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

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.

How do you know when you’re done?

One year and three months ago I found out my baby had died inside me. I had a D&C as my body froze up in disbelief and refused to let go. I was then was advised to wait three months before trying again. I was supposed to be thirteen weeks pregnant but my baby measured ten weeks plus five days.

One year ago today, my third post-miscarriage cycle was complete and a new one had just begun. We were getting ready to have a few friends over for New Year’s Eve, and I was going to have a few drinks as I wasn’t ovulating until around the fifth of January. I had a bender that night and although it was still shadowed with sadness, lots of cuddles with our two boys, time with good friends, and a few laughs it was really good for me. That night was the last time I felt tipsy.

I’m happy to report that this year, I still cannot have a heavy night on the Strawberry Daiquiris because I am breastfeeding our four-month-old baby girl (she was conceived in the first days of 2014 and arrived four weeks early for those doing the maths). This year though, I’m filled with sadness and uncertainty. I always wanted four children; my husband was happy to stop after our two boys. Our baby girl was our compromise. But how do I know we’re finished? When I was pregnant this last time I vowed I would never go through it again. Every scan terrified me. Every symptom had me worried, every lack of symptom had me picturing that still lifeless figure of a baby on the ultrasound screen … I just never wanted to go through it again. We also just do not have the room for another child. I thought I was OK with that, but now I’m not so sure.

I know I should be grateful for even having the choice to try again. Many people are not so lucky. Some have one child but run into roadblocks on number two, and many don’t even have that chance. I am eternally grateful for the three beautiful children I have and I feel like I should just listen to hubby and stop pondering another … but I can’t help wonder if I’m going to regret not having that one last baby when I’m old and wrinkly.

I’ve googled and even good old Mr Google doesn’t have the answer. The internet is just flooded with many more women asking the same one. How do we know when we’re done? Will I ever know?

TOP FIVE THINGS I’VE LEARNT THESE SCHOOL HOLIDAYS

These holidays I have been making the effort to get my kids out of the house as much as possible. There’s a great new water play park near our place so we’ve walked down to that a few times, done some shopping, visited friends, had friends over for a play. We’ve been really busy, which is great because I am incapable of sitting around at home all day every day. I have, however, learnt a few lessons during the school holidays.

1 – Do NOT take all three of your children to the local pools.

Until a few weeks ago, my two boys aged six and four were terrified of the water. We’ve been through years of swimming lessons which have resulted in them fake vomiting on the side of the pool, waking up crying every morning asking with big, wet, puppy dog eyes “Is it swimming today?” and when they were younger, claw marks down mummy’s back and chest from a toddler trying to scratch their way out of the pool. Don’t get me wrong, I’m super proud of my kids overcoming their fear of water, but they are now fearless little people. Fearless kamikaze children are NOT what you want to be watching slowly creeping their way towards the deep end of the pool while you’re trying to breastfeed a newborn. So lesson learnt – only go to the pool when hubby doesn’t have to work.

2 – Do NOT take ANY kids to the water play park in Darling Harbour on a busy summer’s day.

That place is like one giant MOVING Where’s Wally picture. You can blink and lose a child. Even when I dress my children in the brightest stripes, which I often find make it easier to find them, there is still no way to spot them. Hundreds of moving children and water DO NOT MIX. Don’t do it if you value your sanity.

3 – Do a toy cull with your children.

I’ve not done this one yet but it’s on my list. My kids have been seriously spoilt, as they do each year, but they also learn to let go of older toys. Most of the time I remove the things they no longer play with and donate/give them away or throw them out while they’re not home, but this time my six-year-old will help. I’m hoping the pain from the wailing “I WAAAANT THAAAAT!” is outweighed by him learning where everything goes so that he has some direction come pack-up time. I’m sure he’ll still blame any mess on his little brother, but it’s worth a shot, right?

4 – Do NOT leave uni essays until the last minute.

I always have the best intentions and aim to have my uni assessments started way ahead of time. What I really do is procrastinate, write-up the cover page, procrastinate some more, check the formatting … Skim through the novel again, stick some post-it notes in a few pages, vacuum the house, check the formatting again … You get the idea. This always results in me sitting up until half an hour before the due date, frantically typing away then submitting without proofing. I honestly think this is where my best work comes from, but it’s not a pleasant process and I become an evil, snappy, cranky MUMSTER. There’s my new year’s resolution right there – I will NOT leave my work until the eleventh hour. Wish me luck on that one. Actually, I have one cover page to check over right now, yet here I am …

5 – Enjoy your children.

The holidays will be over before we know it. I want to look back at the end of my holidays and know I’ve spent time with my children. I want to know I’ve shared some laughs, helped them to the next level on Knack (the PS4 game) a few times, shared a special meal or two with them, watched a movie with them, and just generally made memories. And along the same lines, take many photos. These memories when our children are young will be gone in the blink of an eye. I like to make photo albums every year or two. I order them online and they are printed and shipped out to me. So far I have four, and they are my most prized possessions. If my house went up in flames, they would be the first thing I’d grab after my children. We all take photos and they get uploaded to social media, or they get saved to a hard drive. But what do we then do with them? I choose my absolute favourites and compile an album. They are such beautiful things to look at after time has passed. I highly recommend it.

So there you go – the top five things I’ve learnt from these school holidays. I know I’ll make it to the end, where another phase of my life begins. I will have two children in school, no daycare fees, and subsequently only one location to drop children off at. Bring on 2015. May we all make beautiful memories and live happy healthy lives.