And then, strangely, there was no guilt

It’s official.  I have turned into *that* Mother that sends her children off to mid-week children’s parties with the Au Pair.

It’s been a long time coming, but after the last time I took leave so I could take Daniel to a party and the Moms were all talking about how terrible aftercare is for children and I just thought: This isn’t for me, I don’t belong here.

No more will I force myself to take leave I could have saved up to spend time doing something more valuable with my kids.

No more will I feel like I’m eavesdropping on conversations I have no business listening to about things that happen in the day when I am at work.

No more will I compound my own guilt at not being to linger in the school parking lot or over coffee with a friend in the middle of the day.

No more will I try too hard to fit in with Moms that, practically speaking, will not ever be great friends.  Not because they aren’t lovely people, there just isn’t time.

No more will I compromise the little time I do have with Etienne and the kids.

No more.

 

BUT.

 

If you are a SAHM Mom I want to say this: I am extremely grateful for your generosity with your time and wanting to help out at school, serve on PTA’s, decorate classrooms for special occasions, carting other people’s children around and work in the tuck shop.

Your children will love you for spending time next to the sports field and I and my children thank you for updating me what they are doing when I’m not there to see them roll in gymnastics or play rugby.

You have a really thankless job, so I want to say THANK YOU.

Just for in case no-one has said it lately.

Thank you.

 

Let’s talk about yesterday

If you follow me on FB or twitter you know by now that yesterday was not a particularly lovely day.

In fact, yesterday was pretty shit.

On Tuesday Isabel had a bit of a runny tummy and Mignon had a bit of a runny nose.  By yesterday morning Isabel was puking and Mignon was breathing from her stomach.  I seriously thought we were going to end up in hospital, I had nee-naa-nee-naa sounds in my head.

So, we did The Big Schedule Juggle and kept the girls home and I managed to get an early appointment with our GP for Mignon so I could quickly take her and still get to work at a reasonable hour, we could leave them with our domestic lady for a couple of hours and Etienne would do the afternoon shift.

As I’m standing in the chemist waiting for the truckload of medicine my phone rings.  Our domestic lady at home, the power is out.  Whilst I’m watching Mignon take random things off the shelves, wanting to know what they are for and ask tell me to buy them (I really didn’t need any vaginal creams at that point) I try and figure out what could be wrong.  The conversation went something like this:

  • Me: Is the electricity completely off
  • Domestic Worker: Yes
  • Me: When did it go off?
  • DW: Just now
  • Me: What were you doing when it went off?
  • DW: When the toaster was on.
  • Me: Did it go off when you switched the toaster on or when it was already on?
  • DW: (thinks a while) Yes
  • Me:  (sigh) Don’t worry, I’m on my way.

I finally make it home, sort Mignon’s vast collection of drugs out, check on Isabel, sort out the electricity (Turns out the plug of the toaster made the plugs in the house trip, everything else was working), jump in the car and pull away with screaming tyres.

I made it halfway to work, only to realise that in my haste I had left my laptop at home.  I may or may not have said fuck several times whilst doubling back home.

Eventually I make it to work and play catch-up until I get a call from Etienne.  One of those “Now please don’t panic” calls.  Daniel had fallen off the jungle gym at school and they are “a little” worried, so he will have a look.

Eventually he calls back, he is rather taking him for x-rays.  By this stage I had of course already called the GP’s offices again to find out what the procedure would be for in case he does need a xray.  I had absolutely no idea whether he would need a referral letter.  As it turns out the Emergency room wasn’t too busy and they could help Etienne pretty quickly whilst I was mentally wringing my hands at work, doing the usual guilt schpiel in my head about not being there when my child needs me, even though his Dad is perfectly capable of dealing with it.  But still. My poor baby.

Our very unhappy boy.

He has broken both bones in his right arm, just before his wrist, but luckily they are greenstick fractures.  He is in a half-cast with bandages until Tuesday to check for swelling and then they will put the real cast on.  He was in a lot of pain last night, the poor thing.  We felt very helpless on his behalf.

Thank goodness the girls are on the mend and Daniel is having fun being dressed, bathed, his food cut, his bum wiped and his teeth brushed for him.

Pass the wine please.

ps: any suggestions of things I can put on his skin to avoid at least some of the itching when they put the cast on?  Do people still use baby powder for that?

 

 

On Being Everything

I recently imported all my blog posts (October 2008 – January 2011) from Parent24 so I could have all my words in one place.  I haven’t had a chance to read through them all as I need to do a major clean-up, but many of the posts that have caught my eye strike me as very unhappy and some were downright mean.

I started blogging when the girls were about 7 or 8 months old and it was a very hard time for me emotionally.  Not necessarily because I had just had twins, but because it was really hard to re-establish my place in the Working World as a Mom.  Plenty of long-standing friendships with single friends were compromised as drinks on a Friday were just no longer an option.  I couldn’t wait to hit the tar on a Friday afternoon.

I didn’t feel it so much after Daniel as I had started in a new position after maternity leave and I was only in that job for about 6 months when I was going through IVF and then pregnant again, which meant that I was focused on a pregnancy and a relatively new job.

It really hit me when I came back from maternity leave after the girls.  Suddenly many of my old work relationships weren’t the same anymore, I was extremely sleep-deprived and I was just not functioning very well.

I was a mess.  I hated the way my body had changed because of 2 pregnancies (although I would probably rather have died than to admit it), I felt marginalized at work and as a result my self-esteem was at an all-time low, Etienne and I weren’t in our comfortable communication and affection groove and, as much as I love my children, I just felt like I was not a Good Enough Mother.  I felt unattractive and horrible to be around, which rapidly snowballed into becoming my reality.

