Getting it for the gram…

Hi, my name is Laura and I’m addicted to social media.

It all started with MySpace which provoked some serious girl drama over the order in which we displayed our ‘top friends’. It would literally take one girl to accidentally give you stink eye on the wrong day of your cycle and you’d be straight on the dial up internet dropping the perpetrator from ‘top friend #1’ down to at least #3 and then hanging out and waiting for them to notice.

Then Facebook. To be honest when this one first emerged I was a little bit young to use it to its full potential, and used to spend most of my time on it just “poking” people and writing intermittent philosophical statuses. As it became more popular and I became a more proficient user, I began to see it for what it’s really for – to stalk people in a socially acceptable way. If you’re laughing you’re guilty.

And last but not least, Instagram. The place I find solace in the chaos that is my life. Pathetic? Maybe. But am I alone? Not even slightly. Over the last few years I have slowly built a community of people on Instagram, most of whom I have never met – but many who I feel like I know. Single mums, single dads, paramedics, young women, older women – people from all over the world who have scrolled through Instagram and seen a photo, a comment, or a blog that I’ve posted which in some way shape or form has resonated with them. I think that’s pretty bloody cool.

So what’s the problem? I’ve thought about this a lot recently – specifically regarding the line between a healthy and unhealthy use of Facebook and Instagram. Personally, I think that in modern day society its almost impossible to escape from this so called ‘epidemic’ of social media, especially with advertising now being embedded into it.  Side note: I’m getting real sick of scrolling through Instagram and then ending up with $334 worth of teeth whitening and at home laser kits on after pay. Im a victim. BUT – what we can do to maintain control is to be self aware and to try to have some insight into the impact we allow these platforms to have on us.

Not long ago, the midget and I went to breakfast together. I ordered myself a coffee, and a babycino for Bae. The beverages get delivered to the table, and Henry picks up the marshmallow from the plate, lifts it to his mouth to eat – and just as its about to touch his lips he pauses and says “you want to get a photo mama?”.  First of all, yes I do. But secondly, shit – I’m a total stage mum. And guys, its not just getting the photo is it? It’s the cropping to get the perfect frame, the filter to get the perfect light, the search for the perfect hashtags, and then the next six hours we spend monitoring comments and counting the likes. The phrase “pics or it didn’t happen” has become less of a joke and more of a reality as we are constantly presenting “perfect” snap shots of a not so perfect actuality. We all post the marshmallow shot, but how many of us post the tantrum after the marshmallow is gone?

Finally, ill touch on relationships on social media. Partly because what’s one of my blogs without a cute fireman in it? But mainly because it’s highly relevant to this topic. I was horrified to realise recently that despite having been ‘real life official’ for quite some time, calendar boy and I were NOT ‘social media official’. An oversight that my 1986 model boyfriend could not understand the significance of. I had to explain to him that within 3 seconds of hearing someone’s name I’ve stalked them so well that by the time I meet them not only can I wish their Auntie’s cousin’s husband’s second child a Happy Birthday, but I sure as hell know if they’re single or not. “And so you see…” I patiently explained. “If you’re single online, you’re on the market until proven otherwise”…

…I then set out on a mission of evidence based research in the form of self conducted surveys across the relevant generations in order to confirm whats the new “hip” way to establish a new relationship. The consensus by a mile according to my meta-analysis of data is as follows;

  • “Facebook official” is officially irrelevant
  • Insta is the new facey
  • The official “I’m taken” statement comes in the form of a couples photo posted to your page
  • Insta stories don’t count (Elite Daily, Annie Foskett Jan 11 2018)

Incidentally, the information on this topic online and by word of mouth was overwhelming. So yes, it seems most of us are guilty of living our lives one insta post at a time. No matter how hard we try our actions will be somewhat dictated by social pressures, often in the form of online media. Im still trying to work out exactly what I’ve learnt from all this, but so far here’s what I’ve got;

  • Let’s take the time to enjoy the moment before we take the photo.
  • Let’s post the outtakes
  • Let’s take what we want from social media, but don’t let it take over us

One day at a time.

 

Keeping up with the Tuckers…

So I’ve been awol from the blogging world mainly because I’ve been working, trying to keep the midget alive, and trying to date in 2018 (you pick what was the hardest task). I’ve had lots of messages asking for the latest goss so this entry is all about updates on (surprise!) ME!

