The Old Lady who lived in the shoe….

We had our friend H stay over with us on Sunday night, as he was en-route to some foreign location that seemed to fly via Cape Town.

H was our housemate when Kennith and I first moved in together – the best housemate ever.  He wasn’t there for 28 days of every second month, outstanding who could ask for better in a house mate?

H is married to C, and we were fortunate enough to attend their wedding nearly nine years ago.  They now live in Johannesburg with three kids – all under 5.

We were chatting about the logistics of coping with three kids.  H mentioned that he has had a vasectomy and was singing it’s praises. Kennith mentioned in a rather forlorn voice that he was not “allowed to get one.”

We spoke some more about the fact that though I was not actively seeking to have a fourth child, I did not feel ready to shut the door and throw away the key for good just yet.  Insert emoticon of Kennith’s rather concerned face right here.

When I am ready, then we can start cutting and snipping Kennith’s testicular plumbing to his heart’s content.   But for now, let’s just leave things as they are, for now.

H spoke about how he is over the entire baby stage and wants to have big kids now, and do stuff with big kids.

I really enjoy the baby stage.  We have the benefit of kids that have a fairly big age gap.  As the one was out of nappies and self-sufficient enough to go and wee, grab a bottle out of the fridge and go and watch a DVD to leave mom and dad in peace, we brought a new child into the house.  (Maybe the fact that they left us alone for a few minutes might explain why we had another child, but we can cover that in another post.)

H lamented that he is ready now to do grown up things without all the baby stuff.  I think Kennith might have high-fived him and chest-banged him in the kitchen in agreement.

I like the baby stage, I don’t think I am over it as yet.  Listen I get exhausted by kids, especially mine, and often try and hide away from them, so I understand that three kids are a stretch – really a stretch.

I also realize that our house is total chaos with kids, but sometimes I like our house.

This evening Connor, Georgia and Isabelle were in the bath together.  Kennith gave Connor and Georgia a bowl of ice-cream.  Isabelle was sitting in the middle of them.  She sat there while between bites Connor and Georgia gave her small spoons of ice-cream.  She was like a little sparrow in a nest between two mommy birds as they fed her little bits of ice-cream.  I thought that was really sweet and nice to watch.

Georgia and Connor got out of the bath and went to get jammies on.  Isabelle was now playing with the ice-cream dish and spoon and having a fine old time in the bath.

I wanted to help Connor with his homework.  I did not want to leave Isabelle in the bath by herself, and did not want to take her out as she was happy playing.  Mommy trying to be in two places at once.

Solution:  I got Connor to bring his homework into the bathroom.

He sat on the toilet seat (closed) and he did his homework, while I stood next to the toilet brush and helped him with his revision.

Isabelle was happily playing bowl-and-spoon, while Georgia was in the room chatting to her dad, and there I was doing responsible mom stuff.

I like our crazy house.

I would not be totally devastated if I pissed two lines on a stick, or a social worker arrived at my door and said “Here’s a baby look after it.”  (Listen I would totally freak out, but I would not be devastated.)

Excuse me, while I go and stop Kennith as he scrambles to double check that I have been taking my BCP.

Nine day count down ….

I know sometimes I appear a bit blasé about this entire “getting married” thing, but it is really a bit of a big deal for me.

Kennith and I have been together for so long.  Both of us were very anti-marriage in the beginning.  We tended to stand on our soap-box and preach how unnecessary it was and that we would not succumb to the bourgeois ways of the masses.

If I heard someone was getting married, I would ask them “but how you do you know you have found the right one … how do you really know…”  it would often lead to a rather frightened bride-to-be who just wanted to get as far from me as possible, in as short a time as possible.

As time marched on our relationship evolved.

Our kids joined us, our world shook and cracked a little/a lot.  We realized that sometimes “loving someone” is not the same as “liking someone” – and sometimes it is okay to want to kill them and bury their body in the backyard.

We went through several difficult years, that included screaming, shouting, not talking, couple counseling, more anti-depressants, and fairly destructive behaviour.

