I predict you are going to channel your mother....
As a child there were many things my parents said to me which I promised I would never ever subject my children to, so you can only imagine my surprise at the amount of times I have stood there and my mother's voice has come out of my mouth.
Maybe it's because we feel so out of our depth with parenthood that we fall back on what we know and channel our parent's voices. Perhaps we have been so conditioned as children that we have no real choice but to automatically repeat the same phrase when confronted with the same situation. I have no answer.
I'll let you be the judge. I give you the 10 things I promised myself I would never say to my kids, but have...
1. Money doesn't grow on trees.
2. Because I said so.
3. We don't always get what we want.
4. Just because all your friends are doing it doesn't mean you have to
5. Would you like a smack?
6. There are kids in other countries who are starving and they'd love to eat the food you're turning your nose up at!
7. We should have called you "whingie" - you're very good at it.
8. Turn the TV over the News is about to start.
9. You are not going anywhere until you've eaten it.
10. I don't care if all your friends have one you're not getting it.
Got your own? I'd love to hear them - add them to the list.
So, here's the thing. I posted this little anecdote the other day on facebook
because I was thinking about it and it got a large and swift reply - which surprised me. So I thought it was worth talking about.
My mum said "Your hair is too long". "Too long for what?" I replied. She looked at me and said "Your age."
Now, I am going to be brutally honest here. With all the things I have spoken about in the last six months or so I have never ever brought this up, so here goes. I am 42. I just turned 42 - I was only getting used to the trauma of turning 40 and now I'm 42. With being 42 comes the certainty that I will never look like, be as slim as or feel like I am 20.... ever,again. I'm OK with that.... well some of it but whatever the bits I'm not OK with, I'll just have to get over. What's the saying "there are only two alternatives, getting older or being dead!" - so I'll live with getting older thanks.
When I was 29 I went the big chop and had a really short haircut. At the time I thought it was fabulous - but on looking back at photo's of that time I actually look younger now.
I also had a fairly good chop about five years ago - not too short mind you, shoulder length. When I looked in the mirror after that cut I thought "God, who is that middle aged mum looking at me?". I said to my mother "I look like a middle age mum!!" To which she replied "But you are a middle aged mum." To which I said "Here, why don't I just lie on the ground in front of you so it's easier for you to kick me."
The thing is age will come soon enough. I know I'm not 20.... or 30 anymore but is it a crime to want to do the best with what you've got?? When I wrote that little anecdote about being too old for my hair, I was deliberating going a much shorter do but the outcry for long lovely locks for ALL ladies no matter what your age made me re-think the whole thing.
Instead of the chop I went the trim. It's actually much redder than this picture looks.
I cited a number of more mature beauties who have held onto their locks in the discussion on hair length with my mother, such as Elle Macpherson, Courtney Cox and Julianne Moore. Are these women just fooling themselves? The question is, are they remaining youthful or just hanging onto something that worked for them in their 20's and not so much now?? Or do long luscious locks only work for celebrities and us mere mortal mums are destined to a life of manageable, mum dos?
Is there an age limit on long locks? When is the time to go the chop? What do you think?
Siblings. Sometimes they fight like mortal enemies and sometimes they fit together like two little peas in a pod.
Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and wishing you a healthy and happy New Year with your family.
Having my first baby felt a little like someone giving me the keys to a beautiful brand new car and saying "here, go for it", when I didn't know how to drive. In theory it looks easy enough, I mean, I had ridden in a lot of cars. I had seen lots of other people drive cars but it just didn't feel natural for me. Everything I did felt unnatural and forced. I was always worried that I wasn't doing it right, that everyone else knew what they were doing but me.
When we first brought our little guy home from the hospital I joined a Mothers Group and while this really helped in some ways in other ways it just proved to me that I had no idea what I was doing. I mean, how come their babies were sleeping better? Eating better? Doing what they were supposed to be doing? Did I have a dud baby or was I just a dud? Why didn't I know what I was doing? When was I finally going to get a handle on all things baby and just know what to do and when oh when, was I going to get a full night's sleep?? It just felt like some long drawn out torture.
Oh and don't even get me started on those people who claim they can understand what their baby is saying to them by the tone of the oooh or aahhh. It was all the same to me, everything just sounded loud and foreign. If my baby was trying to communicate with me, I obviously wasn't getting it. What was wrong with me?
I went along to one of my first mothers groups and the clinic nurse who was running it asked each mum if they only had a few dollars left what would they spend it on. Each reply was pretty much the same, "something for the baby". When it got to me, I answered the same, mostly because that's what I thought I should say but also because I had no idea. I was so tired and overwhelmed by the whole experience it almost felt like sitting the entrance exam for a cult. Did I actually have anything in common with these people? Was the fact that each one of us had just given birth to another human being the only thing that bonded us? Would someone mind holding my baby for a few minutes so I could just lie down on the floor and have a sleep?
