Online Stalking: It’s a {Christmas} Gift!

FMS Gift Exchange: All wrapped up!

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, this year I am very excited to be taking part in the annual FMS Gift Exchange!

I absolutely LOVE buying gifts for other people and take it on as my own personal challenge to find my recipients the perfect gift, so for the last few weeks I’ve been stalking my assigned exchangee ‘Mary’ online (not her real name, so don’t get too excited all you Mary’s out there: It ain’t you!)

After many weeks of stalking/research and several fruitless trips to the shops, last week I believe I found her the perfect gift, at least I hope that I have! Here’s the clues that I used as a guide and what I’d deducted from each one:

My Gift Exchangee ‘Mary’…

  • Has 2 kids (probably doesn’t spoil herself that often)
  • Likes the beach, and the forest (a nature fan!)
  • She likes to read, make candles, and go for long walks (No idea what kind of books she likes, clearly can’t buy her a candle, and sweat-bands probably aren’t going to cut it)
  • Her favourite colour is orange (Great! I can work with this!)
  • She prefers savoury over sweet (Can’t relate personally, but this certainly helps narrow things down!)
  • She drinks tea (Ohhh, I think we’re onto something!)
  • The best gift she’s ever received would be a gift that shows that the person giving it knows something about her (Well I know heaps cos I’ve been stalking her like crazy!)

With the information above, as well as my frequent sneaky peeks at Mary’s Facebook and Instagram feeds (FYI: You didn’t give me a whole lot to go on Mary!) I’m hoping I’ve nailed it and found the perfect gift…what do you guys think?

T2 Spi Chai Tea.  I love T2 because it’s filled with beautiful, fancy teas that make the perfect gifts (I love their stuff but I’d never be extravagant enough to shop there for myself!) I grilled the lady in the store to find the most suitable type of tea, and ended up purchasing the ‘Spi Chai’ loose leaf tea.  Filled with gorgeous ingredients including Star Anise, Cardamom, Licorice Root, Cinnamon, Jasmine, Cloves, Ginger, and Rose Petals, it smelt AH-MAZING! Like Christmas in a cup…Perfect much?! I certainly thought so!  It also fit the ‘savoury’ bill, so I figured I was on to a winner! Throw in the lovely orange box that it came in (Mary’s favourite colour) and I decided it was meant to be.

T2 Spi Chai Tea - Tealicious

Teapot Tea Diffuser. I spotted this little vintage teapot diffuser whilst I was scouring the shelves of T2 and just HAD to have it! I know Mary has an appreciation for all things vintage, and the old-fashioned teapot design seemed the perfect fit to go her style AND with the loose leaf tea!  It was cute and practical, and a nice little keepsake that I hope will make her smile every time she makes herself a cup of tea.

Candy Canes. I know that Mary prefers savoury over sweet, but there’s something quintessentially Christmasy about red and white candy canes, and I know that she has kids so I figured I’d throw in a little goody bag to sweeten the deal!

Teeny Tiny teapot tea diffuser

How do you guys think I went? Do you think I nailed it? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Marns the Mama and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad DAY!

Ice Cream Bubbles

The highlight of my terrible, horrible, no good very bad day: Bubbles in the shape of an ice-cream cone.

You know those days that you look back on and just think, why the hell did I bother getting out of bed today? That was my day yesterday. It sucked! So I was determined that today would be different, that I’d wake up with a positive attitude, and turn it all around. Instead, the only positive thing about today was that I was positively pissed off! Why? Ok then since you asked…

Yesterday I woke up in a funk. I don’t really have a good reason why, but let’s just put it down to lots of little things not going my way.  V, who is usually an angel of a child, has not been all that angelic of late.  She’s at the boundary-pushing stage, where it doesn’t matter how much I scold, threaten, or as a last resort smack her (read: tap her gently on the bum because I’m anti-smacking or more just a giant pussy) she turns her sweet little face towards me and looks me dead in the eye. Then, after a slight pause laughs heartily and promptly continues doing what I’ve just asked her not to. Sigh.

On top of that, I’m gearing up for my first ever Christmas trade with my little business. For those of you with your own retail business, you’ll know that this is the busiest time of year, and therefore one of the most stressful!  I started out all pumped up and full of ideas, but as Christmas creeps closer I’m quickly losing that sense of anticipation and excitement and I’m instead filled with anxiety and trepidation! Every day I sit down with my to-do list and the expectation that I’ll complete at least one item on it.  Before I know it, its midnight, and I’ve spend the last four hours trying to make a crappy little Facebook ad which upon completion can only be described as ‘shit house’. Yep, I could have used that time to drink wine/take a bath/sleep/cry but instead I wasted it on a ridiculously bad Facebook ad that will never see the light of day! Ahh woe is me!

