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BULLIES be gone

In loving memory of Dolly Everett.

I began drafting this article some time ago but never got around to completing it. After hearing little Dolly’s story, my heart was broken. A sweet and innocent little girl pushed to a place where she felt there was no other way out of the hell that surrounded her. It scared the sh*t out of me as a mother and had me in tears and also brought back raw emotions of my own as I remembered those dark, unworthy and defeated thoughts. But, I was an adult, she was just a little girl. I needed to share this as a tribute to her.

Dolly was a 14 year old girl who was subjected to relentless bullying before she decided to take her own life. It’s hard to fathom that some people have the capacity to actively go out of their way to cause someone that much pain – a story enough to make you sick as a fellow parent or even just a fellow ‘good’ human.

BULLYING.

There are not many things I hate in life, but this is of them! An eight letter word that for some reason is breeding popularity, has ended so many lives and even had me contemplating my own last year. When did it become cool to be cruel? Did I miss something? ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!!

“Oh my god did you see what he/she was wearing? I’ll send you a screenshot”

“Why does he/she look/dress like that?”

“Did you see his/her instastory? How pathetic. Who does he/she think they are?”

“Omg they’re so ugly/fat”

“Oh god they need to eat – anorexic”

“He/she is so fake seriously, no one likes them”

“They don’t have anxiety, she’s just doing it for attention”

Now, it’s my turn to be a bitch – SERIOUSLY, SHUT THE F*** UP!!!

If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all. I get it you’re not going to be everyone’s cup of tea and that’s totally fine but there’s a big difference in difference of opinion to blatant bullying.

If you’re building friendships on tearing people down, there is seriously something wrong with you and your clique of friends. Blowing out someone else’s candle won’t make yours any brighter!

And, I am not just talking school yard bullying, the bullying I have endured and witnessed as a 31 year old women and even as a mother is even more atrocious!!! Coming from people who are ‘meant’ to know better. The parent shaming, the name calling, the list goes on. Get your shit together adults, just stop – seriously just stop!

How can we expect kindness and acceptance from our children if we are not leading by example?

I have people that hate me that don’t even know me – go figure. Or people that think/claim to know me but wouldn’t have a clue what I am TRULY about. Some of my blog friends have hate pages created about them when people only know them through a few squares on a screen. Have we really become that insensitive?

If it’s become a trend to get together and rip someone to shreds for your own entertainment and ego then I’m here to be the trend breaker – I won’t stand for it! There are nbv humans at the other end of such hateful comments.

What happened to kindness and love? Do we really have to wait until someone takes their life to realise the implications of our actions?

It’s really simple – THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK. And in this digital era, THINK BEFORE YOU POST, COMMENT OR WRITE! If what you have to say doesn’t add value, then DON’T say it. Stop the games, stop the shaming, stop the cryptic bullying posts, just STOP THE BULLYING. Or should I say, just STOP being an ASSHOLE!

If someone has bothered you, talk to them the old fashioned way and don’t just start an unnecessary hate campaign against them which can be easily avoided.

And if you’re watching/hearing someone else subjected to hateful comments, have the guts and loyalty to stand up for them even if it means standing alone – I do! It’s the people who have the courage to do this that will change the future for the better. But if we don’t stand up NOW and stop this ridiculousness, I truly worry what kind of future my children will grow up in?

Every human has the right to be treated equal and the buck starts with us.

Trade bitchiness for kindness because let me tell you something, kindness feels f***ng amazing! The look on someone’s face when you’ve helped them without expectation or given them a compliment is priceless and worth its weight in gold!

But be genuine, don’t just give a compliment then stab them in the back – be authentic and true to your word.

Say hi to strangers in the street, stand up for someone who doesn’t have the courage to stand up for themselves, exercise random acts of kindness and be a trailblazer for good in a world that’s trying to force you to be bad!

Let’s put an end to this pathetic and life threatening trend, let’s bastardise bullying – BULLIES BE GONE!

In a world where you can be anything, BE KIND!

