Successfully Single.

Last week I was sitting on the edge of a cliff at sunrise looking over the ocean with a cute boy who could smash a plate on his stomach. I know. Sounds like a movie right? And to anyone who saw us, it probably looked like one too. But what those people don’t know, is that I go home to an 11kg toddler who still requires rocking to sleep, and who occasionally shits on my bathroom floor.

I first started this blog to reach out to mums who were sitting at home wondering what they were doing wrong. I learnt pretty quickly that there is no right way, and that even women with the most perfect instagram asthetic, and post partum six packs are still going to end up with cracked nipples and hairy legs. Now as I embark on my new adventure as a single mother, I have a whole new insight into the world of dating or as I like to call it, ‘the train wreck that is my life’.

As we all know ladies, even at the best of times dating is a challenge. I mean how long until you break it to them that you don’t have naturally luscious eye lashes and Bondi Sans coloured skin? And let me tell you – trying to make sense of the feelings of a 31 year old man is more complex than the 4000 word essay I wrote on Statutory Interpretation in law school. Add to that the fact that I’m running on about four hours sleep a night, and my alarm clock is the shrill scream of a 2 year old which can only be compared to a small animal being brutally murdered – and now you’ve got some idea of what I’m working with.

So let’s talk about the first three months of a relationship. The awkward ‘getting to know you’, ‘are we or aren’t we’ first three months, where you’re hesitating enough to protect your feelings but also secretly planning your trip to Europe together in five years. Girls, you’re still making the effort to wash your hair every two days, and guys you haven’t farted in 12 weeks. This is the make or break time, when you’re getting to know their habits, meeting their friends, and doing a thorough self-conducted psychoanalysis of why they’re still single.

Enter Cute Boy. Fire fighter by day, bachelor by night. Charming, funny, and did I mention the fire fighter thing? He takes me on dates, makes me dinner, and when I had an asthma attack at his house he told me I looked pretty when I was half-dead. In the last three months, I’ve learnt almost as much about myself as I have about him. The thing about being a single mother though – is that I’m in no rush for a happily ever after. I’ve got a little man in my house that already runs my life, and to be honest – part time dating has its perks. I get my mum time, Cute Boy gets his Cute Boy time, and we are both better people for it.

So. No my life isn’t a movie. And yes I’m so tired that I recently answered my own mobile phone saying “Ambulance, what town or suburb?”. I’ve got no dating or parenting advice because I’m learning as I go. But what I can confirm, is that no matter how perfect people look on the outside, everyone at some point feels like putting on a shower cap and smoking a cigarette. And that’s OK.







Are we officially dating?

A few months ago my Dad looked at me in exasperation running his hands over his bald head, (which incidentally is probably largely a consequence of my teenage years) and said “Laura for a very intelligent girl, you’re very stupid”. What he was referring to was my impulsive nature, which clearly came from the milkman because everyone else in my family likes to carefully plan their days, starting with their first trip to the toilet and ending with what time their first REM cycle will begin.

He was right though. I make very quick decisions which are often ill informed – a trait which i put on my tinder profile as “mysterious and exciting”. Now as you all know my mysterious exciting side was in full force in 2014 when I decided to get engaged at 21, married at 22 and drop 15k on a wedding, only to separate three years later. As hippie as this sounds; rather than get tied down in regret, I like to look at it as a learning curve – and I can guarantee you I’m a better woman for it.

So fast forward to 2018. Im 26 and more or less divorced, with a toddler and a 25k HECS debt. In other words, a bloody catch. Even so though, I gave myself a very serious talk about rushing into dating, and decided to put it on the back burner until such time as Henry wasn’t so needy and I had the time to shave both legs in one shower. But then 10 weeks ago, a cute boy slid into my DMs. He was witty, and just arrogant enough to get me interested but not annoyed – and so for the first time in my life, I went on a date with a stranger.

Let me set the scene for you. Its 36 degrees, Im hungover, and I’ve had 4 hours sleep. Good start Laura. Im sitting in front of the mirror with a fan blowing my hair around like I was starring in a Schwarzkopf add and I’m trying to slap makeup on my face, cursing my alter ego Sweaty Betty who had taken over my body. Its as good as its going to get, I jump in the car and start the 40 minute drive to cute boys house. Makeup – Check. Hair – Sweaty, but Check. Deodorant x 4 – Check. Tell someone where I’m going in case cute boy is an axe murderer – Check.

