Breastfeeding and my 5 cents ……

Breastfeeding in public.

Okay, this has sort of hit the level of people losing their shit and images of eating in a toilet cubicle to prove a point.

All very valid observations.

I breast fed my trio – I tended to opt to sit in a both or to the side of a restaurant (if we were out) and I normally had shirt that could lift easily and then I had a blanket I would throw over me.

Keeping in mind that I did not know anyone who had children at the time, I was not in a mommy gang, so I did not know all the stuff that moms seem to know now and feel entitled to. I felt like I was navigating this all alone and stumbling my way through.

Yeah, it was not ideal, especially if baby got hot, and sweaty, but I tried to retain some of my own dignity and at the same time not to shove my heaving milk soaked bosom in someone’s face.

It was about finding the balance between the two.

I am not sure if there were people who were still a bit “horrified” even if I was covered up, I was too busy trying to shovel food in with one hand whilst it was warm.

I recall going to friends for dinner/lunches and though I followed the more or less same routine, possibly not as rigidly, I know it would upset K and he would prefer it if I went off somewhere and fed the kids.

I recall with Connor – born December 2001 – my brother was visiting from where ever far off land he had been in, and he asked me to go into Cape Town with him to do something or another.  I recall us walking through Cape Town station and I could feel my breasts were doing that thing where they are packing 500 litres of milk, and one whimper from Connor and there was going to be this wave of full cream milk for everyone.

I explained to Bruce that we should find somewhere and I suggested a coffee shop and said ideally if they had booths that would work, but I was not that fussed, we just needed to get there in the next 5 – 10 minutes to avert the two puddles of milk I was going to have on my shirt.

As we walked through the station, we got to the outside section where the stalls are normally set up.

I walked past this black woman (nationality unknown) and she had her t-shirt pulled up around her neck area.  She had her infant sort of on her lap, and grasping a nipple.  She was not really holding the infant as she needed her hands to explain something that requires furious hand gestures, so that baby was holding said nipple for dear life.

I walked past and was mesmerized by those being the biggest nipples I felt I had ever seen in my 29 years or so on this planet and then the next point occurred to me.

This woman, was feeding her child without giving a crap about anyone else and there hangups.  No shits were given that day.

People were walking past her in droves and no one turned around and told her to pack away her boobs or go and sit in a cubicle somewhere.  No one called over a manager and indicated that this was indecent.

I thought of her whilst I made my way to which ever coffee shop we could find and as I adjusted my shirt, unclipped by breastfeeding bra, made sure he was snuggled close and that the blanket did not reveal any of my top half and I latched him.

I sat there and thought about all the effort I was putting in to this to save both my dignity and protect everyone else from having to witness my breasts, and I thought that between myself and that lady on the bench one of us was doing it wrong.

Granted I would not have been comfortable with whipping mine out, but when I was breast feeding I did stop thinking of my breasts as breasts — they became a source of food and functional items.

So here is my question – why are we so obsessed with this topic?  Why does it have to become a thing? Why do there have to be so many painful memes about it?

Breastfeeding is a personal choice.

How you breastfeed is a personal choice.

I do agree that my breasts are my breasts, and possibly not everyone wants to take a gander at them.

That is fine, and in so doing I will do the best, within reason, to cover myself and in this way be courteous to other people.

But when and how did breastfeeding become such a contentious issue??

In my opinion I think every one has the right to breastfeed where and when they please.  At the same time it needs to be done with some sense of courtesy for those around you.

Anyway, I am sure I have come about a half dozen years to late to this conversation, but there you are.

 

 

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When you realise that you are not the only parent struggling with this parenting malarkey ….

 

Do not judge_quote

In essence I started to blog because I felt alone.  In my head.

I believed – firmly – that I was the only person who thought like I did.

I believed I was the only person who was scared shitless of parenthood.

I believed I was the only parent fucking up on a regular (interpret as almost daily) basis.

All the moms I saw looked so happy, clean, shiny and sane.

They seemed to be able to make endless inane conversation, where I spluttered and usually said something that referred to a penis, vagina or squirrel …. and sometimes all three in one sentence.

People started to move away from me like they have just noticed someone on the other side of the room who is waving to them, and they need to go.

The group re-forms somewhere else in the room, whilst I am standing there wondering how the fuck I can fuck up so much.  Socially.

I recall at one of our couple therapy sessions I voiced my inability and hate (intense dislike — I might have said something like I fucking hate) of how I felt about the mommy clicks (is it clicks or cliques???) at school – and the worse mommy clicks at birthday parties.

How difficult it was for me to try to conform to these groups.  How absolutely humiliated I felt as I grovelled to try to get some attention from all the “in moms.”  It was like primary school again, but with more money and my hair in a slightly better state.

Dropping and collecting Connor at school was torture.   I knew I had to make conversation with the “in mommies” but I was so hideously bad at it.  I usually managed to alienate them in sets of three.  These women never travel alone, they have a possé/gang/homies with them at all the time.

I detested going to children’s birthday parties.

It meant about three hours of sitting and talking about shit.  Not shitting on people during sex. Or accidentally farting a wet one, when you thought it was going to be a sneaky silent one.

But actual shit.  Their children’s shit.

I am creative, in fact sometimes I think I have super hero powers in being a creative thinker, but I cannot chat about “shit” —– and why would I want to.

To add to the overall problem, these parties were usually sober affairs.  The moms sat around talking about the colour of shit and drank tea, whilst the three dads who came along stood around the braai (sans fire) drank beer and talked about “I have no idea.”

Kennith refused to go to kids parties.

He figured as I had a vagina and a uterus, I should just suck it up and go along – there was no way he was going.  He was born with a penis and some testosterone, which gave him the right to say “fuck it, I don’t do kids parties — but you can go…”

Vaginas and uteruses are truly miraculous devices.  How do they allow me to be more socially comfortable than him in a room full of vapid mothers talking about their off spring.  How?

Maybe my uterus does not work right, because being trapped in a room with moms is not dissimilar from being trapped in a room with blood sucking leeches.

These mom conversations are usually made of moms waiting for the speaker to take a breath so they can jump in with their story about their Johnny and/or Hannah and how/she clever he/she was by putting a turd right inside his/her potty.

Fuck me.  No really.  Fuck me.  Much better idea than having to listen to stories about shit.

The only time someone’s shit is a good story is if on your date, your date got diarrhea and pooped in their pants.  Well that is my best story, but I will leave it for another day.

I sat in one of our countless couple counselling sessions explaining – whilst on the verge of tears – that I experienced this social trauma and made to feel so much less than I was, EVERY TIME I collected my child from school.

Kids parties were more painful than spilling hot wax on my nether regions, and having the hair pulled out via the root.  I would happily endure a 5 hour wax session than 3o minutes of this Dante’s circle of hell Mommy shit.

Kennith was visibly shocked. He could not understand how I hated it all so much – clearly he had not been listening to me for the last 5 – 7 years.

I was shocked that he was shocked.  I was shocked that he thought I enjoyed this “mommy obligatory” shit. I was genuinely jealous that I did not live in his head where it was all sunshine and fucking rainbows and he did not have to deal with these mommy-gangs.

Anyway the point of this post is that I have felt and allowed myself for the greater part of my existence to feel a bit “a part” and “a bit not quite fitting in.”

The joy of blogging was realising that I was not alone in my craziness.

The last post I wrote and the comments reminded me again how many people out there have a strange off center way of looking at life.

It made me so very very happy.

I am so grateful for everyone who could look past the thigh length penis and point out the picture of the holy, the suspicious tissue, the strange pillow case and then have a chat about those things.

Where – where – where the hell were you when I was going through the hell of mom-and-baby groups and moms-only-birthday parties??

You and I should be in the corner with wine.  Where the fuck were you???Either way I am thrilled you are here now.  High five to all who have decided fuck it and give mommy-gangs a justified “fuck you…”

 

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I am here to warn you almost all the clichés are true ……

We received the confirmation that Isabelle was accepted into the pre-primary school we had applied to, for next year.

In 5 months time, my wee girl will be in Grade R — I usually am not very sentimental over these things, but the fact that my little baby girl will be in Grade R next year, and then I will blink and she will be standing in her school uniform in Grade 1, does make my breath catch a little bit in my throat.

I know the old cliche of it all passes so quickly, and not to wish your child’s baby years away.  But damn, it is exactly like that.

Isabelle is still my baby – even though she is a bit of a thug, and can throw a punch like no one’s business.  But she is still my baby, who cuddles up next to me, and puts her head on my shoulder as she sucks her thumbs and rubs here “doggie.”

By the time Isabelle is in Grade 1, Georgia will be in Grade 4 – which puts her in the senior phase of her school.  Her uniform changes from a tracksuit to the formal school uniform.  I can’t imagine her Wednesday (where they) legs in a dress, and black school shoes.

Connor will be in Grade 7, and be starting his high school career.

It is all a bit much actually.  Where the hell does it all go?

It feels like a very short time ago when I was breastfeeding Connor.

It feels like a blink since I arrived home from hospital with Georgia, the surprise girl I did not expect.

It feels like this morning when I was sitting rocking Isabelle, and rocking her, because she was not sleeping and I thought that this dear beautiful girl was going to be the death of me.

I am here to warn you that all the clichés, every last kitchy one of them, every annoying little thing that strange people say, whilst you roll your eyes is true.

Except the one about you having heartburn and your child having a lot of hair.

And the one about if your baby stands early your child will have bandy legs.

That is all total bull shit, but the other stuff is mostly true … it does go by in a blink of an eye, and it does make you feel a bit lost and forlorn that they no longer need you as much.

Baby Connor – 10 December 2001

 

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Georgia born – 20 June 2005

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Isabelle born – 10 June 2009


Isabelle-Born

Struggling to fit into the Living and Loving Mommy mould …..

This is the third part of a few parts.  What you can surmise from this is my inability to plan.  

The first part is here, the second part is here and the third part is here ….  if you wish to catch up on the “story” – alternately you can just skip those and read only this bit:

…………………….

I started blogging not because I wanted to chronicle my journey through motherhood.

I wanted to understand what was flying around in my head.

None of it felt normal.  None of it felt right.  I know people say that motherhood is difficult and and and …. my issue was that it was not difficult it was bloody impossible.

I kept looking for the escape clause.  It was as if I was acting a part, and I just could not “get into character.”

The only workable option was to find a way to put it down.  There was something cathartic about putting it down on paper/on a blog as then it was not knocking around in my head.

Not because I wanted treasured moments put down, and recorded for my children to come and read later.  But because I wanted to understand the way I was thinking and the way I was feeling.

My head is too busy and too chaotic most of the time, for me to work through my thoughts and come out with a solution.

I thought I would start at the beginning, and like all things I got bogged down in the detail.

Then I stopped writing.

As usual I had a picture in my head of how it was going to go and then when I struggled to put the reality into the picture or visa versa then I just stopped.  I could not continue.

In January 2010 I went out to dinner with a friend’s husband – he mentioned that he read my blog.

I was a bit surprised, as at that point I thought I wrote the blog, and some guy with his dog who lived in Parow were reading it. Just the three of us.

I was not writing thinking anyone was reading.  I was writing because I needed to write.

Mike (the friend’s husband) said that Anita (his wife) had struggled with post partum depression with both of her pregnancies and he never really understood what she was going through – until he read my blog.

