The best feeling in the world is when ….

 

<and the worse is when you get b&tch slapped severely … but let’s leave that for another day>

When I started blogging, I though I would read my blog, and Fred, a nice but unemployed man in Ysterplaat might log in when he gets some free time at the internet café.

That is pretty much how I had it pegged.  And at the time it was enough for me.

When I started blogging – I thought I was unique.

I was the only mom who blogged. I had never read a blog.  I did not realise that there was an entire community/sub-culture out there.

I emotionally vomitted several times.

Then when I thought it was over, I stopped blogging.  You know, I thought I had got that shit out of my system.  I said what I felt I needed to say, to get me through my “little episode” after having Isabelle.

And I thought, that I had also enough and Fred had probably stomached all he could.

Then I had dinner with Mike Shaw – and Mike asked how the blogging is going.  I was a bit surprised as Mike was clearly not the “unemployed Fred in Ysterplaat” so I was surprised he read it.

Then he told me a few things about what he had got from reading my blog, and maybe understanding some of the “difficult” times his wife had gone through.

I left the Spur, feeling a sense of heaviness in my stomach from the Goodie Burger I ate, but at the same time maybe to rethink this blogging malarky.

If it was not for Mike Shaw I might never have got started, again.

Today is my + 10 000 hits anniversary (100,027 at the moment…)

Or one guy who logged in 10 000 times, which ever way you want to look at it. or 5 fans and 9 995 people who hate my guts.

The statistics are difficult to interpret, and really spreadsheets do not excite me – in the least.

My busiest day was the 15 September 2010, with 2,986 views, so that was pretty good.

I realise that 300 – 500 people might read this blog every day, and only 5 agree with what I say, while the other 295 – 495 tsk-tsk and promise to send me hate-mail as soon as they are finished vaginal-birth, breast-feeding, co-sleeping and arts and crafts with their little loves, as well as making a healthy casserole for their husbands.

I have embarrrassed myself more times than I can count on this blog.

I do not blog for you. I blog for me.  (Well I keep telling myself that.  I also keep telling myself that I do not care what people thing.  But clearly we all know now I am a bald faced liar-liar-pants-on-fire!)

There is something in it for me, even when I PUBLICALLY humiliate myself.

Part of it is that I get to out myself first instead of worrying what people are going to say.  I admit to the fart, even if I did not fart, just so that I do not have to blamed and people snigger at me.

Which I do quite often. The casualties are Kennith and the kids who get dragged into this blog, against their will, often.

I have said some things that I do not always regret saying, but I often regret that someone was hurt by it, and considerded it insensitive – that was never my aim, and then I regret posting anything that made anyone feel funny (bad) and not always funny (good.)

I do often look back with my 20/20 hindsight and realise I posted something while being emotional – and one learns one should not send emails, update your Facebook status or post blogs posts while very emotional.

It seldom goes well.

I love every solitary comment I get – some make me laugh, some make me cry, some make me alert the police.

This was my first post about fnding out I was pregnant the first time (though it was a get pregnant on purpose, but I was still horrified)

I did a post about Mommy and Baby groups and I still think it is pretty good.

Not a happy post, but one I really “enjoyed” because I was expressing what depression was to me, when i tis such a difficult concept to explain.

Do you know?  Yes, learning exercise.  That JK Rawling based her characters in Harry Potter, the Dementors on how she experiencd depression.  The fact that they are these dark forces, that can find you no matter how hard you run and how far, and they literally suck the energy force out of you, until you are left alive but dead.

I do laugh at some of the crap that falls out of my mouth, but for some reason this post made a lot of people laugh with me, rather than at me, which was a delightful change.

I would like to give a shout out to Mike Shaw, because if it was not for him, I probably would not have carried on blogging.  (Granted if it was not for Mike and Anita, and how “cute” Matthew seemed, we probably would not have had kids either.)

I would tell him personally, but he ignores my emails, so maybe his wife will read my blog and pass on my thanks to him.  So this is a bit like those ridiculous Facebook status updates which someone posts, but the person it is aimed at is never on Facebook.

Thanks Mike!

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.>

Johannesburg envy …

I seldom get envious that I do not live in Johannesburg.

Actually.

I do not think I have ever said “I wish I lived in Johannesburg..” but this might be one of those times.

Okay, maybe I did not actually wish to live in Johannesburg.

Maybe I just wished I had a Fairy Godmother who handed out wicked air tickets on a wing and a prayer.

