Monthly Archives: July 2013

What I learned as a teenager

I read an article today stating that the more time teenage girls spend on social media the more likely they are to have low self esteem.

It made me feel so sad and worry about what my little girl, who is just seven, will be facing when she becomes a teenager.

Good times. Those rolled up jeans, that pink frosted lipstick, those posters, that wallpaper!
Those rolled up jeans, that pink frosted lipstick, those posters, that wallpaper!

So I thought I’d list a few nuggets of advice for her on how to survive ‘teenagerdom’, gleaned from my own time as a terrible teen:

Don’t be frightened by needing your first bra

Even if it does happen in grade six and you are one of the first girls on your class to wear one, just be proud and confident.

And your Mum promises that she won’t take you to Myer and have you professionally fitted because that IS a traumatic experience! She will spare you this mortifying indignity – if only your Nana did the same.

Don’t let the ‘Barbies’ at your school intimidate you

You will soon learn that most of their stories about their exploits with boys are either made up, or embellished. They are just as clueless as you are – but are better at hiding it.

Don’t compare your body to your friends

It’s going to be hard, because you will have an idea in your head on what a good looking body is (unfortunately heavily influenced by PhotoShopped images in magazines) and you will see some friends that have got it.

You will wish with all your heart that you were taller and thinner.  But when you look back at photos of yourself at school, you will see what a happy, beautiful person you were and that you had absolutely nothing to worry about.

And when you are 40, you will wish that you still had that figure!

Boys are not all that

Unlike your Mum, you won’t finish your schooling years never knowing what it’s like to have a boy in your class.

And hopefully you won’t see them as exotic creatures and race to your school gates to watch one walk by.

Just understand they are not the be all and end all for you and if you just stay true to yourself and refuse to dress or act differently around them, you will be totally fine.

Don’t let your friends give you a makeover

Especially before a party because there will be a boy there who they think likes you (and who you’ve never given a second thought until that very moment).

You will spend the whole party feeling terribly self conscious and he will end up snogging one of the ‘friends’ who tried to ‘help’ you.

And when you catch up with some of those boys years later, they will probably admit that they had a crush on you, but you were totally oblivious to it because you didn’t feel pretty enough for a boy to be interested in you!

At least I’ve got a few more years before I even need to worry about any of this, much less having to tackle the ‘sex’ talk.  Shudder.

Me x 5

Remember that 1996 movie ‘Multiplicity’ with Michael Keaton?  The one where he clones himself so he can get more things done in his life?

That’s what I think I want to do.

There is so much I want to be and do that I need to live a few different lives so I don’t find myself on my deathbed wondering ‘what if’.

The different clones of me would be:

THE HIGH ACHIEVING CAREER WOMAN

I love having a career and going to work.  I love the responsibility and the respect I (hopefully) garner and having to use my brain. I love earning my own money, the camaraderie with my team (greatest bunch of women I’ve ever worked with!) and constantly learning about my industry and myself.

I’d love to be a CEO and have great power and to be able to make real decisions.  To be a real trailblazer for women and  stomp around in fabulous corporate suits and even more fabulous shoes; to travel business class; to be asked to present at really important forums; and to reach the very pinnacle of my industry.

THE STAY-AT-HOME MUM

50shousewifeSometimes I struggle with working full time.  I want to stay at home full time because I know with all my heart that it would be so good for my family – which would be good for me. I could make sure the house is running smoothly, take my kids to school and pick them up.

I could be involved in their school and go along to excursions.  They could have friends over after school, attend after school activities and have a nicely rounded, calmer life.  Not the mad rush we have every day with two parents working full time.

THE PART-TIME WORKER

Truth be told, I’d probably go quietly insane if I was a full time stay at home Mum, so the perfect balance of part-time would be nice.  Working three days would be ideal. I would still keep my toe in the career water so I wouldn’t feel my two degrees were a waste of time , but then I’d also have two days at home to redress the balance. Lovely!