He realised the pain, the confusion and what she was feeling because I could write it down.

He understood.  He got it.  He wished he had known that before when she needed his support the most.  But he just did not understand.

Mike said “Keep writing your blog, no one else is saying what you are saying, and there are people out there who it will help” ……

I didn’t believe him, but it did give me renewed energy to return to my blog and start writing again.

I wrote about everything, and I decide to write like I talk, and not worry about whether someone as reading it, but just that I was saying what I thought —-

I wrote passionately and sometimes in a deranged frenzy.  If I thought about it, then I wrote about it.

This post was about how I struggled to fit in with Mother and Baby Groups.

  I hate Mommy and Baby Groups – Part 1

I realize this rant is totally out of context, but I belong to a few women-with-baby forums and when I read through some of the threads I start to get a dull ache in my bum area.

For some reason this morning I recalled how much I loathed mommy and baby groups.

There is so much pressure to join one with your new little mushroom.

As soon as you get out of hospital and are able to take more than five steps, you start figuring out which group you are going to join.  You call the group leader and it all sounds so wonderful .

They are generally really really happy bubbly people.  Usually at this point I start to get uneasy – I am deeply suspicious of happy shiny people – I like my people a little bruised, a little dirty, a lot pessimistic.

You get your little bundle ready – dressed in their best clothes – you have already starting to buy into this under current of competition that exists at these things.

You don’t even realize you are doing it, but there you go.  You are so proud of your little Joshua/Sarah and can’t wait to get to the group, because your little one is going to be the best kid there – you know this.

In the car with your safety seat, getting the pram, the nappy bag and your bag in, buckled up, sort of figuring out where to go – because usually it is in a suburb off a side street that you really don’t know.

In your area, but you are not so sure, so odds are you take a few wrong turns, drive at 20km/hour to try to figure out street signs and basically get yourself lost.

You finally get there and it is usually a house in suburbia that has been revamped by a mommy with one or more likely two kids, who is using her love of kids to work from home, so there is a garage converted and lots of TreeHouse themed cushions and curtains.

You get all your kit unloaded.

By now you are a little flustered as you are late, and you have had to park about 500 metres away as all the more eager moms got there before you.  So you drag all your stuff all the way there.

By the time you get there and go through the alternate entrance, which usually is a narrow gate that your huge gi-normous pram does not quite fit in through the door, so there you are fighting the good fight, and starting to sweat a little, because odds you have over dressed, because you have not been out of the house by yourself for 6 weeks.

The weather has changed since you were last outdoors, and the only clothes that fit you are from the wrong season.

You sort of fall inside the sliding door.

To be greeted by a sea of usually attractive moms wearing their Sunday best and all their Joshuas and Sarahs are on little mats or cushions and everyone is so damn happy.

You, of course, have worked up a bit of a sweat, your Joshua or Sarah is a little cranky as you have transferred baby from safety seat, to pram, and now have to get baby out of pram as pram does not fit into room, so you are trying to juggle baby, your bag, the nappy bag, snug and safe and what is left of your composure.

The far-too-friendly leader of this little ensemble, comes over to greet you and refers to you usually as Mommy <well, it is tricky referring to everyone by name, so Mommy sort of makes it easy, and because you are a new Mommy, it kind of makes you smile that you have a new important title>.

You find a space and try to settle down.

At some point you are trying to assess the mood of the room, and then you start realizing that these moms are generally over achievers – like really over achievers.

When you are trying to find 10 minutes to read or sleep, while you are forcing junior to take a nap, more for your benefit than for theirs, these moms are busy reading Baby’s First Words or doing some sort of Baby Gym with their babies.

Damn, you are clearly behind with your baby’s development as you look down and your little imp is quietly gurgling and dribbling on his chin.

The leader takes her seat in the front centre, with her “baby doll” and everyone smiles and the excitement is tangible.  Everyone beings introducing them selves.

You start practicing a bit in your mind how you are going to introduce yourself and show off your offspring as you really only have about 4 seconds for introductions and really want to get bang for your buck here.

At the same time you are trying to remember names and baby names and ages …. and the reality is that you can barely remember your own.  So your turn comes around and all you can muster up is

“Hi I’m Celeste, and this is er…. Connor….. and he is ……hmmm….. his 4 months old.”  And the spot light moves away from you.

Then the real show begins  …….

 

I wrote subsequent posts about my issues with Mother and Baby Groups.

Expressing how I really felt about things, and showing people that I was not finding this motherhood malarkey easy, was so much easier than hiding it from people and saying “oh yes, everything is fine” — it was far easier.

I think the part that I found amazing and incredible, is that I realised I was not the only person crying in the bathroom at 2am.

I felt so alone, but I realised there was sea of moms out there, who felt the same.

Crying knowing you are not the only one does not make it easier, but somehow does make it less lonely.

Somehow.

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Looking back over a few years of Reluctant Mom ….. a quick stroll, not a delayed walk

I have been blogging under the name Reluctant Mom since AUGUST 21, 2009.  It’s been a while, I thought I would reflect on a few things.  I know that there are many readers who have known me for all the years, whilst there are new blog followers who have recently joined.

So allow me a few posts to look back over the years and the journey that brought me here.  I will not delay you too long.

I had my third child in June 2009.

It was a planned pregnancy.

I was prepared – I had two children already.  I wanted this baby to be the one where I got it all right.

Baby one and two, I put down to learning exercises.

But Baby Three was going to be the one where I got it all right.  All of the stuff I got so wrong before, I was going to have sorted

I was hardly surprised at how this worked.  I knew all about post natal depression, cracked and bleeding nipples.

I knew what being tired really meant.

I read it all, I knew it all.  {thumbs nose at the What to Expect books, because I have this taped ….. ha ha ha ….}

I went in to this with a bit of a swagger in my step, and a glint in my eye.  Because I was so damn sure of myself.

My third child was the gorgeous blue eyed, blonde haired girl that I had dreamt about.

Planned c-section, everything went as one would expect.  Nothing bad.

Other than the usual being cut up on the operating table, with someone up to their elbows in your abdomen.  But other than that, sort of a normal day out in the delivery ward at Medi Clinic.

In my dreams my daughter Isabelle slept with that serene expression on her face as only a newborn baby can.  And that little bit of milk caught on her rosebud lips, to convey the sense that she was well fed and content.

That is how I pictured it in my dreams.  No doubt fuelled by every image I had ever seen in Living and Loving.

Reality I am afraid was very different.

This was my third c-section, and it appeared to get more painful with each one.

No doubt due to the fact that I was older, fatter and they had to cut out huge hunks of scar tissue from the earlier c-sections.

I had my daughter on the Wednesday. Kennith collected me from the Panorama Medi-Clinic on Saturday morning at 10h00.

Then he told me at about 15h00 just as I was suckling my three day old child, that we were expected at dinner that evening and I should get myself ready.

After checking that he was not trying to play a practical joke on me/really fucking serious – I realised that he was being quite serious.

I tried to indicate with the huge cut in my uterus and my blood soaked sanitary pads that I was in no state to sit around a dinner table with 5 other couples.

His rationale was that I had done this twice before, and really what was the big deal.

And so the rapid drop into madness began.

To be continued ……

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Suicide bunny and other musings ….

I am not sure how to start this post.

This is not a cry for help.

This is not a cry for trying to convince me to speak to someone.

Really it is not.

I have this post on the edges of my brain, and if I don’t put it down then what ever I write is going to feel like I am being dishonest.  As that is not what is really on my mind.

I have struggled with depression and an anxiety disorder for some time.  I have my good days, and I have my really cannot get out of bed days, but know I must pull the duvet off and just get on with it days.

I am on the right depression and anxiety medication.  I feel a hundred times better than I did say two years ago.  I am much more level and my emotions and reactions are even keeled.  The internal buzz has more or less quieted down to a mild drone.

Good times.

The addition of IBS has been challenging – the problem with it is that I feel ill much of the time.

My abdomen swells, I look 6 months pregnant – the pain spreads out across my back, then everywhere to the point where my skin actually starts to feel sore.  I am fending off remarks about “when I am due” with way too much frequency – of course it affects how I feel about myself and look horrendous.

I hate the way I look.  I hate looking at myself in the mirror.  I try to avoid seeing myself.  Tricky with floor to ceiling mirrors in our bathroom.

If my child asks me once more if I have I have a baby in my tummy, I might throttle her.

I have changed my diet/intake of food lasts week, because I believe my issue is far greater than a few days of feeling shite.  I am reading a few books on IBS and there have been several home truths -and reading another two for perspective.

book-whatyourdocIBS

The list of what I should avoid is long.

There is no easy quick fix.

There is a however a solution if I carefully monitor my intake, and ensure that I avoid refined sugar, refined wheat, dairy, caffeine and alcohol – pretty much everything at McDonalds.  Clearly I draw the line at excluding alcohol.  Let’s not be rash and too hasty now.

If I am excluding that, then the reason to live starts to get a bit hazy and uncertain.

The last four or five days have been a period of exclusion and making different decisions about what I eat.  There is just no way I can continue to survive and eat as I have been doing.

I don’t eat badly or in excessive, but I just cannot eat this way for myself and be healthy and comfortable.

This requires some thought, and a bit of a rethink about my life going forward.  I am not suggesting that IBS is a bit of a stomach ache.  I am suggesting it has become such a pr0blem that affects my every day functioning – I need to decide to behave differently if living is a goal.

My other issue is misophonia – a violent, sudden and physical reaction to sound.

I generally control the sound I experience and generally it does not change my mood or the way I behave.

The only exclusion is the drive home in the afternoon with the kids from school. It has become abundantly clear that I am actually unable to do that five days a week, and ensure all four of us make it home alive – the fighting and the noise in a confined space is doing my head in.  One drive home at a time.  One at a time.  I wistfully think of giving them bus fare/taxi fare and just “winging” it. If two out of three get home, then it is a win, right?

I have been falling out of the car recently and being thankful we have all made it home alive.  I am so irritated, and tense that the rest of the evening is a total lost cause.

Music radio??

For the love of gd.  It is beyond me how I managed to listen to it for so many years.  At the moment I always have audio CDs to listen to when I get into my car.  I listen to a story, or a collection of music CDs that I know will not trigger a reaction.  More story CDs than music, because I find the repetitive nature of most songs sets me off.  It is like having nails across a chalk board, or cutting wool with your teeth.

However when I get into Kennith’s car he listens to Five FM, and I seriously start wondering if I opened the car door, and released my seat belt if I could quietly roll away and the sound of the repetitive really bad music would stop and I could roll myself into a coma and then quietly pass away.

I am weighing up whether rolling out of the car is better than stabbing him in the temple with my Revlon chubby stick.  I am not sure.  I get more irritated that he does not realise how much the noise is a factor and how much it upsets me.  So instead I sit there and stare out the window and praying the car trip will be over.  Grinding my teeth and praying.  Soon.  Let it end.

Music radio is repetitive and at a pitch that I cannot bear.  5 minutes of five FM and I would kill you to make it stop.  Like dead.  I would feel total comfort in burying your body under my lavender.

Not feeling well, makes me wound tight as a reel.

Everything totally freaks me out.  I am sore, my nerves are shredded and no doubt it just makes my stomach tighten and the cramps and spasms worse.

