My IdeaLife

My Kingdom for a Kiss Upon Her Shoulder

It's been 18 years since his blood warmed our hearts and his, but his voice remains and still inspires...Read more...

The love of your life

Is it a man, is it a career, no it's superbaby!...Read more...

A lifetime of beauty in a song

Middle East (the band not the place) have somehow condensed the human experience into this soulful song: Blood...Read more...

Superwomen have it all by NOT doing it all

Superwoman really don't exist, it's more like Insanitywoman, so stop pretending and start outsourcing...Read more...

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

PARENT LOSES WILL-TO-LIVE AT INDOOR PLAY CENTRE

When I was a child-free, busy career-woman waking up to the sprinkling of rain on a weekend was kind of romantic and the perfect excuse to stay in bed longer. The worst that could happen is a picnic or BBQ would need to be moved undercover, but to be honest I wasn’t really rolling in picnic invitations. In fact most weekends I was suffering from at least a minor hangover, so really the world could have frozen over outside and as long as I had a doona I’d be happy.




Then two tenacious little wriggly things changed all that when they found their way through the perils of my uterean landscape into ovum heaven. Rain on a weekend now means only one thing and it is no longer a nice warm lie in, it in no way resembles a snuggle as you drift between hazy consciousness and la-la-land, and it causes worse brain damage than any amount of alcohol consumption. ‘IT’ is the INDOOR PLAY CENTRE.

Three simple words that in isolation are all quite innocuous, they could even be seen as quite positive, but when combined in this particular order contain the power to strike fear into the hearts of the brave, reduce the stoic to cowering messes of tears and transform the cool, calm and collected to hot, bothered and berserk.

Funnily enough the truth of this doesn’t prevent desperate parents from once again venturing into the fray at the slightest hint of rain. For some reason the last memory of play-centre insanity is overshadowed by the more recent hell raised by two trapped banshees, I mean boys, in the space formerly recognised as the home. Which, after a morning of rain, is easily mistaken for a small landfill site. And letting them loose in a ball-filled pit of despair seems like the better option to living in a tip for a day…until you arrive.

The noise itself, something akin to the screams of a thousand cats being strangled, would send any normal person running in the opposite direction, but to a parent on a rainy day, they stay the course, wildly hanging on to the hope that this time, despite blood pouring from their ears, it will be fun for all.

It really isn’t until you are through the door and you lose sight of one child in the multi-level tunnels, nets and padded shapes and the other disappears under a rainbow of germ-infested plastic balls that the horror returns and you realise the error of your ways. By then it is too late to retreat as your hell, is your children’s idea of the most fun they have ever had in their whole life.

On this particular morning I looked jealously at parents sitting at tables, relaxed with coffees, smug in the knowledge they can leave there over-four year old to fend for themselves, which is code for my child is now big enough to run into, push over, throw balls at everyone else’s children. Conversely I removed my shoes and ran around on padded vinyl, batting big kids out of the way and diverting incoming missiles as my 16 month old giggled his way through mazes and ball pits. My only consolation was knowing my hubby was currently squeezing himself through a wobbling, netted tunnel three levels above the ground in an effort to keep sight of our 2 year old, who was about to disappear into a mess of mangled bodies hurtling themselves down a 30ft slide on hessian bags.



Don't be fooled by the pretty colours and cute monkeys...this is HELL on earth.
There is always an island of respite with a sign above it stating, “under fours only”. Again a glimmer of hope returns as you drag your child towards the single level, fenced in, near empty toddler area, and almost hysterically sell-in the excitement of what is obviously the most boring area in the centre, even a dirty cup off the floor is more captivating, because god-forbid you could be allowed to relax for more than 5 seconds. Their sudden possession by the spirit of hell drawing them back to the rampaging levels of mayhem drives you back through the gate to hell again. And you watch as they head, giggling for certain injury.

We escaped this time with only a four year jumping on our 16 month old’s head from height no less, but xrays were not required, and other than the obligatory “Damien” impersonations as we try to extract our little energy balls from their extremely fun “pinball machine”, we escaped with our lives only just. But I know I left about ten years of my life in there and if I ever consider going again I require you to smack me in the head with a large shovel.


 ©2012, My IdeaLife, All rights reserved

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

MISSING TV REMOTE BREAKS HEART: A Mum's Grief

My little people fixated by their beloved Brum.
We couldn’t find the TV remote to turn off a morning of 'Big Cook, Little Cook', 'Raa Raa, the noisy little lion', 'Show me, Show me' to name just a few. This single small failure was about to set off a tidal wave of emotion. Boom had taken the boys to the park and I was pottering about with the overly-enthusiastic soundtrack of children's shows playing in the background. Then this music came on, it was clever, funny orchestral music used to introduce a small vintage car that happens to be the local superhero in Birmingham, his name is Brum.

Brum has been pivotal in my life as he has captured the imagination of both my boys in a way no other show has. Initially Bang was very taken with 'In the Night Garden', but by the time Crash came along, Brum was and still is the preferred viewing choice of both. Other shows come and go, but Brum fighting baddies, saving kittens and flying through the air to stop out-of-control trains never grows tired.

Brum taught both my boys how to eat, his attention-demanding antics, hilarious music, sound effects and cute storylines allowed food to enter their mouths without resistance. All sorts of healthy items passed their lips as they smiled at Brum.


This cheery little fellow is perfectly designed to make people smile, unfortunately for me, today he has had the opposite affect and I am a whimpering mess. As I leave behind a couple of years of being a SAHM and return to work I now realise that I may never see another episode. I may never be able to watch on as my boys eager eyes take in the action, frowning when there’s danger or smiling at the happy ending. I won’t see them wave at Brum the way the cast do or clap at the end once he’s saved the day. And I will never hear that haunting Oboe trill at the start of a new adventure.

