An open letter to my daughter’s childcare educators

Dear early childhood educator

I wanted to pen you a note to say what you mean to me. I wanted to write a blog to say thank you for all that you do for my child. I wanted to convey your importance in the life of my daughter, the lives of all the children you care for, in the future of our world.

But I don’t know where to start. How to say it. What words would work to say so much?

I wanted to show you that without you we’d be lost. I wanted to tell you that if you didn’t hug my child when I leave her in the morning my day would be so much harder to get through. That if I didn’t see how much my child loves to hang out with you, to learn from you and play with you, then would I even be able to go and do my job at all?

But are words enough?

Let’s start by saying thank you.

For wiping her tears, her snot and her bum – thank you

For holding her tight and telling her it’ll be alright – thank you

For having the patience when she’s got none – thank you

When she throws herself face down on the floor, banging her head on ground, pulling her hair out and screaming at the top of her lungs….

When she is running around instead of sitting down and eating her lunch…

When she won’t sleep and wakes up all the other kids with her singing…

Thank you for accepting her.

May she keep providing you with fun: her sassy attitude, her loud chatting, her singing and her giggles.

She’s not your flesh and blood, she’s not made of your genes but you care for her, you are proud of her, you celebrate her achievements, and share in her disappointments.

And even though you don’t get paid enough… I don’t know how much money would be enough to measure the value of your worth.

I don’t know what words are enough to express the difference you make in our life, her life… and the future of this generation.

You are amazing.

Thank you.

Dedicated in particular to Lara, Elle, Deb, Elissa, and Bree, but not forgetting the OGs…  Miss Hannah, Miss Aya, and Miss Lyvia.

thank you

educator picture


Review: A Quiet Genocide by Glenn Bryant

A Quiet Genocide will quietly grab you, make you sit up and probably make you quietly have a weep. This book, gently unfolds some harsh but necessary truths about the holocaust. Some of which we may already be very familiar with and some of which may horrify us yet further.

I was lucky enough to get my hands on a review copy of A Quiet Genocide – I like reading wartime novels and was more than happy to get stuck in. Bryant’s written style puts us right into the plot with no fussing around. One of the things I appreciated most about this book was actually that it had an unfussy narrative – with enough depth and visibility of the author’s natural aptitude for creating characters (with whom we immediately sympathise or despise depending on the desired outcome) to pull the reader along with the storyline with a sense of urgency.

I loved the opening sequences of the book, letting us get to know a young boy, Jozef, and his friend as they get into trouble as only boys can do. This segways into an opportunity to show us how nasty the character of Michael is and to set up the essence of the plotline – who is Michael and what terrible things is he capable of? More importantly, what is his relation to Jozef and his family? By the end of the novel, all these important questions are answered, but the biggest question of all perhaps – why were so many thousands of lives so carelessly torn aside? – remains a poignant and unresolved query in all our minds.

While I felt the characters were well developed, I did feel there was an element of character portrayal that sometimes became a little pantomime like. Michael is not conveyed as a complex character – he seemed to just be naturally evil and I almost expected to hear an audience boo and hiss every time he came ‘on stage’.

Contradictory to that, the characters of Professor Zielinski and Jozef himself were favourites for me and I loved their interactions and the development of their relationship. This of course made for an exemplification of Jozef’s lack of prejudices and kind-hearted nature, so unlike Michael, and even unlike his parents who, out of grief, were struggling to do the right thing in their own lives. On Gerhard’s part we see he is a lost soul – misled and influenced by negative associations, unable to move on from grief and stuck in gratuitous routine.

Overall, the purpose of the novel – to bring to light the terrible plight of thousands of innocent disabled children at the hands of the Nazi regime – is well conceived. Though, at times I did feel as though, in an effort to present the facts objectively – mostly via the character of a ex-Auschwitz resident, and esteemed academic (Professor Zielinski) – the flow of narrative sometimes felt a little jarred, as though facts were being shoehorned in. I would have like to have felt the organic discovery of these statistics, or perhaps not have seen the statistics conveyed within the story but maybe in the endnotes.

This didn’t spoil the overall enjoyment for me – and perhaps my gripes comes from a love of fiction over non-fiction writing. At times this book bordered on non-fiction style writing, purely because it was, very bravely and with senstivity, dealing with some cold hard truths. Read this novel if you enjoy books about the holocaust or want to find out more about it. 3.5 stars.

A Quiet Genocide [Amsterdam Publishers] by Glenn Bryant PORTRAIT
Author: Glenn Bryant

Review: A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

Oh, Judy. Oh Willem. Oh this book. When one of my best friends handed it to me she apologised but I knew her apology meant I was going to experience a book I would never forget and would likely fall in love with. That’s what I hoped. And that’s what I got. I love a book that gives me all the feels – there were moments when my heart lifted and soared and other times when I felt like it was destroying me and leaving me a sobbing wreck of a woman. It’s relentless, it’s shocking and it’s heartbreaking but it was worth every tear.

