About a year ago, I wrote about going off in public like a short-fused rocket.
Seems not a lot has changed, except back then I was probably a bit more ’ballsy’. Now, I’m way more sensitive and hide behind my chocolate slabs instead of giving people a piece of my mind.
I’m taking some inspiration from my post last year - it’s time to hitch up my stockings which are dragging at the crotch. I’m a new woman tomorrow – No More Mrs Nice Mommy – but this time, I mean it.
Today in the shopping centre when Aiden lay down on the floor for one of his classic shopping centre tantrum meltdowns and Jon Jon started screaming for the car park and I was attracting the most denigrating looks from the public, that’s when I cracked.
Two elderly ladies, who looked like they took cosmetic surgery advice from Joan Rivers at least 20 times each, started shaking their heads at me and then at each other in agreement and muttered some remarks to each other in reference to the scene of my two babies unleashing terror on the shopping centre. I turned to them in a pool of sweat and asked if they were talking to me. They replied that they were not but that they were saying to each other that they were concerned that I was going to drop the baby as I strapped him into my baby backpack pouch.
I then decided not to grin and shrug it off like I usually do in my simmering politeness. Instead I answered back saying, in a slightly abrupt tone, that I wasn’t intending to drop my baby off my back and that it’s just difficult trying to shop and wrangle two youngsters without any help. I then wheeled Aiden off in the trolley with Jon Jon tucked in the back pouch and I felt so proud of myself for standing up for myself against these two unwell-wishers who tried to pass judgement over me without actually offering any constructive assistance of any sort.
It then dawned on me that I am utterly sick of being Mr Nice Guy, or Mrs Nice Mommy as it were. From now on, I will say and do as I please when the moment calls for it. One of my good friends, a wise mom of four young boys recently told me that people really don’t feel sorry for you when you’re in a time of need. Rather, people don’t give a damn about what you’re going through and will just kick you when you’re down.
So I am not going to just put up and shut up anymore, I am totally going to stand up for myself. So then next time the woman in the checkout queue behind me tells me I shouldn’t guzzle down chocolate because it’s not a healthy snack, she’d better step back before she gets belted with a king size Toblerone.
The next time some stranger tells me I look “so tired” I am going to give them a matching black eye when I deck them with my baby bag.
Actually, I left the pram at home for this one. But – only because it was an evening event and I actually wanted to come out at night on my own and without food on my top and knots in my hair. I attended the Online Anti-Ageing Event and Expo at Hugo’s in Kings Cross. Great night, great […]
I knew when I made the decision last night to skip my sugar pill and go straight to the active contraceptive pill that no good could ever come of it. It never does. (Except for the hubby that is!)
Messing with your hormones is one thing, but when you’re so fragile as it is and you haven’t slept for 2 nights straight because of a sick kid, you’re bound to be heading into tear territory for sure.
So, it was inevitable that I had a major breakdown this morning.
There were so many factors that pushed me over the edge today to make me sob in public and in front (literally) of my kid (which ‘the books’ explicitly label as one of the primary parenting “no-no’s”). But the really pathetic thing was I didn’t even get to fully relinquish all of my tears.
I still need to have a really decent cry at some point today.
Hopefully, I’ll get some time to do that later. Sad that mothers have to ‘make time’ to have a ‘good cry’. To do anything for that matter. Anyway, for now, it’s worth me sending a big shout out to all the super-cool, socially aware, caring strangers and friends I bumped into today. So thanks to all the little legends who didn’t treat me like a roving lunatic when they saw me sniveling into soggy tissues with a bewildered toddler strapped to my back as I roamed the supermarket in search of sanity and solace.
If Aiden had just gone quietly into preschool this morning, I reckon everything would’ve been on track. But no, he decided to play me and test me, and give me his usually crap en route to school and at the classroom entrance. You know you’re going to have an epic disaster of a day if everything is unravelling before 8.30am!
Aiden put on a stellar performance, one of his best. He moaned and whined that he “hates school” and “doesn’t want to go”. Not even after a pre-class Babycinno date with me and a decent pep talk about how “big boys do their mommies a big favour and don’t complain when their mommies kiss them goodbye at the drop-off” could placate him. By the time I offloaded him in his classroom and had the teachers pry the poor mite out of my arms I was setting myself up for failure and for being late for Jon Jon’s appointment at the pediatrician for his asthma.
I know from previous experience not to be late for this pediatrician. For his sake, my sake and the full waiting room‘s sake. No excuses. I knew I had a big lecture waiting for me when we rocked up 15 minutes late. I was freaking out. Driving badly and rambling nonsensical words under my breath to myself.
So, by the time I eventually parked and started sprinting for the doctor’s room with Jon Jon strapped to my back in the ErgoBaby I was a sweating madwoman. I was pretty much hyperventilating and sweating so much (clearly over-reacting) that I was reaching my emotional limit.
Then, against my will and out of nowhere, I erupted.