It is the end of an era and I know we will all adjust and get used to seeing each other less but for today I am just going to sit here and cry my eyes out because time moves too fast and I wish I could stay home, me and my little men together forever.


© MyIdeaLife, 2012, All Rights Reserved

Thursday, 5 January 2012

POSITION VACANT: One Housewife


As the lovely Andrea from Fox in Flats-infamy highlighted last week on Twitter I am returning to work in January after 15 months Maternity Leave, and wait for it...fulltime. I know collective gasp from many including me sometimes. But despite a bit of a go, I am being sacked from my role as Domestic Goddess (actually my job title was Domestic Avoidess but no point in getting caught up in semantics).

This lack of natural ability in grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, washing, tidying etcetera has caused the constant hum of guilt to overshadow my time as a Stay-at-home-Mum. Who knew that housewife and Mother were synonymous! I didn't and nothing really prepared me for the expectation that if you are not working out of the house, you are working in it.

Don't get me wrong, everyone has to contribute so it stands to reason that who ever is at home, Mum or Dad, gets lumped with the home management. Problem for me is I have always viewed housework with particular disdain. Probably because society places no value on a well-run home. Who nowadays really cares if there are a few crumbs on the ground or toys are not neatly put away. As long as nobody is sitting around in 3 day old food or worse then you are doing ok as far as I'm concerned.

But it runs deeper than just lack of acknowledgement. When I was a child I remember feeling so confused and hurt by the fact that my brother never had to do the things that were expected of me, like sewing, ironing or cooking. My constant question "Why do I have to do it, when he doesn't?" was usually met with “Because I said so”, which to my mind translated to “There is no logic or reason behind this unfairness”. The reality was when I was growing up girls were still expected to learn and know things about managing a home and at most, boys were taught how to mow the lawn, change a tyre, but most importantly how to sit on the couch, watch sport while drinks and snacks magically materialising next to them, usually courtesy of the nearest female.

This injustice and my determination to overcome it rendered me slightly crap as a "housewife". Luckily my husband has no such hang ups about chores. He doesn't question his validity as he hangs out the washing, he doesn't associate stacking the dishwasher with discrimination and he certainly does not feel like he's giving up on fulfilling his potential by changing the bed sheets. Unfortunately I do, albeit in a subtle way. But as I look back at my 15 months 'off', I can see clearly that for some reason being a housewife makes me feel like a failure in a way work outside of the house never has. It is not logical, in fact it is the opposite as what could be more rewarding than working for the benefit of the people you love the most in the world?

But there you have it, I prefer the paid work to the house work.

Luckily, as I hand one of the household reigns back to my hubby, I can take comfort in the fact that 'Housewife' and 'Mother' are two different roles. Just because I am no longer at home with my children, does not mean I am no longer 'Mum'. In fact with the extra help we are getting I may find I get some more 'play' time with them, rather than yelling at them from the laundry to stop trying to impale themselves from a great height on to Lego towers.

If I stayed home and continued to feel anxious about my missing-Goddess, and the relationship that has with my Mother-role, then I would not be doing them the huge favour some assume. A Mother feeling like a failure around 24/7 is far more dangerous than a confident, secure one who is away for 38 hours a week, I’m sure.

Now to the task of securing contentment… hmmmm… maybe I’ll go and fold some clothes.

Is housework your mental disorder too?


©MyIdeaLife, 2012, All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

ARE YOU IN THE MUMMY BLOGGER ASYLUM?

My love of blogging is bittersweet. It has enabled me to write which I love, but with all things that one falls heavily for, measure needs to employed at some point. Blogging is so the mother of all rabbit holes. It leads to twitter, a Facebook page (don't start me on Google+), a newsletter, instagram, constant website improvements, getting published, interacting in communities, functions, conferences and hours and hours of publicity and marketing and so on and so forth. Writing actually becomes the least of your worries, and then suddenly it becomes a huge worry because you find you have no time to actually do what started the whole thing, that is just tell a story, share an anecdote, talk to the world.

There is definitely so much value in keeping it simple. The complexity can really burn you out of the blogging world as fast as it took you to set up your blogger or wordpress site. But giving up on blogging is not the worst thing that can happen. What is worse is losing touch with real life. Valuing your three-dimensional relationships less, especially those closest to you. You see a bit of attention from a virtual community of people can do crazy things to people's minds. When you are getting compliments from strangers and people want to meet you - you can get a weird sort of invincible out-of-body type feeling that leads you to devaluing the people you actually need the most.

So upon recognising this I decided to write myself some rules, that hopefully will guard against ending up living in a box next to a power outlet at the local wi-fi spot with only my laptop as company.


Any addicts out there got more tips? Please share!



Image background source: http://lady-himiko.deviantart.com

Saturday, 31 December 2011

What will you remember about 2011?

This year has been one of those ones that stands out. I'm not sure if it's just my baby brain having a half life of six months and so I've completely forgotten everything about 2010, but this year somehow has made it pale into insignificance.



IMMORTALITY MEET FINITE LIFE
2011 will always be the year that I realised I will not live forever, it was like Death was trying to tell me something and for the first time I listened.

I never knew Steve Jobs but his words back in 2005 "have the courage to follow your heart" will haunt me until I truly take that first step towards my destiny. His death still makes me sad. What an amazing visionary that was taken from all of us far too early. At the same time his amazing thoughts and words inspired me to the point that I wrote an article about him that got published in a major newspaper, which ironically felt a touch like where my heart was leading me.

I met Gavin Larkin once, in a pitch situation. He was larger than life, vivacious, intelligent and compelling. At the time I didn't know that he had started RUOK? day for the prevention of suicide, and he didn't know that he already had cancer. His death this year was incredibly shocking, he was younger than me and left behind his wife and three children. His amazing life was captured by Australian Story, if you missed it I highly recommend you watch it here.

