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Ch 37: I wrote to the zoo to send me some....sanity.

Like many of us, when I was working full time, Sunday evening would arrive and with it, a serious case of the Sunday night blues. That sinking feeling of dragging your boring black leather heels through the concrete slabs that comprise the city. The Monday to Friday grind of time wasting meetings, office politics, managing up, managing down and moving briefs from one tray to another.

Now don't get me wrong, I do actually love my work. The sense of achievement, the relationship with my team mates, my portfolio of clients and the programs I manage.

It is the unavoidable incidentals such as the fast paced rat race, the hour long (on a good day) commute into the city and the small minority of challenging personalities that dampens the idea of rolling up on a Monday morning. And besides, weekends really are much more fun. I would so rather be on a long morning run than sitting idle on a freeway car park.

I am now ten months into a 13 month maternity leave arrangement from my workplace. The little master is nearing nine months old. He is growing and developing in leaps and bounds. On three solid meals a day plus milk feeds, he is sleeping all night, self feeding at lunch time, will take a bottle if I (heaven forbid) have a few hours away from him and is generally a very happy baby.

However, there's a slight issue. Upon starting my maternity leave, I relished in kissing the Sunday night blues away.

But they're back. Over the last few weeks they have started to rear their head again. In fact, today they crept in earlier once dear husband left for a Sunday afternoon golf game.

Like a toddler with my face pressed up against the window, I'm sure the neighbours could hear me wailing 'you're leaving me with him?! It's Sunday! But when will you be baaaackk?'*

It's not that I don't love the little master. I do, more than anything on this planet (sorry Buddy dog, you are a close second. Sorry dear husband, I guess that makes you a close third..?).

But it's official. I'm tired of looking after him 99 per cent of the time. I'm mentally fatigued, done with the nursery rhymes, the whining from new teeth pushing through those sore little gums, the repetitive mind numbing games and the busy yet mundane nature of feeding, settling, terribly bad singing, terribly bad dancing, bottom burps, banana vomits, banana and yoghurt vomits, face wiping and bum cleaning. Plus, if I have to read Dear Zoo one more time I think I'll end up in one.

Unlike my workplace, there are no pay rises for mothers at home, in line with CPI or workplace agreements. There are no formal performance reviews or opportunities for someone to sit down with you and tell you you're a superstar and that you're doing a marvellous job.**

Instead, many mothers at home, on a daily basis, grapple with the notion of being critiqued for our parenting styles, the size and shape of our baby, what they're eating, what they're not eating, are they crawling, are they walking, are they tap dancing yet..?

Although I have committed to seeing through my maternity leave arrangement, late last week I secured the little master a place in the most amazing child care facility for January 2013.

Whilst walking through the playground, the little master kicked his legs with excitement and I, holding back tears of relief, mentally wiped out the images of other centres we had toured through over recent weeks.

This was the Rolls Royce of centres. Amazeballs is an understatement. Plus it is less than a ten minute hop, step and wiggly jump from my work. And they have chickens. Real chickens...I know, I know.

I can't wait to send him there, to further develop those skills he has learnt at home and to flourish in a social, learning and nurturing environment. Did I mention the chickens?

As for me, bring on Monday mornings, my white crisp shirts, suit jackets, performance reviews, all day meetings, briefings, agendas, bits of paper.

Although it won't be easy and I can guarantee an array of tears from my behalf after dropping him off at childcare on day one, but I believe combining work and parenthood will make me a better mother and a better employee. I will value every moment I will share with the little master of a morning, night and on a weekend. I will work to live, not live to work and will very much look forward to reading Dear Zoo every single night. Over and over and over again.

* Dear husband did offer to cancel his golf game this afternoon out of respect for my sanity. However I refused his offer to stay at home, he too needs the time away to refresh himself..pity it takes five solid hours on a golf course to do so!

** Dear husband also does praise me every day and tells me I'm doing a great job. But as my husband, he has to do that...but I love him regardless. Thanks DH.

Oh, and I really do love Dear Zoo. That is all.


Ch 36: Saturday is Caption Day

Our first Saturday is Caption Day entry - hazzah!

The little master giving one of his famous 'I'm not very impressed' looks.

Caption away!

