Archive for the ‘daycare’ Category

My husband is leaving me and I think my sanity might be hitching a ride.

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

He’s leaving. It’s not forever, but he hasn’t left yet and I’m already petrified about how on earth I will cope.

I am becoming a surfing widow once again. He is off on the trip of a lifetime and I really hope it is that; the only trip like this he takes in his lifetime. No, not really, I actually hope he completely loves it, the waves pump and he has the best time away with some awesome mates. I absolutely want him to go.

I’m just a bit frightened about what life looks like without him for two and a half weeks. You see I am the breadwinner at the moment. Not as some people think because I am desperate to get back to work, but actually so he could resign and spend some time finding something he really loves doing. So at the moment he is the main carer for the Wild Child and The Stink. He loves it, which is great. He is awesome at it, which is even better.

I have worked often in the last four and half years, I have always done the drop off and pick up and all the looking after. Even while I’m working full time, plus a few other jobs on the side, I have done a few pick ups and drop offs and dinners and lots of all the other stuff so it’s not that I can’t actually do it all, it’s that I might need some help. And this is where the main problem lies, I’m not great at asking for help. My really-amazing-better-than-my-family-because-they-actually-help friends don’t wait for me to ask, they offer and thank god for that. But even then I feel guilty.

I feel guilty that even though I can help out my friends in return, I feel bad that they offer, when my family either can’t or don’t or say no. I know that staying home for two weeks without working wouldn’t be any easier, but it might be less stressful, and financially not much different once the trip and the child care is paid for. I’m okay with feeding them baked beans, or even sushi on the way home. I’m okay with showering every second day, washing clothes on the weekends and being a bit cranky at school. I’m even okay with him being away for my birthday and having the in-laws turn up that night. (Okay I might have drunk a bottle of wine to get through that, but it’s my birthday and I can if I want.)

I just have to view it as an adventure and take the kids on the journey with me. We can all sleep in the big king bed we finally got, we can all hang out and be feral on the weekend together. And if it doesn’t work, we can all hide from the world at home, or the beach, eating icy-poles and reading books.

So if you see me in the next few weeks and I stink, look hungry, are full up to the eyeballs on caffeine to stay awake and don’t recognise you, please don’t take personally, I’m sure the madness will only be temporary. Hopefully it will come back with my surfer boy.IMG_0836

 

 

Take that mother guilt

Monday, July 15th, 2013

I went back to work today. My first day of full time work in my old workplace for five whole weeks.

And I loved it!

For the first time since I have had my boys I walked back into my old school, that I love, and did not feel one ounce of guilt. Well, that is not entirely true, for a brief moment as I walked across the yard saying hi to people I haven’t worked with for ages, I felt a bit guilty that I didn’t feel guilty. How’s that for good old Mother Guilt.

Most of it was because my Wild Child and The Stink were home with their beloved Dad. They had swimming lessons this morning and the sun was out, so no matter what, it would be a pretty fun day. And part of it was that this was my husband’s idea. His work is an absolute debacle, so before we went on our trip he suggested we try this out for a bit and he could work part time for a few weeks. It might be the future normal in our house so it is an absolute luxury to be able to try out the switch before it might become a long term thing. And the final part was that I miss teaching, not fill in, chat to the kids and do some other work up the front teaching, but real create a lesson, build relationships and see some learning happen teaching. (The other 25 periods I can still much around on the net.)

I got to leave my house without too much crazy rushing, I even had time to do my hair, put a tiny bit of make-up on and get a coffee on the way. I got to have many, many conversations with adults I admire and some who make me laugh in a dangerous way with my wobbly pelvic floor. I got to talk about ideas and improvements and skirmishes and solutions. Someone even asked my advice, and a few hugged me in a way that made me wonder what exactly those year 10 boys had in store for me. I got to remember that this was a job filled with great people and with mostly great kids and that it was something I was okay at.

Sure, it was one day and I was a long way from the politics and kids swinging from the rafters that teaching is filled with. But it was also different. Different for me, different for my boys at home, and at this stage, most importantly it was different for my husband. I walked in the door to a happy house, everyone was a winner.

