Friday Musings and Highlights

– No-one knows patience like that needed to help an almost 3-year old complete a jigsaw puzzle at 5.45am.
– Weet bix makes an excellent hair styling product.  (We are also currently experimenting with its application as a face product, hand moisturiser and laundry detergent with mixed results).
– Mean as it sounds, this week I learned there are not many things quite as funny (or loud) as a toddler tripping over a size 15 shoe in the doorway during his midnight pilgrimage to our room (I can laugh because it’s usually me tripping over the same shoe in my 3am pilgrimage to the bathroom – since pregnancy, 8 hours is just an insurmountable amount of time between toilet stops).
– This is what V1 created when I suggested he line up his trucks on our home day. The precision is alarming. It was almost a shame to pack them away when we had to get out the front door. 20170621_094132.jpg
– I suppose in order to protect his precise mind, it seems only sensible that his head be made with a concrete outer layer. At least that’s what it feels like when he headbutts me in the middle of the night. His targeting the bridge of my nose (broken as a teenager so very sensitive!) is as precise as his truck organisational skills. (Thankfully I haven’t needed to explain any black eyes as yet but it really is just a matter of time).
– Yesterday at the office I had Josh Groban’s Evermore (for the uninitiated – an original song written for the remake of Beauty and the Beast) in my head. It prompted a work colleague to share that they didnt like – nay, they hated – the movie. Their dislike perfectly contrasted my love for the movie and led to a scathing inner monologue of rebukes (I’m not crazy enough to voice them out loud! Although I did merely state they of course were mistaken and it was in fact close to being the best thing since sliced bread).

Having a ‘Moment’

It’s been a while since my last post (which came at the end of a rough week). It seemed that life continued to dish things out in a similar thread and the combined stresses of things piled up in a monumental way, forcing a break in routine and, more importantly, an understanding of the need for an attitude change.

  • I had been away from work for the week with the injured V2 (you might remember she touched the element of the stove while I was holding her!) The stress and worry (and guilt!) about the burn were playing on my mind.
  • I had been trying to work remotely as much as possible during my days with her, to not fall behind while out of the office but no matter how much I did, the emails continued.
  • We had a hugely social weekend planned (a trip to the Opera, a night out, trip to the Heritage Steam Train Expo, an afternoon shopping exhibition and a family afternoon tea). While all were lovely and enjoyable they didn’t allow a lot of room for rest.

Ultimately, the build up of a very stressful few weeks where I’ve been racing around in every aspect of life (work, kids, marriage, and a social life) meant I had a ‘moment’ while trying to clean the house to make it spotless for the next round of entertaining which brought things to a very abrupt and noticeable halt. (My efforts to make the place perfectly clean actually led to me leaving a fairly noticeable not clean mark!)

Many Mums know these ‘moments’. Mine usually see me having somewhat of an outer body experience watching myself disappearing into a rabbit hole of overreaction. Usually, the ‘moment’ passes and we continue along our merry (and busy) way until the next one appears.

Unfortunately this ‘moment’ lingered and proved to be an awakening moment (or rather an awakening half day) for me. I won’t go into the background of what I discovered to be the problem, other than to say it of course was not the cleaning that was the problem. I will say that it was this moment that allowed me to see just how much pressure I had placed on myself since my return to work. I hadn’t really given a shred of thought or time to ensuring that I, personally, was managing our hugely busy lives – which I have no doubt is something many Mums do on a daily basis.

We soldier on through the mammoth list of tasks that are too multitudinous to list. We act as teacher, chef, cleaner, counsellor, chauffeur, friend and disciplinarian, amongst others, all before we’ve even headed to the office.

I don’t know how many times I’ve said the phrase, “if my kids are happy, I’m happy”. While I am of course happy when my kids are happy, this one tiny hiccup in the day and the resultant ‘moment’ made me see that a few things needed an adjustment to ensure that my happiness wasn’t just anchored around that of my kids.

My first step was to cut myself some slack so I took the week off work to have a rest, recover from the whirlwind of life that we have been living these past few months since returning to work and to take a hard look at what we can change to stop this ridiculous race to an unseen finish line.

Everything I have discovered is something someone has already suggested. Something I have read in a book and thought ‘that sounds great – maybe one day I’ll give it ago’. Something I’ve listened to someone else say they do and thought ‘it won’t work for me’. Until I could see the measurable impact of running at full speed 100% of the time, I couldn’t listen to the advice. (Funny how we often let our kids learn from doing – no matter how many times I tell V1 that if he rides his bike full speed into a wall, one of these days he might get hurt – it’s only the act of doing it, and the subsequent grazing of knuckles that lead to the change. In much the same vein, I have now been able to learn from experience).