Due to having had my head down the toilet for a great portion of the nine months I was gestating my parasite... I mean, pregnant, and the difficulty of the birth and now the lack of sleep I had come to the conclusion that I was never, ever again going to subject myself to such extreme torture. One of my best friends around three to six months in had (as had a lot of mothers, I was later to find out) decided that they would indeed be hopping on the miracle of life ride again. My friend (being an only child herself) had this feeling that she was not finished creating her family and that she definitely wanted to add to her clan. I on the other hand felt more than full up with my family load. Sorry, no room here, we're full!!
You would be surprised by the amount of people who are so very offended by this. Like it is a personal affront to them that you are happy to have an only child. I had people I had just met at outings offer to look after my child so that my husband and I could pop home to create a sibling. I even had one woman tell me how devastating it would be if I raised my son, only to lose him in some type of horrific accident as a teen and wouldn't I feel so much better if I had more than one?? "What, like a backup?" I asked incredulously.
Anyhoo, we moved along with the whole being parents thing almost like someone being washed along in a flood and just trying to make the best of their situation. It didn't feel natural, it felt hard. And I wasn't rushing out to have another one to make other people happy or to have a "backup".... seriously are you kidding me!? I would like to say that being a mum got easier and it did, some days and then some days I just scratch my head and wonder what the hell I am doing and planning how I can run away from home.
When you become a parent a whole new world is opened up to you. Some of it is wondrous, some of it is disgusting and a lot of it involves you doing things you never dreamed you would ever be doing.
So for all those people who are thinking about having a baby, about to have a baby or dream one day of having a lovely little bundle of joy, I give you the 12 things I had never done before becoming a parent, so that you can feel much more prepared for what is to come than I was.
For those of you who are already parents, not only will you be fairly familiar with each thing on the list but you will more than likely have a number of things you had never done before to add to the list. Feel free to comment and add at the end, by no means is this a definitive list... I am sure as the children grow there will more things I never dreamed I would ever be doing.
Before becoming a parent I had never:
1. Been bitten
2. Held someone still so I could smell their bottom
3. Wiped someone else's nose with my fingers and wiped it on my pants (no tissues around)
4. Caught vomit in my hands so it wouldn't go on the carpet
5. Bit food into smaller pieces so I could feed it to someone else
6. Squashed someone into the washing basket so I could drag them around the house
7. Carried a screaming person out of a very public place over my shoulder
8. Stood for a long time just watching someone sleep
9. Put my fingers under someone's nose to make sure they were actually breathing and just asleep.
10. Gotten into an argument at a play centre
11. Spent so much time discussing why girls don't have a penis and where babies come from
11. Hidden the mop so it could not be used as a make shift weapon
12. Loved someone so unconditionally
Please feel free to add your own.
I used to be a party girl. Not the kind that organises parties for others, who goes all out for a one year old birthday party, you know the kind with a fairy and /or magician, balloon animals and a seven layered cake that the birthday person is never actually going to remember. I mean the kind that used to kick up her dancing shoes in dark clubs with dark strangers and drag her sorry self home just as the rest of the world was getting up for their morning walks to collect the paper or buy milk.
I used to love those days. At the time, I mean. Not now. Now I'm out and it hits 10.30 and I think "oh is it that late already!" The old me (party girl), used to feel sad for people like me. Sad "old" people sitting at home on a Friday night. I used to say that the day "what kind of lunch meat is most suitable for a kid's lunch" becomes my topic of conversation - kill me. Sadly, I have become that person. Sad for the old me, the new me is actually OK with it and understands the significance of being in charge of another person's life and the need to create a healthy foundation which gives them the best possible start.
So as a nod to my old self who uttered phrases like "Whose up for cocktails!", "It's not late, the suns not even up yet!" and "OMG - I love this song, someone has to dance with me!" - I give you a list of the top 15 things I never ever thought I would be saying but have in fact uttered since becoming a parent.
1. How nice, being able to go to the toilet on my own.
2. Are you up to something sneaky or just doing a poo?
3. What happened to your pants?
4. Stop licking the dog.
5. I don't care, eat it anyway.
6. A Wiggles concert. That sounds like fun!
7. Is that snot or drool?
8. Get that out of your mouth!
9. Spit that into my hand, right now.
10. Why are you naked?
11. The dog is not a horse, so stop trying to ride her!
12. Get your face off the television!
13. Sure. Let's watch Toy Story, again.
14. Yes, that is a penis and no, I don't have one.
15. Put that back it's not lipstick, it's a tampon.
Got anything you never thought you'd be saying but have? Here's your place to share it, go for it!
A number of years ago my eldest son who was then an only child and about four years of age was babysat by a friend of mine. I had to go and do something that required him not to be there (I can't remember what it was). Later that day he told me how much he had enjoyed my friend looking after him and when I asked him what it was he liked about it the most he said "it was great because she played with me."
Well, didn't that feel a bit like a slap in the face! The train of thoughts in my head went round and round questioning what kind of mother I was if he had enjoyed an afternoon spent with someone else much more than he did with me! I play with him all the time, I thought. But then when I really rationalised it, I realised that I probably didn't.
As a parent, you want to spend a fair amount of quality time with your kids each day, I mean, you're around each other a lot - there must be heaps of quality play time in there? But then when you look at that long list of stuff to get through, play time often scores pretty lowly on the to do list. I mean, there is all that meaningful stuff like washing, cleaning the floors, cooking... actually when you look at it like that, there isn't that much meaningful stuff on there at all but the thing is, it still has to be done.
