April 2013


by Lori Dwyer on April 30, 2013 · 46 comments

This post  comfortably bought to you by the brand new Berlei Dig Free Tights

The unexpected consequence of feeling relatively happy and contented of late is that I’ve put on about 10 kilos in a matter of weeks.

It’s not that putting on weight is a bad thing. It was probably much needed- I was beginning to look like a lollipop. I’m making some attempt to eat properly. I feel healthy. In fact, I feel pretty awesome. It was only the fact that suddenly none of my jeans fit me properly anymore that alerted me to the fact I’d put on weight at all.

That. And one of my best mates asking, unprompted, “When did you get so fat?” (Thanks a lot, Bunny. I’m sure he meant it in the nicest possible way).

And my mum off-handedly mentioning “My, Lori, you’ve put on some weight!”. She must have seen the shock on my face, because she followed that up with “It’s not a bad thing. It’s just that all your clothes are too small now, and that makes it quite noticeable…” (And thanks for that, Mum. Again, I’m sure it was meant in the nicest possible way). My mum was telling the truth- most of my pants, skirts and tights are now a size or two too small. I can only just fit into most of them. And  most days that leaves me quite uncomfortable, with big red pressure marks imprinted on to the skin of my stomach.

Looking all preeeeeeetty and dressed up.

Looking all preeeeeeetty and dressed up.

So being contacted to review the new Berlei Dig-Free Tights was timely. And certainly sweetened by the fact that Berlei seems to understand that my chances of feeling ‘sexy’ are grossly impeded by life in general- they offered me an all-expenses paid super-glam night out so I could give the tights a better test run than what they would have gotten doing the school pick up in them, or something.

Deciding to take full advantage of this, I booked a room for myself and The Most Amazing Man In The Universe at the Shangri-La hotel in Sydney. I love lush hotels, especially this one, sweeping views of the Harbour and the Opera House. We sat on the padded seats in the huge hotel room’s windows and watch balloons, released from tiny people somewhere below us, float up into the late afternoon atmosphere, high above the city skyline.

We go to a Japanese restaurant for dinner and I actually find something I eat and it’s amazing. We wander through the city streets and end up back at the hotel where we watch movies and order room service. The balloons are replaced by fireworks off in the distance, maybe from the huge cruise ship that’s just departed the harbour. Just watching them feels like taking part in some saccharine cliche but it’s lovely, all the same. The whole night was lovely, a pocket of air in the tumbling rapid that is life at the moment.

The view from the hotel room- ignore the rain. We did.

The view from the hotel room- ignore the rain. We did.

And the Berlei’s? They were pretty lovely, too. I was actually imagining restrictive tummy sucking undergarments- I’m not sure why- and that was totally unappealing, especially considering I was quite looking forward to dressing up all pretty, and feeling comfortable in something other than tracksuit pants. Turns out, I was pleasantly surprised. These are normal stockings, not tummy-tuckers; beautifully made with no front seam and a ‘smoothing’ waistband – it sits flush with your hips and waist so you can still wear tights without them being so tight that they create lumps and bumps under your clothes. They’re also tough- they survived not only the night out, but also the next day, without a single ladder, tear or hole.

Having said all that, opaque tights are not generally appropriate for the school pick up, running around after small children or hanging out washing. So I’m back to wearing one of my various pairs of a-little-too-tight, a-bit-too-small jeans.

Quite clearly, if I’m planning to keep up this contented vibe I’ve got going on… I need to invest in some new clothes for winter.

In keeping with the new policy on sponsored posts… to be quite honest, the offer of a night out valued at $500 was just far too good to pass up. Thanks Berlei.


Because I had such a good time, it’s only fair that you should have some fun too.

Berlei is giving you the chance to win…

*A restaurant dinner for two in your nearest capital city

*One night’s hotel accommodation

*Limo transfers between the restaurant and hotel 

To be in the draw to win this one, leave a comment on this blog post answering the question…

‘Share how you make yourself feel like a ‘desirable woman’?”

This competition is open for three weeks from the date of this post. One overall winner chosen from all blogs participating. Check out the full T’s and C’s here….

 Berlei Comp Terms and Conditions.



The Sticks.

by Lori Dwyer on April 29, 2013 · 8 comments

I find myself occasionally feeling as though I have to defend my decision to live contentedly here in TinyTrainTown– in the sticks. Semi–rural. Bush. ‘All the way out here’.

Each and every courier, tradesman or journo who’s ever come to the TinyTrainHouse comments on how far away it is from anywhere. How very small the town is. How they’ve never even heard of TinyTrainTown before. The tradies who get lost on the way here are always the most disparaging, their good humor eaten up by un-curbed roads that seem to stretch forever and all kind of look the same.

