Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Small Things

I am known to celebrate pretty much anything.  I don't need much of an excuse to crack open a bottle of champagne and don a party hat.

Half birthday?  Cheers to that!

Finally made some cash writing for Weekend Notes! Cheers to that!

Slept for four hours in a row. Cheers to that!

So the fact that this is actually my 200th blog post is something that has been weighing on my mind for a few weeks.  I wanted to do something big, something special, something timeless. Something that would go viral and earn me a Pulitzer or a book deal.

But life's not really like that is it?

For every Glennon Melton, Amber Dusick and Kerri Sackville whose hard work has earned them international fame and a book deal or two, there are hundreds, probably thousands of everyday bloggers like me, plus tens of thousands of ordinary mums who carry on in the anonymity of their every day lives, with their relatively small successes.

I had a conversation this morning with a friend about the general 'lack' in our lives. A lack of progress, lack of achievement, lack of personal grooming (in my case at least).  This parenting gig, even five years down the track, still astonishes me on a daily basis.  How all encompassing is it, how time consuming. How the six hours between school drop off and school pick up can evaporate into nothing more than a load of washing and a few breast feeds.

I'm not complaining, though it may sound like I am. 

I spent almost thirty years studying and working and being told to perform and achieve, and being rewarded for performing and achieving. And it doesn't matter how much you love your kids, how much you cherish your time with them, whether you carpe diem or not - it's not as though you can instantly turn off that voice in your head that has told you that success comes from (choose one): money, promotion, position, publications, qualifications, status, public recognition, or perfectly manicured nails.

Because that voice does not exist solely in your head.

Even if you have come to grips with the fact that your project management skills are now being used to write the playgroup roster, or your engineering degree is now being used to help build towers out of Lego, you can't stop the relentless (albeit well-meaning) questioning that inevitably starts up again about when you will go back to work, and what you spend your time doing.

Life with children takes you to not only another planet, but another dimension. It has its own sense of time, and its own sense of achievement.  While the years fly past without us realising it, the minutes can drag.  Our babies are suddenly grown and leaving for school, yet the last fifteen minutes of the day before our husband (or wife or partner) walks through the door can become nightmarishly long. And brutal.

Where we once may have celebrated a completed project, a new degree or a closed deal, we now view success as an attempt to sit on the potty, a merit certificate from school, a shopping trip without a tantrum. Small successes.

Some days I have trouble finding a single thing to discuss with another adult that doesn't involve talk of sleep (or lack thereof), poo, or kids deviant behaviour. Some days I don't even manage the most simple household chore - beds remain unmade, dishes unwashed, breakfast bowls still on the table. Those are the days I question my greater contribution - beyond my own household and to my kids, who obviously think I rock.

And so I postponed writing my 200th blog post, waiting for something incredible to happen to me so I could write about it. 

And I kept waiting.

And in the end I decided that I didn't need something huge to write about.  That's not what I do anyway.  I write about the small things that are instantly recognisable to most parents.

And then when I was about to hit publish, I realised that Blogger counts all my unfinished, unpublished posts.  Relics of days that I couldn't even string together a few paragraphs worth publishing. There's been a few of those.

Which means, I am nowhere near my 200th post.


  1. I have never found myself nodding so vigorously at a blog post before in my life. There is a little voice in my head that kept saying "me too" as I read. (Except for the bit about having 200 blog posts, I'm still only up to 117) and then the crushing disappointment when you reveal this isn't actually post number 200, and just when I was about to crack open the dark chocolate mint Tim Tams and help you celebrate. Thank you for making me feel a thousand times better that I am not the only one who is still struggling to come to terms with the changes parenting brings into your life. And the disappointment that after seven months of blogging I still haven't been asked to appear on the Ellen show as a guest. Maybe now the little voice in my head will go a bit easier on me.

  2. This really resonated with me today - I've had lots of comments in the last few years that go kinda like 'You wouldn't understand - you're not a career girl' and 'Do you think you'll EVER go back to work' like I have no dreams, my ambition has dried up or I'm now the village idiot because my focus is on the small things my kids do each day rather than being an Engineer (I wonder how long I can be out of the work force and still call myself one!) It is a tough gig with very little reward. But the little rewards are amazing! Congrats on 200 posts xxxx

  3. 200th or not - I love this post.
    So much truth, so much to identify with.
    Thank you!
    A job very well done!!!
    :-) xx

  4. "Life with children takes you to not only another planet, but another dimension. It has its own sense of time, and its own sense of achievement." So very true. I don't know where my time goes, but it certainly evaporates. Only now that my little one is at school almost full-time am I finally beginning to tackle the overwhelming project of wrangling this house into shape. Some days just getting the laundry done is a mammoth task, so I have to be happy with that. However, each time I knock a small project off my massive list of "To do", I feel an enormous sense of achievement.


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