2am phone calls: what we don’t share on social media.

2am phone calls: what we don’t share on social media.

I’m Carmela. This year, I packed up my life and moved back to London for the second time. I’ve also spent numerous weekends in Brighton, traveled to Dublin with my two besties, been to Ibiza for a wedding, spent a long weekend in Cyprus, celebrated a birthday with an old friend in Berlin, eaten every kind of gelato in Florence, did that weird pose next to that tower in Pisa, indulged in too much pasta while checking out the Cinqua Terra, drank Chianti dry, swanned around in Paris, pretended to be Mariah Carey in Capri and had way too much fun in Positano. I just came back from Prague and I’ll be in Copenhagen before Christmas. Yes, I’ll admit it, I’m obsessed with the ‘socials’. All my escapades are thoroughly (and I mean thoroughly) documented on every social platform: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Friends in Australia are constantly messaging me with curiosity ‘do you have a job yet?’ as it would seem all I’ve done since I left was exchange currency and plane hop from country to country. Friends I’ve made in London are constantly saying “If I have to see one more photo on Facebook” or “Of course you’re going on holiday again”.

This made me start to evaluate the kinds of things I was putting out into the big-bad-world-of-web and whether it was reflective of what my day-to-day life was like since I had put everything I owned into two suitcases and made my way to this cold, dark city.

The answer: obviously not.

On one hand, I wasn’t ashamed of the things I had accomplished and I guess ‘boasted about’ on social media this year. This was a result of (as a 31 year old) spending the previous year back in my hometown, in my parents’ home, in my old bedroom (which was shared with my 2-year-old nephew whenever he would sleep over) and it definitely took its toll.

To give you some background, this exercise was so I could secure an Italian passport (as my working visa had come to an end) but mostly it was to save enough money so I could return to the UK this time round and not find myself broke, job-to-job, miserable and a little lost. But considering everything I’ve ‘posted’ about since I landed back in London, how could anyone possibly know that?

How could they possibly know that in some sense I was here because I didn’t feel like I belonged anywhere anymore? How could they know that maybe I was sadly and selfishly reveling in the fact that I had no one to be accountable for: no partner, no children, no mortgage, so it was easy yet somewhat necessary to make this choice? I wasn’t showing that aspect of my life on social media now, was I?

To think of it, was I really showing anything that was going on in my world? Maybe not. Maybe, it was just highly-filtered travel pics and funny hashtags. Maybe, it was lacking of the struggle to be alone, the struggle to find somewhere to live, the struggle to find work and the constant struggle with money.

The moment that really hit me was when I received a phone call at 2am from my Mother on a Thursday. I was living with Carly. I answered thinking Mum, the silly woman, had gotten the time-difference wrong. A minute into the conversation I could see she was in a car and looking pale (still oblivious to what that could mean). She continued on about how my Uncle Tony was taken to hospital earlier that day and even at that point I didn’t register that something could be wrong. I thought that my Aunty’s brothers and sisters were just on their way to the hospital because it was a close call. That’s how wonderfully naive I was in that moment.

It’d been 15 years since we had lost anyone in our family, so I was out of action when it came to thinking the worst in these situations. I remember saying “So he’s ok right?” Mum broke down in tears and started to shake her head “No, he’s gone” (actually, I don’t know if that’s what she said, but it was something of that nature). Immediately, whether it was the shock or the sudden sadness, I started crying and screaming, waking Carly up in the process.

“Carmela, what’s going on?” She shouted. “My Uncle just died” I replied.

With those 4 words it was like time froze. Did those words just come out of my mouth? My Uncle? My favourite Uncle? The one that would always ask me, never if I had a boyfriend but how work was going? Or how life in Sydney with his son was?

Carly and I lived in an open space, our bedrooms were like cabins on a cruise ship but with no doors. I spent the next 3 hours in the bathroom crying, trying to not to wake her. I dreaded the next morning, worried of how this would feel in the light and how I would even broach the subject with my Aunty and cousins (one cousin in particular that had become like a brother to me). It didn’t feel real. It still doesn’t feel real.

Carly and I have had numerous conversations in the past about what we saw on social media but mostly, about what we didn’t see. Was it a mask? Was it a lie? Was it just the shiny stuff? Or was sharing about the difficult things just too hard and portals like Facebook an escape?

