Arguing on the Internet …dick rating …

Julie Hall sent me this and I thought it dove-tailed rather well with yesterday’s post.

To forum or not, that is the question ….

Just wanted to check – are you ever going to join us back at Moomie, or have you completely closed that chapter in your life? I miss your wit.

I have been asked this question a few times as of late.  I left the last sentence on ” I miss your wit” for no other purpose that to stroke my feathers of vanity.

I am shallow like that.

The reality <and short answer> is “no … I am choosing to opt out of forums … for my own sanity… really”

I do miss Moomie.  It was a great forum for me.  It is run well and most of the girls there are so nice.  They give selflessly of their time and energy.  While I was part of Moomie I often started a conversation in the real world with “We were talking on Moomie about …..” because the forum became part of my life.

There are clusters of people I really liked, almost loved.  There are clusters of people who I would rather reverse over with my car, in the dark, while drinking a McDonalds Caramel Chocolate McFlurry.

The problem with forums, is that it is like standing at a cocktail party.  Yes, you will chat to your own little clique, but you still need to be polite and civil to everyone.  Sometimes you end up in a conversation with someone who really is not lucid or sober.  And who constantly misunderstands you and sort of spits when they talk.

Inevitably you say something you should not have said, and then all hell breaks loose.  Then one starts to argue.  On the Internet.  With people. Of no consequence.  Who you probably would not have spent time with in real life.

My poor judgement caused me to start thinking that a forum was safe and “private” – and that I can speak freely and I was cushioned in a kind of bubble.

I crossed the imaginary line between what is probably good judgement and then just being stupid.

If you put it on a forum, expect it to come back and hit you in the face.  Much like a shit covered spade. Repeatedly.

Without the aid of clever emoticons and smiley faces, people can sometimes take things out of the context they were meant (me included).

I tend to read comments with a “voice” – sometimes a whiny voice, sometimes a screaming voice, sometimes with a Parow accent or a nasal Johannesburg accent – it all depends on the personality which I have attached to the owner.

I associate a personality to each person – and in reality, many of them I have not met.  My perception of them is that they are an entire person, which I have created, in my head.  Based on a few vague conversations, I have created an entire functioning human being – and they in turn think they know me because they know a slither of my life. < the similiarities between forums and blogs are not totally lost on me….>

Kennith says my “social filters” are lacking.   They are, my doctor agrees.

The more nervous I get, the more my “social filters” fail me.

The more personal I think the space is the more my  “social filters” start to disintegrate.

Add nervousness and alcohol, and the entire process needs some psychiatric care or at the very least a name change and a membership to the nearest witness-relocation-programme.

I learnt that forums aren’t that safe and not really a good idea (for me.)

I learnt that some people are wankers, and you can’t actually change them.  They really need to just let them go off and be wankers, and not waste your energy trying to de-wanker them.

I learnt that I am a bit of a douché-bag and really should spend my energy not being a douché-bag as opposed to try to make other people see my point of view.

I learnt that I do not have the amount of energy that one needs to be able to deal with that many people, that often, in my personal space.

So I have stopped on forums.  I seldom read blogs.  I stop in on Facebook maybe every one or two weeks. Briefly.

Social media did push me that little bit too far over the edge of where I really could safely go.  Forums <my ability to interact on them> were not the cause of my demise but it was a contributor.

I realised that I am not really “able” or “ready” to communicate on a forum and be able to heed the “boundaries” that I should set in place.

Every now and then I see a comment on Facebook from one or two people from the forum-space, and it always makes my blood run cold.  The experience was quite jarring for me, and clearly I am not all “forgive, forget and skip through the daisies…” material.

The best thing, for me, was to remove myself from social media, and right now I tread carefully.

The first two or four weeks left a gaping wound, and I would often hover my mouse over the icon to click-through and go and lurk.

Strange thing happened, people who I really missed realised that they could communicate with me via email, sms or skype, and did not have to wait until I appeared on a forum to say “hi!”  Bless them.  When I felt really lonely and alone, it was a real comfort to have little notes pop up of people who I did miss, who made the effort to stalk me and make contact.

I think I was desperately looking for something there that I needed.  But it was not the space to get it.

Without getting all Freud/Jung on your arse, I really need to look internally to fix my shit, than run around forums and hope someone there can fix me or offer me insights that resonate with me.

I wish Moomie all the best – and really want it to go from strength to strength.  Really.  It is a wonderful forum.  Deja who runs it is so awesome she makes me weep.  She has developed a wonderful place for women to chat and make friends.  Really.

<< As far as forums dealing with moms and for moms, I think Moomie is the best one around.  As for me,  Moomie has had some great spill overs.  I do however still feel an overriding urge to get my car out and reverse it over a few people, but I am in therapy so am working through those thoughts.>>

SA Blog Awards 2011 are upon us …. insert happy face or not ….

Surprisingly I won the Best Parenting Blog in 2010.  No really I did.  NO REALLY!!

I was as surprised as you presently are — trust me.

I could not make it to the Award Evening/Announcement of Winner-and-Losers as I was holidaying in Zanzibar at the time sans children (I love the sound of that.)

Good times.  Relaxed times.

I sent my lovely friends David and Alice to the Awards Evening in my stead.  Bless them.

I won!!  Yay for me.

Alice stumbled up to the stage and collected the little perspex/glass award for me.  She might have used the old but never forgotten speech of: “You like me, you really like me…” which I would have gone with, had I been there.

