Tag Archives: motherhood

Failing motherhood and a penis in the meat department.

31 Jan D Man and Kiki
So sweet and innocent looking....

So sweet and innocent looking….

Sometimes I see these beautifully compliant children standing nicely beside their parents at the supermarket and I wonder if they’ve been doped.

Their parent is often casually blipping their groceries through the self-service check out, taking their time as though they’re not harbouring a child-sized time bomb in their trolley, and these lovely children are waiting patiently, maybe they’re even helping and smiling and chatting cutely.

My kids don’t do that.

Ever, that I can recall.

I guess it may have happened once or twice but the other mortifying experiences are burnt into my brain.

Sometimes I see child in a cafe and they sit nicely on their butts and drink their drinks happily without blowing bubbles, spilling it, digging their hands in it, or fighting over whose glass is whose. They dexterously dip their chip into a little tomato sauce and politely eat it.

My kids don’t do that either.

Recently in the supermarket my two were screaming at each other in the meat department.

They were loud. Really loud.

Not having an argument per se, more like screaming like two cavemen over the final dinosaur drumstick before the apocalypse set in and everyone died horrible deaths from acid rain and starvation. Know what I mean?

Using my public mothering voice I asked them to please be quiet as the other customers did not want to hear their screams, growls or blood curdling war cries.

 D Man was laughing manically between screams, tormenting his sister who was trapped in the pram, darting out of her reach before she could tear a clump of hair from his scalp, and Kiki was busting it up a notch from Feral to Foul.

I asked firmly for it to end.

Nada.

I whisper-growled with the quiet death tone for them to stop.

Nada.

There was a grey-haired, bespectacled lady perusing the lamb cutlets who was trying to pretend we did not exist. Fair play. I could seriously have walked out and left them there, hopping a cab to the airport and diving onto a plane to Puerto Rico.

When the final screech made my ears bleed I hissed at D Man to quit it and he proceeded to pull down his pants and waggle his penis at the pork cutlets.

Madame Grey Hair could no longer resist and she gave me a withering glare coupled with a tut.

Little terrors

Little terrors

‘I know, they’re foul and should never be allowed out. Their mother should be ashamed.’ I said in complete exasperation.

Lately I feel whenever I ask them to do anything they do the exact opposite. Even if it endangers them ; running on the road, wildly swinging sticks or sporting equipment, or just slapping each other upside UFC style.

Trying to get D Man to get dressed is unbelievable.

I ask him politely 10 times to get dressed and it’s not until I lose my shit, threaten violence and walk half way out to the car that he takes any notice….. and don’t get me started on bedtime.

Or teeth cleaning.

Or,

Or,

Or…..

Lately, I’ve been feeling like I’m failing motherhood.

I regularly lose library books, children’s socks and my cool.

I always forget the nappy bag, and 9 out of 10 times it doesn’t matter, but that other time?? Yep, at the mercy of kind strangers in the midst of a poonami.

I thought I’d be a Madonna-esque mother. Not pointy bra and crotch grabbing Madonna, but more like a gently smiling, blue swathed virgin, without the virgin bit.

I doubt Joseph ever walked in from a day hammering wooden nails and Mary thrust a whining, squalling, grubby faced Jesus in his hands as she hissed was going for a run before she killed someone.

I also doubt her sandals would have coped well cross-country.

There’s definitely a couple of minutes a day where they’re delightful, sometimes it’s even at the same time as each other. I love them dearly, don’t get me wrong, but I am struggling.

I’m not afraid to admit it to you for a few reasons.

One is that you’ve already seen my many lumps and bumps both literal and figurative, but also because if I’m struggling then surely, amongst all of those with it, onto it, composed, groomed mothers, there’s a couple of stragglers limping through to bed time daily wondering when the relentlessness will ease.

Since I started writing this I’ve had a mega breakthrough with D Man by taking away TV privileges. Do something the first time I ask, or that’s it for the day.

It’s working!!

One small win for Mama Bear and I feel like I can cope for another week.

It’s all about the little victories when the battle seems never ending, innit?

Me. All. Over.

Me. All. Over.

