what i’m reading

A rather curious and awesome chica, Katrin, referred me to this. (on that note, Katrin and I live through each other’s tweets, often. she rocks my boat and today, particularly, I think she was reading my mind).

It struck home because it touches on so many of my professional and career encounters and initiatives. But, mostly, it struck home because I am raising a girl child.

This struck home with me because today’s the day I start to choose Cam’s school. And sure enough, through synchronicity, Katrin refers me to this. To help with my perspective and remind me that, even though I sometimes think we are having a crap time, we’re really not.

We’re really lucky, in fact. Sure, we are a single income household. But, we are incomed household. Sure, I’m a single mom. But, I am not a married-off-when-young-to-someone-i-did-not-know mama. Sure, I am a working mom, with an education and a busy career. But, I was not one of the 130 million out-of-school youths around the world, seventy percent of which are girls.

Cam and I have a life. A chance. A living. An education. And love. We have choices and routes and power.

We have power. So many women do not have power. So many women have it taken from them before they are women.

So, Katrin, thank you for reminding me when you said:

“If you educate a boy, you educate a boy.If you educate a girl, you educate a household, a family, a village, a country.You change economies”

Cam, The Explorer.

Every parent will tell you, that generally, the hour before bedtime is known as

happy hour.

This is the mental time, usually in our house it’s between six and seven that:

– dinner gets served, eaten and scraped off the wall;

– dessert gets eaten before dinner, and cleaned up off the couch;

– dishes get washed;

– pyjamas get found;

– baths get run and;

– Cameron’s mind plays.

What does that last one mean? It means this, simply. It’s the time where she’s come home, chilled out and now plays. This means, in our world…

do random shit.

Random shit includes:

– emptying the contents of the playroom onto the lounge floor.

– sometimes this entails taking the laundry with her.

– feeding the fish. and i don’t mean fish food. just this week I found a chocolate-covered barbie doll in there.

– prancing around in a fairy-princess-dress and singing ‘MAMMA MIA HERE I GO AGAIN’ on loud, on a loop.

– asking a million questions at forty-miles an hour and,

– exploring.

“Exploring?”, you ask. Well, let’s just think about that.

We all know about her current addiction to “flushing things down the toilet that don’t belong in the toilet” (current rescue tally includes no less than 14 items and something I’m still not sure I can identify but it definitely is not  something that belongs in a toilet. it may or may not be a scarf. which is interesting. because it clearly does not belong to me). I am now adept at fixing blocked toilets. One step closer to my dream career of plumber

So, let me tell you, instead, about her other favourite thing… what I call, the bags and bags and random shit swaparound.

Cam loves to “pack” handbags  with random things, and then carry them around as a handbag, pretending she is going shopping. And when I say random, I mean, RANDOM. They could be anything. From a can-opener, to a collection of toys, to shoes, to the bubble bath, to towels, to anything inbetween. The full spectrum. The whisk is also a firm favourite.

This habit’s been around forever. It’s genetic. She gets it from my mother. I know this because, whenever my Dad would look for something in our house, he’d always blame my mother and say, in his empathic way “Eve, you moooved it” or “IT has been mooooved”.

She’s been doing it since she was a toddler. The first sign I ever had of it was the loss of our doorstop in the bedroom. Yes, a doorstop. She was eleven months old at the time. I still haven’t found it. Either she ate it or she stuck it in the bin.

The second sign I had of it was when other people’s cellphones would go missing when they came to visit. We’d ring them, trying to find them, searching under the couch and turning the house upside down. Somewhere, we’d always hear a faint ring but could never pinpoint it.

Until, one day, I found cellphone that had gone missing. In the freezer.

Yep. The Freezer.

Who knows why?

People don’t believe me when I say “don’t let her play with your phone”.

Current Cellphone fatality rate: 5.

(none of them mine, one of them deserved it and the other four, thankfully, survived)

So, it was no surprise that during happy hour last night, Cam came to me, whilst wearing the colander on her head and a pair of mismatched gloves, and said

“Mom. I’ve made a discovery”.