Ten years on we mourned again the loss of thousands of innocent people as we remembered 9/11. I had managed to not think too much about it since the shocking event took place, as I didn't know anyone who died. But with the gravity of motherhood I saw the grief of parents, partners and young children in a much deeper and clearer light, and one that cut me deeply. My heart still breaks for their loss.

And most drastically my immortal status quo was irreversibly challenged, when a beautiful friend with two kids the same age as mine was diagnosed with cancer in October. Something about someone so close to you, living a parallel life and it being disrupted so frighteningly has rocked my world. I'm sure not as much as hers and her gorgeous family's, but my heart broke when she told me and I know I will be in limbo until I find out she is going to be ok.

BRAND NEW EYES
In 2011 my two babies became little boys. Their personalities developed and my eldest started speaking and giving me a whole new insight in to the way he sees the world. My youngest also showed us who he is going to become with his unwavering determination and gusto for life. And I woke up from probably a couple of years of sleep deprivation to realise how lucky I am to know these two amazing little beings. Yes they are hard work, yes it is insanely stressful trying to constantly protect them as they totter towards stairs or learn to jump off fences, but they are my universe, my joy, my pride and when I feel their arms wrapped around me, when I see them collapse in giggles, when they look at me with wonder and love, I realise it is me that has been given new life, in the creation of theirs.

MY WORDS FORMED A SMILE
Thanks to the existence of said perfect little creatures, in February this year I was inspired to start blogging, which has lead me to realise that writing is a bit of a passion of mine and one I'm hoping will continue to change my life. All those inane years of journal keeping seems to have had some benefits, other than one day explaining to my ancestors why they are slightly insane. I have been lucky enough to have work published all over the place but what has been more exciting is meeting other bloggers. In them I have found friends who somehow get the insanity that is the need to write and overshare, I mean, contribute to the world. The generosity, wit, intelligence and comradery I have found is so brilliantly unexpected. There are too many to mention but I can't let go of this year without thanking some of you for your support, encouragement and friendship:


Maria Tedeschi of Mum's Word
Purple_cath of Precocious Lotus Jewels
Nathalie Brown of EasyPeasyKids
Danielle Uskovic from Lenovo
Brenda Gaddi of Mummytime and Digital Parents
Emma Ashton of Reality Ravings
Andrea Zanetich of Fox in flats
Bernadette Morley of So now what?
Denyse Whelan 
Yvette Vignando of HappyChild
Sharon of Twitchy Corner
Mary-Ann Harris of Mah73
Kathy from SmallKucing
Alexandra Carlton and
the worst until last
Joe Hildebrand (aka the online sensation)


and Happy New Year to all of you, 
thanks so much for taking the time to visit and 
I hope I've given you as much joy this year as you have me! xxx


What will you remember about 2011?

Thursday, 22 December 2011

FAT MEN, PRESSIES & LIES. I Love Christmas!

One photo I won't be showing the boys!
One thing that seems to roll out as a big concern every year is how commercialised Christmas has become. I used to be a raving looney, I mean born-again Christian, and so I remember that originally Christmas was a holiday to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, but like many today, the Son of God is more likely to pop up throughout the year as a phrase I prefer to my other favourite “For eff’s sake!” 

So being such a disrespectful, blaspheming pagan, should I stop celebrating Christmas? Probably, but instead I am doing the opposite. In fact I am throwing myself into buying gifts, like the demon, that probably is possessing me as we speak. 

I have fallen hook, line and sinker for Santa and his reindeer, there will be a carrot left out for Rudolf, and some sort of stiff drink for the fat man himself. I am going to lie to my children about a whole lot of things and forget to mention a whole lot of other details, like how the chimney is blocked AND about a quarter of the size of the man that is going to come down it with a huge bag full of presents, including a trampoline. I am going to wheel out another implausible explanation I remember being told, when my 2yo inevitably asks me why he’s seen more than one Santa in one day, that is “they are his helpers”. (I didn’t fall for that one Mum and Dad, as much as I didn’t buy the sanitary napkin being described as a foot band-aid either, the adhesive would stick to the wound, hello?!) 

Anyway my point, if I ever get to it, is does it really matter that Christmas is commercialised? Isn’t it just marketing people taking advantage of us needing only the smallest excuse to buy the people we love presents? Giving and receiving and unwrapping and eating lots and playing games and talking about fake fat people that live in the North Pole making toys all year, do we really want to stop all that because it is not based wholly on the original meaning of Christmas? In any case if we are to become up-in-arms shouldn't it be because Santa Claus and Jesus Christ are both equally as fantastical as each other? At the end of the day, or year in this case, the only truth is these are the things we like to do and yes retail does benefit, but we do too.

And why not? We work hard all year so we deserve a bit of unadulterated, meaningless fun. And before you judge me as a vacuous party girl, consuming through life, I think there is meaning at Christmas. It may not be religious, it may not be based on anything that can or can’t be proven but it is a time to give to those you love, to those that have less than you, and to yourself.

Of course we need to be cautious with our spending and not over do it, I would never advocate giving beyond your means, and it shouldn’t be about dollar amounts in any case. It is truly the thought that counts, that is unless you are a complete scrooge, you know who you are. 

And I know that spending time with my husband and me will always bring more joy to the boys than anything I could buy, but I am addicted to their smiles, I'm in love with their laughter and I dream about their happiness. So if I get to give them both time and presents then BONUS! I have the means and so judge me if you like, because I am a big lying, spending Christmas sucker. 

On Christmas day I'll probably be passed out next to a fat man in a red suit (aka Dadda), all that toy-making (trips to various shopping centres) and flying around the world (fighting for car spaces), delivering pressies (wrapping, sneaking, wrapping, tying and more wrapping) and eating cake (cooking, ordering, preparing) catches up with you, you know! 