WORK…

As my friends, family, and observant followers would know – I’ve recently moved out of my previous job as a 000 call taker and started work as an on-road paramedic. After a rigorous application and interview process, a couple of mental breakdowns from yours truly, and an induction at NSW Ambulance headquarters; I’ve been let loose in the big city to respond to emergencies. I’ve always said I work best under pressure, which was my excuse as to why I never started a uni assignment until the night before – and it turns out I was right. I’m having the time of my life and can’t imagine ever doing a normal job again.

THE MIDGET…

Just before Bae’s last birthday I did some serious research to make sure I was armed and ready for the so-called “terrible twos”. The morning of his party I sat in his room next to the cot, staring at my little 1 year and 364.5 day old angel waiting for him to wake up and wondering what was in store for us. I don’t know what I was expecting really, I guess for the clock to hit the exact time he was born and his head to spin around on his shoulder while he morphed into a younger male version of Regan MacNeil from the Exorcist. What actually happened was he sat up in his cot, rubbed his eyes and asked for weetbix with honey. I wasn’t fooled though, the creepiest horror films always start with the cutest, normal kids right?

A few more weeks went by and still, nothing. He had the occasional tantrum over some serious issues regarding the correct episode of Bananas in Pyjamas being played, and one day he got pretty upset when he ran out of blueberries but every morning I continued to wake up to find he hadn’t murdered me in my sleep, and as far as I know he hadn’t strangled any puppies either. Then of course I started to wonder if there was something wrong, some kind of delayed onset of the dreaded twos. I consulted google, but other than diagnosing him with about four incurable diseases including one STD, I found it unhelpful.

Six months have gone by, and every now and then the devil emerges in the form of a sassy teenager in a midgets body, and I think it’s happening. But there’s about a three second rebound rate and he’s back being the cutest thing that ever blessed me with his presence, and I feel guilty for even the fleeting thoughts I had of sprinkling him with holy water. I mean don’t get me wrong, he’s still a toddler and he still has his moments of driving me so mad that I’m just about ready to throw both him, and Bananas in Pyjamas in the bin – but 90% of the time he’s wonderful and even if it turns out he is broken I still wouldn’t change him for the world.

DATING IN 2018… (and a few weeks of 2019)

As you know cute boy AKA the fireman, has been a repeat offender throughout the year – and yes girls it’s the news you’ve all been waiting for, scream into your pillows and pop the champagne, it’s OFFICIAL. Big Bae is now boyfriend Bae, and much to his disgust he now completes all boyfriend duties such as carrying heavy items, buying me jewellery, and wearing sensible shorts to all family events and talking about the weather with my 8th cousin twice removed.

I have to say, considering the amount of baggage I have, and the baggage he pretends not to have, we’ve had an exceptionally drama free year. He’s very funny, and clever (for a fireman) and contain your ovaries, because he also cooks. Here’s some of the milestones we’ve had in the last few months;

1. Spent four amazing days together on a holiday, and neither of us cried

2. Had our first real fight, and only one of us cried

3. First Christmas together, the fireman’s wallet cried

Now I don’t want to make anyone jealous so I’ll add in here that regardless how wonderful they can be – a boy is still a boy, and last week after I had terrible day at work mine tried to comfort me by giving me a friendly punch on the shoulder and saying “Stay strong slugger”. So don’t worry, this ain’t no fairytale.

Until next time

XOXO Gossip Girl

Bye Felicia

Last week I signed my divorce papers. Ive been saying I’m divorced for some time but until now I hadn’t bothered with the technicalities – otherwise known as 73 hours worth of paperwork and the financial equivilent of my left arm. A few people have asked me how I feel about the whole thing but aside from standing by for channel 10 to ask me to star on The Bachelorette, nothing much has changed for me. To be honest I never really identified as a ‘wife’. A mother, definitely but a wife not so much. I mean sure I did the wife thing, cleaned the house, washed the clothes, cooked the dinner and subsequently complained about all of the above – but anyone who knows me will tell you I’m a pretty independent woman and as per every single woman on social media in the 21st century *”I dont need no man” *(except when there’s a cockroach or I have a flat tyre).

