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Dear Readers,

I’ll admit that I had to check on dictionary.com whether this was Not Drowning, Mothering‘s ‘biannual’ or ‘biennial’ . Both sounded too close to ‘bi-anal’ for comfort, but you can’t argue with Mother English.

In any case, today marks two years since I opened a WordPress account and started writing. 446 posts, approximately 223,000 words and 7,121 comments later, I’m still here.

To help celebrate this momentous occasion, I invite you all to share your favourite Not Drowning, Mothering post in the comments below. A loose description using key words (i.e. ‘vomit’, ‘Hugh Jackman’ or ‘lactating asian babes’) would be suffice – I will provide the link.

I thank you all for your valued readership and remain, as always, your humble blogging servant,

The NDM

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It is upon us: it’s been almost one year since The NDM burst onto the internet with her children’s bottoms a-blazin’. Yes, it’s my blog-a-versary! By rights, I should be writing this in my birthday suit except, well, I don’t want to frighten the kids unnecessarily. 

So how did this happen? How did I find myself one year and 281 posts into my blogging career? 

Let’s start at the very beginning. It’s a very good place to start (apparently). Friends JS and Mr C gave me the idea for the blog as I lay, a broken woman, amongst the ruins of Mr Justice’s Star Wars-themed sixth birthday. Basically, like all good pushers, they got to me when I was vulnerable… Before I knew it, I had signed up with WordPress and found myself staring at a blank text box. 

But what will I say? I thought to myself. Who will read it? And where on earth will I find the time to do this?

But the time was found, albeit in units smaller than a three year old’s appetite, and I persuaded a few friends to read it (I think the words “I know where you live…” were involved). As for the words? Well, all I can think of is that line from The War of the Worlds: “And still, they come…”.

And then the ego kicked in. I stopped being [insert real name] and became (drum roll) “The NDM!”. I became unhealthily obsessed with my blog stats and dreamt of being discovered by a literary agent who would write me a cheque for three billion-zillion-trillion dollars On. The. Spot because I was that fucking great. And I started wondering how I might “monetize my blog” without selling out – which is kind of a contradiction in terms, if you think about it. Mmmm…. selling out….

And most certainly, being courted by all those cyrillic spammers on your blog can really go to a girl’s head. They were all “кухонная шлюха бедра грома кувшина мамы” and I’m all *swoon* and before I knew it I was buying stuff by the truck-load on bigdick.com.ru and trying to encourage the local school to sell Viagra or Acai Berries as part of their next charity drive. As I said in no uncertain terms to the school council: “Yo’ bitches won’t catch a class act like Yuri from Big’n’Busty Babushkas slangin’ Freddo Frogs. We got to get where the money’s at, peoplesss!”

Okay, so that hasn’t happened quite yet. But it might if I continued on my current trajectory…

So yes, I’m stepping back a bit. I’m winding it down, if only to stop pushing myself so hard and start enjoying my patch o’ internet turf. 

From this day forth, The NDM will now be posting on THREE BIG DAYS… Monday!… Wednesday!… Friday!… (AEST) which is the blogging equivalent of commercial TV’s “now at a special new time”. You know, when they move your favourite show to 11:30pm when even the VHS player is dead asleep. 

Or another way of looking at it is “The NDM: Now 40% shit-free!”

Anyway, thanks for being part of The NDM experience so far. You know who you are. And remember, I really do know where most of you live…

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I was chatting with my friend Lady Ren the other day about why I’ll never be voted “Hottest Mommy Blogger” or given one of Cosmopolitan’s “Fearless, Funny, Female” awards. 

I claimed the reason was because I don’t stick to any single blogging genre. I just flit about from topic to topic, writing about whatever I goddamn feel like, like some slightly-unhinged flitting thing. Or, to be more precise, like some slightly-unhinged flitting thing with internet access.

Lady Ren said it didn’t matter what I wrote about, because I always told my stories in the same way. 

“Are you telling me I need to get some new jokes?” I asked her, somewhat horrified. New Jokes? Whose got time to come up with New Jokes? 

But then I realised that she meant I had what is known in the trade as “a unique voice”. Kind of like Michael Cain, Sean Connery or David Beckham, but just in written form. Actually, come to think of it, David Beckham’s is more “surprising” than “unique”. You see him and he’s pretty pleasing on the eye and all, and then he opens his mouth and sounds like he’s just wet his pants and wants his mummy. So while loads of people go ’round trying to emulate Cain and Connery because it makes them sound cool, nobody goes round talking like David Beckham. Nobody. Even David Beckham tries not to talk like David Beckham because it somewhat undermines all that time he’s spent at the gym and those expensive clothes his mummy dressed him – I mean, his wife.

