I’m sorry, my poor neglected blog

Please forgive me? I HAVE PHOTOS!

I’ve not blogged for a while. I’ve been a busy little bumblebee actually.

You see, I chose to take on an internship as part of my degree. I had considered it, but the logistics of juggling work plus three kids and uni seemed too difficult. I quite lazily put it in the “too hard basket” and forgot about it for a while.

But then I saw the advertisement

It was for a very big company that handles various magazines, newspapers, online publications and websites. It seemed too good to be true. I thought to myself that the chances of me getting something that so many others would be wanting at the same time were pretty slim. So I bypassed my uni’s”how to” instructions on resume building and threw something together at the eleventh hour.

My previous job with a workplace bully

My job before was in financial services. I worked in the same office as a monster, who was related (by marriage) to the wonderful business owner that hired me four times over the years since I had finished high school. This monster brought me down so low that I left and never returned when I suffered a miscarriage. That whole pregnancy was spent crying into my pillow until the wee hours of the morning, waking up and going to work a few hours later and feeling so beat down and useless that I lost my appetite and just wanted to cry again. I was sick with the flu and various other ailments. It really took its toll on my health. So I quit work and became a full-time student. That was it. Massive life-changing decisions in an instant.

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In a study room at uni with Miss 2. She loves watching Peppa Pig on the big screen!

Everything hit me again when I got the call for an interview

So everything was going really well for me. I’d managed to heal but I vowed to never forget the life that had been delayed. I was fortunate enough to get my baby girl almost a year to the day I miscarried. I wanted to raise awareness and normalise miscarriage and infant loss to make others feel like they were less alone. To remind other women going through similar that yes, it IS a horrible thing, but they are not alone.

When I got called for an interview for the internship, it all came rushing back. I didn’t want to go back into a corporate environment. I’d always had a thick skin but just couldn’t shake those feelings of being useless and incompetent. I knew in my head that I wasn’t, but after being belittled, abused, and beaten down for so many months, it’s a hard thing to forget.

I wouldn’t get it anyway

I told myself that I wouldn’t get the internship anyway. I had applied for a casual role several months earlier and froze when the interviewer asked me a question. I knew I had no chance at getting this one, so thought I may as well use it as a practice run. I bought a new navy slip dress, dusted off my pink heels, donned a black clutch (it was that or a nappy bag!), and in I went.

I sat down, looked at the interview panel and told them I was so nervous. I pointed out that my hands were sweating, I’d been a mum and student for so many years I’d forgotten how to talk to people without stuttering. I smiled and asked them to please be nice. And from that moment, I was back. They were so lovely and encouraging that all the tension and apprehension melted away. I sat there, pitched a story, answered questions, even cracked a few jokes. When the interview was over, they mentioned that I was among the first interviewed. I asked them to please not forget me and they all chuckled. One even added “We definitely won’t forget you”. And that was it. All the anxiety and negative feelings about myself and my abilities fell from my shoulders, bounced off my awkward black clutch, and onto the floor in front of me. I even stepped on them as I walked out of the boardroom with my head held high. They were dead forever.

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Me with Mr 8 and Mr 6. Walking in the rain – one of my favourite things to do.

So here I am

Here I am now. I’ve written several blog posts over the last few months, but before I upload them, I email them to my editor. I ask her if she can use them, and she always does.

Did you catch that?

I said “my editor”. It’s really exciting. From this mum of three (plus one angel), who turned a loss into a life-changer. I no longer have to work in financial services because that is what I know like the back of my hand. I get to write. It’s only a casual job and that is completely fine with me, because I’m still studying. I’m due to graduate in January and rather than feeling sick at the thought of returning to work, and looking for reasons to continue studying, I’m looking forward to possibly working some more. I never expected those feelings.

To those who have followed along, my study load has now greatly reduced for my last semester, so I’m hoping to blog regularly again. But thank you for sticking around. And thank you for following me in the first place. I always wanted this blog to be completely anonymous, but I’m not so sure I still want that. If I want to bring awareness to those things that people don’t often talk about, then I need to have a name to my voice. So here I am, in the form of a few pictures. It’s lovely to ‘meet’ you. 😉

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On a recent road trip to Dubbo Zoo. Mr 8 got car sick, Miss 2 slept for most of it, and Mr 6 rambled the whole way there. (Note: I was obviously NOT driving when I took this pic).

Claire. x

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Pokemon Go, oh no…

Today my son scored a goal at soccer. He’s been playing in the same team for two years and he’s now in the under 8s. He spent a few months as goalie where he rarely got to kick the ball but saved dozens of goals from being scored by other teams. He was the best goalie. Everyone would talk about how he’d throw himself onto the ball with such finesse and courage. But the whole time he’s played he’s spoken about how he wants to score a goal. So he begged to come out of goals but then his skilled defense meant he didn’t get much of a chance as striker from the back of the field.