I won’t lie. I trembled a bit.

Thinking “awesome. the two remaining fish are bound to be a-goner now”.

I was wrong.

She quietly took my hand and led me into the bathroom.

And there, in the bathroom, I found..

That if you look very carefully under our bath, there is a little hole where a pipe goes in.

And in there, in there, she had stuffed..

a small collection of shiny things. hairclips, beads, hairbands, jewellery and a kung fu panda watch.

She said:

“MOM! it’s my treasure collection!”

I said:

“Absolutely! how wonderful.. now, how do we get it out?”

She said:

“That’s why I fetched you. What time is it on my watch?”


The Single Guy’s Guide to Dating a Single Mom

This post probably won’t make me very popular. I’m okay with that. This post has brewing in my head for ages  now, but I think I finally pulled it together enough to post it.

So, you meet her – Funny, clever, busy, cynical and soft. She’s great. You date. Except there’s one thing about her that makes your ballsack twinge in fright.

It’s the Kid.

Now let’s be upfront, and serious, just for a second. When you’re dating a single mom, you’re really dating two people. Okay, so not exactly the ménage ‘n trois you were hoping for, but hey, beggars can’t be choosers.

Know this one thing – she doesn’t consider it serious until she introduces you to the Kid. Know one other thing – introducing you to the Kid is not a test. You cannot pass or fail it. It just is. Got that? Good.

The stuff you should know:

Knowledge of the Kid:

Any mother, anywhere, is going to talk about her kid. Your mom did, didn’t she? So, if the topic of the Kid only comes up way after you meet, you may find she’s ashamed of the idea of being a single parent.

My answer? Run. Now. Any person not okay with being themselves is not worth your time anyway.

Your date/girlfriend is going to talk about the Kid. Get used to that fact. Just as she’s also going to talk about her job, her friends, her life and her family. Just like you are about your job, your friends, your family, your car. Except her Kid isn’t an accessory and doesn’t come with fuel injection. No, wait, the Kid does have fuel injection capabilities, spawned from a myriad of bribery sweets and birthday cake, but does not require weekly buffing and an immobilizer. On that note, if anyone knows how to install an immobilizer on a Kid, let me know.


You see, dude, you’re going to have to accept that you score at a number two on the priority list in Single Mom’s life. Once it’s serious, you’ll reach that point. You don’t comprehend? Look, I’ll show you:

Single Mom’s priorities before she dates you:

  1. Kid.
  2. Self.
  3. Job.
  4. Family.
  5. Friends.
  6. Everything and everyone else

Single Mom’s priorities once you two reach serious stage:

  1. Kid.
  2. You.
  3. Self.
  4. Job.
  5. Family.
  6. Friends.
  7. Everything and everyone else.

Notice that subtle change? Thought you might.

So, in the grander scheme of things, scoring number two ain’t so freaking bad, after all, is it? What are your priorities, then, mmm?


We were giving birth long before you cared. So, if you do care, show it. Immediately, but without being a suffocating psycho.

The Ex:

If you’re really lucky, the Ex will be a nice enough guy, with whom your girlfriend has an amicable relationship. Do NOT mess with it.

If you’re not lucky, the Ex will be a vilified arsehole, with whom your girlfriend has a relationship of vague tolerance and vitriolic sucking up of his BS. Once again, do NOT mess with it. Unless you are asked to.

If you’re middle of the road lucky, the Ex will just be around for parties, family events, the every-other-weekend-pick-up-and-drop-off, and be generally unobtrusive, and is someone with whom your girlfriend has a mild, sometimes tenuous, generally okay relationship. Seriously, do NOT mess with it.

Be nice, be polite, exchange idle banter about cars and leave it at that. Remember something rather important, dude. He was in there long before you were, and made a Kid. The very Kid who is now a part of your life and who undoubtedly hero worships their father. So, like, accept that and be polite.