Let’s talk relationships. I mean my credibility was probably shot when I married someone I had only known for two years when I looked so young I was still being carded at liquorland – BUT on the other hand I can assure you I’m the queen of learning from my mistakes. According to the Australia Bureau of Statistics, approximately 1 in 3 Australian marriages end in divorce. That means one couple in every three that decide they are so madly in love that they simply have to spend the rest of their lives together, will eventually end up in court trying figure out if they had a stroke at the moment they said ‘I do’. So what are we doing wrong? In my case, I was so intent on rushing through the milestones that I never once stopped to enjoy them. But above anything else, what I failed to acknowledge was how much people change, especially in their early 20s. I mean six years ago I would have won a trophy for my ability to skull a schooner in less than 10 seconds and now I can’t even smell a glass of champagne without passing out. But more importantly, what I am looking for in a partner today, greatly differs to what I was looking for when my biggest priority in life was getting into the pub without getting my fake ID peeled.

These days, as a single mother of a midget terrorist I’m accustomed to doing things on my own. I know how to cook, pay bills, work, and when my car is broken I know how to take it to my Dad. And here’s the big lesson I’ve learnt that will hopefully get its own Montage when someone finally discovers me and makes my life into a movie; I needed to grow up on my own, and learn to be by myself before I could learn to be with someone else. Cosmopolitan magazine may say otherwise but I really don’t think you can ever be happy in a relationship if you’re not happy out of one. Your partner should be someone who can cheer you on while you do your thing, not someone who needs to play for you.

But what about the midget you might ask? Good question. I noticed a common theme amongst the interrogations I faced from my girlfriends when I fell back onto the dating scene – “How is he with kids?”. It became evident after a while that my answer to that question was/is somewhat controversial. To be completely honest, how my date is with kids – was not even close to my top five necessary qualities (the first of which was ‘can quote all if not most Will Ferrel movies ever made’). Now before you get all mum-judgy (that’s the official term) on me, just hear me out. Henry has a Dad. He’s also got grandparents and aunties who worship the ground he walks on, and two super cute girlfriends at kindy (*don’t hate the player*) – his network is seriously amazing. So at this point in my life when I am in absolutely no rush for anything other than someone who can laugh with me, take me to dinner and put out fires – that someone’s babysitting resume isn’t even on my radar. Every now and then big Bae and little Bae might cross paths and high five but for now that’ll do me.

In conclusion, my advice that I’m completely unqualified to give is as follows;

1. Find a balance. Give your midget all the love you can but save some for yourself too, because if you’re not looking after yourself you can’t look after them.

2. SLOW DOWN. They say the best part of a relationship is the beginning. Drag it out. Have a five year beginning.

3. If you need your tyre changed, call my Dad.

Not Guilty.

Mum guilt. You know what I’m talking about ladies – it’s that sick feeling you get when you drop your kid to kindy to go to work and they won’t let go of your hand. Knots in your stomach that won’t go away when you’re trying to focus on making a sandcastle but you’re thinking about that exam you should be studying for or the date that you ideally need 8 hours to prep for. It’s a very real thing, and in my opinion it’s not talked about enough.

When I was a teenager I distinctly remember my parents telling me that one day when I had my own kids I would understand all the parenting decisions they made. And I was all like “can you repeat that? I’m busy texting boys on my Motorola flip phone and working out what colour vodka cruises I’m gonna underage drink tonight”. But now I’m 26 with what feels like 40 years life experience under my belt and I get it. I finally understand why they made me wear the sensible leather shoes to school instead of the Dunlop Volleys I begged for. I know why they got so angry when I skipped school, or snuck out of the house. I know why they wanted to know where I was every second of every day. Because being a parent is flipping terrifying.

From the moment my baby irreparably destroyed my body and entered the world – I had a natural, overwhelming urge to wrap him in bubble wrap and lock him in a cupboard to keep him safe. The thought of adolescent Henry sneaking out of his window in the middle of the night while I’m asleep makes me feel physically ill. I’m going to go ahead and say it – our parents really did know what they were on about. For example, as an adult I now know that dunlop volleys give absolutely no ankle support and Lord knows I do not earn a wage that can support chiropractic needs of a minor. Now here I am, captain of ‘team sensible shoes’ and let me tell you I didn’t see that coming. But more importantly, as an adult I can honestly say that the biggest life lessons I learnt were from the biggest mistakes that I made. And so as a parent I’m striving to walk the line between letting Henry work things out for himself, but making sure he doesn’t die in the process.

