Sunday, September 25, 2011

so we moved back to the city...

Ok getting back on track with all this....

Your father found a job - huzzah!!!! Took a lot of financial pressure of... A LOT! But it added a whole series of new pressures.  To get to work he'd be getting up at 6am to try to get out the door at 7 to catch a train at 7:30 from Woodend.  I'd then be keeping you guys up until around 7:30 so he could spend 10 minutes with you before I put you to bed.  This was actually hard on both of us.  Your father didn't get to see you.  And I felt more and more isolated and alone.  So I felt particularly stressed... as did he.  And I was a fair monster to be around during this period too (I will admit to that...).

So unbeknownst to me... your father had seen a house and went had a look at it.  And then suggested that on Boxing Day 2009 that we all go look at it as "something to do" so we came had a look and I will be honest I fell in love with the house.  There was a rather large stumbling block.  It was pricey... (still is!) so we would become quite familiar with the term mortgage stress - which we have.  We weren't sure if we could afford it, we weren't sure if we could get a mortgage but we put in an offer all the same - 10 month settlement, rent-back for the 10 months.  And surprisingly the vendor accepted!  We had a new house, in a location that we loved and a brand-spanking new townhouse.  Next part was selling the other two houses and moving back into the city.

So on March 19, 2010 we moved back to South Melbourne.  Well we did... it's your first house in the area.  It's funny going from a town of under 1000 people back to the inner-city I instantly felt more comfortable.  Anonymity has a lot going for it.  I think it's much easier to be someone faceless in a larger population.  In part and as friendly as the folks in Trentham are - I did feel a little bit like a freakshow.  Here it's not that much of a problem, we're much more readily accepted, people generally don't blink at two men with kids.

Also it suddenly became easier for friends to drop around and visit.  Granted we're just around the corner for most of them now, than being a 3 hour round trip.  So that did and has had made life much more comfortable.  Although the flip-side of that now is that we've made it much harder for our dear friends Chris & Ian to visit us - they now face a 3 hour return trip (as do we when we go visit them!). 

I miss the garden at times though and I know your father does too.  But we've discussed that as well.  This was a decision we made (not particularly lightly) for our family.  It's easier having one property at the moment rather than having two and the expense of two.  And at this stage in your lives we can't ferry you up and back every weekend and then spend the whole weekend in the garden.  That's not fair on you! 

I also find that raising kids in the city is generally a bit easier.  There's more things to do.  Swimming lessons (a bit of a failure), gymbaroo (the woman who ran it was an absolute nutjob), there's your music classes that you, me and your father absolutely adore.  Everything is so much more convenient.  I suspect as you get a bit bigger we'll miss having a backyard for you guys to run around in though.  But we'll cross that bridge when we get to it - on the plus side there's a few parks you can and do terrorise.

It's also funny the sale of the houses in Trentham and Port Melbourne were relatively stress-free for me.  Every other time your father and I have sold a house, I've been a right emotional wreck... not sure why.  But this time around it was actually very easy and it was all done with perfect ease for me - I even took control of most of it (which is quite unusual for me!).  And in a slight brag moment I had a couple of my photos used for the marketing of the property in Trentham, it was one of those moments where I felt like a real photographer (they are few and far between these days).

For the most part we settled back into city living very easily.  Everything was suddenly (again) so convenient.  We could walk to the supermarket - rather than having to drive 20 minutes... we didn't need to jump into the car to go everywhere!  It was brilliant and something I really quite honestly missed.

As a parent I still had my ups and downs and I was still struggling with dealing with two infants and my own issues.  We had a couple of scary moments which were mostly resolved by getting a nanny in to help me for two days a week (I'll touch on that in my next blog post).

I do miss the country.  I miss the peace and quiet.  I miss the beautiful surroundings.  I miss the fantastic roads I used to take the Mini out on (there's some absolutely brilliant roads between Trentham, Kyneton  & Daylesford).  But I do think we made the best decision.  We're happy here - it's a beautiful house, we've got good neighbours.  There's a bit of a sense of community - which is always wonderful.

A note on the photo - this is a photo I took last year at the front of the house.  The developer planted a variety of Jacaranda in two of the townhouses and as I was doing a 365 project at the time... this is what I came up with for that particular day.  It's probably the best macro photo I have ever taken.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

a response to "Double trouble or twice blessed? "

I was reading Melbourne's Child which had a feature on Homophobia in Schools and I was looking for the article on their website and I couldn't find it.  Instead I stumbled across this article which was about raising twins.  Now I realise it's only this woman's opinion and I actually found myself mostly disagreeing with it... 

As a mum of three-year-old twins (almost), I'm often asked, "How do you cope with two?" My honest answer is neither straightforward nor simple, and I all but have a mild panic attack, gasping for breath, the minute I meet a prospective mother who believes that having two at once is the perfect instant family.

