Hello ….. my name is Reluctant Mom and I am an internet addict …….

So, one of my issues (several) is that I have started slipping further into cyberspace and further out of reality.

I began to dodge real-life things so that I could spend more time on-line in blogs and on forums, and just cruising around the net.

I got really irritated with the kids because if they would just stop demanding time from me I could herd them into their beds, and spend more time on-line in blogs and on forums.

It became extremely important how people in cyberworld viewed me.  CRITICALLY IMPORTANT IN FACT.

Their comments lifted me up as well as smacked me down. If I did not get recognition for it in cyberspace then it did not matter.

I would read, re-read, and re-read my comments to ensure that it sounded right in my head.  It was not unusual for me to read one of my comments 12 – 18 times before pushing send/reply/publish and often changing it several times over.

Each time I read it, I would read a more critical tone into the wording.  I would read the way other people would hear (read) and then I would pre-judge myself (before they did)

Any comment made or given in reply was fraught with angst.  I always read the worst in to what anyone said to me or about me, or as a comment to me.

I would push the refresh button constantly on the look out for the response.  I literally would hang on waiting and waiting for the response.  As much as I dreaded a critical word, I would hang and wait for it.

I would be devastated when my comment would hang there in cyberspace without a reply comment.  My worst feeling was being the last person to comment on a thread.  I felt like I was Jane-no-mates and had killed the conversation when mine was the last comment.

This of course fed into my sense of “rejection” and “I did not matter to anyone.”

Real life and cyber life started blurring around the edges.  I felt that real life was a bit too tricky to remain present in, so the blur of cyberlife became much more appealing and much easier to navigate.

In cyberworld I did not feel as awkward as I did in real life.

In cyberworld I did not feel as self-conscious as I did in real life.

In cyberworld I did not fret over my every word and action as I did in real life.

In cyberworld I did not feel so unpopular and such a misfit as I did in real life.

I felt I was knowledgeable, liked and respected in cyberlife, while in real life I was everything but.

I did not think people had ulterior motives as I felt they did in real life.

Until I did.

Sooner or later, unfortunately I followed me where ever I was.

Sooner or later, I started to feel as awkward, as self-conscious, as guilt laced, and wracked with self-doubt on blogs and on forums.

Every word uttered by everyone was judged according to what I thought of myself.  It was always seen as judgemental/critical and pessimistic, no matter how “jolly” or “supportive” the writer tried to be.

Fortunately I am not a gamer or a gambler.  I have no real interest in throwing large sums of hard-earned money at an imaginary world where I buy cyber-cool brands and furnish my cyber-home and purchase a cow.

I am just not that into that side of it.  Fortunately.

But I will admit that my fixation on blogs and forums and Facebook and googling-random-things did get totally away with me.  It became all-consuming and I totally allowed it to get away from/with me.

It allowed me to hide further away from some of my real issues.  At the same time it fed into my irrational feelings and judgement about myself, and escalated the negative light in which I see myself (and several others around me.)

In short, it skewed my perception of reality.

I really missed my blog, so I have cautiously started lurking around here a bit.

I do miss several other blogs and forums that I used to read/follow religiously.  Right now I just needs a bit of time to “get my shit together” before I start lurking through other people’s lives.

I apologise if I have not been by to visit.  Please do not take it as a personal insult or slight on you. Right now I just need a bit of space to find myself, or at the very least not loath myself.

But onwards and upwards.  Right?

<I thought this was quite an interesting tool.  http://www.keepmeout.com/en/ >

Monday mutterings ….

Kennith and I acquired a car that definitely screams “Your Sexy is Never Coming Back!”

We officially look like a family of plumbers or electricians.

The issue being we wanted 7 seats and a boot.  Not two kids in the boot.  Which appears to be the default design for most “big family” cars.

Problem with some of the bigger cars/soccer mom vans was they did not fit into our garage.

Crazy people who built our house, ignoring things like standard garage size and good paint.

We test drove a white VW Caddy.  Decided that even though it did not drive us wild with excitement. It did appear to be very practical, and loosely within our price range.

We then explained to the friendly car salesman that we were interested in the car, but could we have it in silver.

The answer was yes, but we had to wait four months.  Kennith and I cannot feasibly juggle our lives and one car.

There was an alternate to the white one.  It was brown.

I realised my mental capabilities are flawed at the moment.

But seriously.

It must have been a very bad day at the VW Caddy factory when they decided that “brown” was a great colour for a car.

Brown is super for chocolate and some furniture.  I have seen pants and shoes that brown works for.  Tree bark is totally rocking in brown.   Baby poo is better in brown, than say green.

But not for cars.

I am not sure there EVER is a time when brown is a great colour for a car.  I might be wrong.  Maybe I have just never seen the right shade of brown on a car.

Maybe.

We are now the proud owners of a “very hot and happening” VW Caddy.  Please keep an eye out at your next robot.  Or call us on our new 0800 number.  We also do paving.

On another non-related story …

Wednesday I popped down to the psychiatrist for a little “how are those meds going?” visit.

The short answer was “not well.”

Things are definitely very out of control. In my head.  Not on the planet in general.  Though they could be.

I suggested we stop pea-shooting the charging rhino and bring out the big guns.  A bazooka or an uzzi is sort of where I am pitching this.  I am about done with the “wait and see” subtle approach.

Let’s get it on like Donkey Kong!

Right?

We have brought out the big guns.  They include several boxes from the pharmacist.

I would love to say they are working a treat.  I really would.

They have however left me shaking and mumbling under my breath, and well feeling pretty crappy all around.  I must confess that sleep is no longer a problem.

So far Kennith has made me about 6 cups of tea that I never drank. He offers. I say yes.  He walks to the kitchen. By the time he gets back I am mimicking a light coma.

If you challenged me in rock-paper-scissors I would get it wrong right now.  I might pull out wig-wam.

Wig-wam does not beat anything.

On the upside I am definitely less panicked.  Still anxious.  But less panicked.  Not a total win-win situation, as I have gained have several other interesting side effects which we can chat about on another post (None of them include anal leakage – have you noticed how the insert  on drugs always refers to anal leakage at least once occurring in one of the control groups?).

On Friday afternoon I called my pdoc (Pdoc is short for psychiatrist.  Tdoc is short of psychologist.  True story.) and explained my symptoms.  I really was not feeling great.  Grim might be an accurate assessment.

He suggested I keep on with the meds, and I have had a bad reaction.  Maybe Monday or Tuesday I would see a shift in the right direction as my body (read brain) settled down.

I explained to him that I am not a suicidal person.  But Friday morning had me working out a plan.  Like jotting it on the side of my box of anti-depressant type of plan.

Even I could see this was not a healthy direction.  For anyone.

He suggested I wait it out.  And not to worry as I was not alone.

He is off until the 12 September on holiday.  Ironic?

I wished him a good holiday. And hung up.  I decided a lie down and a cup of tea, was not my worst idea.  I redrafted my plan on my brown box.

Let’s see how Monday and Tuesday fare.

Overall.  Me = Not Great.

I love Epic Fail Moments … and I seem to be doing them regularly ….

Okay so what do we know about me.

1.  I have three kids, I am not your run of the mill mom.

2.  I work, and I work because I enjoy it and to remain sane – I do not think I could be a stay at home mom.

3.  I suffer from chronic depression, anxiety and panic disorder, possibly with a light touch of OCD or even Tourette’s thrown in for good measure.  I also have a social phobia – and added to that a touch of what you could call sensory sensitivity i.e. too much sound, light, noise, touch sets off a few triggers.

4.  I am scary honest even when I do not want to be.

5.  I drink way too much tea and wine.

6.  I would walk a mile for a bag of Chuckles.  (I am lying, I might walk to the end of my drive way, but it is still a very far way).

7. I abhor smiley face icons.

Great so we know that.  Nothing new there.  Just checking we are all on the same page.

I really do not mind who reads my blog.

Really.

Okay, I prefer it if my mom did not read my blog.  But anyone else, be my guest.  It is a public forum, knock yourself out.

I get countless emails and messages from “moms who struggle” to say thanks for saying what they think and feel, and for saying it out loud.  I blog because it makes me feel a bit more “normal” each day – but it is nice to not be the only person who “struggles” with stuff.

I have commented that I enjoy my job, and the people are great, and blah blah blah pancakes.

But the physical closeness of people and the amount of noise has had me making regular visits to a psychiatrist and a psychologist and basically had me shut up at home because I am “afraid” of being at work.