I did not see images from the night, but I saw this one earlier today, which was great. Olmeca Tecquila was a co-sponsor …..>

The 2011 SA Blog Awards have got started, a tad late, I might add.

But hey, I am not having to organise it, so really I leave it to others who are suitably qualified, and who like the feel of the last minute rush and the chaos that ensues.

There are far fewer categories this year.

Parenting Blog Category has been axed and so too have several others – we could argue the merits of that, but really I don’t want to.  It would be a case of lamenting something I have no control or influence over, and really just getting my big girl panties in a knot.

The present blog categories for the 2011 SA Blog Awards are:-

  • Best Business / Political Blog
  • Best Entertainment / Lifestyle Blog (I was suspicious as Lifestyle was spelt incorrectly on their website, not a good omen)
  • Best Environmental Blog
  • Best Fashion Blog
  • Best Food & Wine Blog (It annoys me when an ampersand is used, when in other instances the word “and” is used ….. anal much?….. yes I am a bit)
  • Best Music Blog
  • Best Photographic Blog
  • Best Science and Technology Blog
  • Best Sport Blog
  • Best Travel Blog

So there we go.  It appears I fit into none of these categories, though I may make a play for “Best Wine Blog.”

Drinking copious amounts of wine whilst blogging does not equal a wine blog, it seems.  Which I think is just a technicality and shows a narrow-mindedness very early in the competition.

If you like a blog enough to spare a few clicks, pop along and see if they are there, and then cast a vote.

The public voting phase opens on Monday 31 October 2011 and runs until Wednesday 9 November 2011.

The 2010 SA Blog Awards were a bit controversial.  People moaned, people complained, people beat their chests in anguish and not everyone was happy with most of it.

I found the process a bit odd and really had no idea what was going on most of the time. Clearly I was somewhat pleased with the outcome, as you would expect.

Winning is a bit like that.

There were a lot of bloggers who had some less than complimentary things to say about the way it had been dealt with (nomination + voting + judges decision) and how it had all run.

Lots of bloggers were annoyed and voiced this on blogs, tweets and on Facebook, and basically shot the awards down. It was my first year, so I had no comment as I did not know any better.

I guess this year will be similar, and already there is a bit of a huff about the categories and the fact that right now “quite popular and much in need of a night out with a bit of dress up and the possibility of an award” Mommy-Bloggers are excluded, or not included sufficiently.

Mommy Bloggers are hardly going to be “right” in the Best Entertainment / Lifestyle Blog Category.  And as mentioned the Best Wine Blog Category is not right either.

Mommy Bloggers float in the abyss, or throw their hat in the ring with Entertainers and see how that rolls.

Motherhood often does requires an ability to fake an interest in sex, all things poo and how-much-does-your-baby-weigh related, and you must appear truly excited when you unwrap the macaroni-painted-necklace again ………. so at best we are fantastic thespians … just with a limited stage and not so much in the way of ticket sales.

Hence we might make it into the Entertainment and Lifestyle Category …. and then Mommy Bloggers are being compared to 2oceanvibe – I mean seriously!!!?

Ah well, such is life.

I think it is great to have a Blog Awards.  It’s cool to be ranked with the cool kids. and it is also nice to have a bit of “props” for something you think is pretty phenomenal.

But at the end of the day, you blog because you like the sound of your own voice, and you like to write about your own sh&t, and you get to cyber-meet some really interesting people.

Does an Award make you a better blogger?  Doubt it. Is it always the best blogger who wins? Probably not – it is subjective and probably not always as “fair” as we would like to think.  Does blogging become a bit of a please-for-fk-sake-like-me-and-vote-for-me? Of course.

Granted it is a nice badge to have, and I was super thrilled in 2010.

Good luck to all the bloggers for 2011.

Maybe Living and Loving or Pampers can run a Best Mommy Blogger of the Year Award …. I would so get on board with that sh&t …… just saying.

I got a forum b*tch slap, and it stung …..

Kennith often talks to me and tries to remind me that blogging and forums are not reality.

Kennith is a spreadsheet guy.  If you can put it on a spreadsheet, hook it up to a pie chart and point to it with a laser pointer, he really gets turned on.

Emotions and “soft skills” are not his forté.

He is not unemotional – he cries every time he looks at images from the 1994 Rugby World Cup (he saw the advert last night for “team of a million” and I am sure I saw a tear run down his cheek).

He just does not feel an overriding urge to talk about “what is on his mind or how he feels”.   For what ever reason, he is able to process his stuff internally and quite successfully.

I am not suggesting that there is anything wrong with him because he prefers not to chat about his stuff with a few dozen strangers.

I am suggesting we are designed differently.

I like blogging.  I like forums.  I like chatting about my stuff.

I like listening to other people chatting about their stuff – however I do draw the line at your child’s teething patterns, and your lack of sleep because you do not want to implement a workable sleep routine …..

The rather over-used cliché of “it is cheaper than therapy” does apply when it comes to blogs, and especially forums.

I use forums as a daily tool.  Sometimes to my benefit.  Sometimes to my detriment.

Sometimes I have a total po&s collapse and behave like a tw&t – sometimes, but on most occassions I try to behave well and comment with respect.

One of the problem with forums is that (me included) are not experts or professionals, and we are not dishing out “scientific” advise.  We are dishing out opinions based on our experiences.

About three weeks ago I had a real desperate moment.  Like the type that needs chronic medical intervention, and possibly a man with a large needle that gets plunged directly in to your heart.

