Posted on July 8, 2016
So I had wine and I am very tired and so I am a bit tipsy but I saw the Tarzan movie so I thought I’d give my honest review.
Excuse typos because you know, wines.
Ok so I don’t know what the plot is or who is in it other than Alexander Skarsgard and Alexander Skarsgard’s magnificent holy abs. I don’t know what the dialogue or acting is like or whatever.
But like 1/3 of the way in Alexander Skarsgard is going to fight a gorilla for some reason and he takes off his shirt and OMG LIKE I ACTUALLY GROANED LOUDLY.
He does not put his shirt back on for the whole movie.
And like The V. sweet mother Mary the V I am telling you. The v is worth $15. The V is worth so much I wanted to see the movie again straight afterward.
Did I say that he doesn’t put his shirt back on?
This is why I can’t tell you what the movie is about. Samuel l Jackson at one point is talking about something really important and it’s just white noise because Alexander Skarsgard has the best body that ever existed.
I am basically exhausted from being in a constant state of arousal for the rest of the 2/3 of the film.
When he swings on stuff it’s slow mo and there are like all these long shorts of his muscles.
And like at one point he is wet. Like so wet. And I was like to my friend OMG and we were both like HE IS SO WET. And glistening with his chest and his abs and his arms and he’s all dirty and the V. THe V I am telling you.
Some stuff happens I don’t know. But the important thing to know is that he doesn’t put his shirt back on and he’s really wearing those pants.
And his eyes. He has such puppy dog eyes. If I was with Alexander Skarsgard I would be like what’s wrong Alexander Skarsgard because he always looks so sad. And then he would say – nothing because you’re my wife. And then we would bang.
There are many close ups of his sad eyes.
There is one sex scene that stops before anything properly happens which made me so angry I intend to write to the director to give him a pieces of my mind.
I mean why the fuck is this movie pg13. What mum is going to watch this movie with her kid. Nobody wants to sit with their teenage son while they’re imagining Alexander Skarsgard diving into their lady parts.
I am furious.
But also very grateful. For this wonderful movie. That gave us Alexander Skarsgard. He is a gift to the world. And I bet he is so nice.
And he is SO TALL.
Like this movie really shows his tallness.
Like so tall. That at one point he comes up behind whoever the actress was and I let out this like guttural noise like I was dying and the guy next to me gave me a filth look and I was like fuck you what are you even doing here.
Alexander Skarsgard is Tarzan and he belongs to the women of the world.
I am an atheist but there is the point where he swings onto this other thing and catches his like “wife” (this is not a spoiler you’re not watching the movie for the plot ok) and like his muscles and his v and he’s so strong and tall and I actually like think I saw God?
So in short, definite Oscar worthy movie with just like amazing arms and imagine if your job was to put the dirt and blood on his arms? Imagine if that was your job. To just touch Alexander Skarsgard all day. And he would flirt with you but not be gross. He would just be a total gentlemen and maybe you’d drop your make up brush and you’d both reach down and get it and he’d look at you with his sad eyes and you would be dead.
That would be it.
You would actually die.
But it would be worth it.
This has been a review by Emily after two maybe three wines on very little sleep. Thank you and good night.
If you liked this, follow me on Facebook for more of the same. Also I have a book coming out and you should buy it. If you want me to speak at your event email me at emilywritesnz at gmail dot com. if you want to be a jerk and say mean stuff to me or send me a photo of your pitiful chode or tell me I’m a reverse sexist or I’m disgusting for having sexual thoughts when I’m A MUM you can email me at go fuck yourself dot com.
Posted on June 30, 2016
The Lighthouse is on Saturday 2 July and we are really excited about it! We have sold out – we did that in about a day. There is also a long waitlist. But if you missed out, I hope you’ll be able to make the next one. We hope to do this regularly. Watch this space as we fundraise and continue to organise new Lighthouses across New Zealand! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to support. Read about our kaupapa here.
Posted on June 24, 2016
One of my dear friends told me she went in one of those salt water pod things and I made her tell me all about it – and she was telling me and I was wheezing with laughter and I almost peed. So I made her write it up for me so I could share it with you. Thanks Katie!
Take the weight off your feet. Great in theory, but in reality when I sit down the weight of the day and the tension in my rounded shoulders just shifts from my feet to a pain in my butt. So when my mate raves about a new treatment where you become weightless in a special pool I was in. Well I was for a fleeting second at least.
Life happened, but then a discount appeared on Treat Me. This time I was in. I had visions of holiday brochures for the picturesque Dead Sea where it’s impossible to sink. The water gently lapping at your skin as the sun warms your face.