Merry Christmas everyone! (& apologies to all my gorgeous Christian friends!)
Where will you end up this Christmas?
 

Thursday, 15 December 2011

SAD MAC: Apple ain't all Genius it seems

It seems the online gods are having a bit of a laugh with me of late. Firstly our telco decided to move our internet connection in such a way that once it was on the new system it didn't work. Look I used to work for a Telco and I know the spaghetti wire world that our internet connectivity is tenously balancing on, so the word 'migration' strikes fear into the hearts of most Telco workers because it loosely translates to call centre meltdowns and 24 hour days.
Secondly less than two days after getting back online, and being rightly credited for my downtime (Thank you iiNet) my infant-aged MacBook Pro, actually it is better described as 'my right arm' carked it. My little silver slice of former perfection is now telling everyone it comes across "I've had it, no more blog posts, no more tweets, facebook shits me too, and don't bloody start me on Google+! And do you think 11GB of photos is enough? no? Well just piss off then and leave me to die". Not so helpful from something that is currently storing the data from the last ten years of my life. And as it is our home computer it also has my whole family's life recorded on it.

But the real shite happened when I went to my beloved Apple for help. When it first died I called the Apple Ambulance and they tried CPR and then advised I rush it to Emergency, aka the Apple 'Genius' Bar. It seems 'Geniuses' are in high demand and I would have to wait five days to see one in the City. But if I felt like travelling 28km north I could see one that afternoon and the genius on the phone said they probably could have me up and running that afternoon. So off we went and 40 minutes later we were in the hands of a genius. This Genius was very friendly and kind and gave all the appearance of being as useful as a Mac itself. Problem was he's not really a genius, and it became apparant quite quickly that 'Genius' in an Apple Store could as easily mean 'Useless smiley fellow'.
Upon trying a data-transfer once and failing, they discovered the hard drive wasn't a standard Apple part and found it difficult to hide their relief at sending me on my way with my too-hard basket hard drive. Not before they made me drive all the way home though. So over 100 km later I said "It would be nice if you guys compensated me in some way for all this trouble given you have wasted my time and money and NOT fixed my computer, nothing drastic just a show of good will like an iTunes gift card or something?' With the smile never leaving his smug face "I'm sorry we can't help with that here".
If my Mac was fixed this pic would be so much funnier! May be it's a good thing they're not Geniuses.
Of course not, your customers actually don't matter any more because you have turned into a smiling robot. It would have made more sense if he said "That.is.outside.our.parameters.of.performance. Buzzzzzzz. Stop. Refusing.politely. Sign.here.thank.you. Have.a.good.day". "Well I was having a good day until I spent 3 hours of my life affected by Geniuses such as you. Thank you too for absolutely nothing".

And there ends my long, long, long love affair with Apple. See this is the problem with great branding. We forget that the brand is not our friend. It is not even human and the more powerful it becomes the less likely it is to give a flying f**k about you. How quickly they forget that the relationship between a customer and a company is symbiotic and therefore precious. The reality is the real customers are their shareholders and although customers have put them where they are, it is rare to have any real respect for them.

I thought Apple were different, and not just because of their ad campaign. Even they are starting to forget they are dealing with people, with busy lives, families, pressures and values. Values about courtesy and consideration for others. And making good when you stuff someone around. If you don't you lose that person, they are the rules of life. And while ever your customers are human - you have to follow them, no matter how automated you become, or you will lose them, like you have me, one of your most loyal.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

IS LOVE LOST BEST FORGOTTEN?: The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind



There is nothing not to love about a movie who’s leading lady describes herself as applying “my personality in a paste”. From the moment Clementine, played by Kate Winslet, bounds to life, bowling over Joel’s (played seriously and amazingly by Jim Carrey) more conservative character, I was in serious adoration. 

Source: Piccsy.com


“Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind” written by Charlie Kaufman, was his third film following the first brilliant, amazing, mind-blowing “Being John Malkovich” and his second, not as successful “Adaptation”. And although being released way back in 2004, is timeless in it's unique insight into our hearts. 


If like me you’ve been buried in poo and/or lego for years, you will have forgotten about this movie. But if ever there was something that could make you remember life before parenthood, this is it. You know when your biggest problem was finding the man of your dreams, or having found him, keeping the spark alive with dancing, music, movies, conversation and adventures. What else was there? 

My husband* describes most of my favourite movies as weird, so if you like mainstream, logical-type films, like he does, you will not like this one. This film is so weird any description is fairly lacking but it is centred around a couple, Clementine and Joel, who fall in love, then out of love and break up. Nothing new there, until Clementine happens upon a company that offers to erase the memory of Joel. When Joel finds out he does the same and we get to watch as he realises too late that he wants to remember their love.

It’s a crazy idea but somehow it takes nothing away from the rawness and beauty of love and heartbreak. I swim in the roller coaster of Joel and Clementine’s relationship, from toe-curling first kisses and romantic adventures to screaming and slamming doors.

Most of all I love the exploration of fate. What would my life have been like if I had never met this person or that? Is trying to change your existence fruitless because what is meant to be will always be, whether you like it or not? Is the love of your life someone you left behind or the person you are with?

I know there are a few blokes I could happily erase from my past – but would it make my life better or would I end up making the mistake again because I won’t learn from what I can’t remember?

If you need a break from the world of parenthood check this movie out and if you have teenagers, make them watch it too – they will be instantly cool!




*My husband should like this film when the lead character says this “Constantly talking isn't necessarily communicating.” I might make him watch it again maybe after 8 years of marriage he will relate a lot more!

Monday, 5 December 2011

MUMMY FAILURES UNITE!