The gorgeous Raising Men and her merry troupe of bandits, are planning a little soiré in Johannesburg for anyone who blogs and anyone who wants to specifically stalk bloggers.

Actually blogging is option, you just need to like cake, tea, and be able to read ….. a bit ……… the rest they can fill in for you on the form provided.

Even if you do not want to stalk bloggers, or stand next to cardboard cut-outs of them (I am sure there will be cardboard life size cutouts to pose with), there are some really yummy-I-am-so-jealous-and-I-am-glad-I-am-on-Alzam-or-I-might-start-feeling-really-anxious-right-now prizes as well.

Spot prizes.

You do not have the be the prettiest or the cleverest, you just have to show up – dude, that is easy pickings.

I mean really …… no getting 300 of your closest friends on FB to vote for you, just show the freak up!

Yes, we have not 1 but 2 Kodak digital cameras (RM – I think I fell over when I swooned) and 3 x ghd Iconic Eras of Style handbags and a YEARS supply of Pringles (RM – oh my giddy aunt, I could die happy, rolling around in Pringles … we are talking about the chip and not the leisure wear right??)  and a Living & Loving pampering  hamper and 5 x Snack Factory gift bags and 5 x Canderal gift bags and finally a  months free coffee at Wolves.

So get your blogging hats on and come say hi to us on the 13th of July at Wolves Cafe on Corlett Drive. It all starts at 6pm

I am really jealous right now …….. the only way I could be any more envious right now is if they had white wine with the cake  …..

Big white mom looking for men ……..

I often glance at the search results to show me how people arrived at my page – without a shadow of a doubt this is my week’s winner:

Shame, I hope he was not too disappointed.

The red beret incident ….. picture story

Okay, now that I have recovered from the Huisgenoot Mooi Shoot (and I still have not actually seen the magazine yet) – though my friends have promised to bring along a magazine for this weekend and further ridicule me, I thought I would put up these photos that I took of the shoot day.

Me at the Hairdresser at the One and Only – seriously I could live like this ….I permitted quite a lot of hair to be cut off, I was a bit traumatised afterwards.

Neville treated me to a Hydra Mist experience, which other than looking like an Alien Mother Ship landed on my head was divine – something about pores in your hair shaft and moisture …..

Poor Neville having to brush the knots out ….. he was probably rethinking his career choice right about then.

The divinely talented Neville – Hair Guru at the One and Only Hotel, Cape Town

Makeup artist applying the first layer …. of many many layers … I don’t really wear makeup so it was all a bit shocking ..

Er, that is a lot of makeup ….clearly they knew I would be coming along …..

Stylist Kim sorting out the clothes … for the record we all look slightly wrecked as we were at studio before 7am ….

I actually quite liked this outfit, I was not loving the beret at all – I LOVED THE SHOES, not sure the poncho/wrap was working, but it felt nice on.

The photographer kept asking me to stand on one leg – then I fell over- then he asked me to do it again — have no idea where this was going.

Incredible how I followed instruction from people I do not know ….. total Jedi Mind Tricks that day.

Photographer guy wondering exactly how much time he should set aside for Photoshop on this lot …

Another look they were trying – no I would not under normal conditions stand with bright red lipstick and a compact in a room – but they felt this might be a good idea (notice how big and how much lips I have – makeup artists do not have to colour within the lines ….)

I really liked this look and was hoping they would use the photos from this series…but sadly not.

A ton of makeup being applied …..

They were doing some portraits at the end, which they did not use …..I quite liked the dress, actually I really liked the dress.

And, as they say, that’s all folks!!

My 15 minutes (or seconds in this case) of fame, over.

I wore a beret …. because they made me …..

So I have been dreading this moment for some time.

<I figured as I had posted images of me puking at my hen party last year, I might as well out myself on this before someone else does>

The experience was really a lot of fun – but I hate being in front of a camera (anyone who has attempted to aim a camera at me will know this), and anyone who sees the result might agree that I look relatively uncomfortable.

About two months ago a few Mommy Bloggers were approached with the aim to be styled by a Style Blogger, and to have hair and makeup done and photographed for Huisgenoot Mooi Magazine.

I was keen on everything, except the being photographed part.

But it appeared that issue was a bit of a deal breaker, so I thought “no one will see it, surely….”

I had my hair coloured and cut by the brilliant Nigel from the Hairdresser & Spa at the One and Only, Cape Town.

Neville gave me the best hair cut I have ever had, and he did a great job colouring my hair – he gave me a hair treatment that will make me think fondly of him for many years to come.

