Category Archives: Mum stuff

Do it before you regret NOT doing it

 

pug dog reading newspaper while sitting relaxed on a cool red sofa or couch

Well my dear friends, life has been hectic since I last posted here. Nothing new for most Divorced Super Mums, I know.

I’ll give you a quickie run-down, and then I have news to spill!

Well the puppies are all settled in gorgeous loving homes and I get regular updates from them that I proudly coo over like the nutty Pug Granny I now am.

Once the pups left me, I made a vow to focus more on my writing and start actually submitting work. I attended a writing workshop help by the incredibly amazing Fiona McIntosh, who inspired and fired me up. Her written compliments and encouragement on one of my crazy stories, has been enlarged, printed out, laminated and has prize place on my pin board
( I’m a pathetic fangirl ).

I decided to put some ideas into practice, grow some balls, and start entering competitions for some feedback. I wrote 2 short stories, completely different from each other, and submitted them to Romance Writers Australia, Little Gems competition. I was hanging for some crushing feedback so I could improve my work. I was petrified clicking send, my pointer finger hovering over the icon. What if people laugh at how stupid my stories are, and how much I don’t know yet about crafting a story? What if my Mum finds out I have written stories with a romantic element?
In the end I decided ‘Bugger it, just do it, or you’ll never know.’

So I did.

Then took the family on a wonderful trip to Bali, made some fun, lasting memories, relaxed, and swam three times a day in our private villa pool. There may have been quite a few cocktails consumed in there somewhere as well. It was a tough gig.

Life resumed to semi-normal when the school year went back, and work beckoned. I didn’t win the X-Lotto during the holidays, unfortunately. Nor one of those luxurious house lotteries I keep entering.

The writing continued. This time, a novel, and a few other short stories. I am not sure I have it in me to pad out 50,000 pages yet, so we’ll see how that goes. Stay tuned…

While attending a boring workshop on Adobe InDesign, I opened my email and was absolutely stunned to learn that my short story For The Love Of A Pug, has placed 3rd in the competition and will be published in the Romance Writers Australia, Little Gems Anthology available in August!!! I honestly thought up until now, that being ‘speechless’ was really just an amusing  term used for someone who is a tad excited. Now I know it’s actually an emotion, and one that consumed me when I read the results. My sister, who happened to be sitting next to me, was beginning to panic watching the shock on my face and my eyes welling with tears. All I could manage to utter was Oh. My. God. There may have been arm flapping involved too. From me, not her.

‘What’s wrong?’ she said. No answer. More arm flapping.

‘SPEAK!’ she ordered with rising concern.

‘Oh. My. God.’

‘I got that bit! What’s wrong?’

I could only hand over my phone so she could read the email as I was still processing and not functioning on any cerebral cylinders requiring words other than Oh My God. Luckily we were sitting in the back row or our antics would have been slightly embarrassing.

So, the question on my mind is this? Now that I’ll be published in print, can I call myself an actual AUTHOR? I usually call myself a writer having had non fiction work published, but where’s the line, and have I jumped over it? Is there even a line or just a choice of terms?

But how damn good does being a REAL author sound?

And how bloody excited am I to feel like my dreams and goals are heading in the direction I always dreamed of.

Me? I’m just a Divorced Super Mum like so many around the globe.

But if I can achieve my dreams, work full time, run a household by myself and bring up 3 kids, anyone can.

So get out there and just DO IT, before you regret NOT doing it!

~Cat~

 

Having puppies has taught me about motherhood

 

Wow, life has been crazy lately! Those who know me, know I don’t do things by halves, but seriously life has been flat-out, even for me. In the last couple of months I have moved house, been sorting out hot water service and electricity meter sagas ( still continuing) , mated our dogs, endured a doggie pregnancy and I am now a ‘Pug-ma’ of 6 of the cutest puglets you’ve ever seen.

What a life changing miracle of an experience this has been for myself and my family.

I have discovered that our canine besties can teach us so much about motherhood, life and families. Ava, Beau and their adorable brood have been a blessing to us in many ways.

Here’s what I have learnt from this experience, our first time with puppies:

