I'm a hot mess Mum & proud of it May 10 2016 1 Comment
If you’re a regular reader you may have noticed that I haven’t written many blog posts lately. Actually I have written them, but only published a few. That’s because after four children and almost a decade of being a Mother, I don’t feel qualified. I have lot’s of topics I would happily discuss with my girlfriends and I get asked the same handful of questions all the time, so I think I know what you’d like me to write about. But I don't feel qualified to give advice. There are a lot of “Mummy Bloggers” out there giving their opinions on all sorts of things. What I know for sure is this.
After ten years, I still don’t know what I am doing.
A lot of the “experts” don’t have it totally covered either. Wouldn’t it be lovely if there was one book we could all eagerly read that gave us all the answers. For all the types of children, in all types of families, all types of environments and facing all types of obstacles. That Baby Manual doesn’t exist for good reason. Every baby and every experience is so different. Each journey is unique and that makes it beautiful, as well as incredibly frustrating.
The routine that worked for your first born probably goes out the window for your second. The sudden appearance of perfect teeth without even a fever, may be the case for one child, but unfortunately not another. The wide variety of organic puree’s you concocted for one child get thrown on the floor by another. It’s hit and miss.
I’ve said before that having identical twins is like living inside a science experiment. Nature versus nurture. As much as you admire their differences and consciously try to develop their individuality, there are some differences that are not celebrated. You just want the picky eater to be like his brother who shoves everything into his mouth with a grateful smile. But that same guy doesn’t sleep all night, nor did he toilet train himself. Yes I got lucky there. (Lucky I reinforce, as I did not follow a step by step guide).
Every day I wing it and every day I face a new challenge. Just when I think “I’ve heard it all before”, my boys invent a new excuse for not finishing their lunchbox or stop me in my tracks with a curly question from left field. Just when I think I’m on top of my housework…I find the entire contents of a chest of drawers strewn across a bedroom. Or I can’t even enter my lounge room because of the latest cubby house creation. The washing, the toilet cleaning (I wish we’d installed a urinal) and the picking up off the floor. Relentless, never ending, I’ll never conquer it. Or when I do I’ll be a lonely mess wishing my boys hadn’t grown up so fast.
I know it and every day that I use even more Pine O Cleen I try to remember that.
Our doona’s are not alway co-ordinated but our bedroom’s are designed to have the greatest of sleepover parties. The shelves are nothing close to display cabinets but they contain the treasures of this particular phase and trophies that are now broken but still contain the same pride within.
Our home couldn’t feature in any interiors magazine without a few week’s notice and a total makeover. It has potential, but no job is ever finished. Or when it is, a child’s artwork gets placed on top of my perfectly positioned wall decals. In the wrong colours. The rooms are rearranged and their beds are pushed together so they can sleep closer to their brother (I allow this one due to the cuteness factor).
Our back garden resembles a junk yard with chewed tennis balls, ‘flat’ footies and half the garden bed strewn across it. It’s the “lived in” look.
I never post my own recipe’s as I actually don’t enjoy cooking. I try really hard to give our boys fresh, real food in as wide a variety of possible. Sticking to a yellow colour palette has been testing with our second child. Mashed potato, scrambled eggs, pasta and toasted sandwiches are on high rotation. Thank goodness that banana’s, milk and cheese are also included in his current mood board.
What gives me hope is that our eldest also went through a similar stage and now at almost ten he is a wonderful healthy eater who proactively gets himself some fruit or yoghurt as a snack, even though he can now easily unlock the “treat cupboard”. I think that just happened. Or maybe, just maybe my subtle but consistent references to how he could help his body grow “big and strong” were actually sinking in with each eye roll.
Now to my organisation skills. I think they are finely tuned, but to an outsider watching me wipe breakfast off their face just as we enter the kindergarten gate or rush back to the car to collect the library bags, we may not appear so organised. I try to focus on the fact that the library bag WAS there somewhere, just not exactly where it was supposed to be ahead of time.
I haven’t actually been to school drop off in my pajama’s but my outfits are rarely well thought out or worthy of a photo shoot. My hair is brushed at the traffic lights and I might scrape the last bit of lip gloss out of a tube as I grab the kids and their ensembles and arrive with only a minute to spare.