By the day before the float this thing was going to reprogramme the way I respond to stress and transform life as we know it. Let’s just say I was bloody ready for a day off.
The morning should have gone well. I had an extra hour to get out of the house with my 3 year old. Of course this meant we were running late. My partner was out of the house at 5.30am and of course I couldn’t get back to sleep on the one day I could. The 3 year old slept in.
I shaved my legs. This was a special occasion after all. Then I read the leaflet saying I shouldn’t shave just before floating. Bugger. I thought up random reasons why my legs were so smooth in case of interrogation. I spent time thinking about how ridiculous this speech writing exercise was. I thought about how I wouldn’t need to write speeches such as these once I had floated into my new serene state.
Now it was really late. Forty minutes to get my son ready, get out of the house, to daycare and then across the other side of town to an hour of bliss.
I won the battle of the clothes. I managed to pick out an outfit that he was happy to wear first time. Score. I made toast to go. Rookie mistake. According to my son breakfast is not allowed in the car and can only be eaten at the table.
It turns out there was time for him to eat his toast at the table. Or at least there would have been. There definitely isn’t now. I calculate how long it will take me to get to daycare and across town. I recalculate to allow for the fact I now only have 25 minutes.
Somehow we are in the car. He’s still not eating. I realise I have no idea where the spa is and whether there is parking. We negotiate watching Ice Age when he gets home and finally he is eating and we’re there.
I shove the last bit in before we get through the daycare door and I smile and pause for just long enough not to look like I am throwing him in and doing a runner.
A quick Google and the spa has no parking. It’s pouring. I’m nowhere near the bus stop.
Uber. Of course. It’s a treat day after all. I’ve got 10 minutes. I might even be on time. ‘Uber is currently experiencing high volumes. Do you accept the 3.1x fee?’ ‘The what?!!’
You’re kidding me. I smile at the daycare teacher as I constantly refresh the Uber app. Three minutes later I give in to the inevitable and am pissed off that I will be even later for being tight.
Finally I’m there. Only 5 minutes late. I deserve a medal. I get a $34 Uber receipt.
Someone takes my coat, offers me a drink and asks how my morning has been. I manage a smile and say ‘I’m hoping it’s going to get better’. After quickly filling in a form with my whole life history I am taken through to the float room.
I’m not sure what to expect. But I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a giant toilet. Someone had left the seat up and inside the water was green, no, blue, no, pink. Oh I see- mood lighting. I had to shower and then the toilet would magically tell me when to get in and out by playing music. Clever toilet.
The music starts and I step inside the toilet basin with my earplugs in (to keep the salt out of my ears). I lay back and float.
I wait. Serenity is just around the corner and all I need to do is close my eyes and wait.
Right at this moment serenity is being a bit of a bitch so I look around and try to ignore the fact that the toilet lid doesn’t quite close on the right-hand side. Ok- I try opening and closing it 7 times before I accept this fact.
But now I am ready. Deep breaths. Calm. The music stops to allow me to enjoy the silence of this toilet coffin. I am not ready.
I open my eyes and the salty condensation drips down from the ceiling into one of them. I use the water spray left outside the toilet door for exactly this purpose. They think of everything.
I’m back and so determined that I will not get in the way of my own relaxation. Too determined. I tell myself that this is the only bloody chance I have to relax, that I am bloody privileged to be able to do this, that there are so many mums who would bloody love to be floating right now instead of changing shitty nappies.
This precious time becomes pressured time. My mind wanders.
My shoulder bumps into the side of the toilet. I push off and slowly glide to the other side. I spend the next 5 minutes working out how I can push myself off with just the right force to stop in the middle. I fail.
I’m hot. The water is body temperature, but it’s stuffy in here. I break the rules and prop the toilet lid open. That’s better. But sitting up I’m dizzy. I think back to breakfast and realise in all the fuss I didn’t have any.
I climb out and find a packet of crisps in the depths of my handbag. My hands slip on the packet as I stand naked, dripping wet. The salt starts to crystallise around my mouth and adds nothing to the bbq flavour rice crackers.
I’m back in. I’m not giving up on the one chance I will ever have to relax. Well, the one chance I have scheduled in my calendar and paid good (some) money for at least.
I wonder how many other bodies have floated in this toilet coffin. I wonder what possessed me to search for serenity down a toilet.
I can’t relax. I wiggle about and stretch. I haven’t made it to a yoga class in a while. I lift my legs up in the air and then all of a sudden I’m arse over tit.
I’m upside down underwater. Upside down and naked in my saltwater coffin. I remember the red button to press in an emergency. Is this an emergency? I picture needing to be rescued from my predicament. I decide that this is not an emergency.
It turns out gravity doesn’t work quite the same way when you’re floating. I manage to get up. I’m spluttering. I have the special chemical salt water down my throat, up my nose, in my eyes, my ears. It turns out I took the earplugs out when I ate my crisps.
I stagger out of the toilet and dry retch for a while. I am feeling some feelings. Serene is not one of them.
I manage to shower and pull my dressing gown on by the time the music starts again and I sheepishly head back to reception.
‘How was it? Do you feel lovely and relaxed?’
Posted on June 22, 2016
I was offered an interview with THE Mister Maker. I declined because I am dying under the weight of ALL THE THINGS. But I did think about asking him where he gets his relentless energy from. Does he just wind down at the end of each episode? Nobody can sustain that level of enthusiasm. It’s just not possible.
Instead of talking to Mister Maker (or one of The Shapes) I’m giving away a family pass to a Wellington show of Mister Maker and The Shapes Live.
This is Mister Maker’s first New Zealand tour. His first live theatre show here. So it should be a goodie. The show certainly lends itself to a live show. I’m really looking forward to it. My son is a Mister Maker fan and I spend a lot of my time saying “Yes, that’s wonderful but we are not making it inside”.
I like to sit my son in front of the TV and put on an episode of Mister Maker and call it “art time”. That way I can feel smug and say that my child does like six hours of arts and crafts a week.
Here are the tour details. And you can buy tickets for your mini makers here.
Friday 8 July to Sunday 10 July at Auckland’s Bruce Mason Centre
Tuesday 12 July to Wednesday 13 July at Christchurch’s Aurora Theatre
Friday 15 July to Sunday 17 July at Wellington’s Opera House.
I’m giving away a family pass – two adults, two children, or one adult, three children for the Wellington show on Saturday 17 July at 1pm. THIS COMPETITION HAS CLOSED. Congratulations Sara Tuki Pascoe.
Here are some quotes about the show:
‘Mister Maker Live is like going to see Robbie Williams in concert whilst he does art and craft! What a superb family show and great audience participation!’ – MummyFever.co.uk
‘Hilariously funny and inventive live show full of clever crafty makes, singing, dancing and audience participation.’ Derby Telegraph
The show is genius’ ‘Brilliantly put together, with sections flowing seamlessly from one to the next, full of fun and energy, and with lots of laughs this is a fabulous show’ – South London Press
Posted on June 20, 2016
My day started at 4am today because my three year old thinks his insides are coming out when he vomits and he caught that bug that is going around so I woke to vomiting and screaming and he was just puking everywhere and I was gagging because I can handle poos and wees but there’s something about vomit it’s just SO MUCH. I turned on the light and it was like a horror show. And I was gagging and trying to get his PJs off and they were all slimy and he was trying to hug me and I was trying to one arm hug him because I want to comfort him but also *heave* there is VOMIT EVERYWHERE omg it was in his hair. And then he puked on me. So I put him in the shower and I got in too and I kept thinking as he puked in my arms that I’m going to get the bug too because it’s on me. And I sat on a stool that was meant to be for him and he sat on my lap and cried and puked and I stroked his hair and tried not to puke. And then the stool snapped under my weight because it is made for a child and it’s plastic and not made for a giant woman covered in a three year old and a three year old’s puke. And it made a big bang. And then I made a bang as I landed on the floor of the shower. And that woke the baby and then the baby was like WHY IS EVERYONE AWAKE because usually he likes to wake on the hour every hour all night and it was 4.30am by this time so he was confused and ANGRY. So he was banging on the bathroom door because he wanted in on the vomit and broken chair and me laying on the floor of the shower groaning as my three year old said “I’m weeing” action. He also wanted to be on my lap vomiting and/or peeing on me. And he has just learned how to say mum and the first 380 times were so cute but now for 48 hours it’s just been MAMA MAMA MAMA MAMA MAMA MAMA MAMA MAMA and I was like oh. That’s right. and so he was banging on the door yelling MAMA MAMA and screaming and my big boy was vomiting and screaming and my husband was like “I have put out my back or something” and I was like WHAT WHY IS THIS HAPPENING NOW. And then I got the kids dressed and clean(ish) and my husband was hobbling around unable to help but trying to so I helped the situation by yelling at him. And then I put on Postman Pat and didn’t have a drink at 5.45am. And then I left the chundering big baby with my broke back husband