As I’m sure most of you have experienced your own versions of a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day I’m sure that you can relate to the fact that once things start to take a turn for the worse, that turn often leads you down a one-way street to a little ol place called ‘Funky Town’. Now don’t get excited and start singing along, as I am not referring to the super fun sounding ‘Funky Town’ described by the talented band Lipps Inc. I’m instead referring to the place where I reside when in revolting mood, or ‘funk’. So for all intensive purposes today (and yesterday) was and is all Destination: Funky Town. Population: ME!

I made every effort to make today a good day. I wore my tropical shoes with the toucan’s on them. To me, this was a  sure fire way to ward off any negative vibes…but alas the shoes were no match for funky town! I kept trying to send positive happy vibes out to the universe, but the universe kept pretending that it couldn’t hear me, much like Violet does when I tell her not to climb on top of the TV cabinet. Seriously, sometimes I feel like reversing my own anti-smacking stance and giving the Universe a good hard punch to the face!

Toucan Shoes

My Toucan shoes. Or perhaps now known as my Toucan’t shoes.

So for the record, I want to say I tried….I tried to turn that frown upside down, but I just ended up with a weird grimace that wasn’t convincing anyone. I tried to tick off something from my to-do list today but instead I achieved nothing except for buying three containers of bubbles in the shape of ice-cream cones (that were without a doubt, the highlight of my day! and only $3 each).  I tried to be patient and loving as I wrestled a crying, red-faced toddler octopus into the car this afternoon for the long drive home. But instead, I just felt like crying and screaming even louder just to drown her out.

By the time I got home the demon child (I mean Violet) was asleep. I surveyed the house and concluded that it did indeed look like a bomb had hit it, which was exactly how I’d left it. Sadly, my care factor was below zero so I stepped over the piles of toys/washing on the floor and ignored the state of the kitchen as I put the sleeping toddler into bed and wondered if it was too early to have a wine (I concluded that it was, but only because there’s not a drop in the house. Must rectify this situation when the child awakes).

I’m now in bed, venting to you lot instead of putting any effort towards the bazillion things that I should be doing. I’m also wondering how the hell I’m going to conjure up something for dinner when I haven’t bought any groceries for a week. Two minute noodles anyone? Oh wait…we’re out of those too. Le Sigh.

Anyone else residing in Funky Town?

Has anyone else now got the song Funky Town stuck in their head?

Have I ‘Gotta move on on’? 

Beach, Please!

Wish you were here

Seriously? It’s Monday? ALREADY?! How the hell does this keep happening?

We’ve just come back from a semi-long weekend at the Gold Coast, and it was one of those weekends that was just too good to handle! We headed down the coast first thing Friday morning, and didn’t get home until late Sunday night but despite our extended stay, it just didn’t feel like long enough. In fact, no matter how long we spend at the beach, it’s never enough!

We spent our days doing all the usual stuff family’s do at beach: Going for walks, swimming, building sand castles, and eating fish & chips. Nothing fancy, just good Ol’ fashioned fun and despite the weekend being filled with the most simple of pleasures, I can’t think of a single thing that could be better than me and my little family by the beach!

Yesterday, I found myself sitting on the beach with my crazy wind-swept hair my Un-manicured my toes in the sand contemplating life.  As I sat there, I wondered exactly what it was about the beach that just makes life seem better? Despite being tired after a long week, I just felt good. Even as I glanced down on my less-than-perfect-slightly-chubby body that I’d managed to squeeze into a bathing suit, I still managed to feel nothing but a sense of contentment. I also felt a little light-headed due to the tightness of lycra that was stretched around my body, but mostly, just that sense of contentment!

Beach Days with Mama

After a weekend of beachy bliss and contentment, I have come up with a couple of reasons of why I personally love the beach:

It reminds me of being a kid.  Despite growing up in FNQ where the waters are filled with killer jelly fish, crocodiles, and not to mention a couple of deadly Cassowaries who’ve also made the sands their home I spent every weekend/School holidays I could at the beach. We had so much fun just hanging out with our friends and getting up to all kinds of mischief. It was always so much fun and I still love going back now to reminisce about all the good times that we used to have.

You sleep better. Is there nothing more relaxing than the sound of the waves crashing? Everybody just seems to sleep better after a day at the beach. Even Violet managed to sleep  two nights straight without waking up once! Hurrah!

