Timeline of a Divorce

Originally posted  :  · · in Healing From Trauma. ·

I hesitated to share this. Not because it’s private. Or controversial. But I’m afraid people will misinterpret it as an absolute.

And if there’s one universal truth about divorce, it’s that there are no absolutes.

I’m sharing this because I see a need. A void. People reaching out and wondering if their feelings are okay for the place they’re in. We all want to know that we’re “normal” and we seek reassurances that we are while silently worrying that we’re not.

But worrying about if your feelings are normal doesn’t help you feel better.

In fact, it makes you feel worse.

Your feelings are what they at this moment.

And that’s okay.

And it’s also okay to want them to be different and then to work towards making them different (notice the intent is paired with action!).

I am sharing the rough outline of my emotions and mindset at different periods throughout and after my divorce. Please do not use this as a ruler to measure your own progress. Just because I reached a certain benchmark at month eight doesn’t mean you should too.

In fact, ban the word “should” from your mind as you read this. What I hope you get from this timeline is an idea of how healing comes in slowly, even as you’re living. I want you to find comfort in the fact that it’s okay to still struggle after X amount of time has passed. My wish is that you don’t feel alone and that you have faith that you will be healed one day.

Read the rest of this post here —->>>

You should date an illiterate girl ….

Girl-Reading-in-a-Forest

Date a girl who doesn’t read. Find her in the weary squalor of a Midwestern bar. Find her in the smoke, drunken sweat, and varicolored light of an upscale nightclub. Wherever you find her, find her smiling. Make sure that it lingers when the people that are talking to her look away. Engage her with unsentimental trivialities. Use pick-up lines and laugh inwardly. Take her outside when the night overstays its welcome. Ignore the palpable weight of fatigue. Kiss her in the rain under the weak glow of a streetlamp because you’ve seen it in film. Remark at its lack of significance. Take her to your apartment. Dispatch with making love. Fuck her.

Let the anxious contract you’ve unwittingly written evolve slowly and uncomfortably into a relationship. Find shared interests and common ground like sushi, and folk music. Build an impenetrable bastion upon that ground. Make it sacred. Retreat into it every time the air gets stale, or the evenings get long. Talk about nothing of significance. Do little thinking. Let the months pass unnoticed. Ask her to move in. Let her decorate. Get into fights about inconsequential things like how the fucking shower curtain needs to be closed so that it doesn’t fucking collect mold. Let a year pass unnoticed. Begin to notice.

Figure that you should probably get married because you will have wasted a lot of time otherwise. Take her to dinner on the forty-fifth floor at a restaurant far beyond your means. Make sure there is a beautiful view of the city. Sheepishly ask a waiter to bring her a glass of champagne with a modest ring in it. When she notices, propose to her with all of the enthusiasm and sincerity you can muster. Do not be overly concerned if you feel your heart leap through a pane of sheet glass. For that matter, do not be overly concerned if you cannot feel it at all. If there is applause, let it stagnate. If she cries, smile as if you’ve never been happier. If she doesn’t, smile all the same.

Let the years pass unnoticed. Get a career, not a job. Buy a house. Have two striking children. Try to raise them well. Fail, frequently. Lapse into a bored indifference. Lapse into an indifferent sadness. Have a mid-life crisis. Grow old. Wonder at your lack of achievement. Feel sometimes contented, but mostly vacant and ethereal. Feel, during walks, as if you might never return, or as if you might blow away on the wind. Contract a terminal illness. Die, but only after you observe that the girl who didn’t read never made your heart oscillate with any significant passion, that no one will write the story of your lives, and that she will die, too, with only a mild and tempered regret that nothing ever came of her capacity to love.

Do those things, god damnit, because nothing sucks worse than a girl who reads. Do it, I say, because a life in purgatory is better than a life in hell. Do it, because a girl who reads possesses a vocabulary that can describe that amorphous discontent as a life unfulfilled—a vocabulary that parses the innate beauty of the world and makes it an accessible necessity instead of an alien wonder. A girl who reads lays claim to a vocabulary that distinguishes between the specious and soulless rhetoric of someone who cannot love her, and the inarticulate desperation of someone who loves her too much. A vocabulary, god damnit, that makes my vacuous sophistry a cheap trick.

Do it, because a girl who reads understands syntax. Literature has taught her that moments of tenderness come in sporadic but knowable intervals. A girl who reads knows that life is not planar; she knows, and rightly demands, that the ebb comes along with the flow of disappointment. A girl who has read up on her syntax senses the irregular pauses—the hesitation of breath—endemic to a lie. A girl who reads perceives the difference between a parenthetical moment of anger and the entrenched habits of someone whose bitter cynicism will run on, run on well past any point of reason, or purpose, run on far after she has packed a suitcase and said a reluctant goodbye and she has decided that I am an ellipsis and not a period and run on and run on. Syntax that knows the rhythm and cadence of a life well lived.

Date a girl who doesn’t read because the girl who reads knows the importance of plot. She can trace out the demarcations of a prologue and the sharp ridges of a climax. She feels them in her skin. The girl who reads will be patient with an intermission and expedite a denouement. But of all things, the girl who reads knows most the ineluctable significance of an end. She is comfortable with them. She has bid farewell to a thousand heroes with only a twinge of sadness.

Don’t date a girl who reads because girls who read are the storytellers. You with the Joyce, you with the Nabokov, you with the Woolf. You there in the library, on the platform of the metro, you in the corner of the café, you in the window of your room. You, who make my life so god damned difficult. The girl who reads has spun out the account of her life and it is bursting with meaning. She insists that her narratives are rich, her supporting cast colorful, and her typeface bold. You, the girl who reads, make me want to be everything that I am not. But I am weak and I will fail you, because you have dreamed, properly, of someone who is better than I am. You will not accept the life that I told of at the beginning of this piece. You will accept nothing less than passion, and perfection, and a life worthy of being storied. So out with you, girl who reads. Take the next southbound train and take your Hemingway with you. I hate you. I really, really, really hate you

Originally written and published by Charles Warnke – see more of his stuff here ——->>  on 19 January 2011.

Officially a Mrs …….

One of the issues I had to throw around in my head when getting married was whether to keep my surname or take Kennith’s.

The other was whether 16 years is really sufficient in terms of courtship and whether we should not rush it, and wait a while.

Kennith and I got married last year July in case you were not aware, or are new to the blog.  We got married on our “16th” anniversary, 3 kids present, I wore white, we had wine being served while the ceremony was going on, it was that sort of wedding.

I can honestly say it was not an easy decision, but one fraught with imaginary potholes and other traumas, for me.

For Kennith it seemed “logical” that I would take his surname and just flip mine aside, like a giddy new bride.

I did in the end decide to take Kennith’s surname.

Part of the reason was that I would carry the same surname as my kids.

The other part of the reason was that I knew it was important to Kennith.

I really did not want to lose my surname.  It was part of me.  The part I recognised.

It was not quite right to make my surname a double barrell surname as I would still be “different” from the kids and Kennith, so that would sort of defeat a certain part of the exercise.

I settled somewhere in between where I could feel comfortable.  I opted to take his surname, and go through a name change so that my surname became my third name.

<note, this really confused home affairs officials, and their foreheads get a crease, and they need to call a supervisor over to deal with it……>

I also decided to keep my “surname” until my new ID came into play.

Then it was official.

I got my new ID today. Suffice to say the photo is this side of hideous.  It is pretty bad.

But I have it and I have my new name.  So I plan to use it from today onwards and also alter my signature.

I know to a lot of people this would appear to be an insignificant day and really not something to even fuss about.  But I am my name, or my name is me.  Well that is how I feel to a certain degree.

And today I have a new name.  According to South African Home Affairs at any rate.

<I stood in the queue today and there was a woman in the queue behind me who insisted on playing/fiddling with my hair.  I was too mortified to tell her to stop!>

Exchange Tags on kids ……

I have permission to use this as a guest post.

I read it and I guffawed with laughter, and really I could not have said it any better as to what happens in the middle of the night – so here is her story:

So, its 3AM and sleep seems to be the furthest thing from Karen’s mind.

I am rocking, patting, singing, practically dancing at times, but nothing is doing the “trick”.

And mommy really, really wants to sleep.

So, sleep deprivation causes my mind to think some strange things, I am checking her toes just to make sure I haven’t missed it because it’s GOT to be there.

That little “Exchange Tag” that reads: “If you are not entirely satisfied with this product, please return it for a full refund”. The full refund seemed really appealing at 3AM this morning – my refund would be: My size 10 figure back, (not great, but better than this), boobs that would pass the pencil test, a flat tummy that does not double up as a map to “wish I knew where”.

And most appealing, 100’s of hours of sleep that I have missed out on in the last 10 months – bliss.

But I looked and looked, and alas, there was no tag.

So I patted and patted some more and then rocked and rocked some more until eventually at 4:30AM, she decided that sleep was not a bad idea after all.

So, I stumble into my room and DH is looking decidedly “happy” to see me (and I am not getting this idea from his facial expression) although he does have a ridiculous smirk on his face.

And thinking, “Hell NO!”

I start looking frantically around the room, checking all the corners and he goes: “what you looking for love, come and lay down” while patting my spot in the bed beside him, and I go: “I am looking for Leon Shuster’s Cameras, I must be on Candid TV because you have GOT to be kidding me!”

Sometimes men really have NO idea!!

Then, just before I left for work this morning thinking that I was not going to get to say goodbye to Karen today because obviously NOW she was sleeping, I heard her calling: “Mum, Mum”.

I peeped into her room and she was standing in her cot holding her arms out and as I got closer, she pouted her lips and gave me a big fat kiss <aaaaaaaaaaaah>, I’m glad she didn’t come with that tag after all.

* names have been changed

 

(Acknowledge image source: http://www.ohbabyblogger.com/baby-sleep-patterns-6-9-months/)

The Naked News …. no really ….

Okay, Kennith knew I was going to do a post about this.

He also indicated that the truth and what I say on my blog is not necessarily the same thing.  However  in this  instances everything is the truth, so help me ….. and then I take a seat in the witness-box.

This morning I walk into the room, and I look at the television – and there is a woman with not a hint of wardrobe doing the news.

Nope, nothing suspicious about that.

I had heard about the “Naked News” – Kennith and I both listen to 567 Cape Talk and John Maytham had mentioned it earlier this week.

The point is some one had reported it to the broadcasting police as being something so offensive and moral corrupt, well that it was just bad.

The BCCSA (Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa) then said, and I para-phrase: “Listen Granny Murray, if you do not like it switch the fkn channel and watch something else.  If a woman feels that the job she wants is to read the news without her clothes on, with a well waxed bikini line, then let her. There is absolutely nothing degrading to women at large in reading the news naked.  If she is not fornicating or trying to pimp herself and it is after 11pm, when all good children should be in bed then it is fine. If you do not like it, just flick the goddamn channel.”

I heard the comments and it did occur to me that it was odd that people read the news in the nude, and then I thought or Riaan Cruywagen or Debroh Patter in the nik, and then I just felt awkward, and pushed the thought out of my mind.

However it would appear that Kennith is a different animal.

So back to my story – or my rendition of it.

I walk in to the room this morning and the Naked News is on.

I know this for two reasons: 1.  There was a naked girl (like totally naked) reading the news and 2.  There was a black and red banner on the screen telling you it was the Naked News.

I looked at it and then looked at Kennith, and asked the rhetoric question (with a slightly raised eyebrow): “What ARE you watching?”

Kennith goes: “The Naked News…”

Me: “Mmmm, I see that.”

I think for a few moments ……

Me: “Okay, but what is it doing on our television at 08h30…?”

Kennith: “I PVR’d it….”

Me: “You PVR’d the Naked News….seriously?”

Kennith: “Yes, they were talking about it on CapeTalk and I wanted to see what it was about…”

Me – looking at the television again: “Well it is clear what it is about ……… it is called the Naked News…”

Kennith:”I started watching it last night and started to fall asleep, so I PVR’d it to watch it this morning….