“Anyway,” Lady Ren said, breaking into my little revery. “I enjoy reading your blog because I know you and I can just see all the things happening to you.”

Which raised the fair point about what the hell those people who read my blog without knowing me must think of me. For one thing, what do they think I look like?

For the record: in my mind’s eye, I’m just a bit like Winona Ryder in “Reality Bites”. But to be quite honest, I probably look more like that actress in “Back to the Future” who plays Michael J Fox’s mum in the unaltered Future (and not the tennis-playing future), except with unbrushed hair and slightly-askew glasses with butter-smeared lenses. Anyway, I know there is a sizeable disparity between my mind’s eye and reality because I frequently catch a glimpse of myself pushing the Valco Mobile Home in the reflection of a shop window and think “Who the fuck is that?”. As far as I’m concerned, that’s not who I am. I’m something far more magnificent (and a tad less frumpy). 

It reminded me of something Kurt Vonnegut once wrote which has always stayed with meIn the introduction to Welcome to the Monkey House, he said:

I have been a writer since 1949. I am self-taught. I have no theories about writing that might help others. When I write I simply become what I seemingly must become. I am six feet two and weigh nearly two hundred pounds and am badly coordinated, except when I swim. All that borrowed meat does the writing.

In the water I am beautiful.

Vonnegut also drew a picture of his arsehole, which has also always stayed with me, but for very different reasons. Obviously. 

I guess what I’m trying to say is this:

In my mind, I’m young, thin and pixie-esque. In my mind, I’m absolutely knee-slapping hilarious and worthy of winning a whole gaggle of awards. In my mind, I never deserve a Late Pass and people get served legal writs with their Happy Meals. In my mind, it’s totally okay to get a stuffed bear drunk at the Gin Palace, to seek legal advice from Grizzly Adams or even to stage a musical theatre-style rumble between warring Kindergarten Mother factions in the Presbyterian Church car park. In my mind, it’s always Happy Hour and the cocktail of the day is The Flirtini. 

As far as I’m concerned, my mind is a pretty fun place for me to hang out.

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Okay, so there have only ever been two NDM polls, and this is one of them. But it’s definitely better than the last one (“We Got Ourselves A Cake Off”) because there are more things to vote for. And more is better, right? Or was that less is more? Whatever. 

This is your last chance to vote for the Bestest NDM Post Ever – the winning post will be announced next Tuesday as part of the Bicentennial Post Celebrations I’ve got planned. I might even give an acceptance speech or maybe just flash my arse at Michael Jackson – whatever takes my fancy at the time. 

Remember: your vote counts… towards the total number of votes. 

If you haven’t read any of the above or, like me, have the memory retention of a over-tired, over-worked mother-of-three, here are some links for your reading pleasure:

The Booger Heard ‘Round The World

Boob-a-licious

Sorry, It’s School Policy

The Finger Of Blame

Gin And Bear It

Other People’s Husbands

Fire

Life At A Funeral

The NDM Guide to Making Piñatas

The Cupboard Rarely Opened

Brand NDM

Your favourite not there? Feel free to email me your vote (notdrowningmother@gmail.com) or comment below.

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The other day, I was expressing some mild frustration at my flatlining readership figures by ranting and raving (somewhat like a rabid monkey), when my aunt Care Bear – a much nobler creature than I – gently interrupted me by saying “But isn’t the whole point of your blog to have a creative outlet and not just take part in some online popularity contest?” 

“Um, yes, it’s about the joy of writing, most certainly,” I replied. “But… but… but I want to be everyone’s favourite, too!!!!”

There. I went and said it.

The truth was that those rabid monkey blogs (which rate higher than mine on technorati) got me so het up with all their simian gags and bad spelling, and yet people can’t get enough of them. And don’t get me started about the chunk of cheese that has more than 5000 followers on “twitter” and god knows how many people logging onto its blog site every day. Granted, it’s a very talented chunk of cheese. But still! It’s cheese, people.

Anyway, it’s no point comparing myself to them. They’re in a different league from me altogether. But what was it about my blog that stopped the readership figures from growing? Was it that my readership quickly tired of me, left and then got replaced by three new people? Or was it that my readership-of-three flatly refused to share me with anyone else (“NDM, my precioussssssss, we don’t like those other bad tricksy readerssssss”)? Or was it just that I kept rehashing my jokes (such as the Gollum one)?

Whatever the reason, I was determined to do something about it. Since coming up with fresh or interesting material just seems like too much hard work, I started signing up to things that all the Big Time bloggers use, such as “Technorati” and “FeedBurner”. And pretty soon there I was, activating FeedBurner’s email subscription service and then merrily subscribing to my own blog to see if the thing worked. And lo! Half a day later, I had the utter thrill of receiving an email update from myself (the resulting frisson was a little like flushing the toilet before you rise) and felt that, surely, my star was now going to rise and those subscriptions would come rolling in. 