The writing is amazing, subtle and brilliant. The changes in narrative are so understated you almost don’t notice them and it takes you a couple of switches between narratives to get what’s going on. What this does is allow you to read unperturbed, just to lose yourself in the story instead.

And yes, some of the things in this book are shockingly awful to read. I do NOT recommend this book to people who find it too hard to read about child abuse or if you’re very squeamish as there are some descriptions of injuries that made me stomach turn. But the author is still so respectful – things never get over the top. I felt everything I read was worthy and necessary to appreciate the depths of what was happening in the characters’ lives.

At one point, reading the book on my way to work on the train I was holding back a flow of tears and onto my music came Aretha Franklin’s Drown in my own tears. Apt much??

I didn’t know anything else about the book when I started reading it but my friend who passed it me and I share a commonality of our favourite book being the same, so I knew it would be a game changer for me. And it was.

I am not going to write anything else except that for me it is the kind of book where you continue to pass it one for someone else to read it when you finish. Someone else you know will enjoy it and who it’ll effect in a similar way.

3 days after I’ve finished it this book is still very much with me. The characters are still prominent in my mind…and I love that.

If you feel like you want some further insights into the book after reading it (the article contains spoilers) then check out 15 Things You Didn’t Know About A Little Life.

IWD 2018: no negativity, celebrate strong women

OK, so I’m nearly 2 days late. Story of my life.

International Women’s Day was a couple of days ago and I am just getting around to finishing the blog that I started writing on the day. But hey… working mum life!

This time last year I wrote about my fears about being left behind in the workplace and in my career because I was now working part time. I spoke about my desire to prove my capability to be mum and hold down a job without weakening my efforts in either position.

My, how things change in a year.

I spent most of last year bending over backwards to complete a 5 day a week job in 4 days. AND spend enough time with my daughter. Not to mention looking for, buying and moving to a house outside of Sydney. Whew!

I found myself working outside of my standard working hours over, and over again. I found that in particularly busy periods I was just absolutely swamped and quite stressed.

It did make me wonder how I was ever so busy when I wasn’t a mum! As we started the new year, I decided I wanted to go back to work full time. A lot of people may think (and many say to me!) “Why? Why would you do that? Won’t you have to put Little Miss into daycare? Won’t that cost more? Won’t you have even less time with her?”

Yes, its controversial but here’s how I look at it:

Get paid for the work you put in!
For the past 12 months I’ve struggled to work in just 4 days. Why not be paid to work the 5 days I’m virtually working anyway.
Cost isn’t a massive issue.
Working an extra day outweighs cost of daycare
Time with my daughter!
If I work from home I can work before Z gets up, then spend some time with her – instead of rushing us out the house at 7am every morning and throwing her at the daycare educators, as I run out the door to the sound of crying. I can pick her up. We can feed the ducks as we stroll home. We can play in the garden. Then I can do some more work once she’s in bed. Instead of arriving home 15 minutes before she is due to get into bed. Ok, I lose my day off with her, but when I am home, I’m not rushing off to do work or having to remove myself from family time while I go and put some slides together for Monday.
The future.
Now is the time to work full time, to achieve the things I want to achieve in my career – we would like baby number two some time and when that happens, even if I work I’ll still need to take a step back. And I won’t be able to jump back in until school starts.

And, although I only just started back full time, I can already see a difference in my little girl. Instead of clinging to my arm when I drop her at daycare, she asks to “get down” and runs in to see her friends. This has a lot to do with the fact she is now growing comfortable with her new daycare after our move too. But, she can’t grow comfortable and confident if she is constantly anxious because I’m always leaving her too quickly or I’m noticeable more by my absence than my presence.

Yet, even as I write those words I think about all the people who will think “If you really wanted to nurture her you’d be there all day with her instead of leaving her with someone else”. The nagging voice in my head constantly tells me I’m a terrible mum. A selfish mum.

I’m trying to be the best version of me. I’m trying to pay bills. I’m trying to show my daughter what it is to have ambition and goals. I’m showing her what it is to be empowered. I’m making myself as available as possible while paving the way for her future and giving her the tools for her to make the best of it.

Mum life – training on the deck with one of the inspirational ladies in my life (and our kids!)

After all, I was brought up by a working mother and my mum is one of the most inspiring women in my life. How she used to work full time and get dinner on the table for 6pm in the years she was a single mum I will never know. My mum always had a social life, always had ambitions, always had an adult life outside of the family home. When I was in primary school she even went back to tertiary education, and while some of what she did was necessity, a lot of it was just because she is that kind of person. And whether by nurture or nature (most likely a mix of the two) I have inherited that mindset.

