Monthly Archives: May 2010
Most civilians wouldn’t know it, but there’s actually a secret underbelly lurking in most parks and playgrounds.
It comprises of a cluster of reasonably young, fairly decent looking moms hiding behind dark glasses and baggy tops feeding newborns beneath trendy breastfeeding wraps and wearing the latest baby carriers while simultaneously trying to wrangle overactive toddlers.
Yes, we know who we are – we are the silent over achievers with wry smiles on our faces, sweat dripping off our bodies from lifting too many kids and sometimes, just sometimes, a tear in our eyes.
We own the term multi-tasking. In fact, we’ve taking the concept to a new level. We swap feeding tips and sleeping tips in the playground while making cynical jokes to each other about “not being awake when the second one was conceived” or “not consenting to conception the second time round” – all the while trying to rock and swaddle the newborn as the toddler attempts a death-defying leap from the highest level of the jungle gym and into our arms
We are trying to be perfect in every aspect of our lives – surviving on little or no sleep by night and slabs of chocolate for energy by day. We don’t employ nannies or cleaners or au pairs. We do it all ourselves for fear of letting go and the incompetency of any outsourced help ( the other day I caught a couple of au pairs in the park sitting on a bench not even watching the children they were supposed to be minding, but instead the one au pair was crying to her friend in Swedish about the problems she was having with her work visa, while her friend nodded with sympathy as she tapped out frantic messages on Facebook in German on her i-Phone!).
At least twice or three times a day ( I mean it, I’ve been keeping count) someone says to me “Jeez, you’ve got your hands full”. Like I have to be told that, like I didn’t know if for myself already!!) People make me laugh! They have NO IDEA what it means to get through each day for us.
Yes I KNOW I am crazy – my baby boys are exactly 18 months apart (when the anaesthetist came to administer my epidural for the second baby he said he remembered me and that I had been booked in exactly 18 months ago to the day – 24 February 2008 and 24 August 2009 – INSANE).
Simple things like:
- carting both babies in and out the house simultaneously ( I don’t ever leave one in the house alone while I put the other into the car) putting both babies into the car without central locking mind you, or
- changing between 8 and 15 nappies a day (things have calmed down quite considerably but a few months back I was averaging about 8 – 10 ‘number two’s when the second baby was a newborn),
- going grocery shopping with the toddler sitting in the trolley and the newborn in a pouch or babysling, bathing a toddler and a newborn in the same bath (my wrist is killing me 8 months down the track!!) and the list goes on and on!
I reckon I’ve done quite well over the past 2 years, working 3 days a week while I was pregnant with my second baby and now looking after both of them full-time on my own with no daycare or help. Whenever things get too much, like tonight, when the toddler is calling me to come lie with him at 11pm at night, I have to remind myself how truly blessed I am to have such amazing babies, who are such a source of joy and pleasure and make me laugh so much every day.
When we mothers of two bid each other farewell at the end of our time each day at the playground with a smile and sigh of exhaustion, most conversations end with – I hope these kids appreciate this one day!!
I get discriminated mostly when I push my double pram down a narrow path - but generally I find there are still so many places I cant go into or up to with any pram of any description – I can somehow understand a fraction of the frustration that a person in a wheel chair must feel – we need to campaign for more ramps in places! That goes for my favourite cafe as well as the front door to my house and garage! SO annoying!!
The other day a good friend of mine made me laugh. She has a 6 year old, a 3-year-old and a newborn and she confessed that she had not to that day heard of a Babycinno!! (So tired while I am typing this that I am having deja vu that I have already typed this before!!)
I responded by telling her that she’d probably saved herself about $6,000 in the past 6 years!
I curse the day that the babycinno was ever invented.
I am sure that the original intention behind the creation and inception of the babycinno was to distract the young toddler for a few moments while the exhausted mother gets a second or two of solace to skull down a quick coffee before the next stop in the car or pram. The reality is that the sleep deprived mother spends the entire ‘babycinno experience’ trying to avoid disaster from ending in a scalding caused by a burning hot babycinno that some inexperienced barista has served up to the toddler. Alternatively the mother will be juggling the teeny tiny mug and saucer and sugar dispenser whilst trying to prevent the toddler from tossing the entire drink over him or herself or the cafe table. SO not relaxing! I sometimes do see toddlers sitting patiently sipping spoonfuls of the fluffy froth while the relieved mothers look on but this is quite a rare sighting in the cafe wild!
