Wednesday, April 27, 2016

a few thoughts on being a full time single parent and working

I regard myself as unbelievably fortunate to be able to do work that I love while having flexibility to be with my children when they need me. The five of us agree that the best thing is for me to be there for the younger children after school and in the holidays and the older kids support me in this where they can.

Choosing to work part time has a direct impact on our lives. Money is very tight. There is a direct correlation between the hours I bill and what we eat, the things we do and how we try and make ends meet. I feel a lot of pressure to somehow balance these needs. I do not always succeed.

But even though this is so hard, so so hard; it is still worth it to be able to really be there for the kids. These last school holidays we have shifted into our new house, we got sick and the kids have come with me to work. I could not wish for better kids to have with me. They are quiet and well behaved and interact politely with the adults we share the space with.

I won't lie. It is challenging to write creatively, keep projects on track and communicate with my clients while sharpening pencils, handing out food, monitoring screen time and listening to stories. But it is not just on me. James has been off work with a wrist injury and has been around a bit for us. Sylvia who shares a space at the Exchange where we work, gives Annie pencils and talks to her about the drawings. Justin the Architect is endlessly patient when Annie talks to him.

It takes a village to raise a child. And that is ok. I'm hoping that when these younger kids of mine grow up, they will look back and have good memories of interesting people doing interesting things all around them. I think this is a great way to grow up. It's not what I planned, but it's still ok.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

“Be strong enough to stand alone, smart enough to know when you need help, and brave enough to ask for it.”

Last week we moved into our new house
and it is so good. All of the boxes are unpacked
and it is starting to feel like home.

Because we know how to party in our house,
we christened the new house with a tummy bug.
Never have I been so glad for a separate laundry and two bathrooms.
Enough said.

I was also super grateful for a friend who popped in yesterday
with lemonade ice blocks, pizza for the kids tea
and other necessities
and my mum is making chicken soup for our dinner tonight.

This year, more than ever, I am learning that it is ok to ask for help
and to rely on your friends for help,

Guilt is such a wasted emotion.
Also I am more than happy to help others out,
so why the heck to I feel guilty when they help me??

Life is not always pretty
but with a little help from my friends,
we can get through and not feel one bit guilty about it!

“Be strong enough to stand alone,  
smart enough to know when you need help,
 and brave enough to ask for it.”
 Ziad K. Abdelnour

Edit: these photos are of Annie's birthday at the house we were staying at with family. There is no photographic evidence of our last weekend hahaha

Wednesday, April 20, 2016


Over the past three years I have become friends with Rob,
he is the husband of my good friend Michelle who I met at uni.

Getting to know Rob has changed how I think about soldiers.
In my mind, I defined soldiers by what they did
(peacekeeping, helping out after natural disasters,
border patrol and war).

But what I have learned from watching Rob
and seeing him interact with his family
and listening to him talk about his work...
is that being a soldier is not just a job, it is a life.
A soldier is not just someone who wears a uniform.

A soldier is someone who is committed to staying fit and healthy.
A soldier is is constantly learning and constantly teaching others.
A soldier knows where they fit in the scheme of things.
A soldier can give orders and follow orders.

A soldier is someone who makes plans or follows plans.
A soldier is someone who notices things around them
and knows what should be done about it.
A soldier is a well trained human being.

So this ANZAC day when I get up at dawn
and listen to the bugle play.

I'm thankful not just for those who have gone before
but for those who every day work hard at their craft
to be the best that they can be.

Thanks Rob.
I appreciate all that you do.

Monday, April 18, 2016


Tonight is our last night in the valley.
It's been an amazing place of rest for us
and we are beyond grateful for the hospitality
that has been extended to us.

I'm going to miss the country air, the sheep
and most of all I'm going to miss having other adults to talk to.
Luckily we can come back and visit
anytime we want.

The period of time that our stuff has been in storage
and we have been staying with family,
has given me a new appreciation for firstly,
how easily people can become homeless;
and then secondly how freaking difficult it is to get yourself
out of that situation. 

Since we moved out of our house,
the weather has changed to autumn. 
The trees are changing colour and the walnuts in the orchard are falling.
I feel like time slooooooowed down while
all the legal dramas were sorted out.
So it's kinda cool to look out the window and see visible signs
of time passing.

The last few months have been ridiculously stressful
and getting through them has been really difficult.
However seeing our new home today and starting to put our things in it,
it made me feel like it was all worthwhile.
I'm beyond grateful that it has all worked out.
This time I needed lots of encouragement from my friends
but we did this hard thing and tomorrow we will sleep in our new home.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

to everyone who has a body

your body is beautiful.

It is a work of art.

People come in all shapes and sizes
but it doesn't matter.

Your body is beautiful because it is yours.

Over the last year I have been travelling to Auckland regularly
to take photos for my friend Cat's Facebook page.

We worked out early on that photos of real people
are the best thing to use on social media but
one of the really sad things that we have noticed
is that nearly every person I have photographed
hates their body.

So I just want to say, 
love your body...

“You are imperfect, permanently and inevitably flawed.

 And you are beautiful.” 

 Amy Bloom

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Step with care and great tact, and remember that Life's a Great Balancing Act..... {dr suess}

I feel like I'm in some parallel universe right now
where time is moving excruciatingly slowly.

I know that when I look back on this time it will have passed in the blink
of an eye, but right now...
it's like moving through deep mud.

Having said that, progress is being made.
One slow step at a time.

Yesterday the bank said Yes!
and today I signed yet another batch of papers at the lawyers.

This morning when I woke up
the feeling of doom I've been carrying around lately had gone
and instead I felt hope. It is good.

We have high hopes of being in our new house in the school holidays.
We are beginning to feel like it will happen.
It is very exciting.

Small steps, small steps
but finally big progress!

{ps All of these pictures were taken by Reuben}

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Separation.... {keeping it real}

Today I went up to my lawyers office and signed my name over and over again on the final separation agreement between David and I. It's weird that something which started with such hope, ends with a business type transaction and a pile of signatures on paper.

I still really care about David and wish all the best for him and his future. But man, this process is brutal. Just negotiating what happens with all your bits and pieces, untangling a lifetime of togetherness into two neat piles, it is hard, hard.

My heart hurts, like actually hurts. In so many ways I feel like I've failed. I failed David, I failed the children, I failed as a wife.

And then, if I'm not a wife, what am I now? I have to reconstruct myself as a person. I have to think about myself differently. I have to back myself.

I feel like a snail who lost her shell. I feel unprotected in a big scary world.

I know that this too will pass, but in the meantime I'm feeling all the feels and its not even a little bit fun.