Slightly career limiting move …. you think?

Because it is setting off panic and anxiety attacks, I can only spend so long crying in the toilets, before people start wondering if I have a bowel problem or a urinary tract infection that needs to be addressed.

Recently there was an office shift and a staff member got moved next to me.  She is lovely and sweet and all of those things.  If my mother sat next to me it would set me off.  It unfortunately escalated “my situation” and I spent a bit more time in the toilet cubicle and started dipping a bit more frequently in my “lunch box of pharmaceutical approved medication” which is all not ideal.

I struggle if my kids are close to me, too much of them near me and I start to shake, rattle and roll. <yes, it is loads of fun to be me, I am a ton of fun at parties and get togethers>

I posted a note about this a little while ago.

You know that mantra “You never know who reads your blog!

Well, bottom line is you don’t.

And I don’t really consider it too much else I might not say anything, or I might start censoring what I say and then I might as well write for …. You Magazine.

So far, all okay.

But then someone at work reads my blog.  Someone forwards it to someone else who forwarded it to someone else.  All who work 2 metres from me.

And it was off ….. like …. I don’t know what goes off?

So now not only do a few dozen (I am being modest) people in cyber space know that I am a full on whack job – but now a few hundred people in my office complex know that I am full on crazy as well, and making judgements accordingly. <sigh>.

I know there should be a bright side here, but I am seriously not able to find one.  I will wait for Natasha to find a way to politely comment, as sometimes she does manage to say it quite like it is and can make me snort even in the face of full on disaster.

The irony is I spoke to HR and asked her to keep it confidential, because I like to give the impression that I am mildly sane, it prevents the goats from getting afraid and scattering.  Work has actually been great in understanding I am having a “bit of trouble.”

You really cannot actually write a better fail moment than this one.

I would like to say “hi” to all of you from my office who might be reading this, and really you should not be spending company resources reading non-company related material during office hours. 

It is strictly prohibited and frowned upon.  I can also check the URL/ISP details so know who you are.  (I can’t, really, so don’t panic.)

To those who are not from my office, but know me – this is what I would call an epic fail moment, or …….. no, it’s just an epic fail moment, of which I had several this year.

On the upside I have sleeping pills.  I am weighing up whether one or twenty-seven is a good number for this evening.

No, really I am fine.  This is not some tragic cry for help. I am not quite throw myself off a ledge yet, but I have developed a wonderful case of catastrophe and panic going on – as we speak.

If you are crazy and you know it, and mildly to extremely embarrassed clap your hands!!

Clap clap!  You know the rest of the song, so I will leave it to you …….

Protected: If you are (almost) happy and know it … clap your freaking hands!

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Protected: It’s always funnier when it happens to someone else …….

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My kingdom for a school acceptance letter ….

Isabelle is 25 months old, and is desperately in need of kids her age to beat up on.

She has her hands inside everything. Has worked out how to unscrew lids, no matter how tightly I tighten them,

Has figured out access to the knife drawer.  Knows how to put the microwave on.  Knows how to slam the microwave door.

Has recently discovered the toilet plunger can be used as an effective weapon against “suspecting” adults.

This child needs a school like no one’s business.  More for my sanity than hers.

I thought I was jolly clever and enrolled early last year in a school, that I thought was the best thing since that guest turned water into wine at a wedding some while back.

I ticked a block, and my type-A personality felt good.  I did not have an acceptance letter, but I enrolled her in 2010 … ages ago!

June swung around this year and I started phoning said school.

Repeatedly.

I think I  was up to message seventy-seven and most of them ended with “please call me, why won’t you call me, please for god sake just call me ….. okay?”

Principal finally did this week.  We spoke.  Well, granted she spoke, I cried a bit.

She told me there really is no space in her school for my Isabelle.  (I am sure she meant there was no space for any more children, but I took it as a personal snub of my child).

I suggested a bribe.  She got a bit snippy, but said she would keep Isabelle on “the list” just in case something changed.

I also could hear my child’s application being torn up and thrown into the steel metal dustbin next to the phone.

I do not really have a plan B, and I usually do.  But I had my heart set on this school.

I made an emergency plan B yesterday

I piggy-backed on my friend Joyce who has been doing some school shopping and purely based on schools she has seen I went along and started applying to schools.

I have an interview on Tuesday for one school that said they “might have space” in January 2012.

I hope they do not recognize me from my blog, or my alarming updates on Facebook.  Or when I screamed at my child at the local mall.

I also applied to another school Joyce said is so fabulous she is thinking about making “monthly donations” to the school now so that it does not look like a bribe when the time comes.

Always helps if you have single-handedly funded a “Kriel Wing” at a school – it does not hurt when they are weighing up your application against whether to take Johnny’s sibling.

That school I also chased – this week (yes I tad late) but I got my application off to them. They have an open day in September and then make a decision in September for January in take.

Dude, I am down with that as well.

Now that my Plan A has fallen through – I am desperately running around finding plan B through G.  I get a bit manic around now (you might not have noticed!!)

I hate rejection.  I hate finding the right school.  I hate all the running around and the hopeful “perky phone voice”  I have to use to try to get my child into a school, and all those smug moms who have acceptance letters for 2012.

Damn them!

Damn that I did not do this when this child was a fetus! I really should have known better.

I plan NOT to tell them that Isabelle is still not talking or is still using a nappy.

If there is a block I have to tick on an application form –  I will be ticking the one that says she speaks 3 languages fluently.  Plays violin on a Tuesday, and cello on a Thursday and has been potty trained and eating solids since 4 months!

If after the first week, I get a distressing call from the school wondering why my child is still on Purity and does not say anything past “caaaaa” and poo’s in her nappy, I will feign ignorance.

Until then, I am simpering and begging for a school to have space for my child.

Saving myself one script at a time ….

I saw my brand new shiny therapist/psychiatrist on Monday.

I was very glad to find her in an emergency, and well, I was having an emergency. July was just not going to be good enough to wait for the other guy, so I kicked him to the curb, as you do with psychiatrists.

Being me, by Saturday I thought I felt better (that was after I had made the appointment.)

By Sunday I thought I was miraculously healed, so did not really need to see a doctor, and was totally over-reacting by making this appointment.  I mean, really!  Of course I am fine.  Never been better, in actual fact.

I usually get instantly cured the minute I sit in a doctor’s waiting room, and alway feel a bit sheepish going inside to tell them I am ill, when really I am fine, really, and I am sorry to be wasting your time, and try to leave as quickly as I can.

Then Connor chewed pork rind in my ear on Sunday afternoon, and I went a bit postal.

I was really glad I had Monday’s appointment scheduled.  Really glad, as I felt I had been hanging on by what ever you hang on with when your nails have been pulled from your finger nail beds.  Bloody stumps I would hazard a guess.

If you have not been to a therapist before, I won’t bore you with too much detail.

The short of it is that you spend an hour sitting around talking about yourself, while someone writes furiously and goes “uh huh” quite a bit.  Almost like a first date, just you pay by the hour here and no one is buying you drinks, to get you in the mood.

It is inevitable that you will cry – a great deal – even when you chew the inside of your lip to stop yourself crying.

I tend to find reasons why not to like someone.  That way all I have to do is to wait until I find “the thing” and then I can go “see, I knew I did not like you…”

I found it hard not to like Dr D even if just a little bit.  Not because she was not adorably cute or brilliant, I found her sincere and familiar, and human.  And well, just real …

She reminded me of a person who I chat to on a forum (and who I have met in real life) who goes by the avatar, Lo**F – which was strange, but oddly familiar.

A few strange things occured in the hour.

Strange #1

I was talking about something else totally, and out of the blue she goes “When did your father die?”

I stopped talking as I think I was talking about lemon meringue pie ior something, and I said “You know that is a bit out of left field right?”

And she said “Yes it was…” and then smiled and repeated the question: “So when did your father die?”

I told her the year, and she sort of looked at me, smiled slightly and carried on writing whilst I continued to tell her about Lemon Meringue pie.

Strange #2

She asked me something and I explained my religious belief system and my sense of spirituality.

Both of which I can summarise politely as being somewhat “barren and lacking in an anchor” at this stage in my life.

She stopped me and said “you are making me very anxious right now…”

I looked at her and I said: “You know I am the patient and you are the doctor.  I am panicky and anxious, and well …. it is not helping that you are getting anxious …. it is not helping me.  You know that right?”