Me: “It is the Naked News, surely if you watched it for a few moments it might be ……… <Kennith cuts me off>

Kennith: “Shit, I just missed that…. I have to go back to see it again….”

Me: “What?”

Kennith: “There was a naked girl reading the news on a trampoline….”

Me: “Oh my gawd, seriously… you are rewinding to watch a naked girl jump on a trampoline?”

Kennith – in a very defensive tone – : “I am only watching this because they spoke about it on CapeTalk and I wanted to see what it was about… shit, where is that piece now ….. damn I can’t find it …..”

Me: “Kennith, you PVR’d the NAKED FKN NEWS …….and now you are rewinding in slow frame by frame so you can see a girl bouncing on a trampoline reading the news ………. seriously?”

I then felt I wanted to explain that if he walked in to the room and I was watching the Naked News as done by men, and I was violently rewinding on the PVR to watch a naked man with his p.e.nis sticking out jump on a trampoline, this entire morning might be a different conversation … bu somehow this entire situation is not a problem in his head.

But then I just got too tired for that and though I might just go to the toilet instead, because really he had PVR’d it and all.

Later in the day after our many many fights about Kennith playing computer games/iphone during suicide hour.

I chirp: “What was the statistic they mentioned in the Naked News about the amount of divorces attributed to the men playing computer games?”

Kennith: “……………..”

Me: “What was the statistic for divorce?”

Kennith: “You know I did not actually hear them say anything.  Were they actually reading the news?”

Me: “……………..”

A few moments pass ………

Kennith: “17% percent, I sure it was 17% percent………..”

No, it was 10% but nice guess.

When mommies and daddies fight ……..

Last week Kennith and I had a humdinger fight.

EPIC. FIGHT.

We do not have huge fights often.    We disagree about stuff and then I call him names under my breath, but who doesn’t… I mean honestly?

I am not suggesting we skip around saying “love you noodle” and then telling everyone on Facebook how fabulous we are.

On a sidebar note, why do people feel they must tell everyone on Facebook how much they love their husband or wife?

Seriously, get off Facebook, and tell them yourself.

It is a about as sad as those people who phone in to a radio show to tell the disk jockey how much they love their girlfriend/boyfriend/wife/husband/person they are shagging/person they hope to shag, when the person is sitting behind them and you can hear them squealing with delight in the background.

I really do not give a shit how much you love your significant other, you go tell them.  How desperate are you to give the impression you have the perfect relationship when you need to announce it to Facebook …. constantly.

Any the way, I digress…. a tad.

Back to my story – I have been trying really hard of late to address an issue with Kennith instead of using my passive-agreesive-behaviour.

I do love a bit of PAB as much as the next gal.

I have found that standing with a baby on your hip, a glass of wine in your other hand and sighing in a very aggressive manner while your husband plays computer games during the evening suicide hour is not an effective manner for him to realize that he needs to put off the game and come and help with the kids/dinner/bath routine.

The only thing that it achieves is that you start looking too trailer park for your own good.  Husbands behaviour does not change.

So my story really starts here – my AF (periods for the uninformed) was a bit late, six days in actual fact.

Like most (all) girls if your AF is late you start wondering if you might be pregnant.

By 2pm of said day you start thinking you might be.

By 7pm of said day you are starting to suspect you are.

By 9am of the day that follows the day-when-AF-was-due you are really starting to think you are… for sure.

By 2pm of the day that follows the day-when-AF-was-due you are really sure you are.

By 9pm of the day that follows the day-when-AF-was-due you start to fkn panic because you know you are, but willing to wait for the next morning, as no doubt all will be right with the world.

By 9am of the day following the day that follows the day-when-AF-was-due you know you are.

By 2pm of the day following the day that follows the day-when-AF-was-due you have thought of a short list of names, have already mentally shopped for a pair of maternity denims, have started to feel pregnancy
symptoms that include sore boobs, swelling tummy, and irritability.

(I permanently exhibit 2 of the 3 symptoms all of the time, so this only feeds my slightly wild imagination.)

I was about 6 days late, and you can imagine how my brain had run away with me at that point.

If not, then let me enlighten you.

It was a boy, I had named him, already worked out where he would sleep, and how work was going to deal with my pregnancy.

I also had already mentally worked out how I was going to tell Kennith, and the total frkn explosion that was going to be and how he would suggest I viist a Marie Stopes Clinic, and I would cry and fall on the floor all prostrate and stuff.

Listen, when I am allowed to run about in my head, people get hurt.

I had popped along for a POAS (pee on a stick test) and it was negative and then my AF started, so I was relieved that I was not pregnant, which I also found odd as I do want to be pregnant (but we leave that for another post.)

I am regaling this story, because granted it has been a very stressful 6 days for me, to Kennith who looks decidedly green while I am telling him the story.  I am gabbing on and on and ……

The problem is that the story escalated to a full on argument that included, but was not limited to:

  • You leave wet towels on the bed.
  • No, you leave wet towels on the bed.
  • You never do anything with the kids.
  • Why can you not stop bossing me around.
  • I can’t go to the toilet in peace while you appear to be able to watch an entire rugby game on a Saturday afternoon, how does that work?
  • I will never change so stop trying to make me change.
  • Who do you think is the maid if the maid is not here and you continue to leave your shit all over the show.
  • You are a douche bag (okay maybe I just thought that).
  • You are a selfish bitch (I am sure that one was said out loud).
  • Fuck you.
  • No fuck you.

Any the way …. it got quite brutal and I must be honest I am not sure what we were fighting about exactly, but the wet towel seemed to be the fuel for the fire.

I actually learnt nothing from that fight, other than …..no, actually I learnt nothing from that fight, and I am still unsure what the point was.

I did learn that fighting with a woman whose period has just started is probably not the best course of action.

The thing with me is that after a fight, I am unable to just forgive and move on.  Resentment and anger lives
with me way after a fight has ended.  I am not really a bury the hatchet kind of girl.

I was so angry with Kennith – not about anything in particular, the fact that he was breathing was sort of making me angry.