So will the real people please stand up? *mic drop*


If you or anyone you know need crisis support, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Or, if you would like to make a donation to Dolly’s dream, I have listed details below;

DOLLY’S DREAM FOUNDATION

BSB: 035 313

ACC: 237623

 

Our double rainbow

We always said two years would be a great gap between Alaia and her sibling, but never in a million years did we expect what was to come. We knew we had some odds stacked against us which meant the reality of it may take longer than expected.

PCOS.

One miscarriage.

An ectopic pregnancy.

One fallopian tube.

Recent hernia operation.

And basically a lifetime of doctors telling me I would find it hard to conceive without intervention -how wrong they were!

As we were sitting in a warm outdoor spa on a weekend away in Dunsborough with my cousin and his girlfriend, we collectively discussed plans of our next child and made a pact that we would begin to try so they were close in age.

The weekend came and went and a couple of weeks later my cousin’s girlfriend was pregnant, I was absolutely thrilled for them!!! I knew our news may take a little longer but wasn’t disheartened by any means.

Few weeks later…

I will never forget that night. It was a Monday. One month after our trip to Dunsborough. Phil was at indoor soccer and come 7pm I hit a brick wall, I was soooooo tired and for no apparent reason – anyone that knows me, knows I am quite the night owl. It was then that I knew, I just knew. I messaged Phil to purchase a pregnancy test on the way home. By the time he got home, I was sound asleep.

The next morning I woke and ran to the bathroom to do the test. Within a couple of mins, right there staring back at me were the words pregnant 1-2 weeks – I COULD NOT BELIEVE IT!!! Yes, I did a crazy happy dance, cried like a baby, woke Alaia up just to squeeze her and then called Phil to tell him the incredible news, as he was already at work.

The best was yet to come… or was it?

Within a few days my morning sickness (or should I say ALL DAY sickness) hit me like a tonne of bricks. Oh how I didn’t miss this feeling. I was only three weeks pregnant, how could I possibly be so sick. With each new day, the sickness got worse and worse. I was vomiting at least 10 times a day and the migraines, don’t get me started on the migraines! I knew something was different. I was sick in my pregnancy to Alaia, but not to this extent.

My mummy instinct told me, it was twins and I shared those thoughts with my close girlfriends and Phil.

Soon enough, our six week scan was upon us. On our way to the appointment Phil spoke about trading in his work ute for a new one. I told him to hold off until after the scan. He laughed at me innocently.

When we entered to greet our obstetrician it was the warmest of welcomes. We grew such an incredible bond throughout my pregnancy and birth of Alaia and it was good to be home in a sense. She asked how I was feeling and I informed her of my severe sickness and that I had a feeling it was twins – she too chuckled and said “every pregnant women says that”.

A couple of minutes later, the scan would show something different…

My mummy instincts were right! There they were, two incredible little miracles staring back at us!

“Oh my God, there’s definitely two heartbeats Solonge!” my obstetrician gushed with the biggest of smiles – her jovial midwife looking on in glee.

The tears streamed down my face and as I looked over at Phil his smile was bigger than the ocean – we were absolutely thrilled – what a blessing!

How could this be? How could my body endure all that it had in the past year and against the odds and being told I don’t ovulate regularly my whole life, I somehow ovulated TWICE! It was our little miracle or should I say our double rainbow.

Whatever would happen from here, nothing could overshadow my excitement, gratefulness and joy!

The next few weeks would prove challenging, my sickness got worse and worse to the point where I was bed ridden most days. I initially managed this sleeping while Alaia slept but then as it continued to worsen, my mum came to my aid and helped throughout the day.

Before I knew it, I was 11 weeks. I woke up with the worse migraine yet and for some reason my left leg had cramped leaving me unable to bend it.  I decided it was time to call the obstetrician. Once I told her I was still this sick and about the cramp in my leg, she told me to immediately come to the hospital.

I spent the next three days on hospital on a drip, had a load of blood tests and was booked into an MRI on my brain for the next day. Turns out the leg cramp was the result of a severe potassium deficiency brought on by excess vomiting. Easy fix though, some medication for a couple of days would rectify this, and it did.

Although I was so sick, I remained positive. It’s funny you know, once you’ve experienced pregnancy losses, the sickness is in some way a reminder or assurance your baby is ok. So, as much as I loathed being sick, it gave me the peace of mind I needed that my babies were ok.