Dr D: “Yes, but you are making me anxious, and I needed to take a breath before you carried on to centre myself and to reduce my anxiety that you are causing in me.”

Okay ….

Strange #3

She asked me if I would like on the doctor’s bed thing – I was sitting in the leather wing backed chair at the time.

I asked why and she said she wanted to help me relax and try to panic less.  I told her lying on a bed behind a screen in a stranger’s office was not going to make me panic less or relax.

I asked her what  exactly she was going to be doing while I was lying there.

She said she was not going to touch me.  But was going to put her hands above me, to assist me and transfer some of her calm energy to me (or something like that.) – I think she said Reiki.  I asked if it mattered whether I believed in what she was doing, or whether it was okay I just lay there with my eyes closed.

She suggested it might help if I believed her, but lying there was fine too.

I said that she was making me deeply sceptical about this entire process, but if she wanted me to have a 5 minute lie down on her table, then that was fine, as long as she did not physically touch me and I could leave my shoes on.

I lay on the bed, closed my eyes, listened to my heart racing and the rather LOUD ticking of the wall clock. I did not get calmer or more relaxed, but that might have been because the receptionist kept buzzing through that her next appointment had arrived.

Our time together came to an end.

We had spoken at length that I was not a fan of medication and had “gone it alone” for some time, and at about the time that she was congratulating on my “not taking medication” stand point.

I interrupted her (as I knew she had another appointment waiting) and said: “But today is not that day.  I need a script, and I want a script today – I can come again and we can chat again another day.  But today I need a script!  I don’t care what you put on the script actually, as long as it reduces my anxiety and panic, as long as it makes me sleep through the night.”

Strange #4

She is writing out the script and goes, in a sort of by-the-by voice “Are you suicidal?”

I look at her, well, like she is crazy actually, and I go “The right answer is no, right?”  She hands me my script (granted only with enough meds for two weeks) and I skipped to the chemist.

No doubt I will be seeing her soon.

My Big Black Dog …..

I know you want to talk about the colour of babies poo and what my kids are eating for breakfast, but unfortunately that is not what we are doing today.

Today is “Talk about my Depression and find a Therapist Day.”

Unofficial day of course, but I figure if enough of us get behind it we can have it declared a public holiday with the requisite president’s speech and youth parade at Soccer City.

I know that I am fortunate to be living in an age where we can talk about depression and medication with only a certain measure of shame and embarrassment.

I know there are folks who are embarrassed to admit that they pop the odd Prozac or shoot back a handful of Zoloft with their glass of wine, but I am not them folks.

I spent much of my teens and twenties realising that I was clearly certifiable insane and just wondering how long I could keep this secret until someone found out.  I did not realise I was depressed.  I did realise I was a very sad girl with some happy moments, but I accepted this as being “just the way things are.”

When I had Connor my wheels well and truly came off, then I really got afraid.  Of me.  For me.

I thought THEY would find out and take him away from me.  I became (more) paranoid and anxious and when something happened, it was not that he was going to get hurt, it was that he was going to die.  He was never going to get lost at the mall, he was going to be stolen.  (To be honest I have not outgrown that, I have just learnt to play it down.  Kennith insists I remain in reality as much as possible.)

Initially I did not really tell anyone about my little internal battle with my black dog of depression.  I really do not bring it up as a key part of conversation, it is a bit of a buzz killer I am afraid.

It is much easier to tell people who ask you “How are you?” to answer “I am fine….” because any deviation from this “party line” does make people feel a bit uncomfortable and then the conversation gets awkward.

People say ‘depression’  in a whisper like the way your grandparents say “cancer.”

Unfortunately the most common reaction from Joe Public when they hear the term ‘depression’ is to go “aw, sorry you are feeling a bit blue, I am sure tomorrow you will wake up and feel happy.’

Sweet but misguided.  Actually a bit annoying, but one smiles and nods, and sometimes waves as you flee the scene.

I did feel that admitting to it and if I ticked the block for “mental disorder” on the form (depression = mental illness/disorder on most forms) that it might be a problem for me when I changed medical aids.  It also might be a hinderance if I wanted to qualify as a pilot or apply to be a meals-on-wheels lady.

At some point I realised, agh, sod it, pilots are over rated and meals-on-wheels declined my application any way.

The thing that burns my arse about depression, is I barely understand it.  It is something about the chemicals in your brain being out of whack – for what ever reason, and the result is that you cannot actually “decide to be happy and then you will be …”  You seem to lack the chemicals to keep you or make you happy or smile or have a “normal” reaction.

Being me is not fun, not for me, and not for my family and for most people who know me.

Being happy is a chore, so right now I aim to be mildly content.  Mildly content is  a bit of an aim high achievement at the moment.

I am going for sort of content, some of the time.

I do however have faking content down pat, but the mask does slip off quite regularly, and some times I do not give a sh*t about keeping it up. (this week is that week)

My mate told me about a reference in Marian Keyes Newsletter about depression where she describes it as:-

“Wave after wave of black agony has been rolling up from my gut and bursting in my head and I’ve been powerless to stop it. I’ve heard people describe depression as feeling like they’re living behind glass, of being
numb and unable to experience anything, but for me, it has been totally different. It has been like being poisoned, it’s felt like my brain is squirting out terrible, black, toxic chemicals that poison any good thoughts. I’m well aware that I have an enviable life and there are bound to be people who think, “What the hell has she got to be depressed about?” But whatever has been wrong with me isn’t fixable by an attitude shift. Believe me I’ve tried (Mindfulness, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, gratitude lists…)”

That is probably the most apt description I have read for some time.

I am at that point – and granted I have been here for a bit, where I no longer care about the how and the what, I just want it to go away.  I want to be happy people.  Okay I do not want to be happy people.  Happy people (and clowns) scare me a bit.

I want to just be mildly content people who appear mildly content for the majority of the day.

I do not want to feel like I am carrying the world’s sh*t around with me.

What I want to do today (and for the last two weeks or so) is curl up in a ball  and then sob some more – which is fabulous, because I am not even sure exactly what I am sad about.

If I am done crying then I want to sleep – because sleep is about as close to feeling dead as you can get.  And that right now is quite an attractive feeling.  (sorry no fairies and unicorn stories for you today – insert sad smiley face icon here)

Unfortunately in my neck of the woods, pity parties are not really catered for.

I get up, put on my furry slippers, my grubby blue bathrobe, get kids ready, get myself ready, drag myself to work, try to really try to be productive, and then go home, get kids into bed, and find the quickest way I can get into bed and fall asleep.

And tomorrow repeat the cycle.

Last night on the drive home, I considered if I had a wee little car accident it might get me 3 – 8 days lying in a hospital bed and drinking luke warm milky tea and sleeping.

Then I thought with my luck, the car would be totalled and I would walk away totally unscathed and then have explain why I am a tosser driver, and well there is the insurance excess to consider and …..  lots of logistics, so maybe that was not my best idea of the day.

Just too complicated, and way too many things that could go wrong on that one.

It really is about as much fun as it sounds, really – I am not leaving out any of the really cool parts here.

I have made an appointment with a doctor who specialises in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy.

I plan to arrive with a list of issues and ask if he can make them each go away individually with what ever he does.  I clearly have no idea how it works, but right now I would pay for shinola if it made some of my sh&t go away.

I also think I am kidding myself – but delusions are part of it I guess.

I have also made an appointment with a pill doctor who has a large white script that he can write my name on in big block letters and write something along the lines of  Wellbutrin, Lexapro, Ambien, Valium or what ever else they are dishing out now a days …. I really do not care at this point.

The first appoinment I could get was in August!!  AUGUST? August!  “B&tch, do you realise how close I am to going off my frink’n head over here!!” …… The receptionist did not quite get my sense of humour and did not take to my tone of voice ….. or being called a bitch ….. …. but did bump me up to the 12 July and kept telling me how lucky I was ….. repeatedly.

Yep, I am feeling pretty darn lucky right now.

Sorry there is nothing funny on this post today.  Not feeling so funny today.

But that does lead me to the fact that you might need a bit of upliftment after this rather somber and (excuse the term) depressing post.

I seldom come across depression jokes, but I saw a few recently that made me snort a little bit:-

Q What’s good about depression?
A You always have your funeral planned in advance,

Q  What’s an advantage to Major Depression?
A  You never have to make your bed, since you’re always in it.