I did calm down and I did sort of just “let it go” – but I am glad we do not have those arguments often, because they are harrowing.   I am not sure how people function in relationships where they argue all the damn time.

The next day Connor give me this little note …. shame poor lamb chop ….

Dirty little secrets mothers keep …

Dirty little secrets mothers keep …

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

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

There are some corkers on this site.

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

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

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

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

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

Women really make it hard for women. <sigh>

Some times the dust lifts and you have a moment of clarity …

My birthday was on the 9 May.

It was the rather large thirty-nine, which fills me with all sorts of dread.

Partly because it is alarmingly close to forty, and I think mentally I am still a twelve-year-old girl under all the wrinkles, cellulite and blemishes.

With that in mind, I decided to “write myself a letter” – from me the thirty-nine year old to me the twenty-nine year old. 

You know the kind where you  impart all sorts of wisdom and nuggets of truth, and then you sit back and tell yourself how clever you were for doing that sort of letter, and then go pour yourself another glass of wine and fill your script for Valium, that sort of thing.

So that was the plan.

The problem with “my plan” is the last few weeks have been rather “mind expanding” for me. 

I do not mean in a drug-induced way, I mean in the way where you start to “see things” and you have so many “ah hah” moments that you can actually feel the pressure that your brain exerts on the inside of your skull as it expands and starts to change.

I have had several over the last few weeks, and some that have rocked me to my core.

At the moment, I am quite unsettled and feeling nervous and anxious.  All those not so good feeling things, as one feels when one is on the cusp of a change of epic proportion.  (I could also just be on the verge of having a full-scale nervous breakdown, the symptoms are rather similar.)

I am sure I am not going to magically change into a size 8 underwear model before your eyes, but I definitely feel a shift at my core.

Back to my letter to myself, ten years ago.

I started writing the letter, but could not get through it as I kept crying and that was in the opening paragraph. 

Not small attractive little tears that artistically roll down your cheek as the light catches and glints off them.  Rather large crocodile crying jags, where the snot makes bubbles as it comes out your nose and rests on your top lip.

Which is all the more alarming when you do it at work, and you sit in an open plan office area….but moving along

It is not that I look back on the last ten years of my life and that I am sad because it was all so worthless.

I look back on my life in the last ten years and I am sad for me that I was so damn sad for so much of it.

I look back on my life in the last ten years and I am sad because I was (and am to a large degree) such a little girl lost, desperate for affection and affirmation but for the most part unable to accept it when it was offered.

I look back on my life in the last ten years and I am sad that I nearly threw it all away because I was so sad and so cross for the wrong reasons.

I look back on my life in the last ten years and I think about all the energy I have wasted being angry at my “lot in life” and all the hours I chewed up wondering “why me” when it does not matter ‘why’ it just matters ‘what now.”

I look back on my life in the last ten years and I think of all the wasted opportunities when I could have loved better, laughed more, and lived more instead of missing out on so much because I was too distracted to live in the moment.

I look back on my life in the last ten years and I think that there are so many times where I wanted to walk away from everyone and everything, because it was all so damn hard. I am sad because it actually wasn’t and isn’t that hard.

I look back on my life in the last ten years and I am sad, that I have been so very sad and so very angry for so much of it.

I look back on my life in the last ten years and I see how good life has been to me, and I was so angry and such a hurt little girl, that I often could and did not see how much good there is and was around me.

I look back on my life in the last ten years and I realize how selfish I have been.  On this exhaustive quest to find me, I have often risked those around me who are so dear to me and who have stood by me through my chaos and through my (epic) rants.

I look back on my life in the last ten years and see that I was so quick to judge and hold grudges for things that others were so quick to forgive me for, when I committed the same transgression.

I look back on my life in the last ten years and I wonder how I got here in one piece.

I look back on my life in the last ten years and I realise that I need to, desperately need to, just exhale, release all the shitty shit that I drag around me – just open my hand and let it go.  It has done me no good clinging to all of this, and holding on to it so tightly.

I look forward on my life in the next ten years and I realise that there is a chance that the next ten years will be different.

I look forward on my life in the next ten years and I want to be more present.

I look forward on my life in the next ten years and I want to be more available.

I look forward on my life in the next ten years and I want to be more in touch with what is going on around me.

I can’t promise I am going to be nicer. I can’t promise I am going to be more patient. I can’t promise I will swear less. I definitely cannot promise I am going to drink less wine.

But I can promise that there is a shift within me at the moment. I am not sure anyone will see the difference when they look at me – but it is there if you look carefully.

So happy birthday me.  Thirty-nine is not as bad as you thought, and see, the world did not actually come to an end.

You are wiser, maybe a little bit saner, have so many fabulous friends who appear to love you, even though you can be a total twat on so many occasions. 

You have children you adore and even like – and an Egg who is good to you, and good for you on so many levels.  

You also have a credit card (granted it is a little low on the credit aspect) and some Aldo shoes you have been coveting out for some time.  So get up, take a shower, brush your teeth, and go and buy the damn shoes already.

Happy Birthday Reluctant Mom!

Deeply embarrassed and shamed …

So bookclub has had a few issues for me for a bit.  Small stuff really, but it has been niggling at me.  I felt I would feel better addressing the issues and resolving them, because they were niggling me.

Good plan.

Not a good plan when you feel a bit emotional, and have had about 3 glasses too many, and then decide to address something that really should be a one-on-one problem solving exercise, and decide instead to do it in front of the entire group.

I am mortified that I am such a total douche-bag!

There I sat and I vented and emotionally vomited in front of 7 rather startled looking people.

I really would love to say that I carried it off with aplomb and made my point succinctly – but unfortunately the opposite is true.

I totally offended anyone who breathed.

I went off like a deranged lunatic, and I managed to alienate everyone in the room – and at the time I had no idea what the hell I was doing, but felt, at the time, that I knew exactly what I was doing – and quite vindicated in my stand point (at the time).

However retrospect is a wonder in itself – and when I had time to calm “the f&ck down” – as I like to say – I was able to look back and realize the absolute devastation I had caused and more importantly  “what the hell was I thinking”.

What a total f*ck up – total.