I had a temporary mental breakdown recently. I’m talking full blown ugly crying, the kind where you can’t catch your breath to get your words out and you wake the up the next morning with puffer fish face and eyes that look you’ve rubbed a joint in them. I want to spend every minute of every day with Henry’s little squishy face, but I also want to work so that he can eat, and spend time with adults so I don’t go crazy and murder him in his sleep. I feel like I’m attempting a world class juggling act every day of my life, and every now and then I blink for a little too long and my kid is 6 months older. So anyway I’m blubbering like a toddler who’s dropped a lollipop and my mum grabs me by the shoulders and says words to the effect of “you’re doing your best and when he grows up he’s going to realise that”. And once I pulled myself together enough to reflect on that, I realised she was absolutely right (surprise surprise) because that’s exactly what I did when I grew up.

Sometimes as parents we need to take a step back and remember what it is that we are trying to achieve. I mean to be honest I want my kid to grow up to be a successful neurosurgeon like Derek Shepard from Greys Anatomy, with a smoking hot wife who is low maintenance leaving my son to offer me financial security and life long company just in case due to a highly likely twist of fate I remain single forever… BUT – what is more important for now, is that he survives licking the floor and jumping off couches for the next few weeks. Mums (and dads) give yourself a break. You’re doing the hardest job in the world – hug them lots, and catch them when they fall, because realistically that’s all you can do, and one day they’ll thank you for it.

Dummy Mummy.

About two months ago I took Henry’s dummies away from him. It was very dramatic. We buried them in the garden like we were at the funeral for a member of the Royal Family, and that evening the dummy fairy came to take them away leaving a shiny new toy car in their place. The first night without them, I was like Meg Ryan in sleepless in Seattle, except with no love interest, no perfectly styled fringe, and Seattle was actually the fiery depths of hell. Somewhere around the 2am mark I was so desperate for him to sleep, I literally stuck my finger in his mouth like a makeshift dummy and hoped that even though he’s smart enough to calculate the square root of 592 before I could, by some miracle he would pass out. He bit my finger.

So skip to about a week later, and all of a sudden he starts settling himself. Now a normal person, with a normal two year old would probably be ecstatic. Nope not me. I was instantly suspicious. This is a kid who hasn’t slept since he came into this world and simultaneously ruined my social life and my body, and all of a sudden he’s sleeping beauty? I wasn’t buying it. Obviously the next step was to launch a full blown investigation. Old mate retired for the night, and instead of enjoying the new silent bliss that had been rocking my world all week; I made myself a cup of tea and planted myself outside his bedroom door in prime position to fulfil my childhood fantasy of being Carmen out of Spy Kids.

The first ten minutes was unremarkable. He lay on his bed kicking his legs in the air and counting to ten, skipping number five every time – standard. For a second there I considered going to bed, and even momentarily felt guilty for criminalising my own son who appeared to have become an angel overnight. Then it happened. I witnessed him with my own eyes as he commando rolled out of bed, darted laser beam eyes toward the door to make sure the coast was clear, threw an ottoman clear out of his way like he was Clark Kent, opened my drawer and pulled out a flipping DUMMY.

My concerns are as follows;

1. He’s essentially a Junkie.

2. He’s not only had the forethought to have a secret stash of dummies, but has been RETURNING said dummies to his drug drawer and pushing the ottoman back before he wakes me up in the morning.

3. It took me a week to discover this.

I decided it was time to put my foot down. I took back the dummy, and my authority. And an hour later I was laying on the floor next to his throne and patting his royal bum until he drifted off to sleep.

So who’s the sucker now? 🤦🏼‍♀️

The not-so-secret life of a single mother..

Being a single mum wasn’t exactly my dream. In fact, if I’m honest my ideal future Laura was a wife, soccer mum and preferably an attorney (specifically Reece Witherspoon in Legally Blonde). Future Laura’s husband had a well paying job, took the weekends off to drive the kids to karate, and wore Calvin Klein loungewear around the house while he made me pancakes every Sunday. For those of you who know the actual present-day-2018- Laura, you’ll know that the closest thing I’ve got to that fantasy is that I’ve hired an attorney for my divorce and I LOOK like I eat pancakes every Sunday.

