Tuesday, 19 March 2013

The To Do List

I have never been a devotee of the To Do List. I just hate the fact that nothing ever gets crossed off it. But I am a big fan of the cheat’s version - the Already Done List, where you add things you just did and tick them off.

It is very hard to make the transition from busy career woman (although I feel like a total fraud calling myself that, not sure why) to a “stay-at-home-mum”. Ugh, I hate that expression. There is something so slothful sounding about it. You just imagine some woman sitting around, daytime TV blaring, ironing board up, kids running riot around her feet as she does something like update her Twitter status or write a blog entry…

Or there’s the alternate reality where you might imagine some 1950s super-domestic mum who bakes cookies and healthy dinners and organises educational craft acitivities for her kids, which she then sits down and does WITH them.

Well, it’s really nothing like that. Either version. Except maybe the blogging bit.

I honestly don’t know where the time goes. When H is home (which is most of the time – he is only in daycare two days a week) it’s a constant cycle of feeding/cleaning. I don’t know where mums find the time to “prepare” delicious healthy meals, because somehow when its time to have lunch or dinner all of a sudden there is this urgency about it, like if I don’t serve up his meal in the next ten seconds I will miss my window and all hell will break loose. So all the food prep I do is reheating or making sandwiches, it’s really not that hard. But there is truly nothing messier in the entire world than a toddler eating. Especially mine.

So then there is the clean-up, and since my toddler likes to run around while he eats the cleaning stretches across multiple rooms. If I try to get too involved in the cleaning though, this is abruptly put to stop by H. He will even get in between the sink and me and push me away from it with impressive force. If he didn’t do it to my husband too, I know he’d think that I was making that up to get out of washing up.

Anyhoo the To Do list begins to form in my head on the night before a daycare day, when I start dreaming about how productive I’ll be while H is away. It usually looks a bit like this:

  • Drop H at daycare
  • Shower   - this seems odd since I love my showers and would love nothing more than to start every day with one like a normal person, but since I can’t do it while H is awake - I’m not sacrificing sleep for it! - they have been relegated to nighttimes. And often by the time I’ve gotten him into bed and sat down to eat my dinner I become a prisoner of the sofa until I realise it’s time to drag myself to bed and then it’s just too late.  So even on daycare days, by the time I’ve dressed and gone out and come home, it’s easy to forget that part of the routine that usually happens pre-dressing.
  • Do the dishes – see passage above about trying to do them with H around.
  • Vac and mop the floor – this it the one that often gets passed over in favour of:
  • Do a couple of hours work – this is fine and usually happens first, as I can sit on my ass with a cuppa and a piece of toast and get right into it, checking Facebook periodically.  But once the actual work part is finished, the sitting on my ass part seems to continue indefinitely…
  • Eat lunch – never fail to complete this task.
  • Do some laundry – I often leave this to last as I think I can manage it with H around.
  • Clean up before picking H up – seems to be optional.

Today’s list has the added activity of waxing my legs and underarms. The boredom plus pain factor of doing this makes it fairly unappealing. As you will see from a previous post, this is something that occurs quite rarely and I am currently writing this to avoid doing it.

Stay tuned faithful readers to see if by next time I am able to wear short-sleeves without shame!

NB here's an update. You will be pleased to note that I vacuumed, mopped AND waxed today. To reward myself I am now eating an entire packet of BBQ flavoured sakatas. The baby wanted them. It told me. 

Friday, 15 March 2013

Happiness is...

I decided I wanted to write a completely positive entry. Because it feels like everything I've written so far is a bit whingey, and granted things haven't been that great recently but life is what you make of it, and I believe in doing everything I can to take control of my happiness.

And what's the one thing that I can find good in no matter what? It's no thing, it's my boy! So this is going to be an ode to his sheer awesomeness. Avert your eyes now if doting motherly pride sickens you.

My boy is many, many levels of awesome. Let me count the ways he makes me happy.  I love watching him on the video monitor sleeping with Quackers, the big, soft, yellow duck who is his beloved bed companion. Generally Quackers starts the night reclining across my boy's face, but since H moves around more than a rabbit in a blender they inevitably get separated at some point. It looks like there's been a lovers tiff when they are positioned at the furthest ends of the cot to each other. Then somehow H will end up lying on top of Quackers with his bottom in the air, their quarrel resolved.

In the mornings – if he’s in a good mood - when I enter his room he squeals and insists we play dancing and singing games with Quackers, who is a fan of show tunes and Barry Manilow. He chants “more, more” before we even finish the ducky dance.

When we read his favourite book, Captain Flynn and the Pirate Dinosaurs, he sings the Pirate Dinosaur song throughout, although he only knows his favourite bit of it, the rest is a jumbled rush to get to the “Go Go Go!”  When we tickle him, he lifts his shirt and gives his own belly a tickle. Sometimes he’ll take a wipe and “help me” when I’m changing his nappy.

I love his incomprehensible gibberish, uttered with such conviction. I love that he pronounces yoghurt "yuck-ett". I love the funny straining face he makes when he's pooing. I love his cheeky giggle whenever "someone" guffs (farts) - not me of course, as I am a lady and never do things like that.

