My week as a stay at home Mum

Last week, I took some recreation leave from work.

I would say that I had a weeks holiday, but as I quickly found out, it was about as far from a holiday as you could possibly get!

Let’s call it… ‘My Week As A Stay At Home Mum’.

Okay, let’s start at the beginning. Initially, I was thinking of just having the Friday off, as I was heading to the Broncos match Thursday night and considering I was planning on consuming one too many beers that night, I didn’t want to be hung over at work. I then offered my services to help Renee on Wednesday, and at that point I just though, bugger it, I’ll just take the week off instead.

So here I was coming out of the weekend excited about not having to go to work, and excited about a week of taking it easy and enjoying some down time. Well, after looking at the schedule I had been given I quickly realised that this week was going to be far from a relaxing weeks “holiday”. It turns out, that stay at home mums lead very busy lives. And it was my turn to experience the hectic, non-stop, balls to the wall existence that these mums live every… single… day…

So my schedule went something like this: Monday was play group. Tuesday was Kangatraining. Wednesday, Teddy Bear Picnic. Thursday, Kangatraining and footy. Friday was Music Class. Saturday I cleaned the house. And Sunday, we had Jesse’s third birthday party.

Holy f*** balls batman, how the hell do you mums do this every week!!!

Now I realise we only had one event on each day (except for Thursday, but the footy doesn’t really count), but the organisation, preparation, and even the wind down when you get home with two kids is exhausting! I literally required at least a 1 to 2 hour nap each day just to cope with the stress of it all!

It was non-stop. Like Liam Neeson in that movie… Non-Stop. It was like trying to navigate and escape a skyscraper on Christmas Eve with the name John McClane. It was like… well you get the idea… it was fully hectic as bro!

I know that I’m sort of joking around about it, but in all seriousness, it really was exhausting. I have joked on occasions to Renee that when I go to work every day it’s like my break from the kids, but it really is like that. I now have mad respect for those mums (and dads) who are full time stay at home parents, because it’s a tough job. It pays nothing. And it’s a 24/7 job.

So well played stay at home mums. I take my hat off to you.

The question from here however, is would I do it again? The answer, is absofreakinglutely. I loved every single minute being able to spend every waking minute with Renee, Jesse and Jasper. And I think they loved it too.

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Stop The Criticism

Paw Patrol… Paw Patrol…

Whenever you’re in trouble…

Paw Patrol… Paw Patrol…

We’ll be there on the double…

This is the song that has been on non-stop repeat for the past two weeks straight in our house. That’s right, Jesse is officially knee deep into not wanting to watch anything else other than Paw Patrol. Not that we mind, because at least it’s given us a break from Thomas the Tank Engine (They’re two, they’re four, they’re six, they’re eight).

And so watching as much Paw Patrol as I have over the past couple of weeks, I was curious to read more about the show that has become somewhat of an international phenomenon! So it was straight to the most reliable source of knowledge I could think of… Wikipedia.

Interestingly, one of the things I was most interested to find out, was what breed each of the dogs were. I mean, it’s easy enough to guess the breeds of Chase, Marshal and Rubble, but what about the others? Is Skye some sort of chihuahua type thing? And what the hell kind of a breed is Rocky and Zuma?

As I was reading through the details of this media powerhouse, I wasn’t at all surprised when I stumbled across a section detailing criticism the show has received.

The main criticism that has been directed toward the show, is regarding unequal gender representation because the team of dogs is primarily male, and includes only one main female. Some by the name of Cat Conway said “the police pup, firefighting pup, builder pup, sea-rescue pup and whatever the hell Rocky does are all coded male, because of course you couldn’t have a female police dog, could you?”

COME ON PEOPLE!!! It’s a children’s show about dogs who talk to humans and drive cars. This isn’t real life!!!

Why is it that we feel the need to complain about everything. Why can’t we just sit back and enjoy a television program, or a movie, or whatever it might be, without having to pick it pieces and find something to criticize.

Peppa Pig has been criticized for a number of reasons from having an episode where they treated a spider named Mister Skinnylegs as a friend, to Doctor Brown Bear setting unrealistic expectations for real doctors. Moana has received a raft of criticism ranging from accusations the movie appropriates Polynesian mythology, through to degrading the diversity of the Pacific.