My teenage years sent my Dad bald, and I’m pretty sure gave my poor Mother some kind of PTSD. They’ve bailed me out countless times, resisted the urge for many well deserved “I told you so’s and let me tell you they’re running some pretty competitive interest rates out of ‘The Bank of Greg & Rosie.’ Having grown up in such a strong nuclear family, I saw the love and support that happily married parents can provide for their children; and because of this I didn’t take my decision to separate from my husband lightly. However, I would make the same decision 100 times over – because I want Henry to grow up seeing me happy, and knowing that no matter what life throws our way, we always have a choice.

So, that being said – let’s talk about where I’m at now. I’m lying on my bed, made with $1000 worth of Sheridan linen drinking a cup of tea. Not bad right? Now add in the toddler snoring into my armpit, and the half eaten sausage I just spotted squished into the carpet under the couch. My life as both a single 26 year old girl and a divorced mother is a constant juxtaposition, and in the bid to find the perfect balance I’m finding myself more or less picking Cheerios out of my hair on my way to Friday night cocktails.

Don’t get me wrong, I can’t imagine motherhood is easy for anyone – married or not. Some nights when Henry is refusing to sleep I get all empowered like “I will not negotiate with terrorists” – but let me tell you if Saddam Hussain has kept you up til 2am four nights in a row and has thrown a vase at your television you’re going to give up and let him in your bed. When I get to work at 06:30am, catch my reflection in the kitchen window and realise my face looks like a dropped pie, I give myself a pat on the back for getting through the night without committing a homicide and get on with my morning.

Now, I guess in the spirit of baring all – a few of my lovely fellow bloggers have been asking for updates on my dating life. First of all, let’s be clear I’m literally THE last person on earth you should be looking to for boy advice. I mean really, if the fact that I basically blew up the institution of marriage with a hand grenade within three short years doesn’t speak for itself I don’t know what will. But as everyone (including the postman and the girl that does my lashes) knows, I met a cute boy sometime in January (OK fine – 5th Jan 08:28pm).

Pros: Makes me laugh without trying, abs for days, witty, wears a fireman’s uniform, not clingy.

Cons: Not clingy.

Now I’ll be honest, I spent a bit of time getting all worked up about the semantics of labelling my relationship because movies and society and my girly feelings told me it was important. But I’ve given myself a good strong talking to, and decided that “officially dating” or not, doesn’t change much. Realistically if I can successfully navigate the emotional roller coaster of dealing with a two year old and a thirty two year old without bashing my head against a wall, and still remember to wear underwear to daycare drop off – I’m killing it.

So to wrap up – I love my son more than anything else in this world. He tests my patience, and he’s a freaking expensive toy, but when his tiny little hand slips into mine and he looks up at me with those giant blue lady killers it’s all worth it. Cute boy is still around; still cute, still fights fires and is still pushing me one step closer to a mental asylum every day. But I’m all about glass half full, and in the big picture I consider myself pretty damn lucky.

Does my butt look big in this?

We all have our own insecurities, and our inner drama queens make them 938 times worse than they really are. Interestingly, I’ve found men can be just as bad if not worse than women at setting themselves impossible standards to live up to when it comes to body image. Im sure I’m not the first to discover this, but its often your supermodel friend, or that ripped guy pumping 100kg weights at the gym with his pinkie finger that have the lowest self esteem. And seriously, why is that?

When I was pregnant, I thought the world was going crazy. “You look AMAZING” people would say to me. And “Oh my god, have you like bolted on that belly?”. Guys, I was 20kg heavier than I was before I started, and I’m pretty sure 87% of that was in my ass. As hard as I tried, I was never one of those women who just loved being pregnant and couldn’t wait to do it again. You know the kind that study ‘calm birth’ and just BREATHE through labour pain as if it doesn’t feel like being decapitated with a blunt knife and simultaneously kicked in the vag with a stiletto heel. Ya. Not me. Hated it. The swollen feet, sore boobs and sweaty back, but more than anything else I was done looking like Alan out of ‘The Hangover’ movie (yep the beard too) and I wanted my body back.

So you can imagine my horror when the day after I had Henry I looked down at myself and not only did I still look pregnant, but now the hospital was claiming that there was no longer a baby in there causing it. Great. And now, I’ve got a tiny human relying on me to keep it alive – which as all you mums will know, doesnt exactly leave much time for Zumba Mondays. I have to admit, before I had Henry, I had never struggled with weight before. I would hit the gym every now and then for fun, and although I didn’t live on donuts or anything I could smash a few and still do up my pants. Then all of a sudden I popped out a kid and now I walk past an ice cream shop and put on 800 grams.

