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I’m doing it wrong (says the internet).

Many things change when you have a baby. Your body, your hair, the shadows under your eyes, your bank balance, your relationships, and the information dished out to you through your social media feeds. Based on the types of conversations I have online, the photos or articles I look at and the demographic box I fit into (city dwelling 30-something mother of two), I get quite the cocktail of ads and ‘suggested posts’ served up to me on Facebook and Instagram. Sometimes I imagine there’s a plucky young Facebook executive casting their eye over the data report for the day and thinking to themselves, “based on her criteria, today this lady saw ads for leggings that make you two sizes slimmer, washing powder, toddler shoes, gin, adult slippers that look like shoes, a wine sale, crumpets, sleep consultants, frozen chicken nuggets, anti-wrinkle cream, multi-compartmented lunchboxes, a device you stick in your lady parts that connects to your phone to say how much work your pelvic floor needs, and more wine. WHAT IS THIS LIFE?!” Sometimes …

Don’t worry, baby.

Even the briefest of scrolls through parenting sites indicates that anxiety in children and babies is a hot topic. Anxiety in adults can be difficult enough to identify and treat – let alone in a tiny person who is just learning about their world. I had a chat to registered psychologist, Cate Hey, about  developing emotions. This article appeared in Little Treasures Magazine, and is easier to read here in this pdf: AnxietyinBabies

Now it matters

At the risk of coming across as a bit neurotic and high maintenance, I think having babies has made me a bit neurotic and high maintenance. Previously mundane or everyday situations have taken on a whole new meaning now that there are two tiny humans in our life. The little things have become big things, and motherhood can feel a bit like one of those reality TV shows where people have to make it through obstacle courses covered in soap while big padded gloves throw unexpected blows. Except there’s no cash prize, and instead of an exciting purpose-built course, the obstacles are things like long queues at the supermarket. For example: Holiday traffic with the husband before kids: “Oh rats, traffic is at a standstill. Never mind, let’s listen to some music, have a chat, and share the chocolate bar that’s in my small and tidy handbag”. After kids: “Noooo! I’m down to the last three crackers for the bored toddler, and then there’s nothing but a half-empty packet of crystallized raisins somewhere in the …

It takes a village to dress a working mother

Usually I get little girl side-eye, or murmurs of “that’s lots of black” about my workdrobe, but yesterday I finally sussed an outfit that my kids are happy with: See it here on my Facebook page. It totally takes a village to dress a working mother though…the leather jacket is a hand-me-down from my bestie in Melbourne, the skirt was a purchase from #Federation ‘strongly encouraged’ by one of my closest friends who rocks the same adult tutu in another colour, the inspo to try something different outside of my usual cloak of darkness came from my WorkWife who smashes out new looks more often than I change the bath towels (and she took the boomerang video – #workwife is taking over #InstagramHusband ), and bonus confidence shot from my little girls who said “Ooooo, Mummy that looks pretty!”. Can I take a moment to talk about bodysuits though? Of course I can, this is my page. So I wore a bodysuit, which I haven’t done since 1992 when all I wanted from life was a bodysuit and a pair of 501s. I loved …

The name game

Before I had my own babies, I couldn’t understand why people would say “still deciding on a name” in their birth announcement. What? You’ve had nine months to prepare for this moment! How hard it is to choose a name? Er, actually harder than it looks, I discovered when pregnant for the first time. Jeremy (my husband) and I had decided not to find out what we were having, so we needed options both ways. We set perimeters on name-choosing rules, such as checking there were no notorious criminals with that moniker, no names of ex-partners or meanies from school, and making sure it wouldn’t sound silly with our last name (when we got married, I was keen on having one family surname, but filled out the forms somewhat reluctantly because my married name makes me sound like a drunk Irishman). We both loved the same boy’s name. Sorted. A girl’s middle name would be Clare, after my mother. BAM, we were nailing this naming thing and I was only about eleven minutes pregnant. But …

Leave it on the playground

  With the weather sending out flirty sunny signals by way of apologising for the recent flooding in our city, we decided to get together with some friends and their kids for a combined family lunch and play. Given that there were nine of us in total (four adults, five kids), there was a bit of a wait for a table, but with a fantastic playground adjacent to the restaurant you could buy wrist bands to play on, the wait was no bother at all. The kids got stuck in to the busy playground, and the adults chatted while keeping an eye out for any potential flight risks, and an ear out for any “I’ve fallen off this thing here and something is probably broken!” shrieks.  A good waiting time was had by all. Or so I thought. Just after we’d sat down and all disputes over coloured cups had been settled, my five year old daughter whispered “oh no, here comes that mean girl”, and shrank back into her seat as a little girl …

Rachel’s Boob-boo

On Valentine’s Day, Rachel Smalley used her ‘Rachel Smalley’s Opinion’ slot in the NZ Herald to have a substantial crack at women who’ve gone under a plastic surgeon’s knife or needle. Boob jobs, in particular, have really gotten Rachel’s natural tits in a tangle. Rachel takes a stab that she thinks plastic surgeons like to call ‘boob jobs’ ‘breast augmentation’. Great sleuthing! Plastic surgeons DO like to call boob jobs ‘breast augmentation’, because that is the medical terminology for the procedure. Enlightened by the first few paragraphs that small nipples are in, and a B-cup is the new D-cup, I started getting a bit antsy when Rachel waded into “just be happy with your body; plastic surgery is for weirdos” territory. “Ooooh, careful, Rachel”, I thought to myself, “have you forgotten #LardoGate? Remember that one time you accidentally left your mic on during the ad break in your radio show and said that New Zealand women are all a pack of lardos and heifers for having an average weight over 70kgs? People got pretty cross …

Step aside, Sanctimommy

Not only does the Internet offer up things that make me laugh and give me the opportunity to see what complete strangers are doing with their lives and décor, it helps me feel connected to the world on days when I don’t see any other adults. The Internet has also introduced me to the concept of the ‘Sanctimommy’. A sensational mash-up of the words ‘Sanctimonious’ and ‘Mommy’, a Sanctimommy exists to tell the rest of us exactly when and how we’re screwing up parenting, without sparing our mediocre mothering feelings. Let’s say you entered a picture of your family enjoying a picnic at the beach for an online competition. “Oh cute”, chimes in the Sanctimommy, “but I can see a bottle of bought sunscreen on the blanket there – it blows my mind that people rub toxic chemicals on their precious baby’s skin. I make my own from organic oils. It’s time consuming, but I actually love my children so it’s worth the effort. Those sandwiches are clearly made from refined flour – are they …