WHY CAN’T WE JUST ENJOY SOMETHING!!!

I mean, getting back to Paw Patrol, it didn’t even occur to me that there was a supposed gender imbalance among the pups. And I’m sure if you go around and ask the target audience about the Paw Patrol crew, most of the kids that watch the show probably don’t see gender in any case. All they would see is a bunch of pups having fun and rescuing people.

I think it’s about time we stopped, and re-learn how to enjoy the entertainment that is available to us without having to find something to criticize.

So sit back, and enjoy Paw Patrol for what it’s meant to be. A fun children’s program about talking pups who help the people of Adventure Bay!

Oh god, maybe I’m a little too into this show myself!

Paw Patrol… Paw Patrol…

Whenever you’re in trouble…

Jesse’s Hat

A blankie… a teddy bear… a favourite toy… a dummy (or pacifier for you international readers out there)…

Most babies/kids go through the phase of becoming attached to that one particular item that they just can’t possibly live without it. They must know where it is at all times and if they don’t, well, you don’t really want to have to deal with the repercussions of that.

Well, it would seem that Jesse is currently smack bang in the thick of serious attachment mode. But not with a blankie, teddy or his favourite toy. Oh no, he is seriously head over heels in love with his hat!

That’s right… his hat! This is a kid that used to hate wearing hats so much that whenever you put one on him, he would rip it off strait away, throw it to the ground and give you death stares as though it was the absolute worst possible thing you could have ever done to him.

He is so attached to his hat in fact, that there isn’t a single moment of time from when he wakes, to when he sleeps, that it isn’t glued to his head. Oh yes, that’s right. As soon as he gets up in the morning… BANG! On goes the hat. And there it stays right up until bath time where his head gets a 5-10 minute reprieve. But as soon as he is dressed and ready for bed… BANG! On goes the hat again.

He even wears it to bed, and will only remove it once he feels like he is ready to fall asleep. Don’t you dare try to take it off his head before then. Because you will be told in no uncertain terms that you are in trouble for touching his hat.

I mean look at that thing… it doesn’t even look like what’s it’s supposed to look like any more. He’s worn it that long that it’s completely lost its shape. The brim has the major droops going on. And if you can believe it, it’s actually supposed to be a fedora, not a straw bucket hat that looks like it’s come from a bad scarecrow Halloween costume.

But with that said, every single day when he wakes up only to make his way over to his hat to put it on for the day, all we can do is smile and giggle at the absolute adorableness that Jesse and his well-loved hat brings.

So the question of the day is, have your kids become attached to something? And if so, is it something unusual like Jesse’s hat, or something more common like the family teddy or blankie?

And with all that said, I am no sitting here wondering how Jesse will react when the hat no longer fits, or finally falls apart on him.

Shit… I don’e even want to think about it…

So, you going for round three??

“When are you going to have another baby?”

“So, you going for round three?”

“You should have another baby. Just one more!”

“Go on… just one more. You might regret it if you don’t.”

“Don’t rule it out. Because you never know, it could happen.”

When you’re a young, married couple as we once were, the questions about when you are going to have kids seem to be inevitable. It’s as if society just automatically assumes everyone who fits the above criteria wants to have children.

However, that one simple questions can cut deep in a couple, especially if you’ve been trying for a long time and have been unsuccessful (as we’ve mentioned in the past, it took us 18 months to conceive the first time round), or have found out you are unable to have children at all.

And then you have kids. Two beautiful, healthy, happy boys who both look like dad (much to his delight) but are actually mummy’s boys most of the time (much to her delight). They are loved by everyone, and they love everyone.

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The day after the birth of Jesse

And then, as if someone has hit reset on the console, the questions start coming in yet again. “When are you going to have another baby?”

Now it’s not entirely a rude question now that we have children. In fact, its a pretty standard question when engaging in small talk with parents. I know we’ve asked it completely innocently.

Well we were sitting down having a chat about our baby boys (is Jesse still a baby?) and the conversation took a turn into the territory of more kids. We’ve both been asked the questions about having another baby. But had we ever sat down and really discussed it?

“Tell me the honest truth, do you want to have another baby?”

I asked Renee as we sat there discussing our perfect little family.

“If your asking me right now, my answer is hell no!”

Well that’s a relief! It seems we’re both feeling pretty maxed out with two children. A toddler and a baby can be hard yakka!

