D&M, Parenting, Work

Living my dream.

Tonight I was driving home to our new place in Elwood.

I must’ve looked like a goon, I was singing to Oliver with a massive smile on my face. I realised that I did it. I didn’t give up, although many times I wanted to, and I achieved my dream. Like, all of them. Holy heck!!!
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After 6 years, I’ve finally got my own place in Melbourne. Okay it’s only for six weeks, sure it full of someone else’s furniture, and yeah okay it’s a bit of a dive but you guys, I did it!!

After five years at uni, yes I took my time, I’ve got a job I’m really proud of. A job that I think I could do really well at and a job I will learn so much from.

But above all of that I’ve got James, Ollie and even that silly little puppy Panda. I’m actually married to my soul mate, and then we popped out my little kindred spirit. I really prefer the company of no one else more than that of my family,

This is not to say my life is perfect, but it is to say that I’ve worked my arse off and I’ve already ticked every box on my list. I really do have to pinch myself sometimes.

I’ve had moments so low that I’ve almost walked away from my husband, not him per say but the life that came with him. But I stayed, and I tried, and now he’s about to get posted to Melbourne and it’s all been worth it.

There were moments so stressful I nearly dropped uni. I was driving from Sydney to Canberra to do my exams so I had someone to babysit Oliver because James was ALWAYS at sea- can you imagine? It was exhausting. Oliver would sleep and I would study, then I would clean a little or sleep or on the very odd occasion I would relax.

But here I sit in my Melbourne apartment just five months away from having my family back together, with my beautiful child asleep in our bed (yes we’re currently sharing) and just hours away from returning to my dream job.

When was the last time you thought you could just throw it all away? I hope whatever you decided to do, you feel as fulfilled as I do today!

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Parenting

It’s all a bit bittersweet.

We did it, we survived James’s 6 month deployment. He’ll be home on Friday.

Two weeks later, Oliver and I move to melbourne.

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Right now I’m feeling really powerful. I know that moving to melbourne is the best thing for us, and I am really looking forward to the next two weeks with my family.

But see, my husband is like a drug to me. The good kind, he’s a very positive influence. But boy oh boy, is he addictive. When I am away from him, well the first few weeks suck! But then I am okay.

When we are together, however, I live in constant fear of him leaving again. Every time he calls me from work I’m convinced he’s calling to tell me his been crash posted and he’s leaving for three months in two weeks (it’s happened before). Or worse, that he’s been posted back to Sydney.

I almost forget to enjoy the beautiful person that he is, and the wonderful relationship we share.

But this time is different, this time I’m in control. I’m calling the shots, I’m the one leaving.

It’s all very empowering and absolutely terrifying!

We also go through a big adjustment period when he gets back, we get a few weeks of joy and then we have to get used to living together again. That sounds really sterile but you’d be surprised how much people change over a few months- particularly when one lives in a large house alone and the other lives in small quarters with tens of other men.

This time, we just get the fun bit. The two weeks of hand holding, smooching, loving and enjoying.

I am really looking forward to it.

Of course I dread saying goodbye to my husband. I dread seeing him say goodbye to Oliver. But I know what I’m doing is for forever, not just until the navy posts us again.

I will control my own life, and I’ll no longer be controlled by a god damned posting order!

It’s all very liberating and empowering, but gosh I wish James was coming with us.

It’s really a very bittersweet time for this household.

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Parenting, Uncategorized

Why I stopped yelling…

Oliver is boisterous. He is full of energy and certainly suffers from selective hearing.

Tie that with nine months of ear infections, and you find yourself with two parents at their wits end trying to get their toddler to do ANYTHING!

But then I stopped yelling.

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When I say I tried everything, I mean it. Talking, asking, crying, laughing, yelling, screaming, smacking. I never wanted to smack my child, but I really didn’t know what else to do.

It resulted in the two of us sitting there, crying.

And that’s when I stopped yelling. It was part choice, and part me giving up and realising I had to start from complete scratch.

The first few days were horrible, absolutely terrible. He was so defiant, I remember him throwing a wooden toy at me to try get a reaction. It hurt like hell, and I sobbed quietly but I didn’t raise my voice.

