Archive for the ‘motherhood’ Category

Seven things everyone needs to know about children, whether you have them or not.

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

I’ve only got two children and neither has made their fifth birthday yet.  But it turns out that while their behaviour may be bizarre, frustrating and hilarious, often all before 6am, it is absolutely normal. And so it made me think what these little tyrants might look like from outer space. Or to my self-absorbed, recently single, corporate baby brother.

 

They do not sleep when required.

The thing about sleep is that it affects every single part of your life. And when you are not getting any, it feels like hell. You are cranky, short-tempered, frustrated, tired, miserable. You know when you’ve had a big night and you feel a bit scratchy the next day. Well it’s like that. All the time, except without the fun party night and embarrassing photos to go with it. And instead of heading off to work to hide in an office or behind a desk, or just have a sleep in or a lie on the couch, you remain at the coalface, deep in the trenches, fending off thrown food, responding to ridiculous demands and having to complete mundane tasks like putting a complex Lego Police Headquarters together with Peppa-freaking-Pig in the background. Sorry, still raw. So aliens/ helpful uncles if you see a parent lying face down on the floor of the playroom letting their children draw a treasure map on their brand new jeans, don’t judge, just pass them a pillow.

 

Children can survive without eating anything other than biscuits for a long, long time.

Parents of small terrorists, tonight after you cook dinner, put it in the blender, throw in some cold water, splatter it all over the table and on the floor and then throw half of it in the bin. Because at least this way you have saved yourself the angst of attempting to feed it to whichever child is on a hunger strike. And it’s not just the cooking, it’s the shopping. Okay let’s rephrase that, shopping with more than one small child in a busy supermarket should be an Olympic Sport, or at the very least a Reality TV show. Seriously if one hasn’t escaped the trolley, or stolen food, or hidden under the shelves, or climbed the shelves, they are hollering at the top of their lungs for whatever garbage food I have said no to. Then you get it in the car, out of the car, in the fridge, off the floor, out from behind the couch and then you cook it. So when they push it away without even a sniff dear alien/uncle, that is why I have turned around and am yelling into the freezer; unlike my children, the food doesn’t have feelings.

 

Everything is a weapon.

I have boys so perhaps this feature is more pertinent to the House of Penis that I live in. Everything that is mobile can be used as a weapon. Seriously, pretend you are Brick from Anchorman and just start naming random objects around you right now. Yes, yes and yes, they are all weapons. The cushions from the couch, weapon and trampoline. Plastic spoon from the yoghurt. Yes. Yoghurt. Yes. Bowl the yoghurt is in. Yes. Not to mention the sporting equipment, Lego, and the latest beautiful wooden toys. All effective weapons. Sometimes everyone is in on the battle that has taken over the yard. Sometimes it is just one crazy toddler desperately seeking revenge with the washing basket. Sometimes it is a bike, thrown across a playground in fury, but I try not to do that too often! So when you buy gifts, look carefully at it and ask yourself, not whether this could be used as a weapon, but just how much damage it might do.

 

When small children who are not toilet trained don’t have a nappy on, they shit.

You would think as parents we would know this. And yet the amount of times a kid without a nappy on has left some chocolate nuggets on my carpet, in the bath, on the deck is beyond belief – and the kid doesn’t always live here. Sometimes they shit their pants because they are too busy doing something else. Sometimes they leave one floating in the pool. And you know what the worst part is, they cannot clean it up. So the red-faced parent is left to almost vomit on themselves as they clean shit out of the carpet/ the undies/ the shopping trolley/ the bath/ the public pool. Hell the last camping trip even had one smeared all across the jumping pillow. Yep parents you are now rethinking the bare-foot jump you had on that last holiday and aliens/baby brother; yes they actually are that gross.

 

They cry.

All. The. Time. Sometimes it is for good reason. But mostly it is for the exact opposite of the reason they were crying five minutes ago. And man are they loud. They cry to get in the bath, then cry to get their hair washed and then cry again to get out of the bath. They cry because they are hungry, and because the sandwich is made incorrectly, and because it is on the wrong plate, or in the wrong shape on the right plate, or because it has fallen apart when they picked it up. And now because they threw it on the floor and the dog ate it. They cry because they are tired, and then they cry because they have to go to bed. Seriously half the time they don’t know why they are crying and I’m just too tired to figure it out. If you see them crying, I know they are annoying you, but at least you can leave the room, or house, or country. Me I’m still trying to figure out how to sneak into the bathroom with either of them noticing.

 

They are freaking hilarious.