So Thursday morning had me feeling so embarrassed and shamed – not ashamed, but SHAMED.   I was mortified that I had sat and felt that what I was saying was correct and appropriate, and justified. 

My brain, and my mouth, and my logic had disengaged totally, and I am so embarrassed.

Fabulous.

Not.

So there we are – I have managed in one foul swoop to become a total tosser (listen I always was, but I managed to sort of keep it mildly under wraps until now). 

Yesterday I felt more terrible that I have in a very long time.

I know the thing we would tell our kids is “go and apologise, and say you are sorry, and there is nothing more you can do …”

Hmm, good advise.

I have apologized for my outburst, but it is a bit like it has been said and it can’t be unsaid, so I sort of slink away very embarrassed.

Today I feel a little bit better – not absolutely better  – but at least I do not feel so ill as I did yesterday.  

Do you realize that you can actually feel violently physical ill from embarrassment and shame? I managed to feel that way the whole of yesterday – I was shaking and had a few crying jags just for fun!

Then I went to lie on my bed, not to sleep, but to close my eyes in the hope I might be swallowed up by the earth …. unfortunately it did not happen, no matter how hard you wish it – and I opened my eyes and it was still me staring back at me.

I still feel crap, and horrible, and embarrassed and shamed.

I f&cked up on a monumental scale, and that it can’t be undone –but there it is.

On the other side of rather unfortunate week I have also managed to:

  1. Lose my wedding ring – and I cannot locate it, and I am actually very upset and worried and upset.
  2. I mentioned before that I am attending a 7 week intensive work shop/group work – and for 2 hours a week I get to cry and unpack some stuff that I have been resisting for a long time with a group of similar minded girls.
  3. Watching the “La Viva V.ulv.a” DVD had a profound effect on me.  It has made me question how I view myself, why I view myself as I do – and as importantly what messages I am passing on to my daughters.  I feel that there has been this mental shift ….and it has left me feeling very uncomfortable and at the same time forcing me to relook at myself….which is not keeping me in my happy (and ignorant) space.
  4. I have realized – rather uncomfortably – that I have got exceedingly judgmental person and am really hating that quality about myself.  At the same time am a bit stuck as to how to make me “less judgmental.”
  5. I was wondering if I could find a support group for Alcoholics Anonymous (who still drink) who specialize in Verbal Diarrhea with a minor in Shame and Embarrassment.  I am looking for that sort of support group, so if you can recommend anything, please let me know.
  6. I feel emotionally exhausted and just drained at the moment – and I do not know what I need to remedy me.
  7. And I am still a total douche bag!

When boys become men …..

Every now and then, I catch a glimpses that Connor is no longer a baby.

I think as a mom, it is very difficult to make that mental leap –because not that long ago I was changing nappies and breastfeeding, and carrying him on my hip – for me he is always that soft and cuddly boy with his big blue eyes. 

But the old cliché of “kids grow up” does apply – no matter how hard we fight the inevitable.

Connor is nine years old and I still get amazed at the realisation that he is not a little boy.  He is on his way to being a big boy.  Well almost a young man, and in 3 year and 8 months he will officially be a teenager –  and then I might just plats (actually it is guaranteed!).

Because Connor is the oldest in our house I put pressure on him to be the responsible one.

“Connor, please watch your sister by that step.”

“Connor, please can you go and fetch Isabelle’s bottle in the kitchen.”

“Connor, please don’t fight with your sister, let her play in your room, please.”

“Connor, are you too young to open a bottle of wine yet?”

And at the same time I admonish him when he acts like he is the “class captain” or the “house police.”

He will be the one to order his sisters around, or tell them that they are not supposed to do something.  He has even started threatening them with time out.  Often he will do this in the exact same tone of voice that he used Kennith and I use to speak to the girls.

Then we say “Connor, you do not have to be the parent here, leave that to us, okay!”

Because he is the oldest, and we have a 21 month old, mom and dad are often distracted and Connor sometimes does have to be the parent – when it is convenient to us. 

So we are forcing him to be more responsible and maybe more grown-up than he is ready to be.

I expect him to remember to get his homework book signed.  I expect that he will remember to get all his school clothes together and bring them home at the end of the day.  I expect him to remember to brush his teeth in the morning.  I expect him to remember to tell me the important piece of information from school.  I expect him to be able to find his shoes in the morning.

I expect him to … because I am too distracted attending to two smaller kids, and my life, to stand behind him and do it for him.  So I expect him to.

I expect him to be more grown-up than his nine years warrants. 

At the same time I forget to reward him for being a grown up and being moms-happy-little-helper.  He still eats with the kids and he still goes to bed at the kids bedtime.

We have a new nanny, and she said to me the other day: ”That Connor is a very respectful boy!”

And he is.  Sometimes I forget what a good guy he is.

I do need to cut him a bit of slack and remember that even though when I look at his lanky body, and his “big boy” teeth he is actually a little guy, who needs a hug from his moms (but where none of his friends will see) and a cuddle with his dad.

That being said I often get put on the back foot when he is upset and he cries.  When I look at him I see an adult.  When he has a young boy’s tears running down his cheeks, it often leaves me surprised and a bit caught off guard.

I forget sometimes that he is still a little guy, underneath all that gangliness.

On Sunday we went off to lunch at a friends, and there was a girl of twelve there.  I realize that Connor and “the girl” are not star crossed lovers, they are just two kids who like to play Playstation together. 

But when I look at “the girl” I see a girl on the edge of being a teenager, and because Connor is nearly her size I sort of clump them together in my head.

Then I looked over at the couch, and witness Connor making fart sounds with his hand in his armpit. 

I laughed and figured that maybe he is not quite ready to start dating just yet, and maybe I still have a few years of a gangly boy before I have to deal with a little man.

Is there a right age to be a parent ….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I had Connor when I was 29.

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

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

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

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

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

It was all pretty grim stuff.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Georgia gets hitched …..

Georgia has this boyfriend Jamie – that she adores.

I do realize that 5 ½ is a bit young to be “going steady” but allow me to explain the situation in a bit more detail. 