Flat shoes reign supreme :)
I am not on any school committee’s and I have been known to accidentally forget my cake stall responsibilities even though I love being a part of our school community. Nothing is hand made - cake’s, costumes or crafts.
My kids have heard me swear and I have proudly walked away to giggle as they have dropped the F bomb in the most appropriate of circumstances. I get bored of their games quickly and have secretly had lots of children so they can play them together. I hate arts and craft’s at home, the mess and inaccuracy tests my patience more than the majority of motherhood challenges put together. I do enjoy baking anything sweet though and I fight them to lick the bowl.
Date nights are not scheduled, I very rarely put mushy photo’s of us on social media and I never give relationship advice. I am lucky to have someone who is made to feel special outside of the home, as inside he is just one of six. Take a number and if you get weet-bix for dinner you should appreciate that we had enough fresh milk to accompany it. Don’t get me wrong, we adore him, he is the King of the kids but he also has copped the wrath of too many sleepless nights and crazy days. He is lucky to have us and we are lucky that he too enjoys the chaotic lively home that he enters. It’s full of real love and he is a magnet for it.
The fact is, I don’t really care what other people think of how I run our family. I don’t know how I became this way, but I never really have cared for the thoughts of the ill informed. I know that I’m doing my best and have the best intentions in each particular set of circumstances every day. I am not doing things to appear a certain way to other mother’s. Pretending I have it all together is not a priority to me. Nor is putting perfect images or recipes or advice on social media. I’m just winging it and sometimes that may appear to be working.
Everything gets done, mostly just in the nick of time. We are a well oiled machine with several squeaky wheels. Inside our large and dirty car we do often turn the radio up loud and yell out the window at strangers to “have a great day” as we wiz past, all noise and grubby faces. After the initial jolt, those strangers seem to like it. I for one, will always remember it.
I let my boys fall over and climb trees perhaps a little too high. They play outside where they use their minds, negotiation skills and develop their courage. They get very dirty, they stay out in the cold and swim in the pool in winter. I have band aids in every place imaginable and have learnt to live with the puddles and dirt constantly being brought back inside with them.
We haven’t been to Disneyland, most of our clothes are not designer and we drive a Nissan. The facade of our home is dignified and beautiful, but inside it is dirty floorboards, broken toys and fingerprinted walls. The carpet is littered with dog hair and the boys bedrooms seem to have a constant smell of urine no matter how many times I wash, spray or open the windows.
They are probably on their iPad’s too much and they have a TV in their bedroom. They will suffer the consequences of not doing their homework at school, I will never do it for them. They are taught to bear the responsibilities for their actions, whether it is time in the naughty corner and being ignored until only the sincerest of apologies comes out of their mouth. But out in the big wide world, I will be a Lioness protecting my cubs if they are double crossed.
With me, I’m all or nothing and rarely in between. With friendships, food and exercise I’m either fantastic or hopeless. This changes daily. I try my best but often think “stuff it” and eat the chocolate or ignore the text for another day. I rarely drink alcohol but when I do I think I’m 21 with no responsibilities to wake up to. My hangover’s can last for days from only a handful of champagne’s and that’s when the wheels really fall off. The kids love it as they get McDonald’s and I fall asleep on the lounge room floor with them inside a magnificent cubby.
I have a favourite child and lucky for them, it rotates frequently. Somehow I manage to squeeze in alone time with each of them, even if it is just a trip to the supermarket or a late night snuggle in bed. We are in the moment and it is our little bubble of love that we create each day, however fleeting.
I invite friends over without cleaning up first and then I serve take away thai as dinner. The kids get a sausage in bread and we all live happily ever after.
When I look back at this time as a blur of meals, early morning’s and whinging children, this blog will help me to remember how much fun it was.
The only advice I feel qualified to give is this, try really hard to enjoy it.
The hilarious and irrational tantrums, the bath times that end up as rivers down the hall way and the time they threw their scrambled eggs at the wall. Inform yourself but stay open minded as to how your child will react to new things. Surround yourself with awesome people, even if there are only a couple of them. Keep your inner circle tight.
Embrace the chaos, laugh before you cry
and remind your kids every day that of all the things you do,
it is your favourite thing to be their Mum.
A hot mess Mum in all her glory.