I am sure if we had been offered an easy escape clause, we both might have opted out and left –  it really was hard, and there were few good days, and no guarantee that going through all of this was going to make it any better at the end of the day.

I think Kennith and I do tend to move cautiously on certain issues and do not give up easily.   We sort of plod on, and believe that things will get better if we just give it some time (it’s a character thing.)  This might have been what kept us plodding on – though we were really walking two totally separate and lonely paths.

We did however manage to eventually reach the same place at about the same time, and made a decision that we could see ourselves walking the same road.

I do not want to try to paint a romantic picture of long-lost lovers and rekindled flames, and skipping through daisy fields.

There was none of that, there was more listening, being more attentive and maybe trying not to be so angry all the time.

Here is the key – it was not that one of us tried hard and the other went about their normal day. I think we both realized that we both needed to change, and find ways of finding each other again.  We had both made mistakes, were both to blame – in different ways – but we equally shared the carrying of the proverbial bucket.

We both made a conscious effort to give it a go (when I think we both thought this is really the last chance of chances as things did seem almost unfixable.)

It took a lot of work to reach this point.   Kennith and I are not naïve enough to think that now it is all going to be white wine and green olive/biltong days.

We still get annoyed with each other and find it very easy to flick into the “well fek you then” frame of mind.

And here is where I must give Kennith his due – Kennith is able to say sorry, where I struggle.  Kennith is always willing to extend the olive branch, where I hold resentment close to my heart.  Kennith is always willing to forgive and move on, where I struggle to bury the hatchet.  Kennith is definitely the sunny disposition to my rather dark self.

Yesterday I was chatting to someone who really is going through the darkest point of relationship hell.

If you are looking for advise and are hoping for platitudes, I strongly suggest you go somewhere else and not come to me.  I do not set out to say mean things and hurt someone, but I do tend to state things truthfully as I see them.  I will not volunteer my opinion, but if you ask, then I take it that you want the truth and not the sugar-coated version, then I do say what I think.

With relationships, we are led to believe we should hook-up, and stay together come what may – “for the children”.

The reality is that the father or the mother of your children, might not be your partner for life, life is just not that way.  Staying with someone when it is actually driving you inch-by-inch into the mouth of madness “for the sake of the children” is just not a feasible way to live your life.

I appreciate that when you bring children into the picture the stakes do get higher.

Suddenly there is more to lose, the fall out is so much more, and there are going to be casualties – in the form of little people.   At the same time, if you cannot look after yourself because your relationship is killing your soul, you really cannot look out for the good of your child or children, no matter how good your intentions are.

The problem with relationships that are in distress, is that we get so caught up in the craziness of the situation and literally get sucked into it.  It consumes us.  We are unable (or unwilling in some cases) to step back and really take a look at what is going on.  This distress might last a day or two, but in some cases it can stretch to years, and then we totally lose ourselves in “it”.

We cannot rationalize, or take the time to look at it with a clear mind, because we are dealing with the day to day fall-out of what is hell-on-earth.

I think, if you have ever been in a relationship that is sliding into the abyss, you will know what I am talking about.

We are not talking about a mild disagreement here, we are talking about a relationship that is starting to bleed your soul, and all you can think is “I have to get out … I have to get away…”

At some point – some where – somehow – one finds the energy to take a moment, take a breath and step back.

Usually at this moment, we can look at what is going on, and try not be so reactive and emotional.  We can also take the time to think “why should I stay in this relationship?” I think if the only reason you can muster is “because I love him” then maybe it is time to find a bag and start packing.

If you ask me why I stayed with Kennith when times got so dark?  Well, the truth be told, I was on my way out the door.  Things had hit the (very) bottom of where ever they could have gone.

I had taken that moment, that breath to think – and for me the thinking involved facing my biggest fear.

My biggest fear was not losing Kennith, he was all but lost anyway, my biggest fear was that I would have to leave without the kids.  That was what I had to face as my reality and the outcome when all was said and done.

I had spent weeks trying to work out how I could leave, and take the kids with me.  No matter how much I tried to do the math and tried to work out the logistics, it just was not financially or logistically possible,without causing chaos in their lives.