I get asked the same question a lot as well - how do you do it?  How do you cope?  My answer is different - I don't know any different.  All of my experiences are wrapped around having twins.  Yes it's hard, but I also suspect having one child is hard.

But I guess the bit that really surprised me in the article was this:
Those early days before that were filled with scrubbing bottles, changing a dozen nappies a day, waking one baby to feed when the other one cried out in the night and getting our babies in a routine as early as possible. It sounds harsh but it was about survival and functioning. I never read for hours a day to my inquisitive wide-eyed babies, nor did I rock them to sleep or spend hours gazing into their eyes humming lullabies. I just didn't have the time and yes, I feel guilty about this too.

Now I have twins - they're almost two years old.  I've spent hours reading to them, I've scrubbed bottles, I've changed more nappies than I ever care to remember.  I've rocked them to sleep, and I still occasionally do.  I don't feel guilty that I didn't have much time to spend doing the things that parents of singletons do... but that's because I made the decision that my children came first.  The house could (and still every now and then does) look like an absolute bombzone but I was going to get down on the ground and interact with my children, I was going to play with them, read to them, wrestle with them.

The one bit I will agree with and I think any parent with twins will tell you this - ROUTINE IS KEY! Get them into a routine as soon as possible and stick to it.  Babies respond surprisingly well to order and it does help keep you sane...

Some of my happiest moments have been when one of the girls has fallen asleep in my arms.  Or there's the other bit which is the absolute delight on my day - getting tandem cuddles on the couch watching TV - to my mind life doesn't get much better than that.  And I get double the cuddles :)

I think that's maybe the difference.  I wasn't afraid to let other things slide.  Hell I shower at night because it gives me more time to spend with the girls and I try to do everything that I didn't do during the day while they are down for their nap.  

Twins really are a blessing.  This I think becomes more apparent as they get older.  They are more socialised, more confident in social situations and they have each other!

I was very lucky that Larry was around for the first 6 months so we didn't have as many dramas in the first 6 months or so. But it was still hard... now it's no so much hard - it's just a different set of challenges.

It hasn't all be rosy.  I have broken down and lost the plot.  I have been in absolute tears due to the frustration and the anxiety.  But I am also blessed with two incredibly amazing children.  They are happy and healthy - I think that's all anyone can ever ask for.

As a random stranger at the supermarket said me to a while ago - double the trouble, three times the fun.  And you know what - he was right.  I wouldn't change having twins for anything.  I love my children, I love my family and I think it's just right as it is :)

Link to the article here -> 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

2 years ago my life changed...

This is in part the first change to my life... the major change obviously was the girls being born but there was something that happened before then.  I used to be employed once upon a time... 2 years ago I was made redundant - my employer gave me a nice big cheque to go away.  Not something I was going to argue with - really it wasn't.  It was one of the funniest moments of my career I think.  I went from a job I absolutely despised to a job I enjoyed with an amazing group of people.  I used to work on an application support helpdesk and went into a UAT job on a secondment that was made permanent which was then the role that was made redundant.  My entire team got called into a meeting at head office to be informed that our team was being let go... I rang Larry to let him know and he said to basically take it.  I was due to go on parental leave two weeks later anyway.  SOOOOOOOOOOOOO I eventually get into the meeting with the HR officer and my National Manager and I'm asking to see the package.  "No - think about it, talk to your partner and see what your decision is."  My response - "I've already spoken to him and he's happy with my decision."  They insisted that I take 24 hours to think about it and call them in the morning and let them know what my decision was.  This really was a no-brainer.  Give me a big fat pay-out to leave my employer... duh! Although I did have to quietly (internally) chuckle at how uncomfortable my National Manager was with the concept of a gay employee talking about how soon his children were due to be born.  My former employer did very fair by me I have to say - they did pay out the parental leave that I would have taken had I remained with them as it was booked...  I really did honestly want to go "SHOW ME THE MONEY!!!!" during the whole meeting.  But I knew I really couldn't!

Mind you this was really the point behind this post.  It's just a part of what's been on my mind.  I'm starting to find myself in a situation where I am starting to think what's going to happen when I do go back to work.  Admittedly it won't be for a while yet as to be honest - my wages wouldn't cover full-time childcare costs (we get nothing back from the Australian Government - I'm not complaining btw!) so I get the joy of staying home and raising the girls until they start school.  But that does introduce the dilemma of what am I go to do?  What's going to happen to my marketability in the workplace?  What can I do to find a job?  I know these are questions that women who drop out of the workforce to raise children face.  And I am a little bit worried about how do I explain that to a potential employer?  Am I likely to face discrimination because I'm a male care-giver who's taken time out of his career to raise children or has the world moved on to a point where that doesn't matter anymore?  So many questions...

I'm worried about it yes and I'm sure at some point I will find an answer... but up until then I think I will just continue enjoying raising my children :)