I was apprehensive about sharing my Uncle’s story on social media. Thoughts of it being cheap and cruel ran through my head. But this was my life. This possibly was the real story of my life since I returned to London. It was clear now, that it was never about overseas travel, disposable cash, copious amounts of alcohol and naked dancing. It was about something more. There were lessons to be learnt here.

I had to hear about the news of my Uncle passing via FaceTime. I went to work the next day, puffy faced and red-eyed because I had just started a new job but most importantly, I desperately needed the money. I had missed out on grieving with my family. I missed out on being at my Uncle’s funeral. So yes, this was the real story of leaving your old life and moving overseas. This was what it was really like to be away from home. Suddenly, my passport wasn’t shining so bright anymore, the days felt long and the nights even longer.

So these days, whenever my Mum calls me at an ungodly hour, my heart skips a beat, it’s almost like I can’t breathe. Phone calls at 2am from now on will never be the same.

I still catch myself crying in the most ridiculous places because they remind me of my Uncle (a deli section of a supermarket) because I haven’t dealt with this properly yet. And the truth is I may never. Because I wasn’t there. I’m going to have to live with that forever.

I read his eulogy over a pint in a London pub. I called my cousins after the wake. I message my Aunty most days to see how she is. It sucks.

So, I’m Carmela. This year I moved back to London from Australia for the second time. I’ve traveled numerous parts of Europe and it’s been amazing but it’s also been fucking hard too. I’m not sure if my social footprint reflects this. I’m not even sure if it should or if it has to. I just know if you asked me you’d always get the truth and so maybe I need to continue telling my truth on here too.

Big love,

Carmela

x

Introducing Carmela Contarino, the #PowerKween behind ‘So The Fairy Tales Lied…’ 👸🏻♥️✨

Carmela is an Aussie in London with wanderlust. A TV/Radio rebel. Fierce feminist. Loud laugh-er. Emotional eat-er. Pop culture cat. Red wine wooer and karaoke kween. She hopes that her experiences are just like yours, funny, warm, loud, raw and that maybe you can figure out this thing called ‘life’ together. #YasssKween 🙌🏼

Guest Kween: LYNDSEY RODRIGUES “I Don’t Want Kids Just Yet Because I’m Not Ready To Stop Being One.”

Guest Kween: LYNDSEY RODRIGUES “I Don’t Want Kids Just Yet Because I’m Not Ready To Stop Being One.”

Kids are awesome. They know how to get their own way by looking cute, no one judges them when they have an exhaustion-induced public meltdown and they possess enviable comedic timing without even trying.

I’m definitely not immune to the old lurch of the ovaries when I see a particularly cute mini-human, but the reality is that I don’t want kids just yet because I’m not ready to stop being one. Basically, I am the adult equivalent of a teenager pleading for just “five more minutes” when they should be getting ready for school, or in my case, motherhood.

This would not be terribly shocking were it not for the fact I’m thirty-six years old. That’s right, even though I am already a year into the stage of life where gestation on my part is considered geriatric; I am still reveling in being young at heart. So much so that the concept of offspring is, well, off-putting.

You want me to be responsible for the survival of an infant? I can’t even keep a pair of sunglasses in one piece or in my possession for more than a few weeks. If you come to my apartment you will see exactly zero living things under my roof because I don’t want the pressure of even keeping a plant off life support.

Also, as much as I love kids, anyone who expects me to get out of bed before noon on a Sunday is a monster. A monster that apparently expects to live in my uterus without paying rent whilst stealing my food like the kind of crazy roommate you’d find on Craigslist.

Yep, when it comes to the business of babies, I don’t want to be the CEO because I’m still enjoying the perks of freelancing.

Before I go on, I should clarify that I think I would like to have a child at some point because I love the thought of a mini-me dropping side-eye and sarcasm as I feign horror whilst exclaiming: “I just don’t know where he/she gets it!”

Plus, when I was a kid my Mum (who, incidentally, didn’t have me until she was 38) always asked me to make her cups of tea and although I used to accuse her of only having had me so I could keep her caffeinated, I quite like the idea of also having my own personal barista.

I have no doubt that, if faced with the task, I could successfully raise a kid with only minimal therapy for everyone involved. However, just because you CAN do something, it doesn’t mean you should. I COULD eat $200 worth of pizza in one sitting, for example, but I probably shouldn’t. I mean, at least not again.