On arrival, I note that cute boy is definitely cute. His house was clean, and well decorated, and even though his bedroom looked like it belonged to a 16 year old skater. I decided I could work with it. He says he’s going to take me to lunch. Awesome, I’m starving and I’m hoping he’s not expecting me to eat a salad. We jump in his two seater ute – the trademark of a bachelor, and drive to a burger place. “Don’t worry, I’m sure they’ll have salads there” he says. I looked at him half in amusement and half in alarm hoping he hadn’t read my mind because at that exact moment i was thinking about how sweaty my butt was on the leather car seat.

Lunch was nice. I ate a burger, and held in a wee because I thought I should be ladylike. We left, and cute boy kissed me on the road – “lets get the first one out of the way” he said. Would have been romantic if i wasn’t busting for the toilet. So we get back to his place, its still 393 degrees, I’m beginning to feel the tequila shots I had the night before, and he hits me with “lets go to the beach”. Oh man. I should have had the salad. Im imaging what my melting face looks like and thinking it can’t get much worse, so sure lets get the mum bod out. I throw on my bikini, and decide it will be fine I can still look glamorous I just won’t get my hair wet. You can can imagine my horror when I realised the “beach” was actually manmade baths which require jumping off a cement platform and entirely immersing oneself in the water. Awesome. I must have done it gracefully, because as I came to the surface of the freezing cold water trying to get my breath back cute boy looked at me in concern and said “umm i forgot to check – can you swim?”.

Now to my point. Ten weeks, 8938 text messages, and a million dates later cute boy is still coming back for more. He now knows better than to try and feed me salad, he’s faced the ultimate test – meeting my friends, and he lets me leave my shampoo in his shower. My best girlfriend recently asked me the question of the hour.”So, are you officially dating?”, and I realised I actually don’t know. So ladies and gents, I put it to you. What constitutes official? Is it simply not dating anyone else? Or is it the day that “this is cute boy” becomes “this is my boyfriend, cute boy?”. And more importantly, does it really matter?

Table for three?…

As a mother, dating has proven to be a whole new kind of challenge. And not the normal kind of challenges like spinach in your teeth, or peeing quietly during the night. I’m talking full on crazy stuff like “hey this dinner has been really nice, but I have to get home to read Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy and go to bed at 8:30”

Recently I went to breakfast with a guy. We made plans for 8am. In my past life this would have involved two hours getting ready to achieve a perfect “I didn’t get ready” look, a pep talk with the girls at around 7:30am, and 4 outfit changes at 07:58am. What it actually involved, was making two bowls of cereal because one was pegged at my head, washing my hair because of said cereal pegging, trying to dry my hair with a 12kg baby climbing my leg like a tree, and the only person who got a last minute outfit change was Henry because he shit himself.

Anyway, I went to breakfast in the skirt I pulled off the dirty washing pile, half wet hair, and a pep talk from yours truly. So I’m sitting there eating my breakfast thinking I probably should have ordered less so the cute boy doesn’t know I eat like a sumo wrestler and also that I probably would have thought to order less if I had the required prep time this morning, and to be honest I would have shaved my legs as well.

Now luckily the cute boy was blinded by my charm and dazzling personality, and for some time now I’ve managed the juggling act of being a mum and the perfect date all at the same time. But next comes the elephant in the room, when do the two worlds collide? And all of a sudden instead of worrying about your average run of the mill issues like “do I sleep in my makeup” and “when do I start leaving my toothbrush in his bathroom” – I’m dealing with when do I let the cute boy and the human I’ve created in the same room as each other. The worst part is they’re yet to write an article about this in Dolly magazine so it seems I’m on my own.

So ladies and gents this brings me to my conclusion. After collecting data from very reliable sources such as gossiping at work, and online quizzes I’ve realised that there are absolutely no rules. There’s no handbook that someone forgot to give me, because lord knows if there was I would have found it by now. So for now I’ve got one foot in both doors, and it’s working just fine. It means sweat pants by day and little black dress by night, and to be honest if anything I think the juggling has made me better at both. And really, is forcing your date to watch Wiggles Dance Party going to benefit anyone?