  • The mating ritual is humorous and can sometimes gross out kids and their cousins. Especially when it gets to the ‘tied together’ part and the male is dancing around on 3 legs with a look on his face that says ” what’s going on, this was fun 5 minutes ago?’
  • Doggies can also get morning sickness. Mine definitely did and boy did I feel sorry for her. I distinctly remember THAT feeling of misery. Luckily hers only last a week or so. Mine lasted the entire pregnancy with all 3.
  • A pregnant dog’s belly is deceiving, even to Vets. At first checkup we were told 3, maybe 4. At the last, he said there’s a few in there. We were all shocked ( including the Vets) when she had 6!
  • Also, don’t trust the Vet at the last checkup when he says it will be a few days yet, and plan an outing the next day…that’s when it’s all going to happen for sure. Trust me…
  • On said outing, do not sit right in the middle of the theatre with no quick exit for when your eldest son ( who is dog watching) texts and asks ‘what is a contraction? ‘.
  • Make sure you have your partner teed up in case of doggie emergency. Thankfully I had done this, as 19-year-old son was panicking at the blood. Partner arrived just in time to become a puppy midwife to Ava’s first-born.
  • Birth is an amazing experience. My kids were all there and watching with interest. What a miracle. After one puppy, 12-year-old son was a bit freaked out by the mess and I couldn’t help laughing at the expression on his face.
  • It’s scary having teeny newborn creatures that look like rats, squawking in your family room. It’s also noisy. For things so small, they had good lungs on them.
  • Do NOT assume that feeding will come naturally for the Mamma. We realised this just after midnight when Ava still didn’t want anything to do with her babies and we had to make a dash to Vets for puppy formula. Then got the most unwelcome news that we’d have to bottle feed EVERY 2 hours!!!! OMG that’s worse than having my own newborn. At least it was only one. Here were 6 of them!
  • Invest in a heat lamp! After a night of crying puppies, switching on the heat lamp the next day to have almost instant quietness, was a relief.
  • Immense patience ( and a sturdy back) may be required to teach your first time Mamma how to feed. It was almost like trying to convince one of your kids that they wouldn’t be swallowed down the plug hole when you let the bath out. Lots of patience, love, positive reinforcement and a tad of bribery in the way of treats.
  • The sense of pride you’ll have when the Mamma learns to feed them on her own will bring tears to your eyes. But only if you’re a sook like me.
  • Dogs are lucky, they can feed all their kids at once while taking a nap.
  • Having puppies in the house means you’ll be getting up through the night to check they’re ok, still breathing, and not squashed in the pen somewhere. Say goodbye to sleep for at least the first week.
  • A new litter is better than TV. We could watch them for hours, even when they’re sleeping.
  • Who knew little puppies could make such a mess? I was on poo patrol constantly and was washing them twice a day as they’d slither through it and be covered in goop.
  • Be prepared for lots of visitors and potential owners coming and going. I am a fussy pants when people come to visit, so the cleaning every time was a chore.
  • Whoever tells you ‘not to get too attached’ has never had 6 adorable, roly poly pug puppies in their house. The kids and I regularly share the cuddles around so they get used to human handling. Those that didn’t already have a name given to them by their future families, we have temporarily named ourselves. I cannot keep calling them black boy, and fawn girl, it’s too cold and unloving. Yes I am pathetically in love with them.
  • Once they open their eyes and start toddling around, you’ll be like crazy paparazzi trying to capture it all. And you’ll be beaming with pride at the way they have cleverly learnt their new skills.
  • Nothing is going to prepare me for having to say goodbye to 5 of these little babies in 5 weeks time. ( even though I know where they are going to and am happy they’ll all be brought up in loving homes) There will be tears for sure. It will be like giving away one of my own children. I am also going to be crying for Ava who has become such a great Mamma, and clearly loves them too.
  • Teenagers, who can be such little turds sometimes, go completely mushy over a puppy squawk and wiggle too. The 19-year-old regularly visits now, not to see me, but to see the puppy he has chosen to keep.

Probably the most important thing I have learnt from all of this so far is about that mothering instinct. It may not come naturally to us all, but with patience, and encouragement as we learn what our new role is, we can become wonderful mothers and watch our children grow proudly. Mother nature and this miracle we call birth, is an amazing blessing. And whether you’re a human mum , a canine one or any other animal, we’re all AWESOME. So go easy on yourself, we are doing the best we can.

 

10 things you should know when moving house.

moving-house-boxes.jpg

Any poor soul who has ever packed up and moved houses, understands why it’s one of the top 10 most stressful events of someone’s life.

Why would anyone CHOOSE to put themselves through this? And more than once?

I must be crazy!

Each time I move, I learn something new about myself, my family and those around me. It’s almost an interesting social experiment ( I said ALMOST) . If only it wasn’t so damn hard.

Here’s what you need to know if you’re considering moving to a new house:

  1. Be prepared for H-E-L-L. Sorry, there’s no way to sugar coat this. Moving house doesn’t get to the prestigious position as one of the top listings for stressful life events for nothing. But as the saying goes…” If you’re going through hell, keep going” . Get used to the chaos. If you’re like me, and unorganisation makes you fidgety and anxious…you might need to update your valium prescription. Or buy a blindfold. Or just accept that your living quarters are going to be a crazy mess for a while. If you get the keys to your new premises before you have to vacate your old one, you could possibly have 2 chaotic homes at once. What joy! The fun of going backwards and forwards with carloads of saucepans and towels is always something to look forward to.
  2. It’s EXPENSIVE! No matter how much you think it’s going to cost to hire a truck, clean your old property, come up with a bond on the new one, and buy some paint to cover the scuff marks on the walls, the juggling of bills will be a tricky feat for a few weeks until you settle into a new schedule. Don’t forget utilities charge disconnection and reconnection fees too. Then there may be the added cost of some takeaway meals because your fridge has been turned off, your saucepans are packed and the kids still insist on eating.
  3. Get reliable furniture removalists. Especially if you value your writing desk and don’t want the top ripped off by idiots trying to jam it into their truck ( The resounding crash off the back of the truck was like fingernails on a chalkboard) . Or you don’t like the idea of watching them squeeze your comfy leather recliner through the small front door when there’s a larger doorway access not 5 steps away. I was petrified to inspect my precious grandmother’s china cabinet on arrival for fear it would be in 58 pieces.
  4. You’ll be surprised at so much junk. You will be surprised how much crap you can accumulate in even a short space of time. We were only at the current property for 3 years, but somehow we managed to accumulate 3 square metres of stuff to cram into a skip bin. How is that even possible? Did we really need to keep the 1970’s Tupperware lids leftover from Aunt Flo’s picnic? And where did all those shopping bags come from? They surely multiply in my cupboards when I have my back turned because I KNOW I haven’t saved that many.
  5. You can never have too many boxes. When you look at your possessions and decide how many boxes you need to beg, borrow and steal, to stuff it all into, you will more than likely need to double it. You will have more junk than you think you do! Most of it is probably hidden away in cupboards and you can’t bear to throw it away even though it hasn’t seen daylight in 20 years. You never know when that peach taffeta ruffled number from your Year 12 Formal, will circle back into fashion. And when it does, you’ll be ready and looking luscious.
  6. Open inspections mean a house of disaster. If you have to tolerate these at the same time as moving, I sympathise with you. I used to get quite anxious that people would be going through my house while it wasn’t looking it’s best. Have you moved your furniture recently and seen all the dust bunnies? I also felt that I had to hide my valuables in case someone’s hands got itchy.
  7. Where does it all fit? OK, so you have moved all your treasures, now what? Where in the world can you jam them? Anyone who has moved in the last 6 months, will most likely still have un-packed boxes hiding in the garage or being used as coffee tables.
  8. Cleaning the old place is BORING! You’re now living in a lovely new space, enjoying rearranging and decorating. Who wants to revisit your old haunt and have to clean up those afore-mentioned dust bunnies, spiderwebs, and weed infested gardens? Sigh…hire a company to come and do the dirty work if you can. They can provide an invoice if you’re renting to prove you’ve made a professional effort.
  9. Neighbours don’t welcome you or bring hot food anymore. Yes, you’re on your own. My tip…make up some meals to freeze during that messy time when you don’t know which box your plates and sauce are in. Chuck plastic forks in you handbag! Or you’ll quickly be making friends with your new neighbourhood takeaways.
  10. As soon as you move in, make sure all your utilities and HOT water work. I found this out the hard way and have currently been without hot water for 5 days and I am about to rip off someone’s head if it’s not fixed today. 5 am drives in my dressing gown to my old property for a hot shower on a 7 degree morning, does NOT make me a happy lady.

See, I told you: H-E-L-L. Stressful, Exhausting, and Boring…but once it’s all over, you get to enjoy a new space, and put your personal touch on it. It’s almost as good as a holiday. And almost as expensive!

I am off to find which box my napkin rings are hiding in, in case I need to host an emergency dinner party with my new neighbours.

To move or not to move, that is the question.

 

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Tackling kids and life in general when you’re a Divorced Super Mum, has countless challenges. Such as hiding your favourite chocolate from suddenly bionic ears, and cooking a four course meal for five, from a luxury of $5.

Sometimes you need to consider changes to your home and lifestyle that might simplify your daily life, or finances. That’s where I am at. At the end of every pay fortnight, when we are counting slices of bread for school lunches, and coffee grains into my morning cup of sanity, I tell myself: “There must be an easier way.”

Well for me there were two option: Stay in the house I am renting, and continue to pay ridiculous amounts of money for my son to go to Out Of School Hours care before and after school, AND drive an extra hour each day to get him to and from there, OR I could move houses, and try to get him into a closer school.

Easy decision it would seem?

HMM Not so much. It took me 12 months to convince son to move schools to start with. Then we found out that the process of enrolling him in chosen school was not going to be so easy. Hang on, we live in the school zone and it’s a public school, shouldn’t that mean he can just walk in the gate and sit down at a desk? Apparently not so around here. They are overflowing with students due to poor Government planning in a new housing area. So we are waiting, waiting, on a list…

I decide to help things along by looking at a property immediately around said school. By around, I mean directly opposite. Son would only have to walk out the front gate , then 10 steps to the school crossing. For those of you who are cringing at the thought of living within 10 kilometres of a school ( all those annoying kids and cranky mums at school pick-up time), I realised it didn’t really matter because when it’s busy at school time, I won’t be there. I’ll be at work at another school an hour away! Besides, instead of facing an ugly school, it’s the middle townhouse overlooking a beautiful reserve. Sigh…lovely. I can enjoy the beautiful garden that I don’t have to maintain or pay for.