Morning arrived and I was ready to go to my MRI. The specialist was almost certain the scan would be clear but wanted to rule out anything sinister given the severity of my migraines. I agreed.

Out came the wavier because I was pregnant. Although the contrasting dye was not going to be used given I was pregnant, it was considered there was still not enough research to conclusively confirm no impact of an MRI on pregnancy (even though there was more than 30 years’ showing no impact.) I signed the waiver and went ahead, I just wanted to be in the clear.

MRI was completed.

I was told I would be contacted by phone. The gentlemen who facilitated the MRI told me that those who had questionable results were contacted first (usually within an hour) and if I didn’t hear within a couple of hours, it was fair to say all was clear. I stayed positive and knew I would fall into the latter group.

I was taken back to my room.

Within half an hour, my hospital phone rang. The specialist told me they were shocked but had found something on the back of my brain, she couldn’t tell me anymore until a senior neurologist reviewed the images. My heart sank.

For the next 24 hours I would sit anxiously awaiting the outcome – did I have a tumour? Was it cancer? Will I lose my babies? For maybe ten minutes my positivity slipped away and all the worst case scenarios came flooding to mind. But I refused to accept them and quickly switched back to my positive thoughts.

The next morning the specialist called me, it definitely wasn’t the dreaded ‘T’ word – REJOICE! They seemed to think it was just inflammation and either old damage or something I was born with. *Sigh of relief.* She advised that the senior neurologist would come in and see me later that afternoon.

Dr. Gilbert arrived and asked me a series of questions about my history of migraines. He then reiterated what the specialist had told me but said he would email me once an even more senior neuro-radiologist reviewed the images. I was given some injections in the back of my skull to ease the migraines and given the ok to go home, it was Sunday evening by that stage. As I was in the labour ward, there wasn’t much more they could do for me and the matter could be handled direct with the neurologist, I couldn’t wait to be home to my girl.

Three days on fluid, the potassium and the injections in my skull helped me me feel a whole lot better. The sickness was still there, but the severity definitely minimised. Dr Gilbert was good enough to keep a check on me through email and by Tuesday I received an email from him saying,

“they concluded it looks like a remote ischaemia event. Ischaemia is a lack of blood supply to the area. Remote means it isn’t causing your migraines. Plan will be to follow up the scan in about 10 weeks with another”.

I was relived! For now, it seemed irrelevant and I was sticking with that.

I am now 14 weeks pregnant, our babies are perfectly healthy we and couldn’t be happier!

Sure the road to get here was a little bumpy (I know there is far worse stories) and I know I am still somewhat sick, but how blessed are we. Against our odds, we got our rainbow and a double one at that!

Maybe it was my conversion to veganism for a month prior or the fact my husband and I attended a four day Tony Robbins seminar in Sydney and I was in a great mindset – whatever it was, I was blessed, in a way I could never have imagined!

I know not everyone’s story is the same and I know some have a far harder road, I just pray this is a beacon of hope to someone out there that miracles do happen.

To all those who have loved and lost, or are yet to love a little one of their own my wish for you is 2018 is your year.

Sending so much love and positivity to all and hoping there are plenty more rainbows in the New Year!

All my love,

the A word

Heart racing.

Shortness of breath.

Sweaty palms.

Thoughts so loud, I turn the radio off.

Distorted vision.

Alaia crying.

Migraine onset.

Welcome to my world.

They say a photo speaks a thousand words well, not always. The smile on my face and the gleam in my eyes is definitely deceiving, under the surface lies a whole other story.

It’s something I was always unsure if I would share just yet but, with my sole purpose of wanting to inspire and help others, how could I possibly not be real with you all?

Anxiety. That seven letter word that has seemingly taken over my day to day life over the past three months.  If I had to put my finger on a moment or event that triggered it, I would say it was my ectopic pregnancy loss but, I also believe it is a culmination of life events, motherhood and a recent drama which funnily enough really flipped the switch into full force.