I sobbed and spluttered and smudged my mascara in the mirror of the cramped lift. I cried so much that Jon Jon wasn’t sure if I was laughing or crying – lucky he couldn’t see my reflection in the mirror. Thankfully, a delightful older gentleman turned to me ask if I was OK, as did another lift commuter, a kind-faced woman who asked if I needed help.
I tried to compose myself but that only made things worse, so by the time the lift arrived at my floor, the old boy in the lift had become my life-long confidante and was on board to come and wage war against the pediatrician if need be. I drew immense strength from the support I received in that short lift ride. It reignited my belief in the social structure of our society and made me realise that we don’t all co-exist in a chasm of selfishness. Rather that there are tiny microcosm of kindness and social awareness and responsibility and that there actually are some people in this world who do care for and look out for their fellow human beings.
Quickly, I jolted myself back into the situation at hand to face the receptionist and the fact that I was 25 minutes late for my appointment. By this stage I was pretty much convulsing with an outpour of tears which took the entire waiting room by shock. My makeup had completely melted into the sweat on my face and was sliding down Jon Jon’s jacket like an oil slick. I was so out of breath that I felt like I was on the verge of a heart attack and was so overcome with exhaustion and emotion that I didn’t even care to think what Jon Jon might be feeling sitting on my back watching the scene unfold.
The receptionist had the sense to usher me off to the side and offered me a glass of water. Brenda, a fellow playgroup mom who I know gave me a much-needed vote of confidence with some reassuring mompower words.
Then after my appointment, when I was aimlessly standing around at the checkout till, my supermarket mum-buddy (who I always bump into at the supermarket, we must be on the same supermarket cycle or something) gave me a hug and exchanged some words of alliance to show that I was not alone that day in the motherhood struggle.
Between 12pm and 3pm things are pretty much a blur today. My very own thoughts have been drowned out by the hullabaloo outside. Pushing me closer and closer to that steep edge. The lunchtime renovations next door which are banging and drilling so loudly that my skull takes a small beating each time the builders hammer. I have a good mind to march over there and either get them to down tools while my sick toddler sleeps or else evacuate the premises and get THEM to settle my exhausted child! In a nutshell, Bob the Builder is the only cool construction work around – for the rest of you builders and renovator, those kinds of noise levels at kids’ lunchtime nap time is not appropriate so SHUT THE HELL UP – please.
It’s 6pm now. We’ve just returned home from a kids charity event/party/cupcake and sugar feeding frenzy.
Thankfully, the kids are mellowing in front of some burnt schnitzel and cartoons. The calm before the bathstorm. I’m still bravely holding the tears while Jon Jon spits mouthfuls of chewed carrot all over the floorboards and Aiden throws tennis balls at my head while I type this. Cant’ they cut me some slack at this time of day. Please.
Now, I don’t even feel like crying anymore.
No, now I’m more numb and exhausted and worn thin.
I wouldn’t know where to find the energy to muster any tears at this end of the day. Probably better that way. Still need to bath and put the boys down for the night, so a crying session would be a sign of weakness, and wound accomplish nothing much except by for creating a snag in our schedule on approach for bedtime.
If I can just pull it together and remind myself that this is all just a little crying game and I’m just having a bad day. An atrocious day which needs to play out.
The other night my husband gave me a leave pass and I made my way to an awesome underground club called White Revolver with my going-out friend (also a young mother and fellow member of the dying breed of sometimes truant housewives who still manage to tear themselves away from the toilet scrubbing-brush, the hot coal oven and the laundry).
So, we were having a fabulous time in our too-tight tops and too-short skirts and trying out our fake, ‘do not attempt to contact me or befriend me on Facebook in the “real”-world’ names (“Kristell” and “Serena”) when this adorable 22 year boy whothought he was old enough (and good enough) to talk to me approached and decided to engage in some friendly chit-chat.
The young, good-looking gentleman gave me the top-to-toe cursory glanced and asked me “what my story was”.
In the interests of almost full disclosure and an expensive wine list, I proceeded to tell him fragments of my full story, being that I’ve been married for 6 years and have two little baby boys – a 2-year-old and a 7 month old – and that I had not slept in 2 years. Judging by his raised eyebrows and blowfish lips he wasn’t so inspired with “my story” anymore and was shifting his gaze around the room for more worthy benefactors of his weekly entertainment allowance! However, before he could tip his baseball cap, say “G’night Ma’am” and scurry away, and in the interests of preserving any slim chance of scoring a future-free drink, I decided to reciprocate and asked him what “his story” was.
Turns out he was an aspiring model and hard-working supermarket basement car-washer by day. Upon reflection, if he had to ever wash my car one day, I reckon it would be the oldest driveable car he’s ever washed, let alone seen, in his entire life.
The funny thing is that just before we said our goodbyes, he actually thought he would pay me what he thought was a parting compliment.