You get all active. I suppose I couldn’t really be less active…but to be clear I don’t mean Cathy Freeman active, I just mean less likely to spend the entire weekend eating potato chips on the couch (Although I’m totally into that too!) What I’m trying to say is that I’m pretty lazy and I despise long, pointless walks, but give me a beach and I’ll happily walk up and down it with the waves breaking at my feet without even a hint of a complaint! Yep, a weekend at the beach and I’m pretty much what you’d consider ‘sporty’.

You want to spend every waking minute outdoors. I feel like these days we all spend way too much time indoors, but when you know the beach is right outside, it somehow fells like you’re missing out on life if you don’t get out there and enjoy it! Violet is an outdoors kid and if she doesn’t get some quality outdoor time everyday, she goes a leetle bit cray cray! The beach is like the perfect anti-dote to this behaviour and she’s always stoked to be chasing seagulls, patting passing dogs and eating a multitude of sand/rocks/shells and anything else that she can pick up and put into her mouth without us seeing.

Sadly, once that sun sets on another weekend we are forced to make the highway pilgrimage back to the ‘burbs only to arrive home to a hot, messy house that quickly erases all memory of the relaxing bliss-filled weekend that was. Cue depression!

Beach Baby

Help me reminisce about the weekend that was! What’s your favourite thing about the beach?

Are you a Good Mum or a Bad Mum?

The Perfect Mum

Fess up Mama’s! How many times a day do you ask yourself this question? Am I a good Mum?

Lately, I’ve had this very conversation with several of my Mama friends, and it seems to be a common theme with new Mums however the more experienced Mums aren’t immune to it either. Since I’m all about being truthful and not pretending that motherhood is all sunshine and unicorns, I thought I’d give you my take on what it means to be a bad Mum. Or a good Mum, cos the two seem to be get a little confused!

Since I became a Mama 16ish months ago (therefore making me an expert) I’ve learnt A LOT about being a mother. I’ve learnt that I was totally wrong about a lot of things. I have broken most of the Mama rules that I set myself pre-children. I can’t tell you how many times I looked at other parents and said”Oh, I’ll never do that to my kids” or “Gosh, I’ll never let my child do that”. Well guess what? I’ve totally done that to my kid! and hell yes I’ve let them do that! And it didn’t end there either.

The longer that I’ve been doing this ol motherhood caper the more I realise that 99% of us who’ve been lucky/crazy enough to have a child are doing the best that we can, the majority of the time.  Does that mean that we’re all perfect? Hell no! Does that mean we don’t make mistakes? No way José! It just means that if you’re a Mama, you of all people know how hard it is to just get out of bed somedays, let alone parent your children… So why are you standing there, judging another Mum who’s probably doing the best that she can despite the odds (sleep/food/energy/patience/fitness/health) being against her? Aren’t we all in this together? Shouldn’t we be sharing our experiences truthfully instead of constantly sugar coating our own realities? (FYI: The answer is a big fat resounding YES!).

The difference between a good Mum and a bad Mum

Before Violet came along, I totally knew I was going to be a good Mum. I’d always wanted kids, always been good with babies and felt like the practice I’d had with my nephew and niece meant that I’d had a head start…It was in the bag, right?! I even had this vision of the type of mother that I’d be:

I envisaged myself as a relaxed ‘Mother Earth’ type of Mama. I’d take baby for walks to the park and we’d sit and make matching daisy crowns for our hair.  I’d feed my baby only organic nutritious foods, and dress them in non gender-specific clothing and spend my days at mothers groups with like-minded Mums and we’d all be the best of friends. I’d use only natural products to bathe baby in and would exclusively breast-feed because everybody says thats whats best. I’d never use a dummy and I’d never co-sleep baby as that is such a big no-no and I’m far too amazing a mother to ever make such mistakes.

Hippie Mama

Yeah, we’re all happy and wearing daisy chains and shit. (image: allfreecrafts.com)

You’ll imagine my shock and surprise when motherhood turned out to be NOTHING like what I’d imagined (has anyone ever had an accurate vision of motherhood yet?!) To start with, I had a few complications during the birth which meant I was bed-ridden for 6 weeks. I cannot tell you how devo’d I was that I wasn’t able to take Violet for walks to the park in her fancy new Bugaboo pram (Yes – I was also that Mum who had to have a fancy designer pram).  I literally cried for weeks at the injustice.  As for the Yoga, yeah that still hasn’t happened, I mean I didn’t exercise before I had kids, why the heck did I think that was going to happen after the fact? Derr!