The moment I had that realization – that “what is the worst outcome” and accepted it, suddenly it made me free to make my decision – it was like coming out from under a wet, heavy blanket where I had been suffocating.

I am not trying to say that it was not painful.  I sobbed and cried, but when I worked through all the options, the best solution to be able to leave, was to let the kids remain with Kennith.

Once all the hair pulling and chest beating is done, and you accept that the worst outcome, the one you have been hiding from,  the one you know in your heart of hearts is the right answer, and you accept it with your soul and a brave face – suddenly you do reach a place of calm, and then can decide “well what now…?” in a rational more adult way.

As things went, Kennith and I did not go our separate ways.  Things did change – the changes were gradual and slow, they were hard, but our relationship did manage to survive.

But here we are.  We are 9 days away from making a public commitment to each other – how do I feel now?

I feel proud that Kennith and I have gone through what we have.  We have endured, we have walked through when most people faced with what we were faced with, would have walked away.

Our children are happy, seem to be well-adjusted (waiting for test results) and know they are in a loving family.

We are walking in to this marriage with our eyes wide open.  We are not being swept along by hormonal euphoria of how magical it is all going to be.  We have years of experience under our belt, and gained many battle scars of wisdom.

We know that when it is all done and dusted, and we get in to bed at night, my foot will always find his and we will drift off to sleep, knowing that no matter what happens our feet will always touch when we go to sleep at night.

In nine days time, we are ready to stand in front our of our closest friends and family, and say the words that we have been avoiding for sixteen years … “today I will marry you…”

The Engagement Story …

People have been asking how we got engaged … I really wish it was an interesting story, so I might need to embellish the details a bit just to add intrigue and a bit of sex and scandal.

We go out for dinner about twice a week. Not because we live the high life, just because I am too lazy to cook, and Kennith is sometimes a bit bored with baked beans on toast.

On the night in question, we put kids in bed, arrange for our Pepe to babysit and skipped off to dinner – so this was a night like any other.

Now just to paint the picture of the week before – because this is one of those stories that rises of falls on the background, ambiance is quite important.  I will need to take you through the preceding two weekends.

The weekend before (13 – 14 March) Kennith had pretty much left me to sort myself out the entire weekend.

We had friends staying over for the weekend as the Argus Cycle Race was on and there were meetings and stuff that Kennith had to attend on the Saturday.   On the Saturday night we had friends over at our house for dinner, and it was all a bit chaotic.  Actually I lie, it was wildly chaotic.

Kennith was also out pretty much the entire weekend, so when we did not have friends over, he left me alone with the kids and the mess (ah good times!)

I get very very anxious when I am left with the kids alone on the weekend.   I literally go a little/very/a lot panicky, totally stressed state all day and every minute ticks by like an hour.  I love my kids, but they scare me – they outnumber me and can outflank me …. it is only a matter of time before they realise this and start ganging up on the injured bleeding mother-person.

To add to it, Isabelle who was dreadfully ill. So all in all, the weekend really was one step away from an enema with a bottle-cleaning brush.

My thinking was that if Kennith was going to have friends over and arrange “come all ye faithful, bring a keg, let’s have dinner” then he should arrange either he cleans up or he organizes a maid to clean up.

What he thought was a better idea, was to wake up, shower and then skip off on his day leaving me with the kids and the house that looked like a shit-fest.

I was slightly less than happy!  And who do you think gets the brunt of my rage …. no prizes for guessing ….

I survived, only barely and limped through the week that followed feeling mighty peeved.   But I tried to take deep breaths and thought, well I survived, onwards and upwards – next weekend I can get some time to relax and maybe catch a little nap.

But the next Friday (19th April) Kennith phones and tells me he has been invited to rugby with friends.

I really do not give a crap about rugby, but what this translates to me is that he will leave the house on Saturday at about 14h00 and return around 22h00 that night, which means I will be alone with the kids again!!

I think I might have pooped in my panties a bit – like actually pooped not metaphorically pooped.

I am not going to tell Kennith he can’t go to anything – I am not his jailor or his mother.