Another aspect of the babycinno experience that bugs the hell out of me is the exorbitant prices that are being set for these drinks! There is a significant sliding scale and cafe owners set the price according to their own personal whim and malice. I feel I owe my fellow mothers (my confidants, my playground underworld partnersin crime) a duty to name and shame the most overpriced babycinnos in Sydney that I have come across:
- Harry’s espresso bar – Wairoa Ave, North Bondi – $2.50 ( Seriously!! I told the owner that he was clearly mad and out of his mind to be charging that for a bit of frothed full cream milk and that I could buy a regular cup of adult coffee for that price and a full 1.5L of Milk for the same price too! He told me to go out and do just that! – THE NERVE!!)
- Laurent, Westfield, Bondi Junction $1.50 – $2 (although this seems to be the going rate at most places I think it’s still ludicrous and someone needs to nip this issue in the bud!!)
- Europan, Rose Bay ($1.50 with attitude’)
- Luigis (don’t know the price but sometimes the barista’s in a bad mood and the patrons give me attitude when I wheel my double pram in there so I rarely go there with the kids)
On a brighter note, kudos to the following righteous places with RESPECT for exhausted moms out there – I will continue to support you:
1. Organic Bakery, Seven Ways North Bondi – free with any regular coffee
2. Gloria Jeans – free with any regular coffee
Sometimes I am so exhausted that I would quite happily sell my soul for a caffeine hit but that still doesn’t warrant these ridiculous prices when I am out with my kid for a coffee – In fact, I would rather not get a coffee at all if I could just manage… or can anyone deliver??? Now do you understand why I am happy for just about anyone to pop in unannounced provided they have a hot coffee for me??
Most nights I am exhausted come 8pm but I still really really feel the need to go out. Why? This probably has a lot to with the fact that I got married really really young (24!) and did not go out at night at all before we had kids.
So now on any given night I will go for any excuse to get out the house, Supermarket shopping, chemist anything just to break free. Not sure why this need for emancipation is so strong but yet I am dying to get out the house for a drink most nights.
Funny thing is all my single girl friends are always “too tired” to go out (PS> I have it when people without small babies tell me they’re tired, they don’t know the meaning of the word tired!)
Also, I have to go the most exclusive newest hippest places in Sydney on a Saturday night as I figure it’s a waste to go see a movie when you’re paying $20 an hour for a babysitter (that’s another Blog Post altogether!! “The Lucrative Business of Babysitting, uni students to registered nurses – how they are taking the entire market and we mothers have no choice”)
So my favourites at the moment are:
- The Ivy – the Ivy Pool in the city (Lance refuses to go back there as he can’t understand why anyone would want to pay $30 to drink out of a cup that our 2-year-old drinks out of!)
- White Revolver And Cream Tangerine (close enough to rush home if I need to b.feed the baby and come back again!)
- Ravesis – classy and close
- The Beach Road (I used to come here during the day in the summer with the babies!)
- Coles/Woolworths/Petrol Station/Pharmacy (these are defaults for weeknights if I just need a break and change of scenery)
Last Sat night we went to Icebergs – have a thirty something B-day party this sat night – can’t wait! xxx
Tonight at about 11pm when I was cleaning the boys’ bath out with Dettol I caught myself asking myself – “Have I actually achieved anything in the past 8 months of maternity leave?” Yes, I know I’ve been raising a two-year old and a newborn for the past few months, but aside from just trying to get through each day with the babies in tact and my sanity relatively together, I don’t think I have actually achieved any of my outstanding goals.
To date, my ‘errands/internal admin’ to -do -list looks a little like this at the moment
NOTE – no particular order here!! :
- arrange head boards for master bedroom and Aiden’s bedroom
- tidy grocery cupboard
- tidy walk in closet
- tidy boys’ bedroom cupboards and change table drawers
- paint the canvases for Jon Jon’s room
- develop photos of the past few months
- email photos of the boys over the past few months
- take photo of Jon Jon in bassinet before it gets put away
- replace cushions and throws on couches
- chuck/pack away clothes that we no longer wear or are too big or small
- book mom and dad’s anniversary weekend in June 2010
- MOP FLOORS DOWNSTAIRS - I am typing this blog post instead of sleeping or mopping – so overdue
- Phone work to discuss return to work strategy – am scheduled to return on 20 July 2010 – Crikey that freaks me out – can’t believe it’s been almost 1 year – how is that actually possible????
- put together wish list of items I need for my dream home that’s been in my head for a few weeks now!
So basically, the above list needs to be completed before I go to work – oh, and I forgot about all the laundry that needs to be washed and folded downstairs, but that is part of the short-term list. Wish my mind wasnt so occupied with such mundane stuff!