And then I started giving him simple choices, “Mummy’s going to bed, are you coming or staying up?” “Staying up, okay goodnight!” Then he would come to bed.

Then I started to give him responsibilities, “Mummy’s going to bed, can you turn off the TV?”

No arguments, no complaints, just results.

I remember the first time I took him out in public and he didn’t spend every second trying to run from he. He held my hand when I asked, he slowed down when I asked, I listened to what he wanted to do, and it was perfect.

Even his daycare has told me of his improvement, and they are following my technique.

He thrives with responsibility and boundaries. If he doesn’t listen, I remove him from the situation. For example he is allowed to play on the drive way, but if he steps one foot on the road without holding my hand I simply pick him up and carry him inside. Then he gets one chance to say sorry and try again. The first few times I was smacked, and yelled at. But each time he understood it more and more, and now he doesn’t even try it. If for some reason he wants to go onto the road, he asks me to hold his hand and escort him.

I feel like I have a completely different child than I had six months ago. Of course he has aged, and of course his communication skills have improved. But he still struggles to communicate and I still struggle to understand exactly what he wants.

But now, we don’t yell. We talk, we try, and we figure it out.

My parenting skills have improved 100% since quitting yelling, and I’m not only much happier- Oliver is too.

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Parenting, Work

Hey there lonnnnely blog

 

 

Our beautiful au pair left two weeks ago, James is back in one month. Whilst I am loving every second with Oliver, I am finding it very difficult to get any time to myself.download (1)My day starts when Oliver’s day starts, it ends when Oliver’s day ends. I work from around 8:30-4:30. Work is really busy, and I get very little R&R time- but I love what I do so it’s a good thing (mostly).

I often find myself catching my breath in the car when I get to work in the morning and when I leave work in the evening. Those few seconds alone in the car before I run off to pick up Oliver are mine, and I breath them in deep.

I pick Oliver up, we get home, I give him an afternoon snack, and then I start on dinner. Sometimes he helps, or he plays, or watches TV- but he checks on me ever few minutes as I check on him. We eat dinner together, normally on the couch watching a documentary about animals, he’s obsessed! Then it’s bath, teeth, book, bed. I lay with him until he falls asleep, it’s been this way since Easter, he was very distressed after his Dad left again after Easter and to be honest, I kind of love it.

I normally fall asleep next to him at 7:30, I might wake up at 9PM in time to crawl into my bed. Night’s like tonight I manage to stay awake to squeeze in some me time, but honestly I feel like it’s just for the sake of.

And repeat.

I love my days with Oliver. I feel like I am the best Mum I have ever been, I’m practising new parenting techniques and it’s wonderful. I never raise my voice at Oliver and he responds so well to it. We talk, and he understands me. I give him simple choices, and he picks the obvious option.

But my priorities are different than they were three weeks ago. I’m not worried about a clean house, or me time. I’m worried about Oliver and I want him to know I am here for him, even though some days I drop him at daycare just as they open and pick him up just before they close. I still prioritise work as best I can, but these days I leave work with emails unread, I just have to.

So, unfortunately this blog is not getting my priority. I just don’t have time, even when I do- my computer is running YouTube with the ‘onimallls’ for Ollie. I have been spending a bit more time on my social media, if you’d like to keep up with my recipes and happenings you can follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

I hope to be back to blogging regularly soon.

Single mums, you rock my socks. Seriously, this world owes you far more than you get.

Much Love,

Cassandra J

 

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D&M, Parenting, Uncategorized, Work

Six years to life

Almost six years ago, I met my soul mate.
I pretty much new from the moment I met him that this was it for me, this was where I was meant to be.

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It was also around this time that James signed his six year contract to the Australian Defence Force, and we began our journey as a defence couple.

Our plan was to always leave after the six years. He would support me through uni, we’d have a child or two, get married, I’d get a job and then he would leave the ADF and be a stay at home Dad.

So far, so good. But the thing is, the ADF is such a great comfort. I mean, they really have our back. Not only just James have a stable income, he also has free healthcare, dental and rental assistance. Oliver and I also get healthcare too. And you know, we like to have nice things- the kind of nice things you can only really have with two wages.

