Review: Haakaa Flow Cup

Everyone gets embarrassed about periods.

Don’t they?

I do.

I’m a 33-year-old working Mum and I still get a little bit squeamish when someone mentions the P word.

I don’t think everyone is like me, though. I remember when I was about 13 or 14. And I made a new friend at school. She won’t mind me using her name, cause I told this same story as Maid of Honour at her wedding. She invited me over to her house one day so that we could take “before and after” pictures of ourselves and pretend to be makeover guests on The Ricky Lake Show. Camille and I are sitting there, doing our hair and making ourselves look glam, and she says to me

“Do you use T’s or P’s”.

I didn’t understand what she meant for ages. And then, a menstrual moment light bulb went off and I felt my face flush.

Was she really trying to talk to me about periods???

I also remember back to when I had to start buying them for myself. I used to hide my tampons in the very bottom of my shopping basket, suss out the safest looking check out operator and look away as she scanned through my items. She’d be all casual, you know, like tampons weren’t a big deal and (in the days before being able to bury yourself in a cell phone) I’d consider somehow pretending that they weren’t mine. Like when you’re at a chip shop and you pretend you’re ordering for a husband as well – but it’s 100% all for you.

I’m not too sure why everyone finds periods so embarrassing, cause there are literally billions of people who get them.

However, I want to talk to you about the Haakaa Flow Cup.

Previous to being sent one by Haakaa, I was a bit curious about how they all worked, but they seemed a little bit too confronting to investigate. When Haakaa asked me if I wanted to review one- my initial thought was that it was a bit awkward for a teacher to talk about periods- but after thinking about it I realised that I had been offered a really privileged task of letting my students know that there is a safe, eco friendly way to manage their periods each month.

I also LOVE the idea behind the Haakaa Flow Cup. As a teacher, who has taught in low decile schools for years, I know that some girls find it incredibly hard to afford to buy sanitary products every month. So they simply don’t come to school. We’ve already talked about how embarrassing periods can be- so imagine adding, on top of that, the knowledge that you can’t even afford the products needed to make it manageable to come to school. So girls don’t. Haakaa have pledged that for every cup sold they will donate a cup to a school girl in need so that they can continue coming to school while they have their period. I think that this is incredible. How could I not get behind such an incredible social movement.

I have found the Haakaa Flow cup incredibly easy to use. I love that it can stay in for up to 12 hours and that it can be emptied via the wee valve at the bottom. I found it easier to learn how it all worked and get comfortable with it- by using it at home the first couple of times until I was confident about going out. A friend of mine (not Camille) recommended emptying it as you showered the first few times just so I could get the hang of how it all worked. Because of the valve, you can’t shorten the stem- so if you’re like another friend of mine and you (claim to) have a short fanjita, check out Haakaa’s other flow cup here.

It’s also great that it comes with its own carry case and cloth bag. So travelling with it is discreet and practical. I found the instructions incredibly easy to follow, and a lot of information online. I  also love that it’s a long-term, practical solution to managing a regular menstrual period without the need for hundreds of thousands of disposable products clogging up landfills and waterways. Evidence suggests that tampons and sanitary pads contain chemicals and bleaches that can be absorbed up into the body. Haakaa flow cups are medical grade silicone a material designed to safely stay in the body for years upon years. Therefore I feel confident that the Flow Cup will not leach chemicals for the few short days every month that it is used.

I’m really pleased to be switching to a more eco-friendly long-term period plan. I’m so grateful to Haakaa for giving me the gentle push I needed to step outside of my comfort zone.

A x

You can find more information about the Haakaa Flow cup here

I also found this article really informative as well

The Lone Wolf Life: Planning a Birthday Party.

Having a mid-winter baby and a tiny house can be pretty problematic when it comes to planning a birthday party. I also have a dog that can get over excited and get up in people’s grill, a cat that likes to steal food and some questionable neighbours. So, every year, I choose to hold Zahara’s birthday parties elsewhere.

This is where things get technical. Cause it’s such a balance to find somewhere child, parent and bank balance friendly. Last year I booked out a playroom- but, if I’m honest, it was a bit stressful trying to clean up afterwards with an overtired, over-stimuated toddler- AND I’d still had to factor in entertainment for the kids. Which isn’t cheap.