For those of you that know me, you probably know I am SO not afraid to express my opinions in real life, but mainly on topics I know a lot about. So maybe if I was writing about advertising or marketing I would be out on a limb every day (stay tuned), but instead I mostly write about motherhood. As a fairly new Mum myself and with no formal parenting training I am very careful not to put myself forward as any type of expert in that area. Like most Mummy bloggers, I am bumbling through the most challenging experience of my life and all I can hope is that what I write shows empathy to other parents who were equally shocked by the challenges of parenthood.

So I was pretty surprised at the reaction of some women to a piece I wrote that was published on Mamamia last Tuesday. The article was my personal feelings surrounding sending my eldest to daycare. I intentionally put an alternative view forward simply because it occurred to me that maybe a bit of daycare would have done me good when I was younger, never dreaming this would be misconstrued as attacking stay-at-home Mums. Nor that it would incite nearly 500 comments.

One comment from a non-Mum created a very valid furore:
"Sorry, but what’s the point of having kids if you’re just going to ship them off somewhere? Yeah, I know, ppl need to work blah blah but if you can’t afford kids then don’t have them. Personally when I have kids, I’m going to look after them 24/7, I won’t have kids and palm them off willy nilly." 

Another Mum was in a fury:
“I do find this article infuriating. Is it not possible to simply outline all the positives you see about your own personal choice of parenting without having to resort to attacking any other choice that’s different to yours?...Please don’t assume that my daughter was sheltered and protected at home by a doting, grumpy mother…”

Another stated I was condescending and a bully to stay-at-home Mums. (I am not, for the record.) 


Another was a little more realistic and extremely funny:
"I am a SAHM. I would dearly LOVE to place (dump, bung, fling, fire out of a cannon) my children into daycare for a day or two a week. Can’t afford it. Sigh. It’s been 7 years at home and we’re all sick of looking at each other. I would love a chance to miss my children." 

And there were many gems of wisdom such as this one:
"The way I see it, it takes a village to raise a child, not a mum and dad in isolation, which is often the case now, we live so far from extended family." 


Needless to say my personal quandary caused a little bit of 'discussion' probably because modern parenting is so personal, contentious and varied. I am glad we have choices, however hard they may be, where our own Mothers did not. I think we will always have regrets, I already feel that it probably would have been better if my eldest went to kindy at 16 months instead of 9 months but my work situation did not allow for this (I was pregnant with my second and had to return for 6 months before going on maternity leave again). Then again as one wise commenter on Mamamia said, you can never tell what would have had better outcomes because you can’t run concurrent existences for your children to see if they would have faired better taking a different path.

One thing occurred to me though as I read all the comments, Lana Hirschowitz, the editor of Mamamia and Mia Freedman have the best jobs in the world if this is what they see most days. That is, passionate women who adore their children and truly want the best for them, which was the theme through most of the comments. Also the vast majority were empathetic, understanding and kind in their support for Mothers who face tough decisions involving the loves of our lives. We’ve all been there and the support between us is so crucial. Children used to be brought up by a community and although so many of us are isolated geographically, online can be that community at least for insanity-prevention if not for providing the break all Mums need now and then. 

For those that were judgemental, harsh and self-righteous well they can stay by themselves in their perfect worlds and have this video to keep them company. 



So go have a read and see what about 400 Mums feel about daycare – it is fascinating and mostly really heartwarming and encouraging. 



The video above is a part of a very funny series of videos, created by Valerie Stone Hawthorne you can watch more on YouTube or visit her blog 

Friday, 2 December 2011

HOW TO KISS YOUR WAY TO THE TOP! Without the smelly after taste


As promised, every Friday I would bring you some insight into how to reinvigorate your übercool inner-self. This week is no exception, in fact I think I have happened upon the key to true alt-worthiness and it is so simple to execute. In fact it will only cost you about 2 extra seconds a day and BAM! Max Markson will be at the head of a screaming pack of agents trying to sign you up. 

It all became apparent when I was at a party recently and I was caught in an awkward moment with a woman whom I’d just met. Unperturbed by our lack of acquaintance she bobbed in for a second cheek kiss. I was completely confused, especially since she missed my cheek the first time, but nonetheless she ignored my ignorance and patiently waited for her second cheek to be acknowledged. Later I found out she was really somebody, as she lived in Woollahra. She was also putting up, I mean in a serious de-facto relationship with, a twenty-something salesman, despite her near-cougar status. And as a bonus he looked like he’d just walked off a catwalk in Milan. I especially liked how he winked at me and kissed my hand. When he even gave me his number in case I needed some pool cleaning products, ‘how lucky was she’ I thought 'to have someone so friendly and helpful, and I don't even have a pool!' 

Then it hit me, we could all be like her, all we have to do is add an extra cheek kiss to your current single slammer whenever you say hello or goodbye to anyone and everyone. Easy!

As I delved further into it, I realised the double kiss is a wave you just have to get on. And don’t be put off by the poor nobodies around you that end up awkwardly staring at your open second cheek for two whole seconds, they’ll get there eventually. And besides you are doing them a favour, as once they realise the benefits of the double kiss they’ll not only be swinging left and right with abandon, they’ll be so grateful they’ll end up smacking one on your ar5e too!

‘So what are the benefits?’ I hear you ask. Well they are many and varied. Firstly the double kiss instantly implies you are wealthy and probably from the upper class. It indicates a private education, probably enhanced by a lengthy stay in Europe, from which you possess an intellect far superior to most. It demonstrates a socialist idealism as you determinedly share your exclusivity with all levels of society in an altruistic and educational kind of way. And most importantly it shows your sincere generosity as you give twice as much as most.

In 99% of cases I would recommend an almost obsessive approach to the double-kiss, that is, even in the face of an ugly nose collision or confused chin suck, the second cheek must be set upon and christened. But proceed with caution if you ever find yourself outside the five-kilometre boundary of your capital city. A misplaced ‘peccadillo’ in the suburbs could incite the more common Glasgow kiss and a subsequent trip to Emergency. (Note: The upper North Shore is the exception to this rule, so much so you would be unceremoniously extradited if you didn’t double kiss!)