THE FREELANCE WRITER

Ah, to be able to work from home and write, write, write. I could work from a cafe, on the kitchen table, in the park – wherever. And going by the image on the right, all freelance writers work on their stomachs in the grass by the beach, right? That beats working in an office full time any day!

THE PERPETUAL STUDENT

I love learning new things.  If I could, I would study the following just for fun – nothing to do with improving career choices:

  • photography
  •  cooking (all cuisines)
  • fine art
  • English literature
  • sewing ( I would love to know how to make my own clothes)
  • Italian/Spanish/French/Greek
  • creative writing
  • remedial massage

I know all of the above contradict each other, and a lot of the scenarios are based on fuzzy, unrealistic stereotypes (and a major Tattslotto win!).

Maybe it’s true that modern women can have it all, just not at the same time.

How bloody frustrating is that?!

Apologies to the Phillip Island locals

No, it wasn’t a mad flock of seagulls you heard on the Cowes beach. It was me yelling like a banshee at my kids.

We were on your beautiful island for an overnight break and we were loving it! But it was very cold you see, and my kids just wanted to play on the beach, and I was worried they would get their shoes wet and catch a cold.

So I lovingly asked them to make sure they stayed away from the water. You probably didn’t hear those words delivered in a measured, loving tone – the first four times. But I bet you heard the fifth warning!

And I bet you heard me ‘lovingly’ asking them to smile for the camera so I could capture some heartwarming family snaps that I could share on this blog and Instagram. You know the ones, where it captures the love and happiness of the moment.

Apologies for subjecting you all to hearing me  growl through gritted teeth: “Just smile for the camera! You’re on holidays! You’re having a great time!”

Fine! Don't smile for the camera!
Fine! Don’t smile for the camera!

And I’m sorry if my loving exclamations of  ‘I told you so!’ when my son inched closer and closer to the water and that big wave came up and drenched him from the knees down,  made you wince.

And I bet you all collectively breathed a sigh of relief when I  realised that I was fighting a losing battle and actually let my kids have fun. We all benefited from that brainwave!

The sun sets on a great mini break
The sun sets on a great mini break

Fashion savvy kids

As my regular readers would have already discovered, I cleared out my closet today.  But I also cleared out the kids’ closets as I was getting sick of putting clothes on them and discovering that they were either too small or had accumulated a strange collection of stains – some identifiable, and others probably best not asking about.

I’ve just come back from Target and replenished their closets with some basic clothes, socks and shoes.

Why I am rabbiting on about clothes is because I have just I read an article called Million Dollar Babies about how the children’s clothing industry has gone gangbusters.

Now, I try my absolute best not to judge other Mums, just incase – God forbid – they take a closer look at my own childrearing efforts, but in this case I have to give a Mum in the article a stern talking to.

Warning: I’m on my judgement box!

This mother is a self-confessed fashion addict and dresses her four-year-old and new baby in very expensive children’s clothes (mainly from Paris).

What got me shaking my head in dismay is her quote “I don’t understand Mums who wear expensive garments and then shop for their children at Target.”

Hang on! I am one of those Mums! Yes, I spend more money on my clothes because I know I will appreciate them – and because I paid for them!

How can she have no understanding of why many of us choose not to spend $245 on a fur-trimmed baby coat from Dior? Or to dress our kids head-to-toe in designer gear?

Don’t her kids play outside? Don’t they paint and glue and draw? Don’t they spill food and drink on themselves?

What world does she live in?  A very rich and clean one, obviously.

Maybe she needs to visit my world.

The clothes I bought today will have a shelf life of about 6 months maximum.

I know my five-year-old son will ride his scooter and choose to use the tip of his new sneakers as brakes.

I know my seven-year-old daughter will wear her new leggings outside and suddenly decide to use a bumpy old tree log as a slide.

They will both spill spaghetti sauce, orange juice and yoghurt all over themselves, and I won’t even notice until I take their clothes out of the closet a few days later when the stains have well and truly taken hold.