This is perhaps the most annoying and misunderstood feature of the creature we call small children. Now it is no secret because parents have been spending every second of their offspring’s first years telling everyone who has no choice but to listen that their kid is funny. In reality, only your own kid is funny. Oh and that kid who did a commercial for a health care company many years ago. Or the one in the toilet cubicle next to yours offering a running commentary on everyone’s wee.  But in your own simple world of cleaning up, entertaining, organising and parenting, the one innocent comment that makes you giggle with delight is bliss. They can crack you up, and when they do, they are absolutely delighted. It might hiding in their bed during the day telling you they are trying to get some patience, or ripping out some excellent air guitar to The Boss when they thought no one was watching, or just farting on their brother with a nude bum. It makes you laugh so hard you wet your pants, again. And you don’t actually have to understand this one, but just nod with us when it is the only story we have to tell at the latest family catch up.

They love.

You might see this from above, you might hear it talked about, you might even read some ridiculous soppy post about it on Facebook, but only cos it’s the kid’s birthday. But it’s true. They love. It is fierce and furious and feels like it will last forever. It comes in cuddles and sloppy full kisses on the mouth. It comes in the sheer delight on their faces when they see you. It comes in beautiful artwork from daycare with some cheesy pun. It comes in a midnight cuddle in bed. And when they are old enough and realise how much it makes your heart melt, it even comes out of their little mouths. It is harder to see, but you sure know when you’ve got it.

 

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

 

 

Yes neighbours I am the crazy woman yelling at my kids.

Sunday, August 25th, 2013

I just a read a post from someone else’s beautiful blog about her daughters happily playing outside on their organic farm, and then the sun shined through the clouds. And then I threw up on myself a little bit.

You see even if I lived on an organic farm, my two boys would not inspire that kind of post.

Instead you get this one.

My wild child turned feral today. Completely. Out. Of. Control. Feral. Wild animal thrashing about, screaming like his leg had been chopped off, punching into his brother, throwing stones at the new car, kick the dog, throw the train set kind of feral. And all because I said no.

I believe in boundaries. I believe in consequences. I believe in teaching kids limits. Well at least I did until I witnessed the complete maniac my four old turned into on a fairly ordinary Sunday afternoon. He was not allowed to go over the neighbours house. He had asked to go over this morning, and their Dad said no. So we told him he wasn’t allowed. Response, go anyway.

I don’t do defiant well. Ask any kid I’ve ever taught. I see red, quickly and fiercely. At the moment defiance is flavour of the behaviour month in our place. If he doesn’t want to do it, he doesn’t. Hence today. Complete meltdown. Eventually we got him in the car where he calmed down and channelled some kind of freak angel child for the next hour at the park. Lucky for him.

And then afternoon comes. My folks turn up. Rare occurance, but not enough of a novelty to save the humiliation for another time. Seems they aren’t special enough to turn on the charm for anymore. So this afternoon when he is told that his Dad’s rule of not playing at their house for the week, comes into effect, the meltdown is repeated. Of course by now, Dad is off surfing and I get to invoke my most common role as most un-fun parent. I say no. He goes over. I return him to our house. He loses it. He loses it so bad, I nearly cry, and every single strategy I have is completely disregarded. Put in his room= throws toys at the wall, put in time out in the drive way= throws stones at the new car, cuddle him = kicks me, put in the pram to go to the park = starts laying into his brother. And all the while, the neighbours are pulling back curtains and locking their doors everywhere. Especially the ones whose house he was trying to go to.

My parents are at a complete loss. He is mental. My dad even tells him off. Takes no notice. My Mum tries some nice calm primary teacher talk, too busy screaming to care. So all I have left is throw him in the car, still screaming, well by now, both of us are because I am embarrassed, furious and terrified of what is happening to my little boy. The guy across the road just stares at me as I drive past wondering what kind of psycho he lives across the road from. I fight back tears and take my new car for a spin round the block. (Don’t even ask me what colour it is, because I have no freaking idea.) It works. He stops, I calm down. And then we pull in the driveway and the kid next door is out the front again. I talk him through walking inside without being completely mental again.

To face the horrified faces of my parents. It is worse that they see him for the absolute worst behaviour he has ever displayed in his life? He is not the golden grand-child anyway, but now he might be lucky if he gets a christmas present. Or can they at least see his naughtiness and not just my whinging aside as overreactions. Maybe now the fancy cafe they’ve booked for Father’s Day next Sunday might not have as much pressure attached to it. My Mum, the primary school teacher, cannot think of one possible strategy that might work, instead just citing the most mental kid she teaches in Grade 2.