“How did you come to live out here…?” People are generally mystified as to why anyone would want to live where I do. I stare back at them, equally bemused, amazed that they’re unable to see what I see.

I guess it’s true, it might seem slightly isolated. TinyTrainTown is at least an hour and half drive from Sydney. We’re fifteen minutes from the nearest service station or major supermarket, probably forty minutes from any larger stores or services.

The road into town is eight kilometers of scrub and barely used train tracks. The population tops about 700 people (and that seems an over-estimate, really). As I’ve heard said, TinyTrainTown is so small it ‘doesn’t even have a pub!’

The town is not particularly quaint or pretty. It’s so nondescript that you could literally drive through it and not realise you’d been here. The mobile reception is nonexistent, and even the land-line home phone and ADSL internet crackles and drops out terribly if it happens to be raining. Or windy. Or, you know, Wednesday. Whenever.

But that’s the worst of it. The tarnished view of the penny, the dark side of the moon. There’s always more to things than that. And if nothing else, I tend to be an optimist.


It’s quiet here, peaceful. There is no din of constant traffic, no continual thrum of people. I like that. When I was little, growing up in Paradise, it was so quiet at night you could hear the rumbling boom of thunderstorms far out at sea. I remember, as a child, staying at a relative’s house in the middle of the city suburbs and being unable to sleep for the never ending noise coming from the streets outside. The cars. The horns. Music. People. It’s never quiet, not really. You get used to it, I know that. But I’ve grown accustomed to the silence again. The only thing that desecrates it is the occasional passing car.

While the town itself is nothing much to look at, the scrubby eucalyptus bushland of the national parks that surround it are soul-soothingly pleasant. A thousand different shades of green. There are parrots and cockatoos, possums and sugar gliders. Sandstone caves and tiny creeks. Snakes and spiders, too, of course; but I don’t think any kid is really that much worse off for having a basic knowledge of them (‘basic’ rather than ‘intimate’ being the key wording here).

People know people, in TinyTrainTown. While I’m never really been a rah-rah-community-spirit kind of person and I tend to keep to myself, I know my neighbors by first name and the local shopkeepers by sight.

We actually do have shops here, though they’re as easy as anything else in the town to miss. Three of them, in fact- a fish and chip shop; a small supermarket; and post office/newsagent/grocery/DVD hire. All the shops are overpriced and sell short-dated stock at the tills, but you can still get all the basics you need. 

We walk to the shops, most days, when we’re not in a hurry and the weather’s favorable. Some days we walk home from daycare and school. The round trip never takes longer than half an hour by foot, no more than four minutes by car. If it takes longer than two minutes to drive there… it’s probably not in TinyTrainTown.

It’s safe here. It feel secure. It feels like a wholesome place to bring up small children. And most of the time, it’s just a nice place to be.

None of this seems to sway anyone’s opinion. “Yeah but, love… it’s just so far away!”

I find the only answer anyone gets is in the language everyone seems to understand.

“Uhhhh… The house prices are cheap. Three bedroom house, big backyard…”

And that makes logical sense to most incredulous tradesman who’ve made the hour trek to TinyTrainTown. It’s easier to see the appeal in that; in choosing between a tiny flat or a huge mortgage an hour closer to the city, or having a house of my own and dealing with the occasional inconvenience of living ‘all the way out here’.

I made the right choice– I rarely ever doubt that. It’s just other people, I find, that take some convincing.


There’s been a thread of holier-than-thou judgement of my parenting in a few comments left of late.

It’s made me afraid of using my own space in the way that I find most therapeutic– spilling all my secrets into the digital Neverland. I don’t like being afraid. These are comments that pick and pluck at the spot where I am weakest– my own parenting skills, and the way I navigate life with two little people. The possible damage I may be inflicting on my children. 

I think it’s the soft spot of all parents. We’re all hyper-aware of the responsibility of raising little people. We know we will be judged. From the moment we reveal we’re carrying a baby, until long after we’ve passed away. Forty years from now, should our child break all social codes and do something terrible; one of the first places people will look for answers will be with us. Where did we fail? In what facet of parental responsibility where we so inept that it can explain what went wrong with our children?

And we are judged on the tiniest, most inconsequential endeavours. It seems so socially acceptable to comment on the parenting of other people and the probable fate of their children; and to do so with such casual study of their situation. There’s a self-justifying benevolence in the social sport of picking apart another mum because she works, or doesn’t; or smacks, or doesn’t; on whether her children are well-behaved and polite, or not. The behaviour of children is seen as an obvious manifestation of their parents child rearing skills, or lack of them. And we seem to encourage ‘keyhole judgements’– taking a tiny slice of a story and attributing it as the rule, when it just may be the exception.