Priv has just had a baby. Priv is my rock, she is the reason I remain vaguely sane.  The last month (June and July) without her in her usual position has left me frayed and stressed.  I was stressed before she has her baby, as I imagined the worst possible outcome for her and her  baby.

I worried, I fretted.

She went into labour last Monday, and the week was about running back and forth to the hospital, waiting in waiting rooms, trying to navigate the public health system and worrying for her every moment of every day made my nerves frayed, and I am exhausted.  I feel sick with worry.

Priv and her baby girl are happily home and I am relieved.

But I worry.  I worry how this is going to work going forward.  I worry about everything.  I worry about her.  I worry about the baby. I worry about how this arrangement is going to work going forward.  I worry. I worry eternally about everything.  Of course when someone asks I say “it’ll work itself out” in a little sing-song voice I have mastered.

Every little thing. I worry about.  I worry to the point that my jaw is sore because I have it set in such an uncomfortable manner.

If I started biting my nails (as I did until 1999) they would be bitten to the quick and bleeding.  But I have nice nails, and no longer chew them – but I have started scratching my legs – that helps.  I also pinch my upper leg, or I flick my fingers.

I am so worried about her.  I am so worried about me and my ability to cope at the moment.

My IBS on a scale of 1 to 10 is a good and solid 8 1/2 and I feel grim most of the time.  It makes me irritable, hostile and angry. I cannot function when it is at it’s worst.  My stomach swells, I feel nauseous, I feel sweaty – I have cramps and spasms that are surely my comeuppance for not attempting a vag.in.al birth.

The last three nights as I dozed off my mind has been trying to calculate exactly how much medication an overdose would be.  How much would I have to take?  Would I prefer a 3 month coma or straight death?  Tricky, tricky — which will it be?  I have enough schedule 5 drugs to stop a small herd of goats firmly in their tracks.

Could I just go to sleep, and be at peace?  No more pain, no more discomfort, no more feeling shite.  Could that really be an option? Or is it time to schedule another little sojourn in my nearby clinic?

I don’t want to rob my kids of a mom.  I also do not want to be an irritated, upset, horrible mother than clouds their existence.  The reason they are on a leather couch in 15 years bemoaning why the fuck their mother could not just be happy.

I looked at some short videos that Kennith had taken recently of our holiday, and Georgia’s birthday party.

I am not the one smiling.  I never look happy. I look pained, irritated and angry – which is pretty much how I feel most of the time.  I am never smiling in videos or photographs – unless someone tells me to smile, and then it is forced and never moves to my eyes.

I know that if I wrote down a list of “things to be happy for” and “things to be fucked off about” – my list of happy would far exceed my “things to be fucked off about.”

I have a good life.

I have some wonderful advantages in my life, I have so much to be happy about – but I am unfortunately so deeply unhappy.

The reality is that my reality feels dark, sad, pained and confusing — and at a certain point I start to look for ways to step off the fun, but nauseating round about.

So that’s how I feel them.  Clearly not main stream happy, and maybe not Living and Loving Magazine cover bullshit, but there we go.  You know what they say …. actually I have no idea what the fuck they say.

 

suicide bunny

I forget stuff ….

At the moment I am finding it really tricky to stay on top of things.

Fetch kids from school today – it was 17h00 – I am holler-holler for being early…or so I thought.

Connor is all “it is science fair day, and we need to go to the school hall, and they will not have this for another 10 years…”

I had forgotten about it.  Though the school had easily given me half a dozen reminders.

I pushed my Clicks sunglasses to the end of my nose and look at Connor thinking “wonderful marketing campaign they have dreamt up my boy…” and thought shit “it is late, I really do not have any cash on me, and I really have a runny tummy …. so please gawd do not make me stand in the middle of a school hall …. please …for the love of wine…”

More importantly Grade 1 – 3 are doing science fair from frk-knows-when until 18h30 and then the Grade 4+ take over from there.

It is 17h15 now …..

I said okay kids, you have 15 minutes and then we are out of here …. then they whined, and moaned …. and yelled and negotiated ….Connor re-explained that as he was in Grade 4, he could not take part until 18h30 …. I appreciate sometimes he talks to me in a way I can understand.

I stil l had a runny tummy and no where to go. I do not do public toilets.  I don’t do school halls with screaming children and too many people.

It became purgatory in a school hall with very loud children, stupid paper areoplanes and capatilism until way past where you humour departs and your large colon decides that there is only one way out of this situation.

I eventually had to leave at 18h05 as Pepe needs to go home.  Granted she goes to church as she sings in a choir, so I really can’t make an issue against it.  The minute you bring religion or menstrual cycles in as an argument, you pretty much disarm the other person.

I race home with Georgia, sms Kennith that he needs to buy the “blowey balloon thing” as she saw it and now she will not stop about it.  I had to leave Connor at school – alone …. well alone with 600 other people.

I get home, Pepe zoots out the door.

I give Georgia dinner, I go down the passage to go the toilet – my tummy has been a bit funny today – so I can’t leave Isabelle walking around as she will probably paint san.at.ic symbols on the outside walls, so I head to the toilet, for a crap, with Isabelle sitting on the shower step eating her biscuit.

Georgia did come in three times, to explain why she was not going to eat her pumpkin.  At a certain point I seriously thought about throwing pumpkin+dinner plate out the window.

But I was on the toilet so could not actually reach the bathroom window and still retain my dignity.

Fabulous.

The rest of the evening pretty much went to plan.  Other than Kennith singing lyrics from Jack Parow.

But then I sms’s a person who I did not know.  By accident.  And then I had to have a conversation via sms that was all sorts of strange.  With someone I sms’d by accident.  She is coming over on Saturday night.  Still do not know who she is.

Such is my life.  <reach over and sip some wine….>

Sometimes a picture says what you think …..

I really am a fan of blunt cards and the way they say exactly what I am thinking.  In the most politically incorrect manner possible.

Before you start clicking your tongue in judgement and wondering whether you should compose a quick note to me drawing my attention to the joys of motherhood, and what I may missing, please don’t — really please don’t.  Not this week.

I love my kids – I know at times with the amount of emotional vomitting I do, you are starting to wonder at which point do you actually call Child Services.

I have realised I just don’t enjoy being a mother all the time.  The job is hard, it is thankless, it is monotonous, it does not pay particularly well, and it stretches your patience level more than your IQ level.  I know we are all programmed to say how much we doggone love it, and that it is the best job in the world, but seriously I have no idea which spin doctor is selling that sh&t to us, and more importantly why we are eating it up.

I am having some concerns it is possibly men who would rather go to the office than clean shit of tiles, and also previously disgruntled moms who figured if they had a shit time of it, there is no way they are telling in the event you find a way to get out of it and rob them of the happiness of watching you have a nervous break down.

I have no idea how this conspiracy was started.  But I appear to be as much of a “victim” as the rest of you chumps.

I know that I need to just keep my head down until it passes and I am all unicorns and fairy dust, until then, not so much.  But that being said this Blunt Card so perfectly tells you what I want to say – or say as a whisper to myself 1/2 the day at the moment.

Showering … and the fantasy of an uninterrupted two minutes …

To paint the scene – Pepe is on leave this week, so that should hint at how crazy the mornings are.

This morning, I thought I would risk it and shower this morning, rather than last night.

I fell out of bed, went to wake kids.

Connor and Georgia were awake and had got dressed.  I don’t know how, I had not put out their clothes.  I was sure they had used the dirty old clothes from yesterday.  I decided to let it go, and rejoice in the fact they were dressed.

Got kids to breakfast table – put Pronutro into respective bowls.  Isabelle decided she did not want milk in her bowl, so proceeded to eat dry Pronutro.

I was lathering kids with sunblock while they were eating breakfast, kept reminding Georgia to eat her food – I need to do this every 45 seconds or she drifts off and forgets.

I did Georgia’s hair for school, Connor went to brush his teeth, Isabelle continued to manoeuvre dried Pronutro into her mouth.

She has opted not to take milk with Pronutro … I have stopped trying to convince her otherwise, and now just put her milk in a cup for her to drink spill over the counter.

Finished hair, sent Georgia to the bathroom to brush teeth, checked Connor’s teeth for quality of brushing, dressed Isabelle, took Isabelle to the bathroom, got toothpaste on her toothbrush, got Georgia’s toothbrush and toothpaste.

Bear in mind Georgia has already been in the bathroom for 10 minutes with the only direction to brush teeth. She STILL had neither touched her toothbrush nor picked up the toothpaste.

I have no idea what she was doing in the bathroom.  Sanity has stopped me questioning this any more.

Got girls brushing, barked an order at Connor to please feed Annabelle (the dog.)

I got into the shower.  Realised that as I took the clip out my hair, and my hair did not move, that I needed to wash my hair.

I step in to the shower.

Connor calls me: “Where is the dog food?”

Me: “In the spare room….”

Connor: “Where..?”

Me – swearing under my breath first:”It is in the spare room, it is the only bright orange bag of dog food in the spare room….JUST LOOK!’

Connor: “Found it..”

Me – brushing teeth in the shower – Georgia walks in and starts talking: ‘Uhm …… uhm……. mommy ……….uhm….”

Me with the curtain pulled back, toothpaste dripping down my chin: “Yes Georgia….”

Georgia: “Uhmmmm …. mommy ….. uhmm …… you know …… uhmm …. you know ….. mommy …. at school …. you know ….uhm …. mommy ….at school you know …. uhm …..”

Me realising that I was officially going to lose my mind!

Georgia totally obtuse to my tortured face peering out the side of the shower curtain: “Uhm mommy ….. at ……. school ….. there is a science fare …..uhm …. mommy …. you know … at school ……..”

Good grief, seriously!!!

Georgia: “uhm … at school … you know there is a science fair …… you know …. and we can buy things ….”

Me: “Georgia, I am not giving you money to buy things at school ….”

Georgia: “Eowwwwww…”

Me: “Just let me SHOWER! PLEAEESSEEEE for god sake!”

Connor from outside: “Where is Annabelle’s bowl?”

Me: “Connor look, just look – it is there outside ……”

Connor: “But where?”

Me: “Look, just look, look towards the floor area …… LOOK DAMMIT JUST LOOK……”

Connor: “I can’t find it…..”

Me – thinking – seriously I need to get that child’s eyes tested again.

Connor: “Found it…”

Me – for fk sake, just let me shower.

Kennith walks in to the bathroom.

Kennith believes that shower curtains have a special chemical that blocks sound waves.  So when he talks to me he must jerk the curtain back.  Allowing cold air in, whilst I stand attemping to risk/soap/rinse myself.

Kennith: “Georgia is only having one pour of milk with her pronutro, if she does not eat it in time, then it goes hard and she does not get any more milk…”

Me …. losing the will to live …… but still have a glimpse of the will to have a shower ….

Sort of nodding, because right now I would agree to painting the house purple if it would mean I could just shower in peace.

Kennith: “Okay Georgia ….”

Me – wondering why I am a part of this — and cannot shower by myself.

Georgia: “Okay ….” Georgia leaves the bathroom.

Kennith: “Okay bye …” – Kennith leans forward to kiss me goodbye – I make the effort to atleast wipe the conditioner which has dripped down my face off my mouth.  My left eye is searing in pain, but I have decided that it is not worth the effort to rinse properly.