Open inspection day: Son and I wander through, LOVE the property! Dishwasher included. Winner, winner. Decide to apply.

PANIC!

Oh. My. God. Do I really want to go through moving house again? Or would I rather have a root canal with a blind dentist? Hmm a toss up.

Saving some money, less driving time each day, and less stress= Moving house is unfortunately the winner.

Now to apply: Filling out the paperwork is like completing a personal dossier on my life. I was waiting for them to ask what brand of toilet paper we use. I am not trying to BUY the house, just rent it! Just heap a little more stress onto the pile while I open up my life for inspection.

Well the agent ( who looked young enough to be one of my own children) liked my handbag, and my referees must have lied successfully, as I have been accepted on the new property!

So, call me crazy…but we’re moving house in 3 weeks! ARGH! If you’ve ever moved house with kids, you’ll know why I am breaking into a sweat simply thinking about all the rubbish we have to go through, sort, and attempt to get them to throw away. Actually by ‘them’ I mean my 12 year old hoarder son.

Then there’s the “Yeh mum we’ll help you”, with earphones plugged in while I pack a household around them.

Sigh…what have I done? Maybe I should have voted for the root canal and the blind dentist after all.

If you haven’t seen me in a couple of weeks, look for the mountain of boxes and the delirious woman, that’ll be me. Send food. Or more boxes.

 

Forty Eight Hours Short

As we near Mother’s Day, I often think of my beautiful Grandmother who I loved so dearly. This year I thought I’d share a piece I wrote that was previously published in The Australia Times

The last photo of my Grandma and I

The last photo of my Grandma and I

Why didn’t you hold on for just two more days? Forty eight hours. A snippet of time in your almost ninety two years.

I was coming to see you.

To feast on the warmth and comfort of your withered, wizened face, to hear your tinkling laughter as you cracked slightly inappropriate jokes about the old geezer down the hall climbing into bed with you. My hands aching for the touch of your familiar bony clasp held so often and lovingly, my body desperately in need of your rose scented hug.

No longer a need for you to scoot over in your bed for me to sit close, your body so tiny and now minus half a leg you so cheekily call Matilda.

Fond childhood memories. So many of them revolve around you: school holidays staying at your house so far from ours, excitement and country freedom, walking to the main street for a bag of mixed lollies and shopping for you: Ford pills and salmon paste. The magnificent blue bedroom with frills and flounces. I still have dreams of being in this room with my sisters. You and I sleeping through the tornado that tore through town. Allowing me to carefully polish the delicate china in your beautiful cabinet that now sits proudly in my hallway. You sitting through all eighty-two competitors at my dance competition to see me announced as the winner, and your subsequent retelling of that day for many years after.

We shared a mutual love of books and shuffled many between us over the years. As well as secret chocolates.

Even though you had five offspring of your own and a horde of grandchildren and great grandies, you continued to be sharp as a button and remembered their names and what they were up to. You made each one of us feel like the favourite. A proud family matriarch.

You were my happy place, so alike we were.

You had always been there encouraging and cheering my way through each life milestone. Never judging, just providing me with love and open-mindedness.

I knew you were not much longer to be ours. I mentioned this urgency to my partner whom I wanted you to meet, and love. My wish was for you to know that now I am happy and well-loved as you wanted.

Our visit was planned for Easter Saturday.

I bought your favourite chocolates.

The call came on Holy Thursday.

You couldn’t wait for me.

How distraught I was not to see your cheeky grin again, to hold you in my arms as you once held me. I wanted to tell you I loved you before you left me for always.

I was so angry at you as I stomped down my hallway.

Why couldn’t you wait?

Didn’t you know I was coming one last time?

Something bumped into me. My accusing glare melted away when I realised the offending item. Your china cabinet.

You knew.

Even now you were reassuring me, comforting me like only my dearest Grandmother could.

I will never ever…

 

NO WAY

Today, on the eve of a heart operation, I am faced with my inevitable mortality. Ok it’s not open heart surgery, but any time I allow a doctor to insert a catheter into my groin, through my arteries into my heart, I consider it slightly risky to my life!

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. Actually it feels more like a herd of tap dancing hippos in my belly.

I am a sole mother of 3, the breadwinner, disciplinarian, and responsible one in their lives. What if something goes wrong?

As doctors are required by law to mention the low but possible risks, a brain as overactive and paranoid as mine cannot help but go there.

