A Sentence of Epic Proportions

“You don’t love me mummy”.
And just like a knife to the heart, I had these words thrown at me recently. Well yelled repeatedly. I could have cried. But for once I kept my cool and stayed calm (miracle, I know!). Because as much as it hurt for my beautiful five-year-old to utter those words, I knew I had to get to the bottom of it while reassuring her it wasn’t the case.

It’s hard convincing kids that what they actually think and feel about something isn’t the case. Because let’s face it, when it comes to children, there is no rationality. Some might say the same thing about women here too, but that’s another story. Kids feel what they feel, know what they know (even when they don’t) and what they say is exactly how things are…even if it’s not. Whether it’s true or not doesn’t matter in their world. It’s hard to remember all that when you’re stuck in the moment and either bordering on losing your mind and/or trying not to cry! Confused? Yep, me too! But I think that’s part of the torture…I mean cycle of parenting!

But you can’t always say they don’t mean it either. Even though the little terrors may not fully understand emotions, they can have a pretty good grasp on words and what context to use them in. Never underestimate the mind or power of children, they can be smarter than we think. And then they’ll go and do something like smack their head on a cabinet or fall off a bed and you do question how much of their brain they actually use! (I’m not calling anyone dumb here, just making a joke, before anyone thinks I’m being a nasty mum!).

When it comes to having kids, throw any rule/advice books or ideas you have about raising kids out the window. Or better yet, keep them to bash your head against, because that’s something you will feel like doing on repeat many times a day, possibly hour, depending on the day you’re having. Oh look, I quite often paint an average picture of my life as a mum. Probably because my girls give me some good juicy topics when they are acting up. There are good times, but you can’t always write that stuff, it seems too good to be true and let’s face it, this isn’t a fairy tale!

Fairy tales are what you were imagining your parenting life was going to be like before your first child came into the world. That they would be perfect, an angel that would be extremely well behaved; would sleep well like-a-baby; eat everything you put in front of them and would forever be telling you you’re the best mum (or dad) ever. I do get some of it. I can be the best mummy ever, for about five seconds when they get what they want, the rest of the day not so much!

Is it all worth it? Hearing those words “you don’t love me mummy” rattled me a bit but deep down I know that it’s “normal”, for now anyway! Ask me again when the teenage years hit. I’ll be hiding in the corner, curled up in the foetal position. If found, bring supplies, preferable chocolate and wine, the order doesn’t matter!
Until next time…hopefully they continue to bring me some good stuff to write about, going by the last couple of days, I think we’ll be right, haha!

Sass is the new direction

I know my parents often tell me I had extremely cheeky moments as a child and I could be quite the devil at times, but I’m starting to think that karma is screwing me over. Hell hath no fury like a child scorned, well two of them in fact and both girls as well, scored the double whammy on that one! Meanwhile, I think mum and dad are sitting back quietly laughing to themselves while I face palm at every given opportunity.

No matter what I try – silence, yelling, ignoring, bribery – the end result is often the same, I lose, I always lose. Well, technically not every single time but a lot of the time anyway and I’m always hopeful that one day I’ll get my own back. Until then, you can find me quietly rocking in the corner, haha!

Seriously, where did my children come from? Yeah I know the obvious scientific answer, but as for the rest I’m starting to think maybe they were abducted by aliens at some point and returned with different DNA. Okay, so maybe not quite that bad but some days I could crawl under a rock and just stay there!

When my girls are good, they are really really good, but when they are bad, I pretend to disown them. It’s difficult given that Miss Izzie has similarities to me (so much sass and don’t get me started on the attitude of a 5-year-old) and Miss Phoebe looks exactly like I did 30 years ago and like a mini version of me now (or so I’m told!), so I can’t really deny they are mine. Not that I really want to, just more so when they are fraying at my last nerve, so maybe every other day?! I know from talking to other parents I’m definitely not alone, which is mildly reassuring…I think! And yes mum, I know you have told me you went through all this too….but you know living in the current moment always feels worse, haha!