Most of you will know that Zahara has been attending My First Gym since the start of the year, so when I saw that they hosted Birthday Parties I raced in and secured the date. What I loved was that it was a familiar location, every week I would go into the party room and plan how it would all work, I knew the staff AND I was able to pay off the package in installments. Which is always a treat.

Now, I’m a party planning fanatic- I’d do it for a job if it would pay the bills, so I opted for my own decorations- but the package includes basic decorations as well. Which are set up for you (and the wonderful team help heaps with clean up as well).

What I loved about using My First Gym as a venue was how easy it was. The team literally did most of the hard work- the kids were entertained the whole time with games and activities and we adults were free to catch up, eat, watch the kids play and generally be pretty stress free. They gave me a basic run down of what works best, lead the transitions between activities, helped immensely with set up and pack up and generally just made the whole experience sooooo enjoyable. They’re such naturals at connecting with kids- so (to my surprise) they all (even Zahara) stayed engaged pretty much the whole time. I got a bit misty eyed at one point- when Kowhai had them all sitting down in a circle and they all looked so cute and happy.

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For food, which is pretty much the only thing not a part of the My First Gym party package (which is totally fine by me because it’s so fun to organise) I opted for a grazing table idea with fruit and bread and cheese and dips- with a few biscuits, chips and lollies as well. If I think about what was most popular with the kids- it was 100% the fruit, cheese and cheerios. The chips and popcorn hardly got touched. When I do this again (and I will) I will really limit the chocolate and chips that are put out- as wee kids like this totally gravitated towards the more colourful (healthier) options. What I also found was that most kids loaded up their wee plates, had 4 mouthfuls and wanted to go and play again  (which is totally fine)- they didn’t sit and stuff themselves silly even though there was a whole table of food (unlike some of us adults)

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haha.

My Nephew has Austism- and so I set him up his own wee plate of food as this is his routine- and the other kids didn’t even bat an eye about the fact he had something different. For drink, the kids just had water with edible glitter in it (magic water)- as I wanted to keep them hydrated for the games, and I prefer water for Z’s tooth health. The glitter was a hit and not one of t

hem seemed ripped off at the lack of juice and Fizzy. It was a really cost friendly option too- with abo

ut $80-90 dollars worth of food being used/eaten- which is pretty great considering there were 12 kids and 16 adults.

The cake was made by my incredible sister. We spent a while looking on Pinterest and mashing a few designs together. I had been looking at some bird decorations at The Gathered Store for a while too- and when I saw they were on sale I swooped in (Dad Joke) and grabbed them. The plates and Napkins were also part of the same sale and Zahara LOVED them.20180716_222151

Left and Right Designs donated the use of their GORGEOUS floral wreath, which was suuuchhh a statement piece and really pulled off the floral theme of the grazing table. The light in Z’s eyes when she saw it all was a really special moment.

The rest of my decorations came from Ali Express and Kmart. I’m a total fan of buying small bits often and just tucking them away. That way you can spread the cost a lot easier and when it all comes together it’s quite grand. Having a wee payment plan helped, too. Where I specified each pay what I needed to buy in the weeks leading up. The weekend of the actual party I only had to pay for the food- because everything else had been paid for.

I cannot recommend the My First Gym party package more. What an incredible time. Soooo easy, so fun and so stress free. I love that the kids were active during the party too- and had a huge amount of fun playing with each other. I’m such a strong advocate in  making sure that not EVERYTHING is entered around the food. Whilst it’s important- and lovely- to share food with our friends- it’s also awesome that Zahara’s birthday was about playing and having fun with friends. Long term, being active is an important factor of a healthy active lifestyle….even on your birthday.

HUGEST THANK YOUS to

The My First Gym team

Sharlene, from Left and Right Designs for the gorgeous floral centerpiece

My Sisters, Jacinta and Selena and my gorgeous friend Ellie

Z’s incredible Village who made it to celebrate with her. 

From one very appreciative Mum.

A x

nb. I am unable to show photos of all of Z’s party guests as some of our wonderful friends prefer not to have photos of their children online. x

Knowledge is Power.

How I keep my daughter safe(r) both on and offline.

I want to first make something REALLY clear. I am not a trained harmful sexual behaviour expert. I am not a trained clinical psychologist. I welcome feedback, advise, corrections from people who know more than me. 

Knowledge is Power.