However I do expect that he uses his good sense every now and then, when making the choices of what invitations to accept and which not to. This was not one of those cases where maybe reflecting on the weekend before, accepting a rugby invite now, was going to go down, shall we say with less relish than hoped.

Kennith went to rugby.  I went just a little more off the edge of the postcard.

I was so angry I was spitting. Kennith arrives home that evening and brings our friends in for a drink. No problem, love our friends but am hating Kennith right about then.

Sidebar: Kennith buys bottles of wine from a friend of ours at a good price. These bottles of wine are white wine, which are meant for me to drink and for when we entertain. The bottles cost about R29.00 when we buy them, but cost considerably more in store. Kennith is always making “jests” about how I quaff wine, and that I should not drink the “good stuff.”

I have a sense of humour, and can laugh along to most things – sometimes I even laugh at Kennith, but this chirp, was getting old, and it was a bit past it’s sell-by date. I also figure that he is standing between me-and-my-wine and that is not a safe place for anyone to be standing.

Earlier on that Saturday afternoon, in my rage and fury I am standing there and thinking that I really need a few glasses of wine to help temper my mood, and help me get through the last few hours of this day (does this sound a bit like a desperate cry for help for the AA?).

I grab one of these bottles of wine – and while wrenching the cork out I hear Kennith’s little comment in my head – which just makes me even more angry. I start talking to him as if he is there, which he is not as he is at Newlands.  Listen, even in my insanity, I can differentiate between the real voices in my head, and my own voice in my head (thank goodness for small blessings.)

The entire time I am thinking that if Kennith makes one more stupid chirp about this fek’n wine I am going to take his head off with a cork-screw and the inner of a toilet roll.

I have passed the sanity part of my day long long ago at this point, and all I am trying to do is survive until night fall, and kids go to bed, and I can lie on my bed and congratulate myself on not killing anyone.

Fast forward – friends come inside. Kennith either sees my wine glass or the wine bottle and make the chirp!

I go off pop – but like totally.

Leon and Joyce are quietly sitting there attempting to have a civilized conversation and I have just gone totally trailer-park and I am ranting. The kind where spittle forms in the corner of your mouth and you start waving your hands around with fervor.

Leon and Joyce are sitting there in stunned silence and I am freaking out.

Obviously they do not know the weekend that has led up to this, and how angry I am.   I have been sitting there in anticipation, waiting for this chirp from Kennith since 2pm.

They quietly finish their drinks and leave.  Joyce is even trying to tidy up a bit, as she has no idea what the hell I am ranting about, but figgers a little tidying never hurt anyone.

Kennith and I have the almighty fight of all times and there is screaming and effing and blinding. I might have told him to go and fornicate himself – or a goat – I am not sure!  But it is one of those fights that is about a lot of thing, not just a tosser-idea-to-go-to-rugby, you know when it  a l l  c o m e s  o u t, one of those fights.

On the Sunday I decided to leave for the day and hang with my mate Judith. We spent the day drinking red wine while I told her what a total shit Kennith was and that I would not marry him if he threw himself on the floor and promised me the world.

I continue to rant about how angry I was that he had not asked me to marry him and how worthless and rejected that made me feel …. whine whine wine wine wine.

Eventually I went home, and chose not to talk to him for the balance of the day. I decided he was a goat turd and the sooner he ceased to exist the happier I was going to be.

Monday was Monday, Tuesday rolled around and then Wednesday we went out for dinner.

Sitting there, not a especially special restaurant, it had linen rather than plastic table clothes but after that not much – I was eating dry garlic pita bread which was especially crunchy.

Kennith was trying to hold my hands across the table and started telling me how much he loved me and how much I meant to him and and and …. again I thought this was by the way of apology for being a total goat turd the week before.

Me: Chew, chew, crunch, crunch …

Kennith: You are really important to me, and I know getting married is important to you, and I want to make you happy, so let’s get married ……

Me: Chew, chew, crunch, crunch …

Kennith:  So let’s get married ….