I am really proud of what we have achieved in these six years. Not only have we started our family, James has managed to support me through my degree and path the way for me to start my career. Oliver is a very stable kid, we rock this parenting gig. We might be a little quirky, and different to other parents- but we are certainly raising a very bright and happy kid. James continues to make a great impression at work and is currently the dux of his class.

Sometimes I wish I could just go back to 21 year old Cass and tell her to chill out, and that everything will be okay. 30 year old Cass will probably (hopefully) think the same of 25 year old Cass- but I guess it’s that level of stress that has helped me to achieve my goals.

What about you? Do you think a younger you would be proud of who you are today? And what about an older you?

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D&M, Parenting, Uncategorized

Daylight savings reminiscing.

It’s funny how certain days remain so vivid in your memory for no real reason at all.

I remember the day we turned the clocks back last year as if it were yesterday.

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April 2013

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April 2014

We had just moved to Canberra from Sydney. Our slightly wounded little family was still settling into our lives here- and the promise of being together as a family every night.

Panda was still getting used to having a back yard, peeing on grass, and just being a dog really.

Oliver was determined as ever, still on two day naps a day and just really enjoying everything that Canberra was for our family.

James got called in to do night shift that night, just a little reminder that the Navy still owned us- but we didn’t mind- we we’re land locked and they couldn’t take James away.

Oliver was exhausted by 6:15 that night, so I put him to bed. He used to wake up at 5AM (after a 3AM bot bot) so I was apprehensive. I remember tidying the toy room as I did every night and caving to the heater as I was still acclimatised to Sydney weather.

I was so determined to be this normal middle class family, and be something that we weren’t. I wanted to raise Oliver the way James and I were raised, and sure we turned out okay but we are not our parents and Oliver is not us.

It’s funny how much can change in a year.

Today, I woke up after a sleep in as I was out late last night. James was up for the weekend, visiting from his temporary home in Melbourne.

Oliver is still incredibly determined, but he listens now. He didn’t get a nap today and was in bed again by 6.15, I have no idea what time he’ll be up tomorrow but I don’t have a chip on my shoulder about this anymore.

I don’t try to be my Mum, or James’ Mum. I just be Oliver’s Mum and I do a damn good job at it.

I wonder where we’ll be this time next year. I’m glad we’re not stagnant but once James is home I hope things don’t change too much.

Where were you this time last year?

 

 

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D&M, Parenting

Now and then.

Today is pay day. In 2014 it goes directly into our bank account for instant access. I can access it here in Canberra and James can access it from his Navy base down in Victoria. The same navy base that my Grandfather trained, and trained others at in the 1950’s.

My grandfather and his colleagues in 1956.

My grandfather and his colleagues in 1956.

I remember trying to explain to my Nana how I accessed my ‘allowance’. She was so perplexed. She explained to me how she used to receive her $40 cheque fortnightly in the mail and would take it to the bank, cash it and that would support her and her then 4 children whilst my Grandfather was deployed.

Tonight, I sat in front of my computer and purchased our fortnightly groceries. I paid with my debit card and selected delivery for tomorrow evening. Earlier tonight Oliver and I skyped with James, and Oliver hugged the phone when he saw his Daddy’s face. Even when he is out at sea, I can still email him photo’s and get the occasional phone call. Sure, it’s not ideal but it’s still a damn sight easier than in the 1950’s.

I paid our bills via bPay this morning. My Nana would walk down to the post office to pay her bills.

If James is coming home, I know at least a few days before. My Nana told me once she was heavily pregnant with her first child, my Aunt, and my Grandfather came into port and surprised her. She hadn’t seen him for majority of the pregnancy. She hid behind the door when she saw him because she was worried he would think she looked bad. Of course he didn’t, but he certainly took her by surprise.

James was away for 5 months of my pregnancy. He put in family leave and was flown home three weeks early from his deployment so he could be there with me. I sent him constant updates of my growing belly. He was emailed after every doctors appointment and every kick. Physically, he was not here but I still made sure he knew everything that was going on. It was so important to us.

Talking to my Nana really shows me what my life would be like if it was the 1950’s. It really makes me appreciate the steps the Australian Defence Force has taken to improve the life of Defence Families. Sure, the Navy still has a long way to go to live up to its family first tag line, but it really is heading in the right direction.

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