This past week I was away visiting my mum in Fingal Bay (which is a really beautiful beach suburb close to Newcastle in New South Wales) with my two year old. Mum lives in a retirement village... how's the serenity? Well, actually it was really nice, thank you. All of the activities are pretty low key, no wild parties or anything like that and you can only drive in the village at 8km (yep, that's right 8 - that was not a typo) so traffic isn't really an issue. Mum spent most of the week focusing on doing all that boring stuff (that still has to be done) and I spent the week playing with my two year old. Wow, what a revelation! We went to the beach every morning and every afternoon, we got a visit in to the park each day, we ate ice cream and we watched the boats bob on the water and it was marvellous.
Now that we are home again all that boring stuff comes crashing back in on me like I have never been away. It's amazing how quickly you can get back into the swing of monotony. The big difference for me is that my little guy wanted to go outside today and play for a while and I usually watch him through the window while I sort washing, (or complete some other mundane job) but today I looked at his joyful little face and thought all that stuff can wait .... and it did. We jumped on the trampoline, played catch and sat down together to share a bag of chips.
All that stuff will still be there, but it can wait. After all, nobody ever laid on their deathbed wishing they had got one more load of washing in.
I am away from it all at the moment and yet I still carry it with me. My big guy who is 9 about to turn 10 has gone away on a school camp today. I am away on holidays myself with my 2 year old this week and I have left my husband "in charge", at home. I had his camp bag packed and ready a week ago, which made me look overly keen for him to go but really I just wanted to make sure he didn't need anything.
Almost 10 is a hard age, well hard in that it's in between. Too old to hold my hand but not too old to not want to slip into the middle of a hug I might be having with my husband. Old enough to want more "swagger" (something he has
already asked me how he could get more of) but really too little to know what
to do with it, if he actually had it.
I love that boy more than life itself but he doesn't know it. He thinks I love his little brother more. Mostly because 2 year olds take up more time and energy.
We had a really big fight last week, over not much really. The usual. Not wanting to make his bed, a bit of smart mouth and then being mean to his little brother. Not life changing, but still. I had to man handle him into his room just so he was out of my site because I really wanted to strangle him. Not metaphorically - literally. He had just pushed me right to the edge and then over it. I had had enough.
Later when it had all calmed down I gave him a hug and I said "I love you so much" but he didn't look convinced. I asked if he knew how much I loved him and he said no, he didn't. Maybe it goes against all mothering by letting kids in behind the curtain, but I said I didn't like him very much at the moment but I always loved him, no matter what.
He looked up at me with big confused eyes and asked - perhaps for clarification because he didn't think it seemed right. "You don't like me?" and I said "No, not much at the moment" and then I said something which really clicked for him because I could see it in his eyes
"Well, you don't like me very much right now do you?" to which he replied "No, I don't" and I said "well sometimes that's just how it is.... but I still love you. No matter what".
After all that, I've had a few calls from him this week telling me how much he misses me and because I have been so busy with the two year old tornado I didn't think about it much, until now. Now that he has gone off into the world to try something new. Without me. He only got on the bus for camp this morning and I wasn't even there for it ....and I miss him already.
They say that talking to yourself is the first sign of madness but what about talking about yourself?? 100 years ago... in my past life (you know, before motherhood) I used to work in retail. There was this guy who worked in the department across from mine and we shall call him Wayne (because that was his name). Anyhoo, he had this really weird habit of referring to himself in the third person which I could never quite get over. For those of you who are yet to encounter this type of person I will give you a few examples of what I am talking about.
Monday morning comes and we are all heading into our respective departments for opening and Wayne and I might be walking in together so I say (as you do) "How was your weekend Wayne?" to which he would often reply "Wayne had a really great weekend." Or I might have said something like "Have you tried that new Mexican restaurant Wayne?" to which he would reply "Oh, no. Wayne doesn't like Mexican food." Now I can seriously not be the only person who thinks talking about yourself in the third person crosses the line from quirky on the way to just plain crazy? I often had to stop myself from saying "You know you are Wayne .... right?"
Now, years later after Wayne has gone off to live a wonderful life (I don't know this for sure but he probably now says things like "Wayne is very happy with how his life has turned out") I find myself thinking of him and his strange little habit. It is not because I feel like I missed out - having Wayne at the dinner table each night uttering "Wayne really likes sausages and he would also like a drink please" would do my head in. No, I think of him because as I mother I now find that talking about yourself in the third person was not totally Wayne's domain.
I now catch myself saying things like "Mummy said no!", "Because Mummy said so!" and that old classic "Mummy said get back in your bed." I do not know how or when I crossed the line from being a normal person into "Wayne's world" but it happened anyway.
It's a strange little world being a mum. Going from worrying about yourself, your future and your needs to pretty much concentrating on everyone else but you and then talking about yourself as if you are not even there!! Surely I cannot be the only person who has crossed over into "Wayne's world"!?
Lee wants to know if anyone else finds themselves talking in the third person? She always wishes you a great week and hopes you had a lovely weekend.