How not to be a dick!

All you need is love … and to not be a dick when planning your wedding.

Weddings are stressful, and expensive and hard work. There we said it! The process of planning a wedding will probably be one of the biggest, most expensive  things you will ever do in your life, and because you’re only planning on doing it once, you absolutely want to do it right the first time.

But … that doesn’t mean that you get to be a dick!

How not to be a dick to your vendors: Yes your wedding is super important to you, and you want it to go perfectly, and you want to get the most bang for your buck, and weddings are expensive. Vendors all know this, and most vendors have been around the block a few times so will definitely have advice and maybe even tips and professional tricks to help you make your day the absolute best. The old saying “You get more flies with honey” or something along these lines, definitely rings true here. Vendors are people too, who have lives and kids and sometimes other jobs too, so they will not necessarily be at your beck and call all hours of the day and night, to answer those 3am questions that you just have to ask at 3am! All vendors ask is that they are treated with respect, that you respect that they are people too, and should be treated with courtesy and like the professionals that they are. Building a relationship with a vendor starts from that very first enquiry.

How not to be a dick to your bridesmaids: You’re excited about planning your wedding, and are just as excited that you’re going to have your girls beside you to enjoy the journey with you.  Sometimes your girls are not as excited (and/or consumed) about the wedding as you may be, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t be a tremendous support and help to you, leading up to the wedding and of course on the day. Weddings can make or break some friendships, usually because the bride has very high expectations for the level of involvement they require of their bridesmaids.  You need to think carefully before you choose your girls, especially if you have friends who have high flying careers and work alot, or friends who are planning on getting pregnant or have small children, or friends that live on the other side of the world. In my honest opinion when asking your friends to be bridemaids, have a very honest conversation about the level of involvement, and cost of the wedding. If you require your bridesmaids to attend weekly planning meetings and pay for an overseas hen’s weekend and a very expensive dress (that they probably won’t ever wear again, let’s be honest), then lay that out on the table before it becomes ugly and friendships are strained.

How not to be a dick to friends and family: Sometimes your family wants to pay (or help pay) for the wedding, sometimes they don’t. And sometimes if they want to pay or at least contribute, then they may impose some conditions on their offer. They may feel as though that entitles them to add some extras to the guest list, or decide what alcohol will be provided. Once again communication is key when dealing with these issues, you need to be able to stand up to the family (as a united front), if you need to, and you need to be able to walk away from any offer if it feels like you’re going to be held to ransom. I think the most important thing is to have a clear idea of how you see your day going, stick to your guns, if you need to and be polite but fair with well meaning friends and family.

How not to be a dick to each other: Just because you’ve finally snagged your partner and promised to marry them, doesn’t give you licence to be a dick to them. After all this is the person you’re choosing to spend the rest of your life with. Weddings, and especially the last couple of weeks, can be incredibly stressful for a couple. You have friends and family giving you their two cents worth, you may have different priorities and ideas about your wedding, and there may be huge financial pressure on you both. So it’s incredibly important to communicate and be kind to each other. I’ve seen many a bride go off her nut at a groom at the rehearsal because he didn’t do what he was supposed to do when he was supposed to do it, or usually it’s because he just didn’t know what he was supposed to do.

Being a bride doesn’t mean you get to be a dick too.

 

Love is …

All you need is love and… well that’s all really.

 

This past weekend I was sick, and not the pretty girl kind of sick, but the horrendous ‘wish I was dead’ kind of sick, you know the one, like the hangover but without the fun times before hand. So my darling husband had to take care of me, and by take care of me I mean clean out ‘the bucket’ and it got me to thinking ‘if this ain’t love then I don’t know what is”.

Now I’m a Disney/rom-com kinda girl, and love a good happily ever after story with the best of them, but I think love is so much more than the extravagant flowers and choccies and love hearts that are portrayed in those movies, so I came up with a list of things that I think love is.

Love is:

A cup of tea in bed

Saying ‘thank you, I appreciate the job you do”

Knowing your coffee order

Eating the tomatoes off your plate at the cafe, because they know you don’t like them, before you have to ask

Holding hands

Facing the world together

Knowing they have your back

Agreeing to disagree

Pushing you forward, when they can see your potential, even when you can’t

Standing back sometimes to let you shine

Kissing you first thing in the morning, even when you have morning breath

Cold feet on warm legs in bed

Putting the heat pump on before you get up in the morning

Preparing a meal for you

Knowing when you need to be big spoon, and when you need to be little spoon

Making sure you have clean clothes for work the next day

Getting up each morning in the freezing cold to go to a job to support their family

Rolling eyes with you over the heads of your mini army you have both created, when you really want to laugh but can’t

Having secret code words

Listening

Saying ‘Yip, I agree there is a problem, let’s sort it out’

Forehead kisses

Taking the screaming baby from your outstretched arms the minute they walk in the door from work, and you not needing to say a word

Showing up, always

Honesty

Choosing love, over and over again

Giving up the right to be right, sometimes

Apologising

Bear hugs

Knowing that a family is not always blood, but loving everyone as though they are anyway

Wanting you to be happy

Questioning you and holding you to account when the need arises

Those 4am conversations

“What can I do to help?”