Kid and tantrums:

The golden rule is to walk away, go into the kitchen, make tea and let mama sort this one out. Grit your teeth and do it. But, be helpful in an indirect fashion. Trust me, mama doesn’t need your help sorting this one out, and your “advice” is invalid unless you have a kid yourself.

The Kid:

The Kid is going to be shy at first. The Kid is going to fall in love with you too. You may find you do the same in return. Try not to be a complete wuss about it. Don’t be afraid to dig out your old Lego and channel your light-sabre years. You have full rights to watch Gummi Bears now and you absolutely can eat ice cream with your fingers, and all the cake you like.  Don’t all therapists tell you to channel your inner child? There it is, right there, and you didn’t even have to pay someone five hundred bucks an hour to remind you.

At some point, the Kid is going to love you. Just because you are. Just because you exist in their world. Isn’t that a good thought?

The Dates:

So the Kid gets sick on Date night and your girlfriend has to cancel so that she can sit up all night being puked on and doing 42 cycles of laundry, whilst still trying to get some sleep and soothe a crying child. Your job? Quit whining about it. Move on. So the vomit-game got in the way of your away-game? Sorry, mate, but tomorrow is another day, and another date night will roll around and the Kid won’t get sick and all will be well. Offer empathy. And don’t think your girlfriend is not feeling like a piece of total turd for having to cancel. She already is. Don’t make it any worse.

The Friends:

Your Single Mom Girlfriend will come with a set of hideously close, fantastic friends. They have been there from the beginning and probably before, and, should you ever make a grand exit, will be around to pick up the pieces afterwards. Alternatively, should you stick around long enough, you’ll become part of that regular tableau around the dinner table. They can tell you everything you ever want to know about your girlfriend. Well, at least everything she will let them. They are her support structure and are family to her and the Kid. They’d also be the ones singing your praises and making speeches at your wedding one day, should that happen. Don’t ever ask her to choose between you or them. It won’t end well and you will lose.

Her Family:

Are probably a close-knit bunch, a little crazy, and completely supportive. Or, they’ve distanced themselves from the ‘weird one who went astray and got herself up the duff or divorced or whatever’. Either way, respect that. One day, they might be your family too.

Her Job:

Is just as important as yours. If not more. If that stings, deal with it. You see, you get up every morning, get yourself ready and dressed and go to work. On the other side of the spectrum, she gets up every morning at sparrows fart, gets herself ready and dressed for work, gets the Kid ready and dressed for school/daycare, feeds them breakfast, cleans the house, makes sure whatever’s needed for dinner is defrosting, throws coffee down her throat and hopes like hell noone got yoghurt anywhere. At lunchtime, you’re at a lunch meeting, or you’re having a sandwich at your desk or you’re getting a bit of fresh air. She is making sure the pharmacy bill is paid, running to the shops to get diapers or the latest most essential MOM-I-MUST-HAVE-IT toy, or a pencil sharpener from the stationers because the dog ate the last one and she is most definitely chugging back another coffee and hoping that muffin she ate on the way doesn’t show up too badly in her hips. You see, if she loses her job, everyone suffers. If you lose your job, um, you suffer. And let me tell you, potential employers generally frown upon baby spew on suits in interviews.

What you will get in return:

An abundance of love. Like I said, it’s not the ménage ‘n trois you were looking for, but it still is one. Sure, it has some limitations, boundaries and getting-used-tos, but what relationship doesn’t at first seem to have them?

A space at the dinner table any time you like. Seriously. If the Kid’s gotta be fed, then mama’s cooking. Which means, she’s happily cooking for you too anytime you like. I’m willing to bet what she’s making beats last night’s pizza leftovers.

An experience to relive your very own childhood. Enough said.

The privilege of being a fundamental part of someone’s developing life. Think about that. Seriously. Who wouldn’t want that honour? To know they truly made a mark in someone’s life. Do you have that feeling now?

Absolute support. It’s true. Single moms thrive on the support they receive from the people who love them, and will give it back times infinity when needed. It’s always there.