I just LOVE his feisty, cheeky, indomitable spirit. Just look at him with these bubbles!

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Gorillas are sexy

This is almost irrelevant to me as I am a waxer anyway, which means waiting 5 weeks for the hair to grow long enough to wax, then being a gorilla for another few weeks til I actually get around to it. Since I can't afford to get it done professionally any more, I have to DIY and that takes an age, so time is the real reason I look like a hippy lesbian most of the time.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Women - we rock. Right?

It's International Women's Day, so I feel I should post something. Problem is, I'm not feeling that great about being a woman at the moment. In fact, it sucks, quite a bit. I am usually one for extolling the virtues of womanhood, how wonderful it is that we are the more emotionally mature and aware sex, that we form such strong friendships and that we are the lynchpin holding our families together. 

But friendship has been a big let-down for me lately. And although I love motherhood, the pregnancy bit sucks big hairy balls. Here it is probably relevant that I am pregnant again. 16 weeks. I have not told many people, just a few select friends and family. 

It's been a very tense few months and this pregnancy has felt quite different from my other two. Firstly, I had morning sickness, which I never really experienced before. That was fun. But I didn't actually vomit so I guess I shouldn't grumble. I was also extreeeeemely grumpy. Like PMS on a royal scale. My poor husby copped the worst of it I'm afraid. At one point he commented on my mood and I said, sorry the baby doesn't like you. Harsh, I know. 

And now the hormones are playing havoc with my skin. I have always had dry skin, but this is beyond a joke. In the last few weeks every last drop of moisture evacuated my face. It looks and feels like the Sahara desert. My wrinkles are not only emphasised, they are multiplied. I have wrinkles on my wrinkles. I also think I have the beginnings of SPD, a pleasant condition where the ligaments in your groin separate to the point of agony when you walk or move your legs at all. Not to mention the hemorrhoids. I won't even go into what giving birth to my son did to me - he doesn't need to read about it one day in the archives of the intermawebs. Of course, I'd do it all again to get my son. Just like I'll got through all this "fun" to have another.

I just feel like a bit of a failure as a woman. As a stay at home mum, I don’t cook, bake, garden, sew, or even clean that much. I know that women shouldn’t be expected to do all that, but since I don’t work anymore I feel like I should be good at at least one traditional feminine characteristic.

And, on that note, I had an OB appointment yesterday and my Doc took a look between the legs. The baby's, not mine. He thinks I’m having a girl. This leaves me conflicted. I was thrilled at first. Because I have a crazy, Energiser Bunny boy already and, having lost a baby boy, I thought the fact that it was a girl would help me not to draw comparisons as much. Plus I want a baby that will return all my affection, as my son has only just started doling out kisses and cuddles and he’s pretty stingy with them. And of course I dream of having a daughter to shop with, chat with and maybe one day understand what being her mum was like.

All of that aside, knowing how shit being a woman can be, I wouldn’t really wish it on my child. Growing up with body issues; teasing or bullying over her looks; monthly periods; pressure to be sexy and have sex, but be smart and have a career; and then go through all this crap to have her own family. Ugh. I am sure I am overthinking it all.

Especially since the Doc said he was only 60% sure it was a girl, which considering the odds are 50/50 means he’s only 10% sure. 

Gah. I'm off to eat a Cornetto.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Single parenting sucks

My husband is away on business. For a week. God help me. This means I have to play Bad Cop AND Good Cop. It's just that this is extremely difficult for a soft-cock like me. After one staunch refusal to succumb to my toddler's demand for Peppa Pig/Play School/yoghurt/whatever is on my plate, I melt like a snowman in hell. Either it's that adorable face that I could just eat up, or it's the threat of a tantrum to challenge Hurricane Katrina. I just want peace. 

Tonight he refused to eat his dinner, preferring to stealthily raise the spoon to his mouth, look at me and then fling it across the room. He also refused to sit in his high chair or toddler chair, preferring to push the chair around the room like a shopping trolley. I am proud to say that Bad Cop stepped up and he did not get toast, or cheese or yoghurt as an alternative (she guiltily admits to past sins).

He also did not want to take a bath. We've recently had 'issues' with bathtime that have only just been resolved - for some reason for weeks he hated it and had to just be sponged down on the bathroom floor. Then, for no reason, the worm turned. Bathtime was fun again, hooray! So much fun that tantrums ensue on their conclusion. But not tonight. After dinner dramas he refused a bath.  He was still chanting “nom nom nom” indicating he was STARVING and I was a neglectful parent. I momentarily considered weakening and cracking out the cheese. Instead I bribed him in with the dummy – Bad Cop fail. I’d have skipped it but he was all gritty from the sandpit at daycare and a sandy crack does not make for a peaceful night (for either of us).

He’s asleep now and after mopping the floor I feel like I have earned the rest of night firmly planted on my ass cruising the net and comfort eating with some brain-draining reality TV for background noise.