Until today.

Today he scored a goal. He came up to the front from his position of defense up the back (excuse the lack of technical jargon). He dribbled the ball around a few players with ease, gliding in and out around their little knobbly knees. He gave the ball one final push and off it soared into the back corner of the net. His teammates all cheered and patted him on the back and the grin on his red face was worth the wait.

And I caught a Bulbasaur.

TWO YEARS we’ve all been waiting for this moment, and I’m catching Pokemon?!

I know what you’re thinking, but it’s not how it seems. You see, I downloaded the new Pokemon Go app the other day and I have enjoyed so many fun times with my boys. My husband has taken them out to the local shops and parks and gathered items and hunted for Pokemon along the way. It’s a real team effort and has been great for entertaining ourselves and coming together as a family.

But damn you, Nintendo, for dropping that red-eyed little green creature with the bulb on his back at just that moment in time. I’m just grateful I got to see his gleeful grin.

Renewal

In less than a week I will be a grown-up again. I’ll get to wear nice clothes, makeup and even high heeled shoes! We’re not talking the sky-high shoes that are dusty and strewn across the floor of my wardrobe, or the flats that are squashed underneath the runners and slippers that have taken over my life. I mean REAL mid-height grown-up ladies shoes. There’s nothing really special about their design, but they represent my future. In all their plain black court shoe glory, they are everything I’ve been working towards.

The last time I was in the workforce was September, 2013. It was around the time of my second blog post. I was working in a stiflingly small office within the financial services sector. I had become a target for a bully, often being confronted with slamming doors, being personally insulted, and constantly questioned about why I was doing some tasks one week, then berated for not doing them the next. I was in a position where I could not possibly win. But I was pregnant. My goal was to work as far into the pregnancy as I could in order to be eligible for the government’s paid parental leave. It only resulted in a miscarriage at thirteen weeks, a resignation text from my hospital bed and a full career change. I enrolled in a degree within a few days, and here I am now.

Two years and ten months later, and I am almost finished my degree. I have two trimesters remaining. I just have my current full time study load for one trimester, then one part time and I am DONE. I can’t believe I am here. My time studying has been more fun than I can ever explain. I think knowledge and education are highly addictive. Well, they are to me anyway. Which is why it scares me to think I could almost be done. In fact, next week I begin my internship. I knew I’d have to do at least one, but I really didn’t want to … until I saw the ad for this one. It’s an eight week program within the editorial department for an online publication I have followed for several years now. It looked too good to be true, so I applied not expecting to hear back. I was then called for an interview. Again, I went without any expectations. I joked about the fact that I sat between two models in the fawyer and couldn’t hide my giggles when a hipster asked them if they were her for the “Vogue fitting”. Any other time I would have stood up and said “Yes” to watch his reaction. The building was amazing. I was just happy to be at the interview, to walk through the offices to the meeting room where I pitched my story. I smiled, sat on my hands to stop them from flying around, made them laugh, and left with no expectations. And I was selected.

Then the shopping started. The excitement hit. I’ll get to have REAL adult conversations where I don’t refer to myself in the third person. No repeating myself twenty times a day and no translating toddler speak to the cashier in Target. I’ll even get to eat my lunch without sharing with a screeching toddler, mouth open at the ready. Coffee warm? What IS that?! I won’t know what to do with myself. I will also be starving for dinner as I’m walking out of the office, but I do need to lose a few kilos so maybe it’s a good thing.

Anyway, I’ve not blogged for a while and I just got the urge, and I’m finally not so time poor anymore. You see, I’ve managed to sail through three weeks’ worth of uni readings and week one hasn’t even finished yet. This is the beginning of my new life. My life as someone who enjoys what they do, someone who understands that bullies pick on those who they are threatened by. I was never deserving of the treatment I endured in the past, but I won’t let it shape my future. Because the future is mine, and I won’t give him the satisfaction of letting him be a part of it.2016-06-30 21.16.22

Happy Valentines Day for the Old and Wrinkly Ones

Some say that love is a warm and fuzzy feeling, the need to be with that special someone for the rest of your life, a burning desire to get as close as physically possible and bear the fruits of your love in the form of many little munchkins…

I say that love is like walking across a tightrope between two buildings while balancing twenty-six dirty nappies in one hand and a tray of chicken nuggets and chippies in the other and wearing a fat suit following thirty-six hours of no sleep. And still smiling at the other end.

When I met my husband, I was a size six. I had abs, long luscious golden locks, and perky breasts. Now I have a pouch that could house a small joey, mousy brown hair and floppy sock breasts with big giant nipples. When I take my bra off I could find a whole collection of Lego, hair clips and Cheerios. Love is what my husband still has for me, despite all these changes in the bargain along the way.