I think it’s always on reflection that it’s the little things you know you’re going to miss the most. The squishy cheeked hugs and kisses, the constant whiny and whinging call of “Mummy”, then asking to be picked up or to hold their hand or even when they whack you in their sleep after crawling into your bed in the middle of the night. At the time they bug you and ask so much of you but you know that one day it will stop and they won’t ask again. That one day will be the last time and you may not realise it. All this has been playing on my mind lately and even brings a tear to my eye that it may not be long until some of it stops. You can’t wait for them to finally gain independence but once they do, you miss them wanting your help. Good old mum guilt strikes again.

You never want to miss anything they do, especially if it’s a first, but sometimes they can also be too much, just another dose of mum guilt there too. Does it ever go away?! I guess that’s all part of the “fun” too. Just like being thrown up on at 1am . But I have to keep reminding myself to let them be little as long as I can stand the tantrums and tiaras (and other things being thrown at me) because it’ll be over before I know it!

Monkey see, monkey do

Life really can be hard to figure out sometimes. I know my role and what I should be doing but it doesn’t always feel like that’s the path it should follow. Confused? Yeah me too! Haha! Parenting is downright confusing, hard and like the world’s biggest and never ending rollercoaster! But no one ever said it was going to be easy.

I recently read a blog that a mother had written to her first born and it triggered a fair bit of emotion in me (what’s new really?). She spoke about how her firstborn child was the one that made her a mother and she felt that she was tougher on that child because they were first in line. It hit me hard on so many levels.

I know the pain of expecting maybe a little too much from my first born because she is the eldest. Even as I write this I’m tearing up. In my head she is growing by the second but in my heart she will always be my baby. I feel torn because teaching her that in her role as the eldest sibling she forges the path for her younger sister, but in reality it doesn’t matter or at least it shouldn’t. Maybe I just want everything to be perfect for her when in reality, it shouldn’t make any difference. But you never think about it in the moment when everything is happening right in front of you.

Sometimes I worry I’m making her grow up quicker than she needs to and that she is still only little in the whole scheme of things. Maybe I’m in denial, knowing that while she needs me, a part of her doesn’t and I’m still trying to control that part and in return she retaliates. Usually with stubbornness, attitude and oh so much sass. Many would say she’s definitely my daughter. Not sure I see the resemblance, haha!

Maybe not having been the eldest myself growing up, my opinion and view of how to treat my own girls is somewhat flawed. I watched as my older brother got away with quite a lot (he would deny this of course) and it set the benchmark for what I could or rather was never allowed to do! I don’t know the answers, maybe I never will and that’s just how the journey is meant to go.

From watching both my daughters forge their paths in this tumultuous world, what I can say I have noticed about them both is their tenacity and strength to be themselves. Oh do I live and breathe it daily. It frustrates me and almost breaks me but deep down a little bit of pride sneaks up too. I can’t always control the way things happen (it’s one of my weaknesses that I struggle with, but that’s a whole other story) and I know I should just let them be but then the realities of having to parent kick in. But that’s all part of the fun, at least that’s what I keep telling myself anyway. If you see me rocking in the corner, come and save me, haha!

Always there

There’s nothing scarier than being a mum. Okay, maybe being taken by a shark or twisty rollercoasters might be up there, but you get what I mean. It terrifies me to think I’m responsible for two little humans. That it’s up to me to help shape their future, teach them things and help them become the best person they can be. But I (try to) take it all in my stride, most days anyway. But it is a big responsibility and I have moments where I suck at it. Yep, you read that right, there are times I consider myself a pretty crappy mum.

For example, I let my girls watch TV while they’re eating breakfast, which more often than not is a Nutella wrap. Yep, I’m that parent. There are many times you’ll find them playing games on their LeapPads. That probably makes me lazy or irresponsible, so be it. I also let them eat chips, chocolate, biscuits and other junk food. Yep, I’m a bad mum. Judge me if you want to because I don’t really care! Well, a small part of me probably does, but shhhh don’t tell anyone.