I have already mentioned my ‘bucket list‘ though it may be too late to action most of these at this point. So I have started thinking about my ‘never ever’ list. What things do I absolutely never ever want to do if I get to come home after tomorrow’s surgery?

Interesting concept.

Here’s what I have come up with:

I WILL NEVER EVER…

  • Want to have this surgery again. I am quaking in my pug slippers.
  • Wish for my children to have a marriage such as mine. I want them to travel the world and get to know themselves first.
  • Want perms to come back into fashion again. Poodle hair wasn’t attractive the first time around.
  • Go bungee jumping or skydiving. If I was meant to be flying through the air, I’d have been born with wings.
  • Want to be alive to bury one of my own children. Please God, take me first. I have seen the trauma and heartbreak this causes for families. It’s too painful and cruel.
  • Want my children or loved ones to wonder if I love them. You can never tell or show someone too much, how important they are. You may never be granted another chance.
  • Be able to wear a low-cut sexy dress as I don’t have the boobs for it…unless I go back to Thailand for a quick-fix.
  • Be a bogan. It’s all princess and sparkle here baby.
  • Regret ending my marriage. Beginning it, yes, but that’s all.
  • Want to be so poor that my card declines at the supermarket again. It’s humiliating and depressing. The How -am- I -going- to- feed- my- family- now question is scary.
  • Let my children drop out of school even if I have to tie them to a chair. A basic education is vital to a successful future.
  • Get sick of wearing slippers and my fluffy dressing gown. I realise this makes me sound like a bogan after all, but I promise you, only inside my home ( though I have been known to do the quick dash to the letter box).
  • Enjoy cooking meals for the family. I am no domestic goddess and cook only because I need to feed the tribe.
  • Get sick of hearing my children laugh or play together nicely. Yes, it’s rare which is why I cherish it.
  • Be a size 10 again. This pains me to admit, but even if I was to have all my meals cooked and  walk on the treadmill all day long, my body is just not that shape anymore. Sigh…
  • Disrespect my parents while they are alive on this earth. I am still too scared of them! Years of conditioning still at work.
  • Understand anybody that harms an animal. That shows true mental issues in my eyes.
  • Get sick of having a warm relaxing bath. I think I’ll head into one once I am done with this.
  • Forget how much I adored my Grandmother. She was a cheeky woman and I miss her every day. I hope that one day MY grandies may love me just as much.
  • Want to be a teenager again. It was hard enough the first time around without all the pressures our kids have these days.
  • Forget to be grateful for the chances given to me in life. I have been blessed in so many ways.
  • Go to bed without turning on my fan. I am one of those weirdos that need moving air and the calming hum to drown out other noises.
  • Forget the people who have always been with me at my worst and most unlikeable moments. They’re my true angels.

Geez I think I could just keep on typing here. I have more never evers than I do on my bucket list. I have to stop myself. It’s easy when you get going…or is it that I am just fussy or obsessive?

Please tell me, WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR NEVER EVERS???

I’ll sign off now, head to my relaxing bath, and all going well with my naughty heart, be back on board soon ready to take on the world!

Cheers my dear Divorced Super Mums.

~Cat Whelan~

 

 

 

 

My Gratefulness Day

 

Slippers are like coffee for my feet

I have been seeing many posts on Facebook lately asking me what I am grateful for today.

So I decided it’s time to think about it and appreciate all the wonderful people and things in my world. Bearing in mind we are on school holidays, this may be slightly tainted by the fact 2 children are at home eating their way through the days, and my eldest son ( the one who moved out) has also come to stay during his University holidays, taking over my beloved study.

Today I am grateful for:

  • Waking up. That’s always got to be a good start to any day. I would have been miffed if I hadn’t.
  • Being on holidays. NO 5:30am alarm  and rush to be out of the house by 6:50am, do the OSCH drop off, then drive 1.5 hours to work. Work with teenagers all day, then drive 1.5 hours home. Sigh…bliss.
  • A job that allows me to have school holidays off, and be paid for it.
  • Coffee. Gallons of it. It’s like liquid sanity. It also eventually makes it safe for my children to approach.
  • My Pug. Because even though I have been cranky all day, she still looks at me with those big eyes and squishy face with so much adoration. Or maybe she’s just pleading for more food.
  • My family. The majority of them. Everyone has a member they’d rather not own up to. Mine is no different.
  • Slippers. They are like coffee for my feet. Sigh…
  • Makeup. Nobody wants to have to face me without it. That would be like bumping into a Klingon. ( I am proud I even know what one is!)
  • Rain. Oh how I love rain when I am snuggled inside. Winter is my special time.  Just don’t ask me to go outside and mess up my new hair do.
  • My study. It’s my happy place. Except when a smelly 19 year old son is inhabiting it. Then it turns into a temporary pig sty and must go through a decontamination process before I can venture in again.
  • A man who loves me for who I am and makes me smile every day. Even when I don’t want to.
  • A cat that purrs so loudly it actually makes me feel happy. Until she attacks my couch with her claws, then I am very unhappy.
  • Books. No more do I need to say.
  • No bills in my letter box. If I was doing this in ranking order, this would be at number 1.
  • Hot water to fill the bath I am about go and soak in. With candles and wine.
  • Sparkly shoes. Because you should be grateful for those EVERY day.
  • Nurofen. Just waiting for it to kick away the headache that’s been nagging me all day.
  • Not killing my children who have argued with each other and myself, and whined about how hungry and bored they are.
  • McDonald’s, and the fact it’s my son’s 12th Birthday…this meant he got to choose what he wanted for dinner. A win for me!
  • My children. They drive me crazy, and cause me more stress than they realise, but I love them completely.

