Thursday, February 26, 2009

Truth, Honesty and Integrity

It will remain a mystery to me why we choose to be dishonest or disloyal or display acts of manipulation. Why do we choose to do this?

I like people and I like the finer aspects of humanity that make me proud to be who I am. Yet, time and time again, I come across people who choose to be disloyal to me or dishonest to me when I afford them my best. Why does this happen?

It's not a reflection of me, surely. In all things with me, I try as much as I can, to afford every person I meet the gift of truth, honesty and integrity and it never ceases to amaze me when it's not returned.

No names mentioned but I've experienced a side of someone that I really don't care much for. They have been sneaky, deceptive and manipulative and then.......have had the gall to act innocent. Luckily, it's not someone in my inner circle so putting space between myself and them isn't going to be that difficult but, in my quiet moments, I've done the post mortem and wondered what is it about me that has elicited this behaviour.

I've worked out that this is who they are..........and it's not a reflection of me.

Makes me very sad, though......

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Monday, February 23, 2009

Challenging Times

So far, this year has started out pretty dang crap for my family and friends. We've had two announcements of serious illness this last week, another life threatening surgery took place and now......the place we used to live in is under siege with bushfires. My children's Dad is smackdab in the middle of it all, packed and ready to leave if the wind changes ready to devour his property. Alex's car is in the middle of the paddock for protection but there's no guarantee it won't be swallowed by flames if luck and life change direction.

I don't want to elaborate on any of these but it doesn't take much for these tears to fall right now. Even breathing in can evoke so much sadness that I'm doing the dance of the distracted mind. But it's hard.......and this isn't even about me. It's about those close to me and what they're bearing up for.

I can't stand to see loved ones in pain and it seems that every corner of my family compass is suffering right now.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Modern Art (Latin for Whatta Loada Crappicus)

Modern Art.......or as I prefer to call it.........Whatticus A Load of Crappicus (latin translation).

We went to a Museum for Modern Art in Melbourne Metropole today - to try something new - and I may not be a connoisseur of modern art (or for any art aside from finger painting, truth be know'd) but I came away very angry. Apparently art is meant to elicit a reaction from you and if that's the only requirement then the collection of crap that G and I witnessed today would more than qualify.

There were items by 2 well-known artists that were......well.....juvenile. My children could have produced better in grade school. The fact that they may have been signed by these famous artists does not automatically qualify it as art. To me, it means that a well-known artist had a couple of attempts at what is now known as famous art only now they got it right. So does that mean all the previous attempts get bundled up and passed off as art to a less-erudite public. You have insulted me!!

There was a couple of items that were better - possibly even good - but the rest was just a set of objet d'don't insult me.

It seems like an act of sycophantic dealers flagrantly exercising their nepotistic rights to show juvenile and unworthy pieces of dog doo doo. I left the museum feeling ripped off, offended and taken advantage of.

To top it all off, they had the gall to ask me to remove my camera backpack before entering, which I refused to do on the grounds that it contained expensive camera equipment which I wasn't willing to leave behind in an alcove. So after I asked them if they would accept responsibility for any damage or loss if I chose to leave it behind, they followed me like I was an intellectually challenged art thief.


Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Difference Between a G-string and a Wedgie

I'm revealing something of my personal underclothing - I dislike G-strings! They are uncomfortable for women like me who have a more-than-ample derriere. Let's be brutally honest, they look really bad on butts that aren't young and trim and taught.

So...............why do women with young, trim and taught butts eternally pull and tug at undies that have a penchant for playing hide-and-seek when they go out of their way buying and wearing G-strings.

Me? If I were to wear a G-string, I'd also have to wear the accompanying 30cm ruler across it - visualise this, go on, stop it from going anywhere near my butt. I have tried the G.....and I spent the whole day doing a very unfeminine search and rescue - not comfy one bit.