I have committed to trying a few things. I say trying because I’ve spent 30+ years in my current ways, and they are pretty set so this is a gradual process. I’ve tasked myself to:

  • try to stop over scheduling every waking moment of our days.
  • try to utilise my urge to organise to my advantage. I’ve finally realised that being good at being organised means you are organised enough to have some downtime. When I tell people what we squeeze into the 2 weekdays I’m not in the office, I’m greeted by comments usually along the lines of ‘I’m exhausted just listening to it’.
  • try to let myself see that it is OK to not get something finished every once in a while, to need a bit more time to do something, and to ask for help from my team. These are all OK and a necessary part of returning to work part-time.
  • try to focus on having faith in the knowledge that I am a dedicated and honest Mum, wife, friend and worker and unreasonable expectations do not lead to success.
  • I will take time off when I need it, and I will enjoy it, not feel guilty about it, or spend the time planning how I can get more things done.

 

Bravery

With our first quiet Sunday for a long time dawning with a sleep in for both kids (6.40am – not a sleep in for most of course, but an hour later than our usual wake-up!), my better half and I decided to be brave and venture to Church.

We had V2’s Christening last weekend and felt that it was such a lovely service  (at least I enjoyed the few minutes I heard of it when I wasn’t standing outside with V2 as she lamented her lost nap) that we would be brave and make it a ‘regular’ thing.

We both had a different upbringing but agreed the tradition, reverence and spirituality religion and Church provide are important parts of life, particularly for the kidlets.

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I do however use the term ‘regular’ loosely. Before we went to yesterday’s service, we had decided it wasn’t likely to be more often than once a month, thereby accommodating our ridiculous schedule and allowing ample time for our resilience levels to be replenished and for any embarrassment for misbehaviour to be forgotten and forgiven before returning.

After yesterday’s service we were comforted that if we had the time, we would be relaxed enough to go more often without too much angst about the kids’ behaviour.

Though V1 was initially extremely disinterested in the concept of sitting still (he had to do that in the car, why would he want to do more of it!) and V2 wanted the stair to the font as her own private playground, no-one minded.

Though V1 decided the shadow game was de rigueur by parotting every clamorous squeak, chatter, cry, squawk or otherwise unintelligible yet remarkably resonant sound that V2 uttered, no-one minded.

Though we mashed a little mandarin into the floor and crumbled some biscuits under the table, and no doubt left more than a couple of sultanas scattered (the floor was brown and it was dark therefore impossible to find stray sultanas), no-one minded.

Though we made paper planes out of the announcement sheet (I made them so they didn’t actually fly – don’t worry, I’m not going to let them fly them in Church!) and stuck stickers to the little kids table at the back, no-one minded.

I can neither confirm nor deny the teeth marks on the foam blocks match the dental records of V2 (foam to prevent noise – almost made me laugh that I thought the concept of giving 2 toddlers soft toys would be sufficient to secure quietness in Church), but I can confirm that no-one minded.

All was completely accepted and welcomed as numerous members of the Church showed pure delight that some young people and their even younger kidlets were taking the time to talk to God. Everyone smiled and repeatedly said how lovely it was that we were there and not a single person commented on the noise, mess, disarray or our distractedness during the service.

It made me realise that as mothers (and parents) we focus so much on people’s perceptions that it often impacts what we do causing us to adjust what we do in an anticipatory reaction. In this case, it has been to date (amongst other things) in the form of not going to Church.

Sometimes it’s in the form of skipping a dinner or a friend’s event for fear of mess and ruining another’s experience. But we are starting to realise we can be brave !

Many people have been there and done that in some way, shape or form whether it is through their own family, friends or babysitting so we know we are in good company.

 

 

Friday Musings and Highlights

Aside from the obvious things we all know are part of being a Mum, I’m discovering some of the lesser known things that being a Mum often means:

– Waking up in bed with two men (ok, so one is obviously a boy!)

– Attempting to sneak out of bed without waking anyone (my shins are just as bruised as V1’s shins. We have owned our wooden frame bed for 8 years and I still do not know it’s dimensions).

– Giving up on finding workout gear in the noisy wardrobe or the mountain of floor clothing pile (I mean the completely organised stack of clothes that I have of course organised in piles and placed neatly on the floor ready to be put away) and doing yoga next to the heater in a dressing gown and pyjama bottoms (I simply couldn’t find my pyjama top. Hot yoga it was!)

– Leveraging V1’s love of dump trucks to put away washing. It goes on the back of the truck and he runs it from room to room quite literally dumping it out of his dump truck (see earlier note re clothing pile).

– Never getting dressed (or showered) until the last minute before leaving the house. No need to bother since everything ends up covered in Weetbix, yoghurt, mashed pear or surprisingly greasy digestive biscuit crumbs.