My way of solving these problems is to take it to a forum.

My ‘normal’ forum really just was not geared up for the type of chat I needed to have because, well, it really is just not that kind of forum.  (It is a lovely forum, and I really heart it a great deal.)

But I needed something different, or maybe just a different level of input.

I found another forum which is an international one and really geared more towards people with mental illness/depression/stuff.

I really should have been a bit more weary when the word “crazy” was used in the forum’s name, but being blindly unawares I merrily stumbled into this forum, and had my little “breakdown, and someone please offer some assistance based on what you have been through…..”

At no point do I want to slate this forum as it really is great, and no doubt has assisted a lot of people not to swing from a rafter or jump off a building.  It is crammed with people with sage advise, and people who need it.

… the thing with forums is that there are newbies and there are people-who-have-been-there-too-long.

Newbies are all bouncy with energy and are all chatty and often a bit melodramatic, and granted often need a slap to bring the sense back to their rather over-inflated sense of worth.

On the other hand the Oldies/Dinosaurs on this particular site, have probably seen it all, heard it all, and taken every script available (as have most people who have been on a forum for a long time, you kind of start becoming the cranky old granny who lives next door who complains about dogs sh*tting on your lawn ….. you sort of sigh rather weakly when a newbie comes along because, well, you have seen it all …..)

Let’s just say they are just a bit well, jaded, and maybe “do not suffer fools or newbies or people on the verge of having a total break with reality” well and do not really take cognisance of the tag “handle with care…”

I came out with an issue that for me was a huge issue – you know when you know that it is a problem, and at no point are you trying to deny the issue, but maybe someone else had been through something similar and can offer something in the way of guidance.

Fekn hell!

To say I got ripped apart and stomped on might be an understatement.

I might also be a tad over sensitive …. I might.

It felt like I had literally been hit in the head with a spade.  I physically felt attacked.

My ears were ringing.  My heart started racing, and I felt absolute dread, as a few posters had taken my situatino and my need for a possible solution/guidance and turned it into a field day.

I try to console myself that they were trying to be truthful and not hurtful and actually just mean.  I try to console myself.

My normal forum is all “cyber hugs” and “smiley faces” – this forum was “The Omen” meets “The Terminator” and in case you turn your back we will give you a bit of “Scarface” they don’t do frkn cyber hugs.

I actually cried – but bear in mind I am feeling quite low and totally “naked and vulnerable” right now, so i do actually cry when the milk is spilt.

I learnt a very quick lesson in forum etiquette and not running where angels fear to tread.  Another was, er, keep your head down.  Do not step out without a helmet and a filled script of ante-anxiety medication on standby.

Do not assume people care about your sh&t because really they have more crazy sh*t going on, and they are actually on medication.

I really stood there in cyber space whimpering and I had a good cry – in my toilet cubicle at work – magic moments those.

I was quite traumatized, and then this lone little voice in the distance stood up and said:

“I admire **** for sharing what is, by all appearances, a very sensitive, painful aspect of her life – a longstanding one in which she’s sought help and is actively seeking further therapy.

I won’t name names, but several members crossed the line from helpful and/or constructive, to antagontistic and just plain, well, douchy – imo.

Anyone of us could, if we chose (I know I certainly could – I can be witheringly  sarcastic and mean spirited when the mood strikes me – it’s sort of what I’m famous for in real life) enter into any topic and tell (insert member name here) to just grow the fuck up and stop doing “x” – but I don’t think that’s the point of this website, or, at least I didn’t, I could, of course, be wrong.”

Clearly my need for affirmation is rather huge right now.

I really really can’t tell you how much it buoyed me to have this lone voice standing up for me, as opposed to what felt like I had just been beat up by the school bullies.

It has not been the huge declarations of support and encouragement that have struck a chord with me as powerfully as the very small, yet sincere ones that have made my soul <sigh>.

So my lesson today is : If you think someone needs a bit of support, stand up and offer it, do not sit there quietly and think “it’s cool, they will be fine” — they just might not, and sometimes your little “hey chick, thinking about you” can mean the world.

<I know this is not a well worded blog post and a bit scattered.  Third week of new meds, I am feeling very scattered at the moment.>

Running fast backwards ….

So “Running fast backwards” popped along and left this comment on my blog yesterday (have I told you how much I love comments, I do, I so do …. and I love them when they make me take a moment like this one did.)

Hi RM. I don’t blog; I am rather behind with all this new blogging, tweeting and you tubing stuff.
Any hoo..one day well sitting at my desk, bored out of my skull and completely unable to go on..I stumbled across blogs. It seems that I am addicted to reading other peoples blogs! Almost like my Big Brother addiction I had (when it first came out) how I adore to read and watch others’ lives, I find it fascinating. What I must comment on though is a common theme that I have noticed with all the bloggers that I have read and that is an underlying sadness. Why is it, that we are all so sad? I too am sad, but not in a lie down and cry my eyeballs out sad…just a sadness that I carry along with me that others seldom get to see. So I was wondering, why is it that you think we are all so sad?

Initially I thought “hey chump I am not sad” but then I thought, damn you are probably right.  I might be a tad on the “not happy side” and actually I follow blogs where there is a bit of sad, or huge snotty heaps of it in fact.

I wrote the post “Running fast backwards” commented on with huge tears running down my face.

I cried some more when I re-read it for spelling.  I cried some more when I posted it, and then I continued to cry for two more days.  I realised I had had one of those moments where you really take stock of who you are, and what the hell you are doing –  I have not cried yet today, but it is still early, so give it time. 