The next day I met Kim Gray (who won Style Blogger 2010) and the merry band of directors/makeup and camera people at the You Studio in Cape Town.

Kim had selected some outfits and we then tried to put my large white body in to them.

I will confess she chose some really lovely pieces, that I probably would not have chosen myself.  I was also nowhere near a mirror so had to take her guidance in terms of what looked good.

I had makeup done and hair was fine from the day before.

At that point I was asked to stand around in a studio and smile or jump or leap – and then it just got very awkward for me.

Everyone had their job, and my job was to do what ever they said … and not try to change anything, or suggest not to wear the beret for instance.

I really hate being in front of the camera and I think every cell in my body was screaming “get me the hell out of here!”

But I stayed and played along – it was actually a lot of fun and quite an experience.

I showed Kennith these pictures and the first thing he said is:”What the hell is on your head?” and then he burst out laughing ….. sigh ……. so I predict the next few days are going to be rather painful for me.

I have taken the images from Kim’s pages, as I have not seen the magazine myself.

730 days old today ……and actually so is this blog …. sort of ….

Today is Isabelle’s birthday.

She turns two.

The reality is she does not really give a hoot and appears happy to drink her bottle, and throw a tantrum until someone gave her a Cheese Curl for breakfast.

That girl really loves Cheese Curls.

What she does not love is talking.  Two years old and I still do not have a Mommy.  We have a “uck” a “cat” a “og” and “ooce (like juice)” and “aaarrr” which pretty much covers anything that is not yuck, cat, dog or juice.

Tomorrow we are doing a combined party for the girls.  I think Isabelle would be as interested if we went to the spur and I put a sparkler on top of a Krusty the Clown ice cream cup.

So the party is what I want, and has nothing to do with what she wants/needs/cares about (but admittedly aren’t most kid’s parties about the parents, especially the mom?)

I know birthdays should be all about the child and the presents and being thankful for them.

However, for me it is a day to reflect on how fast two years have passed and how much I have changed in the last two years (and yes how much Isabelle has changed, and has moved from teeny baby to little girl status).

Another thing to consider is if it was not for Isabelle, this blog probably would not have existed.

Isabelle being born = Reluctant Mom being born.

I was so sure with her that it would all be easy and I would get it all so right.  I was not going to be the perfect mother, but damn, I was going to be the organized and assured mother, and this time I was going to get it right.

Maybe not all of the time, but definitely the bulk of the time.

What happened instead is that I realized that I really did not have it together.

I was struggling because I thought it would be so much easier, because I had done it twice already, and it was so damn hard, pretty much all of the time.

I was so sure I would take to it like a duck to water.  Because I wanted this baby so damn much, and I was so excited about having her.  I had planned this, I was mature, I knew how this worked, and again, I had a plan!

I had visions of being a stay at home mom, instead I started counting how soon I could go back to work (I did actually contact my company and begged/pleaded/indicated I would like to come back early if they wanted me ….)

What happened instead was a plunge into another wave of depression.  I thought that one of us was going to die, or I was going to do her serious bodily harm. I was sinking into the abyss.

I did eventually bob to the top of the cesspool, primarily because I found/discovered/stumbled on blogging.

I know it is not cool to get all-emotional-on-your-arse.  It is so cliché to say “blogging is cheaper than therapy”, but damn, blogging was my saving grace (and still is, often).

I had done therapy, so I know it worked, and at my lowest moment I went to my first appointment with a new psychiatrist, and he wrote me a shiny new script of Zoloft, and he suggested I come back and see him …. soon.

Then I decided to try this malarkey called “blogging.”‘

I had never read a blog, I had clearly not blogged, but I thought it might help to write stuff down – and I type quicker than I write.

I adored and still adore Isabelle with an all consuming passion.

She however made me realize that every pregnancy is different.  Every birth experience is different and every child is different.  Far be it from me to offer advise to someone who is struggling based on my “wealth”  of experience, because my wealth helped me not one bit.

It felt like nothing I had experienced had prepared me for what I was going through.  I have tried with this blog, never to come across as “having all the answers” and my aim was always to reveal how faulted I was.

Motherhood for me was pretty lonely, especially that first year – funny how you feel alone even in a room full of people.  I always felt people spoke about their babies and who eats what, but no one really speaks about how they struggle and how they cry in the bathroom, and how much they want to run away.

I made huge mistakes, like Mommy 101 mistakes.  I struggled and I cried, and I just was not getting it right.