I was depressed last night so I called Lifeline. They’ve got a call center in Pakistan. I told them I was suicidal. They got all excited and asked if I could drive a truck.

Okay, that’s all I got ………………

(Illustrations credited to Matthew Johnstone)

The baggage we pass to our children …….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

One f&k up at a time.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It is just not done. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aware that every action as an opposite and equal reaction.

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

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

Anyway, that was my little thought for the day.

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

We just never know!

The quiet before the storm …

There is no denying that I am probably in the throngs of a full-fledged depressive episode.  Can’t say when it started, but it is without a doubt here in its full rather grim glory. 

Which is fantastic.

I think there have been too many things that have occurred, and they are not isolated events, they are symptoms of something else at play.  Not sure what the something else is either.

I have felt a bit “out of it” for more than a week – and even today I feel like I have a hangover.  I am not following exactly what is going on, I feel like I am in a tunnel, and everyone is sort of over there and I am right down this side and can’t quite get to them, or hear them clearly.

My head throbs – which is unusual, I do not usually have a headache – however Panado, Myprodol, or anything capsule like lying in my bag has definitely been my friend this week. 

I can hear and feel the exaggerated thudding of my heart beating – which is not normal, unless I am running up stairs.

I do hope the increased heart beat and the additional adrenaline leads to weight loss, but I am not terribly optimistic (however that might just be a side effect of the depression, and maybe the weight is falling off me in sheets at the moment and I am just too depressed to realise it.  Just maybe.)

I am so drained and exhausted I can hardly explain it. 

I feel frayed (not as in the Afrikaans “to have been loved” but in the English “piece of material that is falling apart at the edges.”)

All in all a bit disorientating. 

But it is what it is, and all I can do is brace myself for the inevitable downslide, and warn Kennith to baton down the hatches, because it is going to be a bumpy ride – and not in the way he would like.

Sunday we had a super baby shower for our very dear friends, Joyce and Leon, and celebrated that Kirsten would be joining them on the 21 April – we are all so excited for them.

The best part about a baby shower is the surprise factor – I think if you have that sorted, then you can tick all the blocks. It was a lovely day and many a tear was shed. 

Of course the issue with planning a baby shower, the same as planning a dinner for three, becomes a huge stressful endeavor for me.  Because I stress about everything.  EVERY THING!   

It does not matter if there are 3 people or 33 people, my level of anxiety is far out of synch with what is actually going on, and I am totally over reacting.  I know this, I see this, but I can’t change it.

By the time the guests arrived I have screamed at Kennith, and the kids, and resorted to giving the nanny the silent treatment. 

It is all very dire and quite unpleasant. 

Some people are wonderful hosts – my friend Alice is like that.  Guests arrive and she will swan into the lounge wearing perfect makeup, hair done, clean clothes and a just hint of Chanel # 5, while she smiles and greets everyone with double air kisses.

I aspire to be that sort of hostess. 

In my world people arrive, I usually have saliva spittle on my chin, a slight crazed look in my eye, and my fly is unzipped.  Not in a sexual come hither way, but more in a I-rushed-to-the-toilet-and-forgot-to-pull-it-up-sort of way, which of course makes them wonder if I had taken the time to wash my hands? 

And then they have that thought in their head the entire day – and as I am usually handing food when they arrive, it sort of sets a thought process that they now can’t move away from.

But besides me being me, it was a lovely baby shower.

I finally got to meet the legend that is Lisa and Travers.  I intend to stalk Lisa and make her my best friend in the whole world; she just does not realize it yet. 

Travers, throw some wood on the braai, we are coming over with my box of Drosty-Hof Extra Light!

My next group-support-room-full-of-broken-limping women is on Friday night.  I have not quite recovered from the Viva La V.ul.va video and experience as yet, and am still having flash backs (and have that faraway look in my eyes like a war veteran).  I still have not done the personal exam, and am unsure that I will be getting there.

Why?

Well as a precursor to the next class I now have a double DVD called “The Wonders of Mas.tur.b.a.t.i.on.”  The fact that it is 4 episodes and extends over two DVDs is beyond concerning.   Seriously what are you doing with yourself for that period of time?  However I have not actually put the DVD into anything that plays yet.  It is still in the shame bag and I am just too mortified to look.

I am traumatized and I haven’t even taken them out of the DVD covers yet.

So I need to get over that hurdles (or hurl) this week before Friday night.

Kids started school this week – fabulous.  Just in time for them to go on holiday for two weeks, again.  I seriously do not know what moms do who do not have holiday programs at schools.  Fortunately mine just carry on like normal, just in casual clothes.

Tomorrow morning I have an appointment with an educational psychologist to assess Georgia. 

I also have her booked at a child psychiatrist and a pediatrician who specializes in attention disorders.  Kennith feels I am over reacting, but in my defense I have cancelled three other assessments with three other specialists, so I think I have it pretty well under control as I have it down to three, which seems reasonable for me.

So that is where I am.

Finallly one good thing in this week …

I got home on Friday – after my shocker of a day – which only added to my total “rhymes with koos” of a week.

I stumble in at around 7pm, throw myself into the bedroom,  fling my bag down and sit on the bed in a devastated pile.

Kennith is sitting with his back to me, and Isabelle is on a chair next to him – he is on the computer and she is playing with something on the desk.  They say ‘hi” and Kennith continues with his gane.

Isabelle continues playing with what ever she has got, and she goes “caaa” and hands something to Kennith – and lo-and-frkn-hell it is my wedding ring!

Right there after I have spent four days hunting (flinging things around in anger and frustration) looking for it.

Isabelle it appears had taken my ring and attached it to the magnet – and no one thought to look inside the magnet (it has a fold over clip to go onto a golf peak cap) as there my ring was!

Clearly not the place anyone might have thought to look.

So one highlight of my shite week – Isabelle found my ring, granted she had actually been the one who lost it, but bygones and all that.

Nanny steals baby …. and other scenarios I keep myself awake with ….

Remember that pasta advert a few years back, when the woman pulls the little Italian woman out of the cupboard and then she whips up a pasta extravaganza (Fattis and Monis I think) and prepares everything.

When she is complete, the woman (hostess) enters the kitchen gives her a wry wink, and shuffles her back into the cupboard where the mops and detergent live.

Then the hostess then takes out the prepared food to the adoring guests,and laps up the praise as it appears she did it all.

That is pretty much how I would like my nanny to be – always there, and always available, working magic behind the scenes.

But as we cannot make Pepe legally live in a cupboard, and possibly because she is not an Italian woman from an advert.  Pepe also takes leave each year (those pesky basic conditions of employment rear their ugly head again much to the inconvenience to the white madam).

Just a bit of background, I work a full day and so does Kennith.  Isabelle stays at home with Pepe and our two older kids get home around 16h00 from school – and then the dinner/bath/evening fighting starts. 

If I did not have a Pepe, odds are I would not be able to work a full day, and then my kids would be stuck at aftercare/creche until 6pm on most nights.  I understand that for many working moms this is the only way it can be, but I have the benefit of working and still geting kids home to be at home for the late afternoon/evening without the chaos.

The only reason my household functions is because I have a Pepe – and I give daily thanks that I have someone like her making it possible to do what I need to do (without me having to drink more to cope).

At the mere mention that Pepe needs to go on leave throws me into an absolute f&nnie flap – and this year was no exception.  Usually she goes in December/January but this year she opted to go in March.

Of course that made December/January brilliant – us off to work, kids at home, and clothes that were magically packed away, and dishes that miraculously washed themselves.  It was all fabulous and a totally heady experience!  I was drunk with how divine it was.  I congratulated myself daily on how fantastic my lot in life was.

Fast forward to March and I am now in the midst of what can only be described as a mini/major (it fluctuates depending on the time of the day) nervous breakdown.

I went through an agency, interviewed three ladies, regretted one who was just too timid, and looked at the other two candidates a bit further.

I did references, and thought about it long and hard.  I brought the both women in for a trial for 3 days each so I could get a better sense of them, and have them living in my space.  I decided to go with the one lady – let’s call her nanny F for now.

Other lady nanny J was brilliant, but I thought nanny F was a better fit, but I might be keeping nanny J in my cupboard for weekends.

So nanny F started yesterday and Pepe left on her month leave last night.  It was as if when Pepe walked out the door hell broke loose.

The kids were fighting.  Isabelle was crying and clinging to my leg.  \Georgia was screaming (SCREAMING) that her pieces  of torn out paper she had torn up yesterday were missing.

It was totally fekn chaos!

And then I realized this was going to be my month forward – it was as if I had been given  a  glimpse, a snap shot,  of what was coming my way for the next 30 days. 

If Pepe was there she would have known what to do and the situation would not have escalated. 

Nanny F took one look at the situation and decided that ironing might be a good thing to be doing right now.  (tip, it wasn’t!)

I poured myself some wine, put Isabelle who had snot on her upper lip, on my hip and then proceeded to attend to Georgia who was officially have a po** collapse (I must thank my friend Natalie Black for that wonderful term – I do not use it often, but when you see a p.c. then you know that is the only phrase that is going to work)

I went over to nanny F and explained to her that when she hears kids screaming it would really help me, if she stopped ironing (which I do appreciate, as I do not iron) and rather attend to the screaming child.  I might have used a slightly disdainful voice when I explained this, but I was pretty tense.

Then I got really exasperated that I actually had to explain that problem…..and started to doubt that maybe I had not made the best decision on bringing nanny F into the fold.

Georgia continued to go totally ape sh*t – I continued to try to sooth her – Isabelle cries if Georgia cries, so the entire situation was really not pleasant.  I was trying not to scream (because inside the voices were) but I tried to use the soothing mother voice, though, to be honest I was really one step away from having a po** collapse of my own.

All this whilst Connor is playing a computer game featuring fish.  What he loves to do,  more than anything,  is whilst I am in the midst of a total family drama he  pop his head in – usually in mid-sentence and says something like:  “Mom, I just caught a Blue tang surgeonfish – it’s great, you know what they eat?”

To which I need to then ask: “No, my boy what do they eat?”

And so the exchange goes.

Please bear in mind I have no interest at all in what a Blue tang surgeonfish eats, that the sailfish is the fastest fish in the sea, and that the South American marbled hatchetfish are the only fish that can achieve powered flight.  I really have little regard for this information, but in our house if you plan on having any conversation with Connor, then this is sort of where the subject matter is going to be heading.

While all hell is breaking loose, I need to also compose myself for fish banter with Connor.

So I sort out Georgia’s dilemma, sooth Isabelle’s crying – which has escalated as I think she has realized I am getting a bit irked with nanny F.

Nanny F then walks in and shows me that the iron’s cord is burnt through – and she can no longer use it. 

I think wow, you have been here about 2 hours and we are already one appliance down…. Kennith is going to flip his lid.  I already start imagining the exchange as he sees the iron, and he will say something like: “Man, how did this happen?  She really needs to be more careful with the iron, you need to speak to her or she will break everything!”

Of course I will stand there, get annoyed as I would be thinking: “Or you could take three steps and then lean over and speak to her yourself!”

<Kennith’s defense he actually did not say any of these things, he just said, well we need a new iron and we need it quickly…..>

So all of this mania is going on, I finally get kids aimed towards bed, and I head towards bed myself.  I fall into bed rather than climb in with any sense of style or decorum.

<I had an optom yesterday as I have managed – through various levels of stupidity – to scratch my cornea on my right eyeball -normal words cannot accurately describe my discomfort>

My eyes are tired, my head hurts, I am irritable, my nerves are frayed and I am already exhausted and the month has not even started yet.   I am already predicting the chaos and starting to work through the various scenarios in my head and every possible permutation that may occur and what I will be doing when it does/might occur.

I fall asleep and then wake up at it is 12:10am and I lie there and start to worry.

I think I have made an awful mistake, and I am entrusting (with possibly my favourite child at the moment) to what really is a complete stranger.

I start creating an entire scenario of how this is going to play out, and all my scenarios end with me wearing sack cloth, crying with ash on my head, as I pull my hair out and plead with the not-so-friendly-police-constable to: “please just find my child, please find my child!”

All while they are looking at me with their little note books and small stubby pencils (in my mental picture they are in the blue uniforms from the mid 1980’s) and they are saying – in a very Afrikaans accent: “But lady what did you really know about this woman, when you decided to leave your child with her?”

So that kept me busy (in my head) until just before 5am.

This morning I woke up – feeling pretty grim, the acid in my stomach had already burnt a hole through to my arse.

I lingered and dawdled and left rather reluctantly this morning, and had no choice but to leave my little monkey with nanny F!

I literally sms’d everyone in my contact list and asked if they would please please please come by the house today and this week just to make sure nanny F had not absconded with my child.

I am in a total state today!  Total fekn state!

<please do not tell me it is going to be alright, as that is not going to help at all ……. I have already phoned her 6 times this morning, and yes things do appear alright, but how do I really know, for sure?>

I have managed to get hold of Judith who said she would make a plan and go over to the house and spend some time there.  I can’t tell you how much I am absolutely loving Judith right now!!! 

I told the guy at work about why I am so stressed, he looks at me – and in a very helpful tone says: “If something happens do you have any recourse with the agency?” Excellent question. 

Not an excellent question when I am thinking that nanny F has already sold my child for muti!!!

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!

The case of the missing Mario Brother ….

Recently Connor received a Nintendo DS for his birthday.  He has been wanting one for more than a year.

Initially his argument was because EVERYONE at school had one.  I said: “Everyone?” and he said: “Yes, everyone!”

I indicated that surely everyone could not actually mean all 700 + kids, but he assured me that EVERYONE does actually mean EVERY O.N.E!

Once I ran through his class, it then became apparent that maybe 1 child per grade has one ….. maybe ….. which clearly shows that Connor has the ability to stretch the truth ever so slightly.

But moving back to reality.

A discussion ensued and Kennith and I agree that we are not wildly in favour of flipping a child a R1500.00 (or there abouts) item and saying “there you go enjoy!”

We are more in the school of, well yes we can afford the item, but we would like you to contribute towards it so that if-it-gets-lost-or-gets-dropped-into-the-toilet-then-you-feel-slightly-more-remorseful school of thought.

So we hatched a plan that involved Connor doing odd jobs and sundry and saving half toward the unit.  It was great.  I had a dedicated person-who-picks-up-dog-poo and also can be paid to keep his sister quiet on Saturday mornings so I can sleep in.  There were really only pro’s on this one.

<the con was that he would not do anything unless there was money involved>

Worked well, lad was really committed.  He saved the money.  We took the money from him and went and bought him a Nintendo for his birthday.

Listen I am totally fine with you getting all righteous on me, that we should have let him keep the money and then bought him a Nintendo anyway, but that is not the way we roll.

To sooth the guilt of fleecing our child, we did go and buy him at least 10 Nintendo games to get him started.  He got a super cool game station and a “klomp” (see me rocking it northern suburbs style!) of games for his birthday and Christmas combined.

Anyway, happy lad!

The rule we set in place is that he is not allowed to take the station or the games to school.  They are not to leave the house without permission from us.  Connor agrees, and everyone appeared happy.

Nintendo was a bit of happiness, and Connor’s fine motor and eye co-ordination improved.  He was really good about not playing it all the time, and we were all happy campers over in Parow Land.

About two weeks ago Kennith is doing stock take of Connor’s games and realizes that two are missing.  Kennith goes off his head.  Connor starts to have a panic attack.  Everyone is running around the house trying to find these games.

<the games by the way are about 30 x 20 x 5mm – so not terribly big>

Games are not found, Kennith is really upset, Connor is crying.

I am trying to remain level headed (for once – this might actually be the only time!)  My theory is that if they have not left the house then they are in the house.  If they are in the house they will pop up sooner or later.  Theory make sense.

About a week later Pepe finds one of the games!  Three cheers all around.  Supports my theory that they are just in the house …. somewhere.

But still no Super Mario Brothers.

Still trying to be the voice of reason.

I contact one or two of Connor’s friends and some kids have been over here with their Nintendos and there is a good chance that Connor’s game could have ended up with another kid’s pack.

This afternoon (it’s been over two weeks now) I get an sms from another mom who has a child in Connor’s class.  She tells me that the aftercare teacher has found a Super Mario Brothers game and could it belong to Connor?

Okay so the scenarios are as follows.

  1. It is Connor’s game and it is at school.
  2. It is not Connor’s game and his is still missing.
  3. I could just go and buy another game and drop it behind the couch and miraculously wait for Pepe to find it.

The possible outcomes are as follows.

If …. it is Connor’s game and it is at school.

Then young master Connor is going to be in a world of trouble, for two reasons.  He took the game to school against our permission and also has been lying about it after repeated questioning.