Now, according to the ads that keep popping up on my Facebook, I should be freezing my eggs just in case it’s too late by the time I feel ready to produce the spawn of Satan, I mean, have a baby. Of course, Facebook also constantly suggests that I friend people I’ve never seen in my life, so I’m not exactly rushing to take fertility advice from Mark Zuckerberg and co.

Mildly annoying Facebook ads aside, these days it is widely accepted to feel the way I do. There are many of us out there who want to delay or entirely skip “the next step” for reasons that range from financial concerns to finding the right person to simply not being ready to forfeit those extra hours of Sunday sleep.

What’s wonderful is that now we can make these once controversial statements and be met with solidarity instead of silence or shock. In fact, some women I know say they wish they had waited until later in life to have their children. Everyone’s preferences are different and I love that we live in a time when these differences can be celebrated instead of judged.

So, I’d like to raise a glass to all of the incredible mothers out there who have taken the plunge into procreation and are rearing the next generation of bad-asses. Many of you make it look easy and I’m in awe of you all.

I‘d also like to raise a glass to all of the women out there who, like me, are asking for just “five more minutes” – may you ladies enjoy your eggs poached, not fertilized, for as long as you damn well please.

Lyndsey Rodrigues is a TV Host, Writer & Producer in New York City. She loves tacos, travel and architecture and has a very healthy obsession with serial killers. When Lyndsey isn’t in front of the camera you can find her punching stuff in a boxing class or complaining to young people about her old lady sciatica.  

@LyndsRodrigues

10 times the movie ‘Bridesmaids’ made it ok to not know what you’re doing in your thirties.

10 times the movie ‘Bridesmaids’ made it ok to not know what you’re doing in your thirties.

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10. “Oooh Helen knows the owner.”

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How a woman in her thirties can easily be intimated by the ‘other’ best friend.

9. “You’re more beautiful than Cinderella, you smell like pine needles, and you have a face like sunshine.”

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How a woman in her thirties can go waaaay OTT when praising another woman (especially in nightclub toilets!).

8. “I took nine.”

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How a woman in her thirties will do ANYTHING for free shit.

7. “In fact, Helen I’m hungry, and I wish I had a snack.”

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How a woman in her thirties can refuse to admit she’s wrong, even when she’s really really wrong!

6. “I’m glad he’s single because I’m going to climb that like a tree.”

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How a woman in her thirties can be a bit of a sex pest.

5. “It’s just… it’s the first time I’ve ever seen you look ugly… and that makes me kind of happy.”

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How a woman in her thirties can shamefully rejoice in another woman’s misery.

4. “Help me I’m poor.”

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How a woman in her thirties can be broke! ALL. THE. TIME.

3. “You’re a little cunt!”

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How a woman in her thirties can lose her shit (and her job) over a teenager.

2. “We would like to invite you to no longer live with us.”

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How a woman in her thirties can easily not have a stable living situation (and therefore result in meeting some very colourful characters).

1. “This is so awkward. I really want you to leave but I don’t know how to stay it without sounding like a dick.”

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How a woman in her thirties can still pick men that are terribly wrong for her. Lol!

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But no judgement here ladies. Now, cue Wilson Phillips and let’s dance!

Introducing Carmela Contarino, the #PowerKween behind ‘So The Fairy Tales Lied…’ 👸🏻♥️✨

Carmela is an Aussie in London with wanderlust. A TV/Radio rebel. Fierce feminist. Loud laugh-er. Emotional eat-er. Pop culture cat. Red wine wooer and karaoke kween. She hopes that her experiences are just like yours, funny, warm, loud, raw and that maybe you can figure out this thing called ‘life’ together. #YasssKween 🙌🏼

Guest Kween: BENJAMIN NORRIS “Australia RSVP’d Yes To My Wedding!”

Guest Kween: BENJAMIN NORRIS “Australia RSVP’d Yes To My Wedding!”

Five years ago I proposed to my partner in front of the country and today, Australia has RSVP’d ‘yes’ to our wedding invitation! So exciting!!

Sometimes I wonder what it would have been like to grow up in the 60’s and 70’s and be a gay man. Would my choices in the way I expressed my sexuality be different? Would the impact of ‘gay hate’ felt in that era and the suppression of my true self, have made me different?