and I went to get the baby’s sleep deprivation test at the hospital. And she put the little wire things on his head and he was so calm and I said “oh thank goodness he isn’t screaming!” And then he screamed for an hour. Because I said that. And she said “do you think you can get him to sleep” and I thought that was the funniest joke ever. But she wasn’t joking. And then I shushed so much I almost broke a blood vessel in my eye. In my eye. And then he fell asleep and it was so beautiful I almost cried. And then she said “ok we have got it!” And started unbandaging him and he was suddenly screaming like he was being tortured and I was like REALLY WE HAD TO WAKE HIM AFTER 10 MINUTES REALLY?? IS THAT REALLY A THING WE HAD TO DO REALLY? And then my tummy started to feel sore and I was like please if there is any type of God please do not let me shit my pants at the hospital when I’m wearing maternity leggings that are worn through the crotch anyway. And then she said “shall we wash him” And I was already half way out the door like NO BUT THANK YOU BUT I JUST NEED TO GO. And then I got outside and the feeling passed and the baby was quiet so I went and bought some baby oil which apparently is what you use to get the glue out of their hair. And then I got picked up by my hunched over husband and the big baby with a big red bowl and he smiled and said “I did so much sick out in my mouf” and my husband gave me this weak smile and I gave him a kiss on the cheek which I hope said “I’m sorry for yelling at you and I hope you’re ok but we can talk about it later because kids etc” and then the baby screamed all the way home. And then when we got home I was rocking the baby and I thought my head is going to explode and Eddie came over and said “please can I have a cuggle becorst mine tummy is so sore” and so we all got into bed -the baby, the big baby, and the bright red bowl. And I lay down with them and sang to them a little song about having gastro to the tune of Paradise City take me away from the very sore tummy where the poos and wees are not very funny. And they stopped whimpering and giggled and then they cuddled up and everything was quiet and I thought, I need to get up and write and work and do the washing and clean the toilet and make the beds fresh again and then I just…didn’t. And then I heard giggling and it was two and a half hours later and two blonde little cherubs looked up at me and one said MAMA MAMA and then the other started copying MAMA MAMA and I kissed them both and then I thought about all the puke and I felt really gross so I quickly got up. But Eddie said Please Another Kiss On Mine Face Dear Mama and so I did give him another kiss on each hot, pink, flushed cheek. And I saw the baby’s hair and thought SHIT. And so I got the baby oil and I stripped him down and put the baby oil in his hair and he yanked it out of my hand and it went everywhere and I tried to pick him up but he was naked and covered in baby oil and he thought this was so funny and he made a dash for it and I tried to grab the slippery naked baby and every step he took he farted and screamed with laughter and then the big one started to try to take his clothes off and said “can I be naked and cover in dat stuff too and you chased me dear mama” and I was like sweating and covered in baby oil THIS IS NOT A GAME and I threw the towel over the slimy baby and grabbed a leg but slipped again and then slipped over in the bathroom and both children jumped on me like hahaha this is so funny try to break her. And then my older one said “your tummy is like a jumping castle becorst you are so soft and bouncy” and I tried to get up and the crotch of my leggings just ripped right out. And then Eddie vomited on the floor. So I put them both in the shower and gave them the bottle of baby oil and they slid around in there for a while and I sat on the ground in my ripped leggings all sweaty and gross and I felt like I was going to cry and then the baby farted. And we just all burst out laughing. Hysterical, maniacal laughter. Because farts are funny. And a baby that already looks like a leg of ham covered in baby oil like a greasy piglet is funny. And even vomit is funny sometimes. And also this is life. And it’s our life. Our precious, wonderful, stupid, amazing, ridiculous life. And I never thought I’d sit in vomit in ripped crotch leggings and try to catch naked babies covered in baby oil in a bathroom that stinks of farts – and laugh this much. I never thought I’d do all those things and then still be 100% sure I’m living the life I’ve always wanted and loving it so much. SO MUCH. I climbed into the shower and sat down and my two babies climbed into my lap and kissed my cheeks and kissed each other and I thought that’s being a mum. And in that moment I thought: I am very, very lucky.
Posted on June 17, 2016
I have been sent many strange things over the past year. I’ve had many offers of strange things. People send me very strange emails.
But getting a jar full of ashes is my weirdest thing.
I received a jar of ashes from a family home that was destroyed by fire.
