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HOW NOT TO DO A FAMILY HOLIDAY TO BALI

The pre-holiday build up was chaotic. I had written lists, new lists, and lists within the lists. I had sourced info from mates who travel to Bali frequently with young children and I was feeling confident that we had everything covered. Every type of mosquito repellent on the market had been sourced, transfer to hotel arranged, travel insurance bought, toys to keep the children amused on the plane purchased, local Bali Nanny confirmed, and of course money and passports in order.

Gone are the days of partying until the break of dawn, my husband and were united – we wanted a relaxed family holiday, intending to max out on the Nanny. The day before travelling, I sent my husband off with the kids so I could begin the mammoth task of packing. It started well as I fastidiously ticked items off my list. However it wasn’t long before the list was abandoned in favour of a more ‘chuck it in just in case’ approach took precedence.

The next morning we woke early (standard with 2 under 3 year olds) and set off in the maxi-cab to the airport. The idea was to arrive at the airport with plenty of time for a leisurely breakfast, followed by the obligatory gander around duty free, maybe even a beer and then all aboard the plane, flying off to paradise for our first proper family holiday.

As we queued up at the check-in desk our 2 girls were busy entertaining the other passengers, informing them that we were going to Bali. We were all on a high and grinning like Cheshire cats, we stood at the desk and proudly handed over our 4 passports.

“I’m sorry Sir, you won’t be able to fly today” the lady at the check-in announced casually. Like she was telling us the time, like it was just so normal and like not gonna bother us in the slightest.

WTF?

My husband and I stared at the lady in disbelief. Was she winding us up? Ha ha, very funny – now give us our tickets lady. ‘Silly Billy’ as my 2 year old would say.

“You passport only has 5 months left on it. You need 6 to travel to Bali” Her lips remaining stoic like in their pose, I was desperately willing her mouth to turn up at the ends, a cheeky smile followed by laughter and an ‘only joking, Silly Billy’. It didn’t.

I stared across at my husband. He looked at me. 30 seconds of everlasting silence. I felt sick. I looked at the girls, still giggling and rolling around on the floor repeating ‘Bali, Bali’ Bali” over and over again.

My husband’s initial reaction, anger. As was mine. Only his, with the lady on the check-in desk and mine, with him. I asked him a few weeks before if all the dates on the passports were ok, obviously I reminded him of this fact. I immediately regretted saying it. I know nobody had died BUT…this was our family holiday, the one we procrastinated about for months, the one we have looked forward to for weeks, the one we have used to bribe our children with in order to get a modicum of good behaviour, the one we chose specifically because you can book a nanny to help you and babysit and it doesn’t cost the earth and they are amazing with kids and we might actually get a couple of nights out together. It was the one family holiday that we were all so excited about, at that precise moment it meant everything to us. We’ve both watched the airport shows and seen people turned away at check-in for one reason or another, but that was them…we wouldn’t be such Silly Billy’s.

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MORE THAN JUST A MATE- #BFF

As a young girl I wanted to be everybody’s friend. Now I’m 37 I’ve accepted that life doesn’t work like that. There are some people you just don’t connect with, there are those you may not like no matter how hard you try and there are some who won’t like you. At some point you may find out they have been saying things about you behind your back. The tears I’ve cried over ‘friends’ like that! If I could say anything to my younger self it would have been “Trust your instinct. Don’t waste time worrying about the ones who’ve let you down. Focus on the amazing friends you have been blessed with” And I have certainly been blessed with quite a few of these gorgeous people. One of them is celebrating her birthday today in England. I wrote these words for her:

I have heard so many words when talking of true friends

Caring, kind, full of love and loyal ’til the end

And you to me are all of those, each and every one

Yet there’s so much that they do miss, like a sky without a sun

The light and sparkle you shine on me, by knowing that you’re there

The love you show so endlessly is never hard to bear

You always want the best for me, so proud when I do well

Occasionally we disagree, but never do we dwell

If I am sad, angry or mad you listen and won’t  judge

But you tell me if you think I’m wrong – a persuasive gentle nudge

If I am happy, you cry for me – tears filled with ecstasy

Because you’ve been with me through it all, no need for empathy

So this is my way of saying to you, you’re more than just a friend

You’re the icing on my cupcake, mate and I’ll love you til the end!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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WHEN SCREEN TIME FOR CHILDREN IS A GOOD THING – KIDLOLAND APP REVIEW

I must confess that pre-kids I swore I wouldn’t allow my children too much (if any) screen time. As soon as my eldest hit 2 this went out of the window. There are so many shows on the television that she loves, they are educational and fun and also mean I get a few minutes to do some chores or go to the toilet without a child hanging off me.

