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!

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.

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!).

The finest moments

I know I’m not the best mother. I’m nowhere near perfect. I don’t ever claim to be. I yell and I scream (who doesn’t?). I probably rant and rave a fair bit too. I sometimes pretend to throw tantrums back at my children too, not necessarily because I think it’s funny or I’m trying to teach them a lesson. But because I’m frustrated by the situation as well.

As parents, yes leading by example can be a good thing. But when you’re tired or your last nerve has been fried, sometimes you just respond rather than react how you should. We are only human too. Our decisions don’t always reflect the best choice but maybe just the only choice at the time. It’s so easy to judge, whether it’s others or yourself. You’ll often find me judging myself, story of my life!

I’m sick of pretending like everything is okay when it’s not. Sure, I can fake smile with the best of them but what’s the point?
I’m tired (who isn’t?), my kids are driving me nuts and at times I’m not sure how much I like them. I’m allowed to say that. It doesn’t mean I don’t love them. It doesn’t mean they aren’t important. It means I’m human and I’m going through the ups and downs of life.

So why do we have to pretend we’re all Supermums? What does that achieve other than setting a fake precedent for the next round of women looking to raise a brood?
Yeah I know, we’re not chickens either but the way kids can carry on sometimes, it’s like being stuck in the middle of a squawking mess. I could use stronger words there but I think you get the idea!

But you are allowed to have bad days. You are allowed to be unhappy and, at times, not actually like your snotty nosed pain in the bum feral children. That doesn’t ever have to mean you don’t want them or love them….well most of the time anyway. Mum Guilt will always haunt you and it will never go away, no matter how old your children are (or so I’m told).

No one is born knowing exactly how to parent, it’s a massive learning curve and I’m happy to admit I’m still winging it every day. Explains a lot really, haha! But as I’ve said many times before my girls are still alive, so I must be doing something right! At least I try to remember that when I’m having “one of those days”, which is almost every other day some weeks. I know my girls being little will be over before I know it (thanks mum) but will the attitude ever end??!!

Talking the talk

You have to love the lies we tell ourselves about our own children. Before they’re born and you see a friend’s offspring or a kid at the shops throwing a ridiculous tantrum over nothing you say, ‘oh my child won’t do that’. After they’re born and you’re still stuck in that newborn haze, you can’t help but think ‘everything will be perfect and work in my favour, my baby is and will be nothing like those other kids’. But the truth is you really don’t know what will happen until you’re living it. Living the dream or actually realising you were acting like a completely smug you know what until reality (your children) smacks you in the face.

We have our good days and our bad. The times we’re really happy or bawling our eyes out. Life with children is no walk in the park. So why should we treat it that way?! Why should we pretend everything is perfect when in reality it isn’t? Well I think it has a lot to do with a preconceived notion that we have to show that we have a handle on everything and we can do just about anything.

Mums are pretty good at doing most things, most of the time (we like to think so or at least hope) but we really can’t have it all. I’m about as far from perfect as you can get, I’ve always been happy to admit that and I have no shame in saying that I have struggled and even now I still have extremely tough days and nights too. I yell when my girls go feral and yes, I have been known to swear (shock horror) at them as well. Every now and then I still have the thought that running away might be easier than dealing with a child whose sister has looked at them at the wrong way/taking a toy or even touched them. I think it’s safe to say I won’t be winning Mother of the Year anytime soon.

And seriously I’d still like to have words with whoever put the silly idea in Miss Izzie’s head that she can’t possibly wear anything other than dresses. Every. Single. Day. We have a drawer full of shorts and plenty of pretty shirts hanging in the cupboard, but it seems they aren’t good enough even with Elsa’s perfect blonde hair and beaming smile plastered on them. It’s an ongoing battle, one I should probably just let go of (see what I did there). Can you sense my frustration? Haha! I guess I’ve never found myself much of a girly girl. Shorts and a top are my comfort zone. So, dealing with a little princess sure can be challenging, to say the least.