I felt – feel – ill about it. I took the ashes outside. I left them out there. I don’t want that bad juju in my house. I know misfortune or horror or awfulness isn’t contagious but even touching that jar made me feel nauseous. It held a family’s world inside, their possessions, all the things that made a house a home. I couldn’t help but look around and imagine my photos, art the boys had created, our clothes, furniture collected over the years, the decorations from my friend’s baby shower that I threw almost a year ago that are still up (I’m exceptionally lazy) reduced to ashes and put into a jar.
My mind thankfully stopped me from imagining fire and my son asleep in his cot downstairs.
So I put the ashes outside and tried to ignore them. But I kept thinking about the family whose house was reduced to those ashes. I thought of Cathlyn Paala. She was looking after her three nieces – six months, two, and six when her house caught fire and burned to the ground.
Because of her smoke alarm, she saved them. They’re alive because of a smoke alarm.
I know that smoke alarms save lives. I mean who doesn’t know this. And so I felt exceptionally foolish when I had the following conversation with my husband:
Me: Do we have smoke alarms?
Husband: I think so?
Do they work?
I don’t know.
When did you last test them?
When did you last test them?
We need working smoke alarms.
I’m a working smoke alarm. If there was a fire I’d be able to tell.
I gave my husband a look like:
Then I read to him from the accompanying letter that came with the ashes. “People lose their sense of smell when sleeping, making them vulnerable to dying as a result of toxic smoke inhalation long before flames can even get them”. And “Fires are extremely quiet in their early stages and only begin to make any noise once the fire is already well established”.
When my youngest is awake I’ll be testing the fire alarms. We moved to this house when Eddie was six months old. He’s now three and a half. So while we have smoke alarms, we haven’t tested them in years.
I asked my husband why we never tested the alarms and he said – I don’t know. We just didn’t.
I’d like to say it was because we were too busy with the kids or something but it is what it is. We just didn’t. They were just there and we saw them and subconsciously must have thought “Well, there are fire alarms in this house so that’s sorted” and thought nothing more of it.
It’s horrifying to think that there are 3,200 house fires every year. And worse still to now know that 80 per cent of house fires the New Zealand Fire Service attend have no working fire alarms.
I know that somewhere we just decided a fire could never happen to us.
But I’m reminded of the things that have happened to us that I never thought would ever happen to us. Things like the car accident my husband was in when he 24. The car accident that almost killed him and our best friend. Their car was hit by two trucks and a car on the Desert Road. I was waiting for them in Tauranga and I received a call saying there had been an accident involving someone who owned the phone they were calling from. My father worked for a media organisation at the time, he called the newsroom and was told there had been a fatal accident. For a desperate half hour I thought the love of my life or one of our dearest friends were dead. They miraculously survived. I never, ever thought my son would be born with a health condition. That he’d be unable to breathe. That a cold would nearly kill him. That he’d need surgeries and we would spend the first two years of his life in and out of hospital.
You always think – not us.
But I know better now. Well, I thought I did. So when the baby wakes I’ll be checking the fire alarms. And I’ll be making sure if the worst happens to us – we won’t lose our lives or the lives we are entrusted to protect.
Thank you to the Fire Service. I can’t believe I’m thanking someone for sending me bad juju ashes. And also, I don’t know what I’m meant to do with them now – I would like to not have them.
Tips from NZ Fire Service:
- Regularly check your smoke alarms and their batteries.
- Have an alarm in every bedroom and main living area on every level of a house.
- Have an escape plan in the event of fire, including a safe place to meet.
- Once out, don’t go back inside, even to call 111. Call 111 from a cell phone or from a neighbour’s phone.
- If you leave the kitchen, turn elements off
- Check on elderly relatives, friends, and neighbours to make sure they have working alarms.
OK SO I CHECKED THE DAMN ALARMS AND NONE OF THEM WORK! Check your alarms! Check your alarms! Check your damn alarms!
Posted on June 15, 2016
My three year old talks about the world he will live in when he’s “Big”. Big people drive cars. Big people don’t go to school. Big people have jobs like being a garbage colepter or blowing up balloons or digging big holes or filling cups with water. Big people can go to the park whenever they like. Big people don’t have to eat their dinner. Big people go out when it’s dark. Big people go to bed whenever they want.
There is a utopia in his mind of what life will be like when he is an adult. He cannot wait to be out in that big world when he’s Big.
But I can wait.
I am scared. I see the news and I’m scared.
I’m scared of how big the world is.
I don’t know how to parent in a world that is so big. A world that is so scary.
I struggle with the small stuff – how do I get him to eat his dinner? How do I get him to stop running off?
There’s the stuff you think is bigger but it’s not – how do you teach patience? Resilience?