– Recognising that some days the only thing you will get to eat is the weetbix, yoghurt, mashed pear or surprisingly greasy digestive crumbs you wipe off your face, hair, Pyjamas or (dare I say it), the floor.

– An oldie but a goodie – never (I mean never, since now we have a puppy who follows me around constantly), going to the toilet alone.

– Getting excited about not having to do daycare drop off and actually being able to get to work before 8am.

These are just a few of the lesser things I’m discovering are all integral aspects of being a Mum!

 

 

The Race to 9am

I’m very excited. Tomorrow I am doing daycare pick up instead of drop off.

Instead of being mean angry mummy who yells demands all morning, while trying to pack bags, blowdry and put my face on until we finally get to the car. I get to be cool mummy who rescues the kids from daycare after daddy left them there !

This morning was just a comedy of errors, one type of comedy I’m not eager to repeat.

– V2 slept in til 7am. Normally this is a miracle but on school days this presents a struggle since we have to be in the car by 7.25am.

– It was freezing so we needed beanies. So we put them on. Then on again. Then on. Then lost the hot pink one and put the pale pink one on.  Then back on. Then we held it and listened to V2 whinge that she wanted it on. So we put it on. Again.

– We made it to the car only 5 minutes late (with beanies off) but this makes the 7.52am train an almost impossibility. Only an impossibility by 30 seconds.  Those 30 seconds were spent going back to the car to check it was locked instead of making the train. Need to work on the need to check.

– The 8.06am was jam packed and as a result of our tardiness I had people touching me on every side as more and more people jammed in, despite it being quite clearly full.

– Arriving at just before 9am I was too late to get my favourite standing desk (agile workplace!)

Thankfully, at work I managed to turn it around and knock a few small goals to redeem the day (3 double coffees didn’t hurt!) – and came up with the brilliant idea to switch drop off and pick ups for tomorrow and THAT is why I’m very excited for tomorrow ! It’s the little things.

Happy (almost) Friday! (And it’s croissant Friday too!)

Multitasking

I’m trying to decide if it’s a good or a bad thing.

On the one hand today I got A LOT done. Cooking, cleaning, washing, errands, soccer for V1 and a couple of hours of work.

On the other hand, by the time I got to soccer, I realised I had forgotten to change V2’s nappy (it was changed when she first got up but I like to do it at least every 2 hours). I had remembered V1 needed to go to the toilet however he, like most toddlers his age, was convinced that since I had asked him to and provided the perfect opportunity for him to do so, he in fact did not need to go (he hadn’t gone since getting up).

We got home and changed V2’s nappy, prepped lunch and headed to the laundry. V1 then sprinted inside crying because he’d had an accident outside while playing with Horus. I was so focussed on V2’s nappy, prepping lunch and getting the third load of washing onto the line to capitalise on the sunny day, I had forgotten to remind him to go.

While contemplating putting V1 into the shower to clean up, I rembered I actually hadn’t had a shower despite going out to do the groceries and to soccer, on separate trips and I was still wearing the clothes I had worn for my 16 minute weights session in the morning (at least I had rembered to go to the bathroom before being too uncomfortable!).

Amongst numerous pearls, in her book, Thrive, by Ariana Huffington, Huffington talks extremely highly of her mother. Her mother states “I abhor multitasking”. This is raised in the context of reading email while talking to kids (which if I’m truly honest, I’ve done on numerous occasions), and noting that our constant electronic connectivity is leading us to be more disconnected in life.

Today I wasn’t entirely distracted by my phone however I did respond to some urgent emails from work before soccer (during which V2 took her first independent steps, which I very nearly missed and only by sheer luck managed to catch it on camera. I then forgot to change her nappy, and ultimately ran out of time to do so).

SO multitasking today didn’t entirely pay off. Most of my distraction on my home days with the kids is in the form of housework and errands, but this multitasking still leads to a disconnection. This is something I’m guilty of nearly every day.  But it’s not something I can change instantly. It’s only something I can try to work on.

Since I can’t change in a day, when the kids woke after very short naps, we rearranged my shoes (I’d finally decided the high heels gathering dust and potential spiders, had to be removed and room made for the growing collection of trendy flats – I’m a mum now and practicality matters!)

I know the kids probably didn’t want to help me to do this, however when I feel I might be spiralling, into either guilt over missing things with the kids, or discontent at not getting enough things done, finding something I can physically take hold of and organise actually does wonders for me (and throwing things out or packing away to create space is always therapeutic!) I’m finally starting to realise it’s important to take the time for me, even when the kids are awake.

I found some space and order, V1 enjoyed trying on my shoes for fun and V2 enjoyed taking the shoes out of the box faster than I put them back in, while playing an intense game of peekaboo with my scarves ! Everyone was happy!