So, what is it? Let’s start with the textbook definition:

“the state of feeling nervous or worried that something bad is going to happen”

My first thoughts – understatement at its best. So here’s my definition which I hope does more justice for sufferers:

An intense state of feeling overwhelmed, nervous and worried, sometimes for no good reason, accompanied by sweating, a significant increase in heartrate causing heart attack like symptoms, loud and overbearing thoughts and a gut wrenching feeling inside your stomach or chest also causing nausea. Sounds dreadful right? Well it is.

To onlookers, anxiety is often not detected. It’s silent and mostly only affects its victim. Because it comes with such a stigma, people often shy away from sharing their feelings. Society expects sufferers of anxiety to be weird, introverted, crazy or different in some way, but this couldn’t be more far from the truth.

More often than not it’s the so called “normal” person sitting right beside you, the girl with the bubbly personality, the overachiever at work who always gets a promotion, the clown of the group or that mum friend you think always has her shit together that in fact is suffering in silence.

One thing for certain, anxiety does not discriminate. Sadly, a staggering one in four Australians will suffer anxiety at least once in their life – one in four!!!! So why aren’t we talking about it?

It’s time we raise the lid on it and become more transparent and educated on it.

You see for me, I am totally new to this anxiety world, I am still identifying my triggers. And, while some days I am completely unaffected, other days I am so consumed and would like nothing more than to stay in bed all day and sleep it off, but I can’t because we all know a mothers job never sleeps.

Motherhood brings with it, its own share of anxieties – how will I get this all done? Am I doing a good job? What will other mothers think of me? I want to be a mum but also want to work and have a social life – how do I manage that? The pressures we put on ourselves are endless.

Some days, you just want to throw your hands up and claim defeat, we all have those days right?  But, instead, I find solace in retracting to a quiet room while Alaia plays, just to gain bearings again or even meditate. If I am out, I remain quiet or withdrawn which can make me seem socially awkward at times but it’s what gives me comfort in those moments. I know some people reading this will be shocked as it’s a far cry from my old bubbly, carefree, lively and social butterfly self, but lately it’s been my reality.

It sucks, it really sucks.

And while I kept convincing myself I didn’t chose anxiety, it chose me – I would be lying. A lifetime of high standards, perfectionism and people pleasing would lead me to this point. But, I am learning.

I am learning that firstly, I am not alone. SO many share this struggle with me and some are far worse. I am learning that I can manage the symptoms – I am finally making ME a priority because sometimes as mothers we lose sight of this. I am now on a mission to work on my mind, body and soul daily – I exercise, meditate and invest in self-development on a regular basis. And lastly, I am learning to love myself – would I be so hard on someone else as I am on myself? Definitely not. It’s time to be gentler on me.

The point of my article is far from a pity plea, but instead an arm reaching out to someone else out there suffering in silence, to shed light on a topic on that for so long has been taboo.

It’s a reminder for us all to really think before we speak. Is what we are saying going to add value to the people around us? If not, then why say it?

We may assume to be good judge of characters, but as I always say, never judge a book by its cover. Unless you have read every single chapter, you don’t know someone’s full story.

Moral of the story – be kind, always. Everyone has a story, every mama has a story and this is just one chapter of mine.

Breast bringing out my best

Click bait header right there – cheeky I know. Well, you know what they say, sex sells and this is important – so, please keep reading!  

Where do I start? Ellen. God, I love Ellen! We need more Ellen’s in this world – more dancing, more cheer, more love, more compassion – anyone else feel me? I don’t even know her but her authenticity and positive energy somewhat transcends through the screen. Did I mention Ryan Gosling was on there today – God, he’s gorgeous! *batters eyelids*. Focus Solonge, focus. All jokes aside, what really caught my attention was a segment with Ricky Martin speaking about the hurricane devastation in Puerto Rico – terribly sad. Together with my feelings of sadness for Phil’s cousin diagnosed with a brain tumour, my emotion following the breast cancer ball on the weekend, plus the tragedy in Las Vegas, it really got me thinking…   

Anyone noticing a lot of negativity around lately – lots of sarcasm, bitterness, passive aggressiveness and just general bitchiness? Definitely felt the need to write this article as I think all of us (including me) need a reminder from time to time.