I move the curtain back, try to rinse the toothpaste foam from my face, which has now mixed with the conditioner and more than likely is having a reaction with the urine running down my leg.

I can’t lie – some days it is just easier to pee in the shower …. there I said it.

Isabelle appears: ‘Muuuuuuuummmmm ……….. muuuuuuuuuuummmmmmmmm….”

She has just started saying Mum – but then does not end it with anything further, so she gets my attention, but then confused me as I am trying to figure out what it is she is trying to say.

Me: “Yes Isabelle….”

Isabelle: ‘Muuuuuuuummmmm ……….. muuuuuuuuuuummmmmmmmm….”

Me – for fk sake people please just let she shower.

Georgia: “We are playing hide and seek, and Isabelle is hiding ….”

Me –  wondering how she is hiding when she is standing in the middle of the bathroom and clearly not hiding her bulk well.

Me: “Great girls, can you go and play in the room, I will be there now….”

And so it went on.

I am sure showers are meant to be invigorating refreshing experiences – I am not sure that is the way it goes in my home.

I have also realised that it is pointless trying to close the door, as then I will have Isabelle throwing her weight up against the door crying/screaming/invoking the apocolapse, and I would have to get out the shower to go and open the door and then return to the shower.

I really have dreams where I am showering, alone, uninterrupted … I really don’t care if it ends with Norman Bates stabbing me in the end, at least I get two minutes of uninterrupted shower time.

Children’s Birthday Parties are a Health Hazard!

I am sitting watching Scared Mom/Charlotte updating Facebook and her blog with all the work she is doing for her daughter’s birthday party – it feels like I am watching a nervous breakdown in process, or at the very least someone who is one Mickey Mouse ear away from going postal.

Charlotte is planning a party – her child’s party and that is about as painful as an enema with VIM.

Watching Charlotte spinning out of control and turning Mommy-Partyzilla is mildly amusing, but a bit unsettling because I am exactly the same, so it is resulting in some post-trauma flash backs to my own experience with me planning and orchestrating parties.

For me parties stop being about the kids who are coming to the party and all about how I am going to outdo myself from last year.

The parents who I need to impress.  The right cake from the right bakery.  The outfit my child will wear.  The photographs.  The organising.  The lists.  The party packs. It all gets too much, too quickly, and I spin out of control, as I add another stupid thing to the list of things to do and to stress about.

And so it goes on – my 6 week stress run up to my kid’s parties strip the life and the joy out of them for me. Every last morsel of joy.  Sucked out.

I hate kid’s parties.

No, you misunderstand, I like coming to YOUR kid’s party.

I HATE arranging, organising, paying way too much, stressing, getting annoyed with stupid people who do not rsvp, wanting to yell at people who rsvp on the morning or the night before to say they are not coming, or “oh yeh, do you mind if we come….” and the worrying that everything will not go to plan.

I hate the associated stress that comes with organising my kid’s birthday parties.

It is January, and you know what?  I cannot tell you the joy I feel that the next time my “turn” pops up is June.  I get 4 – 5 months of happiness and raucous party abandonment and do not have to give it a second thought.

I NEVER enjoy my kid’s birthday parties.

I am too busy, too exhausted, too frazzled to pay attention to what is going on.

Mentally I have a checklist and I am too busy ticking off what needs to be done and when, to actually have a normal conversation.  Logically I keep telling myself “it is only a kid’s party, calm the hell down…” but then I do not. I blow it out of proportion, and when I start booking the ponies, the jumping castle and the magician, then I know I have gone too far.

Problem is I can’t pull myself back, and the only way to behave when you are going OVER THE TOP is to step it up and see if you can book a bucking bronco as well.

Trust me, when my turn comes, I will be thrown in amongst the non-sensical-crazy-blubbering-saliva-on-your-chin-RAMPANT-madness that infects nearly every mother when they know their child’s birthday party looms.

Why is it that fathers do not seem to have their “I am fkn losing my mind” party gene?

Next time around I would like testicles – as they seem to be linked to a relaxed mood and party planning – this ovaries and oestrogen lark is really a bit much.

Good luck Charlotte.

I will be there with my brood, and some screw top wine – for me, not my brood, they can get their own.

If you opened a bag of marshmallows and Flings and threw them on the lawn and let the two-year olds fight it out, they would probably have an equally as good a time, but I know that once Mommy-Partyzilla fever hits, it is just downhill and an anxiety attack from there on in.

Good luck!!!

Dirty Little Secrets … still bleating on about that …

My previous post about Dirty Little Secrets that Mother’s Keep really hit a chord with me (it also set off a totally irrational argument between Kennith and I, but we can save that for another day).

I think my main motivation for starting a blog was because I felt embarrassment and shame that I was just not that into motherhood.  Everywhere I looked were happy glowing mothers who were so happy to be moms and felt so fulfilled, and so filled with joy.

Bless.

The problem was I felt spurts of joy, fulfillment and happiness but the reality, for the most part, I felt persecuted, drained, confused, empty and pretty angry much of the time.

And I felt alone.

Because it was only me who felt that way.

No one I had ever known had ever confided in me that they felt a bit “under whelmed” with motherhood.

Sure, people said it was “hard” and cramped your ability to ever go to the toilet alone, but not one person I knew ever breathed a word that made it sound like it was not super fabulous all the time.

But for me it was not that fabulous, all of the time.

There were some really stellar moments that made me sigh, but there were some pretty grim moment that made me cry.

And then I thought the unthinkable, ‘maybe this mom thing is a bit crap a bit of the time Maybe it’s sh*t does actually smell ……’

Then I was convinced I would burn in hell for even thinking that thought – which is tricky as I do not actually believe in hell.

One of the many problems I have is that I am a ‘blurter’ – it is not dissimilar from Tourette’s Syndrome.  Basically at the most inappropriate time I will blurt something out, usually too loudly and to the most inappropriate person (or persons) I can locate.

The more inappropriate the time, and the more offensive the blurt, the higher the chance of it coming out.

Picture the scene: Moms I don’t know.  Me at a kid’s birthday party with my son.  I feel awkward, I feel like I am visiting an alien planet and I am nervous that all the ‘real moms’ are going to sniff me out as an imposter.

They are all chatting about how happy they are because Junior has just started walking, and then I feel an overwhelming urge to say ‘Really, it was so much easier when they lay on their back like a jelly, because I found I could get so much done, when they stayed in the same place I left them.’

And then I would usually go on with the scene stealer: ‘Don’t you think birthday parties would be more fun for the moms if they served wine, because I am so over drinking tea …..’

A really innocent comment when compared with my usual ‘blurts’ but even I would feel the shift in the room’s temperature, and realise that I was on my way to leper status.

That was enough for me to realise that the best tactic for me to attempt to try to secure any future birthday invites and playdates was to tone it down, and appear normal with other moms.

And so began the play-acting in front of other moms, and also to a large part in front of most people I knew.

I think the real clinger came when I was watching an Oprah show – (Secret Lives of Moms & Truth About Motherhood in 2009).  On one program a new mom indicated that she was struggling, motherhood was hard, and she did not actually like it all of the time.

I think there might have been less fall-out if Oprah took a cr&p on her interviewers table.

People went nuts.

Harpo was inundated with moms slating the ‘honest mom’ and a subsequent show aired where dozens of moms explained how much they love motherhood, all the time, and that they had NEVER had one moment when they thought it was not the best thing in the frkn universe.

It was brutal.

I realised that clearly the world was not ready for me and my truth, so I sort of skipped that part, and did the ‘smile and wave’ segment of my journey.

Fast forward a few years and I realised you know, fk it, I can’t do this crap any more.

I love my kids, I really love being a mom, some of the time, but some of the time I hate it.  There are some great moments and there are some that only a large bottle of wine, and a few anti-depressant can get me through.

I started to feel better when I started saying some of the stuff that was running around in my head and I could not say out loud.

I have spent nearly two years emotionally puking on this blog.

The best part, and what continues to be the best part, is when weeping bleeding moms confide in me that something I have said resonates with them, or helps them to feel less guilty about something.

No, I do not get off on other people’s sadness (unless it is that Steve Hofmeyer has found a giant growth on his anus), but I really get happy when someone admits that something is not as it appears.

Not quite the ‘truth will set you free’ stuff, but admitting something is not all white wine and daffodils, can sometimes help the next person have the freedom to have their own little epiphany, or just save them a bit of time crying in the bathroom at 2am.

I really am not making my point very eloquently at the moment – so to cut to the chase.

I have created an alternate blog where some brave moms and soon-to-be-moms admit their own ‘dirty little secrets that mothers keep.’

http://dirtylittlesecretsmotherskeep.wordpress.com/

I know when you read some of the posts, part of you feels a profound sadness for these women, but for me I find it uplifting.

Because they have bravely stood up and said something, that maybe all of us are thinking – and by them having the courage to say it, makes it easier for the next mom, who does not have to feel so ‘guilty’ because she maybe does not love it all, all of the time.

And if it is easier for her, maybe she can be a bit more easy on herself, and easier on the next mom she encounters who is battling.

And maybe in that chain a mom forgives herself for not being perfect, and allows herself to just feel and think what is real for her.

Just maybe ….

Dirty little secrets mothers keep …

Dirty little secrets mothers keep …

I had someone comment on my blog recently which took me to her blog, and it in turn led me to a section of her blog which was cleverly referred to as “Dirty Little Secrets” where moms/parents had posted stuff …

You know the stuff you think, but do not say in public for fear of being beaten up, or child services arrive at your door step, or for what ever else it is that you fear happening.

There are some corkers on this site.

I thought I would grab a few that stood out for me – then I realized that there were more than just a few that resonated with me …..I am starting to think my multiple personality disorder went along and posted some of these comments.

  • I resent my kids. I feel like I could have done so much better for myself.
  • No one told me how lonely motherhood is….
  • Occasionally I wonder what sort of injury it would take for me to have a stay in hospital as a kind of guilt free holiday.
  • On the outside I am a happily married wife and mother. On the inside I am lesbian plotting to leave my husband when the time is right after get his help paying for my school.
  • I used to love life and feel proud about myself…now I’m sad every day and feel like a failure…I look at my marriage and I think “Do I have to be in this relationship for my children’s sake?”. I love my sons but being a Mom is very tiring and I never feel that I did a good job, unlike when I used to work and felt accomplished and successful. Back in those days when I was single, all I wanted was a husband and a family to make me whole. If this is what I wanted how come I’m not happy…
  • I think I want another baby, only to distract me from the two kids I already have! Probably not the best reason to have a third child.
  • I tell my kids to go away more often than I tell them I love them.
  • I cry in the shower so no one else can hear or see me
  • I look forward to when my husband goes on deployments and work ups because I have one less person to take care of. It’s like he is my 3rd child and I am starting to resent him for it.
  • Sometimes I hide in my walk in closet just for a few minutes of quiet and no one can find me.
  • I feel guilty all the time.
  • I want to leave and take a break from my husband, but I have nowhere else to go. How pathetic is that?
  • I used to be nice too. I used to like sex.
  • If I had known what kind of father my husband would be, we would not have a child. We will not be having a second. Between doing 95% of the parenting by myself, and getting almost no sleep or time to myself, I physically and mentally cannot endure this again.
  • That I want to just sleep. Sleep for an entire day. To just do nothing. I feel like I haven’t slept in 20 months.
  • I keep a container full of M&Ms hidden for just me…that’s right-ALL FOR MYSELF! (It seems like that is the only thing I get to myself). 
  • I love my 2 children but, very often, when they wake up in the morning I’m thinking “When will bedtime come?”
  • I really hate that my husband has he own life and just go’s and can do what he wants and I have to always stay home with the kids or take them with me.
  • I fill up every wipe box in the house to the top and tell my husband we are out of wipes and I need to go buy another package just so I can take “quick” trip to the store by myself.