But you know what?! They’re still pretty good kids, from what I can tell anyway and I’m biased so probably not the best judge. I may call them terrors or turds or whatever suits at the time but they use their manners (about 80% of the time anyway), mostly do as they’re told and play nicely with other kids. I’ve said so many times before, there is no instruction manual when it comes to raising kids, so I’m winging it! I stuff it up all the time. I swear, I yell and I make the wrong decisions. ALL THE TIME! I’m definitely not up for Mother of the Year and I don’t want to be. I’m just doing my best. If that means my kids hate me at times, there’s not much I can do to change it. But that’s all part of the process right?!

I often wonder what life would be like without kids. Where would I be? What would I be doing, still writing? Obviously about different, more adult topics, haha! But I don’t want to change it. As hard as things can be, especially after the last couple of years, I don’t think I’d change too much. I think we’re doing okay and as I’ve been saying for years, they are still alive so I must be doing something right, well I can only hope anyway!

To my girls: I’m your mum, nothing will ever change that. I may think sometimes I want to change it, but that’s likely because you have driven me crazy. I love you even when you tell me you hate me. It hurts to hear you say it, but deep down I try to remember you’re only saying it out of feeling and frustration, well I hope so anyway or I’m way off! I will always be there for you, even when I’m angry or sad because you two are the most important people in my life and always will be! Don’t ever let anyone dampen your spirit or try to stop you from shining bright because the world would be a dull place without your individual and sometimes crazy personalities. Keep being you, ALWAYS!

From strength to strength

You can do this. Yes, you.
I’m talking to the have been doing it for years mum, the new mum, the soon-to-be mum and everyone else out there who fulfils the parenting role.
Even on those terrible, no sleep, crying your eyes, exhausting days, where you feel like a complete mess, you’ve still got this.
So many of my beautiful friends are having or about to have babies, some for the first time.
It’s a foreign world but it can be a rewarding one.
You will feel out of your depth more times than you can count.
You will feel like you are a Supermum one minute and then a complete and utter failure the next.
But it’s okay. Even if it feels like it’s not. Trust me.
I’m no expert but I have ridden the rollercoaster of being a new parent and have two cheeky, defiant, attitude riddled but lovable little girls to show for it.

Since I became a mum for the first time five and a half years ago, I have discovered so many things (and this is definitely not everything!!):
• It’s ok to cry (for both you and your baby/child).
• Your baby can be left to cry for more than five seconds, it doesn’t make you a bad mum!
• You can never give your kids too many hugs, even when they’re pushing you away.
• Banana stains are painful to get out of clothes. Why??!!!
• Routine is awesome, kids thrive on it and then they start to tell you if you change it or get it wrong!
• You will not win an argument with a two-year-old (three-year-old, four-year-old, etc) so don’t even try. One day your triumph will come!
• You’re always wrong, even though nine times out of 10 you are so right! That other time doesn’t really count!
• Don’t take your kids to the shops unless you have to – they will tell you they have to have everything!
• You will still rock back and forth with a shopping trolley long after your kids are out of the pram stage!
• Always triple check (and maybe once more for good measure) how they want their sandwich cut! Hell hath no fury like a toddler who wanted triangles and not squares!
• Your kids will tell you they hate you one minute and then melt your heart the next (little turds!).
• You will always love them even if you think you can’t, it’s more a case of you don’t like them at times.
• Enjoy as much as you can, when you can, they grow up very quickly!

But above all else, no matter how big they get, they will always need you. You are their rock, their go-to, their safe place and their comfort. I know I still need my mum and I’m now her all grown up baby!
So don’t ever think you’re failing because they will truly show you that you are not!
But if things ever get hard and they will, turn to someone. Ask for help and don’t be afraid. It’s something I’m ashamed to admit I didn’t do enough of and I wish I had. Who am I kidding?! I still struggle to ask for help now but it’s my own fault and I’m working on it! But just know at least someone out there has always got your back.

