Thursday, 20 March 2014

Hate vs Love

I wish to discuss a topic that I know has a tendency to get people very passionate on both sides of the camp. As such I am going to start by saying a few things - just to make sure we're all on the same page.

1. I believe that homosexuality is wrong.
2. I do not hate people who identify as homosexual.
3. I do not even hate people who practice homosexuality.
4. I believe that marriage is a union between a man and a woman and that this definition should not be changed, that marriage is ordained of God, and that family is the fundamental unit of society.
5. I believe that ALL people deserve to be treated with decency, respect, fairness, and equality.
6. I do not believe that 'equal' means, 'the same'.

I got thinking about this when I saw a post on FB that showed two pictures: on the left, a lesbian couple and the words, "This is what love looks like". On the right, one of the women of the couple severely beaten and the words, "This is what hate looks like". They claimed that the woman had been attacked because she was gay and labelled it a 'hate crime'. With further research, I discovered that the attack, while terrible and inexcusable, was not because she was gay. You can find the link here.

There are always people who will find reasons to hate, but I really don't like how often people will try to further their own cause by making something look like what it isn't. Yes, this attack was a crime, whatever the perpetrator's reason was... but it wasn't an attack on an entire demographic of society. Perhaps I am wrong, but I think that these 'hate crimes' are over-represented. (The person who shared the post I saw being not among those who deliberately do this.)

In any case, it saddens me that many people - although not all -  are quick to interpret things like, "Homosexuality is wrong", or, "I don't support marriage 'equality'" as - "I hate gay people." Again, there will always be a some that look down on those who are different than themselves, but this is not the case in the majority of instances where people say these things.

So, what's with the quotes around the word equality in that last paragraph? Because when people advocate for gay marriage, they are not advocating for equality - they are advocating to change the definition of marriage to include homosexual couples. Like trying to fit in to a dress that is a few sizes too small... you're going to rip the fabric. Everyone is free to love whomever they love. Any individual aged 18 or over who is not already married, may marry another person of an opposite sex. That is what puts everyone on equal ground. The law does not need to be changed to make us equal.

If, these things considered, advocates for gay rights still feel things are unequal, a different commitment would be more appropriate.

Advocating for the definition of marriage and the laws surrounding it to stay the same is not about hate. Intentionally taking things said by those you don't agree with out of context, or creating a version of events that does not reflect the truth is not about love. Turning the words or actions of others into something they are not is NOT decent, respectful or fair. You cannot ask for tolerance or acceptance while at the same time having no tolerance for those who do not share your views.

Thank you to those I know on both sides who discuss their differences with civility and respect.

Friday, 31 January 2014

Letter to a kindy girl

Dear Natalie,

This week you started kindy. Already I can see that you are enjoying it.

You are learning important skills, like how to be attentive and follow instructions, as well as literacy and numeracy.

These skills are important, and I am glad that you can learn them - but I will miss things you say and do that I suppose you will grow out of soon... things like how everything that happened in the past happened, "last weeks" and how you say "demember" [remember] and "defore" [before].

My favourite thing about picking you up form kindy since Tuesday has been seeing you and Hayley run and give each other a great big hug. When we dropped you off that first day, Hayley was wanting you to come with us. You, on the other hand, were already having so much fun.

After picking you up on your first day of kindy, I really enjoyed playing 'chasey' and dancing with you, and Hayley.

I will miss you each day, but I am so excited for you and know it will be a wonderful time, in which you will learn and grow.

All my love,
Mummy <3

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Thoughts from the Ride

Over a year and a half ago, I had just gotten home from a really nice walk with my girls (Hayley only a baby), when my sister Chantelle called to tell me that her husband had been diagnosed with cancer. I remember being really shocked. I had visited them in their Alice Springs home only the month before and at that time Daniel was at peek fitness, riding his bike to and from work everyday, as well as other exercise. I really didn’t know what to say in that moment.

After a much shorter period in Alice Springs than they had expected and hoped, Chantelle, Daniel, and their two beautiful daughters moved back to Adelaide so that they would have the family support they would need while Daniel went through chemo and surgeries to fight his cancer. Thankfully that battle was won and he is in remission, but it has been a long and hard journey for their whole family… and that’s only what I can observe as a third party – I can only imagine what it would be like to go through the initial uncertainty of what lay in store, then the reality of chemotherapy and other treatments, as well as other changes necessary in order for the spouse who had cancer to recover.