But, the guilt of not being around more never really subsides. The wondering whether she will have a better life if I am around more doesn’t stop. And while I pacify my overthinking mind by telling myself I am ‘enough’ for her, I don’t think those voices telling me I’m not will ever completely go away.

The truth is we always compare ourselves to other women. And sometimes other women can be very judgemental. Yet ever since I’ve been a mum I find myself admiring so many other women, and feeling inspired by them.

I have a friend who deals with an almost- 2 year old who still won’t sleep through the night.
I have a friend who travels for work – sleeping on overnight flights (in economy) and doing back to back meetings all week.
I have a friend who is trying to study, renovate a house, plan a wedding and look after an old lady with dementia.
I have another friend who is separating from her husband and moving out of her family home with her kids.
I have friends who (individually) have lost both parents in the space of a year, had an abortion, been divorced, and many, many more things that I couldn’t begin to imagine coping with.

These are the same women that lift me up. The same women that are real life, day-to-day, messing it up then picking up the pieces and getting on with it, getting no-sleep, frazzled, beautiful women that I know won’t judge me, that think I’m a good mum without question and that inspire me to strive for the best kind of life, and the best kind of world for my daughter to grow up in.

And so I celebrate International Women’s Day: I celebrate strong women, I try to be the strongest woman I can be, and hope that by the time my daughter is my age she is living in world of equality and peace.


For an extra bit of fun – check out my “IWD: 8 for the 8th” WOD my friend (who’s over at The Miner’s Girl) and I did:

One of the only ways I keep time…

I like to wear a watch. I always have. And even now in the age where our phones are constantly on our person and are good source of finding out the time, I would still choose to have a watch on than not.

Don’t get me wrong – this watch does not mean that I am punctual, or that I am a good keeper of my own time. I am distinctly neither… usually you can see me dashing for door a good 10 minutes after I intended to leave. Most of the time that’s because I try to squeeze in one more job before I go, but sometimes it’s because my 19 month old daughter won’t put her shoes on or wants to feed the cat sultanas.

And whilst I like the practicalities of a fitness watch  – Polar or Fitbit etc.  – I prefer a traditional watch both for style and for being able to check the time quickly, without fuss. Having said that, the amount  of times I’ve cursed having a non-plastic watch on my wrist are too many to count – being a mum to a toddler and wearing a nice leather watch do not mix!! This watch has survived water, poop, porridge and vegemite in varying quantities.

But I was quite pleased to get the opportunity to try out a new piece of wrist wear recently. The watch is made by Feriwola and they are cost-friendly, stylish pieces that will add a bit of glam to your outfit.


The first thing that struck me about the watch was that it had an unusual glass face – the glass is not a flat surface but instead has a central point and from there the glass fans out from the centre, into even pieces to create a kind of glimmery effect when the watch moves in the light. It’s certainly unusual and eye catching.

The strap is black, imitation leather and it feels quite soft and malleable – meaning it’s going to be comfortable to wear.

The face of the watch is also black but for each number there is a gem of some kind (guessing for the price, it’s a diamante or similar)  – so 12 diamante dotted around the face.

The metal is silver in colour and seems robust enough.

My usual watch is tan and rose gold so it was nice to have a watch to wear in opposing colours of black and silver for outfits that better suit that colouring.

My main objection to the watch was actually the thing that makes it so unique. The angled face of the watch means at all times there is light reflecting off it – which can often make it a little harder to read. Not impossible but not easy either. And for a time poor, working mum, convenience is everything.

The other main thing that didn’t appeal to me was that because it is a low-cost watch it feels a bit that way too – it feels a bit too light, the strap is synthetic and feels like it’ll wear very quickly, or even snap. I’m not shy of budget watches but I do like to feel like it’ll survive the crazy, hectic days on my arm.

All in all I would recommend this watch if you’re look for a budget option to help accessorise your wardobe and you won’t be wearing it day in, day out – occasion wear might mean you get more longevity out of it.

So what… it’s New Year?

So here we are in 2018. How does it feel?

For me it feels fine. Nothing out of the ordinary. But I’ve never been a massive fan of new year and all the traditions that seem to come with it – resolutions, parties, $1.6 million spent on fireworks in one city. It doesn’t make any sense to me.

When I was in my 20s – New Year was one disappointment after another. Always the biggest set up for what was usually the worst night on the calendar. Whether that was because the guy I had a crush on ended up with another chick or because I fell out with my friend. Or my hair went frizzy in the rain on the way to the party and it all went down hill from there.

So by the time I reached my 30s I was over it and quite happy to just have a few relaxed beverages on the beach with mates and watch the local fireworks.