The big stuff, the biggest stuff, is this – how do you protect them and protect others?
I know more kindness, more love, less entitlement, less hate is what we’re told. And those words ring hollow sometimes. I try to take comfort from them but it’s so hard. How do we rise above slogans?
What can we as mothers do when the world is hurting? What can we as mothers of boys do about the fact that so much of the violence in this world is perpetrated by men in a culture of toxic and fragile masculinity?
This is not a post where there is an answer. It’s not a post that ends with a cathartic laugh.
There’s no joyous – Me too!
There’s no snark here.
It’s a call. Of some kind.
To make a world where all of our children are safe and all of our children keep others safe. I’m sure that’s what we need for this big, big world.
We need a big heart for this big world.
I want to pledge now that I will parent knowing my child is going into this big world and he will have choices – choices to harm and hurt or to walk gently and powerfully with hope in his heart and love for others. I will parent knowing he is going into a world with your children too, that they need love and protection and respect – they need to be kept safe as I hope my son will be kept safe too.
I pledge to always hold your children in my heart too. To teach my children about consent, respect, and unity. To teach them about their privilege and how that fits with their place in the world. I pledge to parent them with peace and in kindness in the hopes that as they grow they treat others with peace and kindness.
I know I won’t always get the small stuff right. But I’ll try so hard to get the big stuff right. And in the face of so much brokenness, so much breath-taking sadness – What else can we do?
What else can we do except say – not here. Not my home. Not my children.
I will pledge to love not only my children but all children. I will pledge to make my home a home for all. I will pledge to do something that brings words to life and into action.
Keep our children safe and keep the world safe.
What else can we do when the world is so big?
Posted on June 12, 2016
I am so excited about this!
Disney has given me a money-can’t-buy experience to give away!
I have 10 tickets – YES 10 TICKETS! – to giveaway to Disney On Ice presents Magical Ice Festival in Wellington!
Even better – six of the children attending get to be in the show! They’ll be sitting in some of the best seats in the house and they’ll get to actually GO ON THE ICE! They’ll be in a cart ride during the Tangled segment of the show, riding on ice during the I’ve Got A Dream performance.
This is an experience you can’t pay for. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity for your wee ones!
All you have to do is tell me about your best mama friend. I want this prize to go to two mamas and their best mama friends.
I adore my coven and I love watching our babies grow together – we’re like our own little family.
So I want to invite you and your family to enter this comp. We can have two groups of three children and two adults. Sound good?
Enter by telling me why you love your chosen mama family.
It’s important to note: The show is for 28 July at 11am in Wellington so you need to be able to make it to that. To take part in the show, the kids need to be aged between 4 and 10 years old.
I’ll draw the comp on 18 June. Terms and conditions for the competition are available on request.
DISNEY ON ICE MAGICAL ICE FESTIVAL – 2016 NATIONAL TOUR DATES
Wellington | TSB Bank Arena | 28 – 31 July
Auckland | Vector Arena | 4 – 7 August
Hamilton | Claudelands Arena | 10-14 August
Christchurch | Horncastle Arena | 18-21 August
You can buy tickets through the Disney On Ice website or directly purchase Auckland tickets through Ticketmaster: 09 970 9700 and Wellington, Hamilton and Christchurch tickets through Ticketek: 0800 TICKETEK (842 538).
THIS COMPETITION IS CLOSED NOW. CONGRATULATIONS TO THE WINNERS.
Posted on June 2, 2016
I wasn’t going to write about it. It seemed everyone else had written about it. I made a passing comment on Twitter and my mentions became unmentionable. Inevitably the suggestion that I don’t love my children popped up, by a mother of five no less…
I thought – that serves me right for talking about it. Even in the most gentle way. I’d simply said I wanted to hug the mother of the little boy who fell in the gorilla pit. I’ve thought about her often since the event. I am scared for her. I’m scared for her physical safety. And I’m scared for her mental health.
Often I find myself feeling overwhelmed by the few horrible comments I get on Twitter or in my inbox or here in these comments. The ones that say “I feel sorry for her kids” because I made a comment they didn’t agree with. It’s the easiest insult because it hurts the most.
But what would it feel like to be the subject of memes where they use racial slurs against you and say you should be shot? What would it be like to have other mothers screaming that your child should be taken away? What would it be like to hear there is a fucking petition to try to get all of your children removed from your care? To read over and over and over again that you’re a piece of shit. That you’re neglectful scum. That a gorilla is a better parent than you?