I have hope. Yes, I’m hopeful that Miss Phoebe may be less of a handful. Who am I kidding? That kid is already the devil in disguise, getting her big sister into trouble or upsetting her every chance she can. It makes me laugh though because I’m pretty sure I did the same thing for my big brother. Correction I was the best little sister ever (cough cough).

At the end of the day it shouldn’t be about who has a better handle on things, who’s winning or losing in this epic battle of parenting. It’s really about surviving and showing your kids you love them even when they’re driving you up the wall. Expect the worst, hope for the best and always keep a stash of wine and chocolate somewhere handy!

Ups and downs

Every day with kids is a roller coaster. One minute you’re up, the next going down and let’s not forget always having to be prepared for the unexpected twists and turns.

Like now, I feel like a walking zombie again thanks to the joys of teething and the oh so fun tantrums….from not just one but both girls!

But it’s hard to imagine life any other way once you have kids. They do take up a lot of your time, day and night and everything in between!

I will admit though it’s still fun watching them grow, develop their own personality and take on the world.

It’s just a shame they feel taking on the world involves wiping me out in the process!

Each day often brings with it new challenges, new discoveries and a whole lot of questions.

Why really can be a horrible word, especially when your patience is wearing out.
Some days I’m prepared with answers, even if they don’t make sense to me, Miss Izzie seems happy enough.
And other days Mummy just spends her time losing her marbles. If you find them somewhere I’d love them back, haha!

I love her curiosity more than anything because I think it reminds me of what I was like and to an extent what I’m still like now. Always asking questions, wanting to find out as much as I can about what’s happening in the world.

Kids are always learning from us, even if it’s not always necessarily good things (haha).

Sometimes I think it can be a bad thing that my girls carry many of my traits but then I realize it has potential to be a good thing too. The bad temper maybe not so much.

As for Miss Phoebe, watching her come into her own and stand her ground more and more with her big sister can be both hilarious and exasperating at the same time. I’m already having visions of hair pulling in the not too distance future. And the thought of fights over clothes and shoes is another level altogether.
But at least they’re still up for the cute kisses and cuddles at bedtime. Awwwww!

I don’t know where I would be without them….okay maybe I could think of a few places….just kidding.

But like most parents, I hope that despite everything they go through that they grow up to be the best they can be, achieve everything they want and do what makes them happy without ever thinking they didn’t give it their best shot so long as they tried and gave it their all.

Sometimes I wonder if the same could be said for other things in life but that as always is another story…

I’m off on another fun roller coaster ride, it’s like they know the minute you sit down, they always know (haha!).

Shame on words

I’m not backward in coming forward.

Those of you who know me well would be used to hearing what I have to say.

So I couldn’t stay quiet about something which I feel needs to be said.

So here goes….

Stop the mum shaming! Enough is enough.

To all the mums out there, you rock!

You’re doing an amazing job, even if you feel like you aren’t.

You might be doing everything right and you could be getting it all wrong.

But who cares as long as you and your kids are happy! Right?!

Apparently not!

Mum shaming is out there and it’s a case of judge or be judged.

No one says you have to like what other mums do.

Why on earth do we all feel the need to bring each other down?!

You know what?? Some mums work. Some don’t and some even work from home, fancy that!

Some mums breastfeed and others don’t or even can’t so there’s nothing wrong with a bottle!

You can purée food for your little one or make use of handy pouches or packets, as long as your child is fed it’s up to you how you do it!

There are mums who co-sleep and yep you guessed it, mums who don’t.

You might choose to yell at and smack your kids or you might not.

Some mums actually choose to stay at home and others have to go to work because they don’t have a choice, that doesn’t make either role any less tiring than the other.

Some mums use daycare and others don’t.

Parenting is full of ups and downs and twists and turns. It doesn’t need to be a competition.

No one is perfect and there isn’t one set way to parent.

Yet in this crazy world we live in, it seems people feel the need to bring other parents down and tell them they pretty much suck.

