Wednesday, 28 August 2013

A Genuinely Really Real Housewife.

Hello! Long time no blog.  We have so much to catch up on...

After a recent house move, Mr D, (who is a charming gentleman of British descent,) has decided that he absolutely cannot survive another year in this hideous country without being able to access the 90 minute televisual spectacle of men in shorts chasing a ball around a field climaxing in a thrilling nil-nil draw that is the English Premier League.  In order to view this magnificently exciting, (excuse me while I pause to yawn), display of sportsmanship, one must donate an extraordinarily generous sum of money on a monthly basis to old Mr Murdoch and his Evil Empire.

Despite much moral protestation about supporting the 'Evil' or potentially having to abandon poor Alexandra, our grubby-faced Ecuadorian World Vision Sponsor Child in order to pay for this extravagance, the arrival of the facility to watch 400 hundred channels of crap has spawned a new secret guilty pleasure. The Real Housewives.

Like excessive masturbation or eating Nutella straight from the jar, this new found guilt-inducing indulgence is so bad but just sooooo good.  Whether they're the 'Real Housewives' of the OC, Miami, Vancouver or New Jersey, these women with their spray-on dresses, big hair and tennis ball-sized diamonds are an inanely fascinating display of extravagance, self-indulgence and really bad plastic surgery.

I am a housewife (although I do prefer to be referred to as the CEO- Domestic Management Division) and I am 'keeping it real' as they apparently like to say in the 'hood.  Therefore, technically I am a 'Real Housewife'.  Surely the producers were taking the mickey with they coined the title 'Real Housewives'?  From their surgically chiseled noses and pneumatic breasts to their six-martini lunch dates where they nibble on a sprig of parsley while dissecting the latest saga in their 'Real' lives, I am yet to find one iota of resemblance to my experience as a genuinely really real housewife.

I'm thinking of pitching for my own reality show; 'The Genuinely Really Real Housewives of Hampton'.  It will be riveting.

Here's a transcript of this morning's episode. (To protect the innocent I have renamed myself 'Brandy' and my kids, 'Mandy' and 'Andy'.  Mr D is 'Randy'.)

The Genuinely Really Real Housewives of Hampton. Episode 1. Scene 1.

7.45am-  Mandy and Andy are in their pyjamas.  Randy is on the laptop reading about world news and current affairs while drinking a cup of tea.

Brandy pulls her size 18 tracksuit pants out of the dirty laundry basket and shakes off the excess dog hair. She has no time to bathe therefore takes what is commonly known as a 'deodorant shower'. (She later realises she has accidentally mistaken the Rexona for the spray-in dry shampoo but is relieved her armpit stubble will at least appear refreshed.)

Brandy (shouting): 'Get dressed!'
Mandy (whining): 'I don't want to get dressed'.
Andy: 'Do train drivers eat toast?'

8am- Brandy is simultaneously making breakfast, eating breakfast, preparing a packed lunch, plaiting Mandy's hair, searching for socks, shouting at the dog and checking Facebook.  Randy is on the laptop reading about world news and current affairs.  He continues to drink his tea.

Brandy (shouting): 'Where are your bloody shoes? Where are your bloody socks? Get dressed!'
Mandy (whining): 'I don't want to get dressed'.
Andy: Do pelicans get scared when they go on trains?

8.15am-  Randy is on the laptop reading about world news and current affairs.  He finishes his cup of tea with a satisfied 'Aaaah'.

Brandy (shouting): 'Where are your bloody shoes? Go and brush your teeth. Go and brush your teeth now.  If you don't brush your bloody teeth now they will all fall out and the Tooth Fairy won't leave you any money. Where are my bloody shoes?'
Mandy (whining): 'I don't want to brush my teeth or put my shoes on.'
Andy: 'Do rainbows breathe?'

8.20am- Brandy is searching for her keys, tying Mandy's school tie, filling drink bottles, feeding the dog and applying concealer to the eye bags caused by six years of extreme sleep deprivation.  Randy is on the toilet.

Brandy (shouting): 'Get in the car. Get in the car. Get in the car. Get in the car. Get in the bloody car.'
Mandy (whining): 'I don't want to get in the car'
Andy: 'Do train drivers sometimes go in cars?'
Randy to Brandy: 'Why are you so bloody grumpy in the mornings?'

Now that's what I call a televisual spectacular.  Stay tuned for the next exciting episode where Brandy picks up the dog shit from the lawn and then watches 'Real Housewives' while eating Nutella directly from the jar.