A new defining title

I’m about to join the school mum crew. Not sure whether to go woohoo or flatly say “wooo”. After spending weeks preparing and dealing with uniforms, books, bags and thinking about school lunches, it’s time to let Miss Izzie loose in the school world. I’m cool with it, well I like to think so anyway.

She’s definitely ready and as excited as a kid devouring a whole cake, she’s been counting down for weeks! But the reality is, she is definitely become her own little personality and there’s no stopping her now. Not that I want to of course. Maybe slow things down a little, because I swear she was only a toddler five seconds ago! Because as we all know, growing up comes with its own bag of “fun”. Defiance, attitude, ignorance, among many other things! I can only imagine how much is going to change just over the coming months.

But that’s a whole other story in itself!

I can’t wait to watch her walk proudly through the school gate with the uniform and bag to match much bigger than her petite frame. And then into her classroom, sit down at the little desk and wait to arm herself with a whole lot of new information. And I can already hear her excitement at the end of day one, telling me all about her first day.

She surprises me regularly, always wanting to learn and quizzing me on words, letters, numbers and other varying topics, that sometimes I admit I have to ask good old Google because this Mumma doesn’t have a clue what the answer is. I know I’m smarter than the average bear on some things, others not so much!

What I’m not looking forward to is any questions on my least favourite subject: maths.
I’d avoid that devil if I could. Hence the chosen word-driven career path instead. Maths was my least favourite subject at school and I still maintain that algebra has served me no purpose in life, until this point anyway. I may need some strength in the coming years with the maths questions that will surely be coming at me like a tonne of bricks…any takers out there? Haha!

It’s exciting now but I know it won’t take long before I’ll be sick of washing school uniforms and trying to work out what the hell to make for school lunches yet again. But for now I’m trying to encompass the excitement my big girl is mustering up. I don’t want that excitement to fade, although I give her a couple of weeks before the shine wears off a little bit.

I may look composed on the outside but on the inside another part of me saddens at my baby growing up, another milestone reached and surpassed. It’s not the end of the world but it’s a moment you know you’ll never have again. Well until it’s her little sister’s turn in two years, I’m sure that’ll be here before we know it!

To all the other first time school mums out there this year, try not to be sad, enjoy this moment because I have a feeling that in years to come we’ll be pushing them through the school gate as fast as possible (haha!). Oh who I am kidding?! Shed those tears if you need to, it’s probably the last chance you’ll have at doing something that won’t embarrass them in public!

Until next time….smile no matter what, it keeps everyone guessing!

Looking forward and back again

What a year!

And just like that, another year is over. Thank f#%@ing goodness!

If you blinked you’ve missed it. Well not quite, but there’s days when it has certainly felt like that.

It’s been another year of ups and downs. Some more moments I’d like to forget and a few bits of good thrown in, but I think 2018 can join the list of recent years that I can’t wait to see the back of. Yeah I know very negative, but as always I’m all about honesty. A lot of people either admire or hate that about me. I’m not going to lie, at least you always know where you stand!

It’s felt like a year of medical misfortune for my girls and I. Poor Miss Pheebs endured two operations and Miss Izzie one, both saying see ya later to their tonsils and adenoids. They’re tough little warriors and despite a few tears have soldiered on pretty well!
For me, came the inevitable diagnosis but much sooner than I expected of being a type 1 diabetic. I’m not saying “poor me” as there are people who have lived with this terrible disease since they were little kids, but it does suck and changes your life big time! I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone, well except maybe a couple of people who have done the wrong thing in the last few years.

But on another note, there has been some good this year!
After much searching and determination I landed a couple of freelance writing gigs, paid ones too, woohoo! While it may not seem like much, it’s taken some time to get to this point and start feeling like a worker again! Plus as much as I love writing about the (mis) adventures with my girls, it’s nice to be writing stories and doing business work again. Here’s to even more work in 2019!

