Category Archives: Parenting

Wrestling the black dog

I don’t really know why they call depression the black dog, I don’t feel like I’ve been taken over by a dog, black or otherwise and I’m certainly not wrestling with it, I have nor the time or inclination to do anything quite so energetic. It’s more like I’m being smothered with a heavy grey blanket that stops any joy and sunlight from getting in, deprives you of oxygen and in turn energy and directs every thought you have into something negative and wondering whether the world would be a better place without you in it. 

I know know there are many people that don’t understand what it’s like to feel like this. I have family and friends that have trouble understanding, but there are also many people out there that do and a lot of them feel alone and very isolated. Which quite honestly, is the worst place a depressed person can be. I only hope that if I write about it, others won’t feel so alone or stigmatised.

I’ve suffered from depression all of my adult life, however I seem to cope pretty well until I have a fairly serious “situational crisis” (as people in the biz like to call it), or I’m sleep deprived. Which isn’t great for someone like me who works permanent night shift. Currently I’m an extremely sleep deprived state. (Also dealing with a few situational crisis, but I won’t bore you with the details). I didn’t get to sleep Wednesday before work and yesterday I spent the majority of the day driving the kids to and from school and work experience, a total of 4 hours driving. I also took calls from the school and therapists, which left me a grand total of two hours in which to sleep. Then headed back to work. Well, last night at work didn’t go as smoothly as I’d have liked and I turned into the irrational teary monster again. I was told I shouldn’t come to work if I’m tired. Well, I’m fucked then. As I’m always bloody tired. Any working mother, single or otherwise gets tired! Knowing that I won’t get much sleep today due to the fact that my youngest has a pupil free day, I’ve had to cancel work. No work, means no pay, which means more stress, which means more tears and less sleep. A cycle which is hard to break. So it’s off to the doctors for me this morning, before I get myself into a right state and end up rocking in a corner somewhere.

So if you know someone that wrestles with the black dog, the grey blanket, or whatever else people like to call the depression and you haven’t heard from them in a while. Make sure they’re okay, give them a call and let them know they’re not alone.

Mothers Day

I’m going to say what I’m pretty sure most of us Mums really want for Mothers Day. What we want, but rarely get, especially when the kids are younger. What most mums won’t admit to, what we want, what we really, really want, is time away from the kids. Time not having to clean up after, organise and feed our beloved children. Time to do something we want to do without disruption, let our hair down, be pampered or party, whatever takes your fancy. Don’t get me wrong, I love my boys to bits, but if Mothers Day is about spoiling Mum, then surely we should get what we actually want, rather than some household appliance, dressing gown or slippers. 
Well……I don’t mean to brag, but,  that’s exactly what I got this weekend. My Mothers Day started early. It started yesterday. I had a wonderful afternoon yesterday, paintballing with my new, albeit second hand marker. (Never thought I’d be an owner of a gun!) I mean who wouldn’t want to celebrate Mother’s Day by being shot over and over again, coming home bruised and battered?? I love it! 

That was followed on by a night of football festivities with my other crazy non related family, drinking, eating pizza, playing games, singing, dancing, laughing and watching football. Playing  “Never have I ever” induced fits of laughter that had me in tears. I love being treated like one of the guys. We had an epic game of twister, during which my flexibility and contortionism was put to the test and was finally outmatched by 2 tactical geniuses. I would post photos, but what happens on a boys night, stays at the boys night……. unless they post shameless photos and videos on Facebook. 

Then went to bed for an uninterrupted sleep until 9am. Absolute heaven.

This morning I headed back home to see and pick up my boys for lunch at my sister’s house. I gave my Mum her present and card, and was really chuffed she like the card I got her. Love that we have the same sense of humour. 

 We had a delicious family lunch with my Mum, sister and her boys. After lunch we played pie face, an awesome game if you don’t mind getting covered in cream. 

After lunch the kids played whilst us girls chatted. We then chilled in the couch to watch a Trolls with the kids. It was just a lovely way to end a great weekend.

So thanks to both my families. Best Mothers Day ever!

Thanks Mum, Brook, Dean and Adam, for a great day today and my other family Jon, Jack, and Paul, with honourable mention to Alfie, the other Jack and Lucas for last nights Shenanigans. 

