#Freeboobing And Other Ways I Am On The Cutting Edge (And You May Be Too)

Sadly, I have no idea of the original source of this fabulous picture. It’s been floating around for years though. If you know, please tell me so I can give credit!

This post was originally published in Practical Parenting Magazine, June 2015

Newsflash, dear readers! It has come to my attention that ‘freeboobing’ is a thing. This, the art of letting the ladies loose, is a skill that many of us have perfected with Olympic athleticism.  For me, seconds after I walk in the door, the bra is off, signalling that the relaxation hour has come.  Cup of tea, breasts roam free.

I used to keep my bralessness for private moments. At least, I tried.  I did realise one day how habitual the bra-flinging had become when my mum and dad were over for dinner. Next to Dad, mid-anecdote, I unclipped my bra, threaded it through the sleeves of my shirt like a sexy conjurer and threw it over to join the rest of the washing on the lounge, all without losing the thread of my story.

All class, me. But apparently, I’m not alone and this behaviour now has a name: it’s called ‘freeboobing’.  #freeboobing, to be totes modern and specific. Freeboobing! It’s like Christmas for women everywhere.

This got me thinking.  What else is there that is happening in my life that I never knew was a trend? Have I been on the cutting edge of fashion this WHOLE TIME?

What about #bathslobbing, where I soak in my own discarded skin cells for an hour? I am seriously good at that.  Perhaps #nobbysinging will take off, where I sing Streisand and Mariah Carey to my children with full commitment to the dramatic arc of the song and every power note it holds, knowing from their guileless little faces that they don’t yet realise how terrifyingly daggy I am? (This also applies to #mumdancing.)

What about #rabbitholing, when hours that could have been spent learning more/anything about Middle Eastern politics or cleaning the bathroom were spent in a fruitless, addictive and soul-rotting quest to understand what a Freelee the Banana Girl is? What about #hotpantsing, when my legs are too hairy for shorts on a hot day and I am forced to wear jeans so as not to frighten strangers with my mohair stockings?

Perhaps  #scrispering, will take off. This brilliant combo of ‘scream and whisper’ (this word is not my invention, although I wish it was) describes the tone one is forced to use with naughty children in public. Painful but brilliant, #honestchilding is when the kids are the only ones telling the truth, as in ‘Mum are you growing a beard?’, ‘Have you got another baby in there?’ or ‘Your breath smells like bad eggs.’

Maybe #idiotdriving will become a thing, when I back into yet another letterbox, followed by #idiotconfessions, when I must go home and tell my husband that I’ve done it again. I’m sure #anychocolating has the potential to go viral. That’s when there is no actual chocolate left in the house and one has to resort to making icing to eat while watching the Real Housewives.

Last night I had something of a peak human experience. I was so thoroughly modern that I performed a number of cool hashtags simultaneously. There I was, #freeboobing while #bathslobbing,  #rabbitholing and #anychocolating. It was a top night in. And  – who knew?- totes on the cutting edge of fashion.  Finally, my hour has come!

Raising Girls (The Hints, Music and A Prayer From Tina Fey Edition).

Good girl!

While Keith was away recently, I found myself at one point screaming ‘Don’t you scream at me!’ at my eight year old daughter. ‘You don’t get to scream!’ I helpfully screamed. ‘Only the mother gets to scream!”

Later, I gathered the troops around me and apologised. It was the housework that made me lose it, of course. Doing housework while you live with small children, I read somewhere once, is like running a blender with the top off. Sometimes you spend all evening getting the house together and the next morning, it’s like it never happened. In terms of work, it’s like every week I write the same report and it gets shredded in front of me. Groundhog Day. It can grind at your soul, comradres! At your vurry soul!

Anyways, the apologising is an important follow-on from the mother-rage. But daughters should be allowed to lose it and apologise too, I’ve decided. So I shall try not to do that ‘Don’t you scream at me!’ scream again. Note to self.