And next year (which is literally around the corner) my big girl starts school. She’s excited but I think a little nervous too, maybe Mummy is a little bit too. She’s going to have a ball and love it because just like her mum, she has a curious nature. Bossy too perhaps, but you can’t have it all one way, haha!
She certainly has sass, sometimes a little too much. Her sister isn’t far behind her.
I can only hope they grow into strong women thanks to their fierce determination to leave as big a mark on the world as much as they do each other!

I could talk about so much, but who has the time?! It’s been a rollercoaster of a year, but we’ve packed in some adventures as well, which has meant creating some everlasting memories with family and friends and for that I’ll be forever grateful.

See you later 2018, I’m looking forward to having you gone!

So bring it on 2019, but please be kind, I could do with a better year for a change, it’s not asking for much, is it?

Merry Whatever

Bah Humbug. Don’t worry I’m not really Ebenezer Scrooge. I have my moments though, especially with the silly season now upon us. I do the same thing every year and I still haven’t learnt from it. I try to think of ways to spread Christmas present shopping throughout the year. But it never happens because birthdays seem to win every time. Then come late November, the mad rush is on. Every. Single. Time.

I always hope the next year will be different, but nope. That’s Christmas for you, magical and magically draining. Of your funds and your energy. But somewhere, deep down, I still have a love of what the festive is about and watching my girls get all excited, adds that little bit of brightness I sometimes need.

If there’s one thing I feel have somewhat mastered, it’s the Santa visit. As in getting it done early to beat the crowds. I still have one child that probably would have enjoyed pulling teeth more. Anyone would think I was sending her into the land of stinky cheese, the way she recoiled upon seeing the big jolly man in the red suit. We got our Santa photo done with one smiling child sitting perched on Santa’s knee like she’s the Queen. Her younger sister, on the other hand, is quite cheery and settled but on mummy’s lap, next to Santa. Maybe next year?! Secretly I love it, takes me back to my childhood. I’m kidding!! I love it because it’s memories I’m making with my girls and it’s not going to be forever. One day their innocence will fade with the realisation that all is not as it seems and some characters in their lives aren’t as real as they thought. But for now they’re as real as you and me!

But there’s one part of the “fun” of Christmas we hadn’t yet taken part in – Elf on a Shelf. Now, I’ve sat back and watched many a friend explore the fun of taking elf antics to new highs and many lows with some grumbling and groaning as they struggle to find a new spot every day for their Christmas friend. Well now I have joined this illustrious circle of “fun”. We may be a few days into December and we’re going okay, but something tells me by December 20 I may have had enough and JoJo our friendly elf may need some well-earned rest, haha!

I may sound negative about the whole Christmas celebration, but I do love it. I love the present giving, catching up with family and friends, enjoying food and just having a good time. Having two cheeky monkeys get excited about it all, just makes me smile thinking about it. They make everything more fun. Okay well, not everything. But things that remind you about being a kid again. And I can’t wait to see their beautiful smiles and wide excited eyes on Christmas morning. It makes staying up late the night before to prepare presents, ahem I mean making sure Santa’s presents arrive okay, all the more fun.

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, however you choose to spend it, enjoy!
Until next time….

Always asking questions

How do you know if you’re doing it right? This whole parenting thing?
Even life in general?
You don’t! You can only do your best and see what happens after that. It’s pretty much flying blind, winging it, put your beer goggles on and just go with the flow type of stuff. Maybe some structure along the way helps, but the rest of it involves guesswork, a whole lot of trying and hope. I’m always full of hope, whether I get the result I’m hoping for, that’s another story!

If you worry about whether you’re a good mum, the fact that you worry already means you are a good mum. I just wish I’d believed it enough when I really needed to. I’ve always had a lot of doubt about my skills as a mum, probably as a person too. It’s likely this won’t change in a hurry. That has a lot to do with my anxieties talking. But when I get a sweet smile, a kiss on the cheek or even little arms envelope me in a hug, my fears lessen. It’s almost like a magical button has been pushed and the world makes sense again.