I lived in Sydney for 8 years and never once bothered to head to the city for the celebrations. I couldn’t bear the thought of the huge crowds – making getting taxis or just being able to see any decent view a big hassle. Camping out for 24 hours for the best spot of some fireworks…? Really? I can’t even tell the difference between this year’s and last when I watch them. It would be wasted on me. I’m a New Year’s Eve Scrooge.

And as for resolutions or moving on or changing lives. Has anyone ever changed their life because of new year… honestly?! Or do we do it because of our own sense of self, of responsibility to others – those we love or to show love to ourselves? If anyone wants to make a change in their life then my first bit of advice would be to make the change when they’re ready. Not because it’s new year.

That isn’t to say it isn’t a great vice for setting some goals. For realigning your vision with your partner. For reminding yourself why you get up in the morning. But it certainly shouldn’t be the why. “Why are you going to make that change?” “Because I made a New Year’s resolution.” Uhhh uhhh. Wrong answer. “Because I want my daughter to be inspired”. Better.

What the new year boils down to for me is this… I saw a post the other day on Instagram and it said “Remember when you wanted what you currently have”. And it really struck a chord in me.

I suddenly realised that I have achieved most of what I wanted. 7 years ago I wanted to have a family, I wanted to buy a house, I wanted to get fit and healthy. And I wanted to run my own business. I wanted to get married, spend less time in the pub doing nothing and do more for charity. I wanted to be outdoors more.

I realised that now we are in our family house – I have completed that list.

So now, now I get to make a new list… make a new vision board. What’s next? What do I want for my business, what do I want for my job… how can I get involved in my new community, how will I keep fit now that I haven’t got my old training group (since we moved)? Will I help train others? Where will I go walking? How will I make new, local friends… and how will I keep in touch with my old lovely friends in Sydney? How will I save more? What will I show Little Miss and how will I make the best of my time with her every day?

Wow! All of a sudden there are a whole list of new possibilities, ideas, challenges to overcome. And I’m excited.

On top of that how lucky am I to be thinking not just about my own life but someone else’s… I’m excited to watch my daughter grow more, to plan her 2nd birthday and to see new things with her. Can’t wait to watch her reach milestones and try to help her get to them.

All in all there is plenty to be excited about for the new year. And I’m so grateful for all I have and all that I get to strive for. So yes, it’s new year. Just the same as it was 365 days ago. And yes it’s a lot of fuss over nothing.


On the other hand.

I’m alive, my family are here too and life is good. Moreover life is giving me the opportunity to set more goals. To achieve more new things.

Bring it on, 2018. Let’s do this!!

Making a big move

So guys, we moved house. 90km north of Sydney and just before we moved I started penning my feelings. Typically I didn’t finish it til now (almost 2 weeks since we moved). But here it is:

Last time I did something like this was the biggest decision I’ve ever made in my life. There is my life BA and AA – Before Australia and After Australia… although really it should be IA  – in Australia.

And yet here we are. I recognise the feelings. One minute so excited. The next minute thinking I must be mad. And in this last week the more I think of all the elements of it that make me anxious the more that I remember how all the stuff I pushed down deep inside of me when I moved to Australia has never really gone away. I pushed down my concerns of leaving my amazing group of friends. I pushed down my anxiety about being far from my family. I pushed down my sadness about leaving my flat – my own space, that I created and loved so much. My own friendship group that I had created with them… and loved so much. My family, who helped create me and whom I loved so much.

So, it is with trepidation that we move 90km up the coast.

Saying goodbye to our old home

But here are three things I need to keep reminding myself –

  1. You did it before you can do it again
  2. It’s not the other side of the world like last time.
  3. There are many wonderful reasons for choosing to do this.

With regards point 3 – I realise I should probably back up and explain what the heck is going on here. So currently (or for the next 24 hours or so) we own and live in an apartment that we bought in a suburb we love, on the beautiful Northern Beaches of Sydney. Both Mr OC and I have lived in this area since we moved from our respective motherlands. We have lived in this apartment since just before we married. When family came to stay it was difficult as they all had to stay in nearby accommodation – the houses we found for them were really awesome. But it niggled that we couldn’t accommodate more people. After all, most of our family lives overseas and so whenever they visit they’ll need a place to stay.

And when Little Miss Z arrived we quickly realised that our lovely little apartment was not going to cut it long term. But when we looked at what it cost to buy a house in Sydney we knew it would be just impossible for us to afford.

Which of course left us with only one option – to move out of Sydney. The only question was where. Should we move away completely and find new jobs or move far enough to allow us a rather long commute?

It was after a couple of trips up to see one of my best friend’s that we realised we really liked the Central Coast. It was near enough that even day trips back and forth to Sydney were do-able. Commuting was done by many and we could join them. It just allowed us to get a house – plenty of space and back yard.