In general, raising kids is an ongoing training program, for me and Keith and for them. My two girls are the unmitigated joys for my life. The big one carries a 700 page Harry Potter book everywhere and wants to be a comedian astronaut,  and the little one copies everything her siblings do, morphed through the wierdo filter of the three-year -old. We call her ‘Replay’, and every replay is absurd and delicious. They are the best. And I want to do my best job at bringing them up.

An article I read this week held some interesting ideas, including these:

Encourage your daughter to pursue a passion.

Encourage her to solve issues on her own rather than fixing things for her.

Encourage her to take physical risks.

Allow her to disagree with you and get angry.

Make regular time to listen  - and listen more than you talk. 

Acknowledge her struggles but keep a sense of perspective.

In terms of advice, for me, nothing will ever top Tina Fey’s prayer for her daughter:

First, Lord: No tattoos. May neither Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches.

May she be Beautiful but not Damaged, for it’s the Damage that draws the creepy soccer coach’s eye, not the Beauty.

When the Crystal Meth is offered, may she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half And stick with Beer.

Guide her, protect her when crossing the street, stepping onto boats, swimming in the ocean, swimming in pools, walking near pools, standing on the subway platform, crossing 86th Street, stepping off of boats, using mall restrooms, getting on and off escalators, driving on country roads while arguing, leaning on large windows, walking in parking lots, riding Ferris wheels, roller-coasters, log flumes, or anything called “Hell Drop,” “Tower of Torture,” or “The Death Spiral Rock ‘N Zero G Roll featuring Aerosmith,” and standing on any kind of balcony ever, anywhere, at any age.

Lead her away from Acting but not all the way to Finance. Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes And not have to wear high heels. What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design? I’m asking You, because if I knew, I’d be doing it, Youdammit.

May she play the Drums to the fiery rhythm of her Own Heart with the sinewy strength of her Own Arms, so she need Not Lie With Drummers.

Grant her a Rough Patch from twelve to seventeen.Let her draw horses and be interested in Barbies for much too long, For childhood is short – a Tiger Flower blooming Magenta for one day – And adulthood is long and dry-humping in cars will wait.

O Lord, break the Internet forever, that she may be spared the misspelled invective of her peers And the online marketing campaign for Rape Hostel V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed.

And when she one day turns on me and calls me a Bitch in front of Hollister, Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends, For I will not have that Shit. I will not have it.

And should she choose to be a Mother one day, be my eyes, Lord, that I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 A.M., all-at-once exhausted, bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back. “My mother did this for me once,” she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby’s neck. “My mother did this for me.” And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a Mental Note to call me. And she will forget. But I’ll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes.

Amen.”

In the final reckoning, daughters are so much fun. Mine bring me enormous delight at the moment, but it’s all swings and roundabouts. Tomorrow morning one of them might awaken into a crazy-eyed changeling, ‘whetevering’ and eye-rolling me until I hide in the bathroom, eat cooking chocolate and weep. It’s all part of the rich tapestry of life…

Also:

You Don’t Have To Be Pretty (And Other Advice For Daughters)

Introduce Your Daughters To Eccentric, Interesting and Original Women

Raising Girls – The Eight-Year-old Edition

On Following A Child’s Spark

Don’t Worry, Stressed, Enraged and Weeping Parents! Your Children Will Give You A Million Chances To Do Better

If it all finally, comes to naught, turn to the healing power of music and let Dan teach you how to play the way you feel when your daughter says she hates you. Remember, if the daughter who hates you is under 10, be sure to put a capo on the fourth fret!

Honest School Notes #9

Dear Office,

I’m sorry the children were late on the last day of term this week.

Keith has been away for a fortnight and life as a solo mum-of-three has gone swimmingly. At least, until the last couple of days.

I think the crumble began at rugby practice, which requires the mothers to stand at the side of a wintry field at dinner time, while siblings get increasingly cold and angry. I started checking the time frequently at about twenty past five, waiting for the five-thirty end of training when I can pack the kids in the car and spend the next twenty minutes refereeing fights in the backseat ( a recent battle between my three and six year olds was over who was which number on the digital clock. ‘I’m the nine! No! Daddy is the nine and you are the five!” etc. It is like being in an absurdist improv session.)