Then I think about the 80’s and 90’s, the decades that I grew up in, and how I was affected. At school, the teachers were just as damaging with their comments as the students. I learned to lie about my truth and mastered the art of hiding my sexuality. Inadvertently I taught myself that lying was okay because it was about protection. More importantly, I masked my private self-loathing which made me not believe in myself. Still, I’m sure it wasn’t as bad as what I imagined it had been for the gays before me.

Then I think about the following generation that grew up with Glee and Dawson’s Creek; where girls had the gay best friend at school. It felt like the world was changing and in some ways I was jealous.

I can tell the difference between the way I was affected by homophobia compared to my elders and I know my story is different to how Graham Kennedy felt years ago and how Joel Creasey feels now. Different battles at different times and we are making progress but it has been a journey.

Today I found out that my country will allow me the right to marry my fiancé. The marriage equality debate was served, like a final dish in Masterchef.

My partner and I have been together for eight years, engaged for 5. I have had offers from magazines to pay for my wedding due to the fact I stumbled across some media notoriety with my winning of Big Brother in 2012. You may not have watched the show but you probably remember the ‘gay proposal!’ Yet I said no to those offers because I wanted to wait for my country to give me their blessing. I am a patriotic Australian and I love my country. In some ways I could have just had a party and said it was marriage but it didn’t seem right, not without a certificate and official recognition. It was no longer about marriage; it was about equality.

In some ways I wonder if we hadn’t exploited our sexuality with explicit sexual content (like in Mardi Gras) and we had focused on words like ‘love’ and ‘equality’ earlier, maybe we wouldn’t have repulsed people so much? Which makes me realise how much this journey has really affected me, looking for blame within myself, within my community. So I waited for the answer, not wanting to be too loud with my inner monologue because I couldn’t bare to be hurt and I wouldn’t leave myself open to do so.

The plebiscite was put in place and I was mortified about what my country was actually going to say about my sexuality. It’s a direct example of my upbringing and the scars of being treated unfairly in my young adult-life. I watched on as they wrote ‘no’ in the sky and people fought aggressively in the streets, as a basic civil right was discussed openly- like a reality TV show ‘Who is going to win?’ I heard someone say.

I asked myself, why I am so scared? I asked myself, will this be our Brexit or our Trump?’ Why had I lost faith? As a breakfast radio host, I was told I was too gay by senior management. I was asked to tone it down. I cried for two weeks and tried to push it aside. I thought my sexuality wasn’t something of an appropriate conversation. I felt like a freak and I began to overthink everything. How had I allowed myself to be so badly hurt? It took months to lift my head to face level with other Australians. My confidence rocked to the core. My partner at times saw me reduced to a shadow in a room full of people. I had fallen apart.

Will the same-sex marriage result bring me happiness? I hope it will… today I feel like I could fly. I will never forget that time I didn’t know if Australia was willing to say that I was equal and I will wear these scars for my lifetime. However, I will continue to remind myself that is was worth it. So many people played a role in that and I thank everyone, LESBIANS, GAYS, BISEXUALS, TRANSGENDERS, INTERSEX and QUEERS. Also those allies. I just hope that my tears and my struggle will mean that your children won’t hurt the way I did. Most of all I hope Australia realises that I waited for their ‘yes’ and now I invite you all to my wedding and this new beginning. The beginning of acceptance. What we fought for was equality and love won.

Benjamin Norris is a reality TV star known for winning Big Brother in 2012. Ben has gone on to have a successful career in radio with a number one show in Queensland. He’s a serial blogger and has had TV roles on Foxtel and channel Nine as a guest presenter. Catch Ben next as he embarks on a 16-part podcast series interviewing LGBTIQ influencers on Joy Fm 94.9.

@BenjaminJNorris

Guest Kween: JACQUI KASSULKE “My Life Is Wonderful But…”

Guest Kween: JACQUI KASSULKE “My Life Is Wonderful But…”

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A couple of weeks ago I turned 37. I am in the best shape of my life.

I am holding down a great media gig in the largest market in Australia. I’m being groomed for a future promotion.

I’m training to be a Barre instructor on the side.

I’m a sought-after voice over artist.

I own an investment property.

I have a great circle of friends. I’m never without something to do, or somewhere to go.

I’ve traveled the globe and lived all around Australia and had a stint in London.

I am attractive, fun, funny and someone people genuinely like being around (well I haven’t run a survey on that one, but that’s what my friends tell me).

If I want something, I go buy it. With my own hard-earned cash.