Georgia used to be at a creche and there was this little boy there named Jamie. From the get go, she spoke about Jamie in soft soothing tones and with a certain sparkle in her eye.

I did not really take much notice as she was also pretty excited about Emma.

At the end of 2008, I took her out of that creche and moved her to a pre-school, so that she could get started on Grade 0.

Jamie remained at the previous school.  Georgia was very sad that Jamie was not at her new school, but she had Emma (Emma had moved schools) and I thought that she would soon forget Jamie.

She didn’t.

Georgia probably spoke about Jamie twice every week.  She didn’t see him, or hear from him, but she referred to him in conversation at least twice a week and reminded me how much she liked Jamie, and that he was was her boyfriend and she was going to marry Jamie.

One evening she bravely told Kennith and I that Jamie was her boyfriend and she was going to marry Jamie.

Kennith told her that she was not allowed to have boyfriends (he was teasing her), and Georgia burst into tears and sobbed big crocodile tears.  Kennith then decided to retract that statement and indicated that she could have boys how were friends, but not boyfriends.

She sniffed and smiled through her tears and told us that Jamie was her boy ….. friend, and she was going to still marry him.

In November last year I called Jamie’s mom and told her that Georgia was still rather taken with Jamie, and maybe we could arrange that Jamie and Georgia got together for a (supervised) playdate.  Jamie’s mom said that Georgia should come to Jamie’s birthday party – and as an extra surprise Jamie was moving to Georgia’s school next year.

Georgia was beside herself with excitement – on both counts.

This year she was even happier and not only was Jamie in her school, but he is in her class.  Georgia is as blissfully happy and in love as any 5 1/2 year old can be (who has remained faithful to her man even though she has not seen or heard from him in more than a year – I know adults who are not that committed).

Today when I fetched her she was telling me that she was looking at Family Barney cards – I have no idea what family Barney cards are, so I just let her prattle on while I attempted to drive.

When I stopped the car she showed me three cards – one had a little girl on it, one had a little boy on it and there was one with a little puppy dog.

So Georgia goes: “This is Kennith when he was a little boy, this was you when you were a little girl and this is your dog!” 

Me: “Okay…”  (clearly the images look nothing like us, but why disagree over this small detail) 

Georgia: “And you and Kennith were best friends…..”

Me: “Sure, Kennith and I are best friends ….. “ 

Georgia: “And you married your best friend…..”

Me: “Yes, Georgia I married daddy and daddy is my best friend.”

Georgia: “And Jamie is my best friend and I am going to marry my best friend ………….” (she sort of squeeled that part out)

Me: “Georgia my love, you can marry Jamie when you turn 37, okay!”

Georgia: “Thirty seven, that is when I am going to marry Jamie…thirty seven”

She was so blissfully happy, I did not want to break it to her that maybe Jamie might have other plans at 37!

 

This is Jamie, who is possibly my future son-in-law …

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!

Maybe not everyone is the cookie cutter mommy …..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Article 1

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

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

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

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

Article 5

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

Article 6

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

Article 7

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

Article 8

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

Article 9

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

Article 10

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

Article 11

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

Article 12

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

Article 13

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

Article 14

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

Article 15

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

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

Article 17

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

Article 18

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

Article 19

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

Article 20

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

Article 21

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

Article 22

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

Article 23

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

Article 24

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

Article 25

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

Article 26

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

Article 27

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

Article 28

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

Article 30

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

Article 31

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

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

Mrs White in the Conservatory with the lead pipe ….

So the Mario Borthers game was collected from school on Tuesday and it was Connor’s game as it has a game history on it.  So that is not something we have to speculate over any further.

How the game got there is a mystery, but there is obvi0us relief that the game is home and I can stop looking for the stupid thing.

Connor is swearing blind that he has no idea how it got there.   I have indicated (in very measured mother tones) that he has already been punished for the game being lost, so at this point if he admits to taking it to school, he will not get into any further trouble.

But he continues to cling to his story with tears running down his pale little cheeks, as his big blue eyes stare at me pleadingly.

He did say in a rather bleating voice: “why doesn’t anyone believe me?”  which made me feel pretty sh8t all around, as I do believe him, but the game is still at school and unless fairies with teleportation skills are involved, there are not too many other options left that we have not explored up to this point.

But game is home, Connor has two weeks punishment for losing game/not looking after his things,and everyone is skipping along happily.

I feel that there is a trust issue that has been tarnished a bit – I feel I must believe Connor. 

I feel quite strongly about the truth – without getting all righteous on your arse.  Lying for me, has always had bad consequences, and of all the things we were taught that was bad, lying was the real kicker.   You could rob the bottle store, but as long as you tell the truth, you might get to keep the wine.

Lying has always been the deal breaker.  (Listen I have told a few clangers in my time, so I am not going to lie to you here and say that everything that has fallen out of my pie-hole has been as unblemished as virgin snow!)

Ido  naturally believe people – though I am a sceptic. I believe when someone says something it is the truth.  I think it is my “all or nothing” persona.  If I believe someone lies, then I will believe they are lying all the time, so I opt instead to believe that people tell the truth, until proven otherwise. 

We can talk about my niavity later.

Kids do lie, logic tells me this (and Connor sometimes lies that he has brushed his teeth when I discover, on further investigation, that he has not).  We have seen that our kids are no different and can spin a tail with the best of them.  

I just don’t want to admit that my kid might be one of THOSE kids.

Listen I totally get that in about six or seven years when Connor is lying about smoking behind the garage, decanting  my  box of wine, and explaining what the skantily glad girl is doing in his room –  this entire situation is going to be a distant memory, and a bit pedestrain actually.   I will be a lot wiser to the “real world” –  then – I get that.

But this is my first time with a nine year old, and I feel like my innocence is being cast asunder here …. cut me some slack you wordly lot.

Let them eat cake …..

I am really sucky with many things …. none of the things Kennith would like me to be sucky about … but that no doubt is another post for another day.

But I am totally crap at birthdays/anniversaries/valentine’s day and so on, sometimes (often) forgetting them and just being ill prepared in general.