When I get a wedgie, I personalise it. I discuss the finer points (with my underwear) of preferring the snuggling up into the nether parts - on a volunteer basis - to remaining outside, where the air is fresh and clean and there is a keener sense of freedom. My logic is that if you keep crawling up there, you can stay there until you learn to get yourself back out. You know the risks and the consequences but still, you go.I'm not gonna keep coming in there after you, like a young child bobbing up and down at the deep end of the pool. It's sink or swim, buster!
From wear I sit, there's not much difference to wearing a g-string and tolerating a wedgie all day. I simply cannot tolerate a wedgie all day. It is universally known as being uncomfortable yet wearing a g-string of your own volition has another interpretation, doesn't it?
I have never known anyone to feel aroused when I've said "Gawd, I've got a massive wedgie". It just doesn't seem to have that connotation attached to it.
"I'm going to Myer to buy underwear that is going to intentionally crawl up my butt"......................does it do much for you????? Doesn't do much for me.
So where is the change in perception? Is it the wearer of the g-string/wedgie? Does a g-string look just as sexy as a wedgie on a lovely taut butt?
Why not just call the g-string....the 'wedgie'???
Why don't advertisers sprawl on the packaging of undies "Guaranteed to creep up your bum during the day. If wearer does not retrieve or attempt to retrieve at least 4 times day, money back is guaranteed"?
I don't understand the g-string. I don't understand the desire to wear anything intimately that feels like someone's got a finger up your butt all day.
Maybe it should be marketed to men over 50 to get them used to the feeling? Just a suggestion.

Change of Pace

Not sure if it's the culmination of a rather difficult period or not but I seem to be eternally tired. I'm not sleeping very well and so my waking moments aren't that great.

I am training my mind to stop the whirring and the internal dialogue because what I really want is peace......and that's elduing me right now.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I Ate My Lipstick Today

You'd think that when you pay more for lipstick, that it would stay on your lips for longer. You know the whole quality get what you pay for??

Well, I paid a fair bit for some lippy by Estee Lauder, okay? More than I would normally pay. My logic is that my mascara is also from EL and it is far superior to anything I have tried and I've tried nearly all the mid-range brands. For me, it was worth paying the extra dollars for a damn good mascara so I applied the same principle to my lippy. I had to apply my lippy over and over and over again. If I had a coffee, my lippy stayed on the cup almost defiantly. If I ate something, my lippy went down for the ride, too. I'd reapply only to have it run away to whereabouts unknown.

The amount of formaldehyde that I have consumed today will probably assure any undertaker that I won't need embalming if I died tomorrow. Yes, there's formaldehyde in lipstick - that's why your lips remain soft the more you wear it. Formaldehyde is embalming fluid by any other name - it is a preservative which is used on forensic science to preserve body parts that have to be used in evidence. No, I haven't been watching too much CSI - I used to work in forensics many moons ago.

Anyway, I haven't done the cost base analysis of eating lipstick now to save embalming money later yet but that's something to put on my "To Do" list, huh?

What? You want to know which flavour I ate today? You'll be very proud to know that I ate fruit today because it was PLUMBERRY. So, once again, I've eaten from the top of the food pyramid. Does this count as one of my 2 fruit/5 veg a day thing?

So by default, I ate well today. I ate my lipstick.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

No News Today

For a variety of reason, I really don't have anything of any conseqeunce to say today.


Saturday, February 14, 2009

Surface Tension

Have you ever wondered what the last straw is? Today I was filling the ice-cube tray and was admiring the rounded curve of water in each to thinking "At which point is your breaking point? When are you at saturation point and can hold on no longer?

Pretty deep silent dialogue with my ice-cube tray, huh? to thinking how we all survive on a daily basis with our own individual surface tensions going on.

At work, there is a point where we can't take anymore before we say something/do something/ignore someone/quit.....

In friendships, we tolerate and take a lot and there is a predetermined point, that we may or may not be aware of, where friendship or not, we have to push back/bite back/ withdraw/quit the friendship.

In our relationship(s), we go so far and then take another step for love but that, too, has it's breaking point.
Food for thought..........nothing deeper than that, though, folks......just something that an ice cube created in my little mind.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

My Beautiful Yarra Valley

It was my home for 8 years and I that is always where I return when I want to get back to myself.
This photo was taken last week - opposite Chateau yering - and now doesn't exist. That tree in the far distance is my favourite tree and in the far far distance are the trestle bridges that I've taken only a few people - for that is my retreat from the world...and they no longer exist.

These beautiful pastures are now charred remains...... the photo on the left is what is the paddock on the right - burnt out, smoking and charred. One week ago, it was luch and green.