Seriously, the rules were all broken from the get go and I realised that all those Mum’s who’d stuck by their ‘rules’ were either full of shit, or miserable! I’ve witnessed mothers busting their arses to get the breastfeeding thing happening to no avail. I’ve seen Mum’s refuse to give their child a dummy in public (despite giving it to them behind closed doors to soothe them) because they know someone will make a comment like ‘You shouldn’t give them dummies, it’s bad for their teeth’ or some other helpful advice. Being a good Mum, in my humble opinion is doing your best to make baby (and yourself) happy and healthy. If it makes them happy to give them a dummy, do it! If it makes you happy to not have to go through the agony of breastfeeding to make yourself happy, then that’s ok too!

A more realistic portrayal of motherhood

A more realistic portrayal of motherhood: Note there are no daisy crowns to be seen. (image credit http://www.funnypotato.com)

I once watched on as one of my Mama friends struggled with a toddler and a newborn whilst we were supposed to be enjoying a picnic lunch. The toddler kept insisting that he wanted some of the soft-drinking that she was drinking. I watched her resist over and over and over and OVER. In the end,  she snapped. She was over it. She gave him a sip.  Just as she did she noticed me watching, and said “I swore I’d never do this. I know! I’m such a bad Mum”.  It broke my heart. I did my best to not make her feel bad and said something along the lines of “A sip won’t hurt him! At least he’s happy now!” and he was, and she was able to re-group, calm down and continue enjoying the picnic. Don’t get me wrong, I know its not the best parenting technique to just give in to your kids every time they want something, but sometimes, on those days, you need to pick your battles! And in my books, that doesn’t make you a bad Mum!

I guess what the point I’m trying to make here is this: We’re all different, and we’ve all had our own failures and successes, but at the end of the day we all share many of the same problems, triumphs and memory loss, so why not support each other and tell the truth when another Mother asks you if your baby is sleeping through the night? (This was one that did my head in as V still isn’t a regular sleeper-through-the-night). I wasn’t always honest when I was posed with such questions early on, but now with a little more experience under my belt I’m much more secure in the fact that I AM doing a good job and that these stupid scenarios aren’t a measure of whether or not I’m a good Mum.

Still not sure if you fall into the Good Mama or Bad Mama category?

Here’s a handy checklist for you to find out! (Please note: 50% is considered a pass with flying colours).

Good Mama Checklist:

  • You exclusively breastfed your baby
  • You bottle-fed your baby
  • You fed them only organic food
  • You fed them whatever you could afford (organic food is expensive!)
  • You gave them a routine from day one
  • Your kid is a 13 and still doesn’t have a good routine
  • Your kid sleeps through the night
  • Your kid has never slept through the night and shows no signs of doing that, ever.
  • You’ve never let your child eat fast-food
  • Sometimes, when you’ve got a starving screaming child in the car, you get Macca’s to shut them up.
  • You prepare special, nutritious meals especially for your child
  • They eat whatever the hell you’re having for dinner, even if its pizza
  • You never dress your kid in licensed or gender specific clothing
  • Your kid could easily be confused for Peppa pig, an Octonaut, or a Barbie doll
  • You take your child to the doctor at the first sign of a snotty nose of fever
  • You wait a while to see if that rash is just prickly heat or in fact chicken pox.
  • You send your kid to daycare cos you work
  • Your kid has only ever been cared for by you/friends/family
  • Your child sleeps in their own bed
  • Your child co-sleeps with you
  • Your kid never watches TV
  • TV keeps your kid quiet while you shower/cook dinner/clean the house
  • Your kid is fluent in Spanish, plays the piano and knows the alphabet backwards before they’re 2.
  • Your kid can barely speak english, plays the saucepans and think there is a letter called “elemenohpeee” at 3.
  • You used the control-crying method
  • You used the ‘If baby is crying pick them up immediately’ method
  • Your home is completely clean, safe and baby proof
  • Your house looks like a bomb hit it and sometimes your baby is found sharing dog food with the dog
Of course I'm a good mother

My sentiments exactly!

Did you pass? No? Well that’s ok because this is a stupid made up list! I bet you’re still a great Mama!

So Mama’s, Mama’s to be, or other random strangers who think it’s ok impart wisdom onto others when in actual fact you’re just being rude, non-helpful and passing judgement: Please do us all a favour and shut your gaping trap! Instead, perhaps think about how you could really help your fellow Mama  at the supermarket with the screaming unhappy child. Believe it or not, giving them the evil eye or shaking your head in judgement is not helping! Why not offer them some help? Or be genuine and real and tell them that you’ve been there and that it really and truly does get easier? Sometimes, that’s all it takes to make a Mama’s day!

So in the interest of letting all those Mama’s out there know that they aren’t alone, and that we’ve all suffered from these same problems, I’d love you to share your ‘Bad Mama’ experiences too! Let’s lift each other up and laugh until we pee at our shared experiences shall we?

Have you broken your own Mama rules? Tell us in the comments below!