I worked in an Adolescant Harmful Sexual Behaviour unit for 3 and a half years. I ran the classroom there- with boys between the ages of 12 and 17- who, for various reasons, needed some time out from their communities to receive intensive therapy for harmful sexual behaviour.

They were great kids who had made bad choices. They had also experienced some of the most horrific things I had ever heard of. Their resilience was incredible, as were the lessons they taught me. About life. Humanity. Gratefulness. Second Chances.

In my time there, I did a lot of research about harmful sexual behaviour. I listened. I pondered. I sought advice from the experts.

To give you some context, I also ran my classroom right throughout my pregnancy. Worked up until 38 weeks. I was obviously banned from being in ‘code reds’ (where a boy is violently acting out) but otherwise it was business as usual. I never once was threatened or assaulted. The boys, who struggled to manage themselves, never once jeopardised this wee baby. I trusted them, and they trusted me. I got repremanded often, for not getting out of escalating situations quickly enough. And I get it, my workmates were worried. The boys asked good questions and I gave them honest replies. These kids, who are often cast out of society, were remarkable.

In all of this, however, I learned a lot about how to keep my daughter safe(r) in an online and connected world. I have also sought advice from specialists in this feild and I believe that I make educated choices about what and how I choose to share my daughter’s life. I choose to run an instagram account. I choose to put her picture online. But I also choose to try to be as mindful and as educated as possible about doing this in a safe and respectful way. The boogyman exists- but we can’t live our life in a bubble. 

I want to share what I have learned with you, so that you can think about making choices that best suit you.

Knowledge is power.

Offline Safety Tips

1) Teach your child about ‘tricky adults’. We all know about ‘stranger danger’ but statistically, sadly, your child is more likely to come to harm from someone that you both know. Teach your child that they will never get in trouble for telling the truth. Even if they think that the truth could be hurtful. Praise honesty. Even when honesty implicates them in trouble. A tricky adult is a stranger that asks a child for special help. Adults ask adults for help. Teach your child to trust their gut instinct.

2) Consider your language around ‘secrets’. Teach them the difference between a ‘good secret’ and a ‘bad secret’. Secrets should NEVER hurt anyone, or have the potential to hurt anyone. Tricky adults ask children to keep secrets that are bad. Consider how helpful it is for Mummy and Daddy or Uncle or Grandad to keep secrets from each other. Do you want your child to think that keeping a secret from you is cute or funny? Birthday presents are secrets- but are ice creams a secret? Lollies? Trips to the park? Other foods/treats/’rewards’? I know this sounds extreme. But this is the stuff that matters.

3)  Harmful sexual behaviour often starts with ‘grooming’. Special treatment. Special treats. Praise, attention and gifts. Once a predator has a connection with a child- the offending then starts. A child with feel conflicted, scared, unable to tell you that the offending is taking place. The offender might tell your child that they won’t be believed or that they will hurt their loved ones if they say anything. Predatory behaviour, statistically, is not some creep at the pool taking photos of them in their swimming togs- or obsessing over their instagram photos. It is someone that your child knew and respected. Be open to tough conversations.

4) Never force a child to hug/tough/kiss/make physical contact with another human being. This includes Grandma, Aunty, Uncle, Yourself. Children need to know- from day one, that their body is their own and that they never have to touch, hug, or kiss someone if they don’t want to. We know, as parents, that sometimes we have to touch them- to change their nappies, to put a jersey on. Tell them that. And explain to them why it’s important. Tell them that its ALWAYS ok to tell you if there was touching they didn’t like. From a doctor, a policeman, your Best Friend. Make ‘touching’ an open conversation point. Teach them to express themselves and tell people when they dont feel like a cuddle. Consent is everything. Nana might get offended- and that’s fine. Little people shouldn’t feel forced into touching.

Online Safety Tips

5) Think before you give away important details in your posts. Your address, surrounding streets, how far away the local park is from your house. Be careful of street signs in the background. Especially if you’re making it clear that you’re in your own neighbourhood. Observant people will wait. Watch. Study.

6) Think carefully about sharing school uniform photos. Because of the nature of social media, people can gather a whole lot of information they can then use to convince your child that they’re trustworthy. Your name, your pet’s name, their siblings name. It’s all available. Consider sharing information about athletics days or parent-teacher interview nights if they are only specific to your child’s schools. A quick fact-check across the local schools can easily be used to work out which one your child goes to. For emergencies, consider having a ‘safe person’ password that must be exchanged by both parties before your child will even consider getting in that car or going with that stranger. Have a ‘safe adult list’ that your child knows well- anyone else needs that password. Go through a safety plan with your child- so that your child knows what to do if a stranger tries  to approach them.