A challenge. A challenge to yourself, for yourself. You’re going to learn so much more about yourself, more than you ever, ever knew. Ask your girlfriend, she knows, because she’s learning about herself too.

Heart-winning. You will win the heart of someone so hurt once, so probably jaded by life and other people. You will be believed in, above all people. And you will be a prince among plonkers.

A sense of belonging. Once you’ve become part of the family others may deem strange, but is actually becoming the norm nowadays, you’ll always know where you can come home to. Bad mood, good mood, bad day, good day, it doesn’t matter. You’re just there. That’s what makes the difference to them.

Laughter. So much laughter you cannot contain yourself.

You don’t believe me?

Try farting in front of the Kid.


Don’t worry about a thing

When you were a baby, I used to sing a song. Especially on some long and dark nights when we were alone. It’s a Bob Marley song and a long, long time ago when I was littler and believe it, younger, I had it on record.

Anyway. My point is, that that song got us through lots of long nights. Nights when you were sick. Nights when you didn’t want me and wanted your dad. Nights when I considered myself lucky to be able to hold you and sing that little song because so many people in the world would give anything to be like me.

Today, I can’t wait to go home and decorate the Christmas tree with you because, you told me this morning that that’s what you would like to do tonight.

Today, I can’t wait to go home and see you and hear your stories from the day.

Tonight, I will sing that song for you again when I tell you that, unfortunately, as we always knew, some people’s priorities and agendas don’t  list you at the top of the list.

But, Baby, Don’t worry about a thing. ‘Cause every little thing is gonna be alright.

Because your name sits right at the top of my list.

Never, ever forget that.

If I could tell you a million times a day that I love you, I would. And hells, tonight, I will try to.

twelve things that make me proud to be your mama

1. The way you say “awesome”.

2. The way you dance and spin without abandon.

3. The way you sing when you’re happy and you don’t even know it.

4. Your genetically-inspired and now augmented addiction to chocolate milk.

5. The fact that you snort when you laugh.

6. The way that you laugh whenever you find something funny. You’re not afraid to be happy.

7. The way that you tell me when you’re sad, or you’re missing someone. You’re not afraid to be sad.

8. That one night when you were littler, Will and I asked you, ‘who is your favourite person, Cameron?’ and you pointed to yourself and said ‘me!’

9. That you know that C is ‘our letter’, for your name and mine.

10. That when we’re lying on the couch watching something (current addictions: powerpuff girls and strawberry shortcake), you always hold my hand and tell me to watch when you know there’s a funny or exciting part coming up.

11. Your anal retentiveness. ‘No, mommy, it does not go that way. Clean up properly’, you say. Again, you get this from both your parents.

12. The fact that you exist.

I love you Cameron-macaroni-pie. You who is never afraid to love. That once your shyness ebbs, you embrace a person without boundary, and love without fear.

I love you.

Dear Cameron, on becoming a teenager

Wah. Yeah, I know, you all wet yourselves at that post title. But, no, there is a reason for it.

Dear Cameron

This morning when you woke up and told me to “go away and let me think for a bit about my dream before I get up”, I smiled.

It’s true. Three years old and already becoming your own person, so much like me it’s scary. I spent most of my life telling people to “go away and let me think”. The truth is, I still do, daily. Don’t stop that. It’s where all your good ideas come from. Trust me on that score.

I’ve been watching you, little one, and I realise more and more, every day, how your life is flashing past me so fast. How my life is flooding through and racing forward (and some days, I think going backwards too) and how, weirdly, before I even began to consider it an option, you are starting to learn to read.

I wanted to write you this letter today, in case life makes me forget this. I want you to know these things. They may mean very little to you today, but, one day, I hope, you will think of me as being quite wise.

You talk, alot. Never stop that. Never, ever be afraid to speak your mind, even if your voice shakes. And if anyone tries to stop you, give them my number and I will sort.them.the.fuck.out.

Never be afraid to tell someone that you need that time to think. Never feel guilty and never feel compelled to answer the question “yes, but what are you thinking about?”. Chances are, the person who feels compelled to ask you that question isn’t worthy of knowing the answer.