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The birth of Jasper

And then we began to think… why is our desire to procreate again or not of so much interest to others?

One of the typical reactions I’ve encountered when speaking about how we are happy with two children, and don’t want any more babies is, “You never know, you could change your mind…” or “It could happen…”

At the end of the day, those with children have a choice to make. And that choice, being whether or not to have more children, is a personal choice. It’s their choice. And it’s a choice that is made together, as husband and wife.

I don’t know how many of those of you reading this post are at that point in your life, but how did the conversation happen in your house? Have you discussed having more children? And most importantly, did you both agree with each other?

For us, well Jesse is our handsome, sweet and loving big boy. And Jasper is our chubby and cheeky sequel. Why mess with perfection?!

And besides, any more kids and we’d be outnumbered!

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Our Family Unit

RANT: The biggest problem at concerts

RANT WARNING:

Last night, I went to a rock concert.

That’s right, a concert. A concert is where you go and watch a band, who can actually sing and play musical instruments, perform a selection of the own original songs, unlike DJ’s who can’t sing, can’t play instruments, and stand behind a laptop the entire time.

Anyway, I went to a concert last night. Parkway Drive to be exact. They played the last of 3 sold out shows there, and I was lucky enough to be able to attend with my brother-in-law, Mat.

So, imagine this… you are gearing up for a concert where you get to go see one of the bands you love play. They might even be your favourite band. It might be the first time you’ve seen them. It might be the fifth. Regardless, you are excited and looking forward to heading to the venue.

It’s a Monday night and you have to work the next day, but that’s okay. One late night won’t kill you. Besides, it’s Parkway freaking Drive!

You arrive at the venue and immediately head to the bar. You decide to get Red Bull to so that you have a buzz, but don’t get drunk. You head to the nearest entry onto the floor and chill to the side while the support act kills it on stage.

The mosh pit is mental. There are circle pits and walls of death. People headbanging and crashing into each other. There’s drinks flying everywhere and sweaty bodies pushing there way through the crowd of people to get as close as they can to the stage.

Then, the main act comes on. The lights dim, the guitars start to rev, and Parkway Drive appear on the stage from the darkness.

The cheers go up, as do the fists. The singer shouts out a quick introduction, the music starts, and then its on. The mosh pit whips itself into a frenzy. People are jumping around. The music is so loud that it almost bursts ear drums.

And then, the phones start to rise. One by one by one, phones make there way into the air as people start to record what’s happening on stage… in the mosh… on the balcony… and not just one or two phones. There’s dozens and dozens of phones.

And you are now standing there, unable to watch the band you paid good money to see live in concert on stage. You are now watching them through the iphone screen of the people standing in front of you.

It’s okay, they’re only going to take a 30 second clip for Snapchat. Or a quick video for Instagram. 4 songs later, the phones are still in the air and your anger is rising.

Let me say this, if you are one of those people who go to a concert and the proceed to film the whole thing on your phone, you are in fact a massive asshole. Also, let me give you a tip, nobody gives two shits about your dodgy, shaky and distorted iphone footage from the Parkway Drive concert you just attended. In fact, I can almost say with certainty that you’ll probably look at the footage once, realise everything you recorded looks like shit, and will never look at it again.

When you film concerts, all you are doing is pissing the people off who are standing behind you! Live in the moment! Watch the concert you paid good money to see through your own eyes, not through your iPhone while you’re trying to record it. By doing this, I can almost 100% guarantee that everyone, yourself included, will have a much better time.

In other words… PUT THE F***ING PHONES DOWN ASSHOLES!!!

Oh yea, and by the way, I don’t have a photo of me at the concert last night to add to this post, because guess what… I LEFT MY PHONE IN MY F***ING POCKET!!!

Setting goals for a BIG 2018

Happy New Year!

It is now 2018. The start of a fresh year. A ‘reset’ of sorts. Well, at least that’s what most people do when you start the new year.

And I feel like I (and we) have taken the same approach. I (we) have hit the reset button. I (we) have started fresh. I (we) have taken a new approach to 2018.

And one of the first things I did to make sure 2018 would be different, was write down my goals for the year. That’s right, I put pen to paper (remember the days when all you had to write with was a pen and paper… and yes I’m old enough to remember those days) and wrote down a list of goals that I want to achieve in 2018. A list of short term goals, long term goals and open goals that include making changes to my health and wellbeing, my family, and surroundings.