We get to the park. He is fine, good even. Me, well let’s just say thank god there is a bottle of white wine in the fridge.

And at least it was my parents, the in-laws don’t need any more ammunition.

Maybe this full time work caper isn’t such a bad option after all.

What full time work feels like now

Friday, August 2nd, 2013

 

It’s been three weeks since I have been back full time at a paid job. I have never stopped working full time, my other job just got longer and I stopped getting paid for a while. Now I am back in my old job. A job I used to love, but often found overwhelming, stressful and demanding. How time can change your view on things.

I still love this job, and I’m lucky to have had lots of really great moments over the last three weeks where I have been reminded of why teaching is awesome. Each day is different; you work with like-minded, but differently experienced people which means interesting and funny conversations. The boys I teach are pretty great. They are willing to share something of themselves, they are keen to know a little bit about you, and they give most things a really good go. My first week back provided two of the best lessons I have ever taught in my whole teaching career. I learnt more about those young men in 50 minutes that perhaps some of their teachers who have taught them all year know about them. They were willing to share stuff about themselves that their classmates later said they never knew, and they had been at school together for five years. It made me remember that each of these boys I teach have a pretty important story to tell, we just have to ask.

And it made me realise how important my job is as a parent.

And therein lies the complexity of this topsy-turvy time. My husband is home for three days with the wild and child and the stink, and on these days I can breeze out of the house on time, get a coffee and get to work nice and early like I did every day, once upon a time. As my mind flashes to my little boys at home, I can smile knowing they are doing something fun with their dad. It’s like every day has become the weekend for them. Holes get dug, Lego gets built, the shed is open, and there are tools out and about.

But on those other two days when neither of us are there, the stink is sick, the babysitter (mum) is too sick to mind them and the mad rush is on to get them out of the house, then back home and dinner cooked in minutes while they are tired and hungry, it’s a bit more difficult. The saving grace at the moment is my beautiful life-saving friend who has my boys with her. I know they are happy, loved, playing and fed. Once the new day-care opens its get a bit harder again, but at least then, every day will be a work day for me as my husband stays home permanently. Maybe then the shift will be easier. I hope so, because it’s about then that my other three jobs kick in to gear.

It makes me realise that this teaching gig aint that hard. Even with kids who would rather be anywhere that in that classroom reading a book. Even when meetings drag on, forty essays need to be marked by tomorrow and the baby has been up all night and I’ve got two hours of tutoring after school. It’s a nice shift for a while. It’s nice to feel like you know what you are doing and that at the start of the day you know which battle you will fight that day.

I miss my boys a lot. I think about them whenever I look at a clock and wonder what they will be doing. When I’m tired and it’s only lunchtime. But I remember that I’m just as tired when I’m at home. And anyway it’s my husband’s turn to get a crack at that life for a while. I’ve been able to juggle it all for four years and spend the majority of my time with my boys. Now it’s turn to run a house and be primary parent, and it’s my turn to walk in
the door tired after a day at work and have my boys run to greet me.

Well it’s not quite that much of a swap yet, but we are getting there.

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.

 

Not such Great Expectations

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

I very good friend of mine has a strategy that if you don’t have very high expectations then you can’t get disappointed.

It doesn’t work for me. I have very high expectations, of everyone, including myself, all of the time. Sure there are disappointments, but that’s life. You deal with it and you move on. Or in the case of me the scorpio, you deal with it, move on and then never ever forget! I have high expectations of what I can achieve in a day, of how much help my husband can be, of how fantastic our weekend should be, of having a healthy diet etc. And there is my kids.

My expectations vary from day to hour to situation to minute. Sometimes I aim for getting in and out of the supermarket without having to do the “I’m very mad with you, but don’t want these strangers to know” whisper. Other times I just want to be able to go for a walk without having to stop every minute. And sometimes I just want dinner to stay on the table and some of it go into bellies rather than on the floor. Praise; no. Enjoyable family time; no. Full tummies; yep I’ll settle for that every time.