But more than that we were over the traffic and hustle and bustle of life in Sydney. Like driving 20km up the road and it taking nearly an hour. We were ready to give up the conveniences (lots of choice of breakfast locations, a large range of UberEats and finding your way back from work socials in a taxi ride) and were instead excited by the small community feel, the quiet (apart from the cicada mating season) and the ease of getting from a to b.

And so we started planning. We got the usual warnings about how it’s not the same up there, how we’d be sooo far from everyone and so on. But we paid little attention. First up, the fact it’s not the same kind of people and same kind of environment that makes us want to live there. We have loved the lifestyle on the Beaches but it’s competitive, occasionally pretentious and materialistic and fast-paced. It is a lovely community in many ways and the way of life is infectious but it’s not the only beautiful place to live. People will always say bad things about the place they don’t live. And that’s ok. Most of those people have never tried living there and are judging it from a distance. And what suits one person or family is not going to suit another.

As for the being so far from everyone – this was basically a moot point too. We had both moved very far from our family (and friends) in the past. I couldn’t get much further from mine. And I already knew that I was good at going up and down the coast to visit the people who matter in my life. I could do it the other way round too. And besides, I’d still be commuting.

So, over the course of this year we have weighed up our options, made a decision, put our flat on the market, sold it, found our beloved house… and then at the start of December came the time to move.

I had been so excited until the week before we left. And then all of a sudden it became too reminiscent of the underlying sadness I felt in leaving the UK. It was in the saying farewells to friends and little Miss Z finishing her daycare which we had all loved so much. In the last swimming lesson with her beloved teacher Jade. In the ‘see ya’ drinks with our mates who lived around the corner. And finally, in walking out the flat and closing the door for the very last time.

Which even now brings a lump to my throat. Mr OC shed a tear too.

Leaving… moving on… is never straightforward. You can be very excited about what’s ahead but still feel anxiety, trepidation and sadness as well.

And yet…

And yet.

When we finally got the keys for our house, our home – during the middle of a huge hail storm – it was 4.30pm and Little Miss was getting tired and hungry and we had an entire truck to move into the house, let alone find everything we needed.

And yet.

I couldn’t wipe the grin off my face. I literally couldn’t stop smiling as I ran back and forth to the truck in the pouring rain. Every time I entered our house I was happy again.

But I don’t want to move again for another 100 years.


The importance of goals even when you’re “mumming”

So, a couple of months back my beautiful baby girl turned one. It was a momentous occasion as it is for most parents – even she to an extent, knew that something exciting was happening and she seemed to have a lovely time with visiting family, lots of friends around and new toys galore! This moment was milestone and when we looked back at her first year on this earth it was wonderful to remember all the ways she has developed.

It was a reminder of what we have been through in her first year. From looking after a newborn and dealing with a body that had completely changed; from being a full time mum to going back to work; from dealing with hot summer nights and teething to cold winter and a jet lagged, sleep-regressed 4 month old; from not being able to put her down for one second to not being able to stop her crawling into all kinds of mischief. It’s a roller coaster ride. And the only reason parents don’t need an award is because we have one – our gorgeous children. And I couldn’t be more proud of Miss Z.

The funny thing is, as My Little Miss approaches 15 months old I am so proud of who I am too. I don’t say that boastfully. I say it humbly. The things that matter are different and the challenges to overcome are different. And they’re not just about Miss Z. Although undoubtedly she is the changing factor in most of them.

When I went back to work I felt bad that in some ways I was actually excited. I have made no bones about the fact that my mum style is not the mum who wants to be with my child 24/7. And I certainly don’t believe it did me any harm that I went to childcare from a young age because my mum also HAD to work. Don’t get me wrong if I could alter that balance I would. If work less than I do and have Z with me more than I do. But she’s happy, we are happy and I honestly don’t know how I could do my job in any less hours.

And this is one of the other major things I’ve come to terms with and had to adjust to in this last 7 or 8 months.

Since coming back to work, my targets have increased, my KPIs are tighter and the need to achieve higher productivity is unavoidable. So it comes as no surprise I’m doing more work in less hours. And if my workload is heavier I don’t have the option to come in earlier. Unless I want to miss kissing my daughter goodnight or never help my hubby out with her dinner and bath, then I can’t stay past 5.30pm. It would solve a lot of problems if I could. Work problems.

But where would it leave me feeling as a mum and part of my family?

And at times this year I’ve doubted myself at work because of it. When I’m not hitting my targets I start freaking out. When I’m not seeing the numbers I need to see I start berating myself – “I need to work harder, do more, sacrifice some mum time “. It was with totally mixed feelings I agreed to a regional meeting in Singapore later this month. I don’t want to miss it but at the same time I feel gutted that my husband has never spent a night away from our daughter…. and yet I have. And will do yet more.