As a society we have suddenly become quicker to judge others and for some reason have less tolerance than ever before. Our social media savviness, while good at times, has also made us lose our social morale and human decency and have left us thriving for lifestyles that don’t really exist (remember Instagram is people’s highlight reel). We sit behind screens and are quick to criticise people we barely know. Sure, we see a few posts and Insta-stories here and there – but do we really know this person? Or even if we do know them, how can we be sure they are comfortable being their true selves around us? I know for certain if I feel discomfort around people, I don’t show my full self.

What happened to the days when you could be yourself without fear of being judged? Must we become a generation of such hate?

Ever noticed often the people with the least are the happiest and most loving? Why is that? What can we learn from them? It’s simple, they are humble. It’s because their happiness isn’t attached to things or other people, it lies within them. They choose to see the best in every situation. Here was Ricky Martin giving food donations to hurricane victims and one man with a smile which lit up the screen, stood among some rubble which he called home and said, “I already have everything I need” – he had nothing.

Why does it take us westerners often near death experiences to realise the true meaning and value of life? And sometimes even then, we revert back to our old ways. Why do we walk around living in our heads instead of our hearts? Have we really lost our conscious?

Similarly, as I sat there on Saturday night and listened to the incredible breast cancer survivors share their stories, it really hit home for me – these two incredible women pictured in particular. Bec (left) candidly shared of her mother’s cancer struggle only to find out later, she too had breast cancer herself – absolutely devastating. Farrah (right) shared some of her other life battles and also how she received her heartbreaking breast cancer diagnosis the day after she birthed her baby. I mean is there anything more gut wrenching?

What really hit home for me though is when Farrah said she spent a lifetime thinking she would develop a severe illness and guess what she did. It’s a perfect example of that old adage – what you think you become. Focus on the good in life! If we are wishing this and wishing that, are we ever truly going to be happy? It was then that Farrah realised this and changed her life for the better, leaving her then husband and living a more happy and fulfilled life – you could see the transformation written on her face. 

Why do we wait for tomorrow to be happy? Once I get this, I’ll be happy. Once this person does this, I’ll be happy. That is not saying not to like nice things or not to love people but don’t make that you’re everything because things go out of fashion and people fail us. We can choose to be happy right now, embracing all that we are – our imperfections and perfections.

Why do we lose ourselves in order to please others? Bronnie Ware, a nurse who spent several years working in palliative care wrote a piece called ‘Inspiration and Chai” where she outlined the top five regrets of the dying and number one might hit home for you, as it did me. Most wished they had the courage to live a life true to themselves, not the life others expected of them.

And believe me, I get it, I really get it, that the outside noise can be so deafening at times. But, there is no better time than right now to start living the life you imagined and being the best version of you. And, I am talking about the REAL you, the raw, authentic and unapologetic you – only you know who that is. There is truly nothing more beautiful than that and when you do that, you will soon see just how freeing that feeling is from all the supposed obligation and all the expectation.

So, I need to lead by example – here is my pledge to all of you, that I am going to be unapologetically me, no matter what that looks like to anyone! And if you like it, I’d love you to stay and share more of my journey and if you don’t click unfollow because I don’t need your negative energy around.

Don’t wait for tomorrow to start living, live today – right now in this moment, live and love! Be you, be truly you, be happy, be truly happy and most of all do the things that make YOU happy irrespective of what others think. After all, tomorrow is not guaranteed for any of us and today is the present therefore it is a gift. Each day is a new chapter of your life, go ahead make this chapter the best one yet, I dare you!

So much love,

chorizio + olive spanish chicken

This dish is one of my husband’s favourites and when I shared it the other night, I received so many messages about it. I originally found it on the Taste website but have made my own adjustments to the quantities and also some of the ingredients, So, here’s my version. Let me know how you go making it and if you think it’s as yummy as my family does!

