Take a deep breath and…run?!

Is the day over yet? I feel like all I’ve done is yell and get angry. Damn rain ruining all the fun. Why do kids go absolutely bonkers when it rains and find my last nerve with everything they do?! Even if I walk away, they find me and keep on going and going. It’s like 10 rounds in the boxing ring, they can’t stop until it’s all out of their system. Meanwhile I’m taking deep breaths, counting back from 10 (and only making it to 7) and trying my best not to lose my “you know what”!

I’ve said so many times I love my girls more than anything in this world, but I definitely have moments where I’m not their biggest fan. I’m not going to lie, I’m only human after all. They drive me crazy! And after a rainy few days limiting any possible outside time, I’m feeling a little bit over it. I’ve even been asked why it’s raining so much. I have no control over the weather, although sometimes I really wish I did!

While we’re on the topic of kids going over the top, since when did 6-year-olds have so much sass?? I remember a fair bit about growing up and how much of a pain in the bum I was to my parents, but I don’t remember being as rude as I cop from Miss Izzie. It’s hard not to snap and try to gain back control, man kids are manipulative creatures. Well I was thinking turds, but you know, trying to be a bit nice here, haha! It’s hard being both the good guy and the bad guy at the same time. While I want them to have many things, I also don’t want to be dealing with spoilt little brats. There’s plenty of them around already!

Don’t get me wrong, I know I’m not their friend, I’m their mother. Also known as the rule-maker, food and drink provider, fun police, worst person in the world sometimes, the list goes on. I’ve been told I’m hated, I’m the worst mother ever and apparently I ruin a lot of things, but hey that’s part of my role. One day it’ll change, I know that. But we have to get through the hard stuff first, it just feels never ending. It’s a fine line type of deal, be the task master when you have to and have a bit of fun when you can as well.

I think one of the hardest parts of parenting is when you spend too much time worried what others think of you or being too scared they are judging you for your choices. I know I’m not a perfect parent, I even swear at my kids (it’s their fault, haha!) but at the end of the day, I’m just doing my best, like just about every other parent out there! I’m pretty sure my girls love me…most of the time anyway…so I’ll take that as a win, for as long as I can!

Tis the Season…to be over

Yes, once again, I probably sound very much like Scrooge or even The Grinch. There’s just something about the silly season. Every year I always feel compelled to write something around Christmas time. I don’t know why or what it is, but I seem to find something to talk about. Maybe it’s my excitement at soon not having to find somewhere new for “Jo Jo” our magical elf to be or not having to worry about opening anymore advent calendar days. Don’t get me wrong I love how excited my girls are about Christmas, but I find it more stressful than anything! But as much as Christmas can be full on and indeed stressful, it’s important to remember the magical side for my girls.

Their faces on Christmas morning when they open their presents from the big guy or even the countdown itself creates a massive sense of excitement, for everyone. I just wish their behaviour was as good as their excitement in the lead up to December 25. It’s like they know. That deep down they can get away with anything!

Threatening that Santa is watching does absolutely…..NOTHING! I can threaten until the cows come home and it’s all for nothing. Because as parents, we all know it makes no difference, we will still hand over all the presents. Why? Well probably because we have taken the time to shop for them and wrap them and sneak them under the tree on Christmas Eve, it’s a lot of effort to throw it all away. And money too! Plus it is worth it watching their reaction to see if they actually get what they asked for. I’m glad that my girls are still young enough to ask for realistic…ahem affordable…present options, haha!

Then once it’s over and so begins another year. I know I’m very “Meh” about it all. Don’t get me wrong, there is a part of me that loves Christmas and celebrating and then welcoming another year. The memories we create and the new traditions we start are all a big part of it. Maybe I enjoy getting a few presents too. After all I’m still a bit of a kid at heart. Plus I do like to get in the Santa photo as well. While my girls are big enough to do it themselves, I look at it as a great opportunity to put a nice dress on and get a photo taken with my girls that isn’t a selfie! I don’t go as far as sitting on Santa’s lap though, that’s definitely pushing it!

While the magic is still there and they definitely do still believe (I know that’ll change soon enough) I’ll do my best to be a little less ho-hum and more ho ho ho! Some festive cheer is all you need right?! Maybe a sprinkle of magic dust too??! It really is the most wonderful time of the year to spend with family and friends. However you choose to celebrate or not celebrate Christmas, I hope it’s a good one for you, your kids and the rest of your family. May you enjoy some of that festive cheer and some tasty treats along the way as well. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

It’s not really a competition

When did being a mum become so much more than what it is or rather what it should be? Why is it still such an issue over whether women return to work or not once they have kids? What is wrong with a woman staying at home to be with her children rather than working? Why is it seen as an issue if a woman returns to work after having children, like she can’t be at home?