Strange that I called this particular picture "Phoenix" because that is what they have now named the clean up project - Phoenix. This was taken the week before the fire.

Please have a look at what used to be and is no longer.....but will return one day.

Spirit of Australia

Not the ferry between Tassie and Melbourne.........the real thing!

Aussies are such an unique breed of battlers. We are very resilient and have quite a pragmatic attitude to life. Dusting off and starting again is par for the course. Hey True Blue...

Black Saturday was my 45th birthday and one I will not forget. I'd rather not have the stigma attached to it but there it is. It stands for a very sad day in Melbourne, in Victoria, in Australia.

But, as with all things sad, some good does come from it. Aussies have this amazing quality for putting in when all the chips are down. It's always been that way and not even 5 days after our worst disaster, we've all dug deep and come up with $45 million so far.

We have floods up north and fires down south. Yet we're still digging deep to help those who've had so much taken away from them.

We dust ourselves off, we take a deep breath and then we move on. We rebuild our lives, our emotions, our homes......we help our neighbours, our families. We go without so that all may have.

It's one of our proudest moments - in tragedy comes our greatest untangible asset - we're Aussies! We look after each other.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Book of Life by Nanushka

The book of life begins
with pages virginal and clean,
proclaiming innocence
yet strangely tempting to the childish mind
behind the unformed hand
to make its presence felt.
and leave a mark to show where it has been-
and as we write upon the pages
each life
as stories lived and written by us all,
of drama, mystery or comedy
of heroes, villains and adventurers.
some written with a carefree flourish
some neatly following the lines,
and others in a careless scrawl-
No matter if our book is short or long,
or if it is remembered down the years,
we must expect
that even in the happiest of fairy tales,
there will always be some chapters
blank with boredom-
there will always be some pages
smudged with tears .....
By my favourite poet, Nanushka
From The Thoughts of Nanushka Vols 13-18

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Not Quite Sure

I'd like to think that I can elevate above my silent grief for the bushfire victims today but, alas, I can't.

My thoughts and tears have been with these people all day. All day.

I can't find anything funny or interesting to write unless it's about the bushfires.

I have read the papers and scoured the websites with every waking moment that I've had. It's touched me to the core - just like everyone else in Melbourne and Victoria. There are moments that my brain is in utter disbelief of what my eyes can see. The rubble, the ash, the charred wooden remains mingling with ashen brick, twisted and tortured corrugated iron roofs bereft of support, lying like exhausted bones. In this rubble lies the unidentifiable remains of families, of parents with their children, husbands without wives, animals left in the race to save lives.

Insurance, for some, will help them rebuild but the scars will remain far beyond. Not just for the victims but for the volunteers, the firefighters, the emergency service people - they, too, will be scarred.

I know my last couple of posts have been a little sad and depressing but that's all I have in my heart right now. I can't pretend that this hasn't affected me because it has.

I feel lucky/guilty that I get to have so much and, not that far away, people have lost everything.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Victoria's Bush Fires

Under normal circumstances, bush fires are a part and parcel of life in Australia. I can't speak for anyone else but my usual reaction is to nod once or twice at the news reports and then I don't normally pay much attention to it, aside from that.

However...........this one is different. I am confused and distrubed into periods of silence because of the magnitude and ferocity of this bush fire, still burning in parts of Victoria.

Last night, I watched the latest news flash, after having spent a wonderful day strawberry picking and going to the Mornington market (albeit in the rain). Here I was, feeling satiated that I had been out in the fresh air, having filled my mind, soul and belly with some good people at my side........and on my TV, I was watching people who have had their homes reduced to a fiery, hissing rubble.

Spirits were crushing as they told the journalists that they had lost everything. With each word solidifying the truth - because sometimes it doesn't seem real until you utter the words that you've been avoiding - tears trickled, mouths buckled and furrows knitted brows with the unspoken "Where to from here?"

As I sat and watched these terrible news flashes, bright orange and grey smoke clouds crept over my house, signifying the mass cremation of home and life that was simultaneously being broadcast on my TV. As if I didn't believe that this was happening not that far from home, the clouds loomed over my suburb, almost as a reminder that I am, this time, very lucky that it hasn't touched me or my loved ones.

