Luxury

My life of luxury still stands but the luxuries have changed. What was once over seas holidays, crumpled up grocery receipts, invisible price tags and disposable incomes have now been exchanged for local camping trips, humble expenditures and tiny smiles. My greatest luxury of all, one that I cannot afford to take for granted as it slips through my fingers with each tiny milestone and each overdue bill, is time.

On the days when I spend more time trying to discipline than cuddle, taking than giving, shushing than laughing, it is hard to see the luxury; to remember that in-between all of those annoyances and hard days, if I were at a paid job Monday to Friday then I would miss all the in-betweens, those beautiful precious moments that happen more often than not but also only happen once.

This unpaid job of motherhood is self-sacrificing on every level but just as equally self-sacrificing if I was a working mother. I’ve done both. I’ve been the shift-working mum whose hours operated outside of daycare hours, therefore never being able to do the drop off or pick ups. I’ve come home when my child is already asleep and left before they have woken; I’ve gone days without actually seeing my child awake. I’ve slept all day on week ends and worked on major holidays, I’ve been the second to tend to my child when sick instead of being immediately at their aid when it is me they needed most. I’ve slept at work to gain more awake time at home and I’ve chastised myself enough to ensure that I felt as bad a mother as I thought I was being. I missed my sons first roll, crawl and probably a whole bunch of other milestones that the daycare were too nice to tell me about. Quitting caused just as much guilt, thinking I was letting my family down by giving up an income that provided us with luxuries most could not afford, guilt for not being able to ‘do it all’.

Right now the sleepless nights and demanding toddler are my luxury because I don’t have to rush out the door to work with match sticks in my eyes, instead I bundle the kids in my bed and we make it through the day together; laughing, squabbling, trial and error. I get to see my son interact with his baby sister and together we wait to see her roll and crawl for the first time. Together we wait for dad to come home.

My life of luxury still stands but the luxuries have changed. The wine might be cheaper and the holidays shorter, but the time I have with my babies now will eventually be swapped with office politics and coordinating school drop-offs with my husband, questions of who finishes work first and who is putting on dinner.

This unpaid job of motherhood is self-sacrificing but the luxury of having the opportunity to do it is the greatest luxury of all.

T

Sips

Her coffee tasted like interrupted sleep. Her muffin crumbled like her morning had. She needed cold slices of cucumber to deflate the bags under her eyes but all she had was wet wipes. So she wet wiped her way through the day until wine time.

Her wine tasted like salvation.

Ruthlessly Me – Mothers Day Pt 2

Today was my greatest mothers day yet. I was ruthless. I took every opportunity to get and do what I wanted. Waking up to the perfect seasonal gift of new pyjamas, love and cuddles from my children and of course the traditional bacon and egg breakfast cooked by my ever loving husband…can’t really ask for more than that…and so I didn’t ask….I took.

I put on my running shoes and headed for the door, this time not bothering to ask my husband if he minded being with the kids while I go for a run. Not that it’s essential that I ask or really that he would ever say no, but generally I ask out of courtesy and kindness. Today I bypassed the pleasantries and strolled my pampered ass to the street and ran.

I really didn’t want to run. I wanted to stay in the warmth of the shower and then crawl back into my pyjamas. Although the goal had been set to run ten Kilometers a week and there have always been more excuses not to achieve a goal, then there has been to follow through. It hurt. Still tired from a restless nap after the 3am feed and knees that wanted to give out, I ran. I turned the music up loud, breathed in the salt sea air and I ran. I thought about what it meant to be running. How every step meant I was doing something for myself, taking time for me and using that time to achieve something that for whatever reason seems important. I thought about how much better my day would be after knowing I had reached my goal. I thought about the extra calories I was going to happily consume in my afternoon wines.

Before I knew it I was back on my doorstep, walking in to my little boy who somehow managed to fall on his balls and get a blister that is no doubt going to sting when he pees. As I iced my knees to the sound of my whimpering toddler begging to play on my phone, I submitted. I submitted my phone, laid my head back in the chair and thanked myself for not giving into procrastination this morning, for taking that well needed 30 minutes to myself, refuelling me for the inevitable whinging, whining and complaining that come with a sick toddler that has just blistered his balls.

I took respite in the fact that my baby girl was having a massive sleep that meant my husband and I could take turns trying to distract our toddler and make faces at each other that screamed, ‘lets invest in a nanny’, ‘whose idea was it to have kids?’ and so on.