An epic battle lost. 

An an epic battle occurred in my household this week, something akin to Rhonda Rousey taking a beating from Holly Holmes. I was the one who ended up worse for wear. My worthy opponent was left unscathed.

Let me set the scene……

I had come home from a very long nightshift, to find my son had cleaned the house! That in itself was a wonder, I thought the heavens would open and a choir of angels would sing Hallelujah! The dishes were done, the bedrooms and living rooms tidied, the floors vacuumed. I was in complete shock. I knew he’d done it to get his pocket money, but usually that’s not enough incentive do it, obviously he’s completely skint. After singing his praises, and transferring the aforementioned money into his bank account, I took the boys to school. Upon my return, I slipped off my Birkenstocks, cracked a cold Coke Zero and cooked my self some toast. 
With tomato on toast and a Coke Zero in hands, I made my to my very much loved couch. A few steps from my destination, I slipped on what I later realised was spray and wipe which my son had used to clean up his spilt coco pops and milk, on the tiles. Instead of attempting to break my fall with my hands, like a normal person, I instinctively tried to save my Coke and toast (you may now realise how I prioritise my food over my own welfare) I successfully saved both toast and Coke, whilst face crashed into the arm of my beloved couch. It may have brought a tear to my eye at the time, but wasn’t overly painful. So I sat myself down with feet up and enjoyed my breakfast prior to getting to bed, in child free peace.

Upon waking I realised my eye was sore. I attributed it to my being run down and sleep deprived from nightshift and I thought I had developed a sty in my eye. I shrugged it off and pottered around the house preparing dinner, ironing my uniform etc before hitting the shower to get ready for work. It was until I was in the bathroom that I saw what was causing my eye to be sore….. I had a black eye! It looked hideous, just on my right side underneath my eye, but hideous all the same. I thought about attempting to hide it, but after consulting my Facebook family, I owned it and walked into work as if I’d lost a fight to a worthy opponent.

My colleagues took great delight in regaling stories of my foray into UFC cage fighting, to anyone that would enquire about my injuries. My patients stole awkward glances at me, obviously thinking I was a victim of domestic abuse, until I explained my woeful story, luckily it gave them all a laugh. (I don’t think anyone really appreciates the lengths I go to, to make my patients laugh)

 My son apologised, for leaving unwiped spray and wipe on the floor, but as I said to him, I’d much rather a black eye than to have to do housework whilst doing my nights…… so thanks Dean xxx

My exciting week as a hermit 

So nothing too exciting to report this week from me.
BUT……. I’ve successfully transitioned into becoming a hermit. Can you believe it??? Success within a week!! I’ve spent my entire week off at home, doing hermit things, didn’t get to do the Netflix marathons as planned, as I was looking after my boys who have conveniently contracted gastro. That’s right people, don’t be jealous now, I had an entire week relaxing at home cleaning up vomit from every corner of Adam’s room, (unfortunately he hasn’t quite worked out how to vomit in a toilet bowl yet) Maybe he’ll master it in the next 15 years. Dean made it to the toilet, but missed the bowl. But luckily he can clean it up. I however, spent my Monday cleaning up vomit, washing vomit filled bed linen and clothes and tending to miserable boys. I spent a considerable amount of time moving Adam’s queen size bed trying to find an elusive vomit that I could smell but couldn’t see. He’d managed to squeeze an enormous vomit between the side of the bed and the wall. It looked like a Pro Hart masterpiece down there!

The smell permeated the whole house. I used 2 whole cans of Glen 20, then moved on to scrubbing the carpet with what I’ve found to be an amazingly adaptive product, a Sard Wonder stain remover spray. It removes the stains AND it removes the vomit smell and replaced it with refreshing eucalyptus. That’s a win/win for this hermit Mum. I’ll be stocking up on payday.

(The wonder product)

(Dean will kill me for that photo…. and yes, he’s wearing my dressing gown)

But the excitement doesn’t end there. In between loads of washing, scrubbing and deodorising, I played and lost games of words with friends. I know, everyone wants my life, you’re all very jealous.
(What on earth is an Etwee Paul?)