Overall the benefits of double-whammies definitely outweigh any negatives, I mean who really cares if some pleb calls you a Tosser, they’re just jealous of your amazing new status. It’s your fast-track to fame and fortune people, so get smooching and remember the cheeks you’re aiming for are at eye level, well most of the time anyway.




© MyIdeaLife, 2011. All rights reserved. Base image source: thatsawkward.com

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

BEAM ME UP SCOTTY! Another teleporting accident waiting to happen



For the last few weeks I've felt a bit like I'm being beamed up by Scotty but still haven't rematerialised anywhere, let alone the Starship Enterprise. So my material self is currently a sparkly set of atoms bouncing off each other in limbo waiting for Scotty to somehow re-organise them back in to something half way resembling the original version of me. 

Once I explain my current exploded self, it will make complete sense, of course (I am being sarcastic but sort of not at the same time) Firstly the loveliest of friends found out she had Breast Cancer, and is now suffering through Chemotherapy, I can't even start to explain what this has done to my heart let alone hers and her beautiful family's. Secondly I ended up in the paper smiling broadly in stark contrast to my what my insides look like and then writing for The Punch last week, so feeling a little out there and suddenly awkward/embarrassed which is a bit unexpected. And lastly I am preparing to return to work in January after what will be fifteen months of maternity leave. 

All these things in differing degrees are disturbing the rhythm of my life, which pretty much resembles that of a toddler's, seeing I'm hanging out with two of them most of the time. And if you haven't heard, toddlers LOVE a consistent schedule, marked by simple, repetitive things like eating and playing and sleeping. Either new Mums and toddlers have a lot in common or I am severely stunted because with all this ambiguity and sadness and exposure, the schedule is well and truly out the window. And there's a lot of screaming going on in my head that is tending to resemble my 14 month old's reaction to an overstay at the supermarket.

Fact: It is difficult to write when you're screaming, even if only on the inside. 

So I suppose this is a lame attempt to explain what I perceive as a negative change in the content of my blog and tweet stream of late. (BTW Hubby has banned the iPhone from our bedroom which doesn't really matter as my atomised brain is finding it tough to come up with any twitty banter that would see followers lunging for the retweet button. Because, of course, before I got involuntarily stuck in a Star Trek transporter that was happening all the time. These thoughts remind me of why my husband married me, that is for my calm and logical mind.) 

To steer this away from a list of excuses, let's just leave it as this is me trying to paint a little picture of where I'm at. It is not a particularly nice place, my stomach always seems to be churning just a tad and my usual equilibrium that enables me to share all manner of nonsense seems a little damaged. We have the best engineers from Star Trek working on re-assembling me in the correct way, that is my usual incorrect self, and hopefully some time soon you may see some stream of consciousness stuff spewing forth here - defining at last, my ideal life. 



P.S. Some trivia only the amazing Jenny "The Bloggess" Lawson may appreciate: William Shatner is the only person to have actually said the exact phrase "Beam me up Scotty" in the audio adaptation of his novel Star Trek: The Ashes of Eden. Now there's a great dinner party opener!

Saturday, 26 November 2011

MUMMY'S FUNKY FRIDAY: Fly through the air

Carrie clearing her head on a Trapeze near New York. Image copyright: HBO.com
It seems that Summer’s coming twice this year after a return to Winter over the last week. When the 5 days of clouds parted today I put my scarf and boots away again (I hope for the last time this year) and breathed a huge sigh of relief. The warmth reminded me again that getting out in to the fresh air is like therapy for everyone, especially couped up toddlers going stir crazy, while their Mums lose their mind.

There are a few ways to stave off rainy week insanity, one is of course to read this blog, two is spend a small fortune on a mental health professional and a third is to do something daring you normally wouldn’t do. This Funky Friday why not show Carrie Bradshaw up and fly on a Trapeze.

The Sydney Trapeze School has set up its' outdoor trapeze rig in the Brazilian Fields of Centennial Park and are there until Sunday February 19. But wait for it, they have Mums and Bubs classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays 10:15am-12:15pm! 
The cost seems to be around the $55 mark for one session.

Nothing like hanging upside down, flying through the air and falling on your head to clear the damage a week of crying and whinging has done to you, and it may stop the kids screaming too or at least turn them into squeals of delight.

Don’t worry if you are not in Sydney there are outdoor trapeze setups all over Australia, here are some links to start you off. 



Go fly!


Tuesday, 22 November 2011

THE KEY TO A HAPPY BIRTHDAY: The Front Door


When you read this you could be forgiven for thinking I just make this stuff up. I wish I was making it up because I can't for the life of me figure out how I get this 'lucky'. I must just be special in a she attends a "special" class kind of way.

Birthdays come around once a year as you know, and so on this one day you can say things like:
"No dear, today I'm having a shower first so for once I get to spend 40 minutes in there and you get to spend 5 minutes after that while I yell at you to hurry up" or
"Oooh look Crash has done a big poo, I'm not changing him because it's my birthday".

In fact all bets are off when it's your birthday, well that's what I thought until today. It was all looking as I would expect from a family with two toddlers, I got a card and Happy Birthday sang to me, no present but that’s ok given hubby didn't get one last year (although I had a 3 month old I was breastfeeding so I was lucky to get out of the house let alone go shopping for a present, he doesn't have any such excuse).



Anyway I was even looking forward to the breakfast out with my boys until learning only minutes before that Boom had booked a Chiropractor appointment at 8.30. That’s when things started to feel less birthdayish and very every other day of the yearish. Even the breakfast at a nice café was the usual mayhem, where one of you is always lunging to catch a falling knife or save a full cup of coffee from ending up all over the table or you or both but little did I know it was about to become anything but an ordinary day.