Me:  Chew, chew, crunch, crunch … Are you asking me whether you should ask me to marry you, or are you asking me to marry you?

Kennith:  I am asking you to marry me ….

Me:  Crunch … trying to get the parsley out of my teeth … Really? …..

Kennith:  Yes, you know me, I am not going to do the whole thing, will you marry me baby?

Me:  (now I realise I have waited sixteen years for this, so this is no time to act all hard to get and all … however I had just told Judith that I would not marry him for all the sheep in New Zealand … saying yes now would seem a little hypocritical … but there is something to be said for striking while the iron is hot and all) Okay, yes ….

Kennith:  Oh …..

…… kisses me ……..

….. A few moments pass as we are gazing across the table into each other’s eyes …..

Kennith:  I am not going to drop 25K on a ring

… ….. a little awkward silence …..

Me: Are you going to eat this last slice of pita bread or can I?

I think we are alone now …..

This being the first week of school holidays we have been lucky enough to ship our two older kids off to my mom for a bit of a holiday by the sea.

Right now Connor eyes are rolling back in his head as he is overcome with the delirious euphoria of days spent at the beach and fishing with his oupa. There’s a child with a serious OCD thing for fish.

Georgia got to draw a toilet in the beach sand today, and then proceeded to use it in full sight of the other beach-goers, much to the horror and mortification of my mother.

At home we have Isabelle – one child – one teeny weeny little child who does not argue with me.

I got up this morning – okay, I opened my eyes blearily. Kennith had gone to pick Isabelle up, changed her bum and brought her to me for a morning snuggle. I made a cup of tea, a bottle for Isabelle and then retired luxuriously back to bed while I drank my tea and had a little bit of time for my mind to start functioning.

Sure, I was pushing the lines of being tardy for work or fashionably late, but I was having one of those rare moments of peace and quiet in my home. I even ventured to go the toilet without being interrupted – I know, I am still a bit shocked at the turn of events.

I showered and washed my hair. I even had a bit of time to put some conditioner on it. I do so realize the absolute luxury that this morning was turning in to, and I was reveling in it.

Normally I am in the shower and the curtain is being pulled back as Connor is coming to tell me his sister is doing something that she should not be doing. As soon as I have sent him on his way, I will have Georgia pulling back the curtain to tell me her side of the story – usually at the same time as I have shampoo dripping into my eyes and my good sense of humour is evaporating in the morning light. Usually this progresses to them both standing in the bathroom and shouting at each other, so that I am supposed to listen to the story and decide who is right.

When I was ready to leave this morning, I picked up my bag, found my keys, gave Isabelle a wet slurpy kiss and climbed into my car. I actually sat for a minute before putting the key in and thinking that this is all decidedly odd. No screaming, no return visits to the house to get something, finding something someone needs for school.

Usually my morning routine from the time I enter the garage has the sound track along these lines:-

“We are late, hurry up!!”

“Move, move, move, we are late”

“Get in the car, no I do not care what that is in your hand, just get in the flippn car.”

“You have tennis today, did you remember your racket. Damn it, we have to go back! Why can you not remember your stuff.”

“Georgia just leave that alone, you do not need to take that to school, I said no, leave it!”

“Stop fighting, just share the middle seat, I said stop fighting!”

“No, I did not remember to buy you the board. You did not tell me you needed it – you cannot tell me on the drive to school about something you were meant to tell me two days ago.”

“Yes, pass me your school homework book, I will sign it while I am driving.”

“No Connor I do not know what bait one uses to catch Strepies, I have no idea.”

Today I even listened to 567 Talk and heard what they were saying. As a treat I drove a new route to work, it really was blissful peaceful. I started feeling all carefree …….

Of dreams and crushed hopes ….

So today I am feeling very bleak, sure not as bleak as I was yesterday, but still very bleak.

A few weeks ago, I had this thought that Kennith and I should consider a fourth child.  I will wait a few minutes while you wipe the coffee off the monitor that has just shot out of your nose.

To further add to my idea, I suggested we adopt.  Kennith was less shocked that I expected him to be, and was surprisingly not adverse to the idea.