It has literally taken me 4 years to get my groove back (mostly).  I’m not the same person I was pre-kids and I never will be.  I still haven’t lost the baby weight.  I ended up on AD’s and in therapy.  My hair is still a mess and I still don’t like people staying too late when they visit because I really need my sleep

Why am I telling you this?

I see lots of Moms around me and online just coping with first babies/toddlers and/or not so well after second (and third and fourth) babies and I want to reach through my computer and hug them HARD.  I want to tell them it’s going to be OK.  I want them to know I know what they are going through.  The sleep deprivation, the lack of money, the having to put on your game face and going to work when you would rather sit crying in your car all day long just because it’s quiet there.

Feeling like no-one truly understands what you are going through, that, no matter WHAT you do, you will never be that awesome Career Girl AND the Perfect Mother with the Perfectly Clean House and the Perfect Marriage.  Hey, any combination of just 2 of the above is almost impossible.

To you I want to say:  It’s OK to feel like this, those are very valid feelings.

Then I want to invite you over, feed you and water you, stuff your freezer full of meals, hold that baby whilst you have a special minute with your toddler or your husband, whack that same husband on the head if he’s being a douche, whack you on the head for being so bloody hard on yourself and then, when you leave, give you a big squishy hug and a bag with 8 hours sleep.

And then, when some time has gone by and things are going better for you, I hope that you would do the same for another Mom.

Us Moms need to take care of each other and we cannot afford to get stuck in UnHappyland.  We owe it to ourselves, our children, our husbands, the people we work with and the people we interact with on the interwebs.

If you are battling, this is your virtual HUG.

Chin up and hang in there!

Work vs Home

At work yesterday I sent an email to a lovely friend that at the time seemed direct
without being bitchy and got a very nice response.

When I read the response and my earlier mail last night I was cringed as it seemed a lot
more bitchy than direct.  I’m happy with the message I wanted to get across because it’s about something that’s been bugging me for a while, but the words that ended up in the email were just dreadful and petty.  I hang my head in shame.

It made me think about whether there is a difference between who(m) (Dammit.  Neither looks right despite input from Twitter) I am at work and who I am at home.

The short answer is that there is.

The long answer is that for the first time since before being pregnant with Daniel I feel ok in my skin at work.  It’s been a long 6 (SIX!) years of not feeling clever/thin/sharp/committed enough at work as I had barely recovered from porridge brain after Daniel and I was pregnant with twins.  And then the ensuing tsunami of raising 3 kids with a 22 month age gap.

I’m not that chick that worked 13 hour days and then still went out to party anymore and I would rather be happy than have a job that stresses me out beyond belief.

I’m loving my job (if that’s ok to say?) even though it’s been quite an adjustment to work full day and I do feel like I hardly ever see my kids and I see it taking its toll on my relationship with them as well as on my marriage.  But I’m happier now than I’ve been in a long time, so I guess that counts for something.  I even carry the odd toothpaste and snot stain like a badge of honour.

It’s tricky to get the balance right between working and being all those other titles
bestowed upon us.  Having time to stay in touch with your old friends and making time for new ones and still do the odd thing you really enjoy in-between. (Minds out the gutter folks, I’m talking cooking.  And stuff)

It’s even trickier to get the balance right between being that go-getting-13-hour-a-day
gal and the mushy-please-just-love-me-Mommy person or seeming like you can pull
both of those personalities off at the appropriate times.  And then making the transition between the two in the 10 minutes it takes me to drive home each night.

Are you the same person at work as at home? How do you deal with different personas?  Or do you ignore it?

The Couch Chronicles

Tonight I am so tired I don’t even have the energy to switch on my laptop. I don’t think I’ve been so happy to see a Friday in years.

Not happy in a I-hate-my-life kind of way, just happy in a I-really-need-to-gather-my-thoughts kind of way. And in a I-really-miss-my-kids kind of way.

I can tell the day of the week by how many hugs Daniel needs at night: 10 on a Monday and 10 x 10 by a Thursday. Isabel asks for a glass of water on a Monday and water, medicine, hugs and kisses by a Thursday. And Mignon wanders around for a couple of minutes on a Monday and by Thursday night we can hear her down the passage singing songs until she eventually passes out.

They are such little troopers. I feel really bad about yanking them out of bed so early in the morning and dropping them off at school when it’s not even properly light yet.

But. We do what we need to.

Ps please hold thumbs, we are hoping to add another canine child to our family. Details to follow..

Pps I blogged from my phone. Just so you know.

Tomorrow

Tomorrow I go back to work full-day.  It’s my first job at a completely new company in almost 10 years and even though it’s a contract for now it’s still all new.  New people, new building, new route to work, new morning routine.  But I’m looking forward to the new challenge and all the people I’ll get to meet.

In the week that I’ve had to think about the change this will bring in our life as it is now I have come to quite a few realisations:

  • I instantly felt an extra rush of love/guilt for the kids.  Because as a working Mom those totally go hand-in-hand.  In some really weird way I’m looking forward to missing them.  Not that I don’t miss them during the day now, but this is different.
  • Emotionally I’m a lot better equipped now to deal with a full-time job.  The girls are bigger and they are with Daniel all day and incredibly well taken care of.
  • We have an amazing support structure.  We have Grandparents, friends and teachers.  We have the entire veritable village it takes to raise a child (or 3 in our case)
  • Maybe I’m just not meant to be a work-from-home kinda person be it right now or forever, but time will tell.
  • I have also realised that Entrepreneurs come in many shapes and forms.  You don’t have to have your own business to be entrepreneurial, you can be so within an organisation.  And that’s ok.  It was a biggie for me.
  • And lastly, this is something for me outside my family where I can make an actual difference.

I can’t wait!!