I raced home as it was obvious the little guy wanted to sleep. With one toddler on my hip, another attached to my hand I somehow got the keys out of my pocket to get inside. But they looked strange, and as my conscious mind caught up to the vision in front of me I realised that the front door key had somehow vanished from the key ring.

It wasn't hard to put two and two together if you knew my husband. I quickly surmised he had taken the front door key off to take with him the night before as he was at a function. What the Einstein did with the key god only knows but I'd say it ended up on his key ring, next to his front door key.

After ringing him around 15 times I eventually tracked him down through an ad agency receptionist who was embarrassed to hear the story that I was determined to share with anyone who would listen. He was standing in front of her so I was able to "calmly" explain the situation. He was so “helpful” he said he would come out of his meeting if I got the boys back in the car and drove to him. Great! thanks sweet!

After staring at our 7ft metal side gate and imagining climbing over it using the bins as steps and then breaking a leg as I landed on the other side leaving two toddlers to play on the road, I started putting Crash back into his car seat. Then our elderly neighbour, Jack pulled up. "Wonder if I could jump their fence?" I thought. He was up for the adventure so all three of us bundled up to their backyard and Jack got his ladder out. The boys played with or really just got licked by their dog, as I scrambled over a 6ft paling fence landing unceremoniously in a magnolia tree on the other side. No doubt my tight, low cut cargos were showing an enormous amount of tradie butt crack, not to mention over-exposure of my mini-cleavage. What can I say? the outfit was not designed for scaling backyard fences.

I picked myself up and unlocked the back door and went and collected my little Irish twins who'd found the whole situation quite fun. I looked on the bright side I had sustained no splinters or broken limbs for my birthday, but I had also sustained no presents or relaxation. Hmmmm. So instead of being glum I put my boys down for their afternoon naps and started scheming an equally ‘Happy’ Birthday for my husband in a months time. 
That cheered me up no end, but I need some help so any ideas on how to make his special day that little bit more extra-special, you know like he did for me. (Revenge is sweet!)

Saturday, 19 November 2011

WIN A POCKET HD VIDEO CAMERA WITH A DOUBLE PASS TO THE BONDI SHORT FILM FESTIVAL!

UPDATE: AND THE WINNER IS : LISA from bylisajay.com


Sorry if you missed out this time around, thanks to all that entered and don't forget to subscribe so you know when the next giveaway's happening. 


Mummy's Funky Friday has teamed up with the über-cool dudes at Lenovo to give MyIdeaLife readers the chance to not only get out of the house, but attend one of the coolest Sydney events of the year: The Bondi Short Film Festival. And if that is not incentive enough to get involved they have included a VADO HD Pocket Video Camera. Small and easy enough to carry with you so you never miss those crazed moments we all want to see on YouTube or Funniest Home Videos.

The event is near sold out giving some indication of the calibre of the 14 filmmakers that will be showcased in Bondi Pavilion on Saturday November 26th. So get commenting and liking to be in the running! 

For your chance to win just answer this question in the comments below: 
WHAT'S YOUR DREAM NIGHT OUT? and like the Lenovo and MyIdeaLife Facebook pages

Go out, have fun and Good Luck!


The stuff the lawyer wants you to read:
Competition closes on November 23rd at 5pm AEST and winner will be notified by email the same day. Competition open to Australian residents who are able to attend event in Sydney.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

DAMN YOU CORRECT! HUH?


You probably don’t need convincing to appreciate the perfection of the iPhone. It is a beautiful thing that people would quite happily have sewn in to their arms if they could, such is the attachment it evokes. But like everything it has it’s quirks, and autocorrect is probably it’s most infamous. 

The annoying word changes iPhone Autocorrect comes up with have made teenage girls tell their mothers they’re pregnant (pregnancy test instead of practice), straight guys announce they are Gay (out of closet instead of clinic) and my personal favourite, a first date crime due to lobster and fillet mignon (killing instead of kissing)!

So it is logical that Apple has decided to fix it, releasing software last week that will stop this embarrassing, annoying, life-changing tool, and bringing it more in line with the superior Android spellchecker. So once again the iPhone is perfect and you know what, I’m disappointed. Maybe I wouldn’t be if I was someone that told my partner I wanted to jump them but iPhone changed it to dump, but I’ve been lucky to be one that has just stood by and LMAO at some of the epic Autocorrect fails. And an Aussie hacker found a work around for those that really have been burned anyway. So now what are we going to do? Perfection is boring Apple. 

The software update, that was released on Thursday also helps with battery life on devices running the new iOS5 software and enhances Siri for the Australian accent. But I reckon putting up with these two issues is worth it if one day you get to tell your Dad you want his P¢nis (*Prius)! 



Will you miss the old Autocorrect like I will?
  

Monday, 14 November 2011

YOU SCREAM, I SCREAM, WE ALL SCREAM...

The innocuous source of pure mayhem

I have two boys, now 2-and-a-half and 14 months, commonly known as Bang and Crash. By all accounts things are getting a little easier as Bang can now tell us off pre-tantrum so at least we know why he’s about to turn into a writhing hyena and Crash is walking about and therefore not living up to his namesake as much. (He also happens to tell us off but luckily incy wincy still works a treat on him). 
  
One way I’ve noticed to get them both going in tandem is to offer to buy them ice cream. Now you would think this would be a cause for great excitement and joy in their young minds. And yes there is some of that, but only if you purchase the ice cream in a certain way. Yesterday we did not follow the Toddler's guide to Toddlers rule on purchasing ice cream and we copped an earful as a result.