Ingredients

1/2 cup of plain flour

8 x skinless chicken thighs

2.5 x tablespoons of olive oil

1 x medium brown onion chopped

3 x  garlic cloves crushed

1 x tablespoon of roughly chopped fresh sage

1 x tablespoon of roughly chopped rosemary

1.5 x chorizio, quartered length ways

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 cup salt reduced liquid chicken stock

700g jar napoletana pasta sauce (or I use a couple of tins of crushed tomatoes)

1/2 cup pitted black olives, sliced

Steamed brown rice and green beans to serve

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan-forced.
  2. Place plain flour and chicken in a large bowl, season with salt and pepper. Toss chicken to coat. Remove chicken, shaking off excess.
  3. Heat 2 x tablespoons of olive oil in a large, heavy based, flameproof casserole dish over medium heat. Cook chicken in two batches for around 10 mins until lightly golden. Transfer to plate.
  4. Heat remaining oil in dish. Add onion, garlic, rosemary, sage and chorizio. Cook for 3-4 minutes until onion has softened.
  5. Add wine. Simmer for 30 seconds. Stir in chicken stock liquid and sauce.
  6. Return chicken to dish. Cover. Bring to the boil.
  7. Transfer dish to oven and bake for 1 hour.
  8. Remove lid and add olives. Keep lid removed and continue to bake for further 30 minutes or until chicken is tender and sauce is thickened. That’s it!
  9. Service with brown rice and steamed green beans.

Enjoy!

 

The Power to change

We all make mistakes in life, heck I’ve made hundreds. Would I turn back time and change them? My answer may surprise you – no. We are all human at the end of the day and mistakes are what help us grow by teaching us valuable and often testing lessons. I wouldn’t be the person I was today, if it wasn’t for all the times I fell down.

Of course, I don’t condone going out there and harming or hurting people and labelling it a mistake. But I do believe people genuinely slip up from time to time and you know what, that’s ok! Life happens, shit happens.

If there is one thing I loathe it is when people say, “he/she will never change” – I call BULLSHIT! Everyone has the power to change. I witnessed this firsthand over the weekend with over 6000 people.

The power to change lies within us. When we make a conscious decision to WANT to change and when we realise we are DESERVING ofchange, it will inevitably occur.

One thing I struggled with for so long was the notion of guilt. I brewed on my mistakes from years and years ago and the guilt manifested horribly inside me. I tried to go back and mend the pieces which were unamendable. I replayed scenarios in my head time and time again. I spent so much energy on guilt, regret and worry – I robbed myself of true happiness.

Such feelings of guilt, regret and worry are some of the most useless emotions known to mankind. What do these feelings really do besides bring us doubt, anxiety and negative energy? Do they change our reality? Truth is those emotions and authentic happiness cannot coexist. You need to choose which you want to manifest.

Once I rid myself of guilt and made a conscious decision that my past would not define me, but instead my future would, I began to let go of those worthless and life-sucking emotions and began to live. But most of all I began to find my inner peace.

You see, most of the time we blame others or situations for the way we are feeling when really, it’s our own perception or the way we look at ourselves which defines our state of being. Every event in life has its purpose to test us, to teach us or to grow us.

We can choose to be internally referenced or externally referenced. When we are externally referenced, we allow peoples moods, thoughts, opinions and behaviour affect us and change our state. While, when we are internally referenced, we are so grounded that we are indifferent to the outside noise which can distort us.

You are deserving of the life you dream of, you just have to choose to focus on the right energies and path and it will lead you to your destiny!

This too shall pass

Alaia’s being super cheeky at the moment and really testing the boundaries. And while today I had so much client work, editing, housework and blogging I needed to do, I instead spent it chasing her around. It’s hard being a mother sometimes, heck its hard being a woman, wife or better still even just an adult at times. One thing I have come to learn though is, nothing is permanent – this too shall pass.

I remember Alaia going through a car screaming phase when she was about six months old. I can’t count on my hands the number of times I resulted to walking up and down the side of main roads or highways just to calm her before going on my way again. I cried daily thinking that phase would never end, but it did.

I remember bad teething nights and thinking – god my good little girl is gone, but she wasn’t.

I remember having fall outs with people I thought were truly my friends thinking I would never move on from the hurt, but I did.

I remember moments of being completely overcome and consumed by anxiety thinking there was no light in sight and my life was over, but it wasn’t.