For the first year of Henry’s life I worked bloody hard. I went off sugar, exercised almost every day even if it meant squatting the baby, and I started eating green stuff. But even at my best, I realised that I was never going to look the way I did before and that’s something I had to work through in my own head. I mean, I’m not going to be back up on a podium in a mini skirt any time soon – but it would still be nice to wear my jeans and breathe at the same time.

Ok so after all that, here is my point – and what inspired me to write this whole thing. Not long ago I was in the kitchen at work preparing my cardboard and air salad for lunch, and a lovely colleague walked in and said to me “why are you always eating like that Laura, you’re so skinny”. And automatically, for the rest of the day I walked around like I was Adriana Lima. Even my pyjamas looked flattering that night – and I got thinking when I was home strutting up my hallway wearing angel wings later on; how much people’s words genuinely affect the way we feel about ourselves. And any girl who has cried themselves to sleep after a negative comment will tell you the same in reverse.

So girls and guys. Build each other up. Be careful with your words. And most importantly don’t let what you think of yourself be shaped by what other people think of you. Because that’s just exhausting.

No Advice Column

Since I started my blog I’ve had so much amazing feed back from both girls and guys out there, and more recently in particular single mums. I’ve said before that the reason I started posting what is essentially my diary online was to remind people that although the struggle is real it’s also perfectly normal. It was to say I know what it’s like to rock in the corner in the foetal position wondering what the jail term would be for throwing my own baby against a wall, and more recently I’ve wanted to tell people that dating as a single mum (or even dating in general) can sometimes be compared to poking yourself in the eye with a cactus. Of late I’ve received some lovely messages, some of which asking me for advice – and as flattering as it is, it concerns me that perhaps I haven’t properly communicated my main message. So this blog is to confirm that I am in fact a hot mess, and you would be better off asking for life advice from my two year old than you would be from me.

Please find below a list of topics I have absolutely no authority on whatsoever and why;

Pregnancy:

I spent almost my entire pregnancy spread eagled on my neighbours lounge in front of an industrial fan eating blueberry and lemon glazed scones from Bakers Delight. I developed severe hypertension and a thyroid disorder, which meant I couldn’t go to the gym (shame, I know) and it was such an effort to get myself up that one day I made an extension cord into a lasso to pull the TV remote toward me.

Child Birth:

I was so determined to be good at this. I spent $300 on a calm birth class, and watched every episode of One Born Every Minute available on youtube. I read an article on water births and decided it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen and I just had to have one until my Obstetrician looked me dead in the face and said “Laura, those baths are only as clean as the Nurse who cleans it”. Gross. Not that it mattered anyway because my calm, drug free birth turned into an epidural followed by an emergency caesarean and I may or may not have assaulted a nurse.

Mum life:

Henry has almost choked to death on a rock, rolled down an entire flight of stairs, fallen off a marina into the bay and half drowned, and just last week he licked fly spray off the floor. He has slept through the night maybe 6.5 times in two years, once he ate chocolate for breakfast because I couldn’t be bothered to explain the benefits of weet-bix or deal with his whinging, and please refer to my previous blog about the time he brushed his teeth with toilet cleaner.

Dating:

Guys, dating and successfully dating are two very different things. I’m living in a studio apartment that was built in 2000BC and the only bedroom is just big enough for Henry’s cot. Not exactly a bachelorette pad. Between full time work and full time keeping Henry alive, I barely have time to shave my legs let alone sit around and swipe on Tinder. Admittedly, I’ve been consistently flirting with an oiled up fireman and his washboard abs but ladies and gentleman I will dead set solve the Da Vinci Code before I can give anyone insight into the inner workings of the male brain.

 

Now I want to be clear –  I’ve got no complaints. I have amazing family and friends, a fabulous son (albeit, bald), and a fling with a fireman who makes me laugh. But please don’t look at my Social Media and make the mistake of thinking I have it together, because while you’re doing that I’m probably lying on the mattress in my lounge room with a toddler foot in my mouth googling “How to tell if a guy likes you”.

 

 

 

 

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 Sands 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?