He pulled everything out of my wallet a couple of days ago (and I have a MAMMOTH wallet, the size of a small suitcase into which every receipt, ticket, card and miscellaneous small object go). I shoved it all back into one compartment and have not tried to sort it back into order yet. I almost forgot about that.

Oh and I had a Cornetto for dinner the other night. Come back husby. Or I might end up with scurvy. 

Monday, 4 March 2013

Who is that haggard old lady in the mirror?

Since having a baby I have changed. Not just emotionally and in maturity and priorities. But in appearance. I'm afraid to say that expression "she really let herself go" could not be truer for me. I used to be the person who spent an hour doing her hair and never left the house without make-up on. Now, if I get a shower or time to run a brush through my hair before I go out, it's a good day. This seems strange since I only have one child to care for. Let's just say he's a high maintenance child. A wonderful one. But he makes everything hard work.

If I get my hairbrush out he insists on taking it off me to brush his own hair. Refuse and risk the wrath of a toddler. Whilst getting dressed I am constantly interrupted having to stop him from pulling everything out of the boxes under the bed. Or resetting the alarm clock to GMT. If I try to do something like put sunscreen on, he demands the bottle and squeezes some cream out so he can rub it into his clothes, mimicking me. Bless him.

My clothes used to be unique, designer type pieces that flattered my figure and expressed my taste and style. Those are all packed away in zip-lock bags for the day when I magically lose that stubborn baby-weight. Now I sport cheap, loose or stretchy sacks from Target that are usually stained with some part of Hamish's breakfast and streaks from his dirty, sticky fingers. I haven't had a haircut in over a year. I rarely get the time to wax my legs and can't afford to pay to get it done any more.

The old me would find the current me pitiful. I sort of mourn the loss of that polished, put-together person. But I wonder if/when I get the "me time" back to be able to, how much of that effort I'll actually care to bother with.


This is a post that I've had inside me for a while now and one of the reasons I needed to start this blog. Last September I lost a baby. I was 19 weeks pregnant, nearly halfway. It's commonly assumed once you pass the 12 week mark, you're safe. So it was entirely unexpected. There were no signs, the pregnancy had been uneventful, and there was no pain or blood to indicate something had gone wrong. I found out at the morphology scan, a routine ultrasound performed at the halfway point. It was a shock. And devastating. And we still don't know why.

This post is not about the event and the history behind it though (that will come later). It's about grief. Because I feel like I've had my fair share of it now. I feel like life needs to deal me a break. I lost a best friend 6 years ago to a brutal, unfair cancer. She was young, vibrant and beautiful, and she had a baby son who was left motherless. That changed me as a person. Then my father had life-threatening cancer. He thankfully recovered. Then my mother was diagnosed with her serve of it. Hers had already travelled from bowel to liver and the prognosis was not good. I was terrified. She went through a debilitating and disfiguring treatment and survived. But I grieved for her too. For her suffering and her loss. 

Now this. Sometimes I feel so fragile I don't think I can handle this world. I can't read the newspaper anymore and if something sinister is happening in a movie I turn it off. I feel weak. 

One of the hardest things about grief is the way other people acknowledge it - or don't. When you go through something so vicious and painful, you need the people you love around you. You need them to let you know they care. But people find pain hard to handle. They don't like seeing you cry. And if they don't know what to say they feel uncomfortable. I get that. 

And dead babies are one of the hardest things to talk about. 

It doesn't make it any easier though when you see people you've known for years, who you thought were among your closest friends, and they don't acknowledge what happened. That hurts. This grief is part of my identity now. I live with this pain every minute of every day. Sure, it gets softened with the passage of time, but it's there and it's part of me now. I know it's hard to talk about. And hell it gets boring. This lyric from a Clare Bowditch song keeps running through my head:

The thing about grief is

It gets kind of boring for the
People who don't yet know.
Your friends - some they will wander off and
Most will just wish you'd move on sister

That rings so true. I feel like people must be thinking I should be over it by now. I haven't heard from a lot of friends in months. But I won't always be this broken. I'll mend and one day I'll be there when they feel like life is falling apart. If they could just stand by me now...

On the flip side, I have been so touched by new friends who have demonstrated amazing friendship and empathy. But it doesn't replace the sense of loss of the people I've known for 10 years or more who seem to have deserted me. 

I posted this picture on Facebook when I lost Benjamin. It perfectly sums up how I need people to be. I don't expect anyone to "fix" me, find a solution for my grief. I just need support and understanding. 

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Muddle-headed origins

In case you were wondering about the title of this blog, it's inspired by a book I used to read at my Grandpa's called The Muddle Headed Wombat. It's a series of books actually, but the one that I had, and which I read to my son today in fact, is called The Muddle Headed Wombat on Clean-up Day.
And the relevance is my general confusion with this whole motherhood gig!

Um, hi....

So this is me. I guess you deserve an introduction. 30-something, married mother of one. I used to be a entertainment media producer, but since the birth of my son (and my unceremonious exit from my job) I am now doing bits and pieces of writing, editing, proofing and marketing. It is solitary work and although I adore my baby boy to pieces, I find myself lonely in a way I've never been before.

So this is going to be my mental chunder. Welcome to my musings.