7) Think before you upload videos of identifiable locations in real time. Consider downloading them and post them when you have moved on from that spot. Be vague about timeframes. It’s a long shot- but if anyone is obsessing over your family online- posting in real time gives them the opportunity to know where you are.

8) Consider the implications of giving online tours of your home. Think about the fact that you’re giving someone a floor plan of your house. Letting them know where everyone sleeps and how to get to their room. If you’re partner is away on holiday or on a work trip. Think about the information you’re giving away to people in terms of who, and who isn’t in the house. 

9) Don’t include other children in your stories or your shots. You have no idea about the implications to that child if their location is a secret or they have protection orders in place. It is not always obvious who has safety concerns, foster care arrangements or a parenting order. And if your account has a big following, the wrong person may see the location of that child. You have made an education decision to share the image of your child online- but that doesn’t mean that every parent has. Similarly- you might be ok with your followers knowing that your child has ballet every Tuesday afternoon- with the name of the dance school in the background of your shots- but the child next to them might have a protection order in place to keep them safe. Does their caregiver feel comfortable sharing the same information?

10) Keep devices/playstations/computers in a common area of your house. Be vigilant about online chat groups/forums/sharing spaces. It does not take predators long to connect to children in these online forums- and they often pose as same age, same sex, ‘friends’. Know who your children are chatting to- ‘roblox’ is a popular game for young people- and they’re chatting to all sorts of people on there. Consider turning the WiFi off at night. As a teacher, I have heard about ALL sorts of trouble that starts with late night online web browsing. No one decent starts a conversation with your child at 3am. Know your kid’s passwords.

This blog isn’t meant to frighten you. Or tell you that sharing your lives online is bad. It’s not. 80% of offending is committed by people your child knows. Nor am I advocating for riots against sex offenders or community petitions to keep people out. These actions are not helpful nor are they a good use of time or energy. Statistically, your child is more likely to come to harm from someone that is unknown by ‘the system’ than some creep on a neighbourhood watch pamphlet. Trust me.

But- Knowledge is Power.

A x

Here are some articles that I have found really helpful.

NZ Police- Keeping Ourselves Safe

The Huffington Post: 5 Tips to Keep Our Children Safe From Predators

NZ Herald- How to Keep Kids Safe Online

 

Review: Haakaa Silicone Squeeze Bottle

I am really passionate about setting Zahara up for success when it comes to healthy food choices- and I think that anything that supports this, makes life easier and helps with feeding little tummies is well worth the investment.

I was stoked when Haakaa recently asked me to review some of their new products. Their Silicone Squeeze Bottle has been an absolute game changer and we now use it all  the time .

 

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I love that I can blend up lots of milk, fruit, vegies and yoghurt to create fresh and nutricious smoothies. Zahara can sip them while she watches some treat weekend TV, while we are out and about in the car or playing at the park. Now, if I was more organised on a weekday morning, and I didn’t always run 11 minutes late- they would be an awesome wee breakfast solution for the pre-school drop off as well.

 

 

This is what else I love about it. 

  1.  It is spill-proof with a free-flowing spout. I don’t know how many outfits have been massacred on car journeys or while I am trying to get some breakfast into Zahara. I love that she can happily drink her smoothies on her own pace- without completely destroying the clothes she is wearing, the car seat and my actual car. There are already enough questionable stains in there.
  2.  Easily converts into a drink bottle. I also use it for hot chocolates on-the-go.
  3.  The bottle can be frozen in summer for a cold treat. Imagine being able to take it out- frozen- and save it for after a play at the park. I’m trying to be a member of the money saving club at the moment- so being able to take a ‘smoothie iceblock’ out with us will be such a good money saving parent hack.
  4. As always, Haakaa products are safe for wee people- BPA, PVC and phthalate-free. I love that the products are quality tested, trusted and eco friendly. I also really like that Haakaa products dont have any hidden nooks and crannys and can be completely taken apart- so there are not hidden spots for bacteria or mould to form.
  5. The silicone squeeze bottle is also really price-friendly. At only $22.50 I think it’s really affordable. Also, I have a discount code ‘Zahara10’ that gives you 10% store wide– bringing the price down to an even more reasonable $20.25.