I think the reality is that there are a lot of sad moms out there who do a fabulous job of putting up a happy face.

I really feel it might be easier if we were all a bit more honest with each other, then maybe newer moms or soon to be moms, would not feel this overriding pressure to “live up to the expectation of motherhood” that we create. 

There is this perception that motherhood is easy, natural, instinctive and well just lovely, and for some, well, it isn’t.

Women really make it hard for women. <sigh>

Dropping the ball …

 

I really feel that I am failing on so many levels at the moment.

My biggest issue right now – tomorrow I will have a new one – is that I am failing with Isabelle. 

I am just not available for her at the moment.  I either leave for work in the morning, and she has not woken up, or I spend 20 minutes with her between me getting ready and her waking up, and then I abandon her as I rush out the door.

Most days I home at about 18h30 or later and she goes to bed at 19h00.

I have noticed she has got very clingy and very whiny around me – and insists she is near me,  or I hold her hand.

She takes my hand and leads me to where she wants me to sit or stand.  She pulls at my clothes if I am sitting down and she wants me to come with her.  Then if I try to leave the area, she throws a mother of a thrombie!  She gets visibly distressed and the tears run down her chubby little cheeks.

I feel guilty.  I feel disappointed and then I feel angry.

And then I take my anger and frustration out on Kennith, because who else is available?

When I am with Isabelle I am aware of the short time, and I start dreading the end.  When I leave for work, she cries, and hangs on to my hand, and I have to hand her to Pepe while she makes those dramatic “mommy grabby arm” movements …. more heart wrenching it does not get. 

When the night ends and I put her in bed, she goes ballistic.

So even when I am with her for the precious little time there is, I am already dreading “the end” and knowing that the inevitable parting must come.  Then instead of delaying it, I decide to shift it up a gear and do it a bit earlier, as I am dreading it so much I want it over with – of course this cuts down the time I spend with her, but increases my guilt.

Make sense?

No, but I seldom do.

I enjoy work, I like my job, but it is not the kind that lends itself to flexibility of hours.

The good side is that I start at 9am, so I can drop the kids off at school in the morning, with less of the “tuck and roll out of a moving car” that I used to do in the past. 

If Connor reminds me that he needs something for school – as he did at 7am this morning – it is not a panic.  I can stop on the way to school and get it for him – the morning madness is still madness, but it is not overlayed with me stressing about being late for work.

But I can’t spend more time with Isabelle as I still need to leave the house in time to get the kids to school.

I just feel sh&t and well not-good-enough right now.

My thinking is that I will put my head down and get through this year.  I will suck it back and just get through it, and make a decision in December on how to tackle 2012.

Next year Georgia starts grade 1, Connor will be in grade 4 and the pressure of school and homework will escalate.  I need to find a way to be more available and be able to offer my kids the support they need. 

I know I often make remarks about how I outsource their needs to staff, but you do get that I am being flippant and that I do care deeply that they are provided for on all levels?

I worry that I am doing Georgia a disservice.  She needs more attention right now to get her speech up to scratch and general assistance so that she gets through Grade R confidently and then gets through Grade 1.

I do not want to be a stay-at-home mom, I really do want to go work, I just need flexibility – but I am quite attached to my pay-check, so would like flexibility and a paycheck! < which is the lament of most if not all working mothers I would guess>

I do not want to attend every school hotdog-stand day or bake-a-cake-sale, but I do want to pick one or two to do a year, and right now that is just not working.  So this year is not quite going as I had originally pictured it, but maybe it is, and I just chose not to be realistic about the picture.

This year – and I know it is only April – I have felt like I have missed so much with the kids.  I always appear to be in catch up mode, and that is not my most comfortable default position.

I am looking forward to this long weekend and just to spend time with the kids.  

I do not have to do hard-core arts and crafts with them or anything, but I just want to sit near them, be around them and smell them and hear them laugh and make fun of each other – I have been missing that!

Georgia on my mind ….

I have often spoken about how difficult it has become to discipline Georgia, and I think the thing I need to possibly stress is that she is not a naughty child, she just wanders off … in her head.

Today I went to fetch her from school, and she was busy in speech therapy.

I sat and listened to the last 10 minutes of the lesson, and then I asked Georgia if she would go and fetch her bag, and I could chat to speech therapy teacher.

Tertia – speech therapy teacher – explained the words and concepts that Georgia was struggling with and we started chatting about Georgia in general, and her progress.

I mentioned a few things that were beginning to become real concerns to me regarding Georgia – and they were not necessarily speech issues, but possible with her experience in childhood development she might be able to offer some insights that I was missing.

I really am not the type of mother that sticks her head into the sand and avoids seeing the issue.  I am more likely to start throwing water on a perfectly good bush, because I anticipate there might be a fire …. one day.

Tertia and I are chatting and at some point I look outside at Georgia.  She is playing with her friends.  But she isn’t.  Her friends are playing around her, and Georgia is playing on her own, or to correct in her own world.

I start explaining how much I struggle with Georgia because she drifts off so quickly – and often… almost all the time at the moment.  In the last two months it has got progressively worse.

An example is that in the morning I put toothpaste on her toothbrush.

Only because if I ask her to do that part it will take her 25 minutes. 

I then leave her in the bathroom, infront of the basin, aimed towards the mirror, and I will go: “Please brush now, inside and out, smiley-teeth and back-teeth, brush for two minutes, not fast, but properly ….. for two minutes.”

“Okay?”

“Okay, mommy.”

She will smile at me, and I will go and get undressed, get into the shower, wash, wash and condition my hair, brush my teeth – yes, I brush my teeth in the shower.

Wash conditioner out of the shower, allow myself the 30 seconds where the hot water runs against the top of my spine, and then I turn water off, get out, get towel, do a basic dry off, assess how crap I look and how much I really should take a bit more time to get my sh&t together in the morning.

Take the cream away from Isabelle, comfort Isabelle because she is crying, tickle Isabelle, put some toothpaste on a toothbrush and give it to Isabelle, stand and smile at her as she brushes her teeth and is getting dribble and toothpaste all over her chin and down her sleep shirt, realize that I need to go and check on Georgia, kiss Isabelle on the head as I move her backwards so I do not get her toes caught on the bathroom door as I open it.

Walk down the passage back to the other bathroom.

Arrive in the bathroom and find Georgia standing in the bath – there is no water in the bath – she will be singing or have a bucket on her head and singing.  The unused toothbrush will still be in her hand, with the tooth paste totally undisturbed – and clearly no teeth have been brushed.  Fifteen or twenty five minutes have passed at this point.

She is not deeply ashamed or mischievously smiling when I find her.  She will look at me and go: “Look I have a bucket on my head!”

Obviously at this point I go off POP!  Like blind rage.

There is screaming and shouting and much child pulling out of bath and threats of bodily harm and it is all a little bit fish wife.

But short of a few details this is pretty much how it goes with Georgia every day, when I ask her to do something.

I can just substitute “panties on head and dancing around the bedroom” with the “ bucket on the head” or even “sitting on her floor writing on a piece of paper” will work equally well.

I am lamenting my life to teacher Tertia, not because I think she can help, but because I am at my wits end and I am not sure who else to talk to.

I know the answer is not to beat the crap out of Gerogia, or send her to her room for 6 months  – none of these punishments work for her.  The only person who feels crap when they are being dished out is me – Georgia toodles on in her own world, “min gepla” as they would say.

Teacher Tertia and I sit watching Georgia and she goes: “You know Georgia is not a stupid girl, I bet if she did an IQ test she would score very high, but she gets distracted …. she gets internally distracted and that is where the problem lies.”

“Internally distracted” – I have never heard such an appropriate term to describe Georgia.

She chatted about the fact that it is often the loud/ADD kids who get the attention because they get so distract by what is around them, and kids like Georgia who get overlooked because they are so quiet, and are not misbehaving – but they are operating in thier heads and away from everyone else – day dreaming for lack of a better term.

Tertia also said that if she is working with Georgia and something happens and she has to attend do it, Georgia will sit in the same place and just sit there – as happy as Larry.  She says usually a kid who is not being attended to will get up and go off and play with the toys in the classroom, or something, she says Georgia will sit there quite content to drift off into her own world.

Listen I think all of this is wonderful and I love the fact that Georgia is as unique as she is – she is quirky!

Someone said to me yesterday: ”Georgia is so quirky, she is going to be the kind of person who opens a vibey coffee shop, and it has all this detail and she has all these interesting people there.”

She probably would …. the problem is that she will still be dancing in her room with her panties on her head and forget to go and open the coffee shop!

I am concerned that Georgia might not be main stream education material.  Her in a class of 25 kids when the kids have to absorb a body of work quickly because the teacher is talking to all of them, is probably not ideal.

I see her wandering off – in her head – and sitting there staring at the teacher as if she is listening, but in her head she is dancing naked in the rain with a bucket on hear head listening to the tippa-tippa-tippa-tippa sound of the water on top of the bucket!

Tertia recommended I chat to a specialist paed who deals with attention-issues relating to children, and she recommended someone for me to call.  She said the best thing to do is get her assessed.

What are my options in terms of ‘rectifying’ the issue, and Tertia said, I am not sure, maybe medication.

And then I sighed a bit, actually quite deeply … but not in happiness you understand.

I have the doctor’s number, I will call and set up an appointment to see what she says and just try and get some ideas of how to deal with this better (prefer no medication though, before the mother grundy emails start about who I should not medicate my child and and and ….)

I fetched Georgia and Connor and decided to stop for some ice cream. 

I then watched Connor eat his ice cream neatly in an organized fashion.  Same table, same type of ice cream, Georgia had hers on her jacket, on her chin, on her nose, on the table, on her shirt and on her forehead, and then the last bit fell out the bottom of her cone and fell on her lap!

<sigh>

This photo is classic Georgia … she is the one on the left hand side doing her Yoga deep meditation while everyone else is monkeying around for a photo …..

Is there a right age to be a parent ….

Is there a right age to have a child?  Is there a right age to decide to be a parent?

Is there an age where you feel okay, I am ready, I am ready to step into the abyss and see where it takes me?

<I am discounting when someone falls pregnant by ‘accident’ as that is no longer a decision to have a child, that is ‘we are having a child, let’s make some decisions that go with it” – that situation is different and though has merit, is not the decision where one sits and goes “am I ready to think about having a child”>

I am not sure that there is any “right” age to agree to have kids, but at the same time I do not think there is a wrong age.  I do think however there is an “unwise” age.

For instance I think making a decision to have children when your age ends with the word “teen” is probably an unwise age.  I personally would not trust a “teen” to order me a take away meal and get it right and bring me change, so odds are I might not think they were “wise” enough to raise a child.

