Happy Mother's Day May 10 2015
Honestly, I hope you all have a wonderful day. Put your feet up (for at least a minute), drink a hot beverage while it is still hot, and do something for yourselves, read, take a bath, actually take more than one minute to brush your hair and do your makeup - if you want to do it at all…
Then maybe take two seconds to say ‘I made these little munchkins and I am doing a great job’.
Because you are.
As parents we deal with all manner of madness. All types of bodily fluids and ills, but we’re not all nurses. All types of moods and maelstroms, but we’re not all psychiatrists. All types of foods and fussiness, but we’re not all chefs. Constant cleaning and washing, but we’re not all maids.
And we do all right. The kids are all right. Everything will be all right.
Every journey takes a different path, some people fall into parenthood and before they know it they are surrounded by a brood of mini-mes, some long for it and sadly it may never happen. For every joyful new mum out there, there are those with a deep ache inside, broken and hurting. And we are thinking of you too.. You too are amazing.
I was always known as the ‘mum’ of my group of friends, even when I was not much more than a kid myself. The fact that my first car was a ‘soccer mum’ Mitsubishi Magna didn’t help. But I loved to fuss over people; over diagnose injuries, feed hungry tummies, hover over hungover housemates.
Yet on the other hand I am first to admit I was super selfish. I thought I was pretty hot to trot. I had grand plans of becoming a globe-roaming journalist, of conquering my craft and being at the top of my game. I was on one hand ‘responsible’ but then also lived week to week spending all my spare money on clothes (still a slight problem, although now it’s often for the kids).
I never thought at 22 I would meet a gorgeous grazier, put aside those globe-conquering plans and settle down on the farm, and have three kids before I turned thirty. But here we are.
It goes without saying that clearly this is the best choice I could ever have made. That I am blessed beyond belief. That there is so much love around me my heart sometimes feels like it is about to burst. That we have a lot of laughs and a lot of tears, and we’ve all been thrown together in this crazy life and that lucky dip is the best prize ever.
But I am not always great at this gig. For starters I wish I yelled less. And held my patience more.
Often I hate mornings. Probably hate is too strong a word, but I do very often wake up just a little crotchety. A night owl; I am often way too late to bed, using the quiet of the night to work, clean or just have some peace… so come dawn I hide under the covers, like a dragon in my lair. The bed is a dangerous domain. Any brave little warriors who dare to clamber up the castle wall are often greeted with fiery roars ‘leave mummy to sleep’ … ‘take those cold toes over the other side’ … ‘go ask daddy to make your breakfast’. And then I feel as cold as stone and ever so remorseful. So I wrap myself up in layers of fluffy dressing gown and my very well-loved ugg boots and stumble down the hall to partake in the morning bun fight, that is often cornflakes tipped all over the floor, squabbles over what toast should be topped with, and sometimes just those unexplainable tantrums that go on and on and on – without rhyme or reason. Throw in an animal or two darting under the dining table and it’s happy days all round. Maybe my kids don’t always like mornings too. Maybe I need to learn to drink coffee.
If I am truly honest, I am currently dodging all of that by curling up with the laptop and bashing out my little love letter to you all as Ben and Holly, Fireman Sam and all manner of lovely people from Playschool calm the kids down and restore a little normality. We have already done craft (Mother’s Day cards for grandmas and great gramothers), built a Duplo city, packed lunch boxes, washed two loads of small but very dirty clothes, and stepped over everything Elsie has pulled out of the cupboards, including 17 pairs of shoes, all her hair clips and enough books to stock a regional library. The kids have had three breakfasts and I have had none. And it is not yet 7am. But it is all good.
I do often wonder what happens in other mother’s houses; those perfectly clean and pristine places that I look at with awe and wonder and a longing for law and order (mostly on pinterest, let’s be honest). Secretly I wonder below all those perfect #shelfies if they too are manoeuvring around a growing #floordrobe. And I wish. I wish I too had been dusted by the ‘Good Fairy of cleaning and organising’ when I was young, instead of the Procrastination Elf.
Then I go into a cleaning frenzy, I love a good clean out, and I take huge delight in collating bags and bags of toys, clothes and household ‘stuff’ to donate to charities or for the really rough stuff, the tip. And my kids always ask the same question:
‘Is someone coming over Mum?’
‘No one,’ I grimace, ‘can’t I just have a clean house for two seconds?’ (the fact that they think I only bother cleaning for visitors scares me a little!)
‘No point,’ they giggle, gleefully jumping on the lounge with a bowl of popcorn spewing across the room, ‘we like it like this’.
Truthfully I do too, I much prefer to be out painting rocks than mopping the floor. Or baking bucket loads of biscuits and spilling hundreds and thousands all over the joint than scrubbing the tub. And that’s just me. Best to accept it rather than get cranky I reckon.
So on this momentous moment of my sixth year as a mum (I say this tongue in cheek, I know I am but a toddler in parenting terms, and I have yonks and yonks ahead of me and many lessons yet to learn, including reading the tome of teen-dom), if I summed up my parenting in one moment it would be lunchtime earlier this week. The kids were at the table slowly working their way through a platter of organic rice crackers, vege sticks and homemade peanut butter (I say slowly because if it was an ice cream sundae it would have been devoured in a crazy gobbling Cookie Monster style). And I was hiding in my bedroom scoffing six mini Milky ways. Yup. Hypocrisy in the highest, I know. I would like to say I was saving their teeth from being exposed to the sugar. But that’s a lie. I just needed it and couldn’t think straight until I had fuelled the fire. In essence though I believe I do always do what’s best for them at my heart, but maybe don’t always quite live up to those same shiny standards myself.
And maybe that’s parenting. Maybe we have to stop reaching for some lofty idea of what we are supposed to be doing/teaching/cleaning and just live in the momenth. Because we only have this moment and once it is gone, and they are all grown up it will be bloody reading ‘Spot goes to a Party’ on the lounge by myself.
Of course this weekend I send huge love to my mother who always puts others first, my grandmothers who are no longer here but lived well in a time that was much tougher for women, and also hopefully to the future mother my little Elsie might become. With any luck she will bumble along as well as the rest of us, hopefully without me nagging over her shoulder too much.
Lastly, thank you for reading my random musings, and of course thanks to gorgeous mum-preneur Katie and the team at Odds and Evie for giving me this outlet. It’s been one year since I stepped into this blogging caper and I can not believe how important it has become to me. I do not for a second underestimate the privilege of having this platform. So thank you, again.
I am trying to be more gentle on myself, and on others (even the children, even when they dump 97 DVDs out of the cupboard and take 93 of them out of their cases and run 89 of them along the floor, leaving 76 of them unable to ever be watched again).
In the wise words of my very wise 20 month old daughter ‘happy day today’. Better go herd my little ducks up the driveway or we are going to miss the school bus… Then back here to hang out seven loads of washing and down another handful of Milky Ways... Love being a mum!!
PS Little apology for all the preaching – best to seek sensible maternity bra mantras from parenting professionals rather than this mother goose x