My girls, although they drive me crazy, are my whole world and I do feel a bit lost when they aren’t around. They are growing up so fast and time is flying by, bringing with it even more attitude! The karma train hit me hard on that one, giving me two girls to contend with. I wasn’t really that bad, was I mum?! If the attitude is this crazy at the age of 5, I may need some serious backup by the time we hit 15! In all seriousness I know my girls are pretty good (at driving me crazy), but they are reasonably well behaved and I know I could have done far worse.

I think I’ve said it before but I still love this saying. “There is no such thing as a perfect parent”. There so isn’t! So all those people out there acting like they have it all together, just quit while you’re ahead, everyone knows you’re pretending! I often admit I still have absolutely no idea what I’m doing. That doesn’t make me a bad Mum, but I’m far from perfect. Like every other parent out there, I just want what’s best for my girls. I just don’t necessarily always know how to get it. Other than doing my best and that’s all anyone can ask for.

Kids are funny creatures. They know more and perceive more than we realise, especially if they can work it to their advantage. They don’t care about a lot of things, especially all the material stuff. But they care enough to just want you there, to have the person they treasure the most. It’s not always easy to be in the moment when they need you to be and it’s hard not to feel guilty afterwards. But remembering you are only human can go a long way to making you feel better, well hopefully it does. I don’t have all the answers but I keep trying to do my best (at failing, haha!).

Depth of change

Just something a little different….

Who am I?
The cheeky response would be Sheree, of course. But I often wonder if I am anymore. Since becoming a mum, that’s what my label has been. First Izzie’s mum. Then it became Izzie’s and Phoebe’s mum.
Don’t get me wrong, I love being their mum (on a good day that is!). But I also feel a sense of loss sometimes for what happened to the confident, not backwards in coming forwards person I was a few years ago.
I know I’ve changed, we all do as we get older. It’s how we and the people around us handle and react to these changes that determine our path.

It’s World Mental Health Day today (October 10) and I’ve made no secret about my mental health struggles.
I’ve lived with anxiety longer than I was aware it was lurking in the background and more recently I have dealt with depression as well.
I don’t see it as a weakness but just a part of who I am, who I have been and who I have become. It will always be a part of me.
It’s taken a lot of acceptance (and many hours in counselling, which I don’t regret) to actually say that. I’ll still have days where I’ll go backwards and struggle to admit that.
It shouldn’t be seen as any form of weakness to admit you’re having mental health problems but even I struggled to say I needed help. A lot of things in my life went really bad before I finally admitted something was wrong.
I look back now trying to work out what took me so long.

These days I know I’m in a better place, for me. I’ve still got a bit of work to do on myself but I’m getting there.
I have good days, bad days and really bad moments where I get hooked and it’s hard to get out of that headspace.
My first priority is always for my girls. For them to have the best mummy possible. I can’t always be the happiest and sometimes I’m really sad. And there have been many times I have felt like a complete and utter failure. But they sure know how to give an amazing hug to make me feel better.
Little kids may not always understand what’s happening but they definitely have the skills to change a situation, whether it’s making you laugh or giving you a reassurance of some kind.

I think one of the hardest things about living with your struggles is it’s not always easy to explain them in ways so that other people can understand what’s going on in your head. We all have our own ways of dealing with different aspects of our lives and just because someone thinks they have the answer, doesn’t necessarily make it the right one for you. As hard as it is, we really shouldn’t judge other people (even though we all do), you never know the internal battle they may be dealing with.

For me and everything I have been through, talking to my girls about how they’re feeling is even more important and something I think I will try to make a regular habit as they get older. Talking isn’t for everyone, but with so many people struggling with their mental health, I feel it’s something that can make a huge difference. We can all do something to help shed a more positive light on mental health.

“Never judge a book by its cover.”

“Everyone is fighting their own battle and you may never know.”

But always try to be kind to yourself.

Feel free to let me know your thoughts….