All I can say is Thank God for the one big night of friends, food, football and an amazing fountain filled with Margheritas. Thanks boys, it made my week. xx 

Becoming a hermit

I think I’ll become a hermit.

The recent bout of online dating has left me drained and emotionally battered. I’m also devastated that the plan to adopt 27 cats has been foiled, when I remembered I’m highly allergic. There’s not enough Zyrtec in the world to stop my eyes puffing up like Puffin Fresh donuts, or stop me wheezing like a 90 year old emphysemic patient, with only days to live. I have to apologise, the orders for decoupage boxes me also be delayed. As I’ve come to realise that I lack, well, shall we say, I’m completely devoid of both talent and the patience it takes to cut out millions of magazine pictures and arrange them in artistic way. Mine would end up looking like a creepy stalkers’ photo board.  

So I’ve changed my plans and decided to become a hermit. Not the crustacean kind, the kind where I voluntarily live in seclusion from society. Usually it’s done for “religious “reasons, but I’m doing for, “I can’t be bothered trying any more” reasons. 

I realise that working may pose a problem for my transformation into becoming a hermit, but I’m willing to sacrifice my career for my dreams. I’m no quitter. I could quite happily spend my days on the couch, binging on Netflix and my favourite movies on iTunes, eating popcorn and drinking Coke Zero. I could get my endless supply delivered to my doorstep. I also hear Dan Murphy’s delivers. So there really isn’t any obstacles to stop me achieving my dream. I think my full transformation will be complete by Thursday. I’ll will have had my two days off from work and children, so I should be well on my way to hermitism. (I know, I’ve made up that word, but it sounds good)

No dates, no people, no messaging, no sexts, no dick picks, just me, my TV and my best friend – microwave popcorn.

The only problem I can foresee, is that I am catching up with friends tomorrow night, I have a job interview on Thursday and I have to pick the kids up on Friday, maybe church on Saturday and ….oh…. And I might go to paintballing on Sunday and go out for the Arsenal v Spurs game Sunday night, but other than that….. I’m all good for hiding away at home.

Manners, where have they gone?

Over the last 2 weeks of school holidays, I’ve become more cranky than usual, today I realised why. Manners….. or lack thereof.

Now I was always taught to use manners, to be respectful, polite and kind to others. It’s just the way I was brought up. I had presumed that everyone was taught the same at home. I certainly hope that I’m doing the same with my sons. Although as teenagers, they don’t always respect their mother whilst at home, I generally get feedback that my boys are well behaved and have lovely manners whilst out. Thank God! I’d voluntarily relinquish my parent listener if that wasn’t the case.
But what do most people think manners are? Do the youth of today even know what having manners means? I don’t know whether it’s my emerging old woman crankiness, the fact that over half the population are now younger than me, or that people are just plain devoid of the ability to use manners. But I seem to come into contact with some very rude and ill mannered people of late.

People don’t hold doors open for others and kids don’t stand up on public transport for the elderly, disabled or heavily pregnant. In general people seem to be wrapped up in their own little bubble. Unaware, or just don’t care about people around them. What happened to “Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you”?? Or for those who don’t speak fluent bible. “Treat everyone as you would like to be treated”

What I’ve noticed whilst out and at work, is that not many other people have been raised with the same emphasis on manners. There’s no please and thank you. I’m lucky if I get eye contact. And if the patient remembers my name after looking after them for hours on end, I’m ready to set off fireworks and shower them in gifts! But those patients are few and far between. I’m not expecting gifts for doing my job, and I understand in an emergency their minds aren’t in the right place, they might be in pain or scared, or both, I really don’t expect anything from them. But it’s the non emergent patients and family. The ones that really should have gone to their GP, but still want to be seen and treated within minutes of their arrival. The ones that seem to forget that we have limited staff and other patients that need our assistance before we see them. I’m not asking for much, other than a please and thank you occasionally.

And don’t get me started on the drivers on the roads. When have we become so unAustralian that we no longer give the nod of acknowledgement when we someone flashes their high beams on letting us know of an upcoming speed trap, or a thank you wave when someone lets you in?