I want to say that Daniel has gotten through all this with grace and good humour and, although it was not lacking previously, my respect and admiration for him has grown as I have watched him over this time. This can be said for my beautiful sister also.

As you probably know, this weekend Adelaide hosted it’s first Ride to Conquer Cancer (benefiting the Flinders Medical Centre), and despite obvious difficulty Daniel decided to jump on board, and then formed a team as he was joined by my husband, Jonathan, and my Aunty Glenyse and Uncle Brian. I was proud of all of them for raising the money they did, and happy for my husband to do it, but I don’t think I realised the power of an event like this – to the community, and for its participants individually - until I was there watching it all take place. There are a few things I would like to say about it.

First of all, the power of community; perhaps some of the riders had the foresight that I lacked but I got to thinking while driving home after the conclusion of this race… and wondered whether the individuals who signed up thought it was a nice idea, and a challenge they’d like to take on, but that their fundraising contribution wouldn’t actually be that significant. Well that’s the power of community; over 400 people decided that finding a cure for cancer was worthwhile enough, important enough, or vital enough to ride 200km over two days; Many others agreed that the cause was great, and volunteered to help in other ways; People in organisations were willing to provide the food, water, overnight accommodation, etc. to make it happen; yet others contributed money to the cause; and because of this collective effort A MASSIVE $1.6 MILLION dollars was raised to aid cancer research. That is enormous, and if I recall correctly, the biggest fundraising campaign in South Australia EVER. As individuals we may not have a lot of power, but as a community we can make a LOT of difference.

I got to wishing that I could have volunteered in some capacity over the weekend, and then I thought – well, it did impact on me for one of those riders to participate, but I thought it was important enough to do what it took to let it happen anyway… being in a community means different things for each member of it. – As an aside, Jonathan tells me that the crew made the ride a great experience!

I have also had cause to reflect on what a wonderful family I have – immediate and extended. My Aunty and Uncle came all the way from Mt Beauty to participate, and brought road bikes as well as the expertise to ensure they were well maintained. I can’t say enough about the difference this made – it was the difference! My sister ran from checkpoint to checkpoint with her girls to cheer Daniel and the team on all day for two days. (Not literally. That would be crazy. She drove of course.) It has been one more way she has been a great wife to her husband in his journey.  Chany, today and throughout the time since Daniel was diagnosed, your inherit qualities of love and compassion have shined through – I have been told throughout my life that I am like you - and for that I can hold my head high! Daniel’s parents, my mum, my sister Kathryn and her family, my brother Adam and Teresa, and other Aunties and Uncles all joined the journey at some point or another over the course of the weekend. I was sitting at the finishing point for day one for a considerable amount of time yesterday, and there was definitely no individual or group that got a larger cheer than Mixed Nuts! The Howes also had my girls overnight Friday to make it easier for me to be at the start with Jonathan. I really love that I have family around me who strengthen, encourage, support and cheer each other on. That’s what families are for.

The last observation I have brings me back to where this post began. The Ride to Conquer Cancer was challenging for all of its participants, but none more so than the cancer survivors. I probably can’t do justice to what I want to say, but Daniel, you have inspired me in many ways. Thinking about what Daniel achieved today and everything that it took for you to get there, I say to myself, ‘If I have challenges, I can face them. If things are hard going, I can face it with positivity. If it feels to difficult, I won’t give up.’ You really are one of my heroes, and I’m proud to call you brother!

This year’s Ride is over, but there’s still time to donate. Over the past few decades cancer research has come so far, and those diagnosed have much better chance of survival – but there is still work to be done. If you are in a position to donate, please do... but if not keep an eye out for The Ride to Conquer Cancer 2014, and help anyway you can!

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

My mummy truths

Like Rachel (who wrote this post, which you should totally read) I am an imperfect, 'normal' mum. I have long since realised that comparing myself to others and trying to be the 'perfect' mother only brings feelings of inadequacy and failure. I have accepted that what is most important in motherhood is the love that I have for my children, that I do my best, and that I keep on trying again and again and again.

So here are my own mum confessions: 

I get frustrated at delay tactics, refusals to do simple tasks, refusals to eat or even try a perfectly good meal, and insistence on doing the exact opposite of what they ought. Sometimes I feel that I spend all day saying, "You need to do x or you're going to bed", and I am annoyed at myself for not knowing how to encourage cooperation more constructively.

Some days our TV is on for too long. Some days that's because instead of turning the TV off after a reasonable period, it gets left on while I fall asleep on the couch or have a shower or cook dinner or whatever it might be.