RULE No. 173: DOGS, CHIPS & SLIPPERY DIPS ARE FUN
We had just been to a park to eat Fish and Chips and watched doggies of all shapes and sizes chase balls into the water. Crash even tried to have a go and managed to nab a particularly wet Labrador’s ball. Luckily the dog didn’t mind as he was more interested in the chip buried deep in Crash’s little fist. To the dog’s dismay Crash ended up with both until I wrenched the dripping ball from his hand and apologetically returned it (always nice to mix some dog saliva with your meal).
  

To extricate the boys from the park my Husband’s standard manoeuvre is to bribe them with a smoothie. This night though he strayed from his usual and offered ice cream (mainly because he wanted gelato for himself!). Bang was so fast off a slide I may have muttered under my breath “Good one daddy” and off we went, smug in how well we mustered toddlers.


RULE No. 68: STATIONARY CARS ARE NOT FUN
It may have been over-confidence, or a lack of thought, but our grand plan of a fun afternoon quickly evaporated into duelling banshees. You see we didn’t take them in to the Ice Cream shop, I stayed with them in the car while my hubby went in. First mistake. They lasted for about 30secs before the whining started, and then some full-blown screaming ensued. I would have paid a digger driver to roll past at this point but instead I screamed “Stop screaming!” I know, I know, it makes things worse but I had silence from their shock for about another 30 seconds and I needed that silence. I was tired and disappointed that all the points we deserved for the chips and the doggies and the slippery dips suddenly didn’t count because they were in a stationary car for more than a minute.

RULE No. 235: WHITE ICE CREAM IS EVEN LESS FUN
Second mistake, hubby forgot to take his phone that I was calling to make sure he got Bang a pink ice cream. On the appearance of a white one, you’d think we had grabbed the child and broke both his arms. “I don’t want a white one, pink one, pink, No, not white one, Noooooooo” was just comprehensible as it came out all dramatic and high-pitched from a collapsed and bubbling face strewn with tears and snot.
  

I know what you’re thinking. And yes we probably should have shoved the white one into his hands and said something along the lines of “You know there are children in Africa who don’t even know what ice cream is, they’re lucky to eat dirt for lunch!” But instead I told my hubby off for not having his phone and upon assessing the mayhem he quickly turned to go and get a PINK one.

RULE No. 4: DO NOT EVER WASH MY HAIR
I can safely say we lived happily ever after (if by ‘ever after’ you mean the 15 minutes until the next meltdown), because once the pink one materialised and the car started moving the hysteria subsided. And besides it’s difficult to moan when you’re using your mouth to move ice cream off a cone on to clothes and car seats. But don’t worry we don’t always pander to their every whim, that night we got them both back by washing their hair. That is definitely a no-no in the Toddler guidebook and we knew it - AH HA HAAAAAA



©MyIdeaLife, 2011, All rights reserved

Friday, 11 November 2011

MUMMY'S FUNKY FRIDAY: Street Art

Give me Streets around the world over a stuffy gallery any day!
Welcome to the second week of Mummy's Funky Friday, your weekly dose of my new favourite word, alt-worthy stuff that will revive your inner cool. Funnily enough the music of last week could be the soundtrack for this week. Enjoy!

I am not one of those types that is going to try and convince you that graffiti is cool. Most graffiti is bloody awful and it costs normal people lots of money to make their suburban home look less like the local meth lab.

But in cities around the world there has been a craze growing that actually enhances the urban environment – it's called Street Art and it's nothing short of inspiring. 

And until December 11 you can see some of the work of the most famous international street artists at Cockatoo Island in Sydney. Among the collections exhibited the Oi You! one is a must-see boasting the largest private collection of the enigmatic, stencil guru, Banksy. And this guy(see below), Ethos from Brazil, has peeled himself from the wall of a five-storey building in LA to come and paint live on Cockatoo Island. Now that’s sorta yeow^ and is just how he rolls (see how alt-worthy^ I’m becoming….don’t answer that). 


So when the kids are yelling at you this week to buy them a present or give them a treat, throw them on a ferry and go and see some industrial urban transformation. Their eyes will be wide not just with the mint^ cool art but with how hektik^ their rents* now are! 


For more info visit http://www.outpostproject.com.au 


Teenglish glossary:
*rents=parents
^hektik, mint, yeow and alt-worthy all sort of mean cool…I think

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

OUR FIRST KISS

Rodin's "The Eternal Idol"
Sketched by love-obsessed 25 year old me.
I sketched this in Vienna when I was 25. I was sitting on the floor of a Museum, as you do when you're a backpacker. It felt like my whole life's dream was encapsulated in this beautiful Rodin sculpture. I had left my then-boyfriend to travel for six months (which turned in to three years) and so my heart was aching as I drank in the lust this depicted. I obviously wasn't that heartbroken though as only days later I ran off to Bruges with a very hunky American. What? I was confused and besides the boyfriend ended up being a completely deluded, selfish git masquerading as a snag, so thank goodness I didn't save myself for him.

In fact ever since my first kiss 10 years earlier, I'd been in love with love. It was at a summer party and I don’t even know how it happened, I was sitting on this guy’s lap and next thing you know we were snogging and with tongue! It was divine, and as I closed my eyes I'm sure I saw stars (that had nothing to do with the alcohol consumed of course).

I actually think that kiss more than any Hollywood movie was the reason it took me so long to find 'the one'. From that moment on I judged the potential of every relationship by the first kiss. This was so illogical, not that kissing is logical at the best of times, but most of my best kissing had been with the biggest bastards on earth, and really that was all they would good for. A good pash and then see you later really. But for some reason I forgot this as my knees turned to jelly and my imaginary world clouded out any sense of reality. 


Think I might give my hubby a snog when he gets home as feeling a little inspired, not sure it will be quite the same with toddlers attached to both legs, but I'll give it a go.

What was your first kiss like? 
Did it turn you into a pashing bandit like it did me?


©MyIdeaLife, 2011, All rights reserved