Don’t get me wrong, I fully understand that a “teen” has the plumbing and understands the mechanism of how to become parents.  My dog can have sex and produce a litter every year or so, it does not take a genius to actually become a parent, the genius (the sweat and the tears) is the ability to BE a parent.

<I am excluding good as my idea of good and Martha Stewart’s idea of good might vary on this>

I wasn’t ready to think about being a parent when I was in my twenties.  At the same time I was also not picturing white weddings and white picket fences.  It just was not how my mind’s eye was working.

However Kennith was ready and had been ready from about 35 seconds after we met. I am not sure it was me that inspired a sense of producing off spring, it was more the fact that he wanted off spring and I was there.

He did not pressure me, but he did indicate that his future included small replicas of our DNA, or at worst his DNA.

My tack was to say “maybe next year” – knowing full that next year would never come, and if it did, then we could have the same conversation. A little like Ground Hog Day.

But time moved on and at 28 we had the same conversation we had been having for a few years.  I was happy with our little lot in life, and could not imagine adding a child to the mix.

However in this particular conversation (held at the Spur – how symbolic is that of where we would be spending many many future meals) I realised that “next year” was never going to come for me.

It just was never going to come.  And I think at that point he knew.  He might have been suspicious before, but I think at that moment he knew.

I felt that if I stuck to my resolve of not wanting children then odds are that I risked Kennith leaving me.  I wondered if I would stick to my resolve and “see what happened” – but the truth was I was too afraid to see “where this went.”

I was too chicken to see if he left me …. because what if he did?

I decided instead to opt for the lesser known road of deciding that the idea of kids no longer revolted me – sure I was not exactly running into the light in ecstasy –  but maybe there was a slither of hope that it might not be as bad as I had thought.

Based on that fantastic decision-making model we decided to “try.”  Well Kennith decided to try, I decided to no longer fight the inevitable.

I had Connor when I was 29.

Do I think I was too young or too old?  Neither.

I was scared sh&tless, I was in over my head, and I had no idea what was going on.  I was in over my head and I felt like I was drowning most of the time.  I was unprepared, totally lost, totally not ready and when I think back now I feel very sorry for me actually.

But – and here is the but – I had 29 years of life experience under my belt.  I had spent six years with Kennith cohabitation and fighting over who is going to change the toilet roll, and whose turn it was to do the passer-by dishes.  I was reasonably mature, I lived a reasonable stable life, and I had my sh&t together.

I thought at the time I knew me, and I knew him.

But the reality is that when you throw a 3.25 kg wrinkled baby into the mix, you realise it is a bit like being on “the weakest link” – you sort of know the answers, but get really scared when the lights flash at you and all but forget your name, and then to add to it some git is going to write your name on a whiteboard and out for being the weakest link.

It was all pretty grim stuff.

I had my second child at 32 and thought I did not feel like I knew exactly what was going on, I definitely felt a bit less worried and anxious.

I had my third child at 36 – and I definitely felt less “deer in the headlights.”

But I am not sure if it is an age thing or an experience thing.  I am 38 now and I feel like I have “nearly” got this parenting thing down pat.  I have not quite got it, but man, I am close!

I think there are people who are couples/singles who decide to become parents in their mid-twenties, even their early twenties.  They might even find they are a bit pregnant, rush off and get married and then commit to this life at what ever age. Some how most of them do make a go at it.

Would I have coped?  Probably not.  I barely cope now.

I realise this is the point where I should wax lyrically about what a joy children are, and how I would not change anything for the world ….I know this is that part.

This mommy gig is really hard emotional work….



 

Any one who knows me will easily be able to gauge that I lucked out when they were handing out patience.  I have always been wound just that little bit too tight.

My ability to appear/actually be patient is lacking at the best of times.

I am impatient with those I love.  I am decidedly impatient with those I can’t stand. And fools and call centre staff get the full onslaught of my wrath.

One if the problems (and there are several) is that my impatience and inability to maintain my composure makes me sometimes treat my loved ones with a disregard for their feelings.  Subsequent to the fact I am always sorry, but seldom say it out loud.

Instead I hold it in and persecute myself.  I go for a bit of self-flagellation, which makes me feel crapper than I do any way.  It is all a bitter cycle, that builds momentum and gains speed of epic proportion.  The more I am unhappy with myself, the more I internalize things, and the self loathing grows.

It just seems that while in the moment I am almost unable to control my zero-to-being- totally-fucked-off- in-eight-seconds-or-less reaction to things.

When I am tired, stressed and anxious it is worse.  (Right now I am tired, stressed and very anxious.)

The issue I wish to focus on today, is that I have lacked patience with Connor.  It feels like I have always lacked patience with him.

I am not sure exactly why.  But the truth be told, he is probably the child I reserve the least amount of patience for.

I am not sure of the reason, and I am sure it is not anything he has done.  It is totally a fault that lies in my character and my inability to deal with him in a rational and calm manner.

I love that child dearly.  I would die for him if I had to.  He is really one of the sweetest children – in character – that I have ever met.  

But I have realized for some time – and with much embarrassment – that there is something about him that sets me off.  He knows my triggers – consciously or unconsciously.  He knows them, and he knows how to apply the pressure that sends me off like a rocket.

It is a bit like that new guy who just started working at your office.  Helluva nice guy, friendly and very personable.  But there is just something about him that rubs you up the wrong way.  It is not what he says or does, it is actually just that he exists and that he exists in a 10 meter radius of you!

Initially when I had Connor  I put it down to the fact that I was overwhelmed/distraught/a shit mother and had colossal amounts of problems that I was hoarding away under beds and in cupboards.  I struggled with him – I struggled with me – and I struggled to be patient with him when I should have been more so.  Connor always knows I love him, and adore him – he also knows that unfortunately I am a bit erratic and quick to anger.

When I had Georgia and Isabelle, I realized that though they tire me, as kids do, they do not seem to set me off like Connor does.  With Connor I am generally rattled and frizzled (less now that I was).

I read a book several years ago – A Child Called “It”  by Dave Pelzer.

Long story but the short of it, was that he was one of five brothers, and his mother was the poster child for good mothers.  Very active mom.  She was the den mother for their scout group, and very involved with her children and the community.  But for some reason she started to abuse her one son, Dave.  Totally random, totally uncalled for.   She abused him in every conceivable way, she was vile and cruel.

I read it before I had my children, and I think if I read it now, it might be a bit too traumatic and I am not sure I would get through it having a little boy of my own.

There is this part in the book towards the end where Dave is trying to come to terms with why his mother abused him but left his four brothers alone.  What was it about him that set her off?  (Please bear with me as I am recalling this book and I read it more than 10 years ago, so I am doing a serious memory backtrack, and may be a bit off with the details.)

There was a psychologist/psychiatrist who commented that no one knows what makes a mom target one of her kids.  But it could be something as small as a smell, which triggers an emotion or a reaction in a mother.  It might cause her to react differently to one child versus how she may behave to the others in her brood.

When I realized that Connor managed to get under my skin, and he actually caused me to become angry, not upset, like blood-curdling- I-can- see-only-red angry.  I got fearful.  For me.  For him.

Maybe I might be Mrs Pelzer or a bit of Mrs Pelzer was living in me – and Connor might be “that boy.”

It is a guilt I have carried with me for a very long time.  I am really concerned that I might one day do something in my rage that I cannot stop, and will forever regret.   I have often done things in my “blind rage and anger” that afterwards I recognize weren’t signs of healthy behavior, and have given me many hours of purging on therapists couches.

When I say I struggle, I really mean I fekn battle with motherhood.  I know some very dark places, and I feel like I have been right to the bottom.

Connor is now nine years old.  He is a very sweet and even tempered child. He is naturally good and sees the good in others.  He loves nothing more than for you to be pleased with him.  He is gentle and loving, and appears secure and happy.

He values the praise of others too highly.  He needs affirmation from others.  I worry this will cause him pain and anguish moving forward in his life, and make his life hard.

But he is the way he is, and he really is a lovely sunny guy with the kindest soul.

Something I noticed in the last two months is that when he gets angry or impatient with Georgia, he speaks to her in the “angry” voice I used to use to speak to him (when I got angry and saw red – it does not happen often, but I will not deny that it still does happen).

When I heard him speak to her like that, I literally gasped.

I could have gone stomping into the room and demanded he apologise to her for being so abrupt and basically mean.  But it is difficult to do that when you have tears in your eyes and a lump in your throat, at the realization that your “horribly angry voice” is now speaking through your son, like a bad Vegas ventriloquist show.

It really was a pretty crap moment for me.  And made me sad right down to the fibre of what keeps my joints together.

It was one of those moments when I literally heard the car tyres screech in my head, as I gripped the steering wheel with white knuckles and thought “good gawd, what have I done, what now?”

The situation at home right now is that Georgia is 5 ½ and it appears that she has lost her ability to hear me speak.  I can speak to her until I literally have to scream at her because she has totally muted me out.

I speak nicely.  I speak in a measured tone.  I then speak with a bit more force.  I speak with animation.  I speak in a loud screechy voice.  I speak using only single syllable words.

I then progress to speak in an angry clipped tone.  When all of that fails – and Georgia just does not seem to be reacting, I screech at her in my “psychologically damaged do-what-I-am-telling-you-to-do-or-I-am-going-to-smack-you-into-next-week” voice.

The problem is that she is still not listening even though I do time out/deprive her of television/sit and reason with her/threaten to inflict bodily violence on her/threaten to throw Barbie and My Little Pony out of the fekn car window – she is impervious to it all.

 The final (or my final) resort is being this ugly mom person to try to get her to react or to comply.  The problem is the ugly mom person is too close to the surface for my liking and leaves me frayed and unfortunately very disappointed with myself, and angry with her, and exhausted!

The thing I have realized in the last three month is that maybe Georgia is going through a “phase.” She used  to be the “good one”  – she used to be the one who listened.  Now she is the one most likely to get a hiding over the weekend combined with time out!

What I have realised now is that maybe it was not Connor that was difficult (I would say he was challenging).  Maybe the problem was that when he  was going through his “I am not going to listen to mom unless she goes totally off her face” stage – Georgia was between 12 – 18 months.   So I was comparing him to a toddler – Georgia – who is generally a bit more compliant and easy to deal with that a young child who starts to express his boundaries.  Added to that I was going through so many things in my personal life, that I was raw and frayed most days, and had no facility for patience and being able to reflect on what I was doing.

(I am not excusing myself or making up a reason to fall back on.   I admit I am a crap mom most of the time, but I am less crap than I was, and hope to be less crap tomorrow than I am today – that is all I can do right now.)

Unfortunately my boy got to experience the really horrible side of his mom.  He saw the worst of me and I am embarrassed (and afraid) to admit, that I think his character has been “damaged” a bit because of it.

So how now?

I am not sure.

I feel terrible that I was so mean to Connor when he was a mite, and need to find a way to “unlearn” the behavior I have taught him is acceptable.  It isn’t and it wasn’t.

I am not sure how to go about it.

I am not sure if I can change, but there we are, such is the way it is right now in my neck of the woods.  I know this post rambles, but I feel a bit ramble and disjointed at the moment.

I think the summary is that I was not the best I could be for Connor.

I am sorry and I regret that I did not try harder and achieve more.  I am sorry that he had to endure me.  I am sorry that I was and am not more patient. 

I am sorry that I was not a more mature wise mother to realize that it was not him that was pushing by buttons, but that my buttons had been rubbed so raw, that any friction against them was agony and created a reaction.

I am sorry that I was not better, and I am sorry that I am still not the best I can be. 

 

If depression is creeping up and must be faced, learn something about the nature of the beast: You may escape without a mauling.

I don’t blog about depression often.  I prefer not to think of this as a blog about ‘moms who suffer from depression” – I prefer to regard it rather as a blog about a girl who struggles with motherhood.

The reality is that I do suffer/struggle with depression.

The reality is that most/a lot of days I struggle to get out of bed and through the day.

The reality is that most/all/some days I hate me, just because I am me.

The reality is that most/all days I do consider that maybe life would/might be easier/better/just not as hard if I was not in it.

The reality is that most/all/some days the pretence I put up to get through the day is exhausting, and takes more energy that I have available.

But I do get through the day.  And I do try to hide that it is a struggle.

I wake up. I put the alarm on my cell phone off.  Usually let out a great sigh.  Flick my feet onto the floor, and take a deep breath as my weight is conveyed to my feet.

I know that this is the start.  This is always the start of my day.

This is the start of my day where I will need to wait at least another 16 hours until I can go back to sleep.  Then I can close my eyes and sigh in relief that it is over – that I survived the day, that maybe tomorrow will be easier.

Maybe.

I often/usually have internal arguments with myself to convince myself that I actually do not suffer from depression.  I am fine.  I am really fine.

If I say it enough, then I might believe it.  However I do have several doctor’s certificates telling me differently.

The reality is that I do struggle with depression.

The reality is that it is this gnawing pain that exists.

The reality is that just waking up is a battle won.

The reality is that if someone tells me to “look on the bright side” I might actually stick the broken neck of my wine bottle (when I am finished with it, as it is pointless hitting it against the side of a table to get a ragged killing instrument if there is still wine in the bottle) and shove it into some jolly well-wishers jugular.

(Anger management classes start Friday)

No matter who I am today, no matter where I am, no matter what I am doing, it is this dark shadow that I am waiting to drift over the sun.

When the dark cloud does move over the sun, it is dark, it is cold, and I will quickly forget all the warmth I experienced before.

Every now and then there will be a little breeze, that will change the course of that cloud, and it’s direction of drifting over the sun.  I will get to sit in the sun and have the warmth of it on my face for a bit longer.

November and December have truly been a shocker for me.  I have been smacked to the floor more times than I can probably count.

Of course logic would tell you that I would be hit with a depressive episode.  But logic and depression do not necessarily walk hand in hand down the garden path.

It still hit me, and I still was not able to recognize it – could not see it coming, could not see it when it arrived, and could not recognize it’s destructive force.

All a bit shocking considering how bright I keep telling everyone I am.

I am very lucky that in general I have been able to manage my depression.

I have been able to hide it sufficiently from Joe-Public.

My methods are often to distance myself, to appear aloof, and to build what can only be described as a large moat, and castle walls around myself – to protect myself.  This “protection” has stood me in good stead.

But with all things good, there is sometimes the small print.

The protection means I have distanced myself from a great deal of other things – the result is I have been missing out.

I have convinced myself that this distancing is vital, and necessary.  And that the lack of feeling or connection of feeling is a fair price to pay for the “protection.”

New therapist (combined with some recent events) has shown me that maybe it is not a fair price to pay and it might be time to start breaking down my defenses.

It might be time.

I am not sure it is time, but, I do realize what I have been missing out on and what I have been standing away from.  Though it has served as a fantastic protection tool, maybe in the protection it has also held me back from experiences, both in joy and in happiness, and in itself done more damage.

So that is what I tackle this year.

I tackle the little steps in breaking those defenses down one brick at a time.

Am I scared?  Petrified.  Am I convince it will work?  No.  Am I keen to do it?  Er, no.  Will I attempt it?  Maybe – with reluctance.  Maybe just one brick at a time.

I think what I am trying to offer here, maybe to other moms who suffer from depression, is that if you have a support system that works, or even better a supportive partner who can assist you, and understands you, it goes a long way in you having more sane days than the days that are not sane.

Being a mom is frikk’n difficult.  I don’t mean like choosing a decent white wine for under R25.00 difficult.  I mean the kind of difficult where you start to wonder about your sanity, your sense of worth, and how the hell you got yourself in this position.

The problem is that often in the middle of all this insanity, is a partner who you love (or think you love, or maybe just mildly like right now), and a child who you know you adore, but who you are struggling to like at this particular moment in time.

Motherhood is not for sissies.

Motherhood with depression is actually easier if you recognize and embrace your insanity.  Lay down all your façades and masks that you use to hide who you really are.  It is time to dust off the little drummer boy hiding in your closet, and start moving to the beat of your own little drum(er boy).

Trying to keep up with all the super mommies and yummy mummies, and mummies who truly love to do arts and crafts all day is enough to make even the mildly insane certifiable.

The problem with ejecting a child from your uterus (or raising a child that you did not personally eject), is that one morning you are going to look over at your husband/partner who you love dearly and go “you f*cker how did you get me into this situation?” and then start to build up a mild dislike/resentment even total disdain for them.

At some point you may even look over at your child who is screaming their head off for a totally unknown reason and think ”I want to run away from you and from this all – I want my life back!”

But such is our lives, and such is the life of a mother.

We are filled with this sadness of “our (past) life lost” and in the same breath filled with a  sense of awe that we have got to be part of creating a new life, and being privileged enough to be a part of shaping a new person, who we hope will be a better version of ourselves.

The ying and the yang of motherhood.

The one where I puke … emotionally

Background:  I wrote this post yesterday.  I was angry and hurt.  I had just been to a therapy session that went well, as therapy does.  But it had opened some particularly festering sores.  It had scratched things open that I had put into boxes and kicked under beds years ago.

I was going to push the button that said “publish” and then I realised I was writing this from a very hurt and very painful place.  I then decided to hold on it, I dropped it into my draft tray and left it there.

Kennith and I spoke last night and I confided in him about things that had happened to me, that I had never told him about. Partly because (a) I had not thought about them in years (b) I had hidden them away to protect myself.

So here is the post from yesterday, but slightly edited ….

I was listening to Cape Talk on my drive about today and they were talking about the Seven Myths of Perfect Parenting and I was a bit taken back.

Here is the list just so you can get some  context:-

“I have to be a great parent to be good enough.”

“I have to parent perfectly so my kids will turn out okay.”

“Kids are scarred for life by the mistakes of their parents.” * file that one away for later shall we.

“Someone out there knows exactly how to do parenting the right way.”

“If I don’t teach them everything they need to know, I’m a failure as a parent.”

“If I don’t provide them with everything they want, I’m failing as a provider.”

“It’s important that I be my kids’ friend.”

Loads of moms were phoning in to agree that most of the myths. They were saying yes these were just myths.

Unfortunately I could not listen to the entire piece as I had to get out of the car at some point.  Well to be honest, if I did not have to get out of the car, I might well have thrown myself into moving traffic ….

For the little bit I was listening to I started to get upset, like angry and then crying upset. (I also realised that my anger and reaction was totally out of the what would be deemed suitable reaction for what was happening on the show – but it seemed to hit a nerve with me.)

I agreed with many of these statements.  These are myths and we often labour ourselves trying to live up to these ideals, which are things we should toss out with last night’s left over wine.

The thing that I was not hearing from these moms who were phoning in, was that you can actually totally “fek” your kid up – like start-investing-in-a-therapy-fund-now-and-abandon-the-university-education-one level of fek up.

I accept that as parents we will not be the perfect parent.  I am the poster parent for NOT PERFECT PARENTING – I barely make it on the ballot for “good enough parenting”.

As parents, we will get things wrong, and often kids will be okay …. but – and here is the kicker – some kids will be fine, and others won’t (presenting exhibit A).

I am probably not going to be eloquent here, as my nerves are raw and ragged.

As parents you can totally fuck it up.  The effects will resound in our children’s lives, well past adolescents and into adulthood and they will arrive like monsters in the middle of the night or when you lean in to hug your nearest and dearest.

Parents cannot use the “get out of jail free card” and “well, I did the best I could” – that shit does not work for me.

I know I am using profanity, but I am really worked up … so give me some latitude before you report me to the nanny-police.

I sit here as the result of the “I did the best I could with what I had” parenting.

As a thirty freak’n eight years old I am a total stuff up.

We can argue for hours how really stuffed up I am, and who gets to define the level of normal versus stuff up.  In my world, I get to make the rules, and I am pretty stuffed up on even a good day – I have a doctor’s note to tell me so.

When you have some time, I will give you a list.  Suffice to say that I can win an Academy Award for my ability to “act normal” in so many situation it will bring a tear even to the most jaded eye.

I have relationship issues.  I do not have good relationships to mould mine on, I have no clue what I am doing.  So I wing it.

Socially I am anxious, because I cannot relax into any social situation.

I do not know what is right and wrong in a social setting.  Everything is an act.  Everything is “hey look at what so-and-so is doing, I will replicate their action.”  But then I drink tons of wine, and it makes me somehow feel better and often behave inappropriately.

I struggle with motherhood each and every day.  I am not talking about the “usual” way we all struggle with motherhood.

I feel like I am Sigourney Weaver and I have just had an alien baby and I am trying to mother it.  No one has the same alien baby, and we are not on alien baby’s planet, so there are not self-help books on the problems I am experiencing.  I am alien, the baby is alien and we are being dragged to a mommy and baby group, where stupid mothers are showing off their advanced children in onesies.

I do not know how to parent or be a mother because I have no one to emulate.  Everything, every thing I do is hard – nothing has the faintest smell of natural to me.

When under stress I resort to being an “ugly almost abusive” mother – yes, go and dial child-line now, I will wait while you find the number.

I cannot tell you the discomfort I feel when my children try to hug me or touch me – because of my discomfort with physical contact! (how is them apples for a reveal?)

I struggle to have a relationship with Kennith, who is my partner of 17 years. He is loving, reliable, and a truly wonderful human being – but  I do not form healthy attachments  (my new word of the week) so I always keep him at an arm’s length in every possible area.

I form no permanent attachments to people or objects.  Nothing is permanent in my world. (watch me write off my father, my brother and anything else that just gets a bit too hard)

I have learnt from a young age that there is no one to depend on.  No one to fall back on.  No one who has my back.

When the shit hits the fan, or there was something that went so wrong or when I needed to run to someone and just be held and comforted, that person was never there.  Ever!

On the upside I was not an anxious attacher, as I always knew there would be no one there.   It was me – it was me alone!  I have formed an independent attachment.

Sure, I hear you say – that is super, you are independent, you are strong and resilient and look at all you have achieved?

Of course I am – I have the cuts and bruises to show for it, but I am a limping damaged individual whose ever day is a pretense of “normality”.

Nothing I do is easy.  Nothing I do feels normal.   I “act” my way through nearly every situation.

I look around and think “how should I stand to fit in here” “what is the right thing to do here to appear normal” and then I do it.  The person I most identify with is “Dexter’ – serial killer movie guy!

Do you know how exhausting and draining it is to act a part every single day – each and every day –with everything?  Quick answer – it is excruciating and totally exhausting.