Sometimes I reprimand one of my children only to realise that they didn't do what I thought they had, or that they had good intentions even if it didn't work out, or that it didn't really matter anyway. Sometimes I take a few minutes to respond to their crying just to make sure I respond calmly...

But on the other hand - I took the time to make sure I would respond calmly. Big drop of awesome right there. (You should read that post too.)

Some days I am really 'with' my kids, and we have a lot of fun. The TV stays off and we read or play outside or bake or go to playgroup. Some days I am really aware of what my kids are trying to  tell me with behaviour that would usually bother me, and we fix things. Sometimes I know exactly what I can do or say that will help my kids understand why we need to do things like, getting dressed, going to the toilet before you have an accident, or not snatching that toy away from your sister. Some days we don't have those issues at all.

I guess my point is that we all need to do our best to be great parents for our kids.
Celebrate the things you do well.
Congratulate yourself when you are patient and are able to teach your children.
Be grateful when your kids have those cooperative days and you don't have to stress.

Do our best, but be kind to yourself when you feel you have fallen short.
Believe that every day is a new day, and this one doesn't have to be like the day before.
The same can be said about every moment.
Know that what matters most is to love your children immensely, and unconditionally.

Monday, 7 October 2013

(On the Receiving End of) Parental Love

As you might expect, I think a lot about the kind of mother I am and want to be, and in particular about how I can make sure that my children know that I love them. Lately I have also been thinking about how that might apply when my children are grown and going through similar experiences (or different ones) to what I am experiencing now. This in turn led me to think about, possibly understand a little better, and definitely appreciate more the things my mother does and how she is showing her love in doing them. It's been a lesson about life and motherhood, and what that means for me as both daughter and mother.

My lovely mummy begins two weeks of 'holidays' from work tomorrow. Why, I hear you asking? Primarily because Jonathan returns to work tomorrow and since I still can't do certain things (like drive!) she is going to help get me to appointments and generally just be around so I don't do things I shouldn't. :P

So, I think there is a slight chance that I have a tendency to be a little bit stubbornly independent and I'll admit that when mum first suggested the idea to me I didn't think that it was necessary - I would be totally fine with everything three weeks after my c-section, right? - and may have been holding back the desire to remind her that I'm a big girl now.  :P Having reached that point now I am very grateful that her help is available to me - that is amazing, but not my main point.

In hindsight, and as I was talking to mumsy today, it has occurred to me that behind words like, "As long as you promise you won't do anything you shouldn't before I get there" is my mum - who still loves me as much as she did when I was 9 and was diagnosed with epilepsy. Who still cares as much as she did when I was 14 (and 15 and 16) and may have liked school if not for the bullies at school. My mother who worries about my wellbeing just as much as when I was 17 and pretty well concussed myself when I passed out making breakfast one morning. My mum who still wants to be there when she can, because how can you switch off being a mum when your child reaches a certain age or gets married and/or moves out of home. Perhaps I am only just beginning to understand that in some instances, letting go is just as hard as holding on and being there.

So, dear mother, thank you. Thank you for every day and every moment that you've loved me since I was born. Thank you for finding it within yourself to spread yourself even further as a single mother of four children and still being there for me and all of us. Thank you for your continued offers of help now, and for always being there to celebrate the small and the great things, as well as to commiserate when things go amiss. I will always owe you too much to repay, and I suppose I will pay it forward instead.

Love always,

Monday, 30 September 2013


  • Incoherent while reading to your toddler or talking to a friend?
  • Lack concentration?
  • Emotions disproportionate to the situation at hand?
  • Intolerant of loud noises and other minor inconveniences?
  • Having trouble remembering facts that are usually easily recalled?


Best taken in large (consecutive) quantities, sleep has the power to improve your mental function, decrease irritability and improve your outlook on any day. Sleep also has the benefit of taking you to cosy, warm places on a cold day and is most effective when people under 3 feet are also sleeping or else otherwise occupied by a responsible adult.

Disclaimer: Sleep should not be taken when operating a motor vehicle / electrical equipment, or while holding infants. If symptoms persist, see your health care professional or consider consuming large quantities of chocolate. Please be advised that if your sleep deprivation is caused by tiny people that it really is all worth it. :) Just don't be afraid of going to bed at 7pm and, apart from feeding the newborn, staying there til 7am the next morning. 

Happy Mumma's Spot also recommends other precious commodities like solitary trips to the loo, and time to eat a decent meal.