What would it feel like to have your entire life as a mother erased in an instant? Every kiss goodnight, every lunchbox prepared, every game of peek-a-boo, every blanket tucked in, every cuddle, every hand pressed to a fevered forehead? All gone.
When would all of those horrible, hate-filled voices become your own? As you recover from the most traumatic and terrifying thing you’ve ever been through? As you try to parent through this?
I wouldn’t be able to cope. No way.
And I’ve looked at all of this – this hatred and hysteria – and I’ve felt a deep fear.
If you think you could never be that mum you’re wrong.
Any misstep you ever have as a parent, any moment as a mother, any time you are less than perfect – you’re at risk.
If someone sees you, if something happens – you could face what this mum is facing now.
Because this is the society we are living in. The braying mob is waiting. They need women to tear apart and mothers are great for this.
Because we fuck up. We all do. Show me a mother who hasn’t ever fucked up. Show me a human being who has never fucked up.
And they’re ready to catch us and begin the punishment.
This isn’t about a gorilla. It’s about the need for a mother to be publicly and seriously punished for not being perfect.
And race absolutely does come into it. This will be a far harsher attack because this little boy’s mother is a woman of colour.
And every time we say “that would never happen to me” we’re putting another stone on the pile. Ready for it to be flung at her. To cause as much damage as possible.
When you say “that would never happen to me” you’re really saying:
Dear god, I hope that never happens to me.
When you say “I have five kids and I never turned my back on them once” you’re really saying:
I have to imagine that this isn’t something that could have happened to me.
Because of course you do. It isn’t as fun to tear another human being apart if at the back of your mind you know that it could have been you.
This is the same reason why women disbelieve other women when they talk about rape. If you believe it doesn’t happen often or at all, that it’s an anomaly – this violence against women – you believe that it won’t happen to you.
We think we can magic up a world where we are safe. Where our children are safe. A fair world. A just world. A world where there’s no way people will talk about us and say that we are neglectful and we deserve to have our children taken from us.
If we judge others. We might not be judged.
If the crowd is busy hanging this woman. They won’t see my inattention or my imperfection or my failures and attempts and fuck ups.
But they will. It’s luck of the draw.
And if it happens to you – they won’t care that you were one of them the month before when someone else was being punished.
You won’t be one of them then.
And what does this do to us a society? When our default isn’t support for mothers and care and empathy and compassion? When we don’t ever even attempt to understand the nature of children? When our default is hatred and seething madness? When people are frothing with excitement when a mother fucks up?
It was hard enough when as a parent you were concerned about what age you should start solids, whether your child was getting enough sleep, if they were reaching milestones…
It was even harder when you had to deal with everyone having an opinion on everything and that was difficult when it was people you knew.
Then it became people you didn’t know who for some unknown reason really cared about whether you breastfeed or bottle feed your baby and what type of car seat you have and is that a jolly jumper?!? And then there was how you get them to sleep – the only thing you can be sure of there is that you’re doing it wrong.
THAT was bad enough.
And now you add infamy and weeks of public flagellation and death threats and petitions.
What impact does this have on mothers?
We’re trying to build villages and they’re being burned down.
What can we do?
DON’T PICK UP THE FUCKING PITCHFORK.
It’s that simple.
When you start to say that would never be me consider if that’s really true.
Cuddle your baby. Finish the washing. Go back to work. Call a friend.
Don’t contribute to this hate and don’t contribute to this culture.
We probably can’t end this mum-shaming and this hatred of women. But we can at least not participate in it. We can at least extend a hand to those who are being destroyed and say:
It could have been me and that scares me – but I won’t join in and I want you to be OK.
We are not different you and I. Don’t let fear divide us.
Posted on June 1, 2016
“Stories matter. Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign, but stories can also be used to empower and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people, but stories can also repair that broken dignity.” – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Over the past year I have spoken to many mothers. Mostly online, some in desperate late night phone calls, others in person over coffee as we bounced babies on our knees.
Many of these conversations have been tear-filled. Some have been permeated by desperate sobs. Many mothers today are hurting. And they’re hurting because of isolation and a dominant narrative that is telling them they’re alone and they’re making the wrong choices as parents.
We need a village. And we need to support each other to understand that while parenting is a shared experience, we all have differing experiences – and that is OK.
Our different stories don’t divide us, they can unite us. And more importantly, they can help us all in so many ways. They can help us be better mothers to all children, not just our own. And they can help us be kinder and patient with other mothers too. Understanding helps us all. When you understand why another mother feels the way she does – it’s almost impossible to feel so far away from her.