Keepin' it real.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Badly Drawn Boy

In the style of a much funnier blog; 'Parenting. Illustrated with Crappy Pictures' here's an excerpt from my pre-bed storytime shenanigans with Ollie earlier this week...
We were reading one of those touchy-feely books. You know, the ones with the bits of fluff and fur and stuff...

Poo is hilarious at the moment.  So is 'wee wee' and 'windy pops'. Mr D is the 'Poo Poo Man'. The answer to all questions is 'poo' or very occasionally, 'juice'.

I'm getting rather tired of all this poo poo talk...
Right, that's me told then.

Incidentally, it was Ollie's third Birthday this week.  Happy Birthday Poo-Poo Boy!  You have brought us much joy. And a hell of a lot of poo!

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Extra Kisses

Yesterday was 'Suicide Prevention Day' and last night's episode of the ABC's Four Corners 'There is no 3G in Heaven', focused on the tragic issue of youth suicide.  The horrific tales of children lost told by wonderfully brave and eloquent, grief-stricken mothers reduced me to a snotty mess of sympathetic sobs.

How simple the woes of the mother of young children.  Give me a trillion tantrums over the pain of what those women must feel. The significance of my 'are they watching too much TV?' and 'are they participating in enough stimulating activities?' dilemmas pale in comparison of what's to come as they grow up.  Bullying, depression, drugs, alcohol, car accidents, self-esteem, sex. For now, I will savour every moment of Ollie's 2am clamber into our bed for a cuddle for soon enough it will 2am and too drunk to find his keys.

Extra bedtime kisses were planted on the soft foreheads of my sleeping babies last night and I took a moment to absorb the loveliness of their sleepy snuffles and to watch them as they lay snuggled in their little beds surrounded by their mountains of fluffy friends. When we were young my dad used to say he was going to 'put a brick on our heads' to stop us growing up so fast.  My heart breaks for those women who have lost their children and I want to place a whole Great Wall of bricks on my babies' heads. Keep them small. Wrap them in cotton wool and bubble wrap and protect them from the big wide world of growing up.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

A Very Personal Confession...

Apologies for my lengthy absence from Happily Ever After and thank you to the lovely people who remarked that they have missed my mutterings.  

I suffered from Post Natal Depression after baby number two. It has been a long and twisty road to recovery. The following is a piece I wrote while I temporarily relapsed into a sad, dark place earlier this year but hadn't the courage to post it. 


Ever since I can remember, I have wanted to be a mother.  Over the years I have loved and nurtured dogs, cats, a duck and other people's children with abundant maternal passion.  I thought I'd be a natural.  I pictured myself as sort of Nigella-esque earth mother baking and cooking with a child on hip.  I imagined being in a state of perpetual happy bliss like those white t-shirt wearing, baby bottom kissing families in soft-focus nappy commercials.  Motherhood was supposed to be fulfilling.  The final piece of the happily ever after jigsaw.

I love my children with great ferocity.  I would die for them and there are moments in the day where I kiss their soft heads and cuddle them tightly and feel an overwhelming surge of maternal love.  But the reality is, and I feel so terribly guilty and ashamed to admit this, I find motherhood to be overwhelmingly underwhelming. For most of the day I am breaking up fights, dealing with tantrums and endless whining.  I struggle to cope with the whirlwind of mess they create and the mind-numbing routine of domestic drudgery.  The washing, the shopping, the cooking, the bum wiping, the ferrying to the variety of activities that educate and stimulate everyone, except me.

When my second baby, Ollie, was six months old I tumbled into a deep black hole. I was gripped by anxiety.  I couldn't sleep, despite Ollie being a champion sleeper, and would lay awake in a state of panic feeling my heart gallop in my chest. For four nights in a row I didn't sleep at all. By day I would go through the motions of mothering in a state of surreal detachment. Zombified, inconsolably sobbing and so terribly, horribly scared. My GP gave me a veritable cocktail of drugs to sample. Valium. Temazapam. Stilnox. She referred me for an emergency appointment with a Psychiatrist and the Post Natal Depression diagnosis was confirmed.

I hated the Psychiatrist. She was cold and patronising and pigeon-holed me into a personality-type.  I struggled to accept the diagnosis and reluctantly agreed, out of desperation, to take anti-depressants.  I painfully mourned the end of breast feeding, of which I was a passionate advocate, as it was not compatible with the medication I was prescribed.  I sobbed as I watched my baby suckle at my breast for the final time. My milk all but dried up anyway as a result of my total, utter exhaustion.