I know you love people. You love being the centre of attention and being lauded for being clever. You’ll, of course,  never admit to it. This is the quintessential reason why I am convinced you are a mini-me. Be warned, though, those moments will diminish in quantity over the years that you grow up. They will diminish in quantity, but improve in quality. That I can promise you.

Please, for the love of all that is good in the world, do your best to try and ignore the cool kids. This will be the hardest thing in the world for you to do, especially in your teens. There will always be someone cleverer, thinner, richer, faster, smarter, funnier, whatever-er, than you. I promise you this much. It’s not going to matter for very long. One day, I promise you my precious macaroni, it won’t matter at all. You’ll realise that the competition is an illusion and that we are just human.

Forgive yourself before you forgive anyone else. Don’t do it backwards like I did. Don’t, ever, feel forced to forgive someone because you feel guilt towards them. They won’t do it for you, especially on the days you feel the need for them to.

You will make friends and lose them throughout life. The truest ones will be there for all the moments in your life that matter. That I can promise you. I wish for you one true love, and a select good friends. I wish for you a happy and interesting journey to finding these people. Meet as many people as you can, but always come home to those that know the song in your heart, and will sing it to you when you forget the words. Above all things, I know your dad and I will be there to hold your hand, even when you do not want us to.

I don’t care if you swear when you grow up. I am not concerned about your language, as long as you do not swear at anyone you should be looking up to. Swearing at teachers is not allowed. Swearing at me, is okay. But, please, watch your language around people you know you should. You’ll know when it’s necessary.

We are still going to love you even when you think you have failed us. I was lucky. I failed in something, and my folks showed me that they loved me even when I thought I had. As it turned out, I didn’t fail. I just needed to learn a lesson. As it was, I am thankful, in retrospect, for that lesson. It’s going to be hard for me not to rescue you from learning a lesson. Trust me, whenever I can, I will. But there will be some lessons I know I have to let you learn. This is going to be the hardest part of being your mom for me. I’m still going to be your mom when it’s over. That I can promise you.

You will be tried and tested in life. It’s not always going to be plain sailing. Shit will happen and things will get messy. But, we believe in you. You were not a surprise miracle for nothing. That much we do know.

I am proud of you, every day. Every time you show me something you have learnt, or tell me a story from your day. I am proud of you even when you stubbornly refuse to go to bed. I am proud of you even when you tell me you do not want to wear “that!” today. I am proud of you even when you throw a tantrum. You’re stubborn, and you’re not one to be deterred from your path of desire. I am proud of you for being as strong as you are today in yourself, even whilst you are as little as I can first remember being.

I love you every sunshine, moonshine and inbetween. And yes, especially at 5am when you wake up and ask where the morning’s sunshine rainbow is.


your hair smells of oranges

your hair smells like oranges this evening.
you put your little arms around me and say
‘i love you mommy. i sorry i cried when you say no’

i look at you and kiss your head
i mentally jawdrop a little at your sentence construction
we cuddle up on the couch
and watch the most annoying dvd of all time

(kidsongs. parents, just don’t buy them. please)

and you love it.
the dumblooking children who you are clearly the bigger star out of
when compared
fascinate you
with their silly songs
and little antics

i don’t care that it’s giving me a headache.
i don’t care that i’m lying in an uncomfortable position.
you don’t care that i am tired and haven’t showered yet.

all you care about is being on the couch with me.
and all i care about is me being on the couch with you.

and there i am
smelling your gorgeous hair
with your head snuggled under my chin.

when tertia told us about mommy love
i knew it could not be defined.
but this is as close as i can do.

nothing in the world matters
not bills
not deadlines
not how i look
not how i feel
not what i did or did not do today
not how i smiled or grimaced
not that i liked or disliked
not that i could or could not figure something out
not what i did or did not achieve today.

everything in the world that matters
is snuggled under my chin
smelling of oranges.

good night my cam.