid who gets left behind. Slipping right through those cracks. Forgotten. Something I believe no child deserves, not mine, yours, or anyone else’s.

Intellectually, I know that my daughter will find her groove. She is incredibly creative, caring, well adjusted. She already speaks of a career in nursing, which makes her self awareness clear – she has the makings of a fantastic nurse. Emotionally, it is harder, because my heart is the heart of a mother. I want her every achievement noticed, recognised, rewarded. I want her abilities acknowledged. Knowing that they are not, and are unlikely to be for a very long time, feels like physical pain to me. It really, really hurts.

I have learned through this, that for the time being, celebrating and rewarding my child for her achievements will fall completely on me. I will stand by her side, her biggest fan. I will be proud of her, every single time she wins, no matter how small a win it is. I know this child better than any teacher, school, or doctor, ever will. That she fits no mould, I have no doubt. That she is capable of amazing things, I have every certainty.

One day she will be grown. She will be employed, successful, and fulfilled. The labels and struggles will be a memory. The inaccurate status of below average forgotten. One day, the world will know, that my daughter is extraordinary.

I will still be her biggest supporter.

Jeggings are the mum pants of the 21st century, and I am totally OK with that.

JEGGING POST
I look pretty much exactly like this when I wear jeggings. This virtually is me.

I was shopping with my daughter when it happened.

She had just been discharged from hospital, after a particularly nasty accident that involved a schoolyard game of tip, a very large door, and a finger caught in a hinge. She was feeling pretty battered and sorry for her little self, so I thought a trip to the “really cool shopping centre” (AKA Westfield Miranda) to spend her birthday money was just the ticket.

After a rousing hour long bear creation session at Build A Bear, I dragged Phoebe to Target. “We can look at Shopkins!” I suggested with enthusiasm. But she knew, as well as I did, that we were going to Target for one thing, and one thing only: jeggings.

I believe that Target jeggings are the superior jegging. I am tall with long legs, and they are the only jeggings I have found at a reasonable price that do not look ridiculously short on me. They have a kind and forgiving waistband that neither digs in, nor roles down. They are stretchy, but not so stretchy that they lose their shape. In my mind, Target jeggings are what all pants should be. And for $20 a pop, you can’t go wrong*. These jeggings are the poo.

So there I was, in front of a pile of stretchy denimy goodness, trying to decide whether I needed black jeggings, dark blue jeggings, or all the jeggings, when a group of younger women wandered towards me. They reminded me of me ten years ago (OK, fifteen years ago, shuddup already), meandering through the shops for pleasure, no urgency, no bored eight year old complaining that they wanted to look at Shopkins. They were shopping for leisure.

“Oh, look, jeans! Twenty bucks!” the first one commented.

They perused, and another girl picked a pair up, observing them critically.

“Nah,” she said, “they’re jeggings.” She looked pointedly at me. “Jeggings are, like, the mum jeans of the twenty-first century.”

The three giggled, and looked at me, battered child in tow, makeup free, wearing whatever the fuck I could find that fit the brief of fitting and being clean simultaneously. I may or may not have brushed my hair that day, I don’t know. And then they walked away, leaving me, my kid, and a pile of apparent mum jeans behind. They didn’t look back, and I doubt they gave us a second thought.

I didn’t know whether it was offensive or not. Are mum jeans offensive? Is being a mum and wearing jeans a bad thing? Is being a mum, and wearing amazing, comfortable, stretchy denim pants, that happen to look decent and actually make me feel good about myself a bad thing?

I decided, resolutely, that the answer is no. If jeggings are the mum jeans of the twenty-first century, sign me up and stuff me in. I am a proud wearer of mum jeans. Mum jeans are amazing. For so many reasons.

Jeggings are great for controlling the mum tum. When you have had that particular area of your body stretched to the extreme on several occasions, it stands to reason that it isn’t going to go back to it’s original flat state. A good pair of high waisted jeggings, with their amazing flab holding capabilities, have the ability to flatten that particular area to the point where it at least vaguely resembles the stomach of your early 20s. If you squint and look from an angle.

