The Mum Mantra

 

Stop growing! I find myself saying this more and more. While the days seem long, the milestones are many, whizzing past like speed racers. My toddler claims to be a big boy that can clothe himself (no jocks, because that is hilarious), wipe his own bum (leave skiddies on jocks that he has been forced to wear), and of course, create his own meals (cheese. Just cheese).

My daughter on the other hand, my tiny baby girl stares adamantly as she tries to heave herself out of the baby chair in the shopping trolley, professing through strains and grunts that she (and this is not a direct quote because she can’t actually speak) is a big girl now and even though she can’t crawl, walk, talk or go to the toilet unassisted, is apparently old enough to sit in the big seat of the trolley.

As a mother, you hear and say the same things often: It happens overnight; They couldn’t do that yesterday; Two going on ten; and of course, the mantra for all mothers as they hold their tiny escape artists against their chest and try to smother them with kisses, stop growing!

The mantra is useless. Time continues and without any consideration for their parents, the children continue to tick off each milestone, the only hindrance to their development is we. I can admit, the first time around we put that little fella through his paces, had him standing against walls and ready to walk out the door so fast you would think we had somewhere to be. Now, the second time, if I even see the shadow of a milestone trying to Peter Pan it’s way to my daughter, bam; I pick her up and coddle her until she regresses back to infancy.

I’m not suggesting they stop growth permanently. Sure, go forth, brush your teeth, wipe your bum, make your own breakfast at 4 am so I don’t have to zombie through the dark and start my day one billion hours earlier than necessary.

All I’m asking is that in those sweet innocent moments when they cuddle into the crook of my arm and say ‘Mum, I love you forever,’ that they pretty please, with a cherry on top, stop growing.

T

If I don’t say so myself

Today I am the epitome of Fly In My Wine.

The Mother – child one at daycare getting a well-rounded education (calling his friends wee wee and poo poo), Child two fed and alive.

The Homemaker – (I jest! I’ve never made a home) perhaps house slave? I don’t like the term housewife because I did not marry a house, and while my husband may have many layers and stands tall, he is not a house. I am sure of this. I digress. I’ll stick with house slave; it has a real “Dobby the House Elf” effect, without the cuteness. I digress, again. My point is, grocery shopping done and laundry finished, pending folding, pending putting away, therefore basically, pretty much, one bottle of red away from being complete.

The Student – one assignment away from completing my first unit and smashed out two weeks of study in one day. (This is taking a narcissistic turn, I see that. I’m ok with it.)

The Drinker – usually my favourite role of all. In all honesty, the household has been taking it easy on the Vino’s (my husband and I that is. Obviously the children don’t deserve the fruits of our labour. By fruit I mean grapes. By grapes I mean wine. They are not allowed wine.) But today, since I’m obviously killing it at life, I’m celebrating with my longtime love, Cabernet Sauvignon, I call him Cab Sav for short, cause we’re tight.

The Writer – today I wrote a bunch of stuff, and look, I wrote this too. The Writer is my most desired role, the one I wish I could drown my time in. The one I wish I could stay up late with, wake up early with, nap during the day with, but alas if I put the Writer first, something else must then be sacrificed (actually I could probably ditch House slave?).

My point is it’s important to acknowledge the days when you feel exceptionally “on it”. For those are the days you can draw on when you feel as though you’ve not hit that mark or you’ve let a few (no doubt unimportant) things slide. You can dig into the overflowing well of awesomeness that you are, pick yourself up (and your kids, and the toys, the clothes, the avocado that’s dried to the floor from last nights dinner and most likely your general lack of desire to exist) and move on!

Cheers to that!

T

P.S I forgot Wife -I kissed my husband before he left for work this morning and I’m even considering cooking dinner tonight. “Considering”. Lets not over do it.

Book Review – Work.Strife.Balance by Mia Freedman

 

All day yesterday I told myself that once the kids were asleep I would go straight to bed and finish reading Work, Strife Balance, by Mia Freedman. With only ninety pages to go and the desire to finally finish a book and loan it to the next in line, the kids went to bed and I, in true procrastinating fashion, turned on Netflix to watch the last twenty minutes of the last episode of the last season of a crappy TV show. But in my defence, I had told myself I would finish that also, and who am I to get in the way of my own goals? So with one goal down (look at me kicking goals) and one goal to go, I climbed into bed and lasted about twenty pages before my eyelids won. (Note to self it is very hard to read through one squinting eye).

Take two – My only objective this morning was to finish the book. I sat on the patio, sipped my tea and read non-stop. Be the book good or bad, it was really nice just to sit silently in the warm morning sun and read.