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Brotherly Love

23 Oct

When the divine Zanni, from Heart Mama, was expecting her new baby to join them any second, she wrote to her daughter Elka about the impending changes. Her letter got me to thinking about siblings, and in particular, my children.

In some families siblings are best friends, and in others they are like distant ships passing in the night.
Can you encourage friendships to grow?

Five month old Kiki lies on the floor, her eyes training on D Man’s every move. She is transfixed by the golden haired boy; her big brother. He runs back and forth in her line of vision, delighting in the fact that she turns her head to watch him, over and over again. She gazes at him adoringly, startling every now and then at his squeals, and he basks in her attention. Their giggles are like fairy laughter in my ears as I observe these first independent interactions of my first-born son, and new-ish daughter.

This is their earliest play developing, and they are so happy to just be near each other.

My son, D Man, often looks to me with his little arms outstretched -

‘Hold, Baby?’

We set them up so they’re safe and supported and gently put Kiki in his arms, and he just sniffs her and kisses her head…..then he gets bored and he pushes her away so she face plants on the couch and he reaches for a plastic dinosaur with one hand and picks his nose with the other…..but the first part is no less beautiful.

 

To continue reading, pop over to Heart Mama

WANTED – ONE VILLAGE. Serious applicants need only apply.

12 Aug my tribe 8

Last week I went to the loo.
Nothing ground breaking there, however, last week I got to close the door.
Not only that, but after I was finished, I sat there for a minute or two longer than I needed to. Just sitting. Thinking about nothing. Just picking my cuticles and thinking about making a cup of tea.
Childless people would say ‘er duh, what’s the biggie?’ but anyone with sproglets would look at me with avarice in their eyes. How could I do this, they would ask? Was I not worried my toddler would be smothering my baby with his stuffed Rat, or sticking CDs in the toaster?
Nopes, because I was staying with my family.

Once upon a time, it took a village to raise a child, but now, in this bigger, better, faster age more and more people are doing it all alone. Neighbours don’t help neighbours, extended families don’t live together or even near each other and often families are simply unable to lend a hand due to their own requirements to be out earning money or playing bowls or whatever grandparents do when they’re not babysitting.
With the world becoming easier to access, and more people traveling and setting up shop around the globe, people are having their families miles away from their support networks. So, just how important is a support network when you have children?

The simple fact of the matter is, when your partner is at work all day every day and you’re stuck in Groundhog Day, it’s nice if there is someone to lend a hand now and then. Even just someone to share a cup of tea with, and chat about what’s going on (or not going on) in your life.

I wonder if post natal depression is on the rise because we do no longer live in this village way?
Mother’s Groups can be a great help (not my bag, but last round the escapees and I got on famously), and I’ve heard many women say they would not have survived without it….but when you have more than one child you can no longer go. Toddlers aren’t welcome, probably for fear of terrifying mums of newborns and creating a whole spate of infanticide.
I recently found myself going under. I was feeling increasingly sad, and very cranky.
Mister H was working on a big project, and was pulling long days. Combine that with his training and I felt like a single mother (hats off to single mums around the world….it is one mother truckin’ tough gig). I didn’t tell anyone I was struggling, because I couldn’t really put my finger on what the problem was. The day to day business of raising children is not exactly difficult, but the repetition, routine and constant negotiation with a toddler can grind you down, added to the months of disturbed sleep.
I’m lucky that my family live only an hour’s plane ride away, so I jumped that plane and got to where the love is flowing and the whiskeys are poured large.

While hanging at my bro’s house recently, my sister-in-law had the big kids in the bath together while I breastfed and then I started dinner, all nice and relaxed, not feeling like a jumped up juggler in curly jester shoes, keeping a chainsaw, an axe and an egg all in the air. I realised then that perhaps there was something to be said for polygamy. The husband has his hands full, sure, but the wives have sister wives to help them. Shame I’m such a shit sharer, that’s never going to fly for me.

