So its been a wee while since my last post. I kind of had the wind taken out of my sails a week or so ago after I posted my blog to my Facebook, and someone I’ve known for years commented ‘I hope your kids never read this’ then promptly defriended me. Ouch. At first I laughed it off, the person in question must have a right old stick up their arse, right? But it must’ve bothered me more than I thought because I haven’t been able to write properly since.
I don’t know if it were the general act of telling the great wide t’interweb about our life that caused such offence, but I’ve been pretty careful not to name the boys, or disclose our location other than in a general sense, and you won’t ever see a picture of them on here. So unless you’re a friend or family member you won’t know me or the kids from a block of soap should you ever happen across us in real life. Maybe this person thought I was embarrassing them, but I haven’t written about anything untypical of a 4 and nearly 2 year old so I’m sure any mother reading this is laughing WITH me and not AT them. Growing up in a household with me and Mr O and our shared wicked sense of humour means the boys are bound to inherit it, and hopefully they will find this hysterically funny when they are old enough to read it. Biggest told his first joke aged two, when he walked into the room, told us he had a ‘sore foot’ then pulled a toy Handy Manny saw out from behind his back and proceeded to pretend to saw his foot off. (Get it? SAW foot?) At the very least they will know why their mother went prematurely grey. And anyway, it’s a mothers prerogative to embarrass their children. I know my own did on many many occasions. (Sorry Ma, but its true. Remember that time when I was fourteen and you told the checkout operator at the supermarket I still played with Barbies? Well she was sixteen and a year above me at school. Uncool Mother, uncool.)
This was never meant to a mummy blog, but as a stay at home mum it turns out that right now that’s what I enjoy writing about. Anyway, in the interests of fair play, I decided to write down a few of my own perceived failings as a mother, and even the scoreboard a bit. I can rip the piss out of myself a bit. I’m a Kiwi, its what we do. Take that, de-friender.
1) I am not a morning person.
I always imagined when I became a mother that I would be up bright and early, getting showered, dressed and made up before the kids were up, and doing a quick whip round with the Hoover while they enjoyed scrambled eggs and toast and fresh squeezed juice and had a quiet shared giggle over some brotherly joke Mama wasn’t allowed in on. The truth is I’ve never been a morning person and giving birth has unfortunately not changed that. My alarm goes off in plenty of time for me to achieve A State of Perfect Mother Nirvana, but I just end up repeatedly hitting the snooze button until I can no longer ignore Smallest shouting for me from his cot. I roll out of bed seriously grumpy (roll might even be an exaggeration, more drag myself heavy hearted and foggy headed from the comforting softness of my lovely warm bed), and skilfully avoid all attempts by my kids to draw me into conversation until I’ve slugged at least two cups of coffee. The days Biggest has school are the worst. Due to my own inability to get up at a reasonable hour I barely have time to get dressed, never mind get showered, I’m THAT mum in the school yard with the jumper on inside out and hair that looks like I’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards. Most mornings you can hear me shouting FAST FEET BIGGEST, FAST FEET, WE’RE RUNNING LATE as I drag him down the street to get him to the classroom before the door shuts. He doesn’t need, and I certainly don’t need, the shame of having to go through the late door. Although the way I’m going, its only a matter of time.
2) I shout. A LOT.
I don’t know if its to do with my growing up in the country where it really didn’t matter how much noise you were making as long as you didn’t wake Dad up from sleeping off the night shift, or if its down to my slight deafness, but it appears my default setting is shout. Sometimes, I don’t even REALISE I’m shouting, although Biggest is all too swift to point it out. The flip side of this is I suffer something called Misophonia (from the Greek words misos and phone), which literally translated means ‘hatred of sound’. Repetitive or incessant noises stress me out (*cough* understatement *cough*), I can’t BEAR it when the kids shout. One of those Do as Mama Says, Not As Mama Does things. The list of noise that drives me spare is quite comprehensive, but mainly concerns any noise coming from the mouth. Chewing, drinking, slurping, yawning, coughing, people kissing, or people talking too loudly all sit firmly at the top. A Twitter user I came across stated a more appropriate translation for Misophonia would be ‘Chew with your mouth closed or I will throw a large rock at your face’. True bloody story. Sometimes, when the kids forget their manners, I have to leave the table and eat elsewhere least I lose the plot entirely. Thumping the table and shouting STOP SLAPPING YOUR CHOPS is not an appropriately motherish thing to do.
3) I don’t bake.
When I was growing up me and my sisters LOVED baking. Our bible was the great New Zealand classic, the Edmonds “Sure To Rise” Cookery book. Mum has had it forever, its held together in places with sellotape, missing the front cover and probably a fair few pages but we regardless spent countless afternoons paging through that book looking for the perfect cake or muffin. We would bake until we ran out of flour, or sugar, or eggs, and then we’d ring Mum at work and ask her to bring some more home. However with two kids, I don’t bake anymore. I should, but I don’t. I just don’t seem to have enough time, there is always something that needs my attention, a nappy that needs changing, a spilled juice that needs mopping up, a scraped knee to magic better. I did try to bake WITH Biggest once, we successfully made a rather tasty courgette cake, but I think my control freakedness over the mess he was making stirring things kind of ruined the experience for him. Mummy fail.
4) I take over art projects.
My control freakedness also extends to projects with the kids. Biggest and I are nearly finished a submarine we made out of an old nappy box. I actually had to shelve it for a time while I got over myself. We cut the box and taped it into a boat shape and papered over it with kitchen roll and PVA glue to toughen it up and smooth it out. I found myself getting the kitchen roll and glue out at night to go over the bits Biggest hadn’t ‘done properly’. I mean, who DOES that? We recently restarted it and I can happily say its not perfect, but its his project, and he is damn proud of it. I’m getting better at letting my need for perfection go a little.
5) I take too many photos
I do. Just ask Mr O. Since getting a smart phone I near permanently have it out with my finger hovering on the button ready to snap a picture, least I miss something. The truth is I am missing something, I’m trading actual memories for digital ones. I don’t really need nineteen pictures of Biggest smiling in front of his completed reward chart or forty two pictures of Smallest in his brothers gumboots. One will do, then I can properly congratulate Biggest instead of cajoling him to stand still for the camera, or actually enjoy Smallest walking around looking for all the world like a drunken cowboy. Mental note to self: Leave phone in pocket. If this is too tempting, leave phone in bedroom. If there’s an emergency, people will just have to call me on the house phone. I don’t really want Biggest and Smallest to remember me as that lady hovering in the background with her face obscured by her phone.
There are a lot more things I could add, but as it turns out waxing lyrical about my faults is turning out to be far easier than I thought, a fact I am not entirely liking too much. So I think I will leave it there for now. But at least it looks as though normal (blogging) service has resumed.
Credit where credit is due, my references for this article were: