The relief of being ordinary

Somewhere between the roof leaking into our newly renovated room, requiring an emergency electrician, half a roof worth of new roofing iron and a continually backing up septic tank I began to troll the job adverts. Not seriously, mind, because I was staying at home with the girls until Pip went to school in 2017. But just having a peek.

I applied for a remote position with a company whose ethics and transparency mirrored my own, but it wasn't to be. I went for an interview at the university, but it also wasn't to be. I applied for a job locally, but it wasn't to be. Actually, the last one made me raise my eyebrow enough that when I got a rejection letter, I hit reply and asked for feedback. They called me, asked me for an interview. A few days later, they offered me the job. I mowed the lawn whilst the girls were at daycare, wondering if I was completely neglecting my children by doing this. How would they (me) cope without me (them)? However, the promise of a part time job with decent pay and conditions lured me in.

We were off. The first few weeks were brutal. Everyone hated daycare (same previously adored daycare, just an extra day), I hated dropping them off, I hated picking up screaming children who had been seemingly fine moments before I walked in. I still hate 'Feral Thursday' where both of my kids have a day of just letting it all out, whatever 'it' may be. Just typing about Thursdays makes my shoulders tense up.

I have noticed the benefits. There is money in our bank account. Millie has blossomed with confidence. Pip has had a language explosion and is making friends. I really enjoy talking (or not talking) to adults. I have Things To Talk About when I get home from work. Mr S gets to not listen to me worry about money.

For the longest time I wore a frugal badge with pride. Oddly enough, I seem to be more frugal, homemade and Suzy Homemaker than ever before, perhaps because it's a choice, not a necessity? I don't know. I do know that when my HR department sent an email asking if anyone wanted a bag of apples 'past their due by date' (snort) for their animals, I ran down the hallway as fast as my hot pink high heels would allow to collect my bounty.

'We didn't know you had pigs Amy.'
'I don't! I have a dehydrator and a Fowlers Vacola unit!'

8kg of perfectly fine apples. Yes please.

I digress.

I am also in the incredibly confronting position of missing my girls so much it makes me want to cry whilst filing in the compactors, then when they're home with me and asking me oh so many question at the same time, or yelling because I said we weren't buying icy poles, I just want them to go away and GIVE MUMMY SOME SPAAACE. So much love. So much frustration.

M starts school next week. I'm not mentally ready for it. It's hard to grieve your firstborn tiny baby going to big school when said almost-five year old is PUMPED and READY FOR ACTION. All I can see is the baby years slipping away. P starts next year. I'm absolutely not ready for that one, but she will be. This year is a juggle of daycare arrangements, work rosters, wonderfully understanding supervisors, exceptionally accommodating daycare providers and a little family called Smyth, growing up and into the world.

I devoted a lot of time last year to professionally writing, and building a blog with an audience, and piece by piece, I lost love for it. Facebook blog groups seemed to be SO many people shouting into the void 'HERE IS MY BLOG. HERE IS MY AWESOME POST. SHARE IT. WHY AM I GETTING NO SHARES? WHAT DO I DO? HERE IS MY BLOG. HERE IS MY AWESOME POST.' and then I was done.

It felt icky. It felt fake. I felt like I wanted no part of it. So I stopped.

I didn't realise the relief I felt when I got a job and started going to work. I didn't have to participate in a fake world to get reads to get sponsored posts and free products and make a living doing it. If that's the world, it's not for me.

I read a lot of great literature whilst job hunting, the best being Jon Acuff's 'Do Over'. Do yourself a favour, go and check it out. There's many ways to love the life and the job you have, and many ways to get great tools to make a change.

Many musings aside, there is a light in all of this. For three days of the week, I go to an office where everyone can wipe their own butts, no one yells at me AND they pay me to go there. Winner.

Food: Before and After Children

As I write this, I am home from work with a sniffle, and M is at daycare. Now, let me put two and two together for you.


I AM ALONE.

So I have time to ponder while I take panadol and lie on the bed. I did the washing up and had a giggle to myself about how much our lives have changed since M turned up, and inevitably how much they'll change again. Namely, how we eat as a family.

Post fancy dinner cups of tea by the open fire at Cradle Mountain Lodge.


Dining Out
Before Kids:
Which restaurant shall we go to tonight? That fancy French one is always nice, and they're generous with their wine pours.
After Kids:
Quick! She's asleep! Pull into McDonalds! Go drive through - QUIIIIICK!

Fast Food
Before Kids:
But we had McDonalds LAST week. Can't we go to Hungry Jack's this time? Or maybe that new pizza joint?
After Kids:
Quick! She's asleep! Pull into McDonalds! Go drive through - QUIIIIICK!

Cooking at Home
Before Kids:
Do we have to make Spaghetti Bolognese tonight? We had Tacos two days ago, and they're kind of the same, you know, with mince?
After Kids:
Here! Spaghetti Bolognese! And it's unseasoned for Millie! Here's the salt and pepper if you want it. I'm going to bed.

Before Kids:
I don't want Spaghetti Bolognese for dinner tonight. We had it LAST night.
After Kids:
Oh yum! Dinner! Already cooked! Wheeee!

On Wine
Before Kids:
<perusing the bottle shop idly. Mr S in the Red Wine aisle, me in amongst the sweet whites.>
Me: Oh hey! Look! That wine we had at that fancy restaurant the other night for $85/bottle? It's here for only $45! Wow!
Mr S: BUY TWO!
After Kids:
Mr S: We've almost run out of wine leftover from the wedding. I really hope we see that Banrock Station on special for $6/bottle again soon.
Me: Still breastfeeding. Also, pregnant again. BUY SOME LEMONADE PLEASE.

Taking Wine To a Party
Before Kids:
Oh this is a nice vintage. And look, only $28!
After Kids:
We don't go out. Let alone to parties.

On Food and Hygiene
Before Kids:
Oh yuck! That knife fell on the floor for a second. The cat has walked on that floor. Get a new knife!
After Kids:
Millie, what are you eating? A biscuit? When did you last have a biscuit.... yesterday perhaps? Whatever. I washed the floors yesterday... I think.

On Baking
Before Kids:
Mr S: Can you make those yum chocolate chip biscuits again this week? They were so good I ate six at a time and they're all gone.
Me: Sure thing! I'll use the Lindt chocolate again!
After Kids:
Mr S: Can you buy me some Tim Tams please? I saw them on special for $2.
Me: Sure thing!

Cups of Tea
Before Kids:
Oh lovely! Piping hot cup of tea!
After Kids:
OUCH! Tea too hot! I'm so used to it being lukewarm now.

Before Kids:
Tea is not hot enough. Tip it out. MAKE ANOTHER.
After Kids:
Oh look! Tea! I forgot about that! *gulp*

Chocolate
Before Kids:
I'm going to lie here on the couch in silence, taking miniscule bites of my chocolate so it lasts forever.
After Children:
Cannot type, for Millie has wandered out of the room and I am busy eating chocolate at the speed of light before she comes back into the room. Will not share, IT IS MINE, and besides, chocolate isn't great for kiddies, you know?

How has your food life changed after kids?