Living with a terrorist

It’s official.  I’ve been secretly harbouring and housing a terrorist for nearly six years.  Continue reading


Forgive me Facebook for I have sinned – again

With the High Holy days almost upon us, I thought I ‘d hark back to my spiritual side for a moment to reflect on whether or not I’ve changed as a person since this time last year.

‘Fraid not.  Except now, when I feel bad about something, I just post in it on Facebook for all to see.  A bit of self-imposed shaming goes a long way to absolution.

So I decided to re-post my post from this time last year.  Some soul cleansing courtesy of the ‘copy-and-paste’ function.  Gotta love technology.

Every so often I feel guilty about certain things I’ve done.

Guilt is such a terrible thing, it keeps me awake at night, making my mind overactive with drawing up endless mental lists of all the things I feel bad about.

There’s no way to get rid of it.

Somehow I wish I could repent for these things that are commonly put down to a “Mother’s Guilt”, but truly there is no guilt quite like it.

I never had any kind of guilt that came remotely close to the guilt I feel now as a mom, and since there’s no such thing as a Mom’s Day of Atonement here goes, I am going to purge myself of all things mommy-related that I feel bad about in a succinct, but honest bullet-point list, blow-by-blow.  I am truly sorry for all these things:

  • Letting Jon Jon cry in his cot for more time than necessary while I lie in bed a little longer in the morning
  • Getting super-cross with Aiden when he has a tantrum in public at the shops
  • Screaming at Aiden when he refuses to have his afternoon nap
  • Eating stacks of chocolate while hiding in the pantry cupboard so that the babies can’t see what I’m doing
  • Having a glass of wine on the occasional day (before 4pm) if it’s been impossible to put Aiden down
  • Swearing under my breath in front of my kids when my blood pressure has over boiled
  • Letting the babies watch cartoons for extended periods of time while I cook or do the laundry
  • Not saying please or thank you to Lance but snapping at him with 1 word replies
  • Not smiling when Lance gets home from work and forgetting to kiss him “hello” or ask how his day was and then flying out the door shortly after the babies have gone to sleep
  • Burning the dinner or making a rubbish meal
  • Not answering my house phone or screening my cell phone because I just don’t feel like talking to anyone
  • Hanging up on survey callers or charity callers when they phone my house
  • Not cleaning the bathrooms or vacuuming the house for a week
  • Briefly checking out hot guys when they are walking in the opposite direction to me when I push the pram on the beach promenade
  • Being short or rude to my mom or dad or mother-in-law when they call and I’ve had a really hard day
  • Being sarcastic or rude to unobliging strangers at the supermarket/park/street

Now I know that list doesn’t compare to what some mothers are capable of when they get pushed over the edge (take the recent case of the mother of three that admitted recently to drinking 1 litre of wine before getting into her unregistered car and driving 5 kids around before having a car accident – by the way, on air she said she was “really, really sorry…” but I still feel really, really bad about these things (and a few others that I don’t have the guts to commit to paper)!

My only hope is that by putting all this down in writing it will somehow ease a tiny amount of the enormous guilt that I constantly battle with.   If not, well, there’s nothing that a good glass of Chardonnay can’t fix!

Everything I know about the practice of law, I learnt in the sandpit – My Golden Gavel Speech (Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney, 2011)

I delivered this speech for the Annual Golden Gavel Young Lawyers – Law Society NSW Competition. Ten competitors have 24 hours to prepare a 5 minute speech to be presented to an audience of 500 lawyers, judges and barristers at 7.15 AM in a luxury Sydney hotel. I reproduce this speech for you not as an example of a good speech, not because I was victorious, but because I accomplished something that none of the other competitors had. I was the only competitor with 2 sick kids to look after while I prepared, I had had less than 3 hours sleep the night before and I left the house when it was still dark. I was there 30 minutes early and I was remarkably un-nervous and well groomed! When I spoke I was fearless and I loved every minute of it! Not sure I would do it again, once was enough for me. Also, couldn’t have done it without darling husband giving me a chance to prepare overnight and tending to the kids for the dawn shift so I could get to thic city by 6.54am! Why didn’t I win, you ask? Well – to be fair, I think my imminent win may have been hindered by the fact that I was speaker number 3 and I had to compete with the clatter of 500 sets of knives and forks digging into a full buffet breakfast. Also, to my credit, I did get lots of “she’s made such a cute little joke” laughs from the audience and I was a true aid to my fellow competitors for getting the croud warmed up by speaker number 10! Enjoy x

It’s always fun to reflect on the past.  I can recall so clearly:

Long days spent digging all day long to discover some buried treasure that everyone else was searching for but only I could find.

