My guest blog post for the SJWF. I think it’s OK to publish this for you now. Continue reading
Anyone else out there tried this fabulous ‘child entertainment’ with their little ones? Continue reading
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.
I think you get the picture.
Now outta my way I need a coffee!
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!
Over the past 3.5 years I have had to evolve just to survive. That means, I’ve developed my own unique formula, which involves loads of Whining multiplied by stacks of Wine-ing and just a little bit of that Charlie Sheen-style Winning. Here are my top survival tactics to help me keep “winning” at this mothering gig every day.
First off – Wine-ing – Drinking a little bit of wine to adapt to your stressful environment.
I’m so not an alcoholic or anything – please click here so I can redeem myself slightly (sip). Also, I should make clear that I hardly, ever drink in private and I never drink in the morning (is that after 12pm?)!
Secondly - Whining - whinging, complaining, bitching and moaning.
This aspect of my strategy involves talking to someone, anyone and everyone about your crappy day and all your general concerns, fears, hopes, dreams and complaints. To qualify as one of my Whining Confidants doesn’t take much. You make the exclusive shortlist by a simple process of elimination – you just can’t be my husband, but other than that, you’re fair game to be on the receiving end of all of my whinging – that goes for:
- any unsuspecting mum, dad or nanny in the park or playground who happens to be near me if I see a kid coughing near my kid/s.
- the poor guy manning the till over the graveyard shift at the supermarket, whose keen to just get on with his job when I am in the mood for offloading all my complaints of the day.
- fellow mums/dads at the school (you know who you are!).
- my kids
- my mother
- my coffee guy (Murray:I love you )
- my hairdresser (Babe: you go to the grave with the stuff we’ve discussed!)
- random elderly ladies (typically the ones with tight perms and lilac tints) who show me hints of kindness or smile at my kids when we’re out.
Thirdly – Winning – adapting, not caring what other people think of you and your decisions, being strong, being brave enough to take risks and set yourself apart from the minority even though people might call you ‘a few sandwiches short of a picnic’ sometimes.
This tactic is multi-faceted and involves some primal stuff we’ve all got within but forget to use:
- Foraging: To avoid starvation as a result of over being over-busy I remind myself to eat before the evening rush begins. I usually eat Aiden‘s leftover sandwich crusts and any other miscellaneous items that he rejected in his lunch box on the ride home from school. I also eat the kids leftover dinner (but only if I am genuinely starving, because this type of food is the least appealing at the end of a long day. Eating chocolates out of the pantry when no one is looking is my preference (much more satisfying and energizing) but if the chocolate supply has dwindled to an all-time low, sometimes I have no choice, but to eat the remnants of leftover, cold scrambled eggs just to sustain myself.
- Hunting and Gathering: Hide all of the annoying toys away even if you know it will break your kids’ hearts – I can think of nothing worse than cleaning up 1000000 puzzle pieces and craft items after an arduous day of mothering. There’s also nothing worse than stepping on that Barney toy bus and setting off the blasted toy (which has no “Off” button) so as to wake the kids at midnight.
- Killer instinct – never show weakness, never break down in front of your kids. Keep poker-faced no matter how much the little killers make you want to sob for mercy. This is a hard gig, but it’s a mind game and you don’t want anyone under 5 years old prevailing over you if you can help it.
- Maintain 3 cardinal rules and stick to them – but then don’t be so anal on the other small things if they are not 1 of the “3 rules” (this tip came from a close friend of mine – absolute gold). 3 things I’ve been consistently victorious over – 1. not sleeping in my bed with me (except if the kids are really sick or newborns), 2. not bringing food upstairs to the bedrooms and 3. holding my hand when we cross the road.
Most days, I do feel like I’m winning. Mostly, because my harshest critics (my boys) haven’t sacked me or evicted me into the Buzz Light Year tent in the yard - yet. Although, I know if I went a bit more Stepford-wife-ish and a bit less ‘me’, I’d have a closer shot of being a winner.
On that note:
Sorry, Darling Husband, that the kitchen was an absolute debacle when you walked in tonight at 9.30pm. I confess, there was a bit too much wine-ing and whining on Skype to my ‘getting through the day friend’ whose overseas at the moment and clearly not enough winning. I’m working on my game. Now, off to mop the floors.