So what on earth made me think that my wild child would able to do some modelling. Maybe just that, I thought he could so some modelling. He has done a little bit before, both of these times were one session for under an hour. He was great, loved it and far exceeded my expectations. This time they want him to do lots of sessions with lots of clothes on and off each time. No props, no entertainment, just smiling for the camera in a hot studio wearing hoodies and coats. So typical to the wild child’s form, he absolutely stuns me. He loves it, smiles, laughs, even gives one of the girls taking the pics a kiss! Next time is a location shoot, its pouring rain and cold and yet somehow he turns it on for the camera, gets changed, poses, laughs, follows instructions, remarkable. But then he has to go back to the studio and do some more, and he doesn’t love it. He is uncooperative, difficult, naughty, demanding because he is obviously bored. By now my expectations are so low, I just want him to stop running around and stand on the spot for a second to get the pic. It’s not going to happen. But to be fair to him, we are all probably expecting too much. They have  no one entertaining him, the chubba bubba is crawling into the shot, up on the swinging chairs, down the hall, the staff are making idle threats about getting another model, as if he cares!

So what do you do? Perservere with it and hope they can pull some tricks out of the bag to get him back on track?  Bribe him with something he really wants? Pull out of it even though you are only about half way through the gig? (Even though when I agreed I had no idea this was the deal!)  My expectations are probably still way too high to expect a nearly four year old, busy, inquisitive little boy to dress up and smile for the cameras. I wonder what else I will expect of him that is way beyond him because he is the oldest? At the moment we are trying to get his manners in operation 100% of the time. We expect him to eat his dinner at the table. We expect him to tell us when he needs to go to the toilet and we expect him to play nicely with his brothers and his friends.

Meanwhile his little brother has just started walking. At the same age, the wild child was feeding himself, making a bit of sense with his words and running, but because, for the moment, he is the baby, then very little is expected of him, as it should be at 16 months of age. Will being the firstborn mean the wild child always has higher expectations on him? Will these mean that he will achieve much higher than his brother? Or will the pressure to try and be and do more than he can be negative? And will the lower expectations mean my chubba bubba is happier because far less is expected of him? Or will he be lazy and rely on others to always do it for him? Or will my expectations make absolutely no difference to these strong willed, determined, fearless little boys?

Ultimately my expectations of them do not matter. But perhaps what does are the expectations they will eventually have for themselves. And for that I am grateful that neither of them are scorpios!

 

Feeding time at the Zoo

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

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I don’t know about you, but at my house, feeding time is endlessly entertaining. Not for me, but for anyone standing around watching the chaos that is dinner time, it is hilarious.

The problem is, I don’t see the funny side.  And I am far too embarrassed by the horrid table manners of my children to invite anyone over to share this precious time with me.

It starts with the demands for food. In my house this begins at about 4pm, the 5.30am start contributes to the whole day being much, much earlier than it should. So instead of snacks, I starve my children so they eat dinner. Sometimes it even works.

Generally by this time I have tried to pretend to give the wild child some choice about what he is eating, you know bacon and egg rice or tuna pasta. (It is gourmet in our house, let me tell you. In fact if Masterchef really wants to challenge their contestants, tell them to prepare something that the whole family will eat, in ten minutes, with a whinging baby on one hip, that is super healthy and actually interesting. Good luck.)

Dinner is presented. Bubba gives it one swipe with his hand and his bowl ends up on the floor. Wild child lies face down on the table protesting, hair goes in delicious dinner. Dog tries to lick the dinner off the floor as I catch the spilling cup of water from wild child now moving head out of dinner and into drink. So, the dog gets yelled at, the bubba pulls his bib off and gets served his dinner from the floor back in the bowl. He gets a spoon, I get a spoon, the wall cops the next two spoonfuls. Now I have my head on the table with both children laughing at me and not eating very much at all.

And then the pooing begins. Always at dinner time. Wild child runs off needing to do a poo, bubba starts concentrating, already doing a poo. I wipe one bum, change another bum, wash my hands and we attempt dinner again. Games, songs, races, bribes, threats, eventually most of it is out of the bowls, some in tummies, lots on the floor and a bit in the dog’s mouth.

Hilarious I know.  Now I just wish I could see the funny side of it. Maybe at 5 in the morning when they wake up hungry, the true comedy of this will really shine through.

Some how I doubt it.

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.

 

 

 

The bullsh*t notion of ‘having it all’

Monday, February 4th, 2013

Doesn’t everyone want it all?

Isn’t that the point? Isn’t that what the meaning of life is all about? And if this notion has inspired countless books, songs, movies and adventures then why are mothers still being challenged for embarking on their own search for it?

I don’t get it and to be honest, a bit over the amount of time dedicated to discussing whether women can have it all. And yes I do see the irony in writing a piece on it, but I have to have a say.