There’s still time in the day for more demands, all of which can be delegated from the comfort of the couch in my warm pyjamas with wine in hand, plenty of time in the day to be surrounded by toddler tantrums and baby poo. This Mothers day however, has taught me to be ruthless with my time both in giving and receiving.

T

Wish List – Mothers Day Pt 1

I’d just like to say……

I’m torn between “thinking” I want to spend mothers day fluffing around my husband and children in some new funky self exploration free play park with a coffee in one hand and a camera in the other, living Kodak moments or, showering so that I can get dressed in my requested gift of new winter pyjamas and sending the family on their own merry little way while I crawl back into bed to finish reading a book, dozing in and out of consciousness only to wake around midday to pour myself a champagne and await their return. The choice seems obvious, blatantly BAM in your face obvious. I’ll miss them if I send them away, but not enough to not send them away. I’ll think about them nonstop, until I do stop. I’ll wonder if they’re thinking about me, which they most certainly will be, because they love me.

I define Mothers day as the day to celebrate all that a mother does and it should be up to the mother to decide how that celebration should operate. But still I’m torn, because I want it all. I want to wear my snuggly new winter pyjamas in the park with champagne in hand, watching my children frolic without having to actually answer to them as they say Mummy, Mummy and Mummy. I want to fall asleep under the sun on a picnic blanket and wake up to chocolate-coated strawberries while the husband packs two sleeping children in the car for a quiet journey home. (Not just any two kids, our kids.)

Forever wanting it all, only to consider that perhaps I already have it all. It feels like mothers day every time Orlando says ‘I love you forever ever ’, it feels like mothers day every time Hazel sleeps four or more hours and it feels like mothers day every time my husbands tells me what a good mother I am.

But I still expect champagne and pyjamas…it is Mothers day after all.

T

 

 

 

Cloudland

She wanted to sky dive: fall towards the Earth and rain down on her friends and family in a roar of glory, to land a better version of herself.

They looked up at her, as they always have.

She had forgotten that she is their sky.

Long Naps And Lace Bras

I never thought I’d say the words, ‘I’m not ready to give up breast feeding’. In all honesty after not having breastfed very well with my son, my firstborn, I never even considered that I would be given another opportunity to try and that it would actually work. In the lead up to my daughters birth I did something I never did with my first pregnancy, I researched breastfeeding. Initially I had always thought that breastfeeding was a natural part of being a mother and that the baby would just take to it like a duck to water. I had no idea about latching or that bleeding nipples isn’t uncommon or wrong or anything about supply and demand. It was during my research with my second pregnancy that I was able to see where I had gone wrong but I was never regretful or dismayed about the fact that my son was on formula before he left the hospital and that by two weeks old he was on formula alone. I’m not necessarily a ‘breast is best’ believer, but more so a ‘fed is best’ advocate, in whatever forms that may come.

I recall attending the very first playgroup with my son, strolling in to a room of women I didn’t know but we had all shared a similar experience around the same time as each other; giving birth. I walked in, plonked my son down in the middle of the circle for tummy time and started chatting away with the other new mums. It was only when I saw my two free hands accessorising my conversation that I realised I was the only one not holding my baby, everyone was either breast feeding or cuddling their child. I couldn’t understand why these women weren’t taking up any and every opportunity to put their child down and free their body for a moment. This confusion turned to judgment and I left that playgroup with the theory that these women needed their babies more then their babies needed them, that there was something missing in their lives and they were using breastfeeding to fill that void. Maybe, subconsciously, I was just trying to make myself feel better. That’s usually why we judge others, isn’t it?

Now that I’m breastfeeding my daughter (an act I almost gave up again because of that part where is feels like someone is dragging your nipples across sandpaper), I can understand the ease that comes with this type of feeding: leaving the house with just you, your boobs and your baby, not having to make bottles, being able to feed and soothe your baby anytime and anywhere, barely having to burp them and I’m sure for many mothers there are emotional factors like bonding. I don’t consider myself an overly emotive person; my emotions often take back seat to structure and logic. I told myself that if breastfeeding were a success the second time around then I would do it for a maximum of three months. I’m not sure how I came up with that amount of time but it seemed like a lot. But now, here I lay, in my bed with my baby in my arms, feeding from my breast and we are nearing the ten week mark. I’m writing this as she pushes her tiny hand against my breast, massaging for more milk and I know, despite two weeks still remaining until my three month mark, that this will be close to the last time she feeds from me again. It’s time to move on and I’ve known this for a while.