However, at the end of training is where the dad-coaches start having a little fun. They chuck the ball to each other while the under sevens run wildly back and forth. The dad coaches are dad-coaching beuase they love rugby, so this bit at the end is their favourite bit. It’s hard for them to stop, even when the clock is ticking past five thirty.

They don’t care that the siblings are getting crazy-eyed and hangry. They aren’t mentally recalibrating when to put the dinner on while carting a dead-weight three year old because the grass is too wet to sit on. Nope, they are chucking a ball around and having a whale of a time.

Suddenly the ball came soaring into our little pack of mums and collected a poor women fair and square on the side of the head.  She was of course kind and brushed it off even thought, clearly,  it had actually hurt her.

‘Sorry!’ laughed the dads, and on they continued with their dad-antics (dantics?)

I checked the time again and thought how long it would take to get the spag bol on. I bent over to get the bags together and ‘Ball! Ball!” shouted the dads. They’d kicked another ball at us and this one was headed for me. I stood up and my real feelings burst out of me. The F word burst from me. Not loudly. But not softly either. The dads were laughing weakly.  ’Once is an accident!’ I said loudly. ‘Twice is…not an accident!” (It was not my strongest comeback.)

I called the children to me and stalked off the field.

Fucking rugby.

Eventually we made it home, Office, through dinner, through a chapter of Harry Potter out loud, through teeth and baths and reading-apples and all the shenanigans that accompany bedtime. Mum was over to help me. Keith’s plane was arriving first thing in the morning and we had to leave for the airport pick-up at 6am.

At eight I got my period, which kind of explained my inability to keep my feelings on the inside on the rugby field.

By ten-thirty Mum and I had finished the washing-up and making breakfast packs for the car and laying out clothes for the morning.  We tootled off to my bed to read magazines together and talk about Masterchef.

All was well until little Pudding started barking. The unmistakable bark of croup. We went next door and checked on her. She was sitting up, hot and coughing, and rubbing angrily at her ear. She’d been complaining about that ear for a couple of days – it turned out there was a tick behind it. So Mum and I held her head down while I pulled the tick out, which was as fun for everybody as it sounds.

We tucked her into the big bed and then followed one of those hours with sick kids. Those google-doctor, what-to-do, is-she-worse/better hours, where you debate whether or not to go to the hospital. She’s breathing pretty funny, but that’s just croup. Going to the A and E at midnight for hours is a pretty good way for her to get sicker.

Unless she’s having an allergic reaction to the tick and her throat is swelling shut.

Fun times, Office!

After an hour or so she settled right down and we all went to sleep. I got the T-Bones bed ready for Mum (she has a chronic lung condition and being breathed on by a sick child is a bad idea for her). Of course when I moved T out he’d pissed the bed with the urinary force of a thousand stallions and I had to change it all.

Then the alarm didn’t go off. I probably set it wrong with my tired, anxious, menstrual-anger fuelled  fingertips. S when we did wake up we were forty five minutes late for the plane. Luckily, it was delayed anyway. As was the children’s arrival at school.

My apologies again Office.

Your sincerely,

Rachael Mogan McIntosh

Honest School Notes #1

Honest School Notes #2

Honest School Notes #3

 Honest School Notes #4

Honest School Notes #5

Honest School Notes #6

Honest School Notes #7

Honest School Notes 8

 

 

 

Two Crazed Mothers (One Of Whom Was Not Me)

Young people of Minnesota swimming, from the US National Archives

School holidays have landed.  What are you guys up to? So far we have had one super-chilled, lazy day here at Rancho Relaxo and one busy drop-off-pick-up put-your-shoes-on-whaddya-mean-you-don’t-know-where-your-shoes are kinda day.

I think I will aim for more of the former but for tomorrow at least, we are still in the bizzy zone. All three of the childrens have different bookings in their social calendars and I have some work to do.

Other than that, all is well.  K has been overseas for two weeks communing with the eggheads, but is back now – hurray, hurray. I don’t like advertising on the medias that he is not here, but all went fine. As usual I’m reminded again of what goddesses single parents are.