It was nothing like I thought it was going to be.  And I was disappointed that I was not a better mother, the third time around.

It does not get easier, no matter how many times you take a run at it. (in my opinion)

Isabelole taught me a measure of humility.  She taught me that we all do what works for us at the end of the day, no matter how bizarre it appears to the rest of mommydom.

However  my having a Good Egg to step in and save me when I was totally fking it up, does help.  It really does, and it continues to.

Happy Birthday Isa-Bubbles …

Isabelle : About Two Seconds Old

Isabelle :  Two Weeks Old

Isabelle : Four Months Old

Isabelle : Seven Months Old

Isabelle : Twelve Months Old

Isabelle : Thirteen Months Old

Isabelle : Fourteen Months Old

Isabelle : Eighteen Months Old

Isabelle : Twenty Three Months Old

Dirty Little Secrets … still bleating on about that …

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

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

Bless.

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

And I felt alone.

Because it was only me who felt that way.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

People went nuts.

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

It was brutal.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

http://dirtylittlesecretsmotherskeep.wordpress.com/

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

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

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

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

Just maybe ….

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!

Why didn’t anyone tell me?

I have this friend who I love dearly – she really is one of my best friends.

There is about a 7 year age difference between us – she is younger than me.  We get on like a house on fire, and she makes me laugh so much that it makes my soul smile.  She is one of the most beautiful and vibrant people I know.

She got married about four years ago and had a baby recently.

I recall chatting to her when she was pregnant.  There were several moments where I really wanted to “bring her down” and discuss the “someone should tell you the reality of pregnancy, birth and the thereafter…” but I felt she was so happy and optimistic, and maybe it would be different for her …. maybe. 

I decided to leave it, and only tell her something if she asked specifically.

She knew I chatted on forums and she knew I wrote a blog because I found all things motherhood a challenge. For me it was lonely and I did not really have someone who was telling me the “real stuff” or again maybe I was not listening.

At the time my biggest lament was “why did no one tell me that it was going to be like this….”

But that being said,  I was not going to be a downer on someone else’s rather happy parade. 

If they are all excited and optimistic about it, and prefer not to hear, then I am quite happy to smile pleasantly and let them remain happy.

She kept saying “I know it will be hard but thousands of women do it and I will be fine…”

And though I really felt I wanted to put my hand up and go “I really need to tell you what you are letting yourself in for ..” I resisted and instead opted  to take the high road and say little or nothing. 

<I really had to chew the inside of my cheek, as saying nothing is not part of my natural makeup.>

Fekn hell.

She had a natural birth that included screaming, tearing, baby getting stuck at the shoulder, baby being suctioned, OBGYN screaming (screaming) I NEED HELP HERE, OGBYN doing purl-plain-purl-plain to put her back together again, and and and …. (listen, I think she is a super hero for making it through, really, I might have stood up and said “Okay that is about as far as I am going here – someone give me gas or general anasthetic, and someone get this frikkn baby out …. because I am done!!”)

When I visited her later on “birth day” she had that far-away look like when someone sees something horrific.  It was as if she had survived something huge, but had seen the dark side and was now had a haunted look about her.

But we laughed and I patted her hand, and listened to her talk about her going home and how that was going to be …and I patted her hand a bit more, because she did not appear to be worried.

Again I felt an overriding urge to go “er…….” but I didn’t.  She seemed happy, she seemed confident, and that was enough to keep me quiet, and for hells sake she had just been through Hades.

She got home and unfortunately that is really where the fun started.

Baby is struggling to latch, she is stressed and upset and clearly not sleeping, and is making nearly daily trips to the clinic – I really really feel sorry for her.  When I speak to her I can feel her pain, and I want to cry with her.

Why can I feel her pain?  Because I was there.

And so were most (if not all) first time mothers. 

We have lived that hell of arriving home with your new born.   You are about 5km from that Linus blanket that is the nurses red button, and suddenly that sleepy little fresh smelling baby is screaming and you do not have a clue how to cope.  You are hormonally overloaded, your body is exhausted and nothing is working like it says it will in the books.

Nothing.

She is trying to breastfeed and its fkn difficult and it is not working.  But she has all this pressure that she must and she is weeping and wondering if it makes her a bad mother if she does not breastfeed!

Oh my heavens, my heart bleeds for her. I wish I could tell her that it will be better tomorrow, but we all know that first 6 – 8 weeks is like a slow ride to Danté’s hell without coins to pay the ferryman to get out of it.

And then she says: “Why did no one tell me that it was going to be like this…?” with a sort of hysterical note in her voice.

I love this girl – I really do!!

The short answer is, no one tells you because no one listens.

Everyone thinks that they are going to have this miracle pregnancy and this “soft light and roses” birth, followed by  the new little family skipping off into the sunset.  It is all going to be heaven and soft milky baby burps from here on in.

As sorry as I do feel for her – and I do – part of me smiles – not because I am a mean person – and quite possibly because I am – but because sh&t we all go through this, and I remember it, not fondly, I just remember it.

<but I do hope for her that this 6 weeks passes quickly, she regains her sanity and that this is a small bump on her road with her new baby …. I really do>

Gawd help you if you try to tell a pregnant first time mom about the “big bad world” because she will raise her perfectly plucked eyebrow and place her left hand – so you can see the glint of her wedding ring –  gently onto her perfect bump, and tell you in no uncertain terms that you are sorely mistaken, she has this under control.

And that is why when I see a really happy pregnant first time mom, I smile, take a really large sip of my Chenin Blanc, lean over and go: “So how’s it all going?” with a slightly evil glint in my eye.

My wife ….

Kennith sent this email around yesterday – he did not include me on the mailing list.   I started getting email comments from friends and initially I though “what?” – but then I realised what he had done.

I thought it was very sweet, and it is really nice that he is proud of my little achievements.

So here is the email so you can also know:

While my dear wife will go ape if Georgia does not climb in the bath when asked, she does likes to act all “Cool, calm and collected” about her personal achievements so let me share with you some of her latest achievements. 

1)      She has started her photography dream –  having done 4 or 5 shoots already – http://celestebarlow.wordpress.com/ – not sure why she has not posted the wedding shoot photos yet – but it has started.

2)      She was selected for a make-over feature in a HUISGENOOT type magazine – as winner of the Parenting Blog of the Year – and this should direct more feet to her blog as well.

3)      And most excitedly, she has been asked by one of the parenting magazines to write a 600 word article for their magazine – we are not sure whether this could become an on-going feature or a once off, but it is another step forward in her dream of journalism. Once published please ensure that everyone writes a letter to the editor about the “fresh new journalist and her honest, refreshing outlook on parenting”

So I think making headway on two dreams in one month is well worth a special mention. Well done bunny, proud of you!

Also Celeste and Alice are still signed up for the 2Oceans half marathon at the end of April, so there is another achievement just waiting in the wings…

 Kennith you are a good egg!

I snot laughed today….

You know the kind, where you are sitting there quietly minding your own business, and someone sends you something that you read, and then you laugh so hard that your mouth does not have time to open, but the force of the air that should come out of your mouth, is now channelled through your nose ….. and in some cases this results in a speck of snot being flung out of your nose.

Awkward in an open plan office, but well worth it for the joy factor.

My blog friend (who I adore) wrote this post  and was kind enough to email me the link, and I share it with you because it is so damn good and I am jealous that I did not write it, and I do think it is high time I introduced a new Blogger to you.

Drum roll please ……… introducing the divine and brilliant ….

Tampons and other adventures

I am in a foul mood today. I could really just kill bunnies.

My body is still in recovery mode from pregnancy & birth. The entire c-section area is still tender to the touch. So tender that I still cringe while buttering myself up with Bio oil every night, out of desperation. Obviously it is not making a difference. I don’t know why I keep doing it to myself. My boobs are getting bigger and bigger, and I fear for when I stop breastfeeding. I fear that I may have to tuck them in to my pants when all is said and done.

I have no control over anything that my stupid body is doing. I am annoyed with it. Thus I am annoyed with every object and person within 2 meters of me.

This morning, after a year of absence, Aunt Flow came back in to town. Words cannot describe my resentment at my life and my uterus at this point. I am snappy. Unfortunately for Graeme, he is at the receiving end.

I asked him to pop by the pharmacy this evening. I gave him a list that he seemed apprehensive about. Things he might be shy about paying for at the check-out counter. But at this point, I had no patience for boyish reserves.
“Get tampons, Milton, another NUK bottle, Nurofen and pick up my pill”
He left looking unsure.
I always keep my phone on me once he leaves the house, because he will call to ask something. Always. It doesn’t matter why he has left the house. He will phone me to assist him with something that he is obviously incapable of doing on his own. I could ask him to get milk and he will phone me 20 minutes later wanting to know something about compost. I am not joking.