My family struggled to be supportive.  My husband was patient and loving but overwhelmed by the conflicting demands of work, two small children and a wife who was falling to pieces.  My parents were, I think, embarrassed by the diagnosis.  Ashamed of the stigmas of 'mental health condition' and 'anti-depressant medication' and unable to understand why I could not just 'pull myself together'.  Friends offered sympathetic ears but many did not know of my state of mind.  It was easier not to tell. Far simpler to put on a happy face despite the numbness inside.

As the weeks progressed the darkness began to lift and the tears dried up. However, it was a year or more before I could live without fear of  falling back into that deep black hole. I still have black days.  Days where I feel numb and sad and overwhelmed by the mundane repetition of my daily routine.  Overwhelmed by the demands of two small children and the whirlwind of chaos they create.  I feel guilty as I know that in the grand scheme of the word's atrocities, mine is an insignificant complaint. We're well fed, we're warm and safe. But sometimes that's not enough.

Monday, 9 April 2012

The Lady Shed

The other day my friend Melissa was telling me about her husband's plan to build a rather enormous shed. Why the hell does he need a six-bay shed?  I questioned.  'Well,' she said. 'He's got the tractor, the ride on mower, the boat, the camper-trailer, the normal trailer plus a spare bay for all the other crap he accumulates.' (Given they do live on a farm, their storage requirements are substantially more than average.) Then, rather poignantly, she declared: 'A man's shed is like a woman's handbag, the bigger it is, the more shit you collect.'  

I don't know much about sheds.  Mr D, thankfully, is not a shed kinda guy.  We don't have a shed.  We have a garage with a car and a lot a crap in it. But handbags. I do know about handbags.  And mine, is like a 'Lady Shed'.

Looking inside a lady's handbag is akin to reading her secret diary. A handbag is a cavernous treasure trove of necessities, non-essentials, ancient receipts and used tissues.  It's where memories of long forgotten purchases and consumed chocolate bars are laid to rest.  I'm not a designer handbag kind of girl. I don't see the point of re-mortgaging for what is essentially a crap carrier. (I don't get the whole shoe thing either, or massages for that matter, which in my opinion, are both merely expensive and painful.) In my pre-kid days I would tote around a tiny bag containing not much more than fags, lippy and a credit card.  But when you have kids, there's a whole lot of excess baggage to consider.

Much like a school-girl swat, on anticipation of the arrival of my first baby, after attending ante-natal classes and devouring the library of baby books, I dutifully assembled the required list of approximately seven million 'essentials' and stuffed them into my pristine Cath Kidston nappy bag. What they don't tell you (and don't get me started on the stuff they don't tell you in those books,) is that you need to employ a Sherpa to lug all that crap around. And that as soon as you forget to take it out with you, chances are, your baby will have a volcanic bowel eruption of such violent magnitude that you, and the kid, will end up with shit in your hair.

By the second child, I required a small village of Sherpas to assist in the hauling of the double load of baby and toddler paraphernalia. Kid Two was a chucker so I spent most of his first year of life being showered in curdled milky vomit.  This necessitated the lugging of several changes of clothes and spew cloths in addition to the two different sizes of nappies, toddler snacks and assorted instruments of entertainment and distraction for Kid One. My back hurt. A lot.

As they've grown up the essentials to crap ratio has dramatically shifted.  With only one kid in nappies (who now has a functioning esophageal sphincter) I can leave the house without resorting to a Girl Scout 'be prepared' style handbag stock-take. But like your average shed the bulk of its contents is now a vast accumulation of non-essential crap and three-year-old sultanas. Perhaps it's time to give my Lady Shed a good clear out.

I am an extremely nosey person by nature.  I love those bits in the newspaper where you see what's in people's shopping baskets or 'My Day on a Plate' (Do real people actually snack on chia seeds? What wrong with doughnuts you healthy essential fatty acid eating freaks?)  So here, for your voyeuristic pleasure, is the (slightly blurry) contents of my Lady Shed.


  • Sunglasses (one pair for me, one for a kid)
  • Small plastic rabbit
  • Lid of orange texta
  • Orange bouncy ball
  • Wind up caterpillar
  • Plastic doll
  • Red convertible
  • Kid-sized lipstick
  • Nappies x 2
  • Empty packet of wipes
  • One sock
  • Condoms
  • Kid's handbag
  • Empty box of mints
  • Bottle top
  • Popcorn
  • Assorted receipts and sweet wrappers
  • Hairclips
  • Kid's necklace
  • Lid of water bottle
  • Lippy
  • Keys
  • Assorted pens
  • Magic light-up wand
  • Purse (with it's own sub-ecosystem of crap)
  • Map of Werribee Zoo x 2
  • Kid's hat
  • Sunscreen
  • Bird pendant with broken necklace
  • Book (Paris Wife- un-read)