That’s more of a list than I thought I’d come up with. I am impressed considering the garbage day I had.

It’s all about perspective and how you face life isn’t it?

“Gratitude turns what we have into enough.” Melody Beattie.

What are YOU grateful for today my friends?

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New careers and hobbies

 

make your dreams come true

For some Divorced Super Mums, you may have been an amazing Stay At Home Mum and now need to go and work out of the home to support your family. Being a single Mum is financially challenging, especially if your ex isn’t so good with coughing up child maintenance.

Others may decide they just want to try their hand at something new and make a clean slate for an entire new life.

Perhaps you want to do something you always dreamed of doing, but couldn’t in the confines of your marriage.

HOW EXCITING! So many possibilities. Possibly daunting. But doesn’t that tingle of anticipation sound a bit thrilling and fun?

What is it you have always wanted to be? Maybe it’s an under-water basket weaving expert,  a physicist in Siberia, a Veterinarian for rainbow-bellied snakes ( Aren’t they just stunning?!).

You have experience now, could you consider a Divorce Party Planner as a career? It’s a growing industry as we know! And you have contacts in your address book. If you did not get the sexy stripper’s phone numbers, here’s the perfect excuse to pop them on speed dial!

Have you been stuck in a career rut because you think you have to?

STOP.

You can be all you want to if you really want to!

What’s stopping you from succeeding in your dream job? Money to study? Time? Fear?

There are ways around all of these issues if you are willing. You can apply for study grants, or make part payments and study part time, or online.

If time is your barrier, forget it! I read once; you’ll make time for what really matters.

I also like this one: “Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.” H. Jackson Brown Jr.

Fear may the be the huge anchor dragging you back. But truly, what is the worst that can happen? That your dream may not be as special as the reality of living it? At least you’ll know! 

I don’t want to be at the end of my life and wish I had lived more, and done more of what I wanted to. Regrets will weigh you down in later years. This is my motto in life:“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” H. Jackson Brown Jr. ( smart man).

Go DO and BE while you can. 

What about a new hobby you’ve always wanted to try? Today there are numerous ways you can learn new things. I learnt how to decorate cakes and ran a business for a while, all from YouTube and online tutorials. There are also plenty of community courses you can look for. You’d be amazed at what some of them offer: motorcycle maintenance, belly dancing for beginners, balloon animals and psychic development, are all courses my adult learning centre offer. Get on to it girl. That ukulele you’ve been wanting to learn how to play, there’s probably a course for that too.

Today, apart from my job in Teaching, I am also a freelance writer, and have been published in some prestigious magazines of which I am incredibly proud. Writing was a childhood dream. I considered doing journalism at University, until my Mum talked me out of it. That’s one time I wish I hadn’t listened to her!

It’s never too late to try your hand at what interests you. I am living proof of that. You never know, one day I may be able to write full-time. Until then, at least I am doing what I love, some of the time.

If this had just remained in the ‘dream’ part of my wish list, I’d never be on the way to accomplishing my goals.

Now is the time to explore your passions.

Don’t wait any longer.

‘A year from now you will wish you had started today’. ~ Karen Lamb

 

 

A Divorced Mum’s Favourite Movies

Laughing brunette wearing bathrobe watching tv at home in bedroom

Life gets busy being a Divorced Super Mum. We are often managing the roles of 2 parents, working outside of the home, and juggling our children’s soccer games and ballet lessons, meals, orthodontist appointments and teacher interviews.

If we do get a spare moment to breathe and relax, it is as valuable as chocolate in a dieter’s colony.

One thing that relaxes me is to sit and watch a movie, usually something I don’t have to use any exhausted brain cells to understand. I have a pile of go-to’s that pick me up when I need it.