So he leaves the house to get the tampons etc. Fine.

Phone rings on schedule.

G: “They don’t have those latex bottles”
N: “OK” ( I am seriously wondering what solution he was hoping to get from me. Maybe he thought I could call NUK head office in Germany and ask them why that store does not have latex in stock. Really? WHY is he phoning me?)
G: “Do you think they will give me your pill?”
N: (Officially out of patience) I don’t know Graeme. Why don’t you ask THEM if they will give you my pill?”
G: “It’s just… I”m already in the queue and I don’t want to go back to the counter for nothing”
N: At this point I wished I was recording the conversation, so that I could play it back to him should I ever find myself impregnated again. Just so I can tell him that it happened because he was too lazy to stand in a queue. Instead, I did the mature thing, and hung up.

You can read more from happyduck at http://littleandbunny.blogspot.com/

She is brilliant, once you start you will be hooked!

I don’t play well with others …

I am not a group person.

I don’t really like to sit around with other moms and chat about my baby, and then their baby, and then whose baby rolled over first.  I actually really do not enjoy it.

I am barely interested in when my baby rolled over, I am definitely not interested in when your baby rolled over.

Sad, but true.

Maybe that made me feel a bit alienated from mommy and baby groups.  I am interested in chatting to moms about what they go through, and how they struggle and how they overcome the things that plagues us all.

When I sit and chat with moms the conversations seem to flick very quickly to junior and what colour his poo is, and that he is just the best baby in the world, and how much mom just loves being a mom, and that he is already walking and able to program the DSTV, and then the gushing goes on for a bit too long.

I love the fact that moms are proud of their offspring, but frankly I am just not interested.

I love my kids, I even like my kids, but I seldom share with the world when Georgia managed to sing all the words to “Peg Leg Jack” I am super proud of her and she does the actions.

But I am fairly sure no one else gives a toss, so I do not sit and tell them all about it.

Normally as I am being given a blow by blow rendition of how junior managed to pee into the potty on command, it is at this point I start to feel somewhat uncomfortable.  I  shift around awkwardly in my seat and start staring off into the distance.

Usually my mind starts to drift and I start to think of how I am going to escape, or what time the bottle stores close on a Saturday.

Basically I start planning my exit strategy quickly, but still trying to appear like I am interested in the consistency of junior’s snot!

I have always felt really different from other moms.  I have felt alienated from them, and I feel like I cannot relate to what seems to interest them.

Maybe this is why I have never made friends with moms-with-babes (or maybe it is just that my personality alienates them, or that I have body odour …. or ….. you can see how this can go on.)

I do not have any friends who have babies!  Seriously not one.

My friends have either chosen not to have babies, can’t have babies, or are not ready to have babies, or have not met the sperm provider with whom they wish to have babies.

Bear in mind I am in my late thirties, so my friends are not twelve years old, they are generally in the mid-thirty range.    But strange as it is, we are the only couple in our group of close friends who have kids.

With the result I try not to talk about my kids with them unless they specifically ask.  I can’t think they want to hear about the defaecate movements, projective vomiting and sleeping patterns of my brood.

I had a friend, who had two young children, and then when I had Connor, she and her husband moved away.  Not because I had Connor, you understand.  But because they had work obligations that sent them out of the country (or that is what they told us at any rate).

Before blogging I did not realize there were bloggers, I did not realize there were forums.

There are in reality tons of bloggers and tons of forums. (I was so naive about this entire sub-community that exists it is frightening and embarrassing.)

One tends to look around and then find and connect with the one (forum and/or blog) that most reflects who you are, or what you are interested in reading/hearing about.

I stumbled across www.pampers.co.za about 18 months ago, and it has a very active forum.

I joined and most of the conversations I saw were about poo and what colour it was.  But every now and then I would read a post and something in me would go “hey that sounds like a mom I can relate to…” and then I started commenting on threads and started threads.

Initially I felt awkward, but as time moved on I got a bit more comfortable with myself.  I realised who I was, and though I was different to the masses, it felt like there was a space for someone of my ilk on the forum.

I decided that instead of being the “mommy-and-baby mom” I will actually just be me, the reluctant mom, it was good, and it made me feel good to be me and be honest, instead of standing there with a saccharine smile on my face!

Pampers’ forum went through some changes and it no longer felt like a good place to be.

I started looking around for a new forum, as it was strange how familiar this little community of people had become.  I missed their chatter, and I missed the conversations and how good it made me feel, and I needed to find another forum and see if I could “move in there”.

