Monday, September 03, 2012
Parenting Avery is fantastic, but challenging as always. Yet again I thank my lucky stars (and good taste in men) that Himself is such an amazing co-parent. He gets up with Avery every morning, does the lion's share of the bedtime routine almost every night and comes to my rescue when things are tough. Which lately, thanks to my new diagnosis (I've now been told I have an Auto-Immune Disease rather than Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and have therefore started a whole new round of testing and specialists to get to the bottom of what is going on, along with a course of steroids) has been frequently.
The John Marsden Prize for Young Australian Writers closed this week, so I have hundreds of entries to process and read. Things at Express Media generally are pushing along quite quickly. I feel like I haven't achieved anywhere near as much as I wanted to this year. We have powered through Write Across Victoria, National Young Writers' Month, launched the New Voices Series, run a 6x6x6 event, The Pun/Buzzcuts for MICF in Melbourne and other Buzzcuts in Perth, Canberra and Adelaide, Signal Express for Emerging Writers' Festival and the Signal 37 program and our usual Voiceworks, Under Age and Signal Express publications.
I've been writing about Big Brother for The Flack, who are kind enough to publish my weekly rants. You can see everything to date here: 1, 2 and 3. I have submitted a proposal to contribute to a book in the coming months. I was asked to be Lip's feminist of the week, which is lovely, and I look forward to seeing my contribution on the site in the coming weeks.
Then, in launching what I was thinking of as a small sandpit to do some writing in, it seems some friends and I have created something that people are very engaged with. Limited News went live on August 21 and the positive feedback just keeps coming. It's a joy to have something you have put your hard work into be received so well.
Writing more, rather than just facilitating other people to write, has made me realise how long it has been since I've been doing anything creative. Must try to achieve a better balance on this front.
On top of that, I have been producing my friend Andrew's show for Melbourne Fringe Festival. If you like political cartoons then maybe you should come see First Dog on the Moon in How to Draw Cartoobs and Other Typos. It's over a month until the show starts and opening night is already sold out, plus half the season... so you know... get on it.
Wednesday, July 04, 2012
I have had people comment that to say you aren't 100% read and raring to fight these ills wherever you find them is somehow a betrayal of liberal ideology. Fuck that. Sometimes I just want to watch a television show without bristling at its depiction of women. Sometimes I'd like to go about my grocery shopping without witnessing casual racism. I'd love to go to Christmas lunch without having to listen to homophobic hate speech. Unfortunately, I don't have that option. I deal with all of these things on a daily basis, and it is bullshit. And while I applaud those who can maintain their rage at all times, I'm just not sure it's healthy for me. I think sometimes, for my own sanity, I need time-out. For that reason, I've created communities and enclaves in my life where I am sheltered from the hate speech and the offensive behaviour. I've surrounded myself with like-minded people, who I can let my guard down with, safe in the knowledge that they aren't going to turn a conversation about artichokes into a tirade against boat people.
I still maintain my rage. I haven't given in to the status quo. I also haven't retreated from the world entirely; I try to bring my politics with me wherever I go, even when they won't be popular. But yes, it's still tiring. It is tiring to exist as a woman in a system where you are devalued, silenced, marginalised and actively despised (that's capitalism for you). It's hard to be a mother and negotiate raising your child not to buy into those systems of oppression. It's tiring to feel like you have to be vigilant at all times. So yes, maintain. But also, be weary of it all. It's not a betrayal.
Monday, July 02, 2012
I don't think breastfeeding my child has made me a Supermother. I don't think it makes me special. I don't think it means I'm better than other mothers. I think I'm normal. It is normal to breastfeed your child. It is normal to allow your own body to do what it is biologically designed to do. It is normal to respond to your child's requests for nutrition and comfort by providing nutrition and comfort.
Friday, January 27, 2012
Monday, January 02, 2012
For the last few years I have completed this same set of questions...
1.What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before?
Juggle parenting with working a day job (as in, not freelance work from home).