Letting you be yourself

Hard work, but so worth it

Laughing together

Holding your hair, rubbing your back and telling you ‘it will all be ok’

Loving you when you aren’t being very lovable

Being open-minded and able to change your mind/opinion

Being your ‘soft place’ in the hard world

Seeing you at your worst and still choosing you

Being your constant cheerleader

Knowing when you need space and quiet

Knowing the difference between laughing with you and laughing at you

Eating salad and pretending to enjoy it, when you really want a steak

Picking you up when you don’t think you can

Admitting when you don’t know

Wanting to share a future with you

Knowing that everyone has a past, accepting it and moving on

Sitting together in silence and being quite content

Loving all of you, the quiet, the loud, the crazy

Standing together, looking at the beautiful sleeping little person you’ve made, and smiling

Of course there is a miles and mile of others to add to the list, and we should not forget there are also all the big things, like love hearts, and fireworks and that feeling you get in your tummy when they’re around, but I believe that love is found in all the little things too.

Love hard.

 

One and Done

All you need is love … and 2.4 children, apparently.

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First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes mum with the baby carriage, or something along those lines. That’s how it’s supposed to go right? That is the universal dream isn’t it? Sometimes life doesn’t turn out the way society thinks it should, and we should all be ok with that.

My husband, Tristan and I were together 4 years before we got married.  And then married for 7 years before we had our darling baby boy. So we were on the right track, right? I remember that Max was 3 months old when I first heard “Well it’ll be time for the next one soon” and I was absolutely gobsmacked. I think the v-jay jay had only just healed, so I definitely was not ready to go back for round two.

I had the absolute dream pregnancy, after taking a little longer (almost a year) to conceive than I would have liked. I was healthy, had no morning sickness or heartburn or cravings or any of those other nasty pregnancy side effects you hear about. I was determined that I was going to have a natural birth, and it was all going to be hunky dory. I was never scared about the birth, I think I’d read every book and watched every documentary on the subject, so I was set. What I was worried about was what the hell to do with this tiny human being when I got it home. I couldn’t believe that they trusted me to take this little thing home and be in charge of it!

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So as planned, I gave birth to the child, it all went really well, I stayed in the hospital for 4 days probably because I didn’t really want to go home and have sole charge of this baby, I was shit scared. We went home and started the new role of being parents, we changed nappies, and fed formula (no judgement please!) and I became very fixated on the routine and the timing of everything. I would write down on the chart given to me by the hospital when he slept, when he pooped etc and I became quite anal about it to be fair. It became the only way I could cope, was to stick to the schedule, and I couldn’t cope when things didn’t go to schedule, like if Max didn’t sleep as long as he was supposed to, or drink as much as he was supposed to. I became too scared to leave the house because it didn’t fit into my carefully curated schedule and I was scared of what to do if my baby cried and I didn’t know what to do. I know now, that thinking like that is ridiculous, and crazy talk, but that’s how I felt. I was anxious, and scared and over whelmed all the time.

When Max was 6 months old I finally admitted that I had a problem, and I knew that I wasn’t being the best Mum to Max or the best wife to Tristan, so I needed to get help. I went to my GP and she was awesome and validated my feelings and choose a medication for me to go on. I felt better the next day, and I know that medication doesn’t work that fast, but I think it was the fact that I had told someone how I was feeling, finally after putting on a brave face to coffee group, and friends, and family. One of the hardest things I had to do was to tell me Mother and my mother in-law because I felt like I had failed, they are both of the generation where you just get on with it, every one has these feelings, it’s just part of being a mother. Only in my eyes it’s not!

After 6 months on medication I felt great, more in control, and it was time to go back to work. “I’ve got this” I thought to myself, I’m going to come off the medication because I’m going back to work and I will be away from the environment which caused the depression (home and the baby) So off I trotted to work, unmedicated!!

I think I only lasted a couple of weeks before I had a melt down at home one weekend, and admitted that I actually need to still be on the medication. Which once again felt like failure, but did solidify in my mind that it was a hormonal imbalance, and not something I had control over.  So back to the doctors I went.

During this time, as you can imagine, it was particularly tough on my marriage. My husband was fantastic, he just bonded with our son immediately, and nothing was too much trouble when it came to helping take care of Max. He took on the role of parent, like he was born to do it, bless him. I on the other hand, struggled, became teary, overwhelmed and probably a pain in the arse, and this was not a great time to be married to me (my husband won’t say it but I will).

Once the medication kicked in the second time, life was great, everything was ticking away nicely, and for a brief moment I actually contemplated having another child. Because that’s what you do right? “Every child needs a sibling” “It’s almost child abuse to not have another child” “Just because you had depression with the first child, doesn’t mean you’ll have it with the next” “there’s never really a right time, you just do it” all statements that I’ve heard, and discarded, because I’m the only one who can make that decision.  I had to make the decision based on how I felt.

And how did I feel?

I felt as though I didn’t think my relationship and my sanity, could cope with another bout of depression, and yes I knew that it may not happen again, but it was not a chance I was willing to take. I’m not saying my marriage is not solid and good, it is awesome and I feel grateful every day, that I get to do life with this man.  But there were some dark times during that first 18 months, and I don’t ever want to go back to feeling like that ever again.

I have always been very up front, and honest about my journey as a mother, and how I dealt with post natal depression, because I feel like it’s not something to be ashamed of, it happens a lot more commonly than we know about, and if I can help one other mum who’s feeling crappy, then me putting myself out there is absolutely worth it.

I don’t believe that my life or my son’s life is any worse for us only having one child. He is a funny, smart, articulate young man, and I feel blessed every day that he has helped me become the woman I am, by becoming his Mum. I take my hat off to all the mum’s out there who are doing amazing jobs raising their families of one, two or ten children, we have all had to make the decision that it right for us, and should not be judged for that decision.

It was a hard, scary, soul destroying time in my life, but I wouldn’t change it for anything. It was taught me how to communicate with my husband better, how to judge less, how to be confident with my decisions, and to trust my own instinct. I believe that I am a better wife, friend, daughter and mother because of this experience.