Moomie came along, and initially I missed old  pampers, but in no time a lot  of the “old”crew moved over and lots of new moms joined, and the chatter and sense of community started again.

I am not a mommy’s mommy.  But, I have enjoyed the sense of community at Moomie.

I love it that there are moms on that forum who maybe want to talk about something else.  And who also struggle a bit like I do.

I have enjoyed the honesty that many of the moms have been brave enough to show.  Sometimes I get private message comments from moms that warm my soul.

Moms who feel a bit embarrassed to say something on the forum, but feel comfortable enough saying it to me, even in a private message, and that makes me feel pretty good.

Last weekend we arranged a moomie meet in Cape Town and some of the moms got together at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens.  I only knew one of the moms by sight, but it was really nice to sit around in a spectacular garden, have a picnic, and have our kids running around and feel a connection with a group of people, who I would usually feel a bit alienated from.

I think what being part of a forum has shown me is that I am not as unique as I led myself to believe, there are more moms out there who struggle with the same or similar things that I struggle with than I realized.

And sometimes, it is nice to have an accepting group who understands what you are going to as a sounding board.

I am still not big on groups, and I do tend to hold myself on the outskirts, as that is where I feel comfortable, but I think the point I am trying to make is that a sense of community with other moms who are going through what you are going through – I think especially if you can find moms who are brave enough to be honest, is a very valuable thing.

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.

You like me, you really like me …..channeling Sally Field

So today I woke up like an excited six year old at Christmas time.

I was really excited it was Monday – and it had nothing to do with going to work, or getting to see the sunny faces of my children – it had everything to do with whether I got shortlisted for the SA Blog Awards.

As much as I like to say I am a good sport, I am actually fiercely competitive, and always like to be in with a chance.

Kennith can testify to this – once he thought it might be a great family get together to do a FunWalk with the kids. What he did not realise is that I would turn it into a race.

I dragged poor Connor kicking and crying through the course.  I think at one point I might have started calling him names and suggesting that he was not man enough for this race (imagine mother poking fingers into son’s chest at about this point) ….  to which he reminded me through tears and snot that it was just a fun walk … no fun here mate, get your arse into gear and let’s beat the other kids!

Okay, so I am not the best at playing well with others, and that might explain my ability to spend a great deal of time with myself by myself.

But back to the focus of my frenzied excitement.

SA Blog Awards were going to short list today and I thought I would patiently wait until I got to the office to check the site.

It would seem that patience (adding it to the pile with good manners, mothering ability, ability to hold my tongue when speaking to bigots)  is not really something I have in buckets.

I started logging on via my phone while driving this morning … I felt a bit bad that I was using my phone whilst driving, but I put it down to an emergency of epic proportion.  If it makes you feel any better, I had dropped the kids off, and I was doing it while sitting at an intersection.

Phone found site, and then I squealed (should I appear less excited, is that the more done thing?)

http://www.sablogawards.com/Categories-2010/Top-Two-per-Category.aspx

I am really chuffed that I got to either be the winner or the first princess.  Of course the winner is better, but the first princess also gets to wear a crown and stand next to the big thrown and sort of lean forward to catch a bit of the spotlight that falls onto the winner … that will be me, sort of leaning forward to catch a bit of the light.  I may attempt to do a bit of photo bombing as well, let’s see how it goes.

So yay for the blog and congratulations to Tertia.  Super yay (said with a touch of a squeal) for all the votes and the very clever judges for voting – I realise I am sounding a little self-absorbed, but I am really very excited over here.

Thanks to everyone for voting and reading ….

<sidebar:  I took a bit of Mefilam this morning as we are off to Zanzibar on Friday.  As a result I am having symptoms of a mild psychotic episode.  That should be fun watching that develop through the day … at the office… with clients here… at the moment I have a very dry mouth and suddenly every sound is amplified and the office lighting is a touch too bright … my skin is also starting to feel mildly sensitive …. what fun today is turning out to be >

The up to my down …..

I really am stoked at hearing that I was shortlisted for the Best Parenting Blog. I found out when I read a post on the www.moomie.co.za forum and saw it there, so thank  you Julz for that, else I might have gone along totally unawares.

I’m not sure of the criteria for short listing –  is it nothing more than which blogs received the most nominations ?  I also  see the humour that me and parenting are mentioned in the same sentence – oh how the tears of laughter roll down my face.