Surely I’m not the only the only one out there that still nods and waves! Dean and I have made a game of it. I let someone in and we wait for, hope for, the wave. I let someone in and we wait for, hope for, the thank you wave. But it’s a bit like Christmas eve, you’re all excited, waiting for Santa to come…… then you realise you’re an adult and Santa’s not coming and you’ve got to supply the presents and cook and clean and go through bed exhausted. Waiting for acknowledgement is a bit like that.

So tonight when I go to work, I’m going to up the ante. I’m going to let in as many people as I can on the drive to work, smile and say please and thank you as much as humanly possible and be thankful that I’m at work. If good manners can rub off and make a good impression on one person. It’s worth it.

So get out there and be nice, thoughtful and well mannered, people. Don’t get cranky and cynical like me xx

The moody teenager

Now I know we’ve all been one once….. a teenager that is, and for most of us I’m sure we were all moody at some point. I know I was moody, I remember thinking my parents had no idea how hard my life is, but I really don’t think I was as insolent and egocentric as my eldest has been lately.  (Well, I hope I wasn’t) He seems to have enjoyed the bit of freedom I’ve given him and decided that he wants it all ….now. He wants to be treated like and adult, wants to make all the decisions about his life, without any assistance from any parental figure (what would we know) yet still be financed, fed, watered, taxied and sheltered without so much as a thank you. 
Last weekend said teenager asked if he could go to a friends house on the public holiday Monday. I said it wasn’t a problem as long as he was home by 1200 as I’d already made arrangements to meet a friend at 1230. I stupidly thought we’d discuss travel arrangements and the finer details in the morning. Silly me. I woke at 0700 to find he had already left. I had no idea what friend he was meeting up with, where he was going or what he was doing. He also thought it was not a good idea to answer his phone when this mother, now a raging dragon, called him. 

At 1130 he texted back apologising for not saying good bye and that he was going to head home after he had gone to McDonald’s for lunch. The dragon in me had settled a little and I reminded him that he needed to be home by 1230. I awaited the responding text……. a few minutes later, I get another text saying the train won’t get to the station until 1300, then he had to catch another bus to get home, he’d be lucky to get home by 1400. 

The dragon in me awoke once again. Not only had I been worried sick all morning, but now my plans would have to change once again! I composed myself attempted to calm down my angry texting fingers, which threatened to crack my phone screen with each letter typed, stating I would pick him up from the train station and drive him home. 

He sensed my anger at this point and tried the come up with alternative plans, however, none were going to improve my mood or the need to cancel my plans. 

I then packed my youngest into the car, with many a complaint from him, he was happy chilling at home, and drove to the train station. I used the cruise control the whole way. I was scared my angry accelerating foot, would overpower the sensible me and get me in trouble. I didn’t want to compound my mood with a double demerit speeding fine. 
When I got there, my eldest wouldn’t even look at me. I was able to keep my mouth shut for a whole 27 seconds, before my mouth exploded with what could only be called “accusatory Mum verbal diarrhoea”.
“Why didn’t you wake me?”

“Where were you?”

“What do you mean you don’t know?”

“What were you doing?”

“Watching wrestling, you don’t even like wrestling!”

“Who were you with?”

“Costa, who on earth is Costa?”

“Where do you know him from?”

“Where does he live?”

“Perth? Where in Perth? Perth isn’t helpful in an emergency!”

“Do you realise that if something happened, I’d have to tell the police the last time I saw you was last night? I had no idea where you were, what you were doing, or who you were with!”
It was at this point I think I took a breath. It was also at this point that I saw in the rear vision, that not only was my son not apologetic, but he had a look of disgust on his face, as if I’d had no right to even ask him these questions. At 16, he was obviously an adult, and what on earth was his Mother raving about?
I stopped. Realised I was getting nowhere. Then just said, I was disappointed. 
A few hours after being home and me not saying another word, he came out of his room and said sorry. In the same breath, he asked what was for dinner.
Back to normal. 
Now I know this is normal, but I wish it could be over now. I want my kind, caring, fun, loving, son back. Not this long haired, infrequently bathed, over deodorised, lout that inhabits the front room of my house. I really hope this stage is short lived.
I really apologise to both my parents for my moodiness. My parents, who for some unexplained reason decided it was a good idea to have 4 children. How they survived the teenage years 4 times over, I’ll never know. xxx

Online dating. Part 2.

Here’s the next instalment…..