Oh. And I already left my toothbrush 😉

She’s a single mum…

A few weeks ago I was at the airport service desk having some issues with checking in my bags, and the attendant had to call her manager for assistance. I wasn’t really paying all that much attention to what she was saying on the phone, but what I did notice was that she referred to me as “a single mum” like it was going to make some kind of difference to the outcome of my bag check. I mean what kind of difference could it possibly make? Are there special prices for single mums? Different coloured bag tags? And for that matter, how did she even know I was single? I mean aside from the baby attached to my chest, the lack of wedding ring, and apparently the large sign pasted on my forehead🙄

Anyway, so Mr Manager walks over and after much deliberation solved my bag issue, but not before giving me pity eyes and a metaphorical pat on the back. It’s funny how life stages can really change the way people look at you, and in turn affect the outcome of subsequent events. I have no doubt if I arrived at the airport with a husband and a baby, or even a group of girlfriends that I would have been standing there arguing for a lot longer and probably would have left $120 poorer due to my overweight bag 💼

When I first had Henry I got “young mum” a lot, which was nice I guess only because it’s better than “old mum” – but still curious that people feel the need to distinguish between them. The difference between “young mum” and “single mum” though, is that for some reason the latter carries the connotation that I’m struggling through life, dragging my baby into Centrelink to pick up my welfare check at 9am on a Thursday so I can buy ciggies and a new dressing gown. So I would just like to clear a few things up – Firstly, Centrelink opens at 8.30am on a Thursday. Secondly, I’m doing just fine. I’ve got an amazing family network, who love my son more than they love me and I’ve got fabulous friends who drag me out and force tequila shots down my throat when I need it.

Now don’t get me wrong, being divorced with a toddler at 26 certainly wasn’t in my life plan, and it’s really gotten in the way of my career as a Victoria’s Secret Model. But what I’ve learned is not to get caught up in what might happen next week, because let’s be honest ladies – sometimes getting through the day without murdering your child or taking up heroin is an achievement in itself. I have challenges I never planned for, like opening a first date with “hey I’m divorced and I’ve got a 2 year old, what’s your favourite movie” – and that has definitely been a road block but I find if you look super cute while you say it, it’s not so bad.

In conclusion, I love my kid more than life itself, I would take a bullet for him – and being a Mum is a big part of my life, but it doesn’t define the person I am. And honestly, my biggest worry right now is organising dinner time around Married at First Sight – so don’t feel sorry for me.

Kids on a Plane – Part One

Kids on a plane. Kind of like snakes on a plane, but worse. Flying with kids is kind of like childbirth; painful, messy, loud, and once it’s over you forget how bad it was and one day you’ll make the stupid decision to do it again.

So let me set the scene for you. I’ve got the whole day planned out: the flight is at 10am – will have to wake Henry, organise his clothes, then probably wake him again. That’s half an hour down. I’ll need fifteen minutes to wrestle his dummy out of his mouth, and probably another five to treat any battle wounds. He will need breakfast, so that’s half hour to clean the floor, walls and ceiling and maybe the inside of the cupboards and at least 20 minutes to restrain him and change his clothes twice. So I’ve worked out if I get up at 1am we should be out the door by 7. We decided to get the train in, because “oh my god Henry will LOVE it, he will be sooo cute on a train!”. Unfortunately, the passengers of the train we interviewed after the incident wholeheartedly disagreed. We finally made it to the domestic terminal, carrying enough luggage to circumference the US border twice, and almost left Henry on the train (on purpose). Now this may sound like an embellishment of the story designed for your entertainment, but I shit you not – the lifts were broken. “Out of order, apologies for any inconvenience”. Inconvenience is the understatement of the year CityRail – I had to strap my toddler to a suitcase and carry him up 1937 stairs. Just kidding, I gave him to the least serial killer looking stranger I could find at the bottom of the escalator and asked him to carry him up for me while Aunty Mel and I carted up the pram, cot, car seat, and 87 bags.