There are certain times of the day that I let my two girls watch television and I always control exactly what they watch. I’m not sure when the iPad was introduced but I guess it was when she was about 3. I limit her time on this too, it’s usually only for 20 minutes in the morning when she wakes up – this is because she is an early riser and stops her waking her sister!

When Kidloland approached me to review their app I was dubious. I am trying to limit her screen time not encourage it. That said I was keen to see if there was an app available that would offer a fun, interactive and educational option instead of just children’s programmes.

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PICK YOUR BATTLES

Last Saturday our 2-year-old was struck down with tonsillitis. The out of hours GP confirmed it and prescribed a course of antibiotics which we administered and she took.

On Monday morning she seemed back to herself so I took both girls shopping. My 3-year-old, who was running around, bouncing off the walls at 6am, suddenly took a turn for the worst just as we arrived at the shopping centre. Sensing that we were not going to have a fun morning of retail therapy, I retreated to the car.

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WHAT HAPPENED WHEN LITTLE MS TIDY PAID ME A VISIT

img_2021We substitute living in a big house in favour of location. At least that’s what I tell myself when cans of food that have been precariously shoved into the food cupboard continually fall onto my feet below or when I have to pull everything out of the cupboard to find what I actually need. The kitchen is small and the cupboards dated. Having lived in our home for 4 years now it’s fair to say that it’s something I have been known to have the odd moan/swear loudly about.

For a long time I told my husband that “if we only had a bigger fridge” it would make such a difference. So we got one. It didn’t. We just bought more food and filled it up. I still find myself playing Tetris in order to fit anything inside. And swearing.

So when my mate Kirsty told me about Tidy Cate and asked if I’d write a review for her I literally chewed her hand off.

Tidy Cate and I communicated via Facebook. Within a few days of our initial introduction she was booked to pay me a visit. I kicked my husband and kids out for the morning and was feeling excited to see what changes Cate could make to my chaotic kitchen.

Before arriving Cate sent me a great article about letting go of clutter. It was so good before she even arrived I started chucking clothes out of my wardrobe that I haven’t worn in years. I was in the mood for change, de-cluttering, getting organised.

When I opened the door to Cate she was holding 2 collapsible boxes. One for rubbish one for recycling. She took time to understand what I was unhappy with and very quickly set to work. Whilst she did the lions share she would request my input occasionally regarding what items could be chucked and which things I used frequently. She was non-judgmental as I apologised for the fact we had 4 of everything or how unhealthy some of the contents of our cupboard were. All she wanted to know was what we used and how frequently.

After she had finished sorting each cupboard she showed it to me and explained why she had made the changes. What at first seemed illogical suddenly became the most obvious way to organise cupboards ever. I can’t believe I hadn’t thought of that before I said. ON REPEAT!

After about 3 hours of work cate had re-organised my chaotic kitchen into an organised, logical space. My husband is a creature of habit so did make a comment that he couldn’t find anything anymore but that was expected. Some of the drawers and cupboards at children level are not quite in the order Cate arranged however I appreciate that ‘this too shall pass’. One day my children will not feel the need to pull everything out of any drawers and cupboards within their reach and my husband will learn the new system in no time. I do now have is a clear understanding of a much more efficient way to organise cupboards.  And I do so love where I live.

 

About Cate AKA Little Ms Tidy

cate.jpgCate is originally from Germany but has lived in Australia for 14 years. Having worked for many years pre-children in banking she is naturally an organised and detail focussed individual. Setting up this business was not something she took lightly, she studied (I know, I didn’t realise there were courses like this either might have saved me years of ranting had I known). Once she completed the course she became a fully-fledged professional organiser.

Cate charges $40 p/h however the first hour is free if you sign up to her newsletter

She can re-organise/declutter any part of your home. I chose the kitchen as it has been my biggest cause of swearing.