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Check the Silicone Squeeze Bottle out on their website here.

I totally recommend this product. It has already been such a game changer. How have you found yours?

*no outfits were harmed in the making of this review.

A&Z x

 

 

The Lone Wolf Life: Hopes and Dreams

Growing up I can reIMG_20180418_084155_602member my Mum playing netball. Sometimes she would have to bring us along, and we would sit on the sideline, not really understanding what was happening, but feeling proud that our Mum was involved.

My Mum is legally blind. She can see a bit, but not much. She’s a ferociously independant lady who refuses to use a cane, works an ATM by feel and managed (somehow) to raise five children with only eight years between us.

She loved netball. Netball, dancing and singing. Her passions. Obviously her eyesight let her down with two and her extreme shyness let her down with the third.

Now, back in late 198Os in Rangiora, no one wanted an introverted, blind and slow moving-member on their netball team except our local church – they had no choice but to accept her.

So there we were, watching my Mum, proudly joining in on a game she loved. I remember turning to a kid next to me and saying “that’s my Mum”. I didn’t know how the game worked, or exactly how you were meant to play, but I loved that my Mum was involved. I thought that she was invincable.

One Saturday morning, we had stayed at home with Dad, Mum came down the driveway and she was crying. It was obvious that she had sobbed the long walk home as her eyes were puffy and her face was red. We were alarmed. Mum never cried. Ever.

She’d been kicked off the netball team for not paying her fees. The other ladies had waited until Mum had walked the 30 minutes to the courts to tell her she wasn’t allowed to be a part of the team anymore. The church team. We were well known in town for being a family that struggled to make ends meet, often relying on food parcels and hand me downs. And Mum was off the team for not being able to afford the luxury of her netball fees.

And that was that.

When I was old enough, I joined the school team. I also loved netball, and would walk myself down every Saturday morning for our game. Mum struggled to pay for our fees too, but our primary school was a lot more forgiving than our local church and, somehow, our fees always got paid.

It took me a long time to realise that I was always in the bottom team. Always struggled. Could never get to the ball fast enough or catch it on the fly. I loved the game, but was terrible at it. That, in itself, is fine in primary school as no one cares, but once I hit high school, there was no way I wanted to embarass myself by being so terrible at the game. And so I quit. And with it, I quit trying to improve my physical skills. I completely gave up and decided I was ‘more of an indoor person’.

In Year 10, I was diagnosed with leukeamia, and spent weeks in hospital having chemotherapy and battling the effects of all the drugs. In my two years of treatment, what little physical skill I had was lost to the vincristine, steriod and mexotrexate combo that wiped all my energy and affected the way my muscles work. I was often low in platelets to clot blood, and hemoglobin that gave energy, so opportunities to exercise were limited. For someone that had always found it hard- I didn’t need much convincing to ‘take it easy’.

In saying all of this, I have always admired natural athletes. I would love to enjoy going for long walks and slogging it on a hike. I see the satisfaction on the faces of people who do this kind of stuff for fun and deep down I know that I’m missing out. I look at the absolute pride on the face of anyone on the podium for gold and I wish I had the skill and dedication to get there myself. It must be the most euphoric feeling.

When I was pregnant with Zahara, I decided that I wanted to actively promote physical activity with her. I realised I had a chance to give her the skills I wish I possessed myself. So I vowed to make sure that she was raised to love moving, adventuring and exploring.

Being fit and active is so pro-social. As a high school teacher, I see those students who spend their weekends playing sport or are up early in the morning to train. Their social skills, work ethic and self-esteem are such positive attiributes and, from what I can see, they’re too busy to get into any ratbaggery that sometimes comes with that age group.

I’d love for Zahara to be the same. That’s why, at 20 months, I enrolled her in our first dance classes. And why, when My First Gym asked us along,  I jumped at the chance. I am confident that if Zahara’s early experiences with movement are safe, fun and challenging, it will set her up for life. Not so she can be in the top sports team, but so that she naturally gravitates towards physical activity as a passion. Done for the sheer enjoyment. Like my Mum.

Who, by the way, is starting ballroom dancing lessons with the Blind Foundation. The light on her face when she told me, took me right back to the netball court. I couldn’t be prouder. I know Zahara will be too.