And it is not just the concerns about showing willing and capable, there is the usual office politics to deal with to. Gaining support when you need it, often comes about just by showing willing and being present. Going the extra mile and achieving good results will win praise but support is won by trust and certainty – and that means showing up. Literally. Even when it means hiring a nanny.

Work wise this year I have been proud to see some return on the investment I feel I’ve made in my work (and therefore in the business I work for), both in the efforts I made prior to having a baby and since, by being given budget to grow my team and attain an award for hitting my KPIs.

And in my own personal development I’ve managed to watch my own business grow. The only down side to that being that my time is even more stretched – but I’m lucky to do what I enjoy and by having my own clients that I can extend my skills to, it means I get to lay good foundations for whatever the future might bring.

It also keeps my brain really active and me on my toes.

Speaking of bodily parts, something else I’m proud of this year is the body and fitness journey I’ve been on. Let me level with you here – when I was pregnant I put on 20 kilos.

I’ll let you just take that on board.

And for someone with an extremely healthy BMI that is quite substantial, people.

When I started back at training in April I had lost more than half of that just by not eating anything I felt like at any time and not being pregnant. I was walking a lot with Miss Z even before I went back to training and work. And in the first weeks back at training I lost 5kg and a lot of body fat. I think that was over 12 weeks.

And during that time I felt so much better about myself. But I had struggles – I struggled with going from being at the front of the pack to the back, with my body not being able to do what it could before, with the long road ahead. Some days I thought about quitting – and everyone says that, but I really did. Yet the desire to get to my goals was so much stronger than the doubts I had.

And doubts weren’t the only struggle. Life wasn’t what it was when I was training before. I couldn’t just roll out of bed and go to training as many days as I felt like it. I couldn’t just stick my finger in the air and pick a class. I have to plan to the detail when I could get there around Mr OC’s availability and my schedule. And sometimes, because… well… kids… that schedule is constantly subject to last minute changes! I remember when I started back I was so envious of all these fit young girls with no babies relying on them – they were doing ‘unlimited’ training packages allowing them to go to as many sessions as they had energy for in a week. And there was me planning my two sessions down to the finest detail. And more often than I’d like, missing it due to Miss Z being sick or hubby needing to work.

Facing that made me wonder how long the journey was going to be to get my body and fitness where I wanted. And it made me feel scared that if it was going to be too hard I’d end up giving up.

Not to mention the doubts and anxieties that come with turning up to class and having to retrain your brain, not just your body. It’s hard getting used to your old friends no longer being around – as they’ve moved away or had babies themselves. New people, new training, new kind of body. I constantly felt like I was too uncoordinated – I felt like I would be the last person anyone would want to partner with in boxing. And I’m sure sometimes I was.

And now, now I find my technique is suddenly coming together. My kicks are actually not too bad at all. My fitness is good. And all of a sudden the next set of clothes that I had to buy or the ones I finally dragged back out of storage from pre-pregnancy… well, even some of those are feeling a bit baggy. I feel good about myself. I feel like my body can do more, and my mind is capable of coming along for the ride too.

This is not about image, although what I see in the mirror does have a part to play. What I see in the mirror is just a part of the much larger picture. I have overcome doubts, fears, and challenges – when I’ve honestly considering giving up I’ve gone twice or three times as hard. When I’ve felt like the journey was too long I’ve just decided to keep trying.

And this is not just about my fitness journey. The pictures below are a visual representation of the journey I’ve been on this year. They show not just how my body has changed because my mindset did, but how if I can start smashing my goals in the physical world, I can do it in my working world too. And I surround myself with people who inspire me – friends who are motivated and encouraging, but also friends who are real and let me express my doubts and fears, and help me overcome them. And then there is my trainer and the girls I train with – ZC Fitness is an amazing place to be. Full of strong, inspiring women – all trying to work to their goals. And at the helm is Zanna – she has been my friend for many years now and she inspires me with her work and training ethic. Nothing holds her back or down! Without her yelling at me to keep going I simply wouldn’t! And I simply wouldn’t have these results.


The point is… Miss Z marks milestones for me. She creates happiness and contentment in my life and she grows in front of me. But, I’m growing too. I’m reaching my own milestones. And I am proud of where I’ve got to – I’ve surprised myself and I’m going to keep aiming to surprise myself by reaching more goals and dreams even when it feels like I can’t.

I feel good that I’m not only able to be mum to this gorgeous little girl but that I’m also achieving other things for myself that make me an even better person for her.

The chaos

So I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t like it when there isn’t order and control in my life. Sure, I cope – I’m adaptable and pretty resilient – but as I’ve grown older I have built order and organisation into my life and I appreciate how it sets me up to think clearly and act with efficiency. For example, when I go to my desk and find the paperwork I need and don’t have to climb through mountains of filing that I haven’t had the time or inclination to sort. And that keeps growing bigger.