It make me feel better to believe that there are a set of judges who are very serious as they peruse the list of nominations.  They spend hours dutifully visiting the blogs, and making copious notes regarding posts, the comments and the pretty pictures.

Somewhere somehow in this,  I trust someone reads what bloggers post and that is part of the process rather than just the amount of clicks.  But maybe I am just being naïve, and it is just about who gets the most nominations/votes – that is also fine I guess.

That being said, and no matter how the process works I am glad/thrilled/like-totally-pleased that I did not get to be the unpopular kid who is never picked.   I got to be picked  – well my blog did – so that alone made me feel really good today. (does this sound remarkably similar to “You like me, you really like me,” of Sally Field fame in the 80’s Oscar ceremony?)

My friend asked me if I get something, maybe a bottle of wine, a shiny trophy or a lukewarm plate of Chicken a’la King if I win … I don’t think so.  It may just be about bragging rights.

I am in a category with some really clever and talented bloggers – just sharing that little area of cyber space with them is quite cool for me.

I am definitely going to drink more wine tonight to celebrate – I was going to drink anyway, now I have a good reason/excuse/occasion to delay signing up for an AA meetings.

Interesting point about the voting, is that people can vote once every twenty four hours based on their unique email address.  So it is not just a one click wonder, but a one click wonder every twenty four hours (if it sounds like I am shamelessly trying to solicit votes, you are correct and clearly have a very keen sense of how these things work … something about God helping those who help themselves )

Here are a list of the other blogs that were nominated in the Best Parenting Blog category:

parent24.com/dirksema

parent24.com/ebonyandivory

parent24.com/tania.roux

parent24.com/Tansy

joumaseblerrieblog.blogspot.com

joyfulmamasplace.blogspot.com

malakaistow.blogspot.com

muslimmums.co.za

reluctantmom.wordpress.com

tertia.org

Thanks for nominating me – really, genuinely thank you.  Even if you didn’t, the fact that you took the time to click through to this blog and have read it up to here, is also pretty cool.

Even though one does not consciously start a blog so people can read it, it is strange how therapeutic and alarmingly pleasing it is when you find out that people do read your stuff, and even come back more than once … and so much cheaper than paying a psychiatrist.

How you know moms read your blog …

In my last post I lamented the fact that I just was not able to get to sleep late in the morning without a child coming to tell me something irrelevant or bring me homework to sign …. on a Saturday morning for goodness sake.

Last night I was at dinner with friends – and my one friend Joyce reads my blog.

So Joyce pops up: “Did you notice that in all the comments on your last post, not one person seemed to have a problem with the fact that you drank water out of a cup that you recently used to clean poo out of the bath with?  Did you not find THAT just a bit strange?”

I agreed – but for moms who are trying to sleep late, and not being able to, small bits of floating shit in a cup of water sort of pales in comparison …. and such is our life.

Feel good blog ….

Sometimes when I am having a crap day and feeling super sorry for myself, I like to click through to other blogs and take a glimpse into other’s lives.

Today I was reminded that people do make lemonade out of lemons when I visited  http://www.kellehampton.com/ blog.

Besides the photos on her blog being sufficient to lift your spirit – they are really gorgeous.

If you take the time to read her blog especially the link detailing the birth of her second daughter – http://www.kellehampton.com/2010/01/nella-cordelia-birth-story.html – it reduces you to tears and laughter at the same time.

Spoiler alert:  Kelle gives birth to her second daughter and discovers that her daughter has Down Syndrome after the birth.

The photos and her writing of the moment makes you feel as if you were there, packed into the birth room, holding her hand.

At the same moment that you feel the sorrow and anguish that grips her soul, you also feel the love and the acceptance and the hope, of the life she will be embarking on with her new daughter.

It’s a great read – and the photos alone are worth clicking through for.

So get your cuppa of feeling better with Kelle.

Mommaliciousmammas

A new website that encourages communication between South African moms – still getting off the ground, so not a lot of members.  But they also have a blog area which is nice to link to other MWB (moms who blog – I might have just made that acronym up)

http://mommaliciousmammas.blogspot.com/

and a forum – which really needs to get going, but has promise.  Always good to encourage moms doing the web thing in South Africa.  Could use your assistance in increasing membership.  They run fun competitions that encourage moms to stop by which is a good idea – might just steal their idea

<she looks around the room wondering what she could competion off…. I have an electric can opener, never used and an electric 8-egg boiler – so watch this space, might run a competition soon and you may just be the proud owner of these two wonderful pieces of kitchenware!!>