We teach our children empathy and kindness. We need to do the same for ourselves and each other. We need to reach out where we can and share our stories so we have common ground.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has talked about the danger of a single story. I see that so much in media – traditional or social. I see so little complexity and so much focus on one choice without any understanding that mothers today do not all have the same choices.
We are so time poor that we cannot find the time to care for ourselves, we are too busy caring for others. And our well of empathy can be dry at the end of the day when it has been sapped by our loved ones.To offer empathy to others can be challenging – I struggle with it and I’ve really failed in the past.
But what helps me to rise above pettiness and nastiness and reject a single harmful narrative about what it means to be a good mother, is to speak to other mothers and hear their stories.
I’ve heard from the mums who are crying in the car park after dropping their child off at 7am and it has made me admonish myself for the judgements I might have made in the past based on my own privilege.
I’ve heard from the mums who have struggled to co-parent with a partner who is no longer in their lives and it’s made me recognise that I can’t ever know what that’s like – the pain and anger and the constant striving to do better.
I’ve heard from mums who have talked about the emotional pain of seeing their child feel physical pain from sensory issues and it’s made me realise how little we support children that aren’t neurotypical.
I’ve heard from mothers recovering from abuse who have had to make choices that prioritise their mental health so they can be the best mothers they can be and I’ve been shocked by my inability to previously view their choices through that lens.
There is not ever a time that listening to others doesn’t help us. Every story we listen to, every attempt at understanding, every hand that reaches across the divide helps us.
We make each other human.
“The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story.” – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
We must challenge the idea that we should not share. We must reject the notion that motherhood isn’t important. That mothers are not worthy.
Motherhood may be ordinary, but it is extraordinary too.
We are ordinary and extraordinary mothers and we need each other. We need to help each other to get through, and we especially need to help the mothers who are feeling lost and alone.
We also need to recognise that we are all different and we all have varying degrees of privilege and this impacts on the way we parent and our ability to parent. We must understand the intersections of our privilege and social identities.
Some people believe we talk too much. That talking doesn’t lead to action. I don’t believe this to be true.
In the year I have spent writing this blog, publicly encouraging women to speak out about their experiences of parenting, and also attempting to be a support person to as many mothers as I can – I have seen time and time again how much talking and having someone who will listen has helped.
I have heard strangers who I have given my phone number to say “I feel so much better” after twenty minutes on the phone talking about their fears for their children and themselves. I have had thousands and thousands of emails that have ended with “I just needed to say that”.
I don’t believe this is the answer to all of our challenges. But I do believe that making our world smaller by sharing our stories helps us not just survive the hard days, but thrive on the better days.
Hearing the real lived experience of another mother is a reminder that you’re not alone, but also that you have tools in your kete that you can share. That you have a worldview that is shaped by not always having the full story. That you can change that by listening and sharing.
Along with my dear friends Gem and Manda and the amazing support of Mel and Mothers Network Wellington we are putting on a small grass-roots event to begin to bring this kaupapa of sharing and listening into action.
Thanks to the support of Mothers Network Wellington we will have police-vetted baby sitters available to look after your tamariki while they play in the room next to the ballroom where we will korero. You are welcome to bring your babies and bigger babies in with you of course – we just have the option available for toddlers and older children if you’d like some space to talk uninterrupted. But we are totally child-friendly – your babies are absolutely welcome, whatever makes you feel comfortable!
We’re calling it The Lighthouse after a beautiful image that a reader sent me. We can all share our light and guide each other home when we’re lost in the storm of parenting.
I would like to invite any mothers who can make it to join us on Saturday 2 July from 2.30pm till 4.30pm to sit down together and share our stories with each other. We have a few guest speakers, we will hear them and then break into groups to korero about what it means to be a mother. What it’s like to live in our shoes, in extraordinary ordinariness. This event, to be held in central Wellington, will be the first of its kind. We hope you will join us by booking a (free) ticket here – let’s see what we can build together.
I want to give a huge thanks to Babu who have donated money so that we can pay our speakers and buy jugs and cups. Also a big thanks to L’affaire who have donated yummy coffee for us!
We are limited on space so mamas may miss out. And for that I’m sorry.
We hope to repeat this event and we’re open to helping organise this event anywhere in New Zealand. Just let us know how we can help you by emailing email@example.com. If you’d like to support this event by making a donation so we can buy coffee and other necessities – please let us know. If you want to sponsor this event or provide products for it – please let us know! If you’d like to volunteer to help us with this event – that would be super appreciated, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Basically all queries to email@example.com!
Mothers Network Wellington