I can never ever open up to Kennith, or rely on him because I cannot rely on him to be there for me (though he has shown me a thousand times over that he will always be there for me).

I cannot believe in my heart of hearts that he can be relied on.

Is not the act of loving someone just that? That you allow yourself to fall into them (physically/spiritually or what ever) totally.  You make yourself vulnerable to them, and allow them to be there for you when you fall or allow yourself to fall.

I don’t.   I can’t.

Every time Kennith leaves the house, I have made a mental plan that he is not coming back.

I have already worked out a plan of what I will do when he does not come back.  Even before he has completely reversed out the drive way.  I have worked out what I will say when people offer me their condolences – I know what the fitting response should be.

I cannot love Kennith in that totally unabandoned run-through-the-daisies sort of way … I can’t love anyone in that way.  I am robbed, and so is he (my poor egg!).

Why?  Because I cannot trust he will be there when I need him to be.  I do not trust anyone.

We can argue that Kennith  is a helluva reliable guy, and he has always been there for you.  He is and always has been– a good egg!  It is nothing that he has done, but he unfortunately bears the brunt of it.

My reality (maybe not THE reality), but MY  REALITY is still to only depend on me.  I cannot trust another.

That is what I have been taught from a very young age.  The lesson has been reinforced time and time again.  My coping or survival mechanism was created and I needed it to get through my shit, to survive my stuff.

I have spent years in therapy.  I have done psychologists, psychiatrists, hypnotherapists, psychologist-hyno-therapists, self help books, screaming into the night, ingestion large amounts of alcohol, anti-depressants, combining too much alcohol with sleeping tablets (the fun years) and short of singing kumba-ya around the fireplace, I feel I have done just about everything in the last 10 years to fix me.

What I know now is that I am a very broken individual.

There it is said – I am broken, and when all is said and done I actually can blame my parent (s), why shouldn’t I?

I have recently starting seeing a fabulous therapist.  She has given me a glimmer – a mild glimmer of hope that maybe, just maybe she can’t fix me totally, but she can repair me a little.

That alone is ALMOST enough to get me out of bed in the mornings.

I get at thirty-frek’n-eight to face ANOTHER long long road of healing, because in short of the crap my mother (and father) did because they thought “they did what they could” was good enough.

Now what has this to do with the Cape Talk show you wonder?

I am a result of “well we did the best we could” parenting!

Here I am – standing before you with all my idiosyncrasies and bizarre shit that I present every other day on this blog.

This is not a persona, this is not the dancing monkey show for pennies, this is my freak’n life!  Every tear, every cry in the shower, every just-get-through-today is me – this is my shit!

I have done my being angry at my mother because well she fucked up.   I had my year back in 2004 where I was angry all day every day at her.  It nearly killed me.  I got a bit of institutionalization, and though I did not get my peace, I did get a bit more self-aware.

I have not forgiven her – nope, not there yet.  I have however decided to construct a relationship with her that protects me, and still manages to give the impression of a largely functioning mother-and-daughter relationship.

On one level I accept it is done and nothing can be undone. There is no Cntl+Z on my life!

Someone who loves me, commented that  I should not remain in the past, I should move on.

I am not here out of choice. I do not choose to drag this shit with me to make myself a more interesting person or so that I can self-fund the wine community of the Western Cape.  I am here because I DO NOT HAVE ANY CHOICE and I DID NOT DO THIS SHIT TO ME!

I do not choose to be this crap horrible individual who finds happiness bitter, and well not very often.

I do feel an overriding urge to bitch slap someone who tells me to “decide to wake up happy and then I will be!”

My childhood shit is being dragged into my adult hood and has paralyzing me.

I totally get that other people have crappier childhoods than me, and they go on to be president or CEO’s , whoop-whoop!!  Big fat ice-cream lollipop for them.

Me, not so much.

I do not care that my mother did the best she could.

I actually do not give a hoot, good enough was not enough on this one.

What I do care about is that I managed to get through my child and adolescent years and forced myself to be a good scholar and a good girl.  I played by the rules, and I decided that I needed to get to adulthood in one piece – without any help from my family situation.

Everything I did I did on my own!  I survived.

I am angry today because at thirty freaking eight, I am still fixing the crap that my mother did because she did not do good parenting.

And that folks is the bitter and ugly truth.

So when you sit and make your kids feel better that there are no monsters under the bed, maybe you can also give some thought that the scarier monster is the one calling themselves parent!

<I am sure tomorrow I will publish a retracting post, as clearly this one is way too emotional and is sounding a little fractured, but this, this is how I feel right now…sleep well…>

The boogie man is going to get you ….

I am reading Jilliane Hoffman’s Pretty Little Things, and I am literally pooping in my pants as I get deeper and deeper into this book.  I brought it to work in case it got quiet and I could get through a few more pages – a girl can dream and all.

The short version (no spoiler alert here) of the story is that there is a serial abductor of young girls.  There is an investigator who has first hand experience as his daughter went missing/ran away 11 months earlier.

The serial abductors stalks his prey through the internet.  He uses a fake identity i.e. the image and details of the local jock, and then uses this to befriend girls on My Space or whatever social network is appropriate to the girl he is targeting.

Teenage girls are always going through some teenage angst where they hate their mother/father/brother/cousin and a good looking boy (an older man posing as a good looking seventeen year old) is always going to find a captive audience in an innocent thirteen year old girl (especially one whose parents just do not understand her.)

I am still reading it – but it has alerted me to the fact that predators no longer need to hang out at shopping malls to steal our kids.

Nope, they can march right into our child’s bedroom through whatever social networking site our child is using, and what is more we will pay for the bandwidth for them to do it.

The predator can then convince your child to willingly tell them everything about themselves, and the predator in question uses this information to lure the child in further.  If the idea of this did not make me so angry (and scared) I might even be impressed by how cunningly clever, and simple this plan was.

Then the predator, in some cases goes on to “willingly” coerce your child to present themselves to the pedophile in person at a location of their choosing.

I can honestly say I am not sleeping more soundly whilst reading this book.

I told Kennith about the book – as far as I had got in the story.

We both agreed that Connor shouldn’t go on line when we are not in the room on his Moshie Monsters game.

Moshie Monsters is a bit like social networking for young kids where Monsters (they design) are their avatars and they decorate their house and buy flowers – more innocent you can’t get.  But that being said, there is really very little stopping a creepy (and mildly creative) 45 year old man from logging on as a Monster, and saying he is 9 years old, and “befriending” my child and gleaning information from him.

Kennith and I are sort of looked at each other slightly wide-eyed, and wondering how we are going to deal with this going forward.  We want the kids to have computer/internet access, and we also do not want to sit next to them all the time while they are doing it, policing their every move.

The reality is becoming more obvious (and disturbing) that you no longer need a car and a bag of sweets to lure a child away from it’s parents/care givers.  All you need is internet access and a gullible innocent child and Bob’s your uncle on this one!

I am about ¾ of the way through the book – it is very good, maybe not the best I have ever read (that honour belongs to Michael Robotham with Shattered) but Pretty Little Things is good none the less.

I am not sure if we will be moving the computer into Connor’s room after reading this book.

The one thing I have realized is that neither Kennith nor I can risk technology getting ahead of us. We need to stay updated with social networking/facebooking/twittering/mix-it and every OMG and WTF – or whatever else is going to be available in the next 5 years.

We need to keep up what the kids are in to, and more importantly try to see the windows where other people can climb in to our kid’s bedrooms.  (listen, I find this entire subject as disturbing as you do, and I am freaking out as well …. )

There is no way we can sit and wonder where the hell it is all going, and why our kids can work the new iphone and we can’t set the clock on our eye level oven!

Unfortunately it is a whole new scary world out there, with real monsters that do wait under the beds.  As parents, we need to also realise it is an opportunist paradise for what can only be described as a “better off culled” part of our society.

I really am not going to be sleeping any better for the next twenty or so years.

Sometimes your decisions are not yours to make ….

So last night Kennith asked me what was wrong.

He noticed I just was not “there” – and he wanted me to explain to him why I was feeling a bit down/low/removed.

I answered that I really do not know, but I might have lied.

It was not a hard lie, it was more of an untruth, as I had not allowed myself the time and space to really think about why I was feeling to “just not there.”

About two weeks ago Kennith and I had a conversation.  We really need to stop having conversations in the kitchen.  They just never go well.  When ever we have a conversation with a fluorescent light above our heads, it normally ends in my crying or me being really angry.

Kitchen = not great places if someone starts with “we need to talk…”

Without dragging it out, as only I can do, the short of it is that Kennith wants me to stop with any ideas/further motion that surround surrogacy/adoption/fourth child or anything that can be related to these issues – in a nutshell – as some would say.

I stood there and took congnisense of what he was saying and really nothing he said could be argued against with logic.

However that did not make me feel any better.

I immediately started to feel like an insolent six year old who was being told off by her father and being warned that behavior in this regard would not be further tolerated.

Kennith however was very calm – some may say calculated – and stated his facts cleanly and without emotion – some may say coldly.  His case was crystal clear “there is no benefit to us as a family unit, and the risks are too large” so cease and desist.  Okay, he did not actually say cease and desist, but you get the gist.

I was immediately angry/disappointed/crushed/emotionally bereft – in equal and immeasurable quantities – that what I wanted to do was being controlled/stopped by someone else when I felt totally different.  (listen we can labour the point of the family unit and how we are all one and all the crap later ….)

I realized that there was no point in making a further case for any of these issues, as Kennith had already made up his mind.  His were logical reasons while mine were purely emotional.

He had not made up his mind in a rash moment of anger, or because the day had been a bad one.  He had given it thought, and weighed the issues up and decided that he wanted to tell me how he felt – and decided that the kitchen was a good place and the timing was just right.

Unfortunately it was a bit (well very actually) too crushing for me and I was unable to respond in an effective or emotionally mature manner.

When I feel “attacked” or “under threat” I immediately start to “baton down my hatches,” so to speak – and retreat into myself.  I chose to say as little as possible, because I felt I was screaming inside and that never translates well in adult conversation.

I know that nothing will be gained by swearing and screaming and fighting against the decision.

I know that nothing will be gained by drafting a funky presentation using Photoshop and PowerPoint to dazzle him.

I know there is nothing to be gained by falling on the floor and begging and pleading whilst I hold on to his pant’s leg and cry in a loud whining voice.

There is nothing to be gained.

There is nothing to be gained no matter what I do.

There is nothing to be gained so I feel ineffective, useless and just a little bit (very) crushed.

There is nothing to be gained so I feel resentful and angry and hurt.

I realise that my reaction is probably not the most mature.

I realise that my reaction will only further alienate Kennith.

I realise that there is nothing to be gained from feeling like I do, and by not just getting over it.  But there is nothing to be gained.

I realise all of this, but I still feel like ..

I am just not ready to hear the no, when in actual fact it is resounding, I am not ready to give up, but I must or I will drive myself to distraction, and hate Kennith for it.  I am angry that I do not get to make this decision by myself (insert angry six year old girl stamping her foot here).  I am angry, I am hurt, I am disappointed, I am angry, I am so very very angry, I am so very very hurt…

Will I recover?  Of course, don’t we all recover eventually given enough time.

How long do I need?  Not sure, really not sure today, but tomorrow or next week is another day, but I am just one of those that do not bounce back quickly ….