2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I wanted to "Get healthier, enjoy Avery, aim for balance, don't be harsh on myself if/when I don't achieve it." This certainly wasn't the year of health. Himself, Avery and I spent more time sick than I could have imagined. I do think I enjoyed Avery, especially after going back to work, which gave me back some space of my own aside from mum stuff. Which I guess answers the balance question. I'm not sure that I took it easy on myself when I didn't quite manage to juggle everything. I think I should keep working on that as a resolution for next year.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
My friend Katie and her partner Faith welcomed a beautiful baby girl into their family. There were also women I hadn't met yet who were giving birth to children I now know and love (the children and the women!). Finding mother friends who are very much on my page and creating a community has been pure joy.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
5. What countries did you visit?
None. I am heading off to the UK in March this year, so at least I will finally be able to say yes to this question for 2012!
6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?
Better health. I would like to shake off this permanent aching and fatigue so I can be more present with my family, friends and work.
7. What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
January 20, 2011. Celebrating my child's first birthday felt as much of a milestone for me as it did for him.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Heading back to work for another organisation (rather than freelance) part time. I love my work at Express Media and I'm so glad I found this position by serendipity. I wasn't looking for work, I happened to see the job at just the right time, I was lucky enough to get it. In many ways this job is a result of all the hard work (most of it unpaid or poorly paid) that I did in my twenties before CFS kicked my arse. At my sickest it seemed like all the networking, all the connections, all the projects had been for nothing. I'd faded from people's radars and while everyone else moved on with successful careers I was left behind. This job is my opportunity to return to the industry I love with even more purpose and hopefully a more balanced approach to my career.
9. What was your biggest failure?
If there was one, it is probably managing my health. Although honestly, I do believe that with all the bugs Avery bought home from daycare this was less to do with management and more to do with bad luck.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Yes. I would count this as another year of managing CFS, though certainly not at the same level I once had to.
11. What was the best thing you bought? (was bought for you)
Best thing I bought was lots and lots of books by Australian authors. It has been good to get stuck in to some more challenging reads.
12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
Himself, without a doubt. As I've headed back to work he has taken on a massive workload with Avery, dealing with almost all night waking and early mornings by himself. Without all of the hard-slog parenting he has been doing I just wouldn't be able to work. On top of that, he has also been dragged all over town for openings, launches and various work functions despite the fact he would rather be at home on the couch. My parents have also been ace, picking up Avery from childcare at least once a week, minding him when I have work functions to attend and generally making life with a one year old much easier.
13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
There have been times when members of our family probably deserve to go in this category, but let's not go into that.
14. Where did most of your money go?
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Avery learning to communicate with us, first with sign language and then with an ever-expanding list of sounds and words. It's pretty freaking awesome.
16. What songs will always remind you of 2011?
I don't know that there is one.
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i) …happier or sadder?
ii) thinner or fatter?
Fatter. CFS and my own poor health management are to blame.
iii) richer or poorer?
Probably about the same.
18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Lying awake at night unable to sleep while my child and partner slept soundly around me.
20. How did you spend Christmas?
Christmas Eve Eve with dear friends celebrating the festive season and Himself's 30th birthday. Christmas Eve cooking and dropping food to Himself's family in preparation for the next day, then eating dinner and watching Christmas movies with Clare and Holly (Avery's non-godparents). Christmas morning at our house with my parents watching Avery enjoy opening his presents and playing with new toys. Late morning at my great aunt's house with some family, the rest of the day with Himself's family. I did fall asleep late afternoon and wake up in the early evening to find I had missed most of the day, but it was still lovely.
22. Did you fall in love in 2010?
Yes. With wonderful women and their children, who I am lucky enough to consider my village.
23. How many one night stands?
24. What were your favourite TV programs?
It was such a good year for TV. There was Game of Thrones, Downton Abbey, more Doctor Who, a lot more Midsomer Murders, We Can Be Heroes, Treme, Friday Night Lights, Misfits, Fringe. So good.
25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
26. What was the best book you read?
Collectively, A Song of Ice and Fire. Individually, A Pocketful of Eyes by Australian author Lili Wilkinson. I just love her writing. Highly rated were also The Hunger Games trilogy, Truth by Peter Temple (another Aussie) and Berlin Syndrome by Melanie Joosten (yet another Aussie).
27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Oh dear. This question brings home the woeful lack of new music I have welcomed into my life. I think my greatest musical discoveries were actually rediscoveries. Things I have loved for a long time and now share with Avery. We sing a lot of Queen (especially Bohemian Rhapsody), The Ramones, lots of Muppets songs (particularly Mnah Mnah) and plenty of Beatles.
28. What did you want and get?
A fulfilling job that didn't take me away from Avery too much.
29. What did you want and not get?
Nothing really... if I had to find something I guess it would be travel.
30. What was your favourite film of this year?
It was pleasing to see the conclusion of Harry Potter, but the one that will really stay with me is Black Swan. I didn't understand why people were talking about leaving the cinema feeling so overwrought. Then I saw it. I get it now.
31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I don't remember! Ah crap. I turned 31 and I think I was too distracted getting ready for Avery's 1st birthday to really care about mine.
32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
An extra day in the week. Or more sleep. Yeah, actually, more sleep would be like an extra day in the week.
33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?
Try not to get food/dirt/mystery objects smeared all over yourself before you leave the house for work.
34. What kept you sane?
My mum. Himself doing so much to keep us floating while I got back into the working grove.
35.Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I managed to tick one thing off my Bucket List this year by seeing Alan Davies perform stand up live. He is still top of my list for potential future husbands.
36. What political issue stirred you the most?
Apathy. I saw a lot of it this year and it makes me as annoyed as ever.
37. Who did you miss?
Lots of friends from other states and countries visited Melbourne this year, so there has been a lot less missing than most years.
38. Who was the best new person you met?
A group of women I now meet weekly that I didn't know this time last year.
39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011
The work you put into your career will pay off, even if it takes a while.
40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
There are times life will rattle your bones
And will bend your limbs
But you're still far and away the boy you've ever been
So you bend back and shake at the frame
Of the frame you made
(But you don't shake alone)
41. What was your favorite moment of the year?
Hearing Avery say 'Mumma'.
42. What was your least favourite moment of the year?
Probably one of the many nights I realised it was only a couple of hours until I was due at work and I hadn't slept yet.
57. If you could go back in time to any moment of 2011 and change what?
58. What are your plans for 2011?Travel to London, spend time in my excellent communities (both the writing/arts one and the natural parenting one), improve my current health situation, enjoy our home life more with the dogs, puppies, chickens, veggies, native garden and family.
Monday, November 07, 2011
- Daily morning routine, including getting up to Avery, feeding him breakfast and getting him ready for daycare
- Packing and unpacking daycare bag
- Walking Avery in and out of daycare from the car
- Attending to Avery during night waking
- Market shopping every fortnight
- Preparing food for us and Avery
- Washing nappies and laundry, hanging/drying/folding
- Packing/unpacking dishwasher and hand-washing dishes
- Vacuuming house
- Daily cleaning routines (after Avery's meals, food preparation etc)
- Putting out rubbish, recycling and compost scraps
- Mowing lawns and general house maintenance
- Attending to Avery's needs when we are out and about
- Being a stay-at-home parent two days per week
- Arranging who is picking up/dropping off Avery from daycare
- Making sure we have milk, baby-wipes, nappies and other assorted baby supplies
- Creating a household budget
- Tracking and managing finances including paying bills, setting aside savings and managing insurance/rates/registration/mortgage/tax
- Arranging assistance when we need babysitting and/or time out
- Making doctor's appointments and taking Avery to doctor/maternal child health nurse
- Manage calendar, including arranging social outings and organising various appointments for family or Avery (car services, birthday parties)
- Plan holidays and/or family outings
- Manage family/friends birthdays including buying presents
- Reading up on Avery's milestones, stages and development, then attempting to apply appropriate parenting techniques and ideas for our family unit
- Researching decisions on childcare, schooling, extra activities (music classes, baby gym, swimming etc)
- Initiating discussions and negotiating decisions on feeding/sleep/behaviour boundaries and routines for Avery, then policing said routines
- Finding and maintaining relationships with a group of like-minded parents and children to provide Avery with a positive community to grow up within
- Major household item purchasing
- Purchasing clothes/shoes/sundry for Avery
- Bathroom/toilet cleaning
- Spring cleaning