Not 30 minutes away is the Yarra Valley, which was once my home for 8 years. Lives and homes have been reduced to ash and cinder there. Winery crops toasted, grapes turned to dried fruit.....our lovely de Bortoli's winery, where many a picnic has gathered has succumbed to the fires. Yarra Glen - featured so highly as a photographic mecca for me - was black with smoke.

Not since Ash Wednesday have I been moved by so much. Yesterday we donated money to the fire cause but it doesn't seem much in light of how much has been lost.

Alex's best friend, Liz's father has farming land, smackdab in the middle of the worst fire in King Lake. He's lost a lot and that's when it really is brought home - when you know somebody who has lost. Liz's grandmother rang them to say, urgently, that fire had surrounded the home and she couldn't get out - I don't know whether she was saved or not.

So today was going to be a day spent with just Grant and I......spending private time together, going to some art galleries, lunching by the Yarra, taking photos in the city. Yet my heart isn't in it. I feel terribly guilty that I have the luxury to enjoy myself, selfishly, when others don't have a bed for the night, children don't have clothes.

As a mark of respect, we are cleaning up our block of land today, whippersnipping grasses, cleaning out the gutters of all the dried leaves and twigs and generally tidying up. It sounds silly but I feel like I owe this much, not just to my immediate family, protecting our home, but as a silent message to those who don't have a home anymore - that I won't take it for granted that these things won't happen to me. That I will respect the forces of nature - especially in Australia and, in particular, in Victoria right now.

To ignore this would be highly disrespectful and dismissive of the tragedy that some people are currently experiencing.

I will value what I do have by doing what's necessary to protect can be quickly and unpredictably taken from you.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Voyeur or Participant

Do you prefer to watch or are you one of those that like to be in the middle of it?

Me? I teeter between the two. Sometimes, I just don't want to be a part of it and would rather watch. Other times, watching just doesn't thrill me and I like to dive deep into the foray.

What are we talking about????? Life. What were YOU thinking, you filthy animal?


There are moments in life where I like to whip out my beloved camera and watch. Watch for facial intonations, for emotional expressions, for moment of joy or moments of wonderment. I love it when I can anticipate and capture that millimoment of joy, fun, laughter - and sometimes even anger or sadness. Mostly laughter though because who really wants to relive moments of sadness over and over by looking at a photo of it?

Other times, like today, I prefer to be in the thick of it. it is an either/or choice. Either I can take photos and watch from afar and not be involved or I can choose to put the camera away and be in it. Today we ignored the rain and went to a market. The rain persisted but we persevered and then went to an antique warehouse. The rain cleared and we ended up hightailing it to Sunny Ridge Farm and went strawberry picking.

I have never been strawberry picking before and had this romantic notion of what it would be like. And it was truly lovely. Rows and rows and rows of strawberry plants, some weighed down with bright red, sweet, bursting with flavour berries. There were small little children, squatting in amazement, at the sweet little bubbles of juiciness and I could have chosen to get my camera nd take some very arty pictures.

However, today was one of those days where I really wanted to be a part of it. I wanted to go strawberry spotting and picking. Some of the strawbs didn't make it into the basket. What a difference fresh strawbs taste like compared to supermarket berries! I don't like supermarket strawberries - they're tangy and crunchy....yes, crunchy....and I don't like tangy, crunchy strawberries.
But these strawbs were plump and bursting with flavour. They were juicy sweet and delicious, like I imagined strawberries would always be. I ate a whole belly full and then bought the ones that didn't make it to my mouth.
What a wonderful end to the day! Today, I was a participant. It's not always going to be like that but today was worth locking my camera in the boot of my car like a naughty child (I'm not supposed to say inappropriate things like that, am I? *stifling laughter*..... and being involved.

Saturday, February 7, 2009


If you're not in Melbourne, then let me describe by 45th birthday to you. It's the HOTTEST day recorded in our history! It was also the hottest place on Earth today.......I don't do things by halves. It hit 47 degress today. That's Celsius. That's 117 Fahrenheit which is stinking bluddy hot...... 45 at 47. If you're not sure what that feels like.....

Go to your oven and turn it on to about 200 degrees for 5 minutes - fan-forced preferably. After about 5 minutes, open the door and inhale quickly whilst simultaneously shining a heat lamp directly into your face. if you're managing that okay, then wrap yourself up in a itchy woolly electric blanket put on SUPER HIGH and you'll have an idea why I chose to stay home and watch a couple of movies today.