He told me that I was a really cute cougar- GROSS! I mean I am only just 30 years old – I really thought that you only entered cougar territory in your early 40s. That little backhander made me feel really old and suddenly, very tired too. He could not even believe that I was out at all. given my age and ‘circumstances’. So I gave him my signature reply in this type of scenario “I’m not here for a long time, I’m here for a good time!”
Crickets….Crikey.. Cue my ostentatious, Princess Mary-like wave to a fake friend in the smoky distance, dramatic glance at empty cocktail glass and epic dash and stumble to the powder room via the bar!
As I sulked and stared at my crows feet and frown scars in the queue of skimpy Lindsay Lohan clones I was genuinely shocked and mortified that I was being labelled as cougar. I never usually look, or feel old, and 9 times out of 10 I’m carded at a nightclub door. (Mind you, I am starting to feel my age lately in some respects. I’m coming to realise that hangovers are way worse at 30 years old and can be excruciating when coupled with the dead of the night wakings and early starts brought to you by your little offsprings. Also, things become less palpable when you’re getting on and still going out. For instance, the only thing worse than a 30-year old with a hangover, is a 30 year-old with a hangover who needs to scrub toilet bowls the next morning.)
On one occasion I recall being almost bounced from entering a club because the doorman (or clip board dude? Not sure what the youngsters are calling them these days) surmised that I was completely smashed, drunk and didn’t believe me one bit when I told him that I had only had 1 drink before I got there! The dude was adamant that my bloodshot eyes were a dead giveaway for a drunk and disorderly patron. I attempted to rationalise and justify my bloodshot eyes by explaining that they were due to me not having slept at all for the past 2 years (my excuse for EVERYTHING these days!) – which he totally did not buy at all!
But back to the cougar label. Not only was I insulted, I felt annoyed by the fact that I was expected to take it as a compliment!
I then proceeded to drink ’til I no longer looked like someone who would be expected to produce ID at the bar that night, trying not to think of the fatal 30-year-old, age-appropriate hangover that would present in just a few short hours.
So, how old do you have to be to be considered a cougar? Forty? Fifty? Not less, surely!
With the High Holy days almost upon us, I thought I ‘d hark back to my spiritual side for a moment to reflect on whether or not I’ve changed as a person since this time last year.
‘Fraid not. Except now, when I feel bad about something, I just post in it on Facebook for all to see. A bit of self-imposed shaming goes a long way to absolution.
So I decided to re-post my post from this time last year. Some soul cleansing courtesy of the ‘copy-and-paste’ function. Gotta love technology.
Every so often I feel guilty about certain things I’ve done.
Guilt is such a terrible thing, it keeps me awake at night, making my mind overactive with drawing up endless mental lists of all the things I feel bad about.
There’s no way to get rid of it.
Somehow I wish I could repent for these things that are commonly put down to a “Mother’s Guilt”, but truly there is no guilt quite like it.
I never had any kind of guilt that came remotely close to the guilt I feel now as a mom, and since there’s no such thing as a Mom’s Day of Atonement here goes, I am going to purge myself of all things mommy-related that I feel bad about in a succinct, but honest bullet-point list, blow-by-blow. I am truly sorry for all these things:
Letting Jon Jon cry in his cot for more time than necessary while I lie in bed a little longer in the morning
Getting super-cross with Aiden when he has a tantrum in public at the shops
Screaming at Aiden when he refuses to have his afternoon nap
Eating stacks of chocolate while hiding in the pantry cupboard so that the babies can’t see what I’m doing
Having a glass of wine on the occasional day (before 4pm) if it’s been impossible to put Aiden down
Swearing under my breath in front of my kids when my blood pressure has over boiled
Letting the babies watch cartoons for extended periods of time while I cook or do the laundry
Not saying please or thank you to Lance but snapping at him with 1 word replies
Not smiling when Lance gets home from work and forgetting to kiss him “hello” or ask how his day was and then flying out the door shortly after the babies have gone to sleep
Burning the dinner or making a rubbish meal
Not answering my house phone or screening my cell phone because I just don’t feel like talking to anyone
Hanging up on survey callers or charity callers when they phone my house
Not cleaning the bathrooms or vacuuming the house for a week
Briefly checking out hot guys when they are walking in the opposite direction to me when I push the pram on the beach promenade
Being short or rude to my mom or dad or mother-in-law when they call and I’ve had a really hard day
Being sarcastic or rude to unobliging strangers at the supermarket/park/street
Now I know that list doesn’t compare to what some mothers are capable of when they get pushed over the edge (take the recent case of the mother of three that admitted recently to drinking 1 litre of wine before getting into her unregistered car and driving 5 kids around before having a car accident – by the way, on air she said she was “really, really sorry…” but I still feel really, really bad about these things (and a few others that I don’t have the guts to commit to paper)!
My only hope is that by putting all this down in writing it will somehow ease a tiny amount of the enormous guilt that I constantly battle with. If not, well, there’s nothing that a good glass of Chardonnay can’t fix!