I really would like to blame my upbringing here and say that we did not celebrate anything, and thus I have not been trained correctly, so all holidays that require gifts throw me into total chaos.

The idea that a holiday/festival is approaching and one needs to start thinking of gifts and an appropriate card did not really start for me until I met Kennith.

But 16/17 years later and I realize that I just suck at it.  I actually love buying a gift and all of that, I just seem to always run out of time, and then instead of getting what I really want, I end up buying what is being sold in the aisle at Ackermans (or some other unfortunate place)!

I start about 4 months before hand and draft a list of potential gifts.  Then I criticize them and think well, that will be fine as a back up plan, but I will think of something better.

Knowing I have loads of time I think “no rush, I can deal with this later”.

Fast forward 4 months, the day seems to jump out of a bush at me, rather than creep up.  I am in a state, and usually have totally forgotten about my list and then have nothing, and realise – usually the day before – that I am in sh*t street and panic!  Like little boy from Home Alone panic!

I usually start looking around my desk for things I can gift wrap.

It is all a shocker, and poor Kennith is usually at the receiving end – poor little long suffering egg.

We have just been away and Kennith’s birthday was on the 11th.

The problem (or one of them) was that prior to us going on holiday I had that little thing of a new job to sort out.   I also had a babyshower for my friend which I had to organise.

When I finalized realized I was going to actually be away spent a few weeks in a tizz trying to arrange the logistics of kids/school/maid etc for while I was away and the usual stressing and hair pulling that occurs when one abandons one’s kids.

I also had to sort out some canvases for a friend’s wedding, and a friend asked me to do some photographs at their wedding – so I was very distracted and just was not getting my arse into gear on any level.

So the short answer is that before I knew it I was in the poo and though I had not forgotten about Kennith’s birthday, I definitely did not have a present to  present on the morning of the 11th.

<in my defense I did buy a birthday card for my husband – which for me is quite a thing – but I bought it and wrote in it, I just felt it was lame to give it to him without a present – so didn’t, still have the card …..>

I did however arrange a dinner for him and some (almost long lost) friends in Johannesburg.  Granted I did not cook dinner, our friend Cynthia did that.  I did not even clean up after dinner – Cynthia and Anita did that.  But it was a really nice evening and great to sit down for a dinner with so many loved mates, who all go back with us such a long way.

I ran out of time and I did not get Kennith any thing.

I think Kennith is still thinking I am going to jump out of a cake with his present, or at the very least pull out a cake from somewhere.  Shame he keeps looking up in expectant surprise every time I walk into a room, only to be disappointed … again and again.

To add to the timing issue, Kennith’s birthday is on the 11th February and then Valentine’s Day is on the 14th February – usually I do get my sh*t together and do a good effort for Kennith’s birthday, but then have totally lose steam for Valentines Day.

Kennith and I woke up this morning in Johannesburg after about 2 hours of sleep.  We went with about 110 000 others to the U2 concert at Soccer City.  It was a fabulous – the concert was beyond imagination.  U2 and his crew of friends totally out did themselves.  Loved the concert.

Bono pulled up a girl onto stage.  Initially I was really excited for her, and then loathed her and wished her a good dose of crabs and body odour as Bono lay on her lap and led her around the stage (as I wanted to be the girl on stage …. or at the very least having Bono lie all over me … on stage, off stage, does not really matter).

She had her hands all over him, and really it was quite unnecessary to be that excited! I mean clearly the girl was just trying too hard and it smacked of desperation.  I was not feeling very charitable towards her.

Then I listened to an interview with her this morning on Highveld while on the way to the airport, and some key points were:-

1.  She arrived at the concert at 12h00 on Saturday – concert started on Sunday at 8pm!

2.  She slept under a truck on Saturday night as they did not bring camping stuff and it rained (there was a  HUGE thunder/lighting/rain storm).

3.  She works for the Department of Labour!

I think once I learnt all of those things, I felt differently and realized had I been next to her I might have hoisted her up on the stage myself!  So good on her. (she has been in the same underwear since Saturday morning, the girl clearly needs a bit of love for goodnesss sake)

Anyway back to me and my problems.

Woke up this morning after 2 hours sleep, got to Lanseria, and got onto a Kulula flight, got home, kids, school, unpacking and so on.

Valentine’s Day was just not high on my list of things I could get to, and clearly there was not much I could shop for, unless Kennith specifically wanted a wire chicken for his collection (or to start one).

We collected kids early from school today (as we have not seen them in 10 days) and thought we would stop at Canal Walk and take the kids to the Spur, we also had an errand to run at the centre.

We walk through and Kennith takes me to Build a Bear and says that for Valentine’s Day I get to build my own bear.

I love Build a Bear – I do realize how naff it is, but I cry when ever they put the little hearts inside the bear.

Yes, now you know on the outside total b*tch, on the inside custard!  I cry at everything: advertisements, opening of Olympics, when I watch wildlife programmes, when I watch a child being born, when someone sings a song that I find moving, when Steve Hofmeyer goes anywhere near the Jikskaai River …. that sort of stuff.

It was really sweet – the helper at Build a Bear got the kids in to it.

To be honest there was no chance I was going to enjoy this moment by myself as Georgia was running around the store like she was on TIK!

We are standing with my Bunny (I got a Bunny and not a Bear) – and the helper Claytin (actually spelt like that, I read his name tag) says that we should all take a heart and rub it and so on.

At one point he looks at Connor and says – what is your mom’s favourite food?

Connor is caught a bit off guard, so he sort of shrugs.  I smile maternally and fluff his hair and I say: “I really love Chuckles…” and then I had to explain to Claytin what they were. (Does this guy ever shop outside his store?  Was he born in a Cave?)

So Claytin goes  “Okay, that is cool…” and he is just about to move on to another subject, and Connor goes (as now the question has caught up with him) – and in his loudest voice says: “My mom’s favourite food is WINE!”

Of course Claytin started to laugh.  Kennith smirked.  I clutched my little satin heart a bit tighter as I realised the magic of this experience was slowly evaporating before my very eyes.