So yes “Running fast backwards” you are indeed correct.  A lot of bloggers are sad, but I think the issue is that (and this is purely my own conjecture on the issues) is that we blog because we are sad. 

We are not sad because we blog.

I have often seen bloggers who start blogging because they have or are going through an ordeal or something that is so huge that they need to put “pen to paper” and then when the “thing” is over, they no longer need to blog.  One example, that I have seen, is that a lot of women who are going through IF, seem to lose the urge to blog once they have had a baby or come to a point on the IF journey where they have decided that another journey awaits them. 

They just don’t need this outlet any more.

Blogging is much like journaling.  You journal so you can write down your thoughts, your inner fears and find a way to work through some of your “stuff.”  Often putting it on a page is liberating.  It is a way of facing your own fears – head on. And that is pretty much what we are most afraid of, our darkness and the sadness that lurks within.

I chose to blog versus journal, as I could not find the right ink for the right pen, and the journal with just the right texture of paper to get started. 

I got caught up in the details, amd I made excused why not to get started.

Eventually I figured I would blog – no pen and paper to procrastinate about.  I had a new born baby strapped to my left breast, I had one hand free, I had oodles of time to stare into a screen (as I was not sleeping anyway) I might as well blog.

I can’t see that a person who is so happy with life that they routinely break out into a skip and yodel while in full folk outfit needs much in the way of sitting down and pondering his/her life.  They often know who they are and are so truly happy/content that deep introspective is just not necessary for them. (bless their cotton tidy whities!)

My sense is if you are truly happy, truly happy, you feel a sense that you are a “full and complete human being.”

Unfortunately I don’t ever feel that happy – I aspire to be content.

I started blogging when I had just had my third child.   I started blogging because I had my third child.

I thought I was going to be the perfect mother.  I thought I had dealt with all my shit and it was going to be really wonderful to be at home holding my little pink fluff.  It was all going to be so happy and well, I was going to be so damn good at it too.  I wanted it all so badly and I felt ready at 37, that surely, surely now, I was ready to be a content grown-up person.

I was going to embrace motherhood – with a sense of happiness and confidence that I had never experienced before.

Instead I felt an overriding urge to stab my partner with a fork (in the jugular), fling my child against a wall so she would stop crying, and take as many combinations of ante-depressants and sleeping pills that I could lay my hands on.

It all felt a tad sad and a bit bleak.

Not quite the poster child for the latest Living and Loving Magazine I am afraid.

I started blogging because I had all this stuff that was sitting inside me, stuff that I thought was unique to only me.  I was so broken and so beyond repair that I was unfixable (or so I thought).

I had been in therapy for years, and I had tried various medications and their combinations, tried hypno-therapy, read a couple of self-help books, and spent too much time googling “depresson” and “running away from home.”

Blogging is  – for me – a way of just saying “this is me, this is my stuff, and I am hurting” – the moment I put it out there, and pushed “publish” on some of my subjects I felt a release that I cannot describe to you.

Just putting it out there, made it no longer run around in my head.  I no longer torment myself with some of the thoughts.  I can say things in my blog that I struggle to say out loud – to anyone.

With blogging I started to feel a little more real, a little more present in my own life story.

And then – and here is the wonderful part – when people started to comment on my posts I realized that as unique as I thought I was, I was not that unique. 

There are moms (and people who aren’t moms) like me. 

Who struggle, and who feel that all they see is the photoshopped smiley moms clutching their blue-eyed off-spring, when they are maybe not “those moms.”  Maybe they are the other moms, the moms who are afraid, who wonder why they chose to be moms, why every day is so fucking difficult, or why they are crying in the bathroom at 2am.

So “Running fast backwards” I must confess that you are right, there are a lot of sad blogs out there, and I too find many of them compelling.

Blogging has helped me in ways I can’t even describe.  It is not something I do anymore, it is something I am, and it is something I need. 

And, when I don’t need it anymore, I won’t do it.

Today I need blogging, and fucking hell, I am so glad I have this platform.  I am so glad I get to connect with other bloggers and readers who I allow glimpses into my soul, and who also allow me privilege of seeing bits of them.

Does that make sense?

The baggage we pass to our children …….

I have had a few chats with girls who are moms lately.

The discussion has often centers around the fact that we, as moms, bring baggage into our relationship/dealings with our children.  That baggage was often handed to us from our own mothers/parents.

Before you start looking for the “UNLIKE” button on this post – I am not trying to “pass responsibility” on to our mothers or father and say ‘woe is me for my sad life‘ I am going to make a different point, so bear with me on this as I sort of stumble to the point.

A lot of the stuff that was passed to us from our parents is what shapes, moulds and sometimes hinders us in our own lives.   

It affects how we function as adults.  For many of us, the effect is felt in an acute manner – but for others among us, there is not much of an effect. 

But — I believe firmly that there is ALWAYS an effect (great or small) – this is often felt much later in life, when you least expect it and in the strangest ways. (the monsters that lurk in the box, in the closet shall we say)

The thing is that for me – now as a mother – I have my own set of baggage that I am now handing to my children. 

One f&k up at a time.

I think it is a bit unrealistic to think that I am the perfect parent.

Sometimes it is unrealistic to think that I am even a ‘good enough’ parent.

Sometimes I am just crap at it.  But with that in mind, I wake up each day and hope today I will be a bit better.  And maybe get a bit more right than wrong.