So far so good. Waited in line for half an hour – I’m chasing Henry up and down the barriers and asking him in my loud nice mummy voice to stay still while secretly pinching him in the back. We are sweaty, our hands are blistered, I’m pretty sure I’ve pulled a hammy but we’ve made it through security to the gate. Collapse onto a chair, and I’m thinking I might hit up the shops for a well deserved latte and by this point I was thinking I might take up smoking as well, and then Henry looks up at me with those beautiful blue eyes and says “Poo Mummy”.

To be continued…

You do YOU!

As a first time mum, I spent at least 90% of my time santitising everything in sight, including my kid. Bottles were boiled and then soaked, clothes were washed in organic baby safe detergent made from unicorn horns with antibacterial properties, and I bought NSW out of hand sanitiser – which I poured over anyone who came to visit Henry. I was so paranoid about Henry getting sick from germs, I would actually give his bath a bath before he was allowed in it. Obviously now that I have a 16 month old teenager, this has all had to change – because Henry licks the floor on a daily basis and just last week he brushed his teeth with toilet gel.

So anyway, I had Henry in the pram recently and was strolling around home (Kmart) mainly looking to purchase things I can’t afford and don’t need, and I was stopped by a woman who had picked up Henry’s dummy off the ground. “I’ll give you this, he obviously can’t have it back now” she said. And for some strange reason, I immediately replied with “Oh nope, definitely not, we’ll take that home and then wash it” – knowing full well that as soon as she turned the corner out of the bathroom accessories aisle that dummy was going straight back in my kid’s mouth. Reflecting on it afterwards, I’m not sure why I didn’t just tell her “whatever’s on the floor here isn’t as bad as the dog turd he ate in the park last week” but oddly it was my immediate reflex to just agree with her – and then wait for her to leave the scene before I gave Henry the dummy, like I was committing some kind of crime.

So here’s my advice that I clearly didn’t follow – be proud to do what you’ve gotta do to be the best mum you can be. And don’t let anyone tell you you’re doing it wrong – because at the end of the day, if you made it to Kmart and wrestled a toddler into a pram, you deserve that candle – and if that means floor-dummy then so be it!

Don’t worry, it will get easier..

I distinctly remember sitting on the lounge trying to breast feed Henry on day 4 (felt like day 24) home from the hospital, crying my eyes out wondering how something that everyone says is so wonderful could possibly be so hard. My gut looked like i had just stepped out of the ‘supersize me’ mini series, my hair hadn’t been washed since i excitedly blowdried it in preparation for labour almost a week ago (what a waste that was), there was breast milk on the walls (you would not believe the distance that stuff can go), and my nipples felt like someone had literally rubbed sandpaper on them for eight hours straight and then set them on fire. I also remember, that everyones answer to all my questions, worries and complaints was “don’t worry, it gets easier”. Henry is now fifteen months old (ok, ok almost one and a half) – and last week he shit on my arm. So, I’m starting to get suspicious that it doesn’t ever get easier, what actually happens is that by the time they turn one, we are so tired, defeated and hairy, that we have become desensitised to things like shit on our arms, and our brains are tricked into thinking the storm has calmed. Things that most humans would find totally unmanageable (and in some cases, revolting) become normal, and things that were normal before, like having time to shave both legs in the same shower are now unheard of. So here’s my advice to new mums for what it’s worth – don’t freak out when time goes on and you haven’t found that miraculous “easier” window yet. Sure, the kinds of challenges that come with each age are going to evolve – but even though you might not be walking around in spanx and a vomit stained shirt any more, let me tell you – trying to make a one year old eat their broccoli before their sausage will make you seriously re evaluate how bad the vomit really was.