Well, I’ve bitten the bullet, after my first disastrous attempt of online dating last year, I’ve finally built up enough courage to try again. Let’s face it, I’m not getting any younger and I’m certainly not going to find my ideal partner whilst working nightshift in a women’s hospital. AND I’ve come to the realisation that I don’t want to grow old, alone and the owner of 27 cats. So….. back on the proverbial horse. 
I had to psych myself up this time around. I had to tell myself not to take things personally, don’t freak out when you get unsolicited dick pics, don’t be so sensitive. Maybe I should lower my standards? Change my parameters for my ideal partner search? Should having ones own teeth really be a priority? Do I really need a man that has the same expectations as me when it comes to personal hygiene? Should I view illicit drug use, just as an optional extra????

In a word no…. I won’t lower my standards, or my search parameters but I no longer look at the photos or age. I’ve gone on dates where they look amazing in the photos and in person they look like Chewbacca. Or they look hideous on their photos and are surprisingly good looking in person. Plus, I’m no Supermodel, so why should I judge a person by their cover? And age….. well, I’m 40 now, no spring chicken myself, who knows what I miss out on if I use +/- 5 years of my age as a criteria. So now I’ve expanded my age search requirements to under 55. 

Since I’ve reactivated my account, I’ve been on 6 dates. They haven’t been all bad. However, I have found that I have absolutely no idea what men think. I think I’m fairly upfront and honest, I don’t play games, and I’ll always be kind and let people down easily if I think it’s not working. Most men don’t seem to play by the same rules.

I went on one date, drove 50km to meet up with him, chatted away for hours over brunch, thought we had a good time and had a connection, he said that next time, he’d drive up to my area for a date, to never hear from him again. 

I’ve gone on other dates that said on their profile that they want a relationship, want to find a partner to spend their lives with, to learn pretty quickly that they just want to hook up. Come on guys, just say what you mean/want. I’m sure there’s girls out there wanting the same thing. 

One guy I met up with, after texting for weeks, looked fantastic on paper, we liked similar things, both worked in caring professions. But when we met up, he had the personality of wet toilet paper. So I ended it gently but pretty quickly. 

I have had luck making another friend however. This guy was great, perfect gentleman on our coffee date. We were both quite shy, don’t have a huge circle of friends, kids aren’t needing us as much. The only problem, was that he was a male version of myself. It would have been like dating me! Weird, really weird. But, we get along like we’ve known each other for ages. Everything was easy. So we’ve decided to continue being friends. Everyone can do with more of those. 

The most recent guy is in his 50’s, seems nice so far, had a few dates now and things seem to be going smoothly, I even got flowers and champagne on the first date! So we’ll just have to wait and see what the next few weeks brings. 

So I haven’t fallen in a heap, I haven’t  met with an untimely death, but I don’t think I’ve met the one just yet. 

…….So until the next instalment. 

Everyone should take childless holidays 

Being a single parent is tough. I’m not just talking about single Mums….. but I also take my hat off to those amazing single Dads out there, that do everything they can to make their children’s life as good as it can be. 
As a working single parent, I’m often at the point of exhaustion. Trying to balance work, with home life, Housework with homework, social life or having no life. That’s why my holiday in January was so amazing. Some of you wonderful parents out there may judge me for what I’m about to say, but I had the best time being child free. Did I miss my boys? Of course I did, but would I have given up those 2 child free weeks? Hell no!

I had the most relaxing holiday ever. I took a cruise around the top of Australia with a two friends. We’d never travelled together, actually the other two had never met. Linda a friend I worked with over 20 years ago….. pre children, and Amanda who’s been a fantastic friend for the past 5 years, who I met through a Facebook group. Linda brought her 2 teenage children with her and Amanda and I were childless. 

What was quickly apparent on the cruise, was that we didn’t have to be adults. All those pesky adult decisions and questions we ask as parents on a daily basis such as:  

“How are we going to get there on time, when you kids can’t even get out of bed?”

“What am I going to cook for dinner? How can you lose a shoe since coming home from school?”

“What do you mean you need $10 for an excursion today?”………….

We had none of that. Our biggest decision of the day were: 

“Shall we get a second helping of desert?