Recently a friend’s mother (who is around 65 years old) who I have not seen in several years, asked me about my kids.  We were chatting and then she asked in a conversational how-are-you-tone:  ”Are you a good mom?”

She said is with a smile and clearly does not read my blog (bless her).  I stood there and in my usual flippant manner said: ”Well no, not particularly.  I am okay, but I make a kak load of mistakes, but I get better at it.”

To which she smiled, and then I moved the conversation on as I realized that making that statement made her feel a bit awkward, and uncertain whether to invite me in for tea.

And this is my point that I am getting to in the least succinct manner possible – I think I have the benefit of being a parent in an age where parents are more “conscious” and more “aware” than parents our parent’s generation.

I am not suggesting we are the perfect parent because we are so super aware and conscious.

I am not suggesting that we are automatically better than our parents’ generation.

But I am suggesting that we might be better because we are more ready to accept that we do not get it right, and also admit that we might not be all that good all the time.

And (most of us) keep trying to get better, once we admit that we have got it wrong.

Our parent’s generation was definitely the generation that felt they were right all the time –and g&d forbid you question them  –  then or now. 

It is just not done. 

Most friends I know who have mother-daughter issues will not think of raising any issues with their own mother. 

These women would rather sit with the angst that burns holes in their stomachs every time they see their mothers, rather than breathe a word of dissatisfaction or raise an issue from their past.

They have indicated that the part that puts them off (besides mortal fear of being disowned) is that their mother will not be receptive in any way to listening to any discussion about how they might have failed as a parent.  The conversation just does not happen because they feel their mothers would not listen nor accept any discourse on the issue.

I feel that our generation of ”being parents” – and I might be speaking only for a small group that I know – readily admit when we f&k up royally. 

We speak about it on forums, we admit it on blogs, we admit it when we comment on blogs.

I don’t want to read blogs about the perfect mom who does arts and crafts and calls her children “my little ones” I want to read about the mom who struggles like me, argues with her husband and screams at the kids, and admits that she does not get it right – thems my kind of people!

I have told my kids several times that I am sorry when I make an error, or I have disciplined them in error, or maybe I was too quick to punish or punished too harshly. 

Sometimes I do not always realize when I do something wrong.  But I have Kennith who will happily point out my errors for me.

As much as I loathe him when he does that, he often makes me take stock of a situation.  Though I am often angry at him I do respect that he sees and comments on it, to allow me to also see what I am doing wrong.  We often chat about how we might have failed as parents in certain areas and maybe how we can try to get it better the next time.

I was packing up some books this morning, and I realized that I have 5 parenting type books on my night stand (and on the floor around my night stand). 

I don’t know sh*t from shinola when it comes to kids – I have three and I have been doing this for nearly 10 years and I still think I am pretty sucky at it.

But maybe it is just me – maybe it is just me who knows nothing about parenting, and possibly most other moms have got it right.  And with that is the fact that as a “novice” at parenting I make mistakes – almost daily, and those mistakes will then be passed to my kids for them to carry as baggage into their adult life.

And that my friend, is a tad on the scary side!

Some days I am going to get this parenting thing right, and some days I am going to get it spectacularly wrong.

I hope – that I remain as “aware” as I am now. 

Aware that every action as an opposite and equal reaction.

That everything I do now (good or bad) will have a ripple effect into my children’s lives, and into their future.  Some good, some not to good, some important, and some not relevant at all.

The problem is I do not know which ripple will be the ripple that sets off the tsunami, and that is the kicker.

Anyway, that was my little thought for the day.

I am sure it is not something that has only occurred to me.  But I can now add it to the list of things that wake me at night to lie awake staring at the ceiling, fretting, worrying and wondering if screaming at Connor/Georgia/Isabelle and withholding television privileges will turn them into the next  sociopath.

We just never know!

Maybe not everyone is the cookie cutter mommy …..

I have mentioned that I chat on Moomie – it is basically a forum geared towards  moms or moms to be, or moms trying to be moms or freaks who like to listen to moms talk about nappies and cracked nipples.

I didn’t switch on to chatting on forums until about 15 months ago, and it is this place where people chat about just about everything.

I really wish I had done it earlier, it is so much cheaper than therapy. 

You get to emotionally vomit about stuff that you want to speak about.  The bizarre (or not so bizarre depending on your vantage point) thing is that what you say – what you have aching say/reveal – will resonate with someone and they will go “yes, me too, me too!”

And then you get to sigh and go, thank g&wd I am not totally out of my tree.

Forums are great for that – they give me that “space” I need to often discuss something that has been bubbling inside for ages, and sometimes just saying it out loud to a group who understands is so affirming – which might explain why Alcoholics Anonymous works so well.

For me I do not really have someone to sit and chat to about how I struggle with motherhood or children as my friends do not have kids.  Of course my friends can pat me on the shoulder, pour me a glass of wine and nod sagely while I go off and spittle forms on my chin – and I am so blessed that they do that for me (and often supply the wine as part of the arrangement).

Even with the best intentions, they cannot REALLY understand my rants and at the same time, they cannot rant back with me about the same subject – which is really what you need to remind you that you are not going certifiably crazy.

I do wish I had cottoned on to forums sooner.  It really would have saved my medical aid bills a ton.  And I might have spent a lot less time screaming at Kennith for something that probably was not his fault in the first place.

Recently someone brought up the subject of mother and baby magazines and what we buy and read.  My problem with mother and baby magazines is generally – and I say this with the utmost respect for publishers, editors and journalists – that they are actually sh*t.