A&Z

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The Lone Wolf Life: Our ‘Unplugged’ Time

Our working week is hectic.

Sometimes I feel like a 1950s Housewife, Mother and Husband all rolled into one.

Working Lone Wolves have it all. We are responsible for our children, our job, our home, our bills, our gardens, our cars, our food, our washing….. and always lastly, ourselves.

Sometimes, I feel like the moment I wake up in the morning, until the moment I close my eyes at night (and even then- sickness and rascallishness mean that sleeping through isn’t a given) my world is a whirlwind of responsibility. Every single aspect our world is managed by me. Sometimes I feel guilty about not being able to give Zahara enough of my time. I try to involve her in as much as possible- but sometimes, at the end of a long working week, its quicker and easier and less stressful to encourage Zahara to entertain herself, so I can get it done alone.

Zahara has been in dancing lessons since she was 20 months old. Not because I wanted her to be the next Maddie Ziegler (Lord knows that’s never going to happen) but because I loved having that time with her- every weekend- where someone else planned the technicalities and we got to connect. For 20 minutes every Saturday morning, nothing else existed except us- and our horrible dance moves. Our ‘unplugged time’. No phone. No distractions. No washing, dishes, cleaning, jobs. No TV. Just Us.

Zahara doesn’t realise that we are Christchurch’s most ungraceful swans. Her face lights up as she holds my hand and she relishes our time together. These days she’s happy checking in with me every so often. She’ll do a ‘drive-by’ cuddle or flash me a huge grin. She always checks to see that I’m looking and beams when I praise her. She loves being a good girl and bounces up and down with excitement when she can see how proud I am of her.

I was thrilled, recently, when My First Gym asked us to come and try a few lessons with them.  I love the philosophy behind My First Gym- to inspire movement in a safe and fun environment.

Hara has found her niche! What an incredible place. She loves it. The smile on her face as she accomplishes a new skill is my favourite sight each week. Now that she is older, our ‘unplugged’ time has changed. It used to be time where I would help her with each movement, or I would walk alongside her as she danced. Now, our unplugged time is time where I focus on what she’s doing, I encourage her to try new things and we celebrate together when she masters a new skill. I’m not distracted by my phone, I’m not worrying about the dishes or the washing or cooking a meal. I am attentive to her and she loves it.

For me, I’m pleased that it’s not another choice to make. The lesson is created and delivered by someone else and trained instructors are on hand to help. The emphasis is always on having fun moving- not on technique- and Zahara stays so engaged. We are at a stage (the terrible twos) where I feel so overwhelmed by nagging and battles and tantrums and it’s a relief to have this time of simple happiness and celebration. . I am by no means a sporty person, either. So I like knowing that Zahara is being taught by someone who can show her all sorts of brand new skills.

Now, to be fair, the first lesson we went to- she stuck to me like glue and was a bit unsure of the whole thing. Next lesson, wanted to do more on her own. Every lesson I can see her improve in confidence in doing it on her own or asking the instructor for help. Her progress in a just a few weeks has been phenomenal. I love watching her as she follows the other girls and runs to them if she think’s they’ve hurt themselves. She’s home alone with me every evening- so I also enjoy seeing her be social and interact with the others. . I’m a working Mum, we miss out on this stuff a lot.

 

I also take happiness from the fact that I am actively helping my daughter to enjoy movement. In a world where life can be tough, and girls can really struggle, I like knowing that I am giving my daughter a pro-social way to be happy. It’s not food or toys or screen time. She’s loving being active and loving being around others who enjoy it was well. I really like that My First Gym celebrates this idea. Zahara isn’t expected to be the best or the strongest or most graceful. She’s not graded or ranked or assessed. She’s pushed to her limits because she chooses to engage and I love this.

Our Unplugged Time. Just us.

How do you have yours?

 

A&Z

You can find the My First Gym website here

IG: @my.first.gym

Life as a Lone Wolf: Getting to Work on Time.

I hate mornings. Like actually hate them. There is nothing quite like the feel of my pillow against my face, when I know that I need to get up- but I really don’t want to. My blankets feel like silk, Zahara is dreamily snoozing next to me, the dog has finally got into prime leg spoon position and no part of me wants to commit to the new day. It’s at this moment, every week day morning, that I realise how utterly exhausted I am.