Then Claytin proceeded to tell the story to everyone in the store – individually – whilst I was standing there with my Bunny’s heart in my hand and wondering where I should shove it.

I got my bunny, dressed her in a pink outfit, got her some white takkies and I thought it was really sweet (yes it’s naff, but it is still sweet for me, I am not trying to tell you it is sweet for you).

Kennith is a very good egg, even though I am sucky (or not!)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maybe.

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

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

The reality is that I do struggle with depression.

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

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

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

(Anger management classes start Friday)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It might be time.

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

So that is what I tackle this year.

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

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

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

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

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

Motherhood is not for sissies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The ying and the yang of motherhood.

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.

Breath …. just breath …

Recently someone made an observation which was a bit of an “ah-ha” moment for me.

She commented that as  a child you experience your experiences through the eyes of a child.  When you revert back to the incident through hyno-therapy and even through therapy as an adult, you often experience it again as a child and are re-traumatized.

The value in being able to look back is not so that you live through every horrific detail, but so that you are able to look back on that childhood experience as an adult and maybe try to understand it better.  Processing it as an adult, and trying to heal is the aim – one baby step at a time.

That really is what it is about, this looking back and reflecting. It is often painful, as you have to pick at the rancid sore that has an old crusty scab holding the delicate pieces of flesh together – it is painful and smells bad.

I agree that there is value in taking your ugly experiences and packing them into a box.

Putting that box into a cupboard and closing the door, and going “I’m done with that shit, let me move on.”

There is total value there.  I am all for that tactic.  Been there bought the dozen box set.

Unfortunately it does not always work.  Even when it does work, it does not work for very long.

The googlies do start to find gaps in the seal of the box.  They do start to crawl and slither their way out of your tightly strapped box.  They find gaps and creep through your finely constructed cupboard. The googlies find their way into your bed at night.

You go to sleep thinking all is well in the land of what-ever-you-have-created.  One morning you wake up to find that suddenly the sun does not warm your face the way it did the day before.

The hug of your loved one, has a bit of an awkward feel about it.  Everything you touch feels a bit sharper and more jagged.  The glow of the morning seems a bit duller than you remember it being.

You do not wake up and your life has gone to hell in a hand-basket, it happens one tiny tear or crack at a time.

Yesterday’s post was not about suddenly deciding today was the day that I have a total meltdown.

It was something that has always been there and is the underlying reason why I started this blog in the first place.

One comment made by one caller on a radio station, set off a tide of emotions that literally threw me to the floor like a raggedy-Anne doll, clutching my chest in anguish.

This week has been a very emotional one for both Kennith and I.

Kennith’s grandmother died last week, and we attended her funeral on Thursday.  Her death affected Kennith deeply and his sadness and loss was heart-wrenching to witness.  I have never known Kennith to experience such sadness or emotion, so it was painful for him and our family.

The emotions of the funeral, combined with a very “honest” therapy session on Tuesday, and the disclosure of some of my things to Kennith on Wednesday night was the crack in the proverbial dyke.

I agree that I wish I could just “get over my stuff” – I really really do.

I have said it a thousand times.  If someone could give me a pill, that would make me “normal” I would take it – I would take it every day.  I would even opt to take it as a suppository if that made it more effective.

As yet, I have not found THAT pill. I have tried several pills, and several combinations of pills.  But those pills do not make you “forget and move on.”

They often just help you get out of bed, get your shoes on and shuffle through your day.  And some days that is all you can do.  And all someone can expect from you.

I have realized that since I started writing this blog more than a year ago, I have changed as a person and I have evolved.  I continue to evolve.  I am more aware of who I am and what makes me do what I do.

There are so many things in my life that I am thankful for.  Part of it is having the privilege of being able to write about my stuff.

It allows me to try to understand some things that have often been choking inside me for years.  It is liberating and this blog has become very important to me.

I am grateful that I have Kennith.  He is that person who can look into my soul.  Even when he sees my darkness and my unbearable pain, he chooses to still hold me close and tell me he loves me – even when I am particularly brutal and am pushing him away.

I do not make his life easy.  I know his life could be easier if he chose a bit more wisely back on the 17 July 1994 – it really could have been.

But he chose me in his drunk state (which he may use as his defense when we end up in divorce court).

I feel I have fought him every step of the way.  I have been honest that I come with huge amounts of carry-on baggage.  He has still chosen to stand with me time and time again even when the situation appears hopeless.  For that I am ever grateful.

I have three divine children, who challenge my sense of sanity each and every day.

I get to watch them put on sunglasses to brush their teeth, smile at me as they slurp porridge out of their bowls, steal the last cheese curl out of the packet and forget to flush the toilet … I get to experience all of those little things, and as strange as it sounds, it is those things that remind me that it is worth getting out of bed in the mornings.

I do however have the right to be angry that maybe I did not get the best hand in life.

I get the right to be upset that my parents did not do for me what they should have or could have done.  They did not take enough care with me.

I get that right – I have earned it!!  I do not have to explain it or justify it with anyone to feel how I feel –  I just do.

However I have not earned the right to make the same mistakes. Repeat the same poor judgment and carelessness towards my kids.

I do not get to use that “get out of jail-free” card.

I can’t change my sh*t, it has happened and it is there.  Clicking my heels together three times, does not seem to make it all change either, so here I am stuck.

But I make an effort each and every day TO NOT play it forward onto my kids.  Some days I do  better job than other days.

Even when I am screaming like a banshee in the passage, I always let them know that though I am angry, deranged and probably certifiable, I love them with a fierceness that is indescribable.

I would kill for them.  I would take a bullet for them, and I would hunt the wretch down who ever laid a hand on them and caused them pain.   I have always got their back, and they know that no matter what, I will and I am there for them.

They never have to worry that they are alone, or that when they cry at night no one will come.

I hope that through the uncombed hair, and the spittle on my chin, my kids can hear that message.

I know by best is not always good enough, and with that in mind, I wake up each morning and decide that maybe today is the day when I get it right!

The one where I puke … emotionally

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I don’t.   I can’t.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Me, not so much.

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

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

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

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

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

And that folks is the bitter and ugly truth.

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

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