To read more about Cate and the services she provides please visit her website: http://www.littlemstidy.com.au

A note from me – I am not affiliated to Little Ms Tidy in any way. She provided her services with me for free in exchange for my review

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SURELY MOTHERHOOD AND BLOGGING COULD ONLY COMPLEMENT MY RESUME?

 With my youngest daughter now settled in daycare 2 days a week I decided it was time I re-joined the paid workforce. If any of you read my  REFLECTING ON MY MILESTONES OF MOTHERHOOD post or A FISH OUT OF WATER IN THE BIG, BAD CITY, you would know that this was a big milestone for me. The decision was filled with the emotion of accepting that my days being a full time SAHM were over and that my girls are growing up and needing me less. There was also anxiety around what job I would do and how my time out of the paid workforce would be received by prospective employers.

I’ve essentially been a SAHM for 3 and a half years. That said I feel like my ability is exactly the same as it was. Also having spent the last 12 months writing a blog I have not only kept my mind active, I have also learnt a whole heap of new skills. Surely motherhood and blogging could only complement my resume?

The first problem was, there are hardly any part time jobs available. There is not a great deal of choice and of course the competition is fierce.

The first job I applied for was a part time home based recruitment role.

With over 10 years’ HR and recruitment experience, I felt certain that I would have no problem getting it. In fact the only issue I thought may be more to do with the fact I didn’t have experience recruiting in that particular sector. I was pleased to receive a quick response from the owner of the agency yet was disappointed and surprised by his feed back

“You don’t have recent recruitment experience therefore I won’t be progressing with your application” WTF? I felt annoyed. If he had said “you don’t have experience recruiting for that sector”, I would have accepted it – that would have been a fair comment.

I started to wonder what exactly has changed in recruitment in the last 3.5 years. I asked a few people in the industry – the conclusion was ‘not a lot’ and certainly nothing too major that an experienced recruiter couldn’t pick it up. Having spent years informing people why they have or haven’t been successful for a particular role, I wondered if this was some form of karma. I know that I often favoured a candidate with more recent experience, assuming they would be easier to transition and if presenting to a client or manager, easier to sell-in.

The point is, people (me included) assume that when you haven’t worked for 3.5 years you will have forgotten everything, have baby-brain or that it will be too much hassle to train you up. Now that I am one of those people I can confirm that I am just as capable of starting a new job now as I was before. Whenever you start a new job there are new systems and processes that must be learnt. It’s very unusual to go into a job that has the exact same systems in place. The only difference now that I’m working part-time is that I probably work even harder, don’t have time to stop and chat but I do have to leave on time.

I considered a few junior roles but they just didn’t cover the cost of having 2 children in child care in Sydney.

For the first time ever I started to panic that I may struggle to get a job, something that has always happened so easily for me before.

I have now found a temporary position with a boutique recruitment agency 2 days a week. It was advertised on the mums the word Facebook page.

This experience really made me understand why so many women feel the pressure when they go on maternity leave to return to their jobs as soon as their maternity leave has ended. Whilst I know many do so because they love their job and feel ready to return, I also know many feel pressured to do so in case they can’t find anything at a later date. The fear of not finding something suitable part-time after a gap makes them return to work quicker than they may have chosen to.

So far, the transition from SAHM to part-time working mum is going well. I knew it would be challenging; getting two young girls up and out of the door, driving the car to double kindy drop offs, finding parking spaces and then grabbing a bus to the city. But I’ve surprised myself how well we are all coping. There are still tears at drop-off (particularly the youngest). However, the pictures I see of their day and the excitement I get from them when I collect them as they fill me in on their antics, re-assures me that they have had fun.

The job I’m doing is busy so the day flies past. Before I know it I’m flinging my belongings into a bag, kicking off my heels in favour of flats and legging it out the door. Back on the bus, to the car for the first pick up then a short drive for the second pick up. I’ve had a productive working day, bringing some dollars in and have collected two happy, tired children.

Laughing and chatting as we drive home, sometimes the eldest drifts off to sleep. As we land back home one of them will inevitably have a meltdown about something and dinner and bath time can either be heavenly or hellish. But that’s the way it always was. Once they are dressed in their pjs with a beaker of hot milk it’s time for cuddles and stories on the sofa. All is calm and I’m hopeful bed time will follow soon for everyone. Then Daddy walks through the door and their little legs try to run as fast as their hearts are beating. Bedtime may be a little later tonight – but that’s ok.