I am currently in the throes of desperately trying to have it all. By all I mean fitness, friendship, healthy family relationships and tummies, a clean house, a happy home, a flutter at a new career, the comfort of an old career, enough sleep, laughter, adventure and lots of love. It’s a bit of a struggle. To make some of these things happen, either for me, or for those around me,  other things have to be given up, or sacrificed or just done really badly. Friends get neglected, my heart rate only rises at dinner time as the healthy food gets piffed across the table, or just pushed aside, (see clean house and happy home above), the turmoil of leaving small children in daycare overwhelms most of the benefits of accomplishing any kind of paid work and there is never enough sleep.

But isn’t this what everyone is doing? Kids or not? Male or female? Single, married, studying, employed, young, old? Isn’t this just called life?

I have always had a sense of ‘the something elses’. You know, I am doing this but I could be doing something else, another degree, the next step of my career, an overseas adventure, a seachange. Most of which I have had a crack at. And I am certainly not alone, lots of my friends are the same, renovating houses, travelling to remote places, fitting a but of paid work in between caring for little munchkins.

I also think men do this too, and young singles, and empty nesters, everyone who wants to gets the most out of whatever opportunity they have in front of them. Whether it be chasing exotic, warm, uncrowded waves, or having something or someone to call their own, or reinventing themselves, isn’t everyone chasing the key that unlocks the next stage of happiness in their lives. And I don’t think this should have the negative connotation of having it all, I think this is what a fulfilled life is about. It is all a balance, for everyone. A balance between needs and wants, dreams and reality, the affordable and the unattainable. Sometimes we tip the scales in our favour, and sometimes we fall off in a screaming heap.

And you don’t need to be a mother with children to be walking the tightrope, you just need to get back on.

 

Welcome to the world of kinder.

Friday, January 25th, 2013

 

So the wild child is off to kinder. Although when you are three they don’t really call it kinder, but it’s much easier than saying 3 year old activity group all the time.

He starts next week and he’s very excited. Now he has done lots of activities in the past, even a few without me. But for some reason this one feels a bit different and I’m not sure why. Perhaps it is because kinder is the first educational experience he has been involved in. The first one where it is accepted, expected and possibly even helpful, for him to be compared with the other children.

It is the first one that really matters if he doesn’t fit in.

I’m not too sad about the fact he is growing up and starting kinder. I know for many parents this must be a little bit challenging. Although I dare say, the majority of us are very happy to have Friday mornings organized with an activity for the rest of the year.

It is more about how my wild, cheeky, busy little boy will respond to this new environment. There are expectations and rules and standards to be met. There are times and places for different behavior. There are many other children who will be far better behaved than him and I’m not sure how this will affect him. Or me.

You see the orientation meeting didn’t go as well as I’d hoped. Look, he wasn’t the child that spewed during the play session, but he certainly made his mark. As we arrived, I sat down to chat to a couple of other Mums that I sort of know. They both have sons; their sons are buddies. So the wild child ran off to where they were playing, keen to be part of it and make some new friends. However, within minutes he had run into one of the boys and bumped him over. I think this was his weird, little boy way of trying to be part of the group. How I wish he could have just said hi! These Mums were really cool about it, as perhaps most Mums of sons are.

Anyway, we played, I chatted, he ran, and climbed and ran some more. The one positive was, he loved the place. The other positive was another little boy ran with him and he was much littler. This time the wild child ran beside and not into him. Thank God. And everyone commented on how much energy he has. Not in a particularly positive way I might add.

So I just don’t know how he will go this year. I don’t know whether he will make friends using his words, or by playing games, or laughing at their antics or copying the clever things they do. I don’t know whether he will get into trouble for not listening, or sharing, or staying still, or fighting. I don’t know if he will find other children who don’t like him and who wont let him play. I don’t know if he will drive the teachers mad. I don’t know if he will cry when I say goodbye.

But I suppose that is part of the adventure of being a parent, and being a kid.

I do know that he will grow and learn and change. I do know that he will make clever things. I do know that he will learn to follow the rules, even if it is because he finds out what the consequences are when he doesn’t. I do know that he will surprise me.

So even though I am scared that he won’t fit in, or that he will be really naughty and the teachers wont like him very much. Or that I will have some awkward conversations with these teachers about some choice words he has used, or other words he hasn’t used to sort out disputes with other children. The thing that worries me the most is that he won’t have fun there.  I worry that he won’t make friends, laugh, play and come home filled with even more energy and stories of some real friends! I worry that kinder wont be somewhere that he feels like he belongs.

And perhaps what scares me the most, is that if that is case, this time I can’t fix it.



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