Saturday, March 21, 2015

Becoming Public Enemy #1

Have you ever bagged out your boss? Criticised your husband?... or your mother-in-law? 

What about that bitchy mum who parks across two bays at school so no one scratches her precious car? I bet everyone has broadcast a dig at the PM or some other public figure.

Have you ever complained about your kids? Publicly? And how did that work out for you?

How come it is perfectly acceptable – even encouraged -  for us to trash talk other adults but the minute you say anything other than love and bunnies about children you are publicly maligned? 

And god forbid you are a mother who complains about an aspect of parenting: suddenly you are the epitome of evil.

Joffrey Baratheon 2
Bad mothers are as evil as Joffrey,
image from http://gameofthrones.wikia.com/wiki/Joffrey_Baratheon

Last year I blogged about not liking playing with my kids. Rather benign really. I don’t really like playing tennis either but no one really cares about that. I didn’t write about locking them in a cupboard or starving them of food, or beating them when I was angry. I admitted that playing imaginary games with my daughter drove me nuts. I wasn’t the first mother to ever admit this, and I am pretty sure I won’t be the last. 

It was re-posted on mega site Scary Mommy and while there was a collective sigh of relief from hundreds and hundreds of mums admitting they felt the same way, there was a seam of comments from people accusing me of being a bad mother and questioning why I even bothered having kids if I wasn't going to play with them.

Society doesn’t like it when mothers admit truths like this. 

Mothers are meant to remain perfectly happy and grateful for their fortunate position. 

Society trashed British mother Isabella Dutton when she admitted that she didn’t love her children and regretted having them. Admittedly, calling them parasites in the national tabloid where they – and the entire world – could read it, might have been a judgement in error, but she cannot have been the first women to have children to please her husband and then spend the rest of her life wishing she hadn’t.

When US mother Lenore Skenazy let her then nine year old son catch the subway home by himself, she was quickly vilified as America’s worst mom. Why? For publicly admitting that she felt the way we currently parent our kids was stifling them.

Throughout history there have been bad mothers. There have been ambivalent mothers. But it is primarily in recent years with the rise in blogging and greater access for the average person to find a platform that suddenly we are able to talk about things that women have been thinking about for years. Topics that were once considered taboo are finally being talked about – albeit slowly: miscarriage, post-natal depression, gender disappointment. Genuine discussions about difficult topics that people find challenging to talk about and confronting to listen to.

And where we should be celebrating that opportunity to air some of our grievances, it would seem you cannot find a more judgmental crowd than a group of mothers. Every time a woman admits that she is not as fulfilled as she thought she might be, every time someone divulges she perhaps was a better employee than she is a mother - instead of letting her have the opportunity to fess up to what is probably a major source of angst, she is attacked.


Why aren’t parents, and in particular mothers, allowed to admit their flaws? 

What are we afraid of? 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Do you make these mistakes when shopping with kids (and husbands?)

‘We’ll be quick,’ my husband had said. ‘All I need is some soft drink from the store and some new shirts.’

‘You want to take three kids to a department store while you buy shirts?’ I asked incredulously.

He showed me his phone.

‘I have pictures of exactly what I want. Size, brand everything. It’ll be easy,’ he said.

First mistake – believing my husband.

The shop with the shirts didn’t open til 9am yet for some reason we were coasting into the carpark well before 8.30am. My husband slowed in front of the boom gate and took the proffered ticket.

What happened to it after that is anyone’s guess.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Saying Goodbye to Baby Number Three

Some might consider this post a year – or even two – overdue.

It’s the post where I finally admit that Baldy Baby, aka The Third Child, is no longer a baby. She is a little girl, three years old tomorrow.

It’s not just our children who experience rights of passage when they have birthdays. Let’s be honest, they’re really only interested in cake and presents at this age, and can’t really tell the difference between a birthday and Christmas, unless they are particularly observant about colours and the fact you eat cake instead of pudding.

But for parents, admitting that your youngest child is no longer a baby, can be a momentous occasion. It represents a shift in your status as a parent: one that can often lead to serious contemplation and navel gazing.

What am I doing with my life?

What have I achieved?

Will she ever get out of nappies?

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

There's Always One...

There’s always one kid at swimming lessons who spend their time howling, screaming, crying and otherwise being a complete terrorist in swim nappies. There’s always one…

Today was The Terrible Third’s first day of swimming lessons. Not yet three, her confidence around the water is only exceeded by her inability to swim, judge hazards or be remotely trustworthy.

But she was so excited to finally get to do what her big sisters have been doing for years. I left the house early, not quite knowing what was involved or how long it might take to get our access cards sorted.

I hadn’t calculated on her running the entire way from the car to the pool, as such we were slinking into our seats half way through the lesson prior to ours. The two mums turned to me and smiled.

‘You’re here early,’ one said looking at The Third as she hopped from foot to foot pointing at the water.

‘Swimming wessons,’ The Third shrieked throwing her sandals off and heading towards the pool. I grabbed her by the straps of her bathers and pulled her onto my lap. ‘You have to wait,’ I told her.

‘The other kids need to finish their lesson first.’

‘Awwwww,’ she pouted, thrusting her hands onto her hips. ‘I must swim!’ she declared.

The mums sniggered, and I glanced at the clock. Still ten minutes to go.

Monday, January 26, 2015

A Story in Two Parts: Part Two The Sweet

“I’m Clarissa the Rock fairy,” the Mop announced.

“The what fairy?” I asked.

“The Rock Fairy,” she said. “I like to rock!” I could see her eyes rolling at my ignorance as she strummed her air guitar.

“Ohhh, a Rock and Roll Fairy,” I nodded.

“That’s my talent,” she said proudly.

“What do you play?” I asked.

“The giddar,” she replied.

“And do you sing?” I wanted to know.

“Of course,” she sighed dramatically.

“That’s awesome. Now go to bed so you can get up tomorrow and rock some more.” I was so tired my eyes were sticking together and I couldn’t walk straight. School holidays were doing me in.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

A Story in Two Parts: Part 1 The Crazy

Ding dong ding dong.

‘Groceries are here,’ I cried, dropping the towel I was using on The Terrible Third’s tangled hair and running down the hall.

It was about 7pm on a warm Perth summer night. There was still plenty of light left in the sky and a young guy was standing at the door with a trolley stacked high with plastic crates. I opened up the door and wedged the security screen open. We started unpacking the bags of groceries out onto the floor.

‘Hi Mamma,’ a little voice said behind me. I turned to see my not-quite-three year old standing nude, trailing her towel, a massive grin on her face.

‘Hi Bubba,’ I replied. ‘Can you go and get dressed please?’

At that moment she spotted a large jar of Nutella in one of the bags. ‘Mine,’ she said, grabbing at it. I reached over and pulled it out of her grasp. She immediately had a break down like I had pulled off one of her arms.

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