There are benefits to being the sole captain of the good ship DowhatIsay but it is so tiring, carrying all the weight alone, and there are no breaks in the weather. I don’t like it when all of my people aren’t in the one place, so I’m happier in myself now that we’re all together. Especially when we are together trying to work out Sia’s Chandelier around the piano.  Oh my god,  power notes to thrill, that number. So high that the only solution is to shriek like banshees.

Vat else?

I took young Pudding up for a visit to pre-school last week. She’s my third child to go to this utterly beautiful little school and I have so many wonderful memoriesof the place.  This one, for instance:

Last week at the pre-school pick up, I was chatting to my friend Emma in the carpark when a woman came up, strapped her baby in the car next to us and then suddenly shouted ‘My wallet! Somebody stole my wallet!’

She ran past us, stopping to shriek ‘Watch the baby! My wallet’s gone!’ as she headed at full speed back through the gates.

Emma and I looked at each other. ‘That’s so weird,’ I said. ‘No’, said Emma, ‘what’s weird is that she’s just put her baby in my car.’

Yep, their two cars were identical, down to the ubiquitous crumbly mess in the back seat.  This poor harried, underslept mother had strapped her kid into the wrong car and then had a massive hysterical freak out. In a few minutes she sheepishly returned, retrieved her baby, got into the right car and left.

I have not cackled and hooted and wept so hard in weeks. It was such a beautifully absurd moment and I recognised myself in that mother so very much, from the nutty mistake to the dramatic overreaction to the final, sheepish walk of shame. She is Everywoman.

I laugh still remembering that. Glorious.

Then today, Pudding and I hit a conversational wall trying to establish whether she was talking about a water-bottle OR a hot-water-bottle and I remembered this:

Like many small children, our three like to spend the hour after they are put to bed inventing increasingly flimsy and desperate excuses to get up again. They all have FOMO.  Autumn has brought some glorious daytime sunshine and chilly nights (the best) and so some of our cold-weather rituals have begun: porridge for breakfast, hot-water-bottles at bedtime.

They are all sharing one room now and so last night I tucked all three  in with kisses, hot-water-bottles and the usual optimistic/hopeless lecture. Within five minutes,  three year old Pudding was out in the kitchen casually filling a plastic bottle from the water filter.

‘What are you doing?’ I asked her.

‘Yeah, I just take this to bed, Mummy,’ she said.

‘In what parallel universe?’ I spluttered.  There is already at least one wet bed every morning at our place. The washing machine is my constant companion. No way am I letting these kids take half a litre of water to bed!

‘No water bottles in bed! Absolutely not!’ I said sternly.

‘WHAT?’ came dual voices from the bedroom.

‘I’m telling Pudding she can’t take a water bottle to bed!’ I called. ‘Now go to sleep!”

‘But can I keep my water bottle?’ came a worried little voice.

‘And mine?’ piped another.

I was incensed. Were they all stashing bottles of water in their beds? No wonder everybody was pissing themselves! And what else was in there, for gods sake? Mars Bars? Greek salads?

‘No water bottles in the beds!’ I shouted. ‘Bring them out straight away!’

With much indignant muttering, Peanut and T-Bone stomped out to the big room and presented me with their hot water bottles.

‘Oh!’ I said. ‘Oh right! Water bottles. I thought you had water bottles. You can have those water bottles.’

Back to bed they went. Just another arbitrary, confusing moment in the arbitrary, confusing landscape that is childhood.

GOD life is funny. I know it is bizarre to be referencing myself. Like, pathologically so, maybe. Don’t tell me. But life is just funny.

Happy tomorrow!

Orange Is The New Black: Make a Reek That Will Last One Thousand Years!

If you’re not watching Orange Is The New Black because you are curing cancer or writing a manifesto for fourth-wave feminism, that is fine. If you’re not watching it because you don’t know it or think it’s not for you, then you should rethink your damn decision!

There are so few shows like this. Set in a women’s prison, it is all about women – exploring the complex culture behind bars, and using flashbacks to explain the back-stories of the inmates.  It covers life in a way we rarely see onscreen. Basically, it passes the shit out of the Bechdel Test.