Apparently, people are twice as likely to say yes to babysitting for an hour than people are to ask. If you need an hour off, and you do the math on that, you’ll realise you’re failing the maths test.
So, why is it so hard to ask for help?
I was discussing it with a girlfriend and I told her I felt like I was failing motherhood if I needed help. Millions of women don’t have help. She suggested that perhaps it was a sign of a great mother, one who recognised when help was needed to maintain the balance of sanity.

I’m not going to lament my lack of village any longer. I’m going to build a village. I’ve invited over a group of mums from my locality, 2 Poms, a Yank and a Dane. Sounds like a joke, doesn’t it? All we need to do is walk into a bar. They’re all here raising babies without their tribes. I’m going to suggest a weekly co-op babysitting vibe. Twice a month you look after someone else’s kids for two hours, but twice a month, you get two hours off.
It’s not huge, but it’s enough time to get your bikini line sorted before Chewbacca mistakes you for a mate, get the groceries done without having a scene in the biscuit aisle, or simply curl up and read a book quietly (might even get that book finished by 2014).

Space.

That’s all it is. Just a little space so I can just be me.
Not someone’s mum.

Not someone’s wife.

Just me.

My village may not be my tribe, but maybe we can start a new tribe?

Anyhoo, here’s some shots of my tribe I took on my trip. I really love the shit out of those guys.

The Paternal Short Stick.

11 Jun m and a

I seem to be writing a lot of baby related stuff lately….I hope to God I don’t become one of those people that always talks about their babies but I really haven’t been doing that much to fuel the inspiration. Mister H and I had gastro in the week and I really must draw the line at blogging about diarrhoea. So, if you’re thinking ‘oh crap, she’s about to bang on about her kids again’ then perhaps every time I use the words baby, offspring or any other child related word then just replace it with something like gorilla, or chinchilla. Should spice it up for you.

Has anyone noticed what an endless, thankless task it is looking after a newborn (gorilla/chinchilla)? It can’t just be me. Surely.

I would liken it to having a rock band come and stay in your boutique hotel. There’s all night raging that disturbs the other guests (management gets plenty of complaints but our hands are tied!). Piles of washing for housekeeping, all of it with incredibly suspect looking stains and no word of apology. You have out of hours ordering of room service with not one single tip, hell, I haven’t even got a smile for my troubles yet. This goes on for seemingly endless days, that turn into weeks that meld into months.

Once your offspring begins to smile, it definitely gets a bit better. There’s an acknowledgment that they remember that you’re that safe, warm lady with the yummy jubblies stuffed in your top. By the time you hear a giggle, you’re so grateful for some interaction it feels like you’ve had a revelatory discussion about quantum physics. All I can say, really, is that Mother Nature had a smashing idea when she gave us oxytocin. That sweet, sweet, mild stone that comes over me as my baby (don’t use gorilla here, too weird) suckles at my breast makes everything go soft focus and I forget about all the poo smeared onesies glaring at me from the laundry floor. Thankfully, it lasts for a little while, too, so 10 minutes later when that same milk projectiles a la The Exorcist, I can coo and purr at my little one rather than gag as I wipe the yoghurt mess from my hair.

I think the first 6 months is really tough gig on the Dad side of things. They aren’t blessed with boobs (man boobs do not count for anything in this equation, or any equation, except perhaps The Biggest Loser), they don’t get the gushy hormone rush, so when there’s a red faced, toothless, shit monster screaming in their face, it’s a little daunting to say the least. As the Mama Bear, if all our shooshing, rocking and patting fails, we can pull out a nork and everything is calm again (we pray), but Dad’s don’t have a fail safe fall back plan. In those early stages of eat/sleep/poo and do it all again, it would be understandable if Dad’s felt a little left out because the baby is really not that interested in that old, flat chested dude. I mentioned I was thinking of popping out for a couple of hours and leaving the sproglets behind. His eyes filled with terror, and I could smell his fear. I took the little one and left the boys to do Big Boy Things in the garden. The sigh was audible two suburbs away.

I can’t speak for all fathers, of course, but I see Mister H’s big man hands trying to wrangle this floppy, squalling creature and I think perhaps it doesn’t look quite as natural as when he’s wrestling D Man on the grass, carrying him upside down by one leg or pinning him down to blow raspberries on his wriggling tummy (pfff, I just envisaged him wrestling and raspberry-ing a gorilla belly). I think the mere fact that the woman grows the little person and expels it from her body creates an instant bond, whereas fathers have to grow the actual bond. It can take time to form a relationship, especially with someone demanding who just lays around and craps their pants.