Everything about them is so “saccharine sweet” and politically correct.  The moms all look like they have spent two hours with a hairdryer and a makeup artist, and have that Mona Lisa blissful smile as they stare into the lens – with their left hand on their lap – so you can see their wedding ring.

They are all so darn happy and rosy cheeked that unfortunately it does not nothing for me, and makes me feel even more awkward.  I want real moms saying what they really feel – and that is why forums are so great (and blogs actually!)

The mommy and baby articles are lackluster at the best of days, and it just feels like the same sad information being rehashed.  There is nothing that I feel I can sink my teeth in to or go “wow never looked at it like that”. 

The highlight, for me, tends to be the back pages where the advertiser are.  That is pretty much the extent of my interest in these magazines.

Any the who.  Someone on the forum wanted to know what would encourage us to buy a magazine. 

I realized this was a rather pointless activity as articles that would interest me would alienate half the population, and unfortunately only attract advertisers who were promoting wine, strippers, cheap dinners out and photography gear.

However that being said, these are the kind of articles I would like to see written by distinguished investigative journalists without the aid of stock photography, and copy and paste from google (I had originally posted a similiar list on Moomie):

Article 1

I want his sperm, but then I would prefer it if he did not come near me again for the next 3 – 12 months.

Article 2
Why reasoning with a pregnant woman is a total waste of time.  And other tips for survival aimed at partners/husbands.

Article 3
Why advertisers guilt moms into buying sh*t they do not need. Tips on how to see that crap is still crap, even if it is painted pink or blue.

Article 4
How much sh*t should I put up with from my mother in law until I tell her to shove off? 52 tips like this, one for each week.

Article 5

Why are so many sh*tty creches allowed to trade? We discover the real truth behind these hell holes and speak to parents who have no option to leave their kids there.

Article 6

Crap Pay = Crap Nannies.  Why you get what you pay for – Eve vs Madam.

Article 7

Why exactly has the employer not been forced to pay maternity benefits – and how do woman actually cope with 4 months of unemployment when they need the money the most and they do not have a financially contributing partner? We do an in-depth investigation of this issue, and how it affects women today.

Article 8

Research into Men being able to carry babies put on hold – until the question on maternity benefits paid by UIF has been resolved.  Stunning expose!

Article 9

10 reasons why it is okay to hate your husband as he sleeps and expects you to wake up 6 times during the night. Free couple counseling voucher included with this issue.

Article 10

I love my husband, but why is he acting like a special needs person and seems to have no clue how to do ANYTHING correctly. Tests husbands can take to see if they are acting like a total moron, pencil is included so they do not have to ask you where the pencils are kept.

Article 11

Tips on how to deal with the pushy nurse in the maternity section of your hospital. Written by 2nd or 3rd time moms who have this concept waxed.

Article 12

Signs that you are losing your mind – and it is okay because other moms are also crying in the bathroom at 2am – they just don’t tell you.  Secret photos included.

Article 13

Lies moms tell!  Why they continue the stereotype that all moms are happy fulfilled creatures, and why there is a small group who disagree, and are not afraid to speak out.

Article 14

How to prepare a fun snack of Flings, Oros and day old toast for your toddler. Recipes included.

Article 15

25 tips on how to tell people to p*ss off when they stop you to give you advise, when you have not asked for it.

Article 16
How to choose the birthing method that works for you.  And how to tell people who keep trying to “correct” you to f*ck right off.

Article 17

Medical Aidsthe love-hate relationship with Moms. Exposed!!

Article 18

The Secret of how to actually sleep when your baby sleeps – the myth uncovered. Next month we look at the Loch Ness Monster, another phenomenon people talk about but no one has ever seen.

Article 19

Moms who give up on losing weight, and decide instead to embrace their bodies, drink wine and embrace a bag of Chuckles at the same time as flicking the bird at the moms who are slightly obsessive. Diet not included!

Article 20

How to leave your child in the care of a carer/babysitter/husband without any guilt …. and more tips to surviving the first three months.

Article 21

How not to roll your eyes at a new mom when you hear them gushing during their pregnancy.  When this is all they talk about – while you actually want to slap some sense into them, but instead smile sweetly and say “how lovely!”

Article 22

How to get your partner to realise that you will kill him if he dares to approach you sexually within the first 6 – 12 weeks. You will make the first move when you are ready. Win a taser (with a special LCD light – so you can find it if you drop it in the bedroom) to use on your partner if he comes near you.

Article 23

How not to stress when your baby is not eating/drinking like other babiesit is okay, babies do not read the charts, they do what they want and everyone gets there eventually.

Article 24

Why Mother and Baby Groups are for the insane …. and how to get yourself out of themPart 1 of the Cult Group Series.

Article 25

Believe it or not, you make a wonderful pregnancy person but we do not want to see every f*kn moment on Facebook or Twitter …. really!! How to interact with people and survive 45 minutes without discussing your children or your pregnancy … Part 1 of a series of 5 of how to break this frustrating habit.

Article 26

How not to feel guilty because you might not bond with your baby immediately.  Moms show you how to “fake it ‘til you make it” in the first 6 weeks, when you feel absolutely no connection at all.

Article 27

Breast feeding is wonderful – but it is not actually the Alpha and the Omega.  Lists of Mensa members who were not breastfed as babies and are okay today.  Bill Gates and Robert Murdoch reveal all.

