For many of us, life doesn't turn out the way we think it might.
And when it doesn't, we can think, 'This was not on the brochure'.
That's what happened to Jennifer Ratcliffe after she got married and started a family, and then, within quick succession, found herself parenting two autistic boys, Cameron and Coby, while dealing with the death of her brother and her husband being laid off.
Through it all, the Ratcliffes tried to remain positive. And through it all Jennifer has managed a successful career with cosmetics company Mary Kay.
Now, more than a decade down the track, she has written a book, This Was Not on the Brochure, to help others.
The eBook is full of practical ideas and strategies to help others through the challenges life throws at them.
"Doing this came into my mind about five years ago and I did sit down and start writing but it just wasn't the right time and nothing flowed," she said.
"I wasn't ready for it emotionally."
About a year ago, Ratcliffe found the angle she wanted for the book.
"I thought what it can be is all the strategies I developed and the practical things I've done.
"It's not just about what happened in my life, it's how I managed those situations," she said.
"I never talk about coping ... there is such a fine line between coping and not coping."
Ratcliffe got the idea for the title from her husband Brad's impersonations of Billy Crystal from the movie City Slickers with the line, "This was not on the brochure".
The book includes all the information she thinks would have been handy to know when she was starting out her journey as the mother of autistic children.
"There was so much emotion involved," she said. "What I've focused on is the main things that changed the direction of our life."
There are chapters on the diagnosis that came when her oldest son, Cameron, turned three, and on Ratcliffe losing her brother, Henry Meeuwissen, to a mental illness when he was 32.
A month later, Brad lost his job.
Ratcliffe had just turned 30 when life started not going to plan and in the book she talks about dealing with grief and loss. And she reveals what many people don't know about her despite all her success in Mary Kay.
"I talk about being adopted," she said.
"That brings a lot of interesting challenges for a person because they can have a lot of issues with rejection.
"I know I always did so I talk about how I overcame all that.
"I hope it will be helpful for people in my situation but nobody has exactly the same set of circumstances."
"A lot of people will identify with it. There are some things teenage girls will get a lot out of as well, when I talk about expectations of yourself and others.
"A lot of women struggle with those kind of things," she said.
Ratcliffe recalls, when her boys were young, feeling left behind when she saw other children on the autism spectrum progressing, but not hers.
For a long time her children did not talk at all.
"They were non-verbal but now they can say a few things," she said.
Cameron is 14 and Coby is 11 and she still hopes they will make more progress.
"We still hope for a great life for them, but the reality is they will probably live with us forever," she said.
"With Cameron we probably realised at between 12 and 18 months that something was not quite right.
"With Coby we picked it up a lot quicker, although it was hard to believe this was happening again. I was just like, 'oh no, I can't believe this'.
"They were so different and they still are. In personality they are very different, but they are at a similar point on the spectrum. They are both students at Para Meadows."
Ratcliffe said everything in their lives had to be about what was best for the boys.
Among the challenges she faced was some friendships were unable to stay the same, for reasons including the amount of the time she and Brad needed to spend with their boys.
"Brad and I really had to focus on working together," she said.
"We call ourselves Team Ratpack. And our parents have been so supportive."
Family support means the Ratcliffes can have a date night every Friday.
"I know not everyone has that, but you do need that respite," she said.
"One of the things I talk about in my book is what I call my happiness program.
"That is about being aware of the things that are going to be helpful for my own mental health."
Ratcliffe does not talk about her success with Mary Kay in the book but she has been with the company for 18 years.
She is an executive senior director, despite working from home while minding her two children when they are not at school.
Ratcliffe hopes her story will help others face the challenges life throws at them.
She said to other people it probably always looked like she had it together but she had struggled, particularly during the past year.
While she was good at controlling her appearance, on the inside it often felt everything was out of control.
That is where writing the book has really helped, and she hopes reading it will help others.
"People have started coming back to me and telling me what has been really helpful," she said.
"And that is what I wanted. It's very real and very honest, and it's quite exposing for me."
Brad Ratcliffe is now in the final stages of developing an app to help people with autism.
And she still finds time to be volunteer co-ordinator for Look Good Feel Better Illawarra and a presenter at the Shine Program for high school girls at Albion Park and Kiama high schools.