Here is a list of my favourite movies that regularly get a go in the DVD player:

  1. Mrs Doubtfire:
    Sigh…what divorced mother doesn’t dream of having an old -fashioned housekeeper like her Grandmother? One who’ll cook way better than she does, and actually get the kids to do homework WITHOUT arguing. I dream of coming home to a clean house, a delicious meal that I didn’t have to shop or prepare for, and organised kids.
    The real tear jerker here is the lengths this father went to show he wanted to care for his children.
  2. Pride and Prejudice:
    Oh Mr Darcy, you can come swim in my lake anytime! Swoon (If I even knew how to swoon) .  Actually it’s the ABC series rather than the movie that is my favourite version. Yes you know the one ladies…The one with sexy Colin Firth and his mysterious scowl.
    The other reason I am a big fan is because Miss Elizabeth Bennet was an independent, sassy lady for her time. Even though she knew her place in society was to marry, she did not accept the first marriage proposal she ever had. I wish I had taken a leaf out of her book, so to speak!
  3. Magic Mike:
    Channing Tatum, Matthew McConaughey and strippers! Need I say more? Get the popcorn and wine ready ladies, we’re having a girl’s night in! This is never a watch-it-once-movie, so prepare for a magic marathon.
  4. Sound of Music:
    Only a horror movie list would not have this amazing classic on it. You may groan when you hear the name, but I bet you all know the words and watch it when it’s on for the 104th time. I wish the Nuns at my school had been as cool as Julie Andrews.
  5. Who Will Love My Children:
    One of the saddest movies I have ever seen. Grab that tissue box and make sure it’s full. The story of a mother of 10 children whose dying wish is to find them homes before she goes. Morbid I know, but it makes me wonder what I would do in the circumstances. It’s also very grounding and brings me back to what’s important on those tough days.
  6. The Notebook:
    A Woman’s movie list isn’t complete without this treasure. Didn’t we all want a love that would last through thick and thin, and til death us do part? Even though it didn’t work out that way for me, doesn’t mean I can’t still dream…“Don’t think there are no second chances. Life always offers you a SECOND CHANCE…It’s called TOMORROW”.
  7. Les Miserables ( 2012) :
    3 words: Hugh Jackman and singing. For me there’s nothing sexier than a hunk who can carry a tune. Especially when he can also bring me to tears with his acting. Apart from Hugh, it’s an amazing film. Anne Hathaway is pretty special in it too.  If musical theatre is your thing  (like it is mine) you’ll be singing along and waving your flag.
  8. Pretty Woman:
    Ok maybe a bit tacky but always a favourite with me. The classic Cinderella story but with hooker boots and drugs. And Julia gets to wear some AMAZING clothes! I’d kill for that red dress, and the black and white outfit with the hat. Richard Gere isn’t my cup of tea, but I can put up with him in this.
    If you’re a Seinfeld fan, George is in it too.
  9. Meet Joe Black:
    A beautiful movie, and not just because Brad Pitt is in it. Another tissues movie, especially if you’re a Daddy’s girl. A touching moral that gets me every time. Did I mention Brad Pitt is in it?
  10. Under the Tuscan Sun:
    Oh how I wish I could have pottered off to Tuscany after my divorce. This is the story of a woman who did just that. An uplifting tale of her journey through grief and finally to acceptance. One day I promise myself to go there and see this beautiful scenery for myself.
  11. How to Lose a Guy in 10 days:
    Can you tell I am a fan of Matthew McConaughey? This film cracks me up. Light hearted look at dating and what lengths men and women will go to. My favourite scene involves a fern. Kate Hudson is hilarious. It’s scary how I actually know some women like that.
  12. First Wives Club:
    Another classic divorce movie. Although I wasn’t jilted for a younger model, I can still see the humour and cheer the Ex- Wives on with glee. Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn and Diane Keaton are amongst my favourite actresses.
    Maybe we could start a club too? Brilliant Divorced Super Mums….BDSM‘s!!!!! Hmm…maybe there’s something in that?

This list is not exhaustive, but these were the ones that jumped into my head first. Maybe a special mention to Bridget Jones Diary for being so ridiculously funny and for the outing of big girl pants. And for having Colin Firth in it, also cleverly named Mr Darcy.

On a different day I might write a different list depending on my mood. I have so many favourites, but today these are my favourite favourites.

Tell me girlfriends, what are you go-to movies that you’ll watch again and again?

It doesn’t even matter if the kids interrupt it because you know all the lines anyway.

Mum, why didn’t you warn me?

Baby shoes on mom's high heels

Becoming a mother is the biggest life changing experience that can happen to a woman. I mean, I knew it was going to affect me big time, but naively, I did not realise just how widespread the impact on my entire world would be. Forever after.

Why didn’t my mother, who had 5 offspring of her own ( Good Catholic family), tie me down and explain some of the things I would shockingly discover on my own?

Didn’t she love me enough to be honest? Or was it an unspoken pact amongst the motherhood to let everyone discover it for themselves? Almost like a silent karma.

These are the things I found so earth shattering I wish my mother had mentioned them before I considered producing:

YOUR BODY WILL NEVER BE THE SAME.