If …  it is not Connor’s game and his is still missing.

Then young master Connor has shown that he is actually a bit “loskop” with his belongings, which does not bode well for future big ticket item purchases.

If …. I could just go and buy another game and drop it behind the couch and miraculously wait for Pepe to find it

This seems the most humane plan, however if it gets dropped behind the couch and weeks pass, then my issue is going to turn to Pepe as then I am going to keep glaring at her each day thinking “move the couch and clean woman!!!”

So after the discovery of the game at school, it would seem there is no way to prove whether it is his game or another kid’s.  There is no unique serial number and they all look identical.

Kennith feels strongly that it is.

My issue is that it is circumstantial.

It is the same game, at the same school, in the same after-care, and has been mentioned by a kid who Connor probably spends the most time in his day with.

If this kid knew that Connor NEVER brought his game or the unit to school, why would he think THIS game belonged to Connor? Suspicious isn’t it?

Kennith feels strongly that Connor is lying.

I have to believe Connor is telling the truth, even in the face of overwhelming circumstantial evidence that appears to indicate his guilt.

If I believe that Connor is lying, even though he is standing before me promising me to my face that he telling me the truth, then when can I believe him?

I think of all those kids whose main gripe is that they do not talk to their parents because their parents do not trust them.  The old litany so often heard from kids of “well, they think I am doing xyz anyway, I might as well just do xyz as it does not matter!” goes through my head.

When all is said and done I need to believe that Connor is telling the truth.  I actually can’t believe anything else.

If I believe he is lying about this, then the result is that I probably can NEVER believe him again, about anything.

Or maybe I am being too black and white about this issue.

Maybe kids lie.  Maybe they just do.  Maybe as parents we need to try to always believe that our children are telling the truth.  And when they lie (because all children must at some point) then we must be disappointed, but not allow it to cloud our judgment of our children going forward.

Keep the faith even when they lie and lie and lie to our faces.

Here is the rub, I am struggling with that concept.

I need to believe that no matter what my children do, not matter how much crack they sell at pre-primary, they will always tell me the truth.

I have many faults, but I like to believe when the chips are down and the wine bottle is empty, I am honest.

I have learnt that maybe not everyone wants to hear the truth, so I try to blurt out “truths” unless someone asks.  But I like to believe that I am truthful and if you ask for my opinion or ask me a question I give you the truthful answer.

I like to believe that I have instilled this principle in my children – especially Connor.  I have been telling him the “boy who cried wolf” story since he was a babe on the breast.

I am so hoping we find the Super Mario Brother’s game and then Kennith can be ashamed of believing Connor is a liar.   For me right now I have to believe he is telling the truth, and at the same time appreciate that Kennith and I differ on this issue.

<why does Toys R Us not stock a decent polygraph test? >

Catch you on the flip side ….

We are off to Drakensberg to celebrate the wedding of John and Natalie.    We are so thrilled for them, and dead excited to be part of their wedding.

We fly to Durban in the morning.  Then we drive up to the Drakensberg (I have never been to the Drakensberg and my geography is pretty sketchy, so I am even sure I am 100% sure exactly where it is.  But Kennith seems to know and we have a GPS, so no doubt I can read my Kindle and not worry my pretty head about details like directions.)

The idea is to stay there and do what ever it is that people do in the Drakensberg, attend the fabulous wedding, and hang out with a group of friends who will be joining us there.

Next Friday we drive up to Johannesburg, and stay there a few days.  Seeing more friends and just hanging around sort of stuff.

On Sunday we get to squeeze into a stadium with a few thousand people screaming for Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen.  Of course I am sure that Bono will stare into the crowd, and see me back in row 175 and seat 54. and pluck me from the crowd so he can sing me a personalized version of “With or Without You!”

Nothing like a bit of delusional ism to keep you going.

The thing about this trip is we are doing it sans kids.

Usually there would be a split about now in terms of reaction.

Some moms are going to go: “Fabulous, lucky you, wish I could get a break from my set!”

Then there is the second set who are dialing ChildLine as they read this and thinking: ”Who does this woman think she is abandoning her children to go gallivanting all over the country side.  The scandal.   The indignation!”

Then there is a third set which would usually gasp a bit and go: “I could never leave my junior, I couldn’t be away from them for that long.”

I usually am okay with some adult time away from our kids, but I am actually not okay with it right now.  It is also a long time.  We leave Friday and we are back Monday after next.

It is too long, and I have been stressed and anxious this entire week, and right now I actually do not want to go.  I miss Isabelle too much already and I have not even left the house, so this week is going to be torture.  I appear to have moved from the first set of moms to the third set.

I felt out of sorts yesterday, and last night and this morning I have been totally out of sorts.

I woke up around 2am this morning and just could not sleep.  I just felt anxious and stress, and wanted to wake Kennith up and tell him that I was fine to fly to the Drakensberg to attend the wedding, but then wanted to fly home, and then I would fly back to attend the concert, but I did not want to stay away that long.

But I didn’t as I knew he would probably freak his bean, and then we would have a huge fight.

It wasn’t like I had not known about this trip 4 months ago.  I had.  I just had not paid much attention to it.  But it is here now.

My bags are packed, but I am loathe to leave tomorrow morning, but there we go, I am leaving, and it is meant to be this great week, but I am dreading it.    Listen it is a great week that has been planned, and actually I have had to do nothing.  Kennith has organized everything, all I am doing is arriving, but the problem is that because I know how much I am going to miss the kids – and how bad I feel being away from them – I think will take a bit of the smile off this week.

So there we go, I am out of here for a week.  I am going to miss my kids crazy, and especially  Isabelle.  Just tying this is making me feel even sadder.

As my penance I am going for a full body wax at 7am.  I thought I would do it without taking a Syndol just as punishment for abandoning my kids.

<just as extra penance, I was so out of it this morning, I put this stuff called AO Sept – which is like acid for your contact lenses – directly into my right eye ball this morning.

It burnt like a m*therf*cker.  I can’t actually tell you how much it burnt without the aid of profanity.

I thought my cornea was being dislodged from my eyeball.  We are not talking mild discomfort, we are talking silent-scream-while-you-bang-your-feet-on-the-floor-and-claw-at-your-eyeball pain!   I actually called my optom friend because I thought clearly it would require an eyeball transplant or something.

I spent the day walking around with an eye that is so blood shot it looks like I am bleeding to death – I have just started a new job, so that looked totally fantastic.  It was agony and I was in mild to severe discomfort for the entire day.

It is still pretty red and feels pretty grim – oh joy, possibly it will hide my crying tomorrow morning…>

I don’t really want to die in an airplane crash ….

Very exciting time.

I am very excited about Saturday night.  The SA Blog Awards is being held at the One and Only in Cape Town and I wish I could be there – it is a cash bar, but I still would have liked to be there.

Seriously, how many opportunities like this are going to present themselves to me?  Clearly very few in my life time, but that being said we will need to miss it as we are going to be in ZANZIBAR!

I really do not get tired of saying that!

Can you come over for a lunch on Saturday?  Er, no sorry, we will be in Zanzibar.

Would you like to join us for dinner on Monday night? Sorry, would love to, but we will be in Zanzibar.

This is Dr E, your yearly enema is scheduled for Tuesday, can you make the appointment? As lovely as that sounds, I will need to miss it this year, I will be in Zanzibar!

Yes, one does not tire of saying it.  But I can well imagine one tires of hearing about it rather rapidly, so I won’t say it again.

My friends Alice and David will be going to the evening and taking photos and hopefully drinking too much.  I will be waiting in excitement to hear the outcome.

The reality is Tertia is an established blogger, book writer, and all around incredible woman.  She has not only been around the block, but she knows everyone on the block and well might have created the block as well.

I also acknowledge that I am officially the “great white hope” or the “total outsider” in this categroy, and losing out to her will not be a disgrace.

I will be very sad, desperately sad actually, and probably need an extra few Mojito to get me over the disappointing.  But I think drinks and a two hour back massage on the beach, should assist me in soldiering through this one.

The downside of Zanzibar is that I really do not like airplanes.  It is not the metal structure of the plane that is the problems, as much as the thought of me in them and them not quite making it to the other side.

Me – claustrophobic – in cramped economy seats.  Me with 2000 litres of highly-explosive jet fuel under my lady-bits.  Me with only a badly designed life jacket standing between me and shards of my body being strewn over the landscape.

I not only think the plane is going to crash, I am convinced of it, and then start to panic because I am the only person in the know.