HOWEVER, the next time I went to FeedBurner, this is what it told me:

feedburner

Zero subscriptions? Not even my own? Hang on a minute… Could it be that, even though I tricksily used another email address and everything, FeedBurner knew it was really just me in disguise and therefore won’t count it as a real subscription? OR could it be that I actually have hundreds – perhaps thousands – of subscribers and FeedBurners has been instructed to hide them from from me?

And who, you may be asking, would instruct such a thing? Well, let’s just say I think that the folk from Google might have been on the phone to FeedBurner, since Google recently bought FeedBurner and now FeedBurner is Google’s bitch. And let’s face it, Google are all too aware of what a sad sorry little person I am. Not only do they know that I have – one more than one occasion – googled the term “Google” because I had nothing else meaningful to do with my life (as previously confessed in another post), but that I regularly google such terms as:

“bacon bra”

blow job Big Brother

dark chocolate Incas

do the boys ever sing in the Venga Boys?

esther head trapped bleak house

excessive itchy bottom at night only

moo milk man milk

stalker pathological obsession

“Today Tonight” shocking expose house slum

thing at the bottom of the fridge

“you wouldn’t shit in your neighbour’s hat”

So knowing all of this and guessing what I might be capable of, Google probably thinks the only course of action is to break my spirit and stop me from blogging. It’s the only way I can explain why FeedBurner would show that I have no subscribers.

But I’m not going to let Google win. Oh no, not I. You see Google might be a mighty search engine and all but I, too, am a force to be reckoned with. I have access to such tools as “The Secret” website (which I had to find using google, unfortunately) and Photoshop and thus am able to change FeedBurner’s so-called Feedstat graphics into a positive affirmation, helping me utilise the Law of Attraction and “empowering me to live a life of joy”:

feedstats1

So it has been photoshopped and so it shall come to pass…

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Two bloggers. Two different hemispheres. One vision (largely impaired by too much clutter, dirt and booze). Exposed for all the world to see as Housekeepers Of Ill-Repute, Proprietresses of Dubious Maternal Instinct and Woefully Neglectful Wives.

Here they are, flashing their dirty bits yet again in the third (and final) of three simultaneous postings. Click here to read the sister post.

_________________________________________

On a recent visit to my aunt and uncle’s home, I slept like a Queen in a bed that was a little something like this:

palatialbedroom

Your boudoir awaits, m'lady.

Well, it wasn’t quite like that but let’s just say it may as well have been, considering my husband slept on the floor like this:

dogbed

Luxury!

Yes. Yes, it’s true. I made my husband sleep in with the kids. On the floor. Like a dog.

And for the record, he said he slept okay, except for the three times Tiddles McGee woke up him and when Mr Justice dropped a bionicle on his head some time around the dawn. (An aside: have you ever stepped on a piece of Bionicle weaponry? And how many stitches did you require? Is it no surprise that Lego is behind all this Bionicles madness? Watch out, Lego. That class action of mine is a steam-train a’coming… see “Unwrapped” for more details).

Now, let’s consider the clothes storage arrangements in our household:

feast

For the Imelda Marcos of Jackets

VS.

famine

Knock yourself out, hubby!

And hang on on dog garn moment, Mr Important City Gent: what’s going on with those socks? 

One of these things is not like the other...

One of these things is not like the other...

Could it have something to do with this impressive assortment of odd-socks that I had AFTER I’d done the bi-annual Big Sort?  

The Joy of Odd Socks

The Joy of Odd Socks

And as for this common household appliance that I literally have not used in over three years:

Sorry. Have we met?

Sorry. Have we met?

Are you getting the picture here? In case I have to spell it out for you: my husband is a second class citizen in his own home. And that home is a sock-eating slum, run by a slovenly witch who merrily exposes her décolletage in country pubs but wears neck-to-knee nightgowns to bed at night. Who not only blogs instead of reuniting his odd socks or ironing his shirts, but blogs about about his Ultimate Sacrifice (that pissy little day-surgery procedure also known as the vasectomy) and every single time he enters his own Private Hangover Hell, and then posts photos of her Gross Domestic Neglect for all the world to see. And all with the full knowledge that People From His Work will read it (even if he, himself, will not). 