Kennith was saying that he was quite keen on us sponsoring someone’s child, but I felt that the idea of adoption really struck a chord with me.  I wanted a child in our home that we could raise, who would have siblings and have someone to fight with.  Someone to borrow clothes and toys from.  A child who had siblings that he/she could scream at saying things like “I hate you and get out of my room”  …. you know all that good stuff.

Kennith was not so keen, but he was not wildly opposed either.  He showed a vague inclination but did raise some concerns that we were entering a very unsure year and we needed to stabilize ourselves before we decided to go ahead with this idea.

All I heard was  “blah blah blah what a great idea blah blah go head…” and off I went – like a dog with a bone.  Okay, a slightly obsessed medicated dog with a bone.  But my head was down, and I was on a mission.

I was in contact with a few social workers, found forums, blogs and the like and was doing an education in Adoption 101.

I have had the opportunity to speak to a few moms who had adopted, and they were so generous in sharing thier experiences.  I really got to speak and interact with so many amazing people who had either embarked on this journey or were embarking on it, and who were so willing to share thier information with me.  They gave me mountains of advise, and I kept being rewarded that this was the right decision that we were making.

There were a few negative comments that some people made regarding cross-cultural adoption, but I put it down to the fact that bigot idiots are still allowed to breath, and I need to just give them a wide berth.

I was recommended to call Child Welfare and spoke to a social worker there.  I thought the fact that we are not married, that we had three children, that we are close to forty, and not religious may play a few negative cards into our deck –it would seem not at an initial glance.

I went along to the Orientation Discussion, knowing full well that Kennith still had reservations.

I was  hoping he would just have a moment where it would feel right for him.  I was so excited, and had already moved past the calm and controlled moment to the frenzied-obsessive-compulsive-full-fledged-project mania that only I can move in to (and people, some people, love me for).

I had got the forms, and was dead excited to get us moving.  I even chose the cool pen I was going to fill the forms in with – it is all about the detail folks!!

I have fallen into this process with my soul and my heart.  I can see this baby in my mind’s eye, I can smell her and feel her against me (clearly you have got the fact that it is already a girl, please, I had already named her, I was so far down this already in my head).  Yes, I do realize that I sound like a total obsessed loon.

There is a bit of a process that prospective adoptive parents have to go through.  It generally follows the route of Orientation Meeting, Complete Application Form, Screening Interview, Training Group, Home Visit and then if that is all ticked and signed you can move on to the elusive List and wait, and wait ….

The list is the part where you are approved as potential parents and it is a case of the social worker matching you to a potential birth mother or baby that has been born.  The catch is one never really knows how long the list is – and one does not know how long sits on the list, because one cannot control the availability (shall we say).

When I spoke to the social worker she said that she had no problem with us as a couple, the one issue was that their requirements were that we could not adopt or move on to the list until our youngest daughter was 18 months old.

I thought great, that sounds fair.  We can do all the paperwork, do the medical (ours), criminal checking (still ours), do all the paper filling in, do all the interviews and so on, and then do not have to feel this pressure that it is not moving fast enough.  We have oodles of time for admin, yay, love a bit of admin.

We can get to the end of it, and go done.  Then we will have a waiting period until Isabelle is 18 months old before we go onto The List.  I thought great, that will give Kennith his breathing room he needs to ruminate over it and decide if that is really what he wants, and it will also give me a cooling off period (shall we say) where now that the project part is over, I can sit and really soul search about what we are in for.

I also realized that during the process we may be asked questions and be faced with some decisions that I had not factored in to this process.  I might realize that the emotional burden would be too much, there might be challenges that would affect my children that I had not factored into my initial decision making.  I was sure that during the process I may find out things that I definitely had not considered, and we may be faced with some ugly truths about ourselves, our motivations and what lay ahead for us.

In our Saturday fight Kennith said “I don’t think we should be adopting …” I was so angry when he said that.  Immediately I thought that he is now using this as a power issue over me, and using it knowing how strongly I feel about it.

