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!

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!

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!).

A little bit of history repeating??

I can do this, I repeat to myself again and again. I count to 10 but it doesn’t work. Why do you both have to be so strong willed like me? Haha! Karma I guess. Yes, my beautiful and cheeky, but oh so attitude filled daughters are at it again, breaking Mummy! It’s not hard some days. It’s funny how one minute they are the best of friends and then in 10 seconds flat there are tears and cries for Mummy because someone’s world has been turned upside down, usually over a toy! I’m sympathetic to a point, but I do want them to learn how to sort some things out themselves.

I don’t know what it’s like to deal with a sister thanks to growing up with an older brother, although that wasn’t always fun, my brother on the other hand may beg to differ. But I do hear it can be a mixed bag of full-on moments, throw in some cute ones (probably to lull me into a false sense of security) and then some love/hate hair-pulling scenarios followed up by being the best of friends. In other words, never a dull moment…much like now…just to keep me on my toes. I’m not silly, I know a lot of it is about getting each other in trouble, pushing the boundaries and looking for attention. I may not have grown up with a sister but even with a big brother, the same rules apply for a lot of things, especially when my brother was always trying to get me into trouble (you can’t deny it bro!).

At least I can be grateful for one thing…for now anyway. They don’t tend to gang up on me too much. Most of the taunting is aimed at each other. Somehow, I can’t see this lasting. There can be a lot of copying, usually from Miss Phoebe watching her older sister of course! But then she sure knows how to try and get her big sister in trouble. Lucky I wasn’t born yesterday and have started getting used to some of the signs, haha! The joys of raising children, they can have you smiling, crying and then screaming in the space of about 30 seconds flat. It’s the best thing I have ever done (insert sarcastic tone here). Well, in a way it is the best thing I have ever done, having children, but don’t ever quote that back to me on a bad day!

I’ve said this before but I do love that my girls will always have each other. And when they aren’t trying to get each other in trouble, they actually have somewhat of a close bond. I can only hope this continues throughout their lives. I’m still a little terrified (okay, a lot!) at the thought of having two teenage girls to deal with one day. I may have to go into hiding or take up meditation, they’re both viable options, haha! My girls are pretty good kids, when they want something. I’m kidding, they are most of the time. I think everyone just seems to catch me on the bad days, which feel like they’re becoming more often, haha! I know I’d be lost without them and to be honest they give me some pretty good material to write about as well. Now excuse me while I go deal with the latest dramatic episode in sister life, someone has probably stolen yet another pony or barbie doll or even just looked twice in the wrong direction! Ahhhhh children, gotta love it!

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??!!

Smack, bang, game over

“I’m going to bed early tonight.”

Hahahaha! It’s probably the funniest thing I’ve said all day, maybe all year, perhaps in the last decade too. I rarely go to bed early these days. I look at any time after the girls go to bed as “my time”. Yes, it means I get a little less sleep. But it’s my chance to watch a grown-up television show (as in something that isn’t on ABCKids), try to read a book or even do some writing, woohoo excitement plus! That’s the joy of parenting right?! There’s some kind of silver lining there.

Your priorities definitely change as a parent. How you define them is your choice but finding some time for myself is always a big one. And if that means losing a little bit of sleep, I guess I’ll just have to wear it. But when my dearest darling children are the ones behind my loss of sleep, it’s another story!

They just know when to pounce, every time. Whether it’s super early, late, your defences are way down or they just want to push the buttons. It’s like my girls know exactly when I’ve hit my deep sleep and bam, it’s time to bring me back to wide awake again. Or they know when I’m starting to stir in the morning. You know that moment where you first open your eyes and before you know it they spot you. You can’t close your eyes again because they know you’re awake. You want just a couple more minutes but defeat is your best option.

It’s pretty much the best option especially when the odds are stacked against you. The tears. The tantrums. The whinging and whining. It all makes me want to hide in a cupboard until it’s all over. Will it ever be over?! Insert long drawn out groan right here. Haha! Ahhhhh the fun.

Lately I feel like I’ve been more of a referee than anything else.
“Izzie hit me.”
“Phoebe bit me.”
“Izzie’s not sharing.”
“Phoebe took it.”
“Mummy it’s not fair.”
I think I’ve said “life’s not fair kiddo” more times than I can count and I’m pretty sure I’ve seen so many eye rolls I’m waiting for a little head to spin around.

Miss Izzie is my drama queen. Everything is the end of the world, especially when she doesn’t get her own way.
Miss Phoebe is just hell bent on stirring up trouble whenever she can. If she can get her sister into trouble she will and she doesn’t care how she goes about it.
I then feel I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place trying to work out which child is in trouble and who is the cause of trouble. Phoebe’s cheeky grin is often a dead giveaway of her guilt.
Honestly, I feel like bashing my head against a wall, it might be more effective seeing as they don’t listen to me anyway. I predict the future won’t be any better so I’m adjusting as best I can already, haha!

But as always, they know how to work their magic and find a way back into Mummy’s good books. I’m a bit of a softie when they come up and hug me for no reason or tell me they love me, it is kind of sweet. And they’re still at an age where you can almost safely assume they don’t want anything major. But then again, I do still have the say over when they can have chocolate…..

Learning the ropes

“No.”

“Not yet.”

“I don’t want to.”

“Coz Mummy.”

“I’m a big girl.”

Yep defiance is strong in my baby girl. I wonder where she gets it from?! Haha, who am I kidding?!! Miss Phoebe is one strong willed and very independent young lady and very much like her mummy already. Well, to be fair, both my girls can be a lot like me. There’s nothing wrong with that, on a good day that is! Don’t ask me on a bad day. On a bad day I’m not even sure they’re my children, hahahaha!

It’s a different experience, watching their little personalities shine through as they turn into a little person. I never thought it would go this quick. One minute they were my little babies and now they’re forging their own paths in the world. Okay, so maybe I’m jumping ahead a little bit, they are only two and four after all, but it has, so far, gone very quickly.

In saying that, I do spend a lot of time butting heads and feeling like I’m going nowhere. My girls certainly have a lot of sass. I’m not going to lie, I’m very proud of their ability to stand up for themselves. It just doesn’t work when Mummy is trying to make a point where they should be eating, or not giving me so much attitude. You really can’t win and I’m finding raising girls certainly comes with a lot of challenges. I am terrified of what lies ahead in the next 10 to 15 years, plenty of screaming matches to come, no doubt!

It begs the question, how do you teach them to channel the cheeky/defiant/whatever you want to call it really, attitude into something that isn’t going to leave you banging your head against the proverbial wall? Or am I just doomed? Karma maybe for all the “fun” I put my mum through?

I still find it funny that no matter how much trouble they get up to or get in, they always want hugs from mummy in the end. They might be cranky or sulking in the corner, but you can pull a funny face or tickle them until fits of giggles ensue and it’s game over once again (sometimes mummy does win, haha!)! I knew life with kids would never be easy, but some days are downright challenging and exhausting, especially with my two little bundles of attitude riddled never-ending energy.

I don’t ever want to wish the time away, especially when I keep saying how quickly it’s going, but there are times I can’t wait to get past some stages. Defiance I know won’t disappear overnight (or possibly ever!), attitude, well that really speaks for itself, thinking mummy is the best can only last for five minutes at a time and the rest just goes in waves. I know that despite feeling overwhelmed and quite often like I’m failing and flailing, I just have to try and learn from it all and keep smiling. Yeah yeah, I know, easier said than done! And maybe, just maybe, one day I might take some of my own advice. Yep, I can hear the laughter ringing in my own ears, haha!

Until next time….