I guess what I am trying to say is, we can become so consumed in moments, singular moments that we forget just how insignificant they really are in the scheme of things. When we take a step back and appreciate our challenges for what they really are and that there is always someone else facing harder realities, we realise they are merely a pebble in an expansive ocean.

It’s so easy to become over focused on the problem at hand that we lose sight of all the things we should be grateful for. Ever disliked so much that even the way they chew begins to bother you? That’s because that’s where your focus lies. Every little thing they do will in some way will begin to frustrate you.  Yes my daughter screamed in the car for those countless hours, but how lucky am I to be able to hear her voice? There really is a positive to every negative.

Change the way you perceive things. Really take the time to evaluate them and  think, “hey, is this really worth worrying about?”

Whatever your little hardship be today, realise – this too shall pass. In a week, month or year this will become a distant memory. So breathe, ride the wave and come out the other end stronger than ever!

And don’t forget if those around you experiencing hardship, help put their problem in perspective so they too realise, this too shall pass.

I truly believe each of us is exactly where we need to be in life, no matter how hard it may be for us to see this in the present moment. Life gives us obstacles to test us and help us grow and reach our truest potential. It guides us to where we need to be and who we need to be around.

Start your week with a grateful heart – you’ll be surprised just how much good you have in your life, you just need to focus on it.

To work or not to work

Rewind two weeks…early morning, dress Alaia in her best attire and ready to hit the road. Nerves kick in, feels like a job interview. Arrive.Outside, looks impressive. Enter. Uninterested employees. Snotty children. Weird smells, random child who clearly has a cold begging me to hold him. This was my first welcome to childcare hunting. (Note: I know they are all not like this!!!) 

I never really believed in toddler instincts until that day. First centre (described above), Alaia clinging to my leg for dear life. The second and third were the same. Way to make mama feel at ease right? Fourth. We entered to the scent of incredible food and Alaia dashed to the kids quicker than I could say boo. The centre was incredibly clean, the educators were amazing as was the outdoor area and my prior research indicated they had an ‘exceeding’ rating which is rare. Victory!

Well, kind of. I would quickly learn my elation was slightly premature.

Fast forward to today, THE day.

Today was filled with so many bitter sweet moments. There was plenty of tears, let me tell you (me included) but, I simply had to persevere as I’d committed to this decision. After a while Alaia settled and I left. It was short lived. I received a call to come back only a couple of hours later as Alaia still wasn’t fully settled. Needless to say, it was an emotional rollercoaster for us both. 

You see, the concept of childcare has always been a hard notion for me to swallow. I grew up to a single mother who worked two jobs to provide for us, so I was forever in before school care and after school care, you think I would be warmed to the idea but, all I wanted back then was more time with my mum. But now I recognise she had no choice. 

I promised myself the day I became a mother I would commit to being a stay at home one. Contradiction right? Yep. But what if being a stay at home mum meant losing who I was? Is that fair? I know a few of you are who are reading this with judgey eyes are nodding right now – but does it really make you any better of a mother if you choose to be a full stay at home mum or not? I think not. I realised that part of my identity lie in my corporate role. I thrive in the corporate environment and having my brain stimulated is something I SO need. For me, (and this is by no means an attack on any mother because everyone is different which is a wonderful thing) there is a huge limitation to how many bottle, sleep and nappy conversations I can tolerate! My brain was screaming for something more. So, in my own mind I compromised to just a couple of days a week but no night work (a part of my job as a writer required late night tender writing). These compromises would mean I would still have the ability to be the mother I dreamed of for Alaia but also retain myself in the process. And so the decision was made.

Today was hard, I am not going to deny it. The mama guilt was overwhelming, I was second guessing my decision all morning. BUT, I will still go and give it another shot next week.

It’s so important not to lose ourselves as women just to be the mother society dictates us to be. What about us? What about what we want? And in reality do we ever stop being mamas anyway? Being a mama is full time job and we are always on call anyway. 

So, whether you decide to return to work or be a stay at home mum, just be the mother YOU want to be. No one has the right to judge your position until they have lived the life. Everyone’s decisions are based on their own experiences and should be respected. It’s what works for you and your family – and this extends far beyond just the work debate. I’ve already dabbled in that conversation before so I’ll leave that aside. 