Jeggings offer a presentable alternative to proper pants. If I could rock my tracksuit pants and running tights every day, I probably would. Unfortunately, there are occasions in my life where dressing like my only clothing requirement is “don’t be naked” is not an option. My office dress code is ‘office casual’. Jeggings and whatever clean work top I happen to find, with boots or ballet flats, are a no-fuss, zero thought solution. Solution, people!

Ain’t nobody got time for buttons. Or zippers, for that matter. I have, on average, 2 minutes and 27 seconds to get ready in the morning. If I am lucky, I manage to have a shower. There is certainly no time for things like flamboyant hairdo’s, excessive makeup, and fiddly fashion items. Pants that I can literally pull on in one single move are the kind of pants that I need. Half the time, the general public is lucky I had time to put pants on at all. 

Comfort is a consideration when your fashion is functional. I have long abandoned the notion of fashion as pain. Uncomfortable pants, much like stiletto heels and anything with the word ‘bodycon’ in the title, have no place in my wardrobe. If I have to wear it, I damn well want to be comfortable in it. I don’t need waist bands that dig, denim as stiff as cardboard, or pants that require me to perform a ritualistic ‘tight jeans’ dance every time I put them on. I want to be able to bend, dammit. My jeans need to be ready, at a moment’s notice, to take part in a chase across a playground for a runaway toddler. They will have paint, vomit, and assorted food items spilled on them. They will be used as a convenient thigh high tissue for a sobbing toddler.

I recently conducted a focus group**, and discovered that not everyone shares the sentiment of the Target girls. My focus group was enthusiastic in their appreciation of jeggings. It appears that comfort and efficient fashion time management appeals to people from all walks of life. Who would have thunk it?

JEGGINGS AGAIN
Please enjoy this extremely poor photo (both in quality and composure) of me enjoying my Target jeggings. See the joy on my face? It has nothing to do with the pink dildo between my boobs, I promise you.

*This is not a paid or sponsored post. I have no affiliations with Target at all. However, if anyone out there happens to work at Target, and would like to send me a box of amazing jeggings, I won’t complain. Could you chuck in a nice jacket and some new undies, too? Cheers.

**The two people who have sat in the chair next to me while I have been writing this post.

The Eff Word

eff-word

Phoebe: Mum, Daniel told me that he’s going to call me the eff word!

Me: [sigh] Dan, it’s not nice to call your sister the eff word.

Dan: But, mum, Phoebe called me lots of eff words!

Jared: Eff word! Eff word! I want to sing the Gay Pirates song!

Me: Dan, what do you mean Phoebe has called you lots of eff words? How many eff words are there?

Phoebe: I would never call Daniel the eff word. I would never call anyone the eff word.

Dan: [frustration increasing rapidly] But you did call me eff words. It’s not fair! I hate this day.

Me: Dan, what do you think the eff word is?

Jared: Gay Pirates! Mum, sing me Gay Pirates!

Me: [loading Gay Pirates by Cosmo Jarvis on YouTube, handing phone to Jared] Dan, seriously. What do you think the eff word is?

Dan: [bordering on sulky tantrum] …..you know them.

Me: Yeah I do, but this time I want you to tell me, so I understand what you think the eff word is.

Dan: [staring reflectively (ok, blankly)] Ummmmmmm….. I want to hear Shut Up and Dance after Jared’s turn.

Me: Daniel! For crying out loud, what is the eff word? Stop stalling!

Dan: I’ll tell you if you let me play music on your phone. I want Shut Up and Dance. And that other song you know I like.

Me: Dan, I’ll let you play whatever song you like, just say the eff word!

Dan: [thinking for a while] OK. The eff word is………

Phoebe: You’re going to let him say the eff word? That’s not fair!

Me: Phoebe [warning glance] just chill. Dan, say the eff word.

Dan: OK. The eff words are…….. Fart [giggles]. Fanny [giggles more]. Fluff. Farty-fluff-fanny [hysterical laughter].

This conversation is pretty much my life at the moment. I’m impressed though, that Daniel doesn’t know the real ‘F’ word. Especially with me as a parent.

dan
Obligatory photo for cheeky cuteness factor