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

 

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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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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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Who knew I could get this excited about urine and fa.ec.es?

Not me.

Isabelle is 2 1/2 and I have realised I fall onto the side of lax parenting. Baby one and baby two I was all in the “baby guides” and if my child did not hit the mark and do what they were meant to do at the required age, I would get myself pretty vexed and into a froth.

That is the ONLY  reason I can explain that I ever went to Mommy and Baby Groups.

When Isabelle arrived I had bought the baby books, joined “how big is your baby when comparing it to a fruit” emails, I had hired an electronic doppler, I had read what ever there was to read – I was SIKED.

I googled everything.  Even though I sort of knew what was going to happen, andgoogle just made me more nervous and more paranoid, I still googled it all.  I checked and rechecked everything.

When Isabelle was born, I realised I did not have the time to be as “anxious” about Isabelle’s development and worry about every little thing.  I had too much going on, and once Isabelle stopped screaming <around month three or four> I could see straight and attempt to do other things.

I was hoping she would be eating McDonalds, swigging Oros, talking gangsta and taking a dump in the toilet by now – but I had set my hopes a bit high.

Isabelle will be 24 + 6 months in December. I only got her exclusively on solids.  About two months ago I was still puree’ing her food – Kennith made me stop.

Isabelle says about 20 words. The clearest being “dawg” and “no” – the least clear being “mommy” which I think she is holding out for and drop in when I deposit her in Grade R.  I have stopped sitting infront of her repeating “mommy, say mommy, say mommy, please say mommy, mo-mmy, it’s really easy …. say mommy … mommy will buy you a pony if you say mommy … mommy … say mommy …. crap, just say mommy …. mo…mmy … say it …….”

I got tired of trying to bribe her whilst she looked at me suspiciously. She knew I was not going to get her a pony. And I knew she was not going to do what I asked her to.

Isabelle does not eat meat, unless it is a fish finger coated in crumbs.  She lives a mainly vegetarian existence <we aren’t vegetarians by the way> I just did not get around to introducing meat into her diet.

I bought a book on potty training.  Isabelle is not in the “potty training in a week” mould, and she took a real and aggresive aversion to the potty.

She has wowwed me and in the last month she is pretty much out of nappies.  She uses her white cheap-arse potty when ever she can.  All of this happened while I was “away at the little clinic” and then other people stepped in and took control of my house, as I appeared to be drooling at slobbering on my chin and otherwise engaged.

I am thrilled Isabelle uses her potty.

She has not made one accident, if you exclude the time she missed the potty all together, and the other time when she sat down in her nightie and it was under her arse and then she went “potty” – but if you exclude those two, she is pretty much potty trained.

I am so proud of her I actually gloat!

On the other hand Darron <super sport reference if you can do the Naas accent> is that each potty trip saves us just under R3.00 in nappies. Right now her “doggie” is still wearing nappies, so technically we are purchasing nappies for a stuffed dog …..

We went to a fishing spot on Saturday late afternoon/early evening – I took the potty along. Nothing quite like taking a dump out in the great outdoors.