Article 28

The newer the mom, the bigger the pram …. and other interesting observations made by our roving reporter.

Article 30

Stay at Home Moms and Working Moms finally agree on a Truce.  Thabo Mbeki very happy with outcome of peace talks.

Article 31

Resident Psychologist answers: Why it is okay to love your baby, but not like them all the time.  This question answered, and others posed by readers.

Okay I am going to stop now, as you can see, I could/would just go on forever at this rate!

Gone fishing …. or being murdered …..

So this weekend Kennith and I are going away for the weekend with girls we have met through my blog and some forums I chat on.

When I saw we have met, I really mean I have met.  And I am dragging Kennith who has become the reluctant husband along with me.

This morning while Vera was waxing my personal bits, I was telling her the story and what we were doing this weekend.  She asked me how Kennith feels about being dragged along on a weekend with people he actually does not know.

I said, well, I am not sure, because I had not stopped to ask him.  She raised a finely plucked eyebrow and carried on ripping my hair from it’s roots.

Vera commented that not many men would agree to go along for this sort of weekend, and Kennith was quite a trooper/unusual/not like most men.

I had not actually given that much thought.

Here we are going away on a weekend, where the girls in these three couples have struck up a friendship, albeit a strange one.  We seem to find something in each other that resonates with us and on what appears to be an agreed liking for each other, we have committed to spending 48 hours together – away in a cabin, next to a river/dam/water mass.

I really had not considered that I am “forcing” Kennith – and the other girls are forcing their respective partners – to spend a weekend with two other men that he might not be friends with, and possibly might not choose to be friends with if the choice was left to him (Possibly, they might prove to be bosom buddies and be spooning by Saturday night.  One never knows what happens when boys go up a hill and there is an open fire, see what happened in Brokeback Mountain and all).

The choice actually is not being made by him.

I planned this weekend, and he said “no we are not doing it, we don’t even know these people” and then I told him to stop being a “Nancy boy, what is the worst that can happen, it will be fine, not get it together” and then he said “okay” begrudgingly and I carried on planning this weekend.

Actually he is quite a sport and has taken ½ days leave today, and is doing all the shopping for the weekend.  As reluctant as he is, he is still getting behind this idea in a big way.

So yes, Vera, as you remove my deeply rooted pubic hair with maybe a bit too much force – you are correct.  Kennith is a little unusual as far as “most men” go.

I have always admitted that Kennith is not “most men” – he supports me and gets behind my seemingly insane ideas.

He stands next to me and supports me when most other “men” would have abandoned ship and headed for the hills.  Though we do have boy and girl roles, I do think as partners in a relationship, our roles as man and woman are sometimes blurred, and he often picks up some of my roles, as I think I do his.

I like that I have a Kennith who does stuff that maybe not all men do, and whose take on our life is not “old school and traditional.”  He is an active inclusive father, and we do not look at it as something strange.  If I am an active inclusive mother, why should he not be an active inclusive father?

About two weeks ago, my mom and my aunt were staying with us for the weekend.  I was away on the one day, I can’t recall where I was – but I was out.  Kennith was sorting out the kids.

I got home early evening/late afternoon and my mom and aunt were sitting at the dining room table finishing dinner. They were talking about Kennith in hushed tones of awe, as if he had just turned water into wine, while walking on the water, and wrestling with the lions in the den.

I though “Okaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyy.”

Once I got past them, I went to find Kennith and check on the kids.  He had them all in hand.

I asked what he had done that had created such awe in my mother and aunt,  and he commented “nothing really.” I asked him what he had up to this evening.

He said he had fed the kids, got the kids into the bath, got them into their jammies, and they were downstairs watching television.  He had fed Isabelle, and was waiting for me as I enjoyed bathing with her.  I said “okay, anything unusual” and he said “No, but your mom and aunt did keep looking at him and smiling…maybe they aren’t used to a guy doing stuff.”

I went back and sat with my mom and aunt at the dining room table.  They commented again that Kennith was such a super man, and should have a cape and maybe wear his underpants on the outside.

I sort of smiled and drank some more wine – I might have chugged it a bit actually – and then went on with my evening.

Later I was chatting to Kennith about his super-man status.  He raised something that I probably had not really thought about much.

My mother and my aunt are not used to men who help out with “women’s work.” They are used to men who arrive home, complain about their heavy day, kick off their shoes, put their feet on the coffee table, and wait for their wife to bring them a cold beer in their favourite glass.

While they read the newspaper, the little woman goes off and finishes dinner which she serves with a flourish.

Same man eats dinner, and pats his wife on the head and complements her on the great meal.  Burps in appreciation and goes to settle himself on the couch and watches a bit of footie on the tellie.

When that is done and he is ready to go to bed, he will wink over at his wife and say “Honey are you coming to bed” – to which is wife will say  “Right there honey” and she will be.

What he does not see is that she has spent the day running around after kids and the house.

She has prepared the meal from scratch – no Woolies throw-in-the-microwave faire here – and got kids homeworked, bathed, jammied and in bed, and done a host of other activities.   The kitchen is spotless.  She found time to go to the bottle store and restock on the beer.

She has done a bit of gardening, probably some grocery shopping, stood in queues for paying electricity, completing Tim’s school project on owl migration, and spent 15 minutes making herself pretty and presentable before Mr. Husband got home.

So she will appear next to her husband, while he goes on to tell her about the difficult day he had.  She will not think for a minute to tell him that Tim had flushed the cat down the toilet and she had to single-handedly go in and rescue the cat, and then wash the sh*t off the cat, while Tim and his brother Larry watched.