If I’m at dinner, I have the fucking dessert. I can cook. I drink whiskey. I have no problem arriving early at a bar and ordering a drink on my own.

I’m a daughter, sister, sister-in-law and Auntie three times over. I have had a great upbringing, and a supportive and loving family.

I’m simple, yet stylish. My credit card is always at zero, and I like getting the bus. I once dropped an entire tax cheque on a Chanel handbag.

I’m clever. I’m kind. I’m assertive. I believe that if you want something, ask for it.

I’m sensitive. I’m honest.

And I’m terrified of being alone forever.

Jacqui Kassulke is a radio Music Director & Presenter from Sydney, Australia which means she’s really awesome at pub trivia.

@Kassulke 

Kween Krush: YVIE JONES “You Must Trust Your Gut!”

Kween Krush: YVIE JONES “You Must Trust Your Gut!”

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Kween Krush alert!! This is where we celebrate everyday women for being complete badass Wonder Women.

Yvie, we’ve got a crush on you because simply, you have a heart of freaking gold! Not only do you spend most of your days caring for your housemate Tom but also your 6 dogs (most of which are rescues). Did we also mention you’re pee-your-pants funny? And lucky us, because we get to witness that weekly with your other housemate Angie on the Logie-winning Australian TV showGogglebox.

How did you, Tom and Angie all come to live together?

I had a crazy friend who was getting his masters at Sydney University and he saw an ad on the uni accommodation page offering free rent to two people who would live with a man with down syndrome as carers but act as just ‘housemates’ to him. His name is Tom. The set-up is so Tom can live independently, as he’d never survive a group home. He also has type 1 diabetes, which requires 24 hour care. I met with Tom and we decided to move in. He’s like a brother to me now. Oh, and it turned out that crazy friend was a bit too crazy, so we had to move him on. After living alone with Tom for a year, I roped Angie into moving in. It was pretty hard on her; it’s a hard situation. But she’s done so well and I absolutely love living with her, she keeps me sane and our relationship is incredible. If we could, we’d be lesbians. But you can’t choose your sexuality, can you!

Lol! So, how different is your life from 3 years ago? Highs? Lows? Struggles?

To be honest, not very different at all! Yes, we have 2 Logies, but we don’t get to attend the awards and you only get to hold the statue for half an hour – dumb. Highs have been my relationships. Angie and I have been forced to watch TV shows that we may not necessarily have ever watched, so therefore we’ve talked about things that have really opened our eyes and because of that, we’ve become so close and have a massive understanding of each other. Angie and I get recognised in the streets, which is wonderful. People are just so lovely. We also get told stories by some that we have given them many laughs and they don’t feel lonely anymore, or the only time they smile is when they sit on their couch and watch us. It’s incredibly humbling. Lows? My mum died less than a year ago and that saw my floor falling away beneath me. I’ve never felt that kind of pain before. And it just stays with you. I just wish I could pick up the phone and call her. I struggle with depression (have for most of my life) and I’m honestly glad I’ve had so much therapy and read so many good books on how to deal with depression, because it’s really helped me deal with my grief for my mum.

Does it make you laugh to think your Mum told you, “You won’t get famous sitting on the couch watching TV?”

When I got ‘Gogglebox’, she was the first person I told and I said, “Do you remember saying that?” She rolled her eyes (as only a mum can) and said “This could only happen to you”.

Bless. Now, we’ve forgotten, your other 6 housemates. The dawwwgs. What made you decide to rescue dogs? And why should other people/families do it?

One day I went to my friend’s birthday lunch at Hugos in the Cross (not there anymore, thanks lockout laws) and I was seated next to a woman who worked for the RSPCAand she was the one who busted ‘puppy mills’. I didn’t know there was such a thing! The stories she told me and the statistics she reeled off had me in tears. I knew from that moment I had to do something. Fostering was the best fit for me. Tom absolutely loves dogs and we have a good house with a backyard. We rescue/foster through Paws and Recover who mostly get calls from emergency departments of people who have OD’d , as well as calls from police stations where dogs have been left behind after a domestic violence incident. Until Paws and Recover came along, there were no charities doing this. Pets would die alone at home because no one knew they were there. Anyone with a safe home, and a love for helping dogs can foster. And if you think ‘but I’d be too heartbroken to let them go’, put your feelings aside and think about the needs of the dog. And if you love the dog that much, then adopt him!

What do you do for shits-and-giggles on the weekend?