Every night, before I go to bed, I check that my alarm is on- and I promise myself that I’ll get up as soon as it goes off. I’ll plan having enough time to style my hair nicely, pick out an edgy outfit, have 5 minutes extra in the shower and maybe, just maybe, make myself a hot cup of moccona in the pink thermos  that I picked up at Pak’ N’ Save one day when I was feeling flush.

Then my alarm goes off. In a bleary eyed stupor: the negotiations begin.

Snooze- a Mum bun is fine

Snooze- I’ll wear tried and true outfit to work today

Snooze- a quick splash is fine

Snooze- I’ll grab a coffee in the staffroom- and skull it before class

Then, the inevitable. Once my foot hits the floor- regret smacks me right in the face. As I am racing around like domesticated version of Usain Bolt, I wonder how a 32 year old manages to be such an egg with her life. I shuffle through my laundry basket, promising myself to put my clothes away after dinner, find my warehouse ballet flats, attempt to tame my hair, then a quick swipe of BB, the stuff that seems to accentuate my bags. Next, it’s time for an out of the blue stub of my toe, or maybe I’ll stand on something sharp and I promise myself I’ll be better at tidying up the house that night.

Then it’s Zahara’s turn. She loves a cheeky wee sleep in too. She looks disgusted as I gently wake her up and I find myself silently willing her to stop clinging to me so I can hurriedly get her dressed. Still sandy eyed herself, I whip on some clothes before she’s awake enough to fight- and knowing I’m already 11 minutes late, I pick up all our gear.

Here’s where things get technical. By technical, I mean here is where Zahara decides we have all the time in the world. She sniffs every flower and touches every leaf. She asks for something that’s back in the house or she decides it is time to tantrum about something out of my control. I’m so loaded up that I can’t pick her up- even if she’d let me- and instead we have this face off on the path to the car, where I am panicked about how late we are and if Zahara walked any slower she’d actually be moving backwards. Finally, we get into the car. Zahara usually lets me buckle her in without much fuss, but when we are running REALLY late, she planks her wee self until I let her attempt to use the clips herself.

We are finally on the road. The whole way to and from her home based carer, I pray that the traffic will part, like my Suzuki swift has some sort of vehicular leprosy. In fact, I’m so panicked about being late that I start brainstorming ways to spread the rumour myself. It feels like all the worst drivers in Canterbury take our route to work and I realise how thankful I am that Fletch, Vaughan and Megan are so funny- and that their hilarity ensures I’m  not engulfed by late-based-road-rage. It’s a thing.

We get to Z’s carer’s, I drop her, and her breakfast, off (thank Christchurch for home based care) and then start the 25 minute commute back to my work, which- long story short- is 2 blocks away from my house. Cruel, I know.

The whole way back I nervously watch the digital clock on the top of my dashboard and I kick myself for spending that extra 10 minutes in bed. What seemed like such a good idea at the time has become my greatest regret. And I fantasize about what life would be like if I was a functional middle aged woman who was actually able organise herself better and live on more than adrenaline and sugar free red bull.

Finally I manage to pull into school, usually with only a few minutes to spare. Sometimes, when I’m actually late and it’s a morning briefing day, I have to sneak through the men’s toilets so that I don’t  walk right past the principal while he’s talking and be the shame of the staffroom. It’s a really delicate balance, shuffling in while you’re obviously late. You have to make sure you look suitably remorseful without looking like a puffing, scarlet faced, sloth of a woman who obviously isn’t in control of her life. Someone will usually say to me, ‘are you ok Aeronwy?’ and I’ll try to act all casual like every day is my wedding and its fashionable to be late- but actually I’m dying a little bit inside.

And then, there is always a then, I’ll get one of 3 responses…

  • Back in my day, when I was a single mum with 10 children, I got them all ready and out of the house with 5 hours to spare. AND We had to walk 12 miles in the snow and chop 10 tons of firewood before we got to work.

 

  • I have no kids/ adult kids, but I looked after my niece/nephew/god child last night and I managed to get them to write a thesis, eat the 7 course breakfast that I cooked AND I cleaned my 3 bedroom mansion before I left for work this morning.

 

  • Why don’t you just get up 5 minutes earlier and then you wouldn’t be late to work.

 

All great ‘suggestions’. None of them helpful.

Then I start my work day. Teaching 100 teenagers.

That’s a story for another time.

 

A x