It’s time to move on to long solid sleeps, intake control and free arms. It’s time to say goodbye to nipple pads, leaky breasts and breastfeeding clothes. But I’m still apprehensive. I just can’t put my finger on it or maybe I don’t want to. Maybe I don’t want to admit that by giving up breastfeeding I’m actually saying goodbye to the last time I will ever do it again. With no more children planned it is as if everything I do and share with my daughter is the last and this saddens me.

I’ve no plans on having a large family, despite loving being pregnant and the wonderful daydream of being surrounded by lots of little people with individual personalities at a big dining table in my future, but the idea of truly knowing it’s all over, that’s a fact I’m not quite willing to fully accept. Maybe I’ll feel this way with every passing milestone, something I didn’t feel with my son either because I took it for granted or because deep down I knew I’d have a second chance. Most likely I’ll feel just as uneasy when my daughter stops wearing nappies, no longer fits into wonder suits, starts telling me she can ‘do it herself’ and then finally goes to school.

The truth is, breast or bottle, my daughter still needs me, as much as my son still does. The breast is just a phase, a stepping-stone attached to growth and development, she will continue to grow and develop without it. I welcome with open arms the opportunity to once again have open arms instead of sweaty armpits. And by writing this, I’m able to let go and move forward on to what will hopefully be long naps and lace bras.

TIMG-3754

 

 

Let The Record Play

I felt as though choosing motherhood meant I had no right to desire let alone attempt to achieve other wants. I thought that deciding to be a mother, twice, meant there wouldn’t be enough time or money to study something I’m passionate about or pursue a career. When my husband started his Masters, I was breastfeeding a newborn, our second, and it looked and felt to me like we had each chosen our path; he would work and study, not only to provide for his family but also to follow his passion both in his career and education, while I wasn’t ready to pass up the opportunity to be a mum again. The tapes in my head told me that I had no right to want to take more from our family, that wanting to go to university would be a drain on what little time we had available to us, not to mention on our single income. I thought that trying to get back into exercise outside the hours of my husbands work day would be selfish, expecting my husband to use whatever little alone time he might get, to stay home with the kids, the kids I chose as my path, while I enjoyed the benefits of social interaction and exercise. I felt like I didn’t deserve anything other than being a mum and that I wasn’t even fulfilling my full potential at that.

I carried these feelings with me daily – waves of resentment trying to drown me, selfishness and pity trying to consume me. Before I could open myself up to vulnerability, to talking to my husband about these challenges I wanted to add to our life, the tapes piped up on repeat, reminding me that I could disappoint. They sang old songs about an inconsistent and undeserving woman that given the chance will most likely fail and fall on excuses.

In my experience, these nasty, self-empowered, zealous tapes usually start playing when I’m on the verge of finally making a decision or possibly even succeeding. For example, if I decide to go for a run and I tell myself I want to run five kilometers, it is at the four kilometer mark that the self doubt kicks in; You can’t do it. Five k’s is too far. You’ve over reached. You’re too tired. Today’s not your day. You’re not fit enough. Just stop. Stop. STOP! The mind has an unfair advantage; it’s been training to disempower me since as far back as I can remember, and I assisted it like a slave, perhaps I even welcomed anxiety and depression, like tools to help carry the weight.

When I finally decided I wanted to enrol in University this year, only eight weeks after having my second child, the tapes told me it was too soon, that I wouldn’t be able to handle the workload, that my husband and children would suffer, I would fail and in the end have wasted time and money.

One day, I was reminded that time would inevitably continue to roll on despite what I did with it and so I could either repeat the time gone or spend it differently. That simple reminder was so profound, and with it came the confidence to admit that I wanted more in my life and I wanted it now. Over wine I confessed to my husband my hungers: I wanted to enrol in University and start running again. I listed all my concerns with both of those goals, the tapes taking over the conversation and pulling from the cons list but my husband, my saviour, a professional verbal tennis player returned every con with a pro and served up bursts of logic. To him there was no reason why I shouldn’t, only reasons why I should. I wish I could borrow his tapes, I wonder what person I might be, what else I might be able to achieve.

So it was done; I ran five k’s and I enrolled in my first university degree and it felt so good. I’ve no doubt that the tapes will continue to try and slow me down and inevitably there will be days where I can’t run or where I need to nurse my baby girl or tend to my little boy instead of study but my path did not end when I chose motherhood, it extended; adding to the journey of building me.

T