“Do we go for a dip in the pool or attempt trivia for the second time today?”

Or…….”Cocktails or shots?”

We even found getting ready for shore excursions a new experience. Initially we would allow ourselves an hour and a half to get out of bed, shower and have breakfast before meeting at the designated meeting place to leave for a tour. We quickly found that it took Amanda and I only 15 minutes to both shower and get dressed. A task that is quite impossible to do in that time frame at home, with children, who for purely selfish reasons want to be fed, dressed and constantly prompted to attend to their own needs. 

Tours themselves were amazing, no children asking when we’d get there, not having to find a toilet for said children, when they are “busting” at a moments notice, no complaints about being hungry/thirsty/tired/sick/bored/need the go to the toilet. We were just able to relax, actually relax and able to enjoy commentary by the tour guide, taking in the scenery, being able to take photos, not missing the wildlife when pointed out. 

Socialising, which is a fairly new activity for me, was great. We met an amazing couple from Canada, that, luckily for us, were very intelligent. They were a great asset to our trivia attempts and we actually won a few! Everyone loves a free lanyard or water bottle. 

As I’m fairly new to the whole bar and drinking scene, I was keen to try and get out most nights after a show. After a few glasses of liquid courage I was able to dance the night away and met some amazing girls with whom I hope to cruise with again. 

All in all it was an absolutely, amazing, relaxing, rejuvenating holiday and I would really encourage all parents single or otherwise, to take some child free time away. It’s certainly made me a better, happier Mum

Happy New Year

As many of you said goodbye to 2016 and celebrated the New Year, there were a few of us not out there partying. A few of us were totally sober, not dancing the night away, not chatting up complete strangers, not counting the New Year in or getting a New Years kiss. Emergency services, hospital staff, prison guards and those poor sods pouring your alcoholic beverages and providing security at all those parties you were at, were all working. All missing out on the fun and frivolities with friends and pounding headache that usually ensues on New Years Day. I was one of those few. My godsend of a Mother cared for my boys so that I could work, so she too was unable to socialise with friends and see the New Year in. 

This year, I would have loved to have had the night off, but as I was rostered on, so I was determined to make it a good one. As all nursing staff know, us nurses, doctors and ward clerks can put on a good spread of food and non alcoholic beverages, when the need arises. We did not disappoint, we had fruit platters (for those attempting to be somewhat healthy), cheese and cracker selections, chips, chocolates and sparkling apple juice to toast the occasion. My only concern was that we’d be too busy to countdown into the New Year. I worked last Christmas and New Years as well, it was rather unfortunate that my colleague and I completely missed the New Year arriving as we were busy. My poor offsider was actually in the middle of giving an enema as 2016 rolled in. Not a pleasant experience for either party, I can assure you. (But I can happily report the end result was worth it for the patient.) By the time we realised it was the 1st of January, it was already 15 minutes into the New Year, a little anticlimactic. So my goal for this year was to just have a minute, patient free at 11.59 to countdown into the New Year. Luckily we weren’t busy, but at 11.50pm we had a new patient present to the triage desk. We thought we were doomed, however it was a false alarm. They’d presented to the wrong hospital. Phew, crisis averted. 

Thankfully, at 11.59 and 30 seconds, no patients needed our immediate attention, so we quickly poured our plastic glasses of Appletizer, and counted in glorious 2017 all together at the triage desk. After guzzling my sparkly, the bell to the ambulance entrance promptly sounded, calling an end to our magnificent 35 seconds of partying and we continued on our merry way, working the night away. 

As New Years Day 2017, arrived on a Sunday, not only did the masses have Sunday to rest and recuperate, but Monday off as well. I like countless others, have worked the last 5 nights and still have 2 more 12 hour shifts before I can enjoy days off. As my days off begin, when everyone else has gone back to work, there’ll be no celebrating or socialising with friends for me. I’ll be sleep deprived and cranky, trying to put on a happy face for my boys who’ve hardly seen their mother over the last week and attempt to do some fun, school holiday activities that won’t break the bank. 

So next year when you’re out partying over the festive season, spare a thought for those people that are hard at work, protecting serving and caring for the community, so you can relax and enjoy yourself and be safe.

Wishing everyone and Very Happy New Year and an amazing 2017!