And what’s more she will be ready to have sex if and when he wishes it.  All this she will do without uttering a word of complaint, or reflect on her situation and go “Fek, I got the short end of the stick here in this relationship deal.”

But times are different – thank heavens for that!

Kennith does not “help” out with the kids.  He has responsibilities that include the kids – his kids.

I confess, I do sometimes say “please help me get the kids out of the bath” as if it is my duty, and he is being a real help by helping me.

I also confess that we have taken on different roles in our house – most of the children related things fall to me to deal with.  But at the same time Kennith does all the grocery shopping and most nights he cooks, or he brings home take aways, or he takes me out for dinner. He does not expect a meal to miraculously land in front of me.

Well maybe he does expect it, but the cold reality has hit him that if he waits he will go hungry.  Maybe he has taken on the role of “hunter and provider” in our little family as he is tired of waiting for the food to magically appear out of the oven he bought me that I still do not quite know how to use.

So yes, a few things might have changed since my mom and my aunt had their kids, and maybe our home operates a bit differently to theirs and even to other households I have seen.

Even now I see friends where the  guy has a limited role in terms of house and kids – fortunately that is not my household.   Both Kennith and I have chosen that he takes an active role.  Okay I chose it, he sort of got beat into doing it, but damn, does that boy do a good job now!

Back to this weekend – I am really excited about going away with my internet chums.

It is a bit like internet dating, but without the pressure of “whether we will need to have sex.”  I am really hoping that they are not thinking we are all going to be having sex, as I am sure that was not what I had  conveyed.

So I am officially “Gone Fishing” and will see you on Monday!

If you don’t hear from me on Monday, and you need to report me as a missing person to the police as my “internet chums” have turned into nothing more than “serial murders who stalk innocent prey like me on the internet” get the police to look in the direction of Swellendam near some log cabins.

Take a breath ….

Funny what a difference a few days with a total break from reality, and a few bottles of wine can make to your countenance?

The entire weekend was just a complete waste of oxygen.

It has been a very long time since I functioned whilst being totally removed from myself.  I could not have been more absent/removed/vacant/not present this weekend if I tried.

It is a bit like an out of body experience.  You can see you are in a room interacting – or not, whilst you are existing in the corner of the room, far removed from anyone/anything except this dullness around you.  Strange?  Yes.  True? Yes.

Fortunately it is not something I have to go through as much as I used to.  When my depression was at it’s worst, I would have weeks in this state, so I am thankful that I only got a few days of it now – and it really has not occurred in what feels like an age.

Kennith gives me the space when he sees I need it.  He tries not to ask too much of me when he knows I can’t do more than I am doing.  He goes a long way to just quietly helping me through these times..

I met with some friends for pizza and wine on Tuesday night – not too much pizza, possibly too much wine, and it really was a fun evening.  The conversation ranged from spousal abuse, growths on partners’ bodies, to sex and everything in between.  It was a relaxing evening and nice to have people speaking incoherently about so many funny things – the dinner was punctuated by loud guffaws of laughter – just what the doctor ordered!

I also had the fortunate opportunity to chat to someone this week who I really do feel a “soul connection” with.   I have known her for some time, but we have not seen each other for quite a bit.

We spoke about adoption, and the various urges that exist in our souls that we cannot always quantify or qualify.  For me it was great to just speak to someone who just got what I was saying, and did not look at me with that slightly raised eyebrow of confusion.

I am not sure if she was getting me, but after two bottles of wine suddenly it does appear like the whole world is just getting you.  But seriously, it was great to connect with her after so much time.

Last night I went along and met some moms from the Moomie forum.

We have been chatting on that forum for about 6 -8 months.  Before that we were chatting on the Pampers forum, and all seemed to migrate together to the better managed Moomie forum.

It is very strange seeing people you have been friends/adversaries on a forum, then there you are sitting across from them at a dinner table.  Having a relationship outside of the protection of your monitor and keyboard.

I would imagine that a Russian brides meeting her husband at the airport for the first time has similar issues.

Initially I thought it would be weird and awkward, but it really wasn’t.  The only part that was a bit strange was that you are so familiar with them in a cyber room, but sitting across from the table, one sometimes forgets who the person is without the benefit of their avatar to view.

It was a really relaxing evening – like dinner with old friends.  The girls are all so interesting and really unique – it did not feel forced, and conversation flowed easily.

Now that I am a tad more calm – I have realized that none of my ‘wants’ have faded into the morning light of fluorescent overhead lighting and in the even harsher light of reason and logic.

I feel a bit more comfortable that I know what I want/need.  It is okay to be me who wants/needs these things even in the face of opposition, fierce reasoning, pie charts and logical argument.

It is enough for me to just feel strongly that this is what I need, even if maybe they do not make sense to others.  Sometimes you cannot always explain what drives you to do what you do … sometimes it is just the want.

I also appreciate that Kennith and I are in this family together.

I need to respect his opinion and his feelings on the issues that are going to impact on our family – as a group and as individuals.  I can’t say that I will just quietly abandon what I want because he does not agree, and right now I do not really have a chart of the way forward.

However for now, I will take a breath and see where things go.

I am not sure where my path with adoption/fourth child issues/surrogacy will take me, or whether I will progress on any of those paths, or whether it will just go no where.  For today I am willing to exhale and try a modicum of patience and see what happens ….