When the drinks trolley shudders down the aisle I think it is going to knock a hole into the base of the plane and we are all going to die.  As happy as I am to see the drinks trolley, it does unfortunately cause me further stress.

If this trip is anything like the jaunt we did to Mozambique, the plane will be small, there will be some questionable repairs on it and the runway will be about the length of my driveway.  The plane will come in at an almighty speed, the pilot (licence gained via correspondence) will pull up the brake so hard that the entire plane will shudder.  We will slam into the runway, and know we have about 12 meters to stop before we run into the herd of cows peacefully grazing at the end of the stretch of tar.

I do drink Rescue, and then attempt to drink copious amounts of alcohol on board – even if it is the breakfast flight.  I live by the idea that in accidents, it is always the drunk person who walks away unharmed.

This morning in the shower I started thinking about what dying would do to the kids.  Not their dying, my dying.

When Kennith and I got married we drafted a new will and sorted out guardianship of the kids, so that did make me feel a bit better.  I must confess it did not make me feel any better about any of the flights, and I think I might have peed a bit at the thought, but I was in the shower, so who will know?

I am decidedly anxious today – I need to pack, and I need to hug and kiss the kids and leave them with a good impression of me in case I do not see them again.  Tricky to work out what you would say if it was the last time …. you can see why I am not the life of the party can’t you?

But if all goes well, I will have a great time, survive the trip, my luggage will arrive this time – however I did learn from my last experience and will pack my swimming costume, a sarong, change of underwear, toothbrush and hair conditioner in my carry on luggage.   Last holiday I ended up having to wear Kennith’s spare underwear!

I plan to buy a book in Johannesburg as I always do – a big fat period (as it Tudor, not menstruation) piece, so that will be my little present to myself – actually it will need to be Kennith’s present to me, as I am too broke to afford a book right now.

No blog updates this coming week I am afraid.

I will ask my mate Alice to post a comment update on this post with the results of Saturday -the Blog Awards, not my death – so if anyone is interested they can go along and take a look see.

Enjoy the long weekend, and travel safely if you are going away.

Good luck to moms and dads, I hope you survive the school holidays in tact!  Take comfort that it is much shorter than the June/July massacre we had to contend with.

Mercury in retrograde …… I don’t make this stuff up

So yesterday I just had a super shit kind of day at work.

It was not that it was shit really, it was just that I am exhausted by having to check and re-check on the same crap over and over again.  In my day I literally run out of time.  Not because I have too much on my plate – which I do – but because I am spending my time doing things that are actually not core to my job, and then I am having to do them repeatedly.

By not doing them, will impact on my job getting through the factory and being delivered on time to my client (I am in print and production.)  Though many issues are actually not “my responsibility” – they do become my problem if they do not occur.

As much as I want to just say well “fuck it, if it happens it happens” and toddle on my merry way. The inevitable result is that my client will be upset – with me.   And my client will not have whatever element they have been promised at a particular time – again resulting in me feeling responsible.

There is always the risk that my client will go “you know those wankers at ******* stuffed up my job and I will never print with them again…”

A few of those clients and well, we may all face a little unemployment in the not too distant future.

For the last month it has got stoo-pid busy at work.  The result is that cracks are starting to show, and I am starting to slowly spin off my axis.  (I have also been restricted internet access, but let’s leave that for another post.)

I realise that part of my job – the main component actually – is checking and rechecking details.  That is what I do when all is said and done.

But at a certain point (this point) I am so exhausted – I am having to check and recheck again and again and again.

Yesterday I got to recheck a proof that I have now checked 6 times – part client error, part our guys who print the proofs, who did not check their work before it was given to me.

I spent more than two hours of my day fighting with our accounts, and the financial director of another company.  I was trying to confirm payment on a job – us paying a supplier COD.  I could not get delivery if we could not prove we had paid for the job (if my job is not delivered, I cannot get it to a client as promised, and we are already pretty far into damage control territory).

I spent another hour sorting out something that was meant to be done the night before, but wasn’t – and I was only informed after 2pm.  So there I was in a mad panic to sort it out (this delay impacts on another company who needs our element to bind a magazine).

I realized a proof that was ready after 11am was left lying unattended and was not delivered until well after 16h30 – and I have a client asking when they can get their job (well clearly not before I get them to sign the proof.)

Each of these things are not huge issues in their own right.  But it is the compounded affect, plus the addition of the dozen or so other things that make my day a bit more challenging than I had hoped, that finally tipped me over the edge.

Unfortunately yesterday afternoon was not my finest hour.

I lost all decorum  – and I just felt the shit was insurmountable.  I had that moment when things get a little hazy and then I totally threw a fanny-flap and stormed out of my office, flinging my half closed bag over my shoulder like some deranged woman!  (this is after screaming what I can only describe as blasphemous comments to a supplier because I was so enraged …. )

Drove my car too fast, spoke on my cell phone – you know me, living dangerously – I was so po(*)s angry.

When I got home and I had sufficient wine to steady my nerves – I decided to tell Kennith what I crap crap crap day/week/month I was having and how totally totally out of control it was.

I started bitching and whining and pulling out my hair.  He tried at one point to offer advise, and actually all I needed him to do was stand there while I just vomited complaints about my day.

When it looked like my story had wound down, and I had a semblance of slight calm about me, and at least another two glasses of wine sorted, then Kennith suggested that:

“Mercy is in retrograde.  A planet is described to be in retrograde when it appears to be moving backwards through the zodiac. Actually this is an illusory planetary motion created by the orbital rotation of the earth with relation to other planets in the solar system. Planets are never actually retrograde or stationary, they just seem that way due to this cosmic shadow-play.

The planet Mercury rules thinking and perception and all types of communication. When Mercury goes retrograde it gives rise to personal misunderstandings. There would be delays, flaws and hitches in all communication related areas like transportation, trade,etc.

Astrologers advise not to make any important decisions while Mercury is retrograde, since it is likely that such decisions will be marred by misinformation, poor communication and careless thinking.”

Well that explains it then ….

The one about the Anesthetist …..

I deal with things well if I am given time to digest them and work them over in my mind.  I can pretty much do anything given the time to mentally prepare.  I however do not react well to being put on the spot.  For this reason and this reason alone, the odds of me winning “The Weakest Link” are remote at the best.

While pregnant with my third child, I really enjoyed the pregnancy – or shall I say I lived in the moment through the pregnancy. I enjoyed each week and the development and the changes in me.  Sure there were parts were I felt pretty grim, and I am sure bitched and moaned because I was so sore, but I lived the experience.

The experience I shunned was the birth.  I had experienced two elective c-sections and they were both fine, there really was no problem.  It was an odd experience in terms of feeling the sensations, but not feeling the pain, but overall it was a good experience.  For some strange reason, I decided that I would not mentally deal with the birth the third time around. I would keep blocking it out and deciding than I would deal with it later.

I was busy planning, and organizing and all of that, but decided that when I went on maternity leave – before I had the baby – I would spend a few days allowing myself to think about it and deal with it.  Well, it seemed I didn’t.

Even on the day I was going to hospital – I spent my time planning and organizing what would happen with the house and the kids in my absence.  I just took no cognizance of how they were going to get her out and that process.

Even at the hospital in my “gown that opens the wrong way” I quietly sat there talking to Kennith about other things.  They came along and took my blood pressure and gave me a little tranquiliser – bless – and still I put it totally out of my mind.

Wheeling me down the passage to the theatre, started to set off little alarms in my head, as my body was going “er brain, you have not mentioned this part ….. we are getting a little concerned here…er brain, BRAIN are you even there??”

Right up to pre-op I was lying on the trolley bed and trying not to deal with what was going to be the inevitable proc ess, slowly, slowly the panic started to set in.  I was trying to look really calm and relaxed as I had Kennith there and my friend Dave who was going to do some photos.

I think the final straw the broke the camel’s back was the anesthetist.  You know how they come over and reassure you, and tell you it’s all going to be fine.  Not this guy.  He came over and asked a few questions, which I duly answered.  Then he started to explain to me all the things that could go wrong – including the fact that a spinal block doesn’t always work.

It pretty much had a similar effect to police firing bullets into a crowd in the hope of calming them!  Do you think at Riot Control 101 – there is a class where the lecturer does role play where they police fire bullets into a crowd and they calmly go and take their seats??

After the anesthetist left, my sanity seemed to leave the room at the same time.  They wheeled me in and then they prep you for the spinal block, so it is you, anesthetist guy and anesthetist nurse person.  By some act of mercy, my OBGYN came in to the surgery and asked if he could stay there and then he held my hand and let me cling to him while they jabbed a giant needle into my spinal coloumn.

Any semblance of restraint and comfort left me about then – things start to move swiftly once that is done and you have lost feeling in your legs.  They lie you down, pop up that screen, and suddenly a large group of theatre people enter the room and everyone starts doing things.  Moving trays, wiping me with iodine, putting blue/green sheets everywhere and just being busy productive people.

My anesthetist guy suddenly became my best friend, as he was the guy who single handedly was going to be responsible for me not feeling pain!

I started to panic – like really panic.  Kennith was holding my hand, or I was grabbing his arm – I can’t recall now.  But I just recall being panicked.  I felt like something was going to go terribly wrong – what I am not sure, but I did not feel ready for them to do anything.  My heart rate picked up and the anesthetist guy gave me an oxygen mask and tried to bring my heart rate down.

I was telling Kennith to make them stop.  Kennith looked over the curtain and explained that they had gone a bit far, and they sort of had to finish.  I was so anxious and just wanted to sit up and go “Ookaai everyone, let’s stop, take a breath, calm ourselves and talk a bit ………….” Clearly none of that was happening, what was happening was they were cutting through what felt like my entire body, and then the pulling started.

The not-so-funny-part was I know this part, I am well verses in this, I’ve been there, got the t-shirt and went back to get the commemorative silver spoon.  But because my little brain had not decided to deal with this and had instead packed this issue in a box, and kicked it under the bed, I was in full fledged panic mode.

It really was one of the more terrifying experiences of my life.  There was nothing about the procedure that was bad, I had just chosen not to deal with it and prepare myself to go through it. It is strange how your mind is such a strong controlling force when you experience something, and has a direct effect on how you experience that moment.

Lesson learnt:   Stop procrastinating and deal with your stuff – I was going to say shit, but decided not to – for your own sanity.

Woman worry, Men play Poker ….

I am really not sure if it is a design flaw or just a fantastic trick of nature that makes women worry and fret about everything —– e v e r y t h i n g!!

During pregnancy I was worried from the get go. I was worried that I would not fall pregnant, worried that I could not fall pregnant, worried when I fell pregnant, worried that there would be something wrong at the 8 week scan, worried that I was doing something wrong and I had caused it, worried that I should do more, worried that I should do less, worried that work would not want me, worried that work was giving me too much, worried that I would not be able to work, oh, I can go on and on and on …..

I asked Kennith often if he was worried – I think we like to have people who share our ideals of worrying ourselves into an early grave.

This would usually be as I was working myself through yet another book on babies and pregnancy. Kennith would pause while watching what ever show he was engrossed in, glance over and go: “Not really, you have done it twice before, you know what you are doing…” and then go back to his show without so much as a concern in the world.

I decided to worry a bit more as he was not worrying enough.

I left a booklet lying around that dealt with pending fatherhood. It really was a very short booklet – clearly the writer knew better than to invest too much time into this endevour.  I would not require much in the way of time or effort for Kennith to read it – even just glance through it and note the key points.

I left it near the toilet, as I felt he could page through it there as I had left it next to his bed for ages and it went untouched. That did not work either.

In the end I read the book and read him the salient points. Kennith has done his MBA (My favourite joke: How do you know if someone has done an MBA? Don’t worry they will tell you.) and likes me to read stuff and then give him the executive summary.

I was astounded that we were about to embark on this our third child and he just was not reading or looking up anything. I had joined three sites that gave me weekly updates on my baby’s development.

I had purchased six books dealing with all aspects of pregnancy and birth (bearing in mind I was going to have a c-section did sort of make this a moot point, but I could be trapped in the wilds, and may have needed to deliver this baby with the help of a potato peeler and a glass of wine, so I wanted to be prepared.)

Every night I would pore over yet another pregnancy book – either about development or what I should be doing or not doing. I would then compare them and so it would go on.

I must confess the one book I really enjoyed, and would only allow myself to read a chapter each Friday was The Rough Guide to Pregnancy and Birth by Kaz Cooke. It is basically a chapter for each week of development and really tracks the author’s pregnancy – more or less with a bit of ad-libbing to cheer it up. It really was my little reward each week – loved it.

Pregnancy, birth and new born babies are just so scarey. Now if I was going to be travelling somewhere or even get a dog of a particular breed, I would take the time to read up a bit and familiarize myself with what is going to be happening. This does not seem to affect Kennith’s world.

I must say in his defense, that when he started playing Poker he read quite a few book, spent hours on the Internet playing low-level sort of games, and organized his mates to come over and eat pizza and play a bit so he could get the hang of it.

I am not trying to draw comparisons between Kennith’s commitment to his pursuit of Poker and his research into children- from-his-loins arriving in the world, but there you have it.

I think as woman if you are going to have an alien take over your body, it might be a good thing to read a little about the subject so you do not look so shocked and stunned when you get to the OBGYN and he starts putting KY jelly on an internal scanning device!!

It’s a Revolution ….or a mental breakdown.

I am feeling quite invigorated at the moment – I feel like my mind has had a little shift. I apologise upfront that this post is going to sound a bit manic, however I really feel like a light has gone on in my head and I have all sorts of endorphins surging through me today!

We are part of a culture that discourages mothers from discussing their doubts, insecurities, fears, and failures as mothers. It’s like a dirty little secret. If you show that you are really not coping and maybe not loving it every moment, then there is a real fear that you will be shown to love your kids less – you will be outed for the bad mother you already think you are.

We want motherhood to seem ordinary, not extraordinary. We go through pregnancy and birth < no matter how that baby comes out of you it is birth > it is traumatic on our bodies and take a real toll on your mind and how you interact with the world.

Because it occurs every day to so many women, it is trivialized and we need to act as if it is all so pedestrian. You are thrown – literally – into this sea of confusion and expected to just bob to the top and start swimming like a pro. Any non-compliance or thinking outside what main stream society tells you is unacceptable.

You must just love being a mom all day every day.

The more women I am interacting with through this blog and other forums, the more I am realising that it is not just me. There are so many women who really struggle and almost drown each day. But somehow they wipe their tears, put on some mascara and lipstick and smile sweetly at the world. (Usually they have not had a chance to brush their teeth or are suffering from violent constipation because they have not had a chance to go the bathroom, but we can cover that in a separate post.)

Not one person has ever spoken to me while I was pregnant and up until this day and said “You know I really don’t like being a mommy all the time!” Not one person – however I am getting so many responses from people that tell me clearly this feeling exists out there. I know lots of women who have had kids so they would know this stuff, but not one person has stepped forward and honestly told the truth about their lot and what awaited me.

People sort of indicate that it might be hard or smile knowingly and nod when you mention that you are crying uncontrollably.

But why do moms not take you into their confidence and tell you how it really is? Why must you find it out for yourself?

I know you will go through it – but when you start experiencing it without any kind of forewarning, you start feeling that you are somehow getting it all wrong, because other moms seem to be coping.

Other moms surely are not crying in the bathroom at 2am because surely they would have said something. Other moms are not hiding from their children, just so they get a moment to themselves, because someone would have said something. Other moms are not taking anti-depressant and trying to drink their problems away, because surely someone would have said s o m e t h i n g !

No, for some reason no one says anything. You are left to find this stuff out for yourself. Doubt yourself, hate yourself and wonder if you are even worthy of being a mom. How did this happen – why is there a conspiracy of silence?

For me I really felt isolated, confused, and afraid. I was convinced for the most part that I was a terrible, evil, awful mother who just did not know who to raise a child, let alone children.

What I have slowly begun to realize in the last few months is that what I have experienced is normal. I am not sure whether to be frightened that there are more people like me or comforted that I am not alone.

We need to start exploding the myth that it is easy and ordinary to be a mother. We need to acknowledge the dark elements that are part of the whole experience of motherhood.

The more we are able to recognize that motherhood is not soft lighting and photo-shopping the sooner we can counteract what we see in mainstream magazines and what is being pushed down our throats every day.

Next time you sit down with other moms wouldn’t it be great to have a real conversation about what you actually feel and how much you really struggle? Instead of the inane conversation about the colour of Johnny’s poop or how thrilled you are because Jane got her first tooth.

Start a revolution in thinking at your next mommy and baby group!