Yup. Watched 'Australia" and 'Slumdog Millionnaire" on a mattress on the floor of my loungeroom, directly in front of the fan AND airconditioner while the rest of Melbourne burnt to a crisp.

In between movies, the TV told us of horrifying bushfires consuming most of Victoria. The high winds didn't help whatsoever. Loads of suburbs surrounding us were in flames and we're a very bushy treed area but, luckily, untouched. The kids were worried because the town that their Dad lives in was evacuated today and all phones were down. Turned out he was okay but still a worry.

On that basis, I refused to leave the comfort of my airconditioned home. There was no place I would have rather been. I hate shopping centres. The beach was a pseudo frying pan. The swimming pools were brimming to the edge with people (think of all that pee) so.....home was the best place to spend birthday.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Rings around your trunk

Tomorrow is my 45th birthday and I am looking forward to it.

I've never been one of these women who rued each birthday as I got older. After all, it's just a number that represents how long I've been here. It doesn't define who I am. It certainly doesn't dictate my behaviour. It doesn't make me feel any older than the day before or the day before that. And even if it did, so what?

I feel like I'm turning 32. I used to feel 28 but I know I've grown up in the last 2 years. I know the maths doesn't add up but, emotionally and philsophically, that's how old I really feel. I'm turning 32 tomorrow - my passport birthdate begs to differ.

Tomorrow......I don't have to do the dishes. I don't have to make dinner. I don't have to do anything I don't want to do. Tomorrow I have carte blanche..... Tomorrow I can eat cake for breakfast if I choose to.

I don't behave 45.....I don't behave 32. I behave Shaz. That's it. I do what the hell I like and when I want to. I try not to dress inappropriately (mutton dressed as lamb) ....I do want to maintain some type of dignity. But the rules of 45 don't apply to me. I told my Mum that I'm not doing menopause - whenever that's meant to happen. I've made my mind up. I'm going raound it and moving on with my life.

I'm 45 tomorrow. I'm very happy with my life. I've done quite a bit....travelled a bit, had children a bit, married a bit, got into trouble a bit, worked a bit and laughed a fair bit. You couldn't pay me enough to be in my 20's or early 30's.

It's good to be the King - today.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


Thursday came and Thursday went - nothing said and nothing spent.

Thursday came and all was done - Thursday wasn't any fun.

Friday will come and hopefully

It will deliver some fun to me.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Money, Money, Money

You know it's quite funny but between Grant and myself, we've never qualified for any handouts from the Government. WHAT handouts, you ask?

Well, we were never entitled to the First Home Buyer's grant. We never got the Baby Bonus - okay so we didn't have babies together but that's just a minor technicality. We didn't get Family Tax Benefits....nothing, nada, nix. Seems everyone around us got freebies but, for some reason, we were always just over the radar.

We've always had to do for ourselves and have never had a "helping hand" and God knows, there were times when we really needed it.

However, Kevin Rudd's new economic bonus means that he's gonna help pay for new fences, which is very kind of him. He could also be paying for insulation - once we find out whether we have any or not - hard to tell with this heatwave.

I was actually thinking of showing him the hole in our driveway to see if he could sling some more cashola our way to fix that, seeing as he's in a generous frame of mind....*nod nod nod*..

So.........get the hell out of my face Malcolm Turnbull because, for the first time in our whole relationship, Grant and I get to qualify for some handout. It's too late to retract the offer as we've already spent the money thereby assisting our ailing economy.

I always bleat that money doesn't mean that much to me but try taking it away from me and I'll gnaw your manky hand to the bone. Turns out that I have a healthy respect for what money can buy me and although I don't need to buy much for myself, I still want the freedom to choose.

I choose to accept the new economy boosting freebie handout, Mr Rudd - now hand it over.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Blank Canvas

You know what? Got nothing much to say today - valuable or otherwise. I think I'm recharging and regenerating.......and that's okay, isn't it?

Monday, February 2, 2009

1st Day of School

Today was Sam's 1st day of school and this also heralds a couple of achievements. It means it is the last of our three respective children's foray into high school and it is also the new beginning for Grant and Sam.