Yes, my husband has himself a wife who got Decidedly Grumpy with him when he a) slipped a disc in his lower spine instead of resettling the baby; and b) tried to get out of reading books to his firstborn by lying on the ground with a dislocated arm. A wife who will only kick the cat when he’s not around to Take The Brunt of it All. Who will not let him slurp his tea within a 100m radius of the house. A wife who, time and time again, puts him at the very bottom of her list of priorities because he is the least likely to throw a tantrum or shit his pants. Who gets set off by the smallest thing and raves and rants because That’s How She Really Feels and then the next day is sheepishly “raising the Japanese Flag” and reaching for the tampons. Who stands between him and his Other Woman, the motorbike, by rolling her eyes and stamping her pudgy little foot. Who tells him she loves him but yawns mid-sentence. Who. Can. Not. Make. Yorkshire. Puddings. Like. His. Nana. Used. To. Make. 

And yes, I am that slovenly witch, that bitch of a wife, that woman he has vowed to have and to hold (no easy task in itself considering my rapidly increasing girth) for the term of his natural life. And yet, somehow he still loves me. Or so he claims. And actually, now that I think about it, it’s a good thing he will never read this blog because I’ve just put together a far more convincing Dossier of Evidence than George Double-Ya and Mr Blair ever could. So if you ever happen to meet him on the street, don’t mention this post, okay? Just pat him on the back and tell him he’s one hellavu lucky son of a gun. Because he is, right?

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I almost jumped out of my seat with excitement when my cousin L-Beer recently told me about her mothers’ group. It was just as well I didn’t, as I was in a moving vehicle at the time and we all know that jumping out of one of those seats either leads to grave injury or, at the very least, being issued an official warning by a passing policeman. 

You see, L-Beer lives in the Eastern Suburbs of Another City – an area famed for  its New Mothers working off their baby fat two days after the birth by doing “pramercise” along the esplanade and frequenting solariums with creche facilities. So when I caught up with my beloved cousin at her parent’s house recently, I asked her about her mother’s group, thoroughly expecting that her description would make me clench my fat lily-white fists in not-so-silent rage. However that’s not what happened at all. If anything, those pudgy white fists o’ mine were punchin’ the air when she was done.  

Firstly, she reassured me that her mothers’ group was nothing like the horror stories I’d heard (and no doubt bored her with in that bombastic way of mine) and that she’d fallen in with a great bunch of girls. And to prove the point, she went on to tell me about how, on the first night they went out together, they went around the table each sharing with the group what they’d done BC (Before Children). I think I might have stifled a yawn at this stage of her story, expecting that they’d all revealed themselves to be PR reps for footballer’s wives or professional Brand Advocats for Prada. But no! One of them – somewhat reluctantly – admitted to the group that she was a Psychic. 

“Oh, oh, oh!” I exclaimed, perking up immediately.”Does she ever say stuff like ‘Let’s not meet at the park next Thursday because I sense rain…’ or are you ever tempted to ring her up with those day-to-day parenting dilemmas like ‘Should  I put Baby C down for a nap at home now and be late for my lunch date or should I run the risk of her not sleeping in the car and be on time?’ or even ask her what the hell to make for dinner tonight? Or… or… or…”

I might have gone on (and on) with that oh-so-amusing tangent, except L-Beer told me to Stop Right There, Sister-Girlfriend-Cousin-Whatever because the Psychic wasn’t the night’s biggest “reveal”. That came from an even more unassuming woman who owned up to being a Dominatrix.

“Aarrrrggghhh!” I shouted, literally beside myself with excitement by now. “Does she dress her baby in leather onesies? I can bet there’s one household where the Naughty Spot’s not just a chair in the corner but a room with chains and spikes and…. Oooh, does she ever say stuff like ‘Spare the rod, spoil the child’? Do you think she ever threatens anyone with the whip?? Hmmmm, I guess you could count on her children being extremely well-behaved. And… and… and…”

I started groping around in my handbag for my pen and paper to  a) write some of this Comedy Gold down before I totally forgot it and b) to get L-Beer to sign some kind of release form to allow me to use it on my blog. 

“Wowzers!” I enthused, looking up from my notebook temporarily and noting the rather bemused and possibly frightened look on L-Beer’s face. “This blog post is writing itself!”

As it turned out, the blog didn’t exactly write itself and as usual I’ve had to “write it in fits and starts… with small children dangling off me like christmas decorations” (just to somewhat tragically quote myself – see “The NDM Guide to Blogging“).  And doesn’t it just show? But I love it how, just when I think I’ve come to the end of my bloggin’ road, I have a conversation like that one or the cat walks in with a mouse in his mouth or the children get possessed by the devil at the local shopping centre or the Love Bus turns a 3 hour trip into an 8 hour one by breaking down in the middle of nowhere (that post is still to come), and lo! I’m back in Bloggin’ Business, baby.

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