Everyone is entitled to an opinion, hell I’ve certainly got my fair share.
But there are times when it’s just better to keep that opinion to yourself.

So what if you don’t agree with what another mum does or doesn’t do for their child, it’s not your place to say otherwise.

If you do feel the need to open your mouth, shove a piece of chocolate into it instead, it’ll leave a better taste….

A moment of reflection

Life sure is different these days.

Both good and bad.

When I became a mother I feel like I said goodbye to a big part of me.

Don’t get me wrong I love being a mum to my two beautiful girls, but I do miss aspects of my pre-baby life.

Aside from the fact I could go to the toilet in peace, I could eat chocolate without having to share, sleep was amazing and going out could be a spur-of-the-moment decision.

And, well…..people used to visit to see us but now it’s really to see the girls.

I can hear you all (well those who visit anyway) saying “but but but…I come to see you too!”

Once again that’s another story.

But after a rough day yesterday where I spent quite some time yelling at my toddler and trying to stop her from killing her sister, I almost feel like giving up.

I honestly felt like the worst mum in the world.

Mummy guilt sure can knock you for six.

I looked out the door and thought about what could be on the other side.

(Freedom!!!! Just kidding!)

But then something magical happened.

I thought about the good stuff like when Miss Izzie hugged and kissed me for no reason and Miss Phoebe gave me one of her gummy big smiles.

And once again things fell into place.

Well after a sneaky piece of chocolate anyway.

Wine would have been better.
Damn this breastfeeding business (haha!).

I’ve never lied about parenting being a hard gig.

There’s no point.

Earlier this week one of my lovely pregnant friends asked if it was hard juggling a toddler and a newborn.

My response was giving birth is easier than dealing with a toddler and a baby right now.

Probably a tad over dramatic (yes I know labour/birth is not easy for everyone) but combining a temperamental toddler with a crying baby doesn’t always result in a good outcome, particularly when daddy is at work!

Especially when it comes to dinner, bath and bedtime!

I mean sitting with a two-year-old for half an hour (or maybe more) while she picks at a small plate of fish fingers, salad and sauce could drive the most sane person crazy!

Who knew eating just sauce constituted a meal?!

But once again I survived, gritted my teeth and kept going.

Why?

Because I have to, I’m meant to and two little girls rely on me to make their world keep moving.

And most importantly because……I am mum.

A time to ponder

“You will make mistakes.”

“Don’t sweat the small stuff.”

“Never second guess yourself.”

“No one really knows what they’re doing.”
(Whether they admit it or not!)

These are just some of the things I’d probably tell myself as a new mum if I could go back.

After all, it feels like those early days have disappeared into a blur.

You can absorb all the advice in the world when you’re a new parent, but it doesn’t necessarily sink in at the time.

And you may not really feel like listening to anyone at the time either!

If I knew back when Izzie was born what I know now, would I do things differently?

Sometimes I think yes, but realistically it’s more a case of probably not.

And she would more than likely still be the happy healthy child she is.

Let’s face it, no parent is perfect (if you are, no one wants to hear it).

Especially in those early days where everything is so new and you feel like you’re stuck in a parallel universe.

You’re surrounded in dirty washing, covered in dried milk and feel like you haven’t slept in weeks.

I remember asking the same question over and over.

Can I (we) really do this?

You don’t want to know what my answer really was.

Even now, I have my doubts.

I still have days where there are tears and I feel like a failure.

But like I did back then, I just keep on going, the difference now is I have a toddler who has an unlimited supply of energy!

I must be doing something right, well most days anyway.

No one ever really knows what they’re in for when they become parents.

I’m more than happy to admit I was flying blind in the lead up to and probably long after Izzie’s arrival.

But despite my apprehension, reservations, apparent failing (mostly through my eyes) and silly mistakes, I have come out the other side and feel like I just might be doing a little something right.

After all, it’s time to prepare to do it all again…..