I’m the first to admit that any book that looks remotely like it might be found in the “Self Help” aisle, I run screaming to the fiction section and hide in-between pages of made up stories. But my mum begged me to read this particular book and so it was either read it or keep dodging her calls. And I’m so glad I did. (Read it that is…not dodge my mums calls).

Work. Strife. Balance is, in simplest of descriptions, about all of Freedman’s failings in the many roles that make up a woman’s life: work, motherhood, love and how ‘Balance is bullshit’ as she puts it. It is clear that her goal is to open herself up to her readers in an attempt to help women feel empowered by their own faults and failings. That despite her image in the media, she is not without her own undoing’s and even a chapter written by her very own son, divulges her inadequacies as a mother. Unfortunately we are a species that gets off on hearing other peoples ruinations, but in this case the feeling is relatable and empowering with moments of a raised clenched fist symbolising unity and solidarity.

There were moments when I thought to myself, ‘I know all this, that’s obvious’, etc. etc., but sometimes hearing what we already know, expressed in a different tone or through a new anecdote, can rejuvenate our perspectives and recharge our inner wisdom.

The chapters she writes to her sons and daughter are funny, scary and true. Honestly the idea of raising a girl has always been up there with one of my biggest fears. But in just thirty-four brief lessons to her daughter, Freedman has nailed the big stuff.

On finishing this book I didn’t take in a big breath and think, ‘Wow, that was amazing.’ rarely do I do that but I do absolutely recommend it. From the moment I started reading this book, I have been talking about it. I’ve had countless conversations with my husband and friends about raising boys vs girls, the porn industry, Feminism, retuning to work and the dreaded question that makes my uterus’s ears prick up “Are you done?”

Work. Strife. Balance jumpstarted conversations and as an aspiring writer it is my opinion that if you are talking about what you are reading, then it is good writing and it is worth reading.

T

 

 

 

Crust

She always served herself the crust; that flimsy last piece of the loaf, thinned at the edges, a hole poked through the middle from roughhousing. She watched her children tear into the warm abundant toast, crumbs spluttering from their tiny chewing mouths, eating from the inside out, nothing but the firm edges that once framed their breakfast left lying on the plate; the crust. Meanwhile her piece disintegrated before even reaching her tongue, dry remnants replicating the same sustenance as last nights sleep.

 

Pirate Treasure

We watched Mermaids on the horizon; shimmers of scales lifted by the light of the sunrise. We whispered wishes to each other, sailed them out to sea on the seam of a breeze, new treasures for our kin to keep safe. The sun met the blue and tails became ripples, our wishes adding gold to the horizon.

 

Commencement

This week I start my journey as a part time university student. I say part time so that no one is under any impression that I’ve got four arms, four eyes, a nanny or even that amazing time travel device, the Time –turner, that Hermione is gifted in Harry Potter. I am still an Anthropoid, a higher primate, but not the good one, just the human one; two eyes, two arms, two legs, no nanny, no time turner and only one “full” day to study.  I use the term “full” loosely as I do not spend my study day alone. My day starts with taking my toddler to daycare where after seven days since his last daycare day, is in much need of friends his own age that don’t cringe every time he says, “wee wee, poo poo, bum bum”, five thousand times a day (insert eye roll here). I then grab my weekly coffee and go home to settle my baby girl in for her morning nap and prepare my study space…the kitchen table. At best I will be able to study for approximately eight hours, which is only two thirds of the recommended study time. Luckily for me, my baby girl and her peaceful disposition allow me as much time as they possibly can in between feeding, playing, cuddling and nappy changes. Thankfully I’ve no interest in the sciences, mathematics, economics or any other subject that requires the type of brain capacity that I’m pretty sure my children have stolen from me. I’m fortunate enough to have the opportunity to study something simply for the fun of it and not because I need to build a required skill set for any particular job; for this I am grateful. I’ve been that person, studying to work towards better jobs or positions and I never ever enjoyed it. But that’s just me.

However, today is the day before study day; some people might even call it Monday. Being a studying stay at home mum (that’s a mouthful) means conducting a suitable enough general tidy of the whole house so that nothing, not even something as tempting as dirty dishes can lead to procrastination, and procrastination just loves to sink its teeth into the time of every wannabe writer.

Nevertheless I’ve taken time out from said tidy up to have a nice long shower, wash my hair, apply a hydrating face mask and write while the baby sleeps and the toddler is gifted the wonderful Ipad to babysit him.

Tomorrow, I may still be bitten ever so slightly by procrastination but at least my hair will smell nice and my skin won’t be thirsty.

Fly In My Wine will be along for the journey, as it remains my creative space and an outlet for the musings and mumblings of every day life. No doubt the creative juices will be flowing as I try to blend into the creative community with the other Bachelor of the Arts students, disguised of course as a writer.

Here we go.

T