Or if I get up in the morning and realise that we haven’t washed up Miss Z’s bottle and cup for kindy. Oh, and now she’s awake and crying. And the cats are under my feet and the bird is squawking and I haven’t even made it into the shower yet, so how am I going to make breakfast and get her ready, and me ready… and get out the door on time?!



And all of a sudden our little Miss is a real attitude girl. Toddler years are looming. She understands so much but chooses what she wants to listen to. She is fussy about food. She won’t be fed. She takes forever to eat and throws the majority on the floor. She doesn’t want to be picked up. She wants to be picked up NOW. She wants to climb, touch, throw… chase the cats and be chased.

No, mummy isn’t playing the chasing game, mummy is trying to put your jacket on so we can get out the door.

One of the things I didn’t like about newborn weeks were the lack of order. Well, there was order if you’re talking about how few sleeps you can get. Or how often you’re sat back down in a chair feeding, burping, mopping up milk spew…. precious bubby, and so much love were large themes of that period of time too, but I was a mother dying for some semblance of normality. Of control. Of order and balance.

And then you get the fussy periods of growth and development. Crying when you put them down. Crying when they should be sleeping. Crying. For no known reason. Through those moments I longed for the days when I could reason with her and distract her with a toy or food. And finally those days came.

But now…. now she knows her own mind! Oh man.

Watch out world.

And don’t even get me started about the fights we are having currently. Not only does she no longer want to stay still to get changed, but to add to the drama little Miss currently has a cold and is full of phlegm. This means she needs her puffer (ventolin) so she fights that. And she needs snot extraction… have you ever tried getting a 14 month old to stay still long enough to poke a small device up their nostril? She fights so hard that I’ve nearly accidentally extracted things from her eyeball instead of her nostril.

And she yells and screams and acts like she’s being murdered. She also needs special cream on her face due to the copious amounts of dribble and snot which have caused her to get a bit of eczema. She wriggles and fights and then when we are finally finished she rubs it all in her eyes and mouth.

Then there’s teeth cleaning – no more am I allowed to move the toothbrush around her 6 teeth. Nope. I must give up the toothbrush to her or woe betide me. Then she pops it in her mouth…. and sucks on it. Great. Excellent teeth cleaning going on there then.

Mornings like this morning, when I’ve been listening out through every coughing fit in the night to ensure she’s not dying, I just want to have a massive hissy fit too.

I too want to throw my food on the floor. I want to wriggle my way out of getting dressed, and instead run away out the door. Just like my little girl.

So, my chatty, strong-willed, determined little girl, you test me (and I know you’re going to continue to) but I get it. And I love you more for it. Just let’s maybe get a good night’s sleep tonight, before we do it all again tomorrow, hey?

A day in my mum life – work day 

So any parent will know that no day is the same – except to say that it involves running around like a mad idiot, hoping that you’ve remembered everything, and collapsing into bed at the end of the day, wondering how you’re going to recuperate enough energy for the next day.

Nevertheless I thought I’d pen my two types of days – my ‘working’ day and my ‘home’ day. With a strict disclaimer that both types of day involve hard work!! This first blog is my “working day”!

5.45am: Mr OC kisses me bye and leaves for work.

6am: Alarm goes off and I try not to hit snooze and sneak in the shower while Little Miss is still asleep.

6.30am: Little Miss usually wakes up at this time unless she is sick or had a very big day the day before. I go into her room where she will be sitting in her cot chatting away and maybe playing with a toy. She says “heyy” – which is kind of like “haigh” now as her greeting and is very cute and bubbly. I change her nappy and sometimes we sing a song  – favourites include Pat-a-Cake (she does the clapping) or Twinkle Twinkle (she does the hand gesture for the stars) and recently we’ve added jelly on the plate to the repertoire as she likes to wobble the change table (which is a fold away one with fabric top to it, so very easy for her to wobble about in).

6.45am: It’s time for a bottle for bubba and tea (Proper Strong Yorkshire Tea) for mumma. At 12 months old she has just started saying bobble for bottle… but it’s also interchangeable with bubble for the bubbles we blow with the bubble wand. I’m not sure which she loves more. Probably the bottle as she cries if it’s not served within an instance of her getting up.

While she’s having her bottle and a little play with her toys, I race around making the bed and my breakfast (which goes with me to work). I make sure her kindy bag is all ready and mine too. Usually both are done the night before but I still sterilise her bottle and cup (especially with all the bugs at daycare), so often I have to pop them in her bag last minute.