Goal Setting

A lot of people don’t set goals, or often make the mistake of not putting pen to paper and recording them down. As Mark Victor Hansen said:

“By recording your dreams and goals on paper, you set in motion the process of becoming the person you most want to be. Put your future in good hands – your own.”

If that doesn’t resonate with you, Fitzhugh Dodson said:

“Without goals, and plans to reach them, you are like a ship that has set sail with no destination.”

I have no idea who Mark Victor Hansen or Fitzhugh Dodson are. But they, along with many others throughout the years, have spoken of the importance of setting, writing down, and making plans to achieve goals.

Looking back through our blog posts, there is a couple of things that I noticed. Firstly, there has been a lack of posts, and secondly, there has been a lack of quality in the posts that I have written. In fact, the last post that I published was on 13 November 2017… almost 2 months ago. Call it writers block. Call it laziness. Call it what you will. I know that I’ve been lacking the motivation to write for NSSLOU.

So one of the goals I have set for myself for 2018 is to write posts more frequently, and to write about the things that I am passionate about. By setting this as a goal, I feel like I have reinvigorated my passion for writing for NSSLOU, and that this will show through the posts that I publish in the future, all for your reading pleasure.

So stick with me (stick with us), because I think that in 2018 you will see a reinvigorated NSSLOU full of fresh content that is interesting, fun and maybe a little cheeky.

And more importantly than that, if you haven’t done so already, I challenge you to take 15 minutes to sit down and write out your own goals for 2018. You never know, you may end up achieving more than you think!

Going on holidays with kids

Last weekend we went on a weekend holiday up to the Sunshine Coast with Renee’s family. It was the first “holiday” we’ve had with two kids. I say “holiday”, because what holiday.

You know those posts you see on Facebook that pop up every now and again because one of your Facebook friends has thrown it a like. You know the ones. Where it has two photos side by side, on the left it says ‘before kids’ and the right it says ‘with kids’. Well they’re all true. Every single one of them! Holidays… date nights… meals… you name it. If there is a meme out there with a before and after photo and it shows what a couple does before kids and with kids. It’s 100% accurate.

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And this “holiday” certainly did open our eyes to what life is now like when we are on holidays with kids.

Our weekend holidays up or down the coast would usually go something like this:

Pick a destination, anywhere will do. Book. Pack a bag for the weekend. Drive there. Relax in or by the pool. Have a few drinks on the balcony. Go out for lunch and dinner. More drinks on the balcony. More relaxing by the pool. Game of mini golf. Relaxing in bed. Late night champagne with a movie. Go out for breakfast. Anywhere will do. More relaxing by the pool. Maybe we could go to the beach. More drinks on the balcony. Go out lunch and dinner. More relaxing. More relaxing. More relaxing.

Our holidays no longer look like this. Because kids… So now, a simple weekend away, looks more like this:

Pick a destination, but somewhere that close to amenities or is kid friendly. Pack your bag for the weekend. Pack the kids bags. Pack toys for the kids. Triple check you haven’t forgotten anything, especially nappies or wipes. Pack the car. Get the kids dressed. Get the kids in the car. Hope the 6 month old doesn’t have a tantrum in the car the whole way there. When you get to the hotel, make 3 trips up and down from the apartment to the car because of all the stuff you now need. Put ABC Kids on the television to keep kids occupied for 5mins while you plan your attack on the weekend. Order dinner to eat in the room because the kids won’t deal with a restaurant environment while they’re this tired. Try and find a kid friendly restaurant for lunch the next day. Hope they don’t throw tantrums or run amok while eating lunch. Go to pool. Change kids into swimming nappies. Try and get sunscreen on them. Run after them so they don’t slip and break an arm or don’t slip into the pool and drown. Generally run around after the kids when they need you. Pack the car back up on last day. Drive home. Unpack everything. Put kids to bed for the night. Fall in a heap on the lounge and realise you haven’t actually had a holiday at all.

And that is only just scratching the surface!

But with that said, it really was a fun weekend away. Hectic fun. But fun none the less.

Holidays are just different for us now. But we wouldn’t change that for the world.

Jesse