Another day in paradise…

So this morning at 3am as I stumbled down the hallway toward Henry’s room feeling my way along the walls with my eyes still closed, using his ear splitting scream as a guide to find him in the dark – I thought to myself, “wow this is the life”. Finally made it to his bedroom, spent the better part of half an hour patting him on the butt so hard the whole cot shook with every slap, while trying to keep myself upright in between micro sleeps – and just before I tip toed out I thought it would be a good idea to re start his music so he didn’t wake up again. So I’m feeling pretty pleased with myself, he’s snoring away quietly in the corner and I’ve gone for the quick tap on the iPad to start what I thought were soothing lullabies and by some sick twist of fate, something resembling old school Eminem with a base line on steroids starts blaring out – I kick my toe on the beside table in the rush to turn the volume down and in assessing the pain I’m thinking I’m going to need an amputation. Next minute old mate not only wakes up again and screams but proceeds to start dancing and fist pumping his dummy in the air to the beat. He looks me right in the eyes in the glow of the iPad still going on max volume and if he could talk I swear to god he would have been saying “epic fail mum”. Admitting defeat, I tucked him under my arm and marched back up the hallway, now very much awake and threw him in bed with me hoping for the best – and then spent the next hour having my eyelids peeled open, my neck skin pinched and a high pitched giggles echoing down my ear drums. Another day in paradise – what a time to be alive. 

#Helicopter Mum

Sitting in the park today watching Henry climb up one stair and fall off it over and over again, made me think about what kind of Mum I am. I think having a baby has made me both more and less Judge Judy about other parents, and how they manage their kids.

Its kind of like my plan to put makeup on and dress my bump in some crazy cute maternity clothes and walk around glowing every day of my pregnancy – well we all know how that turned out.. because by 30 weeks I was so sweaty makeup wouldn’t even stick to my face, and that’s about as close to the ‘glow’ I ever got.

In the same way, before having Henry I would watch parents in the park with their kids falling over in the dirt and spilling food all over themselves, thinking to myself that my future children would always be in a clean change of clothes, and would never hurt themselves because I would be a total helicopter parent. Looking back on that today as Henry fell on his head for the fifth time, and ate a pile of bark that someone’s dog had probably peed on at some point – I had to laugh.

To keep Henry clean, I would literally have to take 34 changes of clothes and a portable-baby-sized-soft-car-wash with me at all times. The kid is out of control. He will touch, play in, and eat pretty much anything with the exception of avocado. And to stop him hurting himself? God. I would have to lock him in a padded room with 24 hour surveillance and a paramedic on call and still I reckon he would probably scratch himself in the face or eat the stuffing out of the walls.

I’m torn between wanting to be there to clean him and bubble wrap him – because I’m petrified of him being out in the big bad world. But I have really surprised myself being able to take a step back and let him learn things for himself. I think as parents the best thing we can do is love our kids and of course be there to catch them when they need it… but I also think that letting them fall sometimes is just as important.

Are you ready for a baby?…

My expectations about being a mum and what its actually like being a mum can be accurately compared to reading the Harry Potter book and then seeing the movie. COMPLETELY different.

It goes beyond my aspirations to be a trend setting milf taking my baby to cafes and wearing oversize sunglasses in perfectly filtered Instagram photos. Incidentally, going to a cafe with a baby is now in my top five nightmares, and in fact you couldn’t pay me enough to voluntarily take Henry anywhere in public that involves food with no splash mat or gurney handy. But more significantly than any of that is the difference between what i thought about having a baby IN my life, to whats actually happened. The baby has taken OVER my life.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the little dude more than words can even come close to describing. I think I just got caught up in that mentality that I could be, and had to be prepared for motherhood. That having all the rights toys, and learning about the sleep routines, and getting my mum hair cut somehow meant i was ready. Like studying for an exam. The difference with that is you do all your learning and do the exam and then it goes away. Henry kind of stuck around.

Every single day is a learning curve. I finally got the hang of breastfeeding (that is, my nipples stopped falling off) and then suddenly it was time for formula and that meant taking fifty bottles, a thermos of hot water, and trialling enough different formulas to feed every baby in the southern hemisphere to find the right one. I came out the other side of the baby vomit, nipple cream and 2am poo on the carpet and made my grand entrance back into the public setting, cautiously making my way further and further distances from the safe haven of home where i could properly deal with category 3 poonamis and screaming reflux episodes. Then i blinked and Henry started crawling and eating solids which meant going out to the shops became a combination of wearing protective goggles and constantly apologising to waitresses, and chasing after the little ninja in a very public scene that looks like a human version of animal planet.

So in conclusion, my advice to new mums, or people thinking about becoming new mums is there is no such thing as ‘ready for a baby’. It happens and you just do it – because you have to. Its scary and crazy and exhausting and smelly – but it is also the most fulfilling, out-of-this-world kind of love that you will ever know.