7am: I join in for a quick playtime if I have time and then we head back to her room to get Little Lady dressed for the day. I usually wait until then in case of any milk spills and also because sometimes a poopy nappy change is required. Some mornings she now has breakfast at home too, depending on if I have an early meeting or busy day. She can usually feed herself now so I can still do jobs around her while she eats. If she doesn’t get breakfast at home she might have a baby meal pouch in the stroller because she usually complains she’s hungry. This is a new thing – she used to just wait until she got to kindergarten and have morning tea at 8.30am.

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7.20am: and I put my make up on and try to sort out my hair. This might also involve breaking off to chase little miss away from opening drawers or playing with buttons on the recliner chair etc.

7.30am I’m ready, Z’s ready now just for a couple of last minute chores – depending on time these involve putting last night’s dishes away, emptying the kitty litter and putting a load of washing on. Sometimes all 3 depending on how dire things are!

7.45am: TIME TO GO! I check to make sure Z’s bottle and cup are in her bag (usually I sort this the night before for speed. I load my lunch, book, glasses etc into my bag and grab our coats. Pop Z’s coat on, pop her kindy bag on my back, sling my bag over my shoulder grab her and head down our apartment block stairs to the hallway to pop her in the stroller. During the leaving she always waves by to our cats and bird – Max, Beau and Zazu.

7.50am: Little Z has fun making loud echo voices in the acoustics of the hallway while I strap her in. And at last we are off. Up the HUGE steep driveway – butt workout anyone? I don’t know how I pushed a pram up there when I was only a few weeks past my c-section!


8am: Having walked to daycare, looking out for dogs, pigeons and bush turkeys – “Ooh!” – we arrive and Z likes to push the lift button. We negotiate the many doors and gates and I get her out the buggy. As we get to the door of her year’s room she often gives a little squeak of excitement. And when we walk in she might or play pretend shy but she’ll happily reach out to be taken by her educators. She’s so very adaptable and happy to spend some time with other people. She still loves to come home with Daddy at the end of the day but it makes it a lot easier to do the drop off when she’s happy. And 98% of the time she is. So I’m grateful for that.

8.10am: After I’ve put her bag in her drawer, signed her in and let the educators know of any issues or ailments etc “yes that bump is from the bathroom cupboard this morning”, “she’s got this tooth coming through” etc I kiss her goodbye and make a hasty exit. My instincts say to turn around and wave but I know better than to prolong it and induce any tears. From either of us!! I dash out the door and back onto the street as city buses whizz by I hope I’ll catch one at the nearest stop. Once on the bus I’m either blogging, doing my day job or reading my bookclub book. It’s good me time when I can get things done – order Father’s Day gifts etc and I don’t know where I’d be if I had to drive myself!

9am: Land in the city centre and make my way through the crowds and traffic to my desk to begin a day of non stop deadlines and office politics.

Throughout the day I might find myself looking at little videos of Miss Z. No day is ever long enough to get all that I need to done, but it’s also a long time to be away from my baby girl and I look forward to walking in the door every night at about 6pm when I can scoop her up in my arms and give her a cuddle.

6pm: Walk in the front door and get a huge smile from a usually very tired little bubba. I’ve normally missed her bath time but I like to make some time for cuddles before she goes to bed. Unless Mr OC has finished work early enough to have done dinner… as well as pick Miss Z up and give her dinner, bath and bottle, plus feed the animals (cats and bird) and tidy up dishes and get in laundry from the morning… I usually do dinner. Some nights I make two lots of dinner so I don’t have to do it the next night. Especially if I have something on the following evening – e.g. bookclub or training.

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6.30pm: Miss Z has a favourite programme… well, actually she has a couple. one of them is Hey Duggee and the other is In the Night Garden. The latter has become a big part of our evening routine and most nights she will watch an episode before bed. Some nights we read a book but she is not the best at sitting still to read – though she has her favourite books that she will sit quietly for and engage in. When she watches In the Night Garden she giggles and dances – she loves Iggle Piggle the best and she now has a couple of Iggle Piggle toys. One of our favourite bed time books to read is Good Night, Sleep Tight by Mem Fox. It’s lots of fun without getting too crazy before bed.

7pm: By this time Little Lady is asleep and we are usually eating dinner if we haven’t managed to squeeze it in already. She goes down well most nights – she goes into her sleeping bag and looks at the fairy lights in her room, then we switch the lights off and leave her nightlight on (which is an owl). She can self settle pretty well by rocking herself and only usually requires our help if she has a bad dream or isn’t very well.

7.30pm: Me time. I either have blog work to do, or I can sit on the sofa and relax with hubby and the cats. All the chores are done and I’ve got 1-2 hours before the tiredness is going to kick in! We love to watch The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones and occasionally watch a film – although, usually we do that on the weekends. I do look forward to this down time and enjoy it – it’s funny how being a parent can make you appreciate the little things in life!

10pm: And it’s sleep time if I’ve not crashed already. Getting ready to wake up and do it all again tomorrow!