And why oh why do we have the massive competition over who has it the hardest – a mother who is it at home all day and night with her kids or the mother who goes to work during the day and is home all night or even those who work all night and who are home all day?

And then it gets even harder if you are in the crappy position of being a single mum. Those who have full time care and don’t get a break at all or those who have shared care and get the time to themselves. Let me tell you now, it’s no fun sharing your children. Yes there’s a “break” involved but the pain you feel in missing out on time in your small child’s life is no fun at all.

Ladies, no one wins and they shouldn’t because there is no competition. Motherhood is a massive challenge. Yes, it is one most of us take on by choice, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t hard or full on! Raising children is no easy feat! So, why are we so busy tearing each other down all the time? Why is there this idea that there should be a “perfect mother”? Why does it have to be worse or better or a big deal made over who has it worse or better?? Society and the community we live in, certainly have a lot to answer for and in a way so do we all individually, but the perception needs to change or mothers are going to be worried about more than they really need to be!

I’m not a perfect. I go through ups and downs, questioning my role as a mother all the time. I’m scared I’m ruining my daughter’s lives because of so many stupid things. I worry that I’m not a good mum, that one day they may hate me – probably when they’re teenagers, so it’ll be normal anyway – or just that everything I do for them will make their lives worse. I’ve been told that because I worry about whether I am a good Mum, already makes me one, but the worry and fear never goes away! I’ll forever doubt myself and my abilities but I know I can count on the unconditional love my girls appear to have for me! Awwwww…come back to me when they hit the teenage years, haha!

You never stop being a mum, even when they aren’t around you. It’s a part of who you are. It isn’t necessarily the full story of you and your life but the little monsters in your life certainly help shape you into being the person that you are. And all we can hope for at the end of the day/week/century even, is that the tiny little humans we started with get dished up some karma when they have kids of their own (nah just kidding, haha!). What I really hope for is that my beautiful girls go out into the big wide world and leave the biggest mark they can, in a good way of course!

Until that happens, you’ll find me trying not to compete in this ever changing challenging role and world of motherhood and likely failing miserably, haha!

An ever-changing role

Has being a mother changed me as a person?

You bet it has! I may not be the same person I was a long time ago and pre-kids, but I’m much richer for the person I have become and keep changing into. It’s taken a lot to get to this point. I’ve lost a lot personally (some I’m really glad I did, especially looking back now) and I’ve also gained some more positive influences in my life along the way as well, you all know who you are! I’m not sorry if you don’t like me now, that’s your choice. And if you do like me, good luck to you, haha! I know I have two little ladies or pains-in-the-butt (depending on the day) that think I’m the best person in their world…most of the time…and that’s all that really matters at the end of the day.

We spend so much time trying to live up to this idea of the “perfect mother”. Who and where the hell is she? She doesn’t exist. No, really she doesn’t and I’m happy to argue that point with anyone who’s keen. I’ll admit I’m just as bad as everyone else out there, thinking that I need to be the most perfect mother. To say the right things and make sure my children have everything under the sun, just because. Why? It doesn’t mean they’ll turn out any differently or be any better than any other kid out there. To me, that is probably more about how we interact behind closed doors. I scream, yell and swear when my kids are driving me crazy (who doesn’t??) but I also have a softer side too.

I’m forever telling my girls how much I love them, how beautiful they are, giving them big cuddles and kisses because I want them to know, not only how important they are to me, but also how much they should value themselves and their place in the world. Yeah I know, I should really take some of my own advice, but that never works! When you have kids, you make a bucket load of promises about how different their lives will be and that you won’t have the biggest brats in the world. They certainly have their moments, haha!

I’m constantly worried that I’m screwing their lives up majorly and doing the wrong thing all the time, that I’m the worst mother in the world. My girls reassure me I’m the best mummy ever and it melts my heart. Maybe I’m doing something a little bit right after all. But who can tell? There is no rule book. How I do things for my girls may not work for other mums out there and there is nothing wrong with that. You can parent how you want to and I’m certainly going to keep doing things my way. Whether it works all the time, well, that’s another story. Just when I think I’ve got some kind of handle on things; my girls throw another spanner in the works and I’m back to square one. It certainly keeps life interesting.

Until next time…you’ll find me enjoying plenty of kisses and cuddles with my little munchkins, I know they won’t last forever!

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!