It occasionally misses the mark. Sometimes the cheese factor is high. Sometimes I can’t bear watching Piper at all. (You too?)  But that’s fine. That’s balanced out by the moments of utterly hilarious writing. And nobody does a season-finale like OITNB. (Except maybe Larry David.)

For instance, this speech Piper gives (she’s running a clandestine business called Felonious Spunk, which sells women’s worn underwear to perverts.) It is so funny it’s almost unwatchable.

Anyway, this post is for the fans of OITNB.  Some more back story on the fabulous women of Litchfield Penitentiary.

Big Boo is best mates with Mitchell from Modern Family, and speaks with great passion and intelligence about  playing a butch lesbian character on prime time TV.

Laverne Cox is the first trans women to be nominated for an Emmy. 

Morello is Australian and she made that crazy  accent up!

Norma used to front a punk band.

Some inside goss from the woman who was in jail with the REAL Piper.

And a final p.s: the breakout star of season 3, our very own Ruby Rose, is engaged to Phoebe Dahl, Roald Dahl’s grand-daughter. They are the coolest pair in town.

 

Late Night Conversations With Daughters

Last night, tucked up on the couch with my hot-water-bottle and my cup of tea, I watched the amazing documentary Between A Frock And A Hard Place, which explores the making of Stephan Elliot’s seminal film Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert. It locates the film in a social time when the AIDS crisis was decimating the gay community, the gay rights movement was really gaining traction and the bravest people in this era of gay hate-crime and general lack of understanding were the drag queens.

I remember coming of age in the late eighties, when the bright and flamboyant land of Oxford Street felt like everything I couldn’t find in my all-girls Catholic high school. I remember RAT parties and epically wild dance floors and drag shows at the Albury Hotel . Beautiful boys and amazing costumes.

After the film there was a superb special edition of Q & A, a panel show here in Australia which pits our brightest minds against each other on questions of the day. Halfway through, my insomniac eight year old pottered out. ‘I can’t sleeeeeep,’ she told me, with the usual nine vowels.

I let her tuck up and watch with me, and there unfolded one of those lovely parenting moments, where Peanut listened to articulate and heartfelt debate about gay rights and marriage equality, trying to make sense of the language and the content. ‘What’s transgender?’ she asked.

I talked with her about what it would be like for her to be exactly as she is now, but told by everyone around her that she was a boy. That she had to play with the boys, and use their toilet, and wear their clothes. That she might go along with it for a long time, but feel unhappy on the inside, and like nobody really understood her. And that maybe at some point she would decide that she couldn’t pretend any more, that she had to dress like a girl, and call herself a girls name, and tell people who she really was.

Then, people might be mean to her about it, because people are often scared of what they don’t understand. And that’s why transgender people have to be so brave, and we should have huge respect for the everyday struggle they have face just to live their lives.

She nodded. She asked a few more questions and I answered them. We shared the hot-water bottle. She told me who she secretly thought was the cutest boy at school (I’ll never tell! But I approve.)

It was a beautiful moment with my biggest girl, and if you have kids interested in the issue, or you’d like a way to open up that conversation, you can find the program here  (non-Australian readers might need a workaround to view this).

I wouldn’t advise watching the documentary Between A Frock And A Hard Place with young kids, because there is a significant exploration of the gay-bashing crimes of the eighties, but you can find it here.

Also, I recently loved this excellent podcast from Rear Window on the history of marriage equality.

Finally, a thoughtful short film about gender fluidity called Break Free by the wonderful Ruby Rose, who’s really having a moment right now. Turning the the straight ladies gay all over the place!

Happy weekending my friends, wherever you are are and whoever you love.

 

Wonderful Things To Watch With The Kids

We really are entering the electric blanket, couch-potato, glad-I-had-three-children-to-use-as-hot-water-bottles season. At the minute, the kids and I are all deeply in love with Horrible Histories. So goddamn funny. Here’s a sample of Historical Masterchef:

Or a soft-rock Viking track:

Honestly, it is so good. Here are a few more great clips to enjoy with the kids. Get under a blanket, cuddle up! Get the kids to work the controls! They are better at it anyway.