Ever. Not even if you lost the extra body meat you may have gained while feeding the baby in your womb.

All of my baby’s left me unique souvenirs of their stay. These were on top of the flabby belly, stretch-marked thighs and for me, bigger and welcomed boobs.

Pre baby number 1, I had a tiny waist. During this pregnancy I had major rib pain, like I had swallowed some kind of medieval torture device that was stretching me from within. Millimetre by painful millimetre. I was continuously uncomfortable as my ribs slowly widened to accommodate the pushing up of my belly. It was agony trying to find a comfortable position to sit in for longer than 30 seconds.

Goodbye slim torso.

Unless I was prepared to wear another torturous device like a corset , this was one of many mama souvenirs.

My 2nd souvenir happened a few months after my baby no 2. She was a roly poly beautiful girl. But as she had a bigger brother, she often had to be carted around in her baby capsule so I could have a free hand to hold his. In those days capsules were clunky things, and with a solid baby in it, it was darn heavy. My wrists began to hurt and fingers tingled. The strength in my hands disappeared. I had developed carpal tunnel syndrome from carting around the capsule, only temporarily cured by excruciatingly painful injections into both wrists and wearing arm splints at night. Always fun when you get up and down to a baby at night.

I mentioned temporarily because I still suffer from it today. And remember her pudgy sweet body every time. Cheers for that.

Baby number 3 gifted me with haemorrhoids. Oh joy. This I had the pleasure ( and pain ) of discovering about 8 months into my pregnancy. If you have ever had haemorrhoids, your groans may be the ones I am hearing now. Another long-term present for my body.

Mum, why didn’t you warn me?

Your emotions will swing more wildly than the pendulum on a grandfather clock. 

From crying at dog food commercials to screaming at the mailman for being 2 minutes late, you’ll probably be a crazy maniac for a while, post baby. And that may never go away!

If your spouse, family, and neighbours thought you were unstable before, wait until they see you sobbing your way through Star Wars.

And if anybody upsets your precious bundle or questions your mothering style, even the most serene individual will turn into a fire-breathing creature ready to chew off a leg.

When your little one marches off to school and waves confidently goodbye, prepare to have your heart ripped out. Get used to being replaced as the top dog in their world, and learn to answer to their teacher’s name. Regularly.

Mum, why didn’t you warn me?

Say good night to your last decent sleep. 

Until the kids move out. Or the schools co-operates and sends them all on camp at once. And even then you won’t sleep because you’ll be worrying they’re missing you, or are too scared to get up to go to a strange toilet without their bunny nightlight.

By the time your kids are old enough to sleep through the night, you’ll be programmed to wake every 2 hours anyway. Good luck getting back to sleep. You’ve now become a light sleeper, listening for any noise that your child has fallen out of bed or a burglar has jumped in the window to steal them.

Then teenagers hit your household and develop a social life rivalling the Kardashians.  You’ll either lie awake waiting for them to get home in one piece , or be waiting for the 3am text to come and pick them up.

Mum, why didn’t you warn me? 

What beauty regime?

Gone are the days you had the luxury of spending time on your hair and makeup before you go to work. You’ll be rushing to throw lunches together and feed the animals. You’ll be lucky to get out of the house with matching shoes and a hair brush for the car.

If you’re a stay-at-home mum, you’re probably not much different. I bet people wouldn’t recognise you if your hair wasn’t in the traditional Mum-style, yanked hastily into a pony-tail because you were trying to keep your toddler from dropping your phone in the toilet.

Face masks, shaved legs, plucked eyebrows, skin scrubs, spray tans…what are they again? It’s pretty much take me as you see me, or back off.

I hear grey hair is becoming a trend. ( What the…? )

Mum, why didn’t you warn me?

Guilt is a nasty squatter

Even if you manage to get the kids to bed at a reasonable hour, there is always something that should be done around the house. We mother’s suffer from this horrid affliction called guilt if things aren’t just right. We seem to have developed this ridiculous notion that we must do it all, and perfectly.

Every week we hear about a new gadget that will make children more super than they already are, if only we could afford the $9028. And “I’m the only one that doesn’t have one mum”, only tightens the guilt belt further.

It’s hard to turn off the G-switch: I’m not feeding them healthy enough meals, I can’t pay that bill this week, it’s going to have to be another home fringe trim, I wish I could take them all on a nice holiday.

Unfortunately the switch turns on as soon as it hears your baby’s first cry and is stuck in permanent mode ever after.

Mum, why didn’t you warn me?

I have come to question that even if my mother HAD warned me, would I have listened?

Probably not.

Perhaps this is the reason the motherhood stays mum on it all along.

Because even experiencing all of these changes that take place in our lives, bodies, hearts , and many other places besides, we’d still do it all over again.

Because that’s what Mother’s do when they love their children.

~Cat Whelan~