Sam had a great first day at high school and, like his monosyllabic Dad is prone to be with details, gave me this to feed off when asked how his 1st day was, "It was good". Nada, nix, nothing was....good. I said I need more and got "It was fabulous?"

So, there it is. I could embellish the details with a fantastical story of mirth and humour but, if you'll remember, I've left my box of embellishments at the front door of this blog and, hence, I have nothing further to add. However, his Dad is a procurer of illusion and took these photos of his first day. Why the illusion? Well, Sam didn't really have to set out for school because he was driven there by Grant but I'm so impressed that Grant wanted the illusion and set about creating it that I tripped over my box of imbellishments, which I now have to clean up and rearrange in my tidy box, with amazement.



Sunday, February 1, 2009

Judgement of the Working Mother

You know I've always had this issue as long as I've been working - part-time and full-time. What is a working Mum entitled to? Career? Judgements? Choices?

I have two children - okay, they're not small children but they're my children nonetheless.

When my children are sick or require me to attend something of significance, I have the dilemma of being there or not. I'm trying to hold down a career - no small feat in these days. My situation is not that different to the 'nuclear' family only that I don't have the support of their biological father when things get tough. His life is very separate and his place in their lives is selective. He provides support to them on his time - not on mine - so when they get sick and need looking after, they only have me - that's right - JUST ME!

I have a husband, their step-father who has been the greatest thing to enter all three of our lives. However, he isn't responsible for them. He can't ask for parental leave from his place of work to look after children that aren't his. Which goes back to me - that's right - JUST ME!

My parents have their own lives and have been supportive when our relationship isn't walking a tightrope of misunderstandings so.....when we're in that 'cone of silence' and I need help with my kids......there's me.......that's right....JUST ME!

I'm not playing the martyr - not one bit! The role I play with my children is the most important thing in my life and it's one I take very seriously. I am proud to say that I've sacrificed and I've become unselfish and not so self-absorbed purely because of them.

However, when my 1st marriage broke down and things came to the line, I did not receive child support or any other financial support - which they and I were entitled to - so I went out to work full-time. Why? Because my children's survival and well-being came down to just one person. You guessed it ME!

So when I take days off work to look after my kids because they're too ill to take care of themselves, or if they've injured themselves and need to get to hospital for surgery or if they need to get to the airport for school camp or if they have mucked up at school and need to sort their troubles out.......before you comment and place your petty judgements (for the courageous to my face and for the weak and cowardly, behind my back) and, worse, make some two-faced hypocritical lame-arsed comment about me when I have to be there for my kids...........just know...that my two children only have one person who will unselfishly, unconditionally and reliably come to their rescue......ME.......damn right......JUST ME!

After you've passed judgement, know how wonderful it is to be you. You, the main bread-winner in your family. You, in your nuclear Pixi Photo pure family with a wife who is your main support network and your mother and your mother-in-law and sisters and brothers who can and do come to your rescue to help you out. Know that there isn't just YOU! There are a plethora of choices for you to rely on which I don't have.

I would love the luxury of having two of me. One who can go out and be the career cracking bread-winner and never have to worry about sick children and parent/teacher day and concerts and school camps, fetes and fundraisers and meetings with coordinators and dissolvable stitches and surgery and stroking my son's face when he's nervous with fear just before general anaesthetic. Know that no-one else is there to do these things.........but ME!

The other, to stay home and make sure dinner is always ready when you get home and freshly baked blueberry and banana muffins fresh out of the oven and clean, washed, dried and put-away clothes and vacuumed carpets and dry dishes.

So before anyone passes neanderthal judgements on working Mothers who have to take time out of their working lives to do what they initially intended to do - to love, nurture, protect, support and provide for their kids, think again, you shallow-minded cretans.

I am struggling juggling two hats on one f*cking head, okaaaaaaay?
DISCLAIMER: This isn't targetted at either of my two bosses, who actually appear to be very, very understanding and are family-minded themselves. This really is a soap-box soliloquoy to those who don't have children (and the couple of wads that do and still feel it's okay to debase) and who don't understand the dilemma of trying to be everything to everyone all at the same time.
Your petty, small-minded, two-faced judgements just add to the guilt that we feel when we are trying our best to raise our children and be the sole supporting network to our family.