Yesterday morning I asked Kennith a question about the medical forms we have to fill in.  Kennith said we can look at that in a year’s time when we are making the decision …. which is loosely translated as that we are going to put this entire exercise on hold until further notice.

How crushed am I?  Bitterly bitterly devastated ….. I had a little cry at my desk yesterday.  Do you know how difficult it is to have a cry in an open plan office when your stooped phone does not want to stop ringing?  It’s pretty difficult.

Before I was a mommy…

I saw this line on a blog recently and it really made me sit back and ponder what there was before I was a mommy.   I would acknowledge the blog, but did not bookmark it, so I apologise for that.

I know I existed and was happy in my childlessness.  I recall the free and easy manner I would go for a shower – on the drop of a hat.  Spend a  few hours lying in the bath reading a good book.  I would even go to the toilet by myself – and finish what I needed to do …. oh the good old days.

I had time to sit and stare into the distance. I could and would wander around stores uninterrupted.  I could go out late at night and not worry what time I was going to wake up the next morning.  I could sleep late and if I wanted to go and have an afternoon sleep.  I ate my meals in peace.  I would even decide on the spur of the moment to drop in at a corner shop for a loaf of bread and some milk, and it would be easy and non-complicated.

I really can remember the “before” part.  The “after” part has become a bit hazy with the fury at which it has evolved.  Some days I feel like I am starring in an episode of 24.  Sidebar:  I really would like to have Jack Bauer skill set – when he stares at someone and his eye twitches, assume that person has less than 15 minutes to live.  Imagine if you had that as your super power! But I digress. 

I know that you can never wish to go back to a “before mom” stage as that would mean you are then wishing for your kids not to exist, and well that sort of behavior is only condoned for a few people – Mr and Mrs Hitler Snr for instance.  So it really is socially improper to ever voice that longing.

I have been a mom for just over 8 years, and I really have no idea what I am doing.  Like no idea – still!  I keep thinking that there has been a terrible mix up and some how I have appeared in some one else’s life and mine is going along in another direction without kids and blissfully unaware.

Here are some of my thoughts around

Before I was a Mommy…

… I never thought I had any sort of maternal instinct. The idea of a small person coming near me would fill me with dread.  Never held a baby, babysat only once and it was a frightening evening – for all concerned.

…. I knew I never wanted to have children. (How’s that working out for you then?)

.…  I had no empathy for mothers who worked and were struggling to balance the two.  I would get really annoyed and wonder why these women could just not balance their lives.

…. I thought I had a handle on how to juggle home, work and all things relationship.  Throwing a baby into that mix, has showed me that I am totally fallible.

…. I could look at a child who was abandoned or in need, and it would not affect me.  Now I see all these children as someone’s son and daughter and I always seem my children in them.  It makes me so deeply sad and my soul bleeds.

… I had not factored in how much puke and baby poo would actually become part of my day, and somehow it would be considered normal.  I often end up with poo under my finger nails, and it does not bother me as much as I thought it would.

…. I did not realize that some days I would be so busy that brushing my teeth, combing  my hair and getting out my jammies would feel like a luxury activity.

….I didn’t understand that no matter how much you try not to be like your parents – part of you is wired to behave just like them.  It’s not always a good thing, and takes a great deal of self-control and awareness to break the cycle.

…. I did not appreciate how easy it was to get in a car, start the engine and drive away.  Now if I can get everyone in, buckled up and not have to return to the house three times for shoes, underpants and my cell phone, I am making a fast get away.

…. I did not realize how something so miraculous and life changing can be treated as such a pedestrian event.  To have and raise a child is awe-inspiring and is often taken for granted.

… I did not realize how much guilt I would feel.  It starts when that baby is in the womb and never stops. 

… I did not realize how having a baby would make me question who I was and how I fitted in to society and really make me ask the question  “who am I?”

… I did not realize that I could look at another human being and literally feel my heart swell.  I think we love our partners/husbands/significant others and we love them dearly, but when you are lying there at night with your soft baby in your arms and feeling that weight of them sleeping, your soul turns to jam.

“Motherhood is like Albania— you can’t trust the descriptions in the books, you have to go there.” – Marni Jackson