Easton LaChapelle is an inspiring seventeen year old robotic engineer. I love this kid.

Pandas on a slippery dip. Because pandas on a slippery dip.

Cool stuff – a tour of the International Space Station:

For specifics, a little tutorial on how to wash your hair in space:

And just because it’s glorious: astronaut Chris Hadfield sings Space oddity. In space.

Finally if,  like me, you have a Harry Potter fan in your house, they might like this clip of Daniel Radcliffe rapping. It is SO impressive!

Happy wintering. Stay warm out there.

Chronic Illness, Family Life and Extreme Sexiness

I’ve been a bit under the weather the last week or so.

This fun and cheerful chronic sinusitis problem I’ve been juggling for a couple of years now is an up-down adventure. It’s a lot better since having surgery a year ago, but the underlying problem – a chronic inflammatory response in my sinuses – remains. So my sinuses swell for some mysterious reason, and then the bacteria that is easily flushed through a normal system is more easily trapped, so I’m prone to infection,…after infection… after infection. When infection starts, my immune response kicks in and makes more mucus. Yummy, yummy. Mucus for everybody!

Before my surgery I spent about 100 days on anti-biotics. Post-surgery, I’m still getting sinus infections, and am trying my best to fight them without anti-biotics (sometimes successful, sometimes not.) My sense of smell is gone (good for poo-splosion situations, bad for cooking and everything else). I’m really hoping that’s not permanent, but nobody can say for sure. Next step is to see an immunologist (Sydney or Wollongong suggestions welcomed) to see if there is an underlying immne system disease or dysfunction.

I’ve tried lots of stuff – giving up gluten, dairy, sinus osteopathy, sacrificing virgin goats at sunrise. I flush out my sinuses at least once a day with salted water and steroids. I’m taking Vitamin C and multi’s and olive leaf. Broth. Lots of water. Blah blah blah. It’s time consuming and boring.

This week I’ve been trying a new thing where you take cough mixture at intervals throughout the day. It’s active ingredient ‘guaifenesin’ has a mucus-thinning effect, so it can help to avoid infection. It’s disgusting though – and drinking cough mixture is habit forming, so local mums, if you see me at the school run with a Slushy cup full of Red Bull and Robotussin (I think Lil Wayne calls it ‘crank’), stage an intervention.

Ah, such fun.

But wait!

There’s more!

I’ve had a spine full of hardware for twenty years, and it has occasional weird moments. One of its party tricks is to pop out of place (nobody can explain exactly why) so that a golf-ball sized knob sticks out the back. Whut? The hells thut? I think of it as Golfie. If I catch things when Golfie is just threatening – that part of my back starts to feel really unstable and weak, and it all starts aching a lot – I know to take anti-inflammatories and lie flat until its weird tantrum subsides. I can usually prevent Golfie popping fully out these days, but it is a massive pain in the arse.

Frankly, if I was a horse, I’d be having nightmares about the glue factory.

Having a chronic illness or injury is actually a lot like having a really shitty part-time job; one where your cranky boss can suddenly call you in with no notice and refuse to tell you when your shift ends. You have to just take a breath and push through. The family system just has to adjust and fall in around it.

But the physical management of pain or illness is not the hardest thing, and nor are the modifications of how to manage work and life. The hardest part is managing the emotional stress of it all.

As a mum and the primary care-giving hausfrau with three small kids, I’m the emotional barometer of the family. Everything is thirty percent harder when one is in pain, and little kids are incredibly finely-tuned to their parents emotional state. When I am impatient and irritable, the kids act up. It’s really hard. Everything, everything is on the floor. It hurts my back to bend, and when I get my head down, my sinuses give me a kick.

I try hard to be be patient, loving and present, and to keep the atmosphere light and joyous. When I’m in pain, ‘present’ sucks. ‘Far, far away’ – in mind, if not in body – is much preferable.

