11 Years

I once read that one of the most important career related decisions a woman can make is who she chooses as a partner – someone who values her career as much as his or her own and is willing to do things to support it, or someone who sees their career as most important and can only take what they need to sustain it, not give what their partner needs. What this comes down to is mutual respect. Seeing each other as equal partners where, when one person succeeds, they both succeed.

11 years ago today I made one of the best decisions of my life and married my husband. We’d been together for four years before that and, to be honest, if he had’t proposed when he did we wouldn’t be where we are today. But he did, and here we are.

We’ve weathered our fair share of storms. We are incompatible in every way but the important ones. We’ve embarked on the journey of parenting and eight years in have managed to produce two beautiful little boys without killing each other (or them. Some days it’s a close run thing though). He lifts me up, makes me laugh, holds me when I cry, forgives my weaknesses, leads when he must and follows when he must. Apart, we are still whole but together we are so, so much more than the sum of our parts.

Truly and as trite as it sounds, everyday I love him more.

Allot 2007 171

I Love Kid’s TV

I love television aimed at kids and teens.

The Next Step

Miraculous Ladybug

Little Lunch (an awesome Aussie show)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (I loved it in the 80s, I love it now. I had a crush on Raphael in the 80s, I have a crush on him now).

The list goes on. The problem is, I’m 34. That’s right, I’m a grown woman in her thirties with two kids hoping that Adrien and Marinette will get together (Australian free-to-air TV can be a bit behind, so if you know something I don’t, keep it to yourself).

While my friends are binging Game of Thrones and the Walking Dead, I’m giggling over Mickey’s jokes like a six-year-old.

So what’s the deal?

Some of the appeal for me is that watching shows for a younger audience keeps me up to date with what kids and teens are interested in, and that’s good for my business (writing for young people). Some of it is that it’s nice to enjoy things with my kids. And some of it is that shows for kids and teenagers tend to be optimistic and clever. Kids have a finely tuned bullshit meter, so their shows tend to be spot-on. Kids are also idealistic, so their shows tend towards an open, optimistic view of the world and I have to say, the older I get, the more I need that view in my life.

 

What about you? What TV do you watch that people would say is too young (or too old) for you?

Everyone has an opinion

 

Do You Lie?

I like to think of myself as an honest person. I was brought up to know that cheating and lying were bad and this is what I teach my children but the truth is, I lie all the time.

lying homer simpson GIF-downsized

In my family as a child, as in my family now, there was a special place for white lies. Those not-honest-but-not-quite-a-lie things we say. In explaining the concept of white lies to my kids I’ve gone with the definition of, ‘…they’re lies we tell so we don’t hurt someone else…’, but on closer inspection, that’s a pretty dodgy definition. After all, a cheating spouse could make the same claim about their lies (I didn’t tell you I was having it off with the butcher, because I didn’t want to hurt you), but that’s definitely not a white lie.

Unfortunately though, when you think about it, a white lie is often as self-serving as any other lie. They’re the lies we tell to avoid confrontation or guilt. We lie to our friend about her clothes and say it’s to spare her feelings, but in reality it’s to avoid a tricky conversation. We lie to acquaintances and say we’re busy, when really we’re not interested in spending time with them. We lie to ourselves.

More and more, I see white lies like strands of spider’s silk. It seems light and insubstantial but it’s sticky and difficult to rid yourself of and when it clumps together it becomes dusty and unsightly. And you know what they say, what a tangled web we weave, when we practise to my deceive.

On the other hand, how would we get through the day without a few white lies? Would it be an endless wave of conflict and confrontation or would we be freed by our honesty? What do you think?

Everyone has an opinion

Cheater, Cheater

If you follow the cricket or are from a cricketing nation you will know by now that the Aussie cricket team are a bunch of big fat cheaters. And bad ones at that, because they got caught and Lance Armstrong got away with if for years.

Even I, one of the un-sportiest people you could meet, felt winded by shame and disbelief when events came to light. After all, whether you follow a national team or not, they still represent your nation. It was worse for my husband, someone who follows cricket passionately, and he cut a dejected figure on the couch last night as more details were revealed.

It does raise the question though, what is worth your integrity? Is there something that you could say is so important to you, you would knowingly do the wrong thing? The only thing I could think of is my family, mainly my children. Even then, it would probably have to be a matter of life and death.

So what about you, do you have a price on your honesty and, if so, what is it?

Everyone has an opinion

A Body Image Challenge

Late last year I set myself a challenge to make a change. And now I’m inviting you to do the same.

In writing my latest manuscript about Maggie, a 16-year-old girl whose little sister has anorexia, I had to do a lot of research into eating disorders and the effect of these disorders on the whole family. Most of it was sad, some of it was shocking and some of it was bewildering. Because of my research, my Facebook and Pinterest feeds and browser ads began to change. Most of the changes were annoying but innocuous, like diet supplements, but some were distressing, like this little poem that came up in my Pinterest feed:

 

Hungry to bed

Hungry to rise

Makes a girl pretty

And smaller in size

 

And this:

weight-loss80a

 

Of which 1, 3, 4 and especially 10 make me shudder and none of which are ‘to be healthier’.

Things like this made me appreciate even more the value we put on weight and body image and how I reinforce this through my own actions. So, last year I made a conscious decision to stop saying to other women, “have you lost weight?” and to start saying, “you look well.”

You might think this is semantics, but I have found that even the response I get from women is different.

Me: “Have you lost weight?”

Them: “No, but I really need to.”  or “A bit.” or “I look terrible.” And on and on and on.

 

Me: “You look well.”

Them: “Thanks. I feel well.” or “I’ve been really good.” or just, “Thanks. So, do you.”

 

It seems like, by taking the focus off their body and making it about them as a whole, women (and the men I’ve tried it on) feel able to accept a compliment, to see themselves as doing well and to recognise that they feel good.

And so, I want to extend the challenge to you. Can you change a single sentence? Can you take the focus off body and weight and put it back onto feeling good and healthy and ‘well’?

Of course, there’s going to be times when, ‘Have you lost weight?’ is a valid thing to say. If Aunty Jo has lost 25kg and got down to a healthy weight, don’t deprive her of encouragement and support. But at other times, there must be more that you can say to someone than, ‘have you lost weight?’.

 

Everyone has an opinion

 

 

The Value of Reading

I often hear people bemoaning the reading habits of the ‘youth of today’. Apparently they’re too busy with their eyes on a screen to have their nose in a book but according to this article, published early last year, that simply isn’t true. My own experience says otherwise as well, which isn’t just great for me as a YA author, it’s great for society as well.

Books are wonderful teachers, they let us live vicariously without the risk of failure (or injury). We experience love, loss, triumph and witness the consequences of taking risks. Books don’t only help us become the best version of ourselves, they also help us to be interesting people to be around.

So, what if you’re a young person who doesn’t love to read? Maybe novels aren’t for you but don’t be put off trying graphic novels, audio books or short stories. Chances are, when you find a medium you enjoy, you won’t be able to stop.

Everyone has an opinion

Do you like to read? What books are into at the moment?