The wayward young boys trying to convince me to play with them and run away and be naughty. 

The usual, annoying pests nagging me for stuff. 

The cute guy who sits next to me and always manages to distract me with his charming little antics and shiny, new toys. 

The mean bullies who are always getting into trouble for harassing the girls, saying rude things to us and trying to look up our skirts. 

The constant pressure of having to impress my friends with the cool stuff I can say and do. 

And Finally, at the end of the day when I’ve reached my limit, I’m in tears crying for my mummy or daddy to come and rescue me. 

Hhmph!  And that was just my day at work YESTERDAY.  Yes, I have to say everything I know about the practice of law I learnt in the sandpit.

For lawyers, the sandpit really is our very first training ground.

It’s where we get our first taste of how to be lawyers and how to interact with all other lawyers. 

The funny thing is, I’m not sure we’ve evolved from those halcyon sandpit days.  We just swapped our toy cars for sports cars, our plastic phones for iPhones and BlackBerries, our crayons for real pens, our overalls for powersuits and our barbies and toy soldiers for clients and colleagues.  We’re all just big kids trying to survive in the big corporate sandpit

All you have to do is think back to your own days as a kid in the sandpit. 

The Networkers

These kids are the dealmakers, shrewd negotiators and savvy schemers. 

“SO – I’m willing to trade you my red spade if you let me play with your green bucket.  O yeah, and on condition that that yummy mummy of yours comes to pick us up later.  Anyway, great catching up. Sorry, gotta go, potty break.  Let’s do lunch sometime soon, maybe a play-date.  Get your parents to call my parents – soon.  Pencil some time in.  [Wave].

The Litigators

These kids ask a million questions.  Why Why Why why why? love digging up stuff and won’t stop digging till they find their friend’s Kinder-Surprise toy lost at the bottom of the sandpit.  They’re also excellent at burying stuff so that no one can ever find it again. 

The smooth talkers

These kids have the razzle dazzle.

All they do is wink, smile sweetly and then steal your toys from under your nose.  “Look – over there, isn’t that Dorothy the dinosaur?”

Before you know it your bucket, spade and snacks are all gone and your shoes are filled to the brim with sand.  But, you’re not phased at all. And what’s more you’d probably be duped again for a lick of their ice cream.

The bullies

These are the bossy kids.  They never play nice. They throw sand at the younger kids and never share their toys.  They live by the theories of “Rather hit than Be hit”.  “Rather bite than be bitten.”  

They stake out their territory and terrorise the other kids to succeed. Ball-breaking corporate lawyer perhaps?

The delegators

These are kids don’t their own hands and feet dirty.  They give orders, get the younger kids to do all the work and they just approve the whole process.  [LOUD BOLD VOICE: “No, that sandcastle is not to our satisfaction.  It’s OK in spirit and substance, but I don’t think we can charge big money for that.  It doesn’t even fit the culture of our sandpit. 

Next time, you might want to make more effort to build it higher, with more levels, and with a bit more enthusiasm.  Maybe – then I could give my sign-off.” 

Destined I’m sure for life as partner in a big top tier firm.

Then you have the Dreamers and Loners, who play on their own and aren’t interested in what the other kids are up to?  Maybe a sole practitioner? Or still doing their masters? “Yeah we’re really not sure what wrong with our little Chloe’ – we’ve been to all the best therapists and she just stares out the window.  .”

And The mediators

These kids are in the minority. They’re at the top of the sandpit pecking-order.  These kids set the rules and ethics for the sandpit.  They break up fights and settle disputes.  They decide who goes on the swings next, for how long and why.  A future judge perhaps?

Yes – everything we need to know about the practice of law, we learnt in the sandpit.  But we still have much more to learn from the sandpit rule of law.

Like how to have fun!  Because – We’ve lost our way in the humdrum of daily legal life and become so stiff and uptight. 

And so I have some suggestions:

·        Ciggie breaks and coffee runs should be replaced with a quick ride on the see-saw.


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