My son will decide that he needs to enhance the design on his new jumper with a permanent marker and my daughter will sit cross legged on the floor, stretching her cotton top over her knees until it resembles a kaftan.

And they will both grow out their clothes, usually before the clothes have worn out naturally.

And that’s how it should be (except for the permanent marker scenario), because they are kids!

I would hate for them to feel that they can’t mess up or wrinkle their clothes.  And I would hate to be constantly running after them, yelling at them to stay clean! Who has the time?

So I am not really judging, but I just want to say ‘lighten up, let your kids have fun – and please tell me what op shop you take your children’s old clothing to!”

Straight off the Dior runway!
Straight off the Dior runway!

Cleaning out my closet – literally!

I’ve just cleared out my closet.  And the big, heavy suitcase that was housing my ‘one day I’ll get back in to’ clothes.

And it felt great! I was pleasantly surprised that some lovely items now fit and can return to the fray, while others had to be kissed goodbye (some particularly beautiful pieces that I never should have bought as they would never look good on me, were literally kissed!)

Image
Ah, memories…..

It also made me take an unexpected trip down memory lane.

I had to smile when I came across some pretty Alannah Hill pieces.  I remember when I went through my Alannah Hill ‘pretty-as-a-picture’ phase. I bought everything I could on eBay and at the warehouse sales ( I STILL can’t afford to buy her clothes full price!). I was single, living in Southbank in the CBD and working in the city too. My life revolved around me, me ,me and catching up with friends.

They made me think of the city in summer and weekends spent in beer gardens, lusting over some tall, lanky boy with messy hair that would flop into his eyes. He knows who he is!  Hee Hee.  Actually, that lanky boy is now a married father-of-one and not a terrific catch come to think of it.

I remember wearing those clothes and lamenting that I wasn’t as tall and skinny as the Alannah Hill girls in the shops, knowing deep down that some of the clothes didn’t flatter me, but wearing them nonetheless. I was caught up in my own little inner city single world whereI floated about in whimsy clothing.  And I was really happy!

And then I came across the clothes I bought for my engagement party. I remember throwing caution to the wind and spending lots of money on the size 10 (!) clothes.

I also remember that in the lead up to the party, my husband-to-be was getting worried because we couldn’t afford an engagement ring and the pressure was on to have something on my ring finger for the night!

A few nights before the party, my gorgeous Greek Yaya who lived next door, took me aside and let me look through her jewellery to see if I could find something I liked. And I did. It was a ring that my Pop had given to her for a wedding anniversary and she never really liked it.  But I loved it.  And that became my engagement ring.

There were some ‘what were you thinking?!’ fashion disasters in there too! I really wish someone had sat me down and told me that although most of my friends who were tall and skinny could wear the latest trends I COULD NOT!  I think I held on to those ones in the slim hope that I could somehow lose heaps of weight, and grow a few inches too!

And then there were the fat clothes. They made me saddest of all. I remember wearing them after I had gone back to full time work after having two kids. I remember wanting to hide away because I didn’t know my body anymore, but I knew I DEFINITELY didn’t like it.

And then there were the clothes that I had to buy after losing lots of weight, and then putting it (plus some) straight back on again. The failure clothes.

Now all these clothes are in a massive pile on my bed and will go to an opportunity shop and I hope make someone else really happy.

I feel good looking at the pile and realising that even though I am still very much a work in progress, I know my mind and I know what suits me. Not just in clothing, but in life generally. I know what I like and what I don’t like.  What I will put up with and what I won’t, and what I hold dearest of all.

Now I have lots more space in my closet to buy new things! But I have my fingers crossed that it’s onwards and upwards from here on – no more Thai fisherman’s pants that made me look two foot tall and two foot wide; or thin, spaghetti strapped silky tops that made my shoulders look like a wrestler’s!

Just mature, elegant threads that will make people stop and think, “Wow!  Angie has really blossomed into a mature woman who has got her whole life under control!” I think those kind of clothes are called ‘dress ups’.