Oh and check out mammasaurus for more Caption Day funnies.



Ch 34: There's more to life than footy? Really?

Earlier this year I was at the footy and was pleased to meet the new girlfriend of one of my mates. She doesn't follow the game but was keen to come along to see what all this AFL buzz was about.

I welcomed her to the world of our brown and gold existence, the Hawthorn Hawks, with a spare scarf I had at home. She grinned and wrapped it around her neck. Then I told her that she wasn't allowed to come along again unless she wears it...with pride. We laughed. She agreed. Ice broken. Another supporter recruited.

For those of you who know me, to say I am a die hard, passionate and at times slightly arrogant Hawthorn supporter, would be a sure bet right?

Ok, ok, I can see you nodding your heads profusely, including my dear husband who on many occasions has called himself the football widow in our family. I think he's right.

I love my Hawks, the game itself and the comradeship with my fellow Hawthorn supporting friends. Let's just not mention my love of the umpires though..

Over the years, and I mean around 25 years, there have been buckets of tears, child like tantrums, broken flags, random hugging of strangers, interstate trips, jumping over the fence after the 100th goal is kicked (thanks Dunstall and Buddy), premierships won, far too much money spent, an overflowing swear jar, copious amounts of pies consumed and countless moments of elation and joy.

And that's just on a Saturday afternoon.

My mate's new girlfriend came along to another game during the year. The Hawks were a few goals down at half time and were not playing well. Our tight-knit group were anxious and frustrated. This was clearly visible to our newest recruit so at the half time break she turned to me and the following conversation occurred:

New scarf wearing recruit: I've only ever been when the Hawks have won.

AP: Ah ha, sighs, squeezes tomato sauce over beef pie.

New scarf wearing recruit: He doesn't handle it well when they're losing does he?

AP: Nup (thinking neither do I, love!). Blows on gravy beefy pie goodness to cool it down.

New scarf wearing recruit: I'm going to have a talk to him about getting some perspective.

AP: Spits gravy beef pie goodness onto the ground. Ohhh ok. Umm, hang on, might want to wait until after the game. In fact maybe tomorrow morning. Yes?

New scarf wearing recruit: Laughs. Oh yes, ha ha. Alright then. Sure.

AP: Frantically trying to figure out how to give her friend the heads up about an impending 'there's more to life than football' lecture from girlfriend. Abandons heads up plan, too hard and besides, she's not my girlfriend and I have a pie to eat. Continues devouring remaining pie.

Fast forward three months and the mighty Hawks have reached that last Saturday in September.

Grand final day 2012 and we were in it!

I was anxious, not overly confident but very hopeful. The lead up to the day was enormous. Nervous butterflies all week, wide awake each morning at 6am too preoccupied and excited to sleep.

The last time Hawthorn lost a Grand Final was in 1987. I was six years old. We won in 1988, 1989, 1991 and 2008.

Therefore, I had never really experienced the pain of losing a flag.

Saturday 29 September 2012. The Sydney Swans defeated Hawthorn by ten points to claim the 2012 Premiership.

I was numb. Heart broken. Disappointed. Lost.

I got out of the MCG as fast as I could. In a sea of brown and gold scarves my wobbling chin and I said goodbye to my football mates and jumped on a train home.

Home to see my little boy. My happy and beautiful bundle of chubby goodness. Oh and dear husband too. From the time they dropped me off at the footy to when I got home was eight hours. The longest I had been apart from the little master since his birth eight months ago.

He grinned his little face off at me and my heart melt. I had missed him. Very much.

In the background, my dear husband could be heard whispering on the phone: 'She's ok, I think. Hasn't said much. No, the world hasn't fallen in..'

He was right. And so was my friend's new girl.

It's only taken a quarter of a century but I, for a moment, managed to 'get some perspective'.

Rather than dwelling on the Grand Final defeat, I gave thanks to having such a fulfilling hobby as part of my life that I can share with my little master. Or should I say, little hawk..

I will teach him to be a good sport, a loyal supporter who stands by his team in good times and bad, and he will learn to persevere and work hard to achieve his goals. He will be kind to the umpires and I will push him over the fence when the next Hawthorn forward kicks 100 goals. In fact, we will leap over the fence together. Some things never change.


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