My weekends are now so different than what they once were. I don’t drink anymore so picnics, beach visits, daytime activities and early nights are my life now. Boring to some, heaven to others.

You don’t drink anymore? How come?

I gave up drinking around 2 months ago but it was 18 months ago when I realised I just wasn’t enjoying it anymore. But in this culture, giving up the grog is a hard thing to do. So I kept trying to drink. But I couldn’t get past 2 wines before I was tired and just wanted to lie down. Maybe my liver had had it? I also found it really hard to be around drunk people, and that was really hard, because most of my friends were those drunk people. It’s lonely to be honest. You have about a 1.5 hour window before whoever you’re with becomes a dickhead. And we are all dickheads when we’re drunk. I no longer have the tolerance for the repetition and dribble that comes with a few drinks. I just can’t drink anymore. That’s not to say I won’t ever again. But I think maybe I’m just at that age when you can’t do it anymore?

What’s around the corner for you? Musicals? Pantomimes? Cabaret shows? Karaoke competitions?

All of those! I’d really like to get into radio or ‘chat TV’; where it’s me being me. Some acting on our great ABC or SBS programmes has always been a dream of mine. I did go to drama school, so I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve.

That’s the 5 year plan?

Yep, doing some or all of the above! And still fostering dawgs. Maybe fall in love with a male feminist???

What does being a feminist mean to you?

Being a feminist to me means believing in equal rights for women. Being treated exactly the same as a man and any good or bad that comes with that. Believing girls can be anything that boys can be.

What’s one thing you would tell ‘younger Yvie’?

Stop dieting. Anything you’re waiting to do ‘once you’ve lost weight’, just do it! And don’t give a fuck what others think, even those closest to you. You must trust your gut.

Yvie is one of Carmela’s favourite people. They met many years ago in the bathrooms of a record label quiz night; it was love at first sight. They bonded over finding male-unicorns, the movie ‘Beaches’ and a good late-night kebab. 

Guest Kween: CAITLYN FAIRHEAD “Could These Really Be The Best Days of My Life?”

Guest Kween: CAITLYN FAIRHEAD “Could These Really Be The Best Days of My Life?”

IMG_5326Standing with a trolley full of groceries – half of which I’d never use but felt good about having in the pantry – I grimaced apologetically at the older woman in line behind us. My two year old was biting the trolley in a rage, furious I’d made him return the KitKats he’d swiped while I wasn’t looking, while my four year old twirled in her Elsa cape, shouting ‘Ana darling, don’t forget the tampons!’

The woman looked at my spawn and smiled with the wistful grace of someone who’d been there, done that, and made it out the other side. “It’s the best time of your life, you know,” she said softly, leaning towards me.

I almost keeled over. I love my kids and all, but if this was it, I thought silently, if this was the best life was going to get, then for God’s sake just let me off here.

Is it some kind of Stockholm syndrome, I wondered? Where you come to love your captors even though they torture you with sleep deprivation and covering you in bodily fluids? How do people seemingly forget how exhausting it is to have small children?

Some days it’s hard to get past how tiring it is, how messy and monotonous, requiring the kind of stamina only seen (ironically) in a toddler on birthday cake. It’s frustrating to hear how great this life is when at 27, you look like 70-year-old Elton John on a particularly rough day.

Still, I went home and thought about it. There is something pretty raw and simple about this time in my life. Everyone knows how hard it is, and their expectations of me are gloriously low.

The rules are simple, too, just keep everyone alive and fed and you’re doing a good job. You’re allowed to stay in your PJs all day and cry into a glass of wine at 2pm some days, that’s okay: you’re doing the hard thing. The normal rules don’t apply.

As the wisdom of strangers gently reminds me, this time is fleeting. Probably I won’t always be sleep deprived and covered in bodily fluids. I’ll not always get to smell their hair as they sit in a trolley, or feel their hand in mine as I cross the road.

I’ll not always be in the company of little children everywhere I go, even to the bathroom, and one day I might even miss their little faces as they proudly hold up a boogie in the middle of a shopping mall.

Could these really be the best days of my life? I can’t picture it yet, but I’m willing to concede it’s possible. But only on days they’ve slept through the night, and only when I can shop alone. That seems only fair.

Caitlyn is a thirtyish-year-old teacher with a passion for good books and cheap wine. She has two children and an ever-patient husband, though her true love is Mexican food.