I think, perhaps, that’s one of the elements that digs at me so much, in regard to comments left here lately. The arrogance of assumption of people feeling that because they’ve read my blog, they then have the right or the obligation to comment on my parenting; on the lives of myself, my mum, and my children.

You only know what I tell you here. Judging me on what I choose to share with you is the online equivalent of judging a parent at a local playground after watching them interact with their child for two minutes. It doesn’t give you enough information to make calls like you do, to look down on someone else because they’re not doing it the way you consider to be ‘right’.

I share a lot of my life on these web pages. I write without thinking much about how I’ll be perceived. I tell stories about my children and myself. That leaves me inherently open to judgement… that’s okay. It’s part of the give and take of blogging. People have every right to voice their opinion, particularly when there’s a comment section inviting that very thing.

But this isn’t so much about me, or my ‘emotional state’. This is about the bullsh*t judgements people feel they have a right to make, when you never know enough about a another’s person life to make that call. Whether you’re their best friend or they’re someone you see for thirty seconds in the local supermarket, or because you’ve read what they’ve chosen to share with you.

It’s about how we make parenting, mothering in particular, into some righteous, beautified social test. It’s about the way a mother and her actions are considered wholly objectified public property. It’s about the way women are expected to ‘embrace mothering’ and your children are supposed to be your ‘whole world’. The way mothers are crucified and shamed if they don’t hold up to other people’s ideals of what a ‘good mother’ should be.

It’s about the way we’re not allowed to say what sometimes might be the truth. That you can love your kids desperately, think they are the most awesome little people… and still not like being a mum very much at all.

My kids aren’t a burden. As I’ve said– they are awesome little people, and I’m honoured to be able to spend the bulk of my time with them. But changing dirty nappies, making school lunches, being yelled at, moderating temper tantrums, listening to whinging, and all the other stuff that comes with small children? That’s a burden. I’m not fond of it. Not at all. I don’t have to be.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some bits of parenting that I thoroughly enjoy. Deep conversations and answering questions. Showing my kids new things, taking them places. Watching their face light up with new concepts my new knowledge. I love playing video games or curling up on the lounge watching movies with my son. I love playing with my daughter’s doll-house (sometimes I even let her help) and painting her fingernails. I like doing the fun stuff. But I find the hard stuff really difficult. And there’s nothing wrong with saying that.

I became a mother, not a martyr. Giving birth didn’t provide me with some selfless gene that made me suddenly enjoy being every aspect of raising kids. I’m inherently selfish. Most people are; we just find ways to temper that against the realities of life and the needs of the people we love.

My children are the most important people in my life. They always have been and probably always will be. But I allow myself to have a life, and a personality, outside of being their mum. I’m devoted to them, but I never want them to be responsible for my happiness. I want to teach them that all of us are responsible for finding our own. I’m happy to sacrifice things. But I keep things, too. And I want to teach my children– my daughter especially– that that’s an okay thing to do. Women are expected to give and give and give until there’s nothing left of themselves but a shell that functions, providing for people’s needs. It doesn’t have to be that way.

I’m the first to admit that I find spending time alone a necessity. I’m okay with that. I’m also quite happy to admit that I do spend whole weekends with my boyfriend. I’ve confessed to temporarily running away from my kids and wanting to leave for good. I’ve stated– and I stand by it– that some days I just cannot handle my five and three year old (which I’m fairly sure shocks absolutely no one) and everything falls down in a screaming heap.

Why do any of those things have an influence of the effectiveness of my parenting, anyway? Do you have to spend every second with your kids, to parent well? Or is it that you can’t have other focuses in your life? Do you have to enjoy every aspect of motherhood in order to ‘embrace’ it? Are you allowed to like parenting without being particularly enamoured with the really-little-kid phase of it? Can you love your kids without liking being a parent at all?

I’m predicting that even writing that last paragraph is enough to have me labelled as unfit mother– one who’s probably causing deep, awful emotional agony– in some people’s mental filing system.

Again, I’m (surprisingly) okay with that. If you’re that attached to the concept of martyred parent that it personally offends when someone else doesn’t live up to it… I kind of feel sorry for you.

To the commenter who wrote this one; and anyone who feels the same…

I originally had a few hundred words written here, defending myself and my parenting. Then I decided, f*ck it. I have no obligation to justify myself to anyone.

So all I really want to say is this.

Get f*cked.

And bite me.