Because at the end of the day, if you sacrifice who YOU are to be the mum you THINK you should be or TOLD you should be (according to society), are you really any good to anyone if you end up empty yourself? Is that really the example you want for your children?  

Food for thought.

We’re all mamas at the end of the day and we are all pretty fricken amazing no matter what we decide to do!

We’re all superheroes

It was literally the last place on earth I thought I would be judged for my screaming child, but there I was in the mother’s room of a shopping centre being stared down with a look of disgust by someone who was supposed to be on my side… another mother!

Firstly, my daughter isn’t a brat, she’s teething. See how I just felt the need to explain myself to you guys, even though I shouldn’t have to.

The thing that has certainly shocked me the most since becoming a mother, or actually even since I was first pregnant, is the pressure, comparison and judgement passed upon you by those that are supposed to know better. It seems pregnancy and motherhood come with right to tell people what you think or ask them questions which would once be considered intrusive.

Your belly is too big. Your belly is so small. Are you having a natural birth? Did you have an epidural? Are you breastfeeding? Breast is best. Has your child done this yet? Your baby eats a lot. Your baby doesn’t eat enough. Are you back to your pre-baby weight? Are you back at work? Does your child watch TV? Do they go to day care?

Why is it that as women and more so as fellow mothers some feel the need to belittle the parenting or decisions of another? I’m here to tell you screw all that!

Screw the mother who was looking down on me in the mother’s room because my child was tired and crying. Screw those who look down in shame on you for having an epidural or an elected cesarean – it’s your child birth and you are free to choose how you want your baby to enter this world. There’s no medals for a completely natural birth let me tell you. Screw those who tell you ‘breast is best’ – in my opinion, fed is best! As long as your child is not starving and you are giving them nutritious milk, you’re doing a better job than what you think!

Screw those who tell you your baby/belly is too big/too small. Little do they know you’re worried about how little your baby is or on the contrary that you’re self-conscious of how much weight you’ve gained.

It’s time that we as women become more supportive of each other rather than competitive – and that goes further than pregnancy and motherhood. How about we just start empowering each other full stop.

In this day and age it seems woman are getting bitchier and bitchier. We go on and on about this alleged sisterhood but does it really exist or is it just a facade? Enough is enough! Let’s celebrate each other, each other’s children, each other’s achievements, each other’s triumphs, each other’s success. The world has enough chaos, why add to it?

Real queens fix each other’s crowns

How about we stop ripping each other’s off?

And men, don’t be sitting there shaking your heads thinking “woman”. I have seen some of you act bitchier than woman – so get your act together too.

There’s plenty of room in this world for everyone to be successful and happy – wouldn’t that be a dream?

It’s time to put an end to the judgement, let’s stop the hating on each other in fear of someone being better than us. We are all on the same journey here as mothers and it’s about time we banded together and celebrated each other for taking on the toughest job in the world. Like really celebrated each other from the deepest pit of our soul. Because we are all pretty fricken amazing when you think about it. We create, carry and raise those little humans, no matter which way you choose to do it.

We are all superheroes in our own right and it’s time to start making each other feel that way!

To all the superheroes – much love,

The best ever chocolate cake!

I am usually a sucker for lemon, banana or carrot cake BUT, when I came across this recipe shared by Rebecca Judd a year or so ago, I decided to give it a whirl and let’s just say it very quickly became one of our family favourites!

This is literally the easiest and most delicious chocolate cake you will ever make AND, its flourless – winning!

I love that this recipe is simple and has minimal ingredients, making it perfect to whip up with the kids. This was Alaia and I’s first baking experience together and we had an absolute ball.

Give it a shot and let me know what you think in the comments below.


Ingredients

200g almond meal

200g drinking chocolate (I used the Cadbury one)

200g butter (room temp)

200g caster sugar

5 x eggs

Method

1. Lightly grease a round spring form tin

2. Preheat oven to 160 degrees fan forced

3. Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix until combined

4. Bake for 40 minutes….done!

I love to enjoy warm with some vanilla ice cream or just on its own with a sprinkle of icing sugar.

Enjoy!