Now for tomorrow when my husband leaves at 7am and I wrangle the kids out the door dressed and fed and packed not much later to a wonderful friend for daycare. Only problem is The Stink hasn’t been there before and given he cries when we arrive at anyone else’s house because he thinks I am going to leave him there and never have, tomorrow will have a double dose of guilt. As I peel the barnacle off my leg and leave him screaming with a stranger, work might not have quite the same pleasure.

But that’s okay, at least I can talk to someone about it. And I might even get to have a cup of tea while I’m at it.

 

What if who we are isn’t quite enough?

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

Most of the time I love being the mother of sons.

Well maybe not today as the wild child hid under the clothing racks in Witchery and then started licking the mirror after he was asked to stand still. Or when I put the cheeky bubba down and they both preceded to wrestle on the floor in fits of laughter.

I know that the energy, the risk taking, the boundary pushing and all the wrestling can seem like hard work now when they are little and pretty much uncontrollable. But as a teacher of teenage boys, I know that this energy, the desire to be and do rather than analyse and doubt can be so positive. I particularly like the immediacy of boys, their innate ability to live in the moment. Often this is frustrating, and as an English teacher, can have negative effects. Some days you long for the perfectionism of some girls, their desire to improve and the work ethic they employ to get the best results. But usually the ability to move on, get over it, laugh at themselves is refreshing and makes it easy and pleasant to be in their company. Boys can forget quickly, they can make the same mistakes over and over and over, wear the consequences and get on with it. My wild child is a bit like this, but he is not quite four, so there is a long road ahead to the grunting years of secondary school.

Yesterday he surprised me. His teacher at daycare told me how she loved how he speaks up for another little boy who is shy and younger than the others. She described my wild child with such tenderness, telling me how he sweetly looks after this other little boy, only a tiny bit littler than him, that I had to look away. It made my heart melt.

Recently, the experiences of two young men have made me question just how much boys, or any child for that matter, are self determined, and how much impact parents can really have. These two young men are in strife. They have massive drug addictions, mental health issues, are engaging in criminal behaviour and are at risk of hurting themselves and others. They come from families that love them, with both parents still happily together and with the best intentions for their sons in the forefront of their busy lives. These parents have done the best with their kids, and yet this is the situation they are now facing. Both talk candidly about the trouble their sons are in, and when you look into their faces as they share their stories, the pain in their hearts is palpable. They know they have made mistakes, as have their sons, but at the moment the consequences are much more difficult for their parents.

These men both have had some difficulty in their lives, but so do a lot of teenage boys and they don’t all turn out like this. So you wonder what went wrong. Do we get a chance as parents to map out their journey, or are we merely observers? Is it our job to know which friends are going to do more harm than good and very carefully steer them in a different direction without making that friendship even more appealing? Is it enough to teach our boys to communicate effectively? Reflect carefully? And know how to reach out to those who will always be there if things do get out of hand? We will make mistakes, as they will, and we have to teach humility with our own examples. But we also have to make them accountable for their behaviour.

And maybe just hope with everything you have that our beautiful boys will continue to surprise us, in the best possible ways.

 

What going back to work is really like.

Monday, March 25th, 2013

It’s lovely is what it is.

I worked a fair bit last year when my bub was still really little, but it was all from home. And don’t get me wrong, working from home has many perks when you have small children, but actually leaving the house dressed in nice clothes to go somewhere where you once really belonged is lovely.

Once we all got over the trauma of those first few days at daycare I could actually enjoy being back at work. It helps enormously that whenever I pick up the little munchkin I spy on him first and he is always happy. Sometimes he is outside cruising around the yard, other times he is happily stuck in a box, and sometimes he is still asleep! So knowing that my beautiful boys are being loved and cared for somewhere else, and that they are very happy there makes me live in the moment when I am at work, instead of feeling bad about being there.

Sure, it means life is busier, not really wealthier, but with a bit more purpose to our week. It means that I have to be organised, and I quite like that. It means we have a bit more structure in our week with only three days at home to fit in all of our catch ups and activities. It means I really love those three days for the moments they present. We try and do really fun things together. I play with the boys more, even though there are a lot more jobs to do in the house, because I know I don’t have as much time with them as I did before. It means I have something to think about and talk about that is more than how little sleep I am getting. It means I feel a bit more like me.