Energy must be saved for the essentials, like driving kids about, getting the shopping done, the dinner on the table, the washing on the line. But the second-level of living gets neglected. Properly cleaning some filthy corner of the hovel. Getting down on the floor for Lego and craft and cuddles.  After a while, the stuff I’m not getting to really starts to weigh on me. When all you’re managing is the mundane basics, you don’t get any of the joy from the fun stuff.

It can start to feel a bit bleak.

I really love this little homestead of ours. We play games, we make music, we cook together, and Keith and both put effort into building a family life that we love. But it all takes energy, sometimes more than I have. When I’m struggling with my back, Keith comes up for lunch and then he’ll play with little Pudding while I rest. At six, he finishes work for the day, we’ll all have dinner and then I’ll exit. I have to go lie flat while my angry back slowly calms. I have to do that so that I can get up again and do the mother marathon the next day.

I don’t want to overstate the case here (she says, descending fom the ceiling on a half-moon while playing a tiny violin…) I’m actually good. I think I’m beating this recent sinus infection (that crank is some real good shit), and my back is feeling a lot better – little Golfie  has stayed put this time. Apart from activating a little of the Fear, it’s been a minor episode.  It’s been a whole heap worse than this before, and chances are (sadly) it will be a whole lot worse sometime in the future.

But it takes work, this shitty part-time job of chronic pain. My kids and Keith are so good and kind, but they don’t like Mum’s shitty part time job either. And if any of you out there have that job – bad boss, no benefits, lifetime contract – then I send you my best. If you’re anything like me, your chronic pain probably stops you from being quite the Mum and partner you would like to be.

I think can hold certain gifts,  however: compassion and understanding for others, perhaps; a knowledge that the surface picture might not reflect the reality of another persons life; and  a commitment to enjoying the small and beautiful details of the mundane everyday. Holding some worries and fears about the future is a damn great incentive to enjoy your life as it stands right now.

And I do, I do. I love my life, shitty part-time job and all.

Finally, my apologies but the bit in the  title about Extreme Sexiness is a lie. I said it because I came across this cartoon and it made me laugh.

I do feel bad about not putting out for you though. You want sexy, here’s Rod Stewart. Don’t say I never gave you nothing.

 

Sex After Parenthood

Birth injuries, lost libido and extreme exhaustion:  just a few of the many factors that can affect a couple’s sex life after they have children. It can be hard to access specific and practical advice on managing this stuff. It’s loaded and emotional. Life has changed utterly, both practically and emotionally, and sex can be one of the hardest things for couples to talk about easily. For months after having  a baby, women are hormonal casseroles; bodies awash with post-pregnancy and (often) breastfeeding hormones. Many women have birth injuries with intense emotional as well as physical consequences. Add psychotic sleeplessness to the mix, and it can be a minefield.

For partners, it’s tricky.  Even really understanding partners can find it hard to know where the line is. Should you let a new mum feel like she’s still a babe, still desirable to you? Or if you emerge from the ensuite in your comedy elephant trunk underpants (they used to drive her wild!), will she lay upon you the gaze of death?

When your doctor says ‘You’re good to go!’ after your six-week check-up, are you allowed to demand a  second opinion? How long is it OK to wait? How much pain is normal? How erotic is weeping during sex on a scale of 1 to 10? And critically, how do you talk about this stuff with your partner?

The Longest Shortest Time podcast and website is a new discovery of mine. Their podcast “The Parents Guide To Doing It‘ is a fantastic listen.

With guest Dan Savage (a favourite of mine, I adore him) a panel of experts break down all the common issues that face couples in bed after becoming parents, and dish out practical and specific hints on how to navigate that life-stage together.

Good luck out there, mums and dads. Be happy!

Also: Dan Savage on how to have a wonderful long-term relationship. 

Also: Longest Shortest Time deals specifically with pelvic pain and birth injuries.

Happy Mondays!

Good morning, comrades!

I hope Monday embraces you like a giant seal.

May the road rise to meet you, the wind be at your back, the sunshine warm upon you and the fish in your lunch bucket fresh and delicious.