Love is ageing alongside one another, changing so gradually that neither of you notice these changes and beg the marriage gods for a refund. Love is sacrificing designer handbags and European holidays for a nappy bag and a trip to the zoo and still wanting to take photos to preserve the precious memories. Love is about getting three hours sleep and finding a smile inside when you’re woken by a one-year old blowing raspberries on your flabby belly. Raspberries ALWAYS sound better when there’s a bit of give in the skin’s elasticity. I do it for her. Really, I do.

Love is that coffee and shortbread that you hurriedly share after the kids are in bed, while both hoping that it lasts forever. It’s walking around MovieWorld the day after tearing your hamstring clean off the bone. It’s the way I feel right now and every second of every day of my life without exception and I would never change a thing.

Love is a smile, open and free

Love is an embrace, especially for me

Love is my cocoon, warm and secure

Love infects me with a passion, of which I want no cure.

My sweetheart’s love is balmy and thrilling

We share passion, excitement, our love is fulfilling

Like the apples fallen from the abundant tree

Our love has created cherished hearts three.

The love of our cherubs is innocent and bright

Unconditional and constant as the stars at night

Always forgiving, never a grudge to be held

To protect them forever, I am always compelled.

Love is acknowledging how blessed we may be

And never assuming its loyalty

We give and receive in equal shares

Showing our love that nothing else compares.

I Want to be a Munchkin or an Oompa Loompa

The schoolyard changes as we move through the years, but is it the schoolyard or us? From that scared little girl on the first day of school to the anxious mother going into a school fundraising meeting, it can sometimes be hard to tell the difference. No matter how old you are, there are still bullies. There are still people who feel so threatened, jealous or territorial that they can’t help but push their negativity onto others. But why? Why can’t a playground be JUST a playground? Why can’t it be all about the children and learning and everyone getting along like those cute little orange Oompa Loompas in the chocolate factory or the happy-looking munchkins from Oz? I could be the happy little green one doing backstroke through a river of chocolate ganache while sucking on a lollipop tree… Actually, that’s it! I’m buying up shares in Cadbury. Problem solved.

A Tumble In Paradise Leads to an Extended Holiday

I’ve not blogged much, but then I’ve never really felt like anything has been important enough to blog about. Until our recent holiday…

We went away for a short family holiday and to see my family last week. I had found cheap flights and snagged some reasonable accommodation at a hotel that was central to the beach and shops. It would be a total of four nights away. We swam in the pool, met up with family, had ice cream in the afternoons and pancakes for breakfast. The sun was shining and we were all relaxed and happy. We were having so much fun.

On the third day, I went shopping with my mum and sister. I took my little girl, leaving the boys to have a fun day with their dad. On my way to the shops my husband called me. He said “I’ve had a fall and it’s pretty bad”, then he had to go because someone from the hotel had arrived to help him up. He later explained to me that he had slipped as he was getting out of the spa by the pool. His leg went out in front of him and his body folded on top of it, then he fell down the four steps. A lady by the pool phoned the hotel reception for help and she had her fifteen-year old daughter get back in the pool to supervise our boys who are a little too confident in the water. My husband was finally able to put a tiny bit of weight on his leg and iced it for the rest of our holiday. It improved slightly with the help of the ice and pain killers and we saw the specialist upon our arrival back in Sydney.

After a few days of treatment the specialist was not happy with his progress and referred him for an MRI. That was when we discovered his hamstring was not simply pulled or torn, but had been ripped clean from the bone (“hamstring avulsion”). It is likely that he will need surgery to reattach it, and then months of extensive and painful rehab.

My husband is the sole bread winner. We have three children and live with his elderly parents. Thankfully we don’t have a mortgage to worry about, but we still have many mouths to feed and bills to pay. I foresee this Christmas as being a simple one. I’ve already started reading up on saving money and surviving Christmas on a small budget. It’s going to be a hard slog and I’m sure there are going to be medical bills coming out of our ears. But you know what? I’m really excited to get to spend the next 6-12 months with my husband. He has always worked so hard, taking on shift work and having a different schedule to the rest of the family. In the past, this has made things difficult for us as we have had to carefully plan for our paths to cross for simple things such as going for a run without a pram, or helping me with a big grocery shop. We have maintained Wednesdays as our kind of date day, but that still meant he woke up at lunch time and then I had to pick up the kids from school by 3.00. But now? Now he’s here beside me. Yes, he will be in pain. Yes, he will feel down about being less mobile, but we can do it together. We WILL get through this. And I’m looking forward to being blessed enough to spend time with my husband. This will be our second honeymoon.

Any suggestions for low budget meal planning and how to stop this shopaholic from going anywhere near any sales would be welcome!