I love the balance. I love the reward of going back and working with fantastic teenage boys who are all energy and laughs. I love talking to some adults about the world of teaching I felt like I had left behind for a while. I love being offered more work than I want because it reminds me that I am still useful. I love walking into daycare and seeing my boys faces light up when they see me too. And I love going home and sharing stories about our time apart. And on those nights I have been at work, I happily climb into bed with my wild child and tell him a story.

I realise absolutely how lucky I am to be able to have both worlds, to be able to balance and combine what I’m good at and what I love and even make a bit of pocket money on the side. I know it is a privileged choice and one I don’t make lightly. But I also know that this is how it is this year. It may not work like this next year, or in the years my boys head off to school. But at the moment it feels right for me and for my family and that is all that should really matter.

Motherhood with a capital G

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

Let me preface this post with the much maligned expression that this is a first world problem. It is, I know it is, but it is my first world problem.

There are a lot of emotions that sum up motherhood, and they vary depending on the day you are having, or the day your kids are having.

Today for me it is guilt.

I dropped my two boys at daycare this morning. It is my bubba’s second day. He is only there for a few hours and it is breaking my heart. Monday he didn’t cry when I dropped him off, but when I picked him up he was sitting on the floor with his wrap that he loves, crying. I nearly started.

I scooped him up and he stopped straight away. They said he had been okay. They showed me photos of him happily playing outside, crawling over the equipment with a big smile. And then they told me that he hadn’t eaten, slept or had anything to drink. My heart sank.

Sleep, no big deal, he can go home and sleep and he is trying to drop that morning sleep anyway. Hopefully when he is there for a whole day,(next week!), he will get tired enough to sleep. Eating, well that’s a struggle during the day for me at home. He eats heaps of brekkie and heaps of dinner, but not much in between some days. Drinking, that’s a problem. Today it is meant to be stinking hot. He has to drink. I have taken his own bottle in and asked them persevere, often he rejects it from me five times before he has a drink.

So as I take the dog for a walk on my own, something I would normally love, I have to stop myself from crying. Inside there is an epic wrestling match going on. The blue team say he will be fine, so many children do this, there are many in there younger than him, there for much longer than him, some every day. One Dad who followed me out today, told me to just keep walking, its hard, but it gets better. He should know, his daughter cried for three months before she settled and now she loves it. Her baby sister who is also there, doesn’t even blink. But inside the red team are throwing some serious punches. Why am I doing this? I don’t absolutely have to go back to work yet. I can work for the rest of my life. He is only little. It’s selfish and cruel. The red team is winning. The tears well up.

As I wait in the coffee shop and look around, there are no other children, but lots of parents, not working, just hanging out with their mates, socialising. They don’t have guilty parent stamped on their forehead and their kids are obviously all somewhere else. I want to tell everyone that it’s my second day on my own, I want them to tell me its okay. I want them to share their experience and show me that down the track, their children aren’t traumatised by it. That their family is much happier for a bit of balance, a bit more money saved for the big trip, and a bit of independence from their mother didn’t hurt anyone. But their experience is not my experience, so whatever they say may not help anyway. And there are obviously lots of dedicated mothers not in the coffee shop, but at home making some kind of playschool craft with their children.

I have been down this road before. My wild child didn’t like daycare much either when he was littler and I was so lucky to find the perfect solution. He went off to a friend who did some daycare in her home. He loved it. In fact, I think he would have rathered have them as his family some days. But even then he cried when I left and then before I could get out to the highway a photo would land on my phone of my cheeky wild child happily playing with the other kids. He still talks about them all the time. And I honestly believe he is better for that experience.

Do I go back to that? I can’t afford both children to go there, so do I change daycare days, do two drop offs, pay a fortune and pack a bag with lunch and nappies and hope that my bubba is better there? Or do I persevere? Or do I quit? I don’t want my baby to cry all day, but I also don’t want a child who has to be around his mother constantly, that is not healthy for anyone. I have to work next week so he has to stay for two days. My husband can get him if he is not coping, but hopefully it wont get to this.

So instead of doing the work I am supposed to be doing, I am writing, trying to console myself. Inside the red and blue team are still in the ring, pounding it out and its only been an hour since I rang daycare to check on him. Tomorrow motherhood might be filled with joy, or frustration or pride or boredom, but today guilt takes top spot, at least until he is back in my arms, or throwing food across the room, and then the cycle starts again.

 

 

 



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