It does grow, though, into a beautiful thing to behold. In the meantime, I’ll just top of my oxytocin with a glass of wine and get a double buzz on. Chin chin, and all that!

Patience in the Face of Homicidal Tendencies

26 May

Fatigue effects everybody in different ways. Some people get emotional, and some people get irrational. Some people become utter bitches and some people get homicidal…..and then there’s me. I become all of those things, wrapped up in a zombie with greasy hair and milk stains on my t-shirt. Ok, I don’t really have greasy hair, I’m on top of my personal hygiene, at least for this week. I was just exaggerating to paint the picture…….apparently I’m prone to this. I’m not exaggerating about the milk stains though. Can’t seem to get on top of that at the moment.

I seem to recall myself mentioning how well I was handling all the night time waking last week and I’d like to amend my statement. Although at the time of waking in the dead of night, I’m thrilled to see KiKi’s sweet, little, hungry face, I must admit to feeling a tad weary during the day with a patience wick in the negatives making me feel, at times, like everyone is out to piss me off and perhaps my head may explode leaving one more mess for me to clean up. Otherwise, I think I’m all over this two sproglet caper.

I’m managing mostly to be very patient with D Man, so if you were to do the math – who does that leave to bear the brunt of my wrath? Poor ol’ Mister H…..oh, and Mister Fluffy Pants (not a pseudonym, that’s actually my cat’s name). I think they’ve both felt the chill this week, and I don’t mean the change in the weather. I really don’t appreciate being woken up by being walked all over at 4.30am with whiskers tickling my nose when I’ve just managed to drift back off – Just in case it’s not clear, that would be the cat, not Mister H. Mister H values his testicles way more than to attempt even nasal tickling at this precarious stage of the game.

But I’ve been tired before, deathly tired, in fact, and I managed not to be cranky for the ENTIRE 11 months D Man didn’t sleep for….so why so irritable now?

I did a spot of soul searching and had a rather intense discussion with Mister H (read: teeny, little argument – really  read:………. you get the picture) and it came to me like a bolt of lightning. I realised I have a rather large dose of Fever of the Cabin. I need to get out!
It’s not that I haven’t left the house, because I’ve been for walks and stuff, but my routine has been seriously messed with. It would appear I’m a creature of habit, not the spontaneous, fabulous creature of my imagination, and my habits have been altered somewhat of late. Between my guests, and my husband at home, not to mention the obvious recent nipple monster shaped change in our lives, things have been a tad shaken up around the homestead…….so that’s IT!!!
I’ve decided that I own next week!

D Man and I are back on his social schedule and we’re getting busy as of Monday. I’m dusting off our Junior Jiving shoes, and we are stepping’ out. D Man doesn’t even like Junior Jivers most of the time, but we’re doing it, dammit! Hell, I may even bake some cookies, and wear a clean top, for playgroup.

I’m sure once I fool myself into a sense of normality, my usual peppy demeanour will return and I’ll be my charming self once more.

I hope so for Mister Fluffy Pants’ sake…..oh, and for Mister H’s (I love you, darling xx).

I love this picture of my darling holding my bambinos……he looks a little tired too. Needs to harden up, really.

To KiKi, With Love…..

22 May

Dear Baby Girl,

Firstly, I want to thank you for choosing us. I firmly believe that babies choose their parents and I think you made the right decision in picking us. We will always have your back. We will always laugh with you and cry with you, hold you when you’re scared and cheer for you from the sidelines. I will fight for you as staunchly as  any lioness has ever fought for her cub. I can promise you that, my girl. Your Papa looks at you with adoring eyes already, so I’m fairly sure he’ll be around your finger in no time…..I’ll keep my eye on that as you’ll exploit that if you’re anything like your mother.

I can also guarantee that life will not be boring with us. In fact, sometimes throughout your childhood you may wish we were more ‘normal’ but trust me, in time you’ll realise that slightly left of normal is a good place to be.

God willing, we have a long journey ahead together and you will probably not always like me, but try to remember that I have your best interests at heart and I’m acting as I think is best for you. If, for instance, I ground you when you’re 14 and you can’t go to the INXS concert and then Michael Hutchence were to die and you never, ever got a chance to experience them live, remember it’s for your own good. I’m speaking from experience……it may seem like the end of the world at the time, but, trust me, you’ll get over it.

I promise that we will have a lot of fun together, and we shall explore the world with a sense of wonder, until you decide that I’m the uncoolest person you know and you don’t want to be seen out in public with me. Naturally, I pray this will never be the case, but I will give you space, and accept it with grace, if it does. I’ll endeavour to never embarrass you in front of your friends, but I can’t make any real promises on that front. It’s kind of a right of passage thing…..

I’ve only really known you for two short weeks, but I can tell you that I’m completely head over heels in love with you and I can’t imagine how life was before you were in it. Your brother loved you from the minute he saw you, too. He was a little unsure about his place in the family for a couple of days but he still wanted to be near you, and touch you, and stroke your little, sweet smelling, downy head. Once he realised that there was enough cuddles for everyone, he decided that baby sister’s were pretty darned cool and although you don’t really do much at the moment, I’m inclined to agree.

Basically, welcome to the world, Baby Girl. Don’t ever forget that you are so loved by so many people, and the world is yours for the taking.

Spread your little wings and fly as high as you dare and I will try to always be there to catch you.

Lots of love,

Always,

Your Mama xxx

Today’s images are proudly brought to you by Kirsten Cox

Expansion of the Human Heart

12 May my babies 2

One of my biggest fears when I fell pregnant for the second time was whether or not I would have enough love for more the one child. When you feel as though you love somebody more than life itself, how can you possibly multiply that? What if there physically wasn’t enough space in my chest (that’s where love lives, isn’t it? Not to be confused with ON my chest either which is in crazy E cup, fit to bust, glory right now) to fit more love? I was scared that perhaps I would have to share the existing love, as if measuring out ingredients to make two equal loaves, but how could you ever measure such massive quantities, or what kind of implement could ever properly measure such an intangible thing?

I had heard of women who loved their toddlers, of course, but when their new baby arrived they shunned their older child as they suddenly felt detached from them. They felt that, although the older child was previously their ‘baby’, they were now a big, cumbersome, boisterous creature that was getting in the way of bonding with the tiny newborn. Would this happen to me? COULD this ever happen to me? I’m crazy about my little buddy, D Man. We hang out and we do stuff together. Of course I get frustrated sometimes about the ‘Groundhog Day’ it can seem like I’m living, and sometimes D Man is not the most intellectually stimulating cat on the block, but surely, I would never shun him, my first born heart?

Or the other possible scenario is that I didn’t bond with my newborn, for whatever reason. Perhaps breastfeeding was difficult or I felt differently about the labour and I didn’t feel the same love that I felt with my first baby. When D Man was born I felt that my heart had suddenly been opened in a way that I would never have thought imaginable. My capacity for love, not just for my child, but for the entire world had grown exponentially with the placing of that little person in my arms. I suddenly saw a bigger picture that was not about me, or my personal happiness and I knew that from that day forward I would do whatever it took to protect and love this creature that was of my flesh. Would I be able to feel that again?

The answer, thankfully, is yes.

It’s not the same. The intensity of that first realisation of motherhood is lessened slightly the second time around, but it is because I cannot relive first moments, not because I feel less for my baby. It is sure to me now that your love does not halve, it doubles…..plus some. A considerable sum of some, it appears. We, as humans, have the ability to keep growing love infinitely and people with 10+ children must need a wheelbarrow with which to carry their hearts.

Just as I was thinking these thoughts I came across this quote from Yasmin Le Bon in a magazine – ‘Discovering that with every child, your heart grows bigger and stronger – that there is no limit to how much or how many people you